Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 1, 2019

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 1, 2019

Original Communist (O.C.) Karl Marx published Das Kapital on October 1, 1867.

Voters in the state of Washington adopted the state constitution on October 1, 1889.

The first World Series of baseball opened on October 1, 1903.

On October 1, 1908, Ford introduced the Model T.

Former President Jimmy Carter was born on October 1, 1924 at Wise Sanitarium in Plains, Georgia, the first American President to be born in a hospital.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited Warm Springs, Georgia for the 21st time beginning on October 1, 1931.

In a Special Election October 1, 1940, Florence Gibbs became the first woman elected to Congress from Georgia, completing her late husband’s term and serving through January 3, 1941, but no standing for a full term of her own.

Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong proclaimed the Communist People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949.

The Carter Center in Atlanta was dedicated on October 1, 1986.

Mikhail Gorbachev named himself Chairman of the USSR’s Supreme Soviet on October 1, 1988.

President George H.W. Bush condemned Iraq’s takeover of Kuwait in a speech to the United Nations on October 1, 1990.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Today is the House District 71 Special Runoff Election, and no one could be happier than the Newnan Times-Herald editor who headlined the story, Hallelujah: HD 71 runoff is Tuesday.

Polls in District 71 in Coweta and Fayette counties will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for voting.

Republicans Marcy Sakrison and Philip Singleton were the top-two finishers in the Sept. 3 special election, but neither got a majority, meaning a runoff election is required.

Early voting for the election wrapped up Friday. Because of the short runoff time frame, there was only one week of early voting. There were a total of 983 early votes cast, said Jane Scoggins, Coweta elections supervisor.

That’s compared to 1,673 early votes for the Sept. 3 election, in which there were three weeks of early voting.

Governor Brian Kemp will be in Valdosta this week, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

— Kemp is listed as the special guest Tuesday evening, Oct. 1, for the Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen’s Award Banquet honoring Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk at James H. Rainwater Conference Center.

— The governor is scheduled to participate in the Homebuilders Association of South Georgia luncheon, noon Wednesday, Oct. 2, at Birdie’s, downtown.

— Kemp is scheduled to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for Arglass, a glass manufacturer for the alcohol industry, Thursday morning, Oct. 3, on Rocky Ford Road. Valdosta-Lowndes County Development Authority spearheaded bringing the manufacturer to South Georgia. Arglass is expected to bring at least 150 jobs to Lowndes County.

— First Lady Marty Kemp is scheduled to visit Nashville in neighboring Berrien County. She is scheduled to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Jacob’s Well Wednesday morning, Oct. 2.

The Georgia House and Senate are requesting budget documents from state agencies, according to the AJC.

After getting little information on the subject during hearings last week, the Georgia House and Senate are asking state agencies to turn over the unedited plans they submitted to the Kemp administration to meet the governor’s demand for 4% budget cuts this year and 6% next year.

The memo to state agencies was sent Monday, the day before they will begin receiving less money to run everything from the state patrol and prisons to environmental protection and agriculture education programs.

Joint House and Senate budget hearings were held last week, but they largely consisted of economists talking about the possibility of a recession. Kelly Farr, head of Kemp’s Office of Planning and Budget, told lawmakers the governor is still reviewing the budget cut plans.

The House and Senate budget offices are now requesting copies of the unedited plans and any supporting documentation from agencies.

Georgia State House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones has applied for appointment by Gov. Kemp to the United States Senate, according to a press release.

Georgia House Speaker Pro-Tempore Jan Jones (R-Milton) today applied to Governor Brian Kemp for the appointment to succeed U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson.

“If given the honor of serving our great state in the U.S. Senate, I will work tirelessly as your partner on behalf of all Georgians in support of conservative policies that will bring greater prosperity and opportunity,” Rep. Jones wrote in a letter to Gov. Kemp. “No one will outwork me as I fight for votes alongside Senator Perdue and President Trump in all corners of the state for the 2020 election – and then proudly share a ticket with you in 2022. I have the experience, I have the know-how, and I have the work ethic to win and serve our state’s 10.5 million residents.”

Rep. Jones, the highest-ranking female legislator in the history of the Georgia General Assembly, said her family has experienced the American dream of each generation doing better than the one before.

“Our challenge now is to make improvements on this success story,” she said. “I know conservative governance provides the best means for a higher quality of life and prosperity for Georgia families. And I know government should seek to strengthen families, not replace them, and encourage self-reliance, not undermine it.”

Rep. Jones’ resume highlights the legislative work she’s done to expand school choice, protect taxpayers from the costs of Obamacare and crack down on human trafficking. She’s strongly supported efforts to promote the sanctity of life and protect Second Amendment rights, as well as standing up against illegal immigration and banning sanctuary city policies.

“I greatly admire the lifetime of service that Senator Isakson has given to us and will strive to continue his legacy of servant leadership,” Rep. Jones wrote in the closing of her letter. “I submit myself for your consideration as a candidate for U.S. Senate committed to win the seat in 2020 and 2022 and always put Georgians and Americans first in every way.”

From the AJC:

While some Republicans snicker that she could not survive a competitive primary — she’s rarely faced determined opposition in her establishment-friendly district — Kemp’s blessing could scare away the threat of a conservative challenge.

At this point, most handicappers would have to name Jones and U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, as the top competitors for the U.S. Senate spot.

Collins has strong connections to President Donald Trump, given his position as the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee. Jones has stronger connections to Kemp.

Both Collins and Jones are close to House Speaker David Ralston. The latter received this bouquet from the speaker on Monday:

“Speaker Pro Tem Jones is a trusted leader who has earned the respect of colleagues on both sides of the aisle. She has a proven record of fighting for Georgia values, particularly improving educational opportunities for young people.”

The Georgia Supreme Court open seat gained another candidate, according to the AJC.

Superior Court Judge Horace Johnson’s decision to join the field further scrambles the race.

He is the only black candidate so far in the running for the seat held by retiring Justice Robert Benham, the high court’s first African-American jurist. And he entered after an intense effort in African-American legal circles to draft a black candidate.

Johnson paired his announcement with an endorsement from Larry Thompson, a former deputy U.S. Attorney in George W. Bush’s administration. Thompson called Johnson “fair, experienced, compassionate, in love with the law and determined to get to the right decision.”

The format of the nonpartisan race makes it even more unpredictable. It will be decided not in November 2020, but in May — concurrent with statewide primaries. With four candidates now in the field, it likely won’t be settled until a July runoff between the top two finishers.

The AJC reports that voter registration is surging ahead of the 2020 elections.

More than 352,000 people signed up to vote in the past 11 months, the vast majority of them automatically registering when they obtain a driver’s license, according to data from the secretary of state’s office. The influx has boosted Georgia’s voter rolls to a record high of nearly 7.4 million.

Many of the new voters are racial minorities or under age 30, both groups that are more likely to support Democrats than Republicans, according to a Pew Research Center poll.

About 47% of the new voters who identified their race are minorities and 45% are age 30 or younger, according to an analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution of a list of voters registered from Nov. 6 to Aug. 12. By comparison, 40% of all Georgia voters are minorities and 14% are age 30 or younger. The voter list was obtained from the secretary of state’s office and provided to the AJC by Fair Fight PAC, a political action committee that supports Democratic parties nationwide.

Similar numbers of new voters have been added to the rolls each year since September 2016, when Georgia started automatic voter registration at driver’s license offices. About 365,000 new voters have registered each year at Georgia’s driver’s license offices since the beginning of 2017, for a total of 989,000 new voters, according to the secretary of state’s office.

Dredging of the Inner Harbor in Savannah is underway, according to the Savannah Morning News.

“I’m grateful to stand before you today and deliver what I think amounts to the best news yet for the Savannah Harbor, and that is that the final construction phase for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project as of today our efforts begin on the actual deepening of the inner harbor,” said Col. Daniel Hibner, commander of the Savannah District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He spoke to a crowd of local, state and national officials gathered at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa.

“The action of putting a dredge in these waters to deepen the channel is evidence that we have delivered on our environmental stewardship promises. A lot of mitigation work led to this moment and is still being accomplished. We’ve proven that we can deliver on critical environmental demands, and now the remaining portion of this channel is on its way to 47 feet.”

The project is expected to net more than $282 million in annual benefits to the nation and has a benefit-to-cost ratio of $7.30 for every $1 invested, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The total cost of the project is about $973 million.

The harbor deepening will allow larger cargo ships to call on the Port of Savannah with a longer tide window and with heavier loads of imports and exports.

“At the end of the day the Georgia Ports Authority’s effort, along with the Corps’, delivers a strong message that Savannah is prepared for growth and poised to maintain its role as a leader in global commerce,” [Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Griff] Lynch said.

Candidates for Mayor of Tybee Island met in a forum, according to The Savannah Morning News.

The trio of candidates — Tybee Island City Council members Wanda Doyle and Shirley Sessions, and general contractor and businessman Mack Kitchens — gathered at the Burke Day Public Safety Building on Sept. 30 for this forum hosted by the League of Women Voters Coastal Georgia, Forever Tybee, 100 Miles, the Junior League of Savannah, and Savannah Morning News.

The candidates were asked questions that they had not reviewed in advance on a variety of topics ranging from environmental conservation to the proliferation of golf-cart rentals on this visitor-destination island. Following brief introductions, Doyle, Kitchens, and Sessions answered related but randomly chosen inquiries, with their responses being meticulously timed.

The Glynn County Commission is considering a ban on renting vehicles from public property, according to The Brunswick News.

Glynn County Commissioner Bob Coleman and his wife will be tried in Glynn County Superior Court beginning November 4, according to The Brunswick News.

Both Colemans were charged by a Glynn County grand jury in January with 15 counts of felony violation of the Georgia Insurance Code — five counts of insurance fraud and nine counts of violating the Georgia Insurance Code’s reporting and disposition of premium requirement.

Both Bob and Sherry Coleman have maintained their innocence. In June, Bob Coleman released a statement appealing to the public to hold him innocent until proven guilty.

Bob Coleman was elected to a third four-year term in the At-large seat Post 2 seat on the Glynn County Commission in 2016. He was first elected to the commission in 2008.

Oakwood will hold a second public meeting on a proposed property tax millage rate that is higher than the full rollback, according to the Gainesville Times.

Oakwood is proposing to keep its tax rate the same, but residents who have seen property values increase would see a tax increase, if the rate is approved.

The city’s tax rate is 4.174 mills, with 1 mill equal to $1 for each $1,000 in assessed property value.

The city’s finance director, Carl Stephens, has said that to keep the city revenues the same, the tax rate would have to be lowered to 4.014 mills.

Residents whose tax values remained the same would see no changes in their tax bill and residents whose tax values dropped would see their taxes drop.

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