Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 4, 2019

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 4, 2019

Alexander Stephens was sworn-in as Governor of Georgia on November 4, 1882; Stephens had earlier been elected Vice-President of the Confederate States of America.

Howard Carter found an entrance to the tomb of King Tutankhamen on November 4, 1922.

On November 4, 1932 Georgia Governor Richard B. Russell, Jr. campaigned on behalf of Democratic candidate for President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

On November 4, 1980, Republican Ronald Reagan was elected President, winning 489 electoral votes to 49 for incumbent Jimmy Carter.

Note on the electoral map in that clip, states that Reagan won were colored blue, and Georgia was a red state, going for Jimmy Carter.

On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama was elected President, becoming the first African-American elected to the position.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp announced on Friday his appointments to four judicial seats.

Bibb County State Court

Sharrell Lewis earned a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Georgia and law degree from Mercer University School of Law. Presently, she serves as the chief assistant solicitor general for the Office of the Bibb County Solicitor-General. Lewis is a Member of the State Bar of Georgia and the Macon Bar Association. In 2018, she was named Prosecutor of the Year by Georgia MADD. She resides in Macon with her husband.

DeKalb County State Court – Jury Division

Kimberly Anderson earned a bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Spanish from the University of Mississippi and law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law. At the present, she is an attorney at Robbins Ross Alloy Belinfante Littlefield, LLC. She previously served as Legislative Counsel for the Committee on the Judiciary for the United States Senate. Anderson serves on the Federalist Society Executive Board – Atlanta Chapter, and she is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, DeKalb County Bar Association, and Atlanta Bar Association. She resides in Dunwoody with her family.

DeKalb County State Court – Traffic Division

Kimberly Alexander earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Georgia State University and law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law. She currently serves as an assistant county attorney for the Office of the Fulton County Attorney. Alexander is a member of the Georgia Bar Association, Children of the Courts Standing Committee, DeKalb Bar Association, Georgia Association for Women Lawyers, Atlanta Bar Association, Gate City Bar Association, Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA), and GABWA’s Judicial and Public Office Academy Committee. Her legal department was awarded the 2019 In-House Legal Department of the Year: Office of the Fulton County Attorney. Alexander and her family reside in Decatur.

Gwinnett Judicial Circuit Superior Court

Angela Duncan earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from North Georgia College. She later attended John Marshall Law School to obtain her law degree. At the present, Duncan is the Gwinnett County Magistrate Court Judge, and she serves as the chief judge for the City of Chamblee Municipal Court. She served in the U.S. Army Reserves from March 1987 to March 1995 as a light-weight vehicle mechanic. She resides in Lawrenceville with her wife and children.

From GPB News:

Gov. Brian Kemp named Angela Duncan to the Gwinnett Judicial Circuit, which appears to mark his first appointment of an openly LGBTQ person to the bench.

From the Gwinnett Daily Post:

Kemp appointed Magistrate Judge Angela Duncan to fill the newly-created 11th seat on Gwinnett’s Superior Court bench.

“I would like to say that I am incredibly honored at the trust placed in me by Governor Kemp,” Duncan told the Daily Post. “I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve the citizens of Gwinnett County as a Superior Court Judge. I have been a Magistrate Judge for the past 15 years and I believe the skills learned in that court have prepared me for this next venture.”

But Duncan’s resume is not defined solely by her orientation. She is an Army veteran who served as a lightweight vehicle mechanic from March 1987 to March 1995. She also currently serves as the city of Chamblee’s chief judge.

Governor Kemp is expected to unveil today his plan for a Medicaid waiver, according to the AJC.

After months of planning and fraught political debate, Gov. Brian Kemp is set to detail a proposal that may pave the way for a limited Medicaid expansion that could add thousands of residents to the state’s rolls.

The governor has long ruled out a full expansion of the state’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act, something he campaigned against during the 2018 race. But he has said he’s open to a more scaled-back effort to grow the program in a way “that’s focused on Georgia.” He has not made the plans public yet, but he has frequently alluded to health care plans that could help “hardworking Georgians.”

The Republican is set to outline the policy Monday at the Georgia Capitol…. And the Department of Community Health has set a specially called board meeting after Kemp’s event to vote on his “Georgia Pathways” proposal.

His Medicaid policy is meant to harmonize with a separate set of proposals he introduced Thursday that seek to lower insurance premiums and undercut the Affordable Care Act, the federal health care law championed by then-President Barack Obama that Kemp and other Republicans see as too costly and inefficient.

The cost of the plan, too, will play a major factor in next year’s legislative session. State Rep. Terry England, the chairman of the House’s budget-writing committee, said he’s not yet been fully briefed on either proposal but that he doesn’t oppose devoting more state dollars to pay for health coverage for more adults through Medicaid.

But he said that budget request, along with Kemp’s separate plan to spend at least $104 million to lower insurance premiums, would have to compete with other priorities. They include a promised teacher pay increase of $2,000 and tax-cutting proposals.

“I mean, there’s so many things going on,” England said, nodding to hopes that the economy could soon heat up. “So if it were to do that, then you know it gives us a lot of options. If it doesn’t, of course, the number of options we have are extremely limited.”

Gov. Kemp placed a bet with Florida Governor Ron DiSantis, according to WSB-TV.

The die-hard Georgia football fan placed an epic bet Friday with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over the outcome of the annual grudge match in Jacksonville.

If Georgia loses, Kemp will have to venture down to the Everglades to hunt for pythons that have plagued the nature preserve. Just last month, trappers captured an 18-foot long Burmese python in the swamp.

And if the Bulldogs win? DeSantis would head to south Georgia to track down feral hogs that have ravaged the state’s farmland.

“I know that wild hog sausage is a lot better than python,” said Kemp. “So let’s go Dawgs. Hunker down. We gotta get another one in Jacksonville.”

And more from Gov. Kemp’s unveiling of the Obamacare waiver:

“On the campaign trail, I promised to lead on healthcare reform in Georgia,” said Governor Kemp. “During the 2019 legislative session, I worked with Lt. Governor Duncan, Speaker Ralston, and members of the House and Senate to champion the Patients First Act.”

“Since then, we have worked with medical professionals, industry experts, state leaders, our partners in the federal government, and stakeholders to craft a Georgia-centric approach to lower healthcare costs and insurance premiums for Georgia families, enhance access to top-notch doctors and state-of-the-art services, and ultimately improve health outcomes for every Georgian in every part of our state.”

“Georgia Access creates a state reinsurance program to incentivize the private sector, empower consumers, and lower insurance premiums for families. This plan shakes up the status quo as we work to enhance access to affordable, quality healthcare in Georgia.”

“When combined with Georgia Pathway, our Section 1115 demonstration waiver, we will have healthcare reform in the Peach State that actually puts patients first.”

“Governor Kemp‘s announcement today will do exactly what we talked about on the campaign trail – putting Georgia in the lead on the national conversation surrounding meaningful healthcare reform,” said Lt. Governor Duncan. “Georgia Access will allow us to immediately begin tackling the top two issues that impact every single Georgian: affordability and access to quality services. Healthcare is a complicated topic, but the Georgia Access plan provides the framework to begin simplifying things through innovation and competition in order to better serve Georgia families.”

“We know that access to quality healthcare is key to the health of our citizens and the economic well-being of our state,” said Speaker David Ralston. “I look forward to working with Governor Kemp as we review the details of the Georgia Access plan. We remain committed to Georgia-designed solutions that are fiscally-responsible and empower Georgians to care for themselves and their families.”

“I applaud Governor Kemp’s leadership on healthcare reform in Georgia,” said Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John King. “Through Georgia Access, we will spur competition, enhance choice in the marketplace, and ultimately lower insurance premiums for families and hardworking Georgians.”

President Trump’s campaign has created a joint fundraising committee with Senator David Perdue, according to OpenSecrets.

President Donald Trump this week formally set up a joint fundraising committee with Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), making the incumbent lawmaker part of his massive fundraising machine as Republicans prepare to defend the Senate in 2020.

The committee, which distributes funds to the Trump and Perdue campaigns along with the Republican National Committee, was set up to facilitate a high-dollar fundraiser this month. It’s part of the president’s efforts to raise money for vulnerable Republican senators who are defending him against impeachment, Politico reported.

Perdue, a strong Trump ally who accompanied the president to the World Series, is the first congressional candidate to directly receive support from a Trump-backed fundraising committee. Trump didn’t funnel money to vulnerable senators in 2016, opting to share donor money with the RNC and Republican state party committees.

From the AJC:

President Donald Trump is preparing to host a high-dollar fundraiser in Atlanta this week to help defend U.S. Sen. David Perdue, one of the staunchest critics of the Democratic-led impeachment effort.

Trump’s visit, first reported last month, will start with a roundtable that will cost supporters a cool $100,000 to attend. It follows with a luncheon that will run attendees $2,800 – and a donation of at least $35,000 for a photo with the president.

The AJC looks at early reviews of the new voting system.

Voters and election officials say the first trial of Georgia’s new voting machines has gone smoothly so far, but the real test will come during a high-turnout election when the machines are rolled out statewide.

There were 9,031 voters in six pilot counties who cast ballots on the new voting system, which uses touchscreens and printed-out paper ballots, during in-person early voting, which ended Friday.

There were several minor problems in the six test counties: Bartow, Carroll, Catoosa, Decatur, Lowndes and Paulding.

“The first time someone interacts with something, there’s going to be a few challenges,” Bartow Elections Supervisor Joseph Kirk said. “Everything was pretty clear once we looked at it. I’ve had no complaints so far. Everyone seems to be very pleased. It’s a very intuitive process.”

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said the new voting system is secure, and it has performed well in this initial test.

“Voters and poll workers are enthusiastic about how easy it is to use and how well it works,” Raffensperger said. “The rollout to the rest of the state for the March 24 presidential preference primary will go just as smoothly.”

In one test county, Lowndes County near the Florida border, voters overwhelmingly approved of the new system, Elections Supervisor Deb Cox said.

“They love having a piece of paper in their hand that they can check and do it again if they need to,” Cox said. “It’s one of the best things to happen to elections in a long time.”

While the Augusta Chronicle has a preview of the new system:

The Gainesville Times looks at how new voting machines will be rolled out in Hall County.

The county is set to receive 489 machines from the state, likely in January, Elections Director Lori Wurtz said. Georgia is spending $106 million statewide on the new machines from Dominion Voting Systems, which has provided machines for several other states, including Colorado, Louisiana and Nevada.

With the new system, when a voter arrives at the polling place, he or she will first check in with a poll worker using a touchscreen tablet called a “poll pad.” The tablet will scan the voter’s license, and the poll worker will verify the voter’s eligibility. Then, the voter will get a special access card to insert into the voting machine. The voter then makes selections and clicks “print ballot.” A printer at the polling station will produce a paper ballot with the voter’s choices marked for review. Once the voter has reviewed choices, he or she will feed the ballot into a scanner, and the ballot will be kept in a locked box for storage.

Wurtz said voters must be sure to feed their ballot into the scanner, and a poll worker will be stationed by the scanner to check that all votes are counted.

Paige Nix, Hall’s elections coordinator, has used the machine in a test run with the Secretary of State’s Office. She said the process is a little quicker than current practices, and the larger screen will be easier to read for some voters. Nix said the kits for disabled voters that will come with the new machines are more user-friendly, too.

“Currently, our voters with disability kit is a keypad and a headset. You have to really listen to what the instructions are on what numbers you need to push, pound signs,” Nix said. “But on the new system, it almost looks like a game controller. It has left and right arrows, up and down arrows and an X. It’s a lot easier for the voters to use, and it does still have a headset.”

The Statesboro Herald looks at early voting, which concluded Friday.

After three weeks of early voting opportunity ended Friday, Tuesday will be Election Day and the last chance for residents of Brooklet, Register and of Statesboro council Districts 2, 3 and 5 to vote in the 2019 city elections.

As of noon Friday, 282 residents of the three Statesboro districts with City Council contests had voted early in person, reported Bulloch County Election Supervisor Patricia Lanier Jones. Another 71 Statesboro voters had requested that absentee ballots be mailed to them, and 18 absentee ballots had been returned.

No Register residents had voted early as of noon Friday. Since the county election office handles Register’s town elections, Register residents would have had to vote early in Statesboro.

In Brooklet, where early voting was done at City Hall and remained available until 5:30 p.m. Friday, 54 voters had submitted ballots as of noon Friday, and one requested absentee ballot had been mailed.

The Dalton Daily Citizen-News looks at local races to be decided tomorrow.

Voters will go to the polls Tuesday to decide city council seats in three local cities as well as school board seats in Dalton.

In Dalton, Mayor Dennis Mock is challenged by former Mayor David Pennington.

In Cohutta, four people are running for two seats: Nick Conner, J. Shane Kornberg (incumbent), Andy Lopez and Shelia Rose (incumbent). The two candidates with the most votes will be elected.

Two seats are contested on the Varnell City Council. Seat 3 incumbent David Owens faces Sandy Pangle while Seat 5 incumbent Bob Roche takes on Richard Lowe.

All municipal elections are nonpartisan.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. but those in line at 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote. You must bring a photo ID.

Glynn County will hear feedback on a rewrite of the zoning ordinance today, according to The Brunswick News.

Members of the public interested in giving their input on a draft report on deficiencies in the county’s zoning ordinance can do so at a public hearing on Monday.

Consultants with planning and architecture firm TSW plan to use feedback from citizens and county officials to guide their efforts overhaul the county’s zoning ordinance, which many county officials have said is over-complicated and difficult to comprehend for average citizens.

The Glynn County Commission set aside $200,000 in this fiscal year’s budget to pay for the overhaul and contracted with TSW late last year.

“Questions asked during the public comment session will be noted and addressed by staff, consultants and planning commissioners following the public comment period,” according to the notice.

Athens-Clarke County voters will decide on a $313.4 million dollar Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum on Tuesday, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

yes vote in Tuesday’s Special Local Option Sales Tax referendum won’t mean a new tax.

Instead, it’s a vote on whether to continue the 1 percent special tax Athens-Clarke officials have used in the past to finance such projects as the Lyndon House Arts Center, the Classic Center, the Athens-Clarke County Library on Baxter Street, new jails, new parks and many other infrastructure projects.

This time, voters are being asked to approve a list of three dozen projects, some costing tens of millions, such as a new courthouse, and some that cost much less, like replacing the county’s E911 phone system for $767,000, or improvements at the animal shelter at a cost of $559,000.

If more people vote ves than no in the referendum, merchants will continue to charge the tax until revenues from it reach $313.4 million. Athens-Clarke planners anticipate that will take about 11 years.

The Banner Herald also looks at small projects included in the SPLOST, a breakdown of projects included in the SPLOST, and big ticket items.

College Park, Hapeville, and Palmetto will have contested elections tomorrow, according to the AJC.

In Dunwoody, two council members are running for Mayor, according to the AJC.

Richmond Hill voters will see a plethora of candidates on their ballots, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Richmond Hill City Council election ballot, with three at-large posts and a total of seven candidates, might have some voters wondering why the city doesn’t assign the top three vote-getters to posts.

The council is divided into posts to allow for staggered terms. Because of a number of vacancies in the council this year, the ballot includes three of the four posts, which isn’t typical. Post 2 is technically a special election to fill the vacated seat of Tara Baraniak, which has been empty since August. The candidate who wins will serve for just over two years to fill the remainder of Baraniak’s term, which expires in 2021, while Post 3 and Post 4 serve four-year terms.

“It’s a little weird,” acknowledged Wendy Bolton, Richmond Hill forums chair for the League of Women Voters of Coastal Georgia. She organized the candidate forum the League held Thursday, Oct. 17, where Post 4 had three candidates participating, while Post 3 had none. David London was the only candidate from Post 2 to participate. The empty candidate seats at the League forum raised the question of why the city of Richmond Hill uses this approach.

Five metro Atlanta municipalities will hold “brunch bill” referendums, according to the AJC.

Next Tuesday voters in Henry County’s four cities, along with Morrow voters in Clayton County will decide whether to join a growing number of metro Atlanta towns to pass “brunch” bills that allow restaurants to serve alcohol as early as 11 a.m. on Sundays.

Currently, Sunday alcohol sales start at 12:30 p.m. in cities that haven’t passed the legislation.

Rome will also hold a “brunch bill” referendum, according to the Rome News Tribune.

After 17 days of early voting in the Rome City election concluded Friday, a total of 1,150 local voters had cast their ballots in person and by mail.

So far, that’s a 6% turn-out of Rome’s 19,179 registered voters.

There were still 21 absentee ballots that had not yet been returned to the Floyd County Elections Office by the end of the day Friday, according to Chief Elections Clerk Robert Brady.

Rome’s citizens will have one more chance, tomorrow from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., to have their say in the race for City Commission and whether local establishments that have alcohol as at least 50% of their sales should be able to serve drinks as early as 11 a.m. on Sundays.

At stake are three commission seats in each of two wards. Voters from anywhere in Rome can vote for all wards.

Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach leads fundraising for Tuesday’s election, according to the Savannah Morning News.

DeLoach raised $223,613 since he was elected in the 2015 race. All campaign donations and expenses for incumbents are counted from the day after they were elected through the current election. Donations of $100 or less are not itemized.

Challenger Van Johnson, currently the At-Large District 1 alderman, raised $40,996.30 for his race for mayor.

Regina Thomas received $4,307.50 in campaign donations.

Twelve Gwinnett County municipalities will hold elections tomorrow, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

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