Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 6, 2019

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 6, 2019

Abraham Lincoln was elected 16th President of the United States and the first Republican to hold the office on November 6, 1860. By his inauguration in March, seven states had seceded.

On November 6, 1861, one year after Lincoln’s election, Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens of Georgia were elected President and Vice President of the Confederate States of America.

President Teddy Roosevelt left for a 17-day trip to Panama on November 6, 1906 to inspect work on the Panama Canal; he was the first President to take an official tour outside the continental United States.

A dam on the campus of Toccoa Falls Bible College burst on November 6, 1977 under pressure from heavy rains, killing 39 students and faculty.

Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Newt Gingrich (R-GA) resigned his office and his Congressional seat on November 6, 1998, effective in January 1999, despite having been reelected three days earlier.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

South Carolina filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over the Savannah River Lock and Dam, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson has filed a lawsuit on behalf of state agencies against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prevent it from tearing down New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam near Augusta, his office announced Tuesday.

South Carolina and Georgia officials are vehemently opposed to the plan because it would result in a significantly lower pool of water in the Savannah River between Augusta and North Augusta – at least two feet lower by the Corps’ estimate, and the lawsuit claims it could end up being more than twice that.

The Corps is creating the fish passage near Augusta to mitigate environmental damage from the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project near that port that could affect endangered shortnose and Atlantic sturgeon and other migrating fish, which as a result of the plan would have access beyond the lock and dam to historic spawning grounds.

Governor Brian Kemp‘s administration set dates for public comment sessions on the §1332 Medicaid waiver.

Savannah, Georgia, Thursday, November 7, 2019, 1:00 p.m. EST
Mercer School of Medicine – Savannah Campus
Hoskins Center for Biomedical Research (corner of 66th and Ranger Street)
1250 East 66th Street, Savannah, GA 31404

Macon, Georgia, Wednesday, November 13, 2019, 1:00 p.m. EST
Mercer University School of Medicine – Macon Campus
Mercer Auditorium
1550 College Street, Macon GA 31207

Bainbridge, Georgia, Thursday, November 14, 2019, 1:00 p.m. EST
Southern Regional Technical College
The Charles H. Kirbo Regional Center, Dining Room 112
2500 East Shotwell Street, Bainbridge, Georgia 39819

Gainesville, Georgia, Monday, November 18, 2019, 1:00 p.m. EST
Gainesville Civic Center, Chattahoochee Room
830 Green Street, N.E., Gainesville, Georgia 30501

Rome, Georgia, Thursday, November 21, 2019, 1:00 p.m. EST
West-Rome Baptist Church, The Well Building
914 Shorter Avenue, Rome, Georgia 30165

Kennesaw, Georgia, Friday, November 22, 2019, 2:00 p.m. EST
North Cobb Regional Library, Multi-Purpose Room
3535 Old 41 HWY, Kennesaw, Georgia 30144

Individuals or groups with disabilities, who require special accommodations, including auxiliary communicative aids and services during these meetings should notify Matthew Krull at Matthew.Krull@dch.ga.gov or (404) 651-5016 no later than 24 hours ahead of the scheduled public hearing to ensure any necessary accommodation can be provided.

Two Republicans head to a runoff for State House District 152, which was vacated by former State Rep. Ed Rynders, according to the Albany Herald.

Jim Quinn and Bill Yearta will be in the runoff.

Quinn garnered 3,727 votes and Yearta garnered 3,114 votes, according to unofficial results.

The runoff is set for Dec. 3.

From the AJC:

Quinn, a former journalist, served as mayor of Leesburg for 12 years before running for the vacated House seat. Yearta, a jeweler, served as mayor of Sylvester for 17 years and resigned earlier this year for his House run.

Quinn received about 41.6% of the nearly 9,300 ballots cast on Tuesday, according to unofficial results from the Secretary of State’s office. Yearta secured 34.3% of votes cast.

Rynders announced his retirement in September, citing health reasons and plans to move to St. Simons Island.

Despite some glitches, new voting machines performed well in their first use yesterday, according to the Associated Press.

Voters and election supervisors testing Georgia’s new voting machines gave favorable reviews Tuesday, despite some opening glitches reported by five of six pilot counties, as the state rushes to meet a court-ordered deadline to retire its outdated, paperless system before any votes are cast in 2020.

State election officials piloted the $106 million system that combines touchscreens with paper ballots in six mostly rural counties holding elections for mayors, city councils and school boards. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger plans to use the new machines in all 159 counties for Georgia’s presidential primaries in March.

Judges ordered two counties testing the new equipment to keep polls open late, and a third county kept a single precinct open 30 extra minutes, after electronic poll books used to check in voters malfunctioned as polls opened Tuesday morning.

Decatur County elections supervisor Carol Heard said voting was delayed about 45 minutes before the software glitch was fixed. Lowndes County quickly switched to a paper registration list for check-in, causing minimal delays for voters, said elections supervisor Deb Cox. She said polls would stay open an extra 45 minutes.

“Everything is up and running swimmingly,” Cox said Tuesday afternoon. “It’s rather dull right now.”

A judge added a half hour of voting time at one precinct in Carroll County because of a similar check-in glitch, said election supervisor Greg Rigby. Two additional counties reported the same problem, but officials said there were no delays to require extending voting hours.

Bibb County voters chose a $185 million dollar Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax to fund education (E-SPLOST), according to the Macon Telegraph.

Bibb County voters embraced Tuesday an extension of the 1% sales tax to fund $185 million in school initiatives, according to unofficial vote totals.

Meanwhile, there’s a new person coming onto Warner Robins council, with a runoff election in another Warner Robins council race.

A runoff election also will be held to settle a council race in Perry.

The (E-SPLOST) vote was 7,979 yes, or 75.72 percent of the vote, to 2,558 no votes, or 24.28% of the vote.

About 10 percent of 105,062 eligible voters cast ballots on the tax measure, said Board of Elections Supervisor Jeanetta Watson.

Clarke County voters approved an extension of the SPLOST, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

According to results posted on the Athens-Clarke County website, 7,041 voters said yes to SPLOST, and just 1,937 said no. Turnout was small, just 12.54 percent — about a fifth of the turnout for last year’s general election.

The vote means merchants will continue to collect the penny tax from shoppers in Athens-Clarke County until the Athens-Clarke government collects $313.4 million from it. Athens-Clarke planners projected that would take about 11 years beginning next year, when the current SPLOST tax will expire.

In another area races, challenger Bob Smith, a former member of the state House, defeated incumbent Watkinsville Mayor Dave Shearon by a razor’s-edge margin of two votes — 402 votes for Smith to 400 for Shearon, according to results posted on the Oconee County Board of Elections and Voter Registration webpage.

Watkinsville voters approved by a nearly 3-1 margin a measure to allow Sunday alcohol sales to begin at 11 a.m. rather than the current 12:30 p.m. start. Of an even 800 ballots cast, 567 said yes to the earlier hour, while 233 said no.

Harris County voters approved an extension of the SPLOST, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

It was the sixth time in three decades that Harris County voters were asked to approve a sales tax to help pay for school projects. But for the first time, the request came in the form of two questions on the ballot Tuesday:

  • Whether to continue the existing 1% sales tax.
  • Whether to try a different way of financing the projects, which would include the possibility of increasing property taxes.

As they’ve done the previous five times it’s been on the ballot since 1997, Harris County voters approved the tax — as well as the new funding mechanism.

Approval of the second question on the ballot gave the school board the authority to increase property taxes to pay off long-term construction bonds.

Hall County voted for a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax VII that will raise $217 million dollars, according to AccessWDUN.

With all precincts tallied, the Hall County Elections Office reported 3,304 voters voted yes for the extension of the tax, while 1,422 voted against it – a 70.35% approval.

SPLOST VIII will be in place for six years. The new local option sales tax is expected to generate $216,960,000. SPLOST VII, a five year local option sales tax, expires in June 2020.

Savannah voters will choose a Mayor in a runoff election between incumbent Eddie DeLoach and alderman Van Johnson, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Smyrna will also hold a runoff for Mayor, between Derek Norton and Ryan Campbell, according to the Patch.

In Ward 2 Austin Wagner gained two more votes than incumbent Andrea G. Bluestein, making Wagner the projected winner. In ward 3, Travis Lindley (862) is the projected winner over incumbent Maryline Blackburn (766) of 1,628 votes.

Nick Millwood will serve a second term as Mayor of Ringgold, according to the Times Free Press.

Valdosta‘s mayor will be chosen in a runoff election, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

It looks like J.D. Rice and Scott James Matheson will face off in a run off to be Valdosta’s next mayor.

Election results in the Valdosta City election are still not official but Wednesday morning numbers released by the election office indicate Rice garnered 34.5 % of the vote to Matheson’s 24.9 %.

Nether candidate reached the 50 % plus one vote threshold to win the race outright.

The latest numbers indicate Rice received 2,172 votes compared to 1,568 for Matheson.

“I’m exhausted,” Matheson said. “The machines were a disaster.”

The North Ward seat held by incumbent Johnny Cason is headed to a Dec. 3 runoff after none of the four candidates earned more than 50 percent of the vote.

With three precincts not reporting results by 11:45 p.m., District 1 Alderman Van Johnson got the most votes in the four-way race with current mayor Eddie DeLoach coming in second for the day.

No candidate managed to get the required 50% plus one to be declared a winner. Run-off elections are set for Dec. 3.

As of about midnight, Johnson had 46.45% of the vote with 10,940 votes. DeLoach got 38.96% of the vote, with 9,177.

Sonny Vickers was reelected to Valdosta City Council, according to the Valdosta Daily Times. An at-large seat on Valdosta City Council will be decided in a runoff election.

Tybee Island and Pooler voted for new Mayors after both incumbents chose not to run for reelection, according to WJCL.

In Pooler, longtime mayor Mike Lamb announced during the summer that he would not seek re-election, opening the door for candidates Rebecca Benton, Adam Bridges and Steve Larson. Benton and Bridges were the top vote getters but neither surpassed 50%, thus forcing a runoff in December.

Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman announced in May he would not run again. Wanda Doyle, Mack Kitchens and Shirley Sessions vied for the seat, with Sessions earning 55% of the vote.

Dunwoody and Lithonia elected new mayors and Doraville sent two candidates to a runoff election, according to the Rome News Tribune.

When the votes were tallied in Doraville, the two candidates receiving the most votes were incumbent Mayor Donna Pittman, who gained 22.55 percent while challenger Joseph Geierman gained 39.33 percent, meaning the two will go on to a runoff election in December.

Lynn Deutsch won 61 percent of the votes to become the new mayor of Dunwoody while Shameka Reynolds won 61 [percent] of the votes to become the new mayor of Lithonia.

Elberton and Pickens voted to allow some Sunday alcohol sales, according to Fox Carolina.

In Elberton, GA, voters passed two referendums allowing Sunday alcohol sales by the drink and retail sales.

The By the Drink referendum passed with 195 “yes” votes to 85 “no,” while the Retail Sales question passed 187 to 88.

Voters in the city of Pickens also passed an alcohol referendum, with 267 “yes” votes to 222 “no” votes

Former Dalton Mayor David Pennington appears to have won election over incumbent Mayor Dennis Mock, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen-News.

It was close all evening. But at the end of the night, former Dalton mayor David Pennington defeated incumbent Dennis Mock by 11 votes to reclaim the mayor’s post.

“I’ve been out of office almost six years, running against an incumbent mayor,” said Pennington. “I knew it would be a tough race. But I’m thankful to all of those who came out to vote.”

Pennington received 1,400 votes (50.05%) to Mock’s 1,389 (49.66%). There were eight write-in votes.

Likewise, incumbents lost for Dalton Board of Education, and two seats on Varnell City Council.

Cohutta voters elected incumbent Town Council member J. Shane Kornberg and challenger Andy Lopez, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen-News.

Kornberg, an incumbent, received 88 votes (30%) to 85 votes (29%) for Lopez, a challenger, while Sheila Rose, an incumbent, garnered 63 votes (22%), and Nick Conner, another challenger, finished with 55 votes (19%).

College Park will hold a runoff election for Mayor on December 3 between incumbent Jack Longino (25%) and challenger Bianca Broom (35%), according to the Rome News Tribune.

Lowndes County passed a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST VII), according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Statesboro City Council will change from all-men to a female majority, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Dougherty County passed Sunday alcohol sales by the drink and in package sales, while Albany passed Sunday sales by the drink; Lee County passed package and by the drink Sunday sales, according to WALB.

Rome adopted the “brunch bill” referendum, according to the Rome News Tribune. Rome Mayor Bill Collins was reelected.

Juli Clay was elected to Gainesville City Council, according to the Gainesville Times.

From AccessWDUN:

* Dawson County
Dawson County voters have approved a $48 million ESPLOST to fund education projects for the Dawson County School District.
YES – 648
NO – 189

*Forsyth County

City of Cumming
Cumming voters approved a Sunday “brunch bill” to allow restaurants to participate in the earlier sale of alcohol by the drink on Sundays.
YES – 277
NO – 198

*Gwinnett County

City of Suwanee
Suwanee voters approved a Sunday “brunch bill” to allow restaurants to participate in the earlier sale of alcohol by the drink on Sundays.

*Habersham County

Habersham County voters shot down a proposed jail bond question that would have financed a $31.4-million replacement jail.

Yes – 1,828
No – 1,985

Habersham County voters will return to the polls Dec. 3 for a runoff in the County Commission District 5 race. Top vote-getters Darrin Johnston and Tim Stamey will appear on that ballot. The winner of that run-off will serve the remainder of the term for the seat left vacant by the resignation of Ed Nichols, who relocated.

City of Clarkesville
Voters in the City of Clarkesville approved a Sunday “brunch bill” to allow restaurants to participate in the earlier sale of alcohol by the drink on Sundays.

Yes – 149
No – 66

City of Cornelia

Voters in the City of Cornelia approved a Sunday “brunch bill” to allow restaurants to participate in the earlier sale of alcohol by the drink on Sundays.

Yes – 207
No – 85

*Stephens County

In Stephens County, voters overwhelmingly approved the continuation of a 1-cent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

SPLOST

Yes – 1,272

No – 368

*White County

City of Cleveland
Voters in the City of Cleveland approved a Sunday “brunch bill” to allow restaurants to participate in the earlier sale of alcohol by the drink on Sundays.

YES -b 49
NO- 34

Norcross Mayor Craig Newton and Grayson Mayor Allison Wilkerson were reelected, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Chad Warbington was elected to Albany Commission Ward IV, defeating incumbent Commissioner Roger Marietta, according to the Albany Herald.

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