Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 14, 2019


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 14, 2019

President George Washington returned to the City of Washington on November 13, 1789, ending the first Presidential tour.

On the same day, Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to his friend Jean-Baptiste LeRoy, in which he said,

“Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

General Sherman’s army prepared for the March to the Sea on November 14, 1864.

On November 13, 1865, the United States government issued the first Gold Certificates.

The Georgia General Assembly adopted a resolution against ratifying the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution on November 13, 1866.

In deciding not to ratify the 14th Amendment, the General Assembly adopted a committee report explaining that: “1. If Georgia is not a State composing part of the Federal Government known as the Government of the United States, amendments to the Constitution of the United States are not properly before this body. 2. If Georgia is a State composing part of the Federal Government … , these these amendments are not proposed according to the requirements of the Federal Constitution, and are proposed in such a manner as to forbid the legislature from discussing the merits of the amendments without an implied surrender of the rights of the State.”

Excavation began for a new Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta on the site of the former City Hall/Fulton County Courthouse on November 13, 1884.

Walt Disney released “Fantasia” on November 13, 1940.

Georgia Governor and Constitutional Commission Chair Ellis Arnall moved that a home rule provision be included in the new draft of the state Constitution and his motion passed 8-7 on November 13, 1944.

On November 14, 1944, the Constitutional Convention working on a revised document for Georgia reversed its position on home rule that had been adopted the previous day on the motion of Governor Ellis Arnall.

On November 13, 1956, the United States Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that struck down a law requiring segregation on buses in Montgomery, Alabama.

Ronald Reagan announced his campaign for the Republican nomination for President of the United States on November 13, 1979.

“The people have not created this disaster in our economy; the federal government has. It has overspent, overestimated, and over regulated. It has failed to deliver services within the revenues it should be allowed to raise from taxes. In the thirty-four years since the end of World War II, it has spent 448 billion dollars more than it has collection in taxes – 448 billion dollars of printing press money, which has made every dollar you earn worth less and less. At the same time, the federal government has cynically told us that high taxes on business will in some way “solve” the problem and allow the average taxpayer to pay less. Well, business is not a taxpayer it is a tax collector. Business has to pass its tax burden on to the customer as part of the cost of doing business. You and I pay the taxes imposed on business every time we go to the store. Only people pay taxes and it is political demagoguery or economic illiteracy to try and tell us otherwise.”

“The key to restoring the health of the economy lies in cutting taxes. At the same time, we need to get the waste out of federal spending. This does not mean sacrificing essential services, nor do we need to destroy the system of benefits which flow to the poor, the elderly, the sick and the handicapped. We have long since committed ourselves, as a people, to help those among us who cannot take care of themselves. But the federal government has proven to be the costliest and most inefficient provider of such help we could possibly have.”

“I believe this nation hungers for a spiritual revival; hungers to once again see honor placed above political expediency; to see government once again the protector of our liberties, not the distributor of gifts and privilege. Government should uphold and not undermine those institutions which are custodians of the very values upon which civilization is founded—religion, education and, above all, family. Government cannot be clergyman, teacher and parent. It is our servant, beholden to us.”

“We who are privileged to be Americans have had a rendezvous with destiny since the moment in 1630 when John Winthrop, standing on the deck of the tiny Arbella off the coast of Massachusetts, told the little band of pilgrims, “We shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world.”

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated on November 13, 1982 in Washington, DC.

On November 13, 2006, groundbreaking began for a memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr. on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Three astronauts with connections to Georgia – Eric Boe, Robert Kimbrough, and Sandra Magnus – were aboard the space shuttle Endeavor when it lifted off on November 14, 2008.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp set 5 PM on Monday, November 18 as the due date for applications for appointment to the United States Senate.

“I am encouraging all Georgians who want to serve in the U.S. Senate to submit their name and qualifications by Monday, November 18,” said Governor Kemp. “We will continue to carefully vet each applicant and nominate a person who will best serve our state and country.”

The Governor’s Office will release additional information at the appropriate time.

On August 28, 2019, U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson announced his decision to resign from public office, effective December 31, 2019. There is no vacancy until Isakson’s formal resignation on December 31, 2019. Under Ga. Const. Art. V, § II, Para. VIII and Ga. Code. Ann. § 21-2-542, the Governor will make a temporary appointment where such person will serve until a special election is held on November 3, 2020.

From the Tifton Gazette:

The casting call has garnered applications from residents all across the Peach State — from military veterans, cooperate executives, former and current state politicians and media personalities. By the end of last month, the governor’s office had received over 500 applications, although submissions have slowed drastically.

President Donald Trump’s former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price even threw in his name for consideration. Price served in the Trump administration from February to September in 2017 and resigned from the HHS following scrutiny over his travel expenses. Prior to that, he served in the House, representing Georgia’s 6th congressional district.

Current U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee and Trump ally has made frequent public appearances in Georgia politics since applying for the open seat.

Collins made appearances at Kemp’s human trafficking awareness event last month and joined the crowd at Trump’s “Black Voices for Trump” initiative launch earlier this month.

At the event, Trump told the crowd Collins was a “warrior” during the Mueller hearings and made a nod that the residents of Georgia “better like” him.

From the AJC:

It’s a sign that Kemp is nearing his decision to make an appointment after months of limbo, possibly as soon as next week when the political spotlight descends on Georgia for the Democratic debate.

Although his advisers likely whittled down a list of top contenders for Isakson’s seat before they announced the process, Kemp has said he wanted to ensure that he considers a gamut of Georgians for the coveted job.

There’s a strong chance Kemp could surprise with his pick, though many Republican handicappers list three names as top contenders: U.S. Rep. Doug Collins; state Rep. Jan Jones, the No. 2 Republican in the Georgia House; and Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton.

Governor Kemp, Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, and State House Speaker David Ralston appointed members to the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission. From the press release:

Today Governor Brian P. Kemp, Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, and House Speaker David Ralston announced their respective appointments to the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission as authorized by House Bill 324.

The commission has seven total members with three appointed by the Governor, two appointed by the Lieutenant Governor, and two appointed by the House Speaker. The members serve four-year terms, and the Governor selects the commission chair. The commmission is administratively attached to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

Governor Kemp’s Appointees

Danielle Benson, Small Business Owner

Christopher Edwards, M.D., Principal Surgeon, Atlanta Neurological & Spine Institute

Jason Hockenberry, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Health Policy, Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health

“Georgia’s Hope Act provides a critical pathway for Georgians with chronic, debilitating diseases to get the help that they desperately need,” said Governor Kemp. “I am confident that Dr. Edwards, Dr. Hockenberry, and Mrs. Benson will serve with the highest levels of integrity in faithfully carrying out the mission of the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission.”

Governor Kemp has selected Dr. Edwards to serve as commission chair.

Lieutenant Governor Duncan’s Appointees

William Bornstein, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer and Chief Quality & Patient Safety Officer, Emory Healthcare

Judith Rochon, M.D., Kaiser Permanente

“After a thoughtful and deliberate selection process, I am pleased to announce my two appointments to this important commission,” Lt. Governor Duncan said. “This group of citizens is now positioned to carry out the intent of this legislation by creating and executing the initial framework of this important process. A process that will ultimately deliver medicinal value to those who have been narrowly defined in the legislation and have been eagerly awaiting relief.”

Speaker Ralston’s Appointees

William “Bill” Prather, President, Georgia Board of Pharmacy

Bob Starrett, City of Austell Chief of Police

“From the beginning, we have been motivated by the desire to help Georgians suffering from chronic and painful conditions,” said Speaker David Ralston. “We have acted deliberately to implement a well-regulated and tightly-controlled medical cannabis system that is safe and secure. I know both Mr. Prather’s and Chief Starrett’s professional expertise will be invaluable as this work moves forward. I want to again thank all those public officials involved in making today’s announcement possible, particularly State Representative Micah Gravley, who has worked for years to get us to this moment.”

From the AJC:

The appointments were a key step for patients who have been allowed to use the drug since 2015 but had no legal way to buy, grow or transport it. State law allows marijuana oil to treat severe seizures, terminal cancers, Parkinson’s disease and other illnesses.

Now, the seven-member board can begin creating a medical marijuana distribution network across Georgia, establish testing and oversight rules, and issue licenses for businesses to sell low THC oil, according to a state law passed this year, called Georgia’s Hope Act.

The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission includes three doctors, a police chief, a health policy professor, the president for the Georgia Board of Pharmacy and a small-business owner. The commission’s chairman is Dr. Christopher Edwards, the principal surgeon for the Atlanta Neurological & Spine Institute.

Up to 9 acres of indoor growing space will be licensed for cultivation of medical marijuana, according to Georgia’s medical marijuana legislation, House Bill 324. The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission will create regulations for retail sale and then issue licenses for growing, manufacturing and distribution of low THC oil. Only marijuana oil with less than 5% THC, the compound that gives marijuana users a high, will be allowed.

Two large companies and four smaller companies will be authorized to grow medical marijuana. In addition, the University of Georgia and Fort Valley State University will seek licenses to produce and manufacture marijuana oil.

The commission can also buy and transport marijuana oil to Georgia for use by registered patients whose doctors have signed off on it.

A poll shows nearly half-a-clown car’s worth of Democratic candidates leading President Trump in next year’s election, according to The Hill.

President Trump may be in for a tough reelection fight in Georgia in 2020, according to a poll released on Wednesday by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that shows him trailing five of his potential Democratic rivals.

Former Vice President Joe Biden holds the biggest lead over Trump, besting him 51 percent to 43 percent in a hypothetical matchup, according to the AJC poll.

Four other candidates — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) — hold narrower leads over Trump, ranging from 4 points in Sanders’s case to a single point in Harris’s case. Warren and Buttigieg each lead Trump by 3 points in hypothetical matchups.

The survey, conducted for the AJC by the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs, may be overly optimistic for Democrats. Nearly 62 percent of those who responded to the poll were college educated, a disproportionate sample compared to the state’s actual makeup.

What’s more, 43.3 percent of respondents said they voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election compared to 41.7 percent who said they voted for Trump. In fact, Trump carried Georgia by roughly 5 points that year.

A clown-car would have had a better chance of calling the 2016 Georgia election correctly. Witness:

“New poll shows Hillary Clinton winning Georgia in presidential election on night of final debate” – AJC headline for October 19, 2016

“Poll: Clinton leads Trump in red state Georgia” – CNN piece dated August 6, 2016, citing AJC Poll

“AJC poll: Hillary Clinton has slim lead over Donald Trump in Georgia” – AJC headline for August 5, 2016

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger opened an investigation into two unauthorized persons allegedly in secured voting areas, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Marilyn Marks, executive director of the nonprofit Coalition for Good Governance, and Richard DeMillo, a cybersecurity expert and Georgia Tech professor, are accused of “interfering with voters by being in unauthorized areas” of voting locations while observing pilot elections conducted on the new machines on Nov. 5.

Raffensperger spokesman Walter Jones says the investigation was launched after complaints from “poll workers and voters” and that Marks and DeMillo were “in an area of the polling place where only voters and election officials are allowed to be.”

Marks responded, “I have absolutely no idea what this could be about other than just an effort to try to discredit us, because much of what we observed was not pretty.”

Marks and DeMillo are among multiple critics who say the new machines share many of the problems of the old machines and can’t be effectively audited. They favor a system using hand-marked paper ballots.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler announced record low unemployment, according to AccessWDUN.

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler reported Thursday the jobless rate for the state is now 3.4 percent, down by 0.1 percentage points from September. That number was last reached in December 2000. Georgia’s rate was as high as 10.6 percent in 2010 due to impacts from the Great Recession. The number has been steadily falling ever since. In fact, it’s been under 4 percent since last summer.

Butler said the unemployment rate record wasn’t the only one set in October. Georgia also set new highs for jobs and employment. Several job sectors set records as well.

“We had a record-setting month in October and that always stands out,” Butler said. “We tied the record low unemployment rate while at the same time setting new records for employment and jobs.”

Georgia’s number of unemployed residents fell to under 175,000 – the lowest total in more than 18 years.

“It was 2001 when we last saw the number of unemployed this low in Georgia, and there were a million fewer people in the workforce back then,” Butler said.

Dahlonega voters passed the “brunch bill” referendum and tossed out a city council incumbents, according to the Dahlonega Nugget.

Valdosta will host a runoff election, according to ValdostaToday.

In the November 5, 2019 General Municipal Special Election there were some issues early on with the new voting machines at several polls which extended voting from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Valdosta, being one of six cities in Georgia trying out the new system was also one of four that had problems.

The results were late being released and the mayoral candidates J.D. Rice and Scott James Matheson found they were to face one another in a December 3 runoff election, since neither received 50% or more of the vote.

Also facing a runoff are Adrian J. Rivers and Ben H. Horton for the City Council At-Large seat due to the counting of provisional ballots on Friday. Initially Deb Cox, director of the Lowndes County Board of Elections, said she did not expect these ballots to make much of a difference in the original outcome.

Edgar “Nicky” Tooley and Rivers were so close after the count following Tuesday’s election, with only 14 votes separating them, but the 100 provisional ballots gave Rivers an 18 vote lead over Rivers, which pushes Rivers into a runoff with Ben H. Norton.

House District 152, headed to a special runoff election, saw the third-place finisher endorse in the runoff, according to the Albany Herald.

Tyler Johnson, who finished third on Nov. 5, on Wednesday endorsed Leesburg Mayor Jim Quinn, who finished first on election night with 42% of the vote.

Quinn is vying in the House 152 race, which includes all of Lee and Worth counties and the southern portion of Sumter County, against former Sylvester Mayor Bill Yearta, who drew 34% of ballots cast.

“During the election, I had the chance to campaign alongside of all of the contenders for House District 152, getting to know them and their positions,” said Johnson, a combat veteran currently serving in the Georgia National Guard. “Since the election, the two remaining candidates both solicited my support. After consideration of who I believe best reflects my values and will represent all three counties as a true conservative, I am endorsing Jim Quinn.”

Laurens County gets some media attention for being the first school system in Georgia to arm and train some staff. From CB46:

Outside every school building in the county is a yellow sign that reads, in part: “Warning. Staff members are armed and trained. Any attempt to harm children will be met with deadly force.”

Laurens County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Dan Brigman spearheaded the initiative in 2018, after the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, in which 17 innocent students and staff were killed. “Parkland woke me up as a superintendent,” he said. “I had a detailed discussion with not only our Board of Education, but with local law enforcement as well, about ways we can improve our response time and preserve lives in our buildings, God forbid a tragedy like that happens in Laurens County Schools.”

After weeks of research and planning, the initiative was voted on by the Board of Education in April of 2018. It passed unanimously and officially launched the following fall, for the 2018-2019 school year. Approximately 28 staff members participated year one. Now, in year two, (the 2019-2020 school year) there are 45 armed staff members.

One of the primary reasons for implementing the policy, known as GAMB, is because of how large the county is. Laurens County spans roughly 800 square miles, making it the third largest in the state; If an active shooter were to take aim at a school here, it could take 5-10 minutes (or more) for the closest law enforcement officer to respond. “If there is an active shooter, every second counts,” said Brigman. He says having trained staff members on-site and ready to respond to a threat could save countless lives.

“You may have 5 police officers on a street corner in Atlanta, where we wouldn’t have that here, so I think it all boils down to what would fit your community best.”

The Reporter Newspapers take a look at how a blue wave hit Dunwoody’s local elections.

Dunwoody’s next mayor will be Lynn Deutsch, who acknowledges she benefited from the Democratic “blue wave” sweeping the traditionally Republican suburbs in her Nov. 5 election. But, she said, she is an independent, not a Democrat as many people perceive her to be.

And winning a City Council seat was Joe Seconder, who came out publicly as a Democrat in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential victory and helped found the now defunct group Perimeter Progressives.

The winning candidates said national politics had no direct impact on their victories. They say they focused on local issues, kept their campaigns nonpartisan and worked harder to reach more voters with their visions for the city’s future.

Turnout was low in Dunwoody’s mayoral race, with 7,871 people voting out of more than 30,000 registered voters in the city, according to unofficial results from the DeKalb County Board of Registration & Elections.

The Glynn County Board of Elections voted to change four polling places ahead of the 2020 elections, according to The Brunswick News.

The polling place located in Zion Baptist Church will move back to the same location it was before Glynn County Schools began renovating Burroughs-Molette Elementary School. [I]t is the same building the polling place hosted before it moved to Zion. Because the polling place will no longer be in the school the board decided to rename the voting precinct to Urbana-Perry Parks, after the two parks the area.

Following the trend of moving polling places out of schools, the one in Oglethorpe Point Elementary School will be moved to Golden Isles Presbyterian Church. That precinct will be renamed from Oglethorpe Point to Hampton River. The board also voted to move two more polling places, one from Satilla Marsh Elementary School to CenterPoint Church and another from Marshes of Glynn Baptist Church to the Brookman Recreation Building in Baldwin Park. The board voted to rename the two precincts to Satilla Marshes and Brookman, respectively.

Due to safety concerns, Channell said counties around the country are moving their polling places out of schools. Within the next two years, Glynn County should have all its polling places out of schools and into other buildings.

In other business, Channell told the board that he had no more news on when it can expect to receive the county’s full allotment of new voting equipment.

Chatham County Board of Elections approved two new voting precincts for Pooler, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Chatham County Board of Elections on Tuesday voted to approve two new Pooler voting precincts which will be in place before the March 24 Presidential Preference Primary, marking the end of a nearly year-long struggle wrought with changes in state law and missed deadlines.

The board voted 3-1 to approve the precincts at their meeting on Tuesday, which will divide current precincts 7-12 and 7-07. Board member Debbie Rauers was the only vote against the new polling places.

The polling place for new precinct 7-16 will be Legacy at Savannah Quarters, located at 101 Shepherd Way.

For new precinct 8-16, voters will cast ballots at Oaks at Pooler, located at 125 Southern Junction Blvd #800.

Congressman Jody Hice (R-Monroe) will hold a telephone town hall meeting Thursday night, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“Telephone Town Halls are a tried-and-true method for me to connect with hundreds of 10th District residents and hear their views,” Hice said in a statement. “I look forward to hearing from folks back home on Thursday evening as we discuss news and policies happening in Washington that affect our community.”

Hice’s office said residents of his district can submit questions for the forum by calling 202-225-4101. They can also RSVP online or dial into the discussion by calling 877-229-8493 and use passcode 117571 during the forum.

Braselton voters will have limited opportunities to vote in the December runoff, according to the Gainesville Times.

Early voting in the Dec. 3 runoff for the Braselton Town Council’s District 1 seat is set for Nov. 25-27.

Residents can vote between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Braselton Police & Municipal Court building at 5040 Ga. Highway 53.

As the top two finishers in the Nov. 5 election, incumbent Becky Richardson and challenger Richard Mayberry will face each other in the runoff.

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