Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for December 2, 2019


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for December 2, 2019

John Wesley left Savannah on December 2, 1737.

John Wesley’s strict discipline as rector of Christ Church in Savannah irritated his parishioners. More trouble followed when he fell in love with Sophia Hopkey, the niece of Georgia’s chief magistrate. When she married another man, Wesley banned her from Holy Communion, damaging her reputation in the community.

His successful romantic rival sued him; but Wesley refused to recognize the authority of the court, and the man who would eventually found a major Protestant denomination in America left Georgia in disgrace on December 2, 1737.

Touro Synagogue, the oldest existing synagogue in the United States, was dedicated on December 2, 1763 in Newport, Rhode Island.

The Skirmish at Rocky Creek Church took place near Waynesboro, Georgia on December 2, 1864.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp‘s appointment of a replacement for U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson has become a full-fledged battle between the Governor’s Office and “Florida Man.” From Fox News:

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz suggested to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Friday that there could be political consequences if Kemp decides not to choose President Trump’s reported favorite for the state’s expected U.S. Senate vacancy.

In a series of Twitter messages on the day after Thanksgiving, Gaetz, a Florida Republican, called on Kemp to choose U.S. Rep. Doug Collins for the seat, when Sen. Johnny Isakson steps down at the end of the year.

“You are ignoring his request because you THINK you know better than @POTUS,” Gaetz wrote in one Twitter message. “If you substitute your judgement [sic] for the President’s, maybe you need a primary in 2022. Let’s see if you can win one w/o Trump.”

“You are hurting President Trump,” Gaetz wrote in another tweet. “You know this because he told you.”

Kemp had fired off a Twitter message of his own.

“The idea that I would appoint someone to the U.S. Senate that is NOT pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, pro-freedom, and 100% supportive of our President (and his plan to Keep America Great) is ridiculous,” Kemp wrote. “The attacks and games are absolutely absurd. Frankly, I could care less what the political establishment thinks.”

From the AJC:

Gov. Brian Kemp plans to tap financial executive Kelly Loeffler for a U.S. Senate seat next week as he pushes to expand the Georgia GOP’s appeal to women who have fled the party in recent years.

The appointment would defy President Donald Trump and other Republican leaders who have repeatedly urged the governor to appoint U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, a four-term congressman who is one of the president’s staunchest defenders in Washington.

The governor is expected to announce Loeffler’s appointment at a press conference early [this] week, barring any last-minute change of heart, several senior GOP officials told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution exclusively. Kemp’s office declined to comment Friday.

Kemp’s allies say Loeffler, a first-time candidate, can help woo women who have bolted a party that’s dominated by white male elected officials. (If she is appointed, Loeffler would become the second woman to serve in the U.S. Senate from Georgia. Rebecca Latimer Felton served one day in the chamber in 1922 following the death of Tom Watson.)

From the Associated Press, via the Gainesville Times.

At the center of the dispute is a debate over who can best help the GOP position itself for success in the November 2020 elections in Georgia. Loeffler’s supporters believe she can widen the Republican tent and appeal to women and suburban Atlanta voters, who have trended more Democratic since Trump’s election. Collins’ supporters, meanwhile, say that an experienced campaigner with proven conservative credentials is needed.

One of the unexpected hallmarks of Kemp’s first year in office has been the appointment of a diverse slate of candidates to state panels and judicial posts, which has surprised even some of his most ardent critics.

Kemp took the unusual step of opening an online application process for the Senate seat in September and asked everyone from congressional representatives to ordinary Georgians to apply. In addition to Collins and Loeffler, other top Republicans who have applied include former U.S. Republican Rep. Jack Kingston, former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and state House Speaker Pro Tempore Jan Jones.

And back to the AJC:

Facing shots over his planned pick for an open U.S. Senate seat, Gov. Brian Kemp’s inner circle unleashed a special type of vitriol against U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida after he blasted the governor’s plans to select financial executive Kelly Loeffler.

With a vigor that evoked memories of the 2018 campaign, Kemp’s advisers slammed the Floridian after he called for the Georgia governor to be challenged in 2022 or questioned whether he could win re-election.

“It’s not the establishment you are screwing with your donor-induced stubbornness. You are hurting President Trump. You know this because he told you,” Gaetz tweeted, later mentioning how Loeffler donated to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential bid but not to Trump in 2016.

… Kemp confidantes jumped in, seizing the opportunity to target Gaetz instead of taking on Georgia critics who have assailed Loeffler ….

Kemp spokesman Cody Hall compared Gaetz to Abrams, the Democrat who lost last year’s gubernatorial election but didn’t concede. Candice Broce, a top Kemp deputy, chided him to “focus on Florida and study federalism” and mocked his spelling.

From Politico:

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has begun informing Republican officials he plans to appoint financial services executive Kelly Loeffler to the state’s soon-to-be vacant Senate seat, according to three people familiar with the conversations.

Members of the state’s Republican congressional delegation were among those to receive a heads-up from Kemp on his decision, according to an aide to a House Republican from Georgia who received a call from the governor over the weekend.

Governor Kemp presented the Governor’s Cup to the University of Georgia football team this weekend, according to USA Today.

State Rep. Jay Powell (R-Camilla) was laid to rest Sunday, according to the AJC.

Powell was a powerful advocate for rural Georgia and an authority on tax policy during his 10 years in the state House. He served for a year as the leader of the House Rules Committee, one of the most important positions in the statehouse.

He died Tuesday during a retreat of Republican legislative leaders at Brasstown Valley Resort at the age of 67. More remembrances of Powell, whose legacy was lauded by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, have trickled in from those who knew him best.

Savannah voters go to the polls tomorrow in runoff elections for Mayor and Alderman, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Mayor Eddie DeLoach is up against Alderman Van Johnson, and in District 6, incumbent Alderman Tony Thomas is in a runoff with challenger Kurtis Purtree.

In the general election Nov. 5, Johnson received 11,400 votes for 45.96%, and DeLoach received 9,812 votes for 39.55%. Regina Thomas received 3,349 votes for 13.5%, and Louis Wilson received 209 votes for less than 1% of the total. There were also 36 write-in votes cast.

In the District 6 election, Thomas received 2,125 votes for 46.70% followed by Purtree with 1,764 for 38.77% and Antonio Hunter with 640 for 14.07%.

The Albany Herald looks at the candidates in tomorrow’s runoff election for Mayor, incumbent Dorothy Hubbard, and challenger Kermit “Bo” Dorough. In another article, the Herald profiles Ward VI runoff candidates John Hawthorne and Demetrius Young.

Norcross, Snellville, and Braselton will hold runoff elections tomorrow, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

In Norcross, Tyler Hannel and Bruce Gaynor will square off for the seat being vacated by Councilman Dan Watch.

Voting in the city will take place in the community room at City Hall, which is located at 65 Lawrenceville St.

Over in Snellville, Solange Destang and Brittany Marmol will face off in the open City Council Post 2 race. The winner will replace Councilman Roger Marmol, who is Brittany Marmol’s husband and opted not to seek re-election this year.

Snellville voters will cast their ballots in the City Hall Community Room which is located at 2342 Oak Road.

Braselton Councilwoman Becky Richardson is heading to a runoff against Richard Mayberry in that city’s Council district 1 race.

The city’s runoff voting will take place at the Police and Municipal Building, which is located at 5040 Highway 53.

Smyrna voters will choose a new Mayor in the runoff election tomorrow, according to

There will be a runoff election on Dec. 3 between Smyrna mayoral candidates Derek Norton and Ryan Campbell, reported the Marietta Daily Journal.

Gwinnett County lawyer Christa Kirk will run for the Superior Court seat currently held by Judge Kathryn Schrader, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Federal funding for children’s mental health is a complex issue for state legislators, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Federal funds could be available next year to address the mental health needs of very young children, but a House study committee found state Medicaid policies don’t cover assessments.

“We’ve got to find a way to pull our agencies together, certainly through conversations with our governor and other state agency heads … There is a desire to make this happen,” said Rep. Katie Dempsey.

The Rome Republican chairs the human resources subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. She spent the fall leading the House Study Committee on Infant and Toddler Social and Emotional Health.

Georgia officials are still working on a plan that may, or may not, include the youngest children. Committee members heard testimony about other states that have revamped their Medicaid system to include coverage for diagnostics at that age — including in Alabama.

The Coastal Region Metropolitan Planning Commission is accepting public comments on its Transportation Improvement Plan, according to the Savannah Morning News.

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