Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 21, 2020

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 21, 2020

On January 20, 1788, the First African Baptist Church was established in Savannah, Georgia, one of the first black churches in the United States.

John Marshall was nominated as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States by President John Adams on January 20, 1801.

Lieutenant William T. Sherman was ordered to Georgia for the first time in his military career on January 21, 1844.

On January 20, 1920, DeForest Kelley was born in Atlanta and he grew up in Conyers. Kelley sang in the choir of his father’s church and appeared on WSB radio; he graduated from Decatur Boys High School and served in the United States Navy. Kelley became famous as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy in the original Star Trek series.

On January 20, 1928, Franklin Delano Roosevelt visited Warm Springs, Georgia for the tenth time, staying through February 11th. During the visit, he spoke to the Chamber of Commerce of Americus and Sumter County, telling them

“In Georgia the movement towards the cities is growing by leaps and bounds and this means the abandonment of the farms or those farms that are not suited to the uses of agriculture. It means that we will have vacant lands but these can and should be used in growing timber.”

January 20th became Inaugural Day in 1937; when the date falls on a Sunday, a private inauguration of the President is held, with a public ceremony the following day. The Twentieth Amendment moved inauguration day from March 4 to January 20. Imagine six additional weeks of a lame duck President.

Roosevelt was sworn-in to a fourth term as President on Jauary 20, 1945 and died in Warm Springs on April 12, 1945.

On January 20, 1939, Paul D. Coverdell was born in Des Moines, Iowa. Coverdell was one of the key figures in the development of the Georgia Republican Party.

United States Senator and former Georgia House Speaker and Governor Richard B. Russell, Jr. died on January 21, 1971.

On January 20, 1977, former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter was inaugurated as the 39th President of the United States.

On January 21, 1977, President Jimmy Carter pardoned draft resistors from the Vietnam War era and urged Americans to conserve energy.

On January 21, 1978, the Bee Gees Saturday Night Live album hit #1 on the sales charts, where it would stay for 24 weeks.

On January 20, 1981, Ronald Wilson Reagan was inaugurated 40th President of the United States.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

9:00 AM Joint Budget Hearings 341 CAP

Governor Brian Kemp won’t answer hypothetical questions from the AJC that a federal lawsuit made moot. From the AJC:

Gov. Brian Kemp won’t say whether Georgia will keep the door open to refugees days after a federal judge temporarily blocked a Trump administration order that gave state and local officials discretion over their resettlement.

The court’s ruling halted a policy by President Donald Trump that required resettlement agencies to obtain written consent from mayors, county leaders and governors by Tuesday, when they were set to submit federal funding requests.

Kemp has not commented on the plan, aside from suggesting he has more flexibility with his timeline. His aides indicate he’s not likely to decide until the legal challenge is settled.

Congressman Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) was named among the eight members who will assist the President’s team in the impeachment trial, according to the AJC.

It does not appear that Collins, who lives in Gainesville, or the other members will actively participant in arguing the case before the Senate. Earlier in the weekend, Trump announced the team of lawyers who will handle that job.

However, Monday’s announcement says these GOP representatives have already been providing guidance as attorneys prepare for trial. “The President looks forward to their continued participation and is confident that the Members will help expeditiously end this brazen political vendetta on behalf of the American people,” the release said.

Nearly 57 percent of respondents told an AJC poll that voters should decide in 2020 whether President Trump stays in office, according to the AJC.

The poll of 1,025 registered Georgia voters shows the state’s electorate remains divided over the Democratic-led push to impeach Trump, which enters a new phase of fraught debate and bitter legal wrangling as the Senate readies to hear testimony. Half of Georgia voters say the president has not committed an impeachable offense; 45% say he has.

But it found voters were far more settled about whether Trump should be sent packing at the trial’s end. About 57% of respondents said voters should decide his fate in the 2020 election, including a majority of independents and roughly one-quarter of Democrats.

The survey was conducted Jan. 6-15 and has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

Also notable in the poll results was a 58 percent approval rating for Governor Brian Kemp.

Republican Ben Bullock is withdrawing from the campaign for the 7th Congressional District and will now run for the 14th, according to the AJC.

The U.S. Air Force veteran told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday that he made his decision after U.S. Rep. Tom Graves announced he wouldn’t stand for another term. Though he lives in Gwinnett County, Bullock’s family has deep roots in Paulding County – part of Graves’ sprawling district.

“For over 200 years, my family has lived, served in both the military and elected office, farmed and operated small businesses in the 14th District,” he said. “To continue that legacy is a dream come true, and moving in that direction is where I truly believe that God is leading this campaign team.”

He said he plans to base his campaign out of his family’s store in Dallas, the seat of Paulding County, which would make him the fifth generation of his family to use the building for business.

His decision leaves the GOP race to several other Republican rivals including state Sen. Renee Unterman, former Home Depot executive Lynne Homrich, businessman Mark Gonsalves and emergency room doctor Richard McCormick.

The Rome News Tribune writes about additional candidates for the 14th District.

On Monday, the number of announced candidates for the seat increased to four. Kyle Perkins, a Dallas Republican, announced he’s running for the seat in Congress.

In his announcement letter, Perkins — the lone black candidate in the race so far — voiced his support for President Donald Trump as well as accusing current candidates of attempting to purchase the election.

An announcement is expected soon from Georgia state Rep. Kevin Cooke, R-Carrollton, who has represented the 18th District since 2011. He’s also employed locally by Shorter University as their assistant athletic director.

Three other Republican candidates have previously stepped up to run for the seat to be vacated by current U.S. Rep. Tom Graves:

Senate Bill 291, the “Georgia Death with Dignity Act,” would allow some physician-assisted suicides, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Under Senate Bill 291, dubbed the “Georgia Death with Dignity Act,” patients given a prognosis of six months or less to live would qualify to request aid-in-dying medication that they may take themselves.

Several requests and assessments from at least two physicians would be required before the person could receive the medication, which supporters say would reduce the risk for abuse.

If passed, doctors or loved ones who help the terminally ill end their lives would not longer be subject to criminal prosecution. Currently, the practice is a felony under the state’s assisted-suicide law that can result in a prison sentence.

The bill is poised for pushback from religious groups. The Georgia Baptist Missionary Board passed a resolution in 2017 opposing life-ending medication. The conservative Faith and Freedom Coalition also rejects it.

Senate Bill 298 by Senator Renee Unterman would increase regulation of vaping, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

A new bill would raise the minimum age to purchase vapor products to 21 from the current age of 18 and toughen penalties for selling tobacco, nicotine and vaping products to minors. It also sets penalties for marketing of vaping products that is specifically designed to be “attractive to minors.”

Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, introduced the legislation last week that would also require schools to teach about the risks of vaping and smoking as part of their curriculum.

Unterman told The Valdosta Daily Times she learned about the problem from roundtables with youth.

“The main thing that’s in the bill is about education, because that’s what I’ve learned from these kids, the main part of prevention is education,” she said. “This particular bill which is not anything to do with the federal order is requiring the state board of education and individual counties and cities to incorporate vaping into their current drug and alcohol awareness.”

The legislation comes after the the state Department of Public Health issued a health advisory on vaping in October, following the second vaping-related death in Georgia.

State Rep. Emory Dunahoo (R-Gainesville) announced he will run for reelection, according to the Gainesville Times.

“I have a record of being a strong conservative voice for my constituents. Georgia Democrats are fighting to turn Georgia into a purple state,” Dunahoo said in a statement. “Under no circumstances can we allow them the opportunity to undo all of the great work, prosperity, and accomplishments our state has enjoyed in recent years.”

“As we enter a crucial election cycle, it is now more important than ever that the people of this district have a strong, unapologetic, experienced conservative voice speaking for them in the House of Representatives,” he said.

Gwinnett County should begin receiving its new voting equipment beginning this week, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Gwinnett County Communications Director Joe Sorenson said the old equipment was picked up Jan. 6. The delivery of the new equipment is expected to take several days, beginning Jan. 24.

Along with 220 polling place scanners, one central scanning device, 543 poll pads, one election management system and four mobile ballot printers, Gwinnett County will also get 188 more new electronic voting machines than were purchased by the state in the original request for proposals, according to the latest numbers from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

“A review of the purchases that our office is making for elections equipment shows a cumulative cost of approximately $100 million,” Raffensperger said. “If each county had made these purchases individually, the total cost would have been closer to $160 million … Had your county individually purchased the elections equipment, the cost would have been $11,621,917.89.”

The Secretary of State’s Office has called this is the largest single implementation of a new voting system in U.S. history, with GPB News reporting 31,826 ballot-marking devices are slated to be delivered to counties ahead of the March 24 presidential preference primary.

Georgia Right to Life will hold their annual March for Life on Wednesday, January 22, 2020 at the State Capitol, beginning at 11:30 AM. Click here for more information.

Macon-Bibb County ran a $13.5 million dollar surplus for FY 2019, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Macon-Bibb County Public Affairs Director Chris Floore explained that in Fiscal Year 2019, which ended June 30, the county budgeted 1 percent under their own projections and took in 3 percent more revenue than expected.

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