Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 11, 2020


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 11, 2020

On June 11, 1776, the Continental Congress appointed Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut and Robert R. Livingston of New York to draft a declaration of independence from Britain. Language in the original draft that condemned the introduction of the slave trade in the colonies did not make the final draft.

Abraham Baldwin, founder of the University of Georgia, arrived in Philadelphia on June 11, 1787 to attend the Constitutional Convention. Baldwin was joined by three other delegates, William Few Jr., William Houston, and William Pierce; Baldwin and Few would sign the Constitution on behalf of Georgia.

On June 11, 1963, President John F. Kennedy issued proclamation 3542 ordering Governor George Wallace of Alabama to allow two African-American students to register at the University of Alabama, as ordered by a federal court.

On the morning of June 11, the day the students were expected to register, Wallace stood in front of the University of Alabama campus auditorium flanked by Alabama state troopers while cameras flashed and recorders from the press corps whirred. Kennedy, at the White House, and Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, in Tuscaloosa, kept in touch by phone.

When Wallace refused to let the students enter for registration, Katzenbach phoned Kennedy. Kennedy upped the pressure on Wallace, immediately issuing Presidential Proclamation 3542, which ordered the governor to comply, and authorizing the secretary of defense to call up the Alabama National Guard with Executive Order 11111.

That afternoon, Katzenbach returned with the students and asked Wallace to step aside. Wallace, knowing he was beaten, relented, having saved face with his hard-line, anti-segregation constituency.

On June 11, 1986, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was released.

[T]he most memorable performer may have been an automobile: the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California, a custom-built car revered by auto collectors.

According to Motor Trend, the first Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California—colloquially known as the “Cal Spyder”—was produced in 1957 and the last was built in early 1963. In addition to the long-wheelbase (LWB) Spyder, Ferrari also produced a sportier, short-wheelbase (SWB) model. Though estimates vary as to exactly how many were made—Cameron says “less than a hundred” in the film—approximately 46 LWB and between 50 and 57 SWB Spyders were produced in all. For “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” the filmmakers used a modified MGB roadster with a fiberglass body as a stand-in for the Ferrari. The filmmakers reportedly received angry letters from car enthusiasts who believed that a real Ferrari had been damaged.

One 1961 250 GT SWB Spyder California, with chassis number GT 2377GT, belonged to the actor James Coburn (“The Magnificent Seven”), who died in 2002. On May 18, 2008, at the second annual Ferrari Leggenda e Passione event at Maranello, Italy, the British deejay Chris Evans bought that car at auction for 6.4 million Euros, or $10,894,400 (including fees), the highest price ever paid for an automobile at auction.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections


Today at 10 AM, House Natural Resources and Environment, Virtual Meeting.

Friday, June 12, 2020 at 10 AM, House Judiciary Non Civil, Virtual Meeting.

Sunday, June 14, 2020 at 2 PM, Senate Health and Human Services, 450 CAP

The Chatham County Board of Elections may not certify election results until next week, according to the Savannah Morning News.

In most elections, the BOE certifies elections by the Friday following the Tuesday vote. But because of the massive absentee voter turnout, largely a result of the encouragement from officials to choose that option due to COVID-19, [Board of Election Chairman Tom] Mahoney said that a Friday certification is an unrealistic expectation.

“I think that it is probably a little overly optimistic for people to think that maybe we could finish this by Friday,” Mahoney said. “I think that’s probably unrealistic.”

Mahoney said it will likely be next week before the election is certified, and the entirety of the votes may not even be counted by Friday.

Mahoney said most of the issues stemmed from setting up the machines.

“People didn’t know how to set it up. Sometimes they didn’t know where the stuff they needed to set it up was; sometimes the equipment wasn’t really cooperating with setup,” Mahoney said. “It wasn’t as easy to set up as it should have been. Plus, we had new poll locations. Some of those poll locations were not as easy to set up as others.”

Democrat Jon Ossoff appears to have won the Democratic Primary election without a runoff for the seat held by Senator David Perdue, according to the New York Times.

With 97 percent of precincts reporting on Wednesday evening, Mr. Ossoff had 50.5 percent of the vote, just over the 50 percent threshold to avoid a runoff election against Teresa Tomlinson, a former mayor of Columbus, Ga., who trailed far behind with 15 percent.

Mr. Ossoff’s run three years ago in a special election in Georgia’s Sixth District, a longtime Republican redoubt, was fueled by hostility toward Mr. Trump, particularly among educated suburban women. But Mr. Ossoff also benefited from anti-Trump sentiment beyond the district, attracting significant funding from beyond Georgia and shattering congressional fund-raising records.

From the Associated Press:

In his livestreamed victory speech Wednesday night, Ossoff took immediate aim at his opponent’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying Perdue was “too busy adjusting his stock portfolio to warn us of the gravest public health emergency in a century.” A Perdue spokeswoman has previously said the senator “goes above and beyond to fully comply with the law.”

“This is not a moment to let up — this is a moment to double down,” Ossoff said. “The president of the United States and his allies in Congress are leading this country down a dark path and we can go down this path no longer. We can no longer go down a path of authoritarianism, of racism, of corruption. We are better than this and Georgia is better than this.”

From the AJC:

As Democrats dueled for the right to challenge him, Perdue tied them to “socialists” and questioned whether they support the nascent movement sparked by the George Floyd protests for racial justice to cut funding to law enforcement agencies.

“Now more than ever, Georgians need outsider David Perdue and his experienced leadership in the U.S. Senate,” said his campaign manager, Ben Fry, late Wednesday.

“While Jon Ossoff is a favorite of liberal elites and Hollywood celebrities, he will be nothing but a rubber stamp for Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and their radical agenda.”

The Georgia General Assembly reconvenes Monday, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Jackson Progress-Argus.

Lawmakers have not yet settled on the logistics of holding the session in accordance with social distancing practices adopted during the pandemic. A task force set up by Ralston is expected to issue recommendations on measures like remote voting and physical separation inside the Capitol building.

They did, however, offer a preview of some social distancing measures during in-person committee hearings this week and last, at which speakers waited outside meeting rooms for their turn to give testimony and watched proceedings mostly on video monitors installed in the Capitol.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services met yesterday, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

On Wednesday, the state public health commissioner, Dr. Kathleen Toomey, urged lawmakers on one of several committees looking at the budget to let her agency avoid forcing employees to take 12-day furloughs, adding about $1.5 million back to the budget for the Department of Public Health.

She also asked lawmakers to accept fewer cuts to critical grants that fund county boards of health as state and local health officials continue fighting coronavirus. The agency’s initial 14% reduction proposal called for trimming about $17.7 million from the grants.

“We really would like to lessen the impact on our county health departments that are working hard right now to support our work on [coronavirus] as well as other issues,” Toomey told lawmakers on the Senate Appropriations Human Development and Public Health Subcommittee.

The state’s mental health chief asked state lawmakers Wednesday to restore much of the funding to meet Kemp’s pared back 11% budget reductions rather than the 14% cuts originally requested. That would help save around $29 million and reduce the initially proposed 24 furlough days for staff to 12 days instead.

State House Speaker David Ralston has called for a legislative look into voting issues, according to WABE.

“We were getting reports from northeast Georgia, from southeast Georgia, from all regions of the state about these kinds of problems, and so it was not limited just to the metro area,” said Ralston.

The Georgia secretary of state’s office has placed much of the blame for the lines and issues with voting machines on a lack of preparation by counties, including Fulton and DeKalb. But Ralston says the state has a role to play in training.

“We have to do a better job of training both the workers as well as those who train the workers at the local level, said Ralston. “I think there’s a role – a large role — there for the state and one that I want to find out how well we discharged that yesterday.”

Ralston maintained his view that Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger rushed to push vote-by-mail when he sent out 6.9 million absentee ballot applications back in March.

“We weren’t advised here in the House of Representatives until a week or so prior to the public announcement that this was being done. And it’s a big deal, I mean, it’s a big undertaking, and I don’t know that we were ready for it. That’s one of the things I want us to look at.”

Ralston has asked the House Governmental Affairs Committee to investigate what went wrong in Tuesday’s election.

In State Senate District 50, Republicans Stacy Hall and Bo Hatchett head to an August 10 runoff election, according to the Gainesville Times.

The District 50 race drew six Republicans seeking to fill the seat vacated by State Sen. John Wilkinson, R-Toccoa, who decided to run for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Both Hall and Hatchett are from Habersham County. Hall is the chairman of the Habersham County Board of Commissioners, and he and his wife Ivy own a real estate development business. Hatchett is an attorney, and he owns a real estate business.

Three Augusta City Commission elections appear headed for runoff elections, according to WRDW.

In District 1, Michael Thurman and Jordan Johnson were separated only a handful of votes with each candidate receiving 27 and 25 percent of support, respectively.

The story was similar over in District 3, where Sean Mooney nursed a less than 200 vote lead over Catherine Smith McKnight.

In District 9, Corey Johnson had a command of 47 percent of voters in the race, but fell shy of the majority threshold to avoid a runoff against Francine Scott.

Richmond County voters also appeared to support TSPLOST, granting the county the opportunity for more than $555 million in new projects across the region. The initiative received the support of 73 percent at last check.

Two incumbent State Representatives lost their reelections, according to the Telegraph.

Pastor and bank manager Sharon Henderson beat five-term Conyers Democrat Pam Dickerson on Tuesday in House District 113 after losing to her two years ago. Three-term Republican Jeff Jones of Brunswick lost to former House member Buddy DeLoach in House District 167. Jones had been one of a group of Republicans who had been critics of GOP House Speaker David Ralston.

Neither of the victorious challengers face opposition in November, meaning they have effectively won two-year terms.

State Rep. Sharon Beasley-Teague a Red Oak Democrat first elected in 1992, was pushed into a runoff with Democratic party activist and business owner Mandisha Thomas in House District 65, which includes parts of Fulton and Douglas counties. In DeKalb County, Stone Mountain Democrat Michele Henson, first elected in 1990, will compete in a runoff against Zulma Lopez in House District 86. Demographic changes in the DeKalb County district encouraged minority candidates to run.

Democrat Mark Jones appears to have upset incumbent Chattahoochee County Judicial Circuit District Attorney Julia Slater, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

“I feel like a boss,” Mark Jones told reporters and supporters Wednesday night after his underdog victory over incumbent District Attorney Julia Slater.

Asked whether he had a message for those employees, he said: “They are going to have to re-interview, because there’s obviously some issues with the office, so everyone’s going to have to re-interview for their job…. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but they did choose a political career to be in.”

He said voters have given him a “clear mandate” to reform the office.

Jones defeated Slater by 52% to 48, in the circuit that besides Muscogee includes the counties of Chattahoochee, Harris, Marion, Talbot and Taylor.

Jones won the Democratic Primary for district attorney, but that decided the race because no Republican qualified to seek the post in November.

Asked what impact he thought his arrest had on the election, he said: “I think it proved the case that they are prosecuting non-serious cases, and that their time is better spent elsewhere, prosecuting the 100-so alleged murders in our jail, and serious violent felonies.”

Bulloch County Sheriff Noel Brown won his GOP Primary and head to the General Election against Democrat Rey Rodriguez, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Houston County District Attorney George Hartwig won the GOP nomination and faces Democrat Erikka Williams in November, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Two Democratic candidates will head to a runoff to take on Congressman Buddy Carter, according to the Savannah Morning News.

By 3 p.m. Wednesday with 91% of precincts reporting, the three-way [Democratic Primary election] had [Joyce Marie] Griggs and [Lisa] Ring nearly tied with about 43% of the vote and Barbara Seidman trailing with 14%.

Griggs was the Democratic nominee for the seat in 2000. Ring, a former correctional officer and self-described “military mom,” was the nominee in 2018.

Two Republican candidates for Floyd County Sheriff meet in a runoff election, with the winner unopposed in November, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Whitfield County voters passed a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

Fifteen months after Whitfield County voters defeated one Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) in a landslide, they approved a second, smaller SPLOST by an almost identical margin.

On Tuesday, voters approved a four-year, $66 million SPLOST by 9,338 votes (58.7%) to 6,577 votes (41.3%). A SPLOST is a 1% tax on most goods sold in a county. The money it generates can be used for capital projects and some other items but not operating expenses. The tax will start being collected on Oct. 1.

Whitfield County Board of Commissioners Chairman Lynn Laughter said she thinks the 2020 SPLOST passed because “there was more citizen involvement before the project list was final. I think the fact it is four years also made a big difference to people. Looking back, I wish we had put one administrative building in the SPLOST last year and made it five years.”

Muscogee County voters appear to have renewed the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Education (E-SPLOST), according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

The referendum to continue the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax in Columbus was approved by 69% (21,077) of the 30,631 voters, according to the Muscogee County Board of Elections and Registration.

The results released late Wednesday afternoon are from all 25 voting precincts but are unofficial until they are certified by the five-member county elections board.

It’s the fifth time Columbus voters have been asked to approve this 1% sales tax — and supporters have won every time, following successful campaigns in 1997, 2003, 2009 and 2015.

The renewed ESPLOST, which keeps the city’s total sales tax at 8%, will pay for 22 projects totaling an estimated $189 million. It will last for five years or until the total amount is collected. The projects include the consolidation of two schools into a new building, the construction of a postponed sports complex and the replacement of a public library.

Hall County voters passed several funding measures, according to the Gainesville Times.

Both the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax and bond referendums for Hall County and Gainesville City schools passed in Tuesday’s primary election.

The vote will keep the one penny for every dollar spent sales tax in place, which will fund projects for the Hall, Gainesville and Buford school systems. It will also grant a bond of $258 million to the Hall County School District, and a bond of $83 million to the Gainesville City School System.

Stockbridge City Council passed a resolution urging passage of state hate crimes legislation, according to the AJC.

Defunding Police

Athens-Clarke County Commissioners Mariah Parker and Tim Denson wants to cut back on police funding, according to 11Alive.

Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Mariah Parker says they also could have possibly been prevented.
“Serious reforms are necessary,” she told 11Alive Investigator Faith Abubey in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.

Commissioner Parker has put together a four-page proposal laying out what those reforms would look like. The measure could be put up for a vote as soon as next Tuesday, June 16.

“There is a variety of community response that we can implement in order to take the burden off our police department and ensure that people experiencing crises get the help that they need,” Parker explained, adding that the plan includes:

•   Decreasing the Athens-Clarke County police force by 50% over the next 10 years.
•   Deauthorizing hiring for current vacant officer positions
•   Redirecting money to mental health and social services

From the Athens Banner Herald:

Athens commissioners Tim Denson, who was among the protesters tear-gassed on May 31, and Mariah Parker jointly issued a proposal Tuesday, calling for a 50 percent reduction in the ACCPD over the next 10 years. The “50/10 Plan to Reimagine Public Safety in Athens-Clarke” is proposed as part of the 2021 budget, which is being voted upon by the commission on June 16.

DeKalb County Commission Candidate Ted Terry advocates for defunding not only county police, but those of municipalities also, according to Fox News.

A supporter of Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff backed calls by members of the Minneapolis City Council this week to dismantle the city’s police department and said that, if he is elected to the county commission seat he is currently running for, he would put forward similar legislation.

Ted Terry, who previously ran in the Georgia Democratic Senate primary before dropping out and running for DeKalb County commissioner, tweeted on Sunday that he stands with the veto-proof majority of Minneapolis political leaders who announced they would attempt to “dismantle” the city’s police department.

“Today, #Minneapolis took a bold step in reimagining public safety beyond policing & incarceration,” he wrote, before continuing to say that “I stand w/” the nine members of the Minneapolis City Council who support taking apart the city’s police department. “It’s time for transformation!”

Terry added: “If elected to the #DeKalb County Commission I will introduce legislation to end the current policing mode[l] not just in unincorporated DeKalb but in each of our municipalities. It’s time for change at all levels of County policing. Community safety and support is the new mission.”

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