Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 31, 2020

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 31, 2020

Georgia delegates Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, and George Walton signed the Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776.

On July 31, 1777, the Marquis de LaFayette was commissioned a Major General in the Continental Army, serving without pay.

The cornerstone for the first United States Mint was laid in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 31, 1792, becoming the first building constructed by the federal government under the Constitution.

Former President Andrew Johnson, who succeeded President Lincoln upon his assassination and oversaw much of the post-Civil War Reconstruction era, died of a stroke in Tennessee on July 31, 1875.

August 1 was a big day for Benjamin Mays – he was born on August 1, 1895 and became President of Morehouse College on August 1, 1936.

On July 31, 1906, a bill to place a Constitutional Amendment on the November election for voters to decide whether to create an intermediate-level Georgia Court of Appeals was approved by the Georgia General Assembly.

PT-109, commanded by LTJG John F. Kennedy was sunk on August 1, 1943.

On July 31, 1962, the one-millionth immigrant was welcomed into Israel.

On August 1, 1982, Hank Aaron was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

On August 2, 1983, the United States House of Representatives voted to observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a federal holiday on the third monday in January.

On July 31, 1987, “The Lost Boys” was released. From the New York Times:

“The Lost Boys” is to horror movies what “Late Night With David Letterman” is to television; it laughs at the form it embraces, adds a rock-and-roll soundtrack and, if you share its serious-satiric attitude, manages to be very funny.

Nolan Ryan, the greatest pitcher in major league baseball history, won his 300th career game on July 31, 1990. During eight innings, Ryan threw 146 pitches, while today, many pitchers are pulled at around the 100-pitch count.

“In the old days throwing that many pitches was a normal game,” said Nolan Ryan, who tossed a record seven no-hitters and is the all-time leader in strikeouts, fifth in innings pitched.

Ryan, currently the Rangers’ team president, is an outspoken detractor of the recent trend toward monitoring pitch counts. In a recent Sports Illustrated article, Ryan expressed his belief that today’s pitchers are “pampered” and that there is no reason why today’s pitchers cannot pitch as much as he and his colleagues did back in the day. As a result, Ryan is pushing his team’s pitchers to throw deeper into games and extend their arms further, emphasizing conditioning over what some would call coddling.

As Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux told SI: “This generation of players has become a creature of the pitch count. Their ceiling has been lowered. It’s up to us to jack it back up.”

Although I think that time he whipped Robin Ventura should count as a win.

President Barack Obama visited Georgia on August 2, 2010 – his first trip to Atlanta and second to Georgia after his election in November 2008. The occasion of his 2010 trip, like his trip to Atlanta yesterday, was to deliver a speech to the Disabled American Veterans Conference at the Hyatt Regency. From his 2010 speech:

As a candidate for President, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end.  Shortly after taking office, I announced our new strategy for Iraq and for a transition to full Iraqi responsibility. And I made it clear that by August 31st, 2010, America’s combat mission in Iraq would end. And that is exactly what we are doing — as promised and on schedule….

As agreed to with the Iraqi government, we will maintain a transitional force until we remove all our troops from Iraq by the end of next year.

At the same time, every American who has ever worn the uniform must also know this: Your country is going to take care of you when you come home. Our nation’s commitment to our veterans, to you and your families, is a sacred trust. And to me and my administration, upholding that trust is a moral obligation. It’s not just politics.

That’s why I’ve charged Secretary Shinseki with building a 21st century VA.  And that includes one of the largest percentage increases to the VA budget in the past 30 years. We are going to cut this deficit that we’ve got, and I’ve proposed a freeze on discretionary domestic spending. But what I have not frozen is the spending we need to keep our military strong, our country safe and our veterans secure. So we’re going to keep on making historic commitments to our veterans.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain died yesterday at age 74 of the coronavirus disease. From the New York Times:

Herman Cain, who rose from poverty in the segregated South to become chief executive of a successful pizza chain and then thrust himself into the national spotlight by seeking the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, has died. He was 74.

Mr. Cain had been hospitalized in the Atlanta area this month after testing positive for the virus on June 29.

On the stump, Mr. Cain called himself an ABC candidate — American Black Conservative. He brought an irreverent style to the 2011 campaign as he touted his by-the-bootstraps story in an appeal to Tea Party conservatives.

Mr. Cain said he had become a Republican after a Black man at a restaurant yelled out: “Black Republicans? There’s no such thing.”

“When I got back to Omaha,” where he was living at he time, “I registered as a Republican,” he told The New York Times Magazine in 2011. “It haunted me for three days that someone would dare tell me what party affiliation I should have.”

After the announcement of his death, Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, wrote on Twitter that Mr. Cain had “embodied the American dream and represented the very best of the American spirit.”

Herman Cain was born on Dec. 13, 1945, in Memphis, to Lenora (Davis) and Luther Cain. His mother was a cleaning woman and domestic worker; his father, who grew up on a farm, worked as a janitor and a barber and as a chauffeur for Robert W. Woodruff, president of the Coca-Cola Company, which is based in Atlanta, where Herman was raised.

Herman graduated from historically Black Morehouse College in Atlanta in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. He worked as a civilian ballistics analyst for the Navy and earned his master’s degree in computer science at Purdue University in 1971.

From the AJC:

The Henry County resident was as successful and opinionated as he was unforgettable, but COVID-19 has silenced him, Cain’s current and former employees confirmed Thursday. He was 74.

“We’re heartbroken, and the world is poorer: Herman Cain has gone to be with the Lord,” an employee wrote on Cain’s Instagram page.

Cain’s supporters, including Trump, spoke instead of his charisma and how he emerged from humble beginnings to become an accomplished businessman and prominent figure within the GOP.

“Herman had an incredible career and was adored by everyone that ever met him, especially me,” Trump tweeted. “He was a very special man, an American Patriot, and great friend.”

Close friend and fellow radio host Neal Boortz said, “You combine his faith, a personality that enjoyed everybody and his accomplishments in his life — it’s a pretty extraordinary package.”

Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton spoke yesterday at the funeral of Congressman John Lewis.

Consensus appears to be forming to replace the statute of Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens in the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol with one of Congressman Lewis. From the Georgia Recorder.

Gov. Brian Kemp tweeted Wednesday night that swapping out a statue of Alexander Stephens for one of Lewis would “celebrate his legacy of service for years to come.”

Ten members of Georgia’s U.S. delegation sent a formal letter Thursday asking that Republicans Kemp, House Speaker David Ralston and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan work to replace the U.S. Capitol statue of Confederate Alexander Stephens. Duncan and Ralston publicly backed the idea last week.

Getting the statue inside the hall will first require the support of Georgia state legislators, a path that could be smoothed with powerful supporters like Ralston and Duncan.

Each state is entitled to place two statues of honorees in the hall, so adding Lewis’ statue requires removing one of the existing ones: Stephens or Crawford Long, an Athens doctor who is credited with pioneering the use of ether in a surgery.

From the Chattanoogan:

[Congressman Tom] Graves said, “I can think of no better statue in the U.S. Capitol representing our state than one of John Lewis. Our nation lost a giant, and it’s up to us to work together so that John’s fight for justice and equality continues. I was glad to see Gov. Kemp signal yesterday that he agrees that John’s legacy should be honored in our nation’s Capitol for generations to come.”

From the AJC:

Legislative leaders previously made clear they support the switch. House Speaker David Ralston and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, who presides over the Senate, both signaled their support shortly after Lewis’ July 17 death.

“I like the idea very much,” Ralston said. “I always admired Congressman Lewis and told him so many times. Georgia has a long history, so much more than just the Civil War, and John Lewis has been an important part of that.”

Duncan said in an earlier statement that it’s “time for our state to be represented in the National Statuary Hall by a figure that aligns with our state’s core values — that all are created equal — and I’ll advocate for that figure to be Rep. John Lewis.”

Each state gets two statues in the Statuary Hall, and Stephens has represented Georgia since 1927 at the U.S. Capitol. Georgia’s other honoree, Crawford W. Long, was a 19th century physician who pioneered the use of ether in surgery.

Congressman Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) is supported by 41 locally-elected Sheriffs in his race for United States Senate, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

The Glynn County Republican Party will hold runoff forums, according to The Brunswick News.

Local runoff candidates and U.S. Sen. David Purdue will rub elbows with voters Saturday evening at a meet and greet organized by the Glynn County Republican Party.

Glynn County Commission At-large Post 2 candidates Bo Clark and Walter Rafolski and state Senate District 3 candidates Sheila McNeill and David Sharpe will be in attendance.

The event will be held from 5-7 p.m. Saturday in the River Room at Coastal Kitchen, 102 Marina Drive on St. Simons Island.

The rubbing elbows part may be literal, as that has largely replace handshakes.

Or Fist Bumps. As seen in the photo accompanying the Statesboro Herald’s coverage of a runoff forum in Senate District 4. The Herald also has video of the candidates for Bulloch County Solicitor General and Commission District 4.

New unemployment claims are down for last week, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Rome News Tribune.

Initial unemployment claims filed in Georgia declined last week to 84,984, down 37,329 from the previous week, the state Department of Labor reported Thursday.

The labor agency paid out $778.1 million last week, including not just regular state unemployment insurance but funds from other state and federal unemployment compensation programs created to help offset the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

That brought to more than $11 billion the total payout by the labor department since mid-March.

“As additional claims are being filed, we have been able to maintain an impressive ratio of eligible claims filed to payouts,” Georgia Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler said. “Record-breaking payout rates represent a new standard for this department as we strive to better serve Georgians.”

The Savannah Morning News compares the school reopening plans of Bryan, Chatham, and Effingham Counties.

Some Juliette residents are suing Georgia Power over allegation of coal ash pollution, according to the Albany Herald.

Tony Bowdoin is one of 45 central Georgia residents living near America’s largest coal-fired plant who claim in a lawsuit that the utility has unlawfully released, discharged and deposited coal ash into their community’s drinking water source. The residents get their water from private drinking wells, which draw water from the aquifer below the ground.

They’re seeking to force the state’s largest power company to stop polluting the area’s water, provide ongoing medical monitoring and pay damages.

The mass tort lawsuit, filed Wednesday morning in Superior Court of Fulton County, where Georgia Power is based, claims that coal ash stored in an unlined basin has contaminated the groundwater surrounding the plant site.

“Georgia Power has been a bad neighbor,” said Atlanta-based attorney Stacey Evans, a former state lawmaker and gubernatorial contender who recently won a Democratic primary to regain her seat in the Georgia House. “When you’re a bad neighbor, and you hurt your neighbors, you fix it. It’s unfortunate a lawsuit is required to do that.”

Georgia Power has repeatedly denied that Plant Scherer’s coal ash is linked to any negative health outcomes. In a statement Wednesday, Georgia Power spokesman John Kraft told Georgia Health News that the company is “reviewing the lawsuit,” and declined to answer specific questions.

The Walker County Courthouse is temporarily closed after an employee tested positive, according to WDEF.

The Walker County Courthouse in LaFayette is closed to the public until Monday.

All offices will still conduct business online or by phone.

The Walker County Board of Elections and Registration is exempt from the closure order, since Advance Voting in the August runoff is underway on the ground floor.

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