Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 4, 2021


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 4, 2021

On January 1, 1751, the law prohibiting slavery in Georgia was repealed after an act passed by the Georgia Trustees the previous year.

On January 2, 1766, some Sons of Liberty marched on the Royal Governor’s Mansion in Savannah to “discuss” the Stamp Act, which required the use of stamped paper for all printing as a means of taxing the colonies. They were met by a pistol-toting Governor Wright.

On January 3, 1766, after passage of the “stamp act,” the Royal Stamp Master arrived at Tybee Island and was taken to the Governor’s Mansion. On that day, Georgia became the first and only colony in which the stamp tax was actually collected.

Georgia became the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution on January 2, 1788.

Timothy Pickering of Massachusetts became the first United States Senator to be censured by the body on January 2, 1811.

Delaware, technically at the time a slave state, rejected a proposal to secede from the United States on January 3, 1861.

The Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln went into effect in eleven Southern states on January 1, 1863, though parts of Virginia and Louisiana were exempt.

Utah was admitted as the 45th state on January 4, 1896.

On January 4, 1965, shortly after the assassination of President Kennedy, Lyndon Baines Johnson delivered the State of the Union and outlined his plan for a “Great Society.”

“He requested ‘doubling the war against poverty this year’ and called for new emphasis on area redevelopment, further efforts at retraining unskilled workers, an improvement in the unemployment compensation system and an extension of the minimum wage floor to two million workers now unprotected by it. … He called for new, improved or bigger programs in attacking physical and mental disease, urban blight, water and air pollution, and crime and delinquency.”

The Great Society legislation included “War on Poverty” programs, many created under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, which established jobs and youth volunteer programs as well as Head Start, which provided pre-school education for poor children. Johnson’s social welfare legislation also consisted of the formation of Medicare and Medicaid, which offered health care services for citizens over 65 and low-income citizens, respectively. In addition, the Great Society included the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Voting Rights Act of 1968.

On January 3, 1973, Andrew Young was sworn in as the first African-American Congressman from Georgia since 1871.

The sarcophagus containing the mummy of King Tatankhamen was discovered on January 3, 1925.

On January 4, 1974, President Richard M. Nixon refused to turn over tapes recorded in the Oval Office to the Senate Watergate Committee.

On January 3, 1990, Panamanian General Manuel Antonio Noriega surrendered to American forces in Panama.

Georgia Congressman Newt Gingrich was elected Speaker of the House on January 4, 1995, the third Georgian to wield the gavel. This marked the first time in more than forty years that Republicans controlled the House of Representatives.

On January 4, 1999, in DeKalb County, State Court Judge Al Wong became the first Asian-American judge in Georgia and the Southeast.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

President Donald Trump will rally the faithful today in Dalton, according to the Gainesville Times.

The Democrats’ campaigns announced Wednesday that Biden would campaign Monday in Atlanta with Ossoff and Warnock. Trump already had announced plans to rally Monday evening, just hours before polls open, with the Republican senators in the north Georgia town of Dalton. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, meanwhile, will come to Savannah on Sunday.

Rather than dropping dramatically, early voting for the runoff is only about 20% lower than the early turnout at the same point before the general election, though missed days over Christmas make a direct comparison difficult. Experts who track early voting data say the high turnout, particularly among African American voters, and the continued engagement of younger voters is a good sign for the Democrats.

“These are the numbers that the Democrats need in order to be able to win the election,” said Michael McDonald, a University of Florida professor who tracks vote counts for the U.S. Elections Project. “It doesn’t mean that they are going to win. It’s just the numbers they would want to see if they are going to win.”

While early voting trends so far seem to favor Democrats, Republicans typically have higher Election Day turnout and they could also make gains in the final days of early in-person or absentee voting, McDonald said. There are also wildcard factors like the weather — though the current Election Day forecast is mild and dry across the state.

Vice President Mike Pence will campaign in Milner today.

Mike Pence Georgia Rally 01042021

Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue will campaign at a Columbus fly-in today, according to an email from the Muscogee County Republican Party.

We’ll get started at 10:30 AM near the Flightways building at the Columbus Airport. Former-Governor Sonny Perdue is the special guest on behalf of Senator Perdue.

Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene took the oath of office to represent Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Rep.-elect Greene beg[a]n her two year term this Sunday as the 117th U.S. Congress convenes. She told a small gathering at the Floyd County GOP headquarters this past week she will object when Congress formally counts the Electoral College votes next week.

Greene said she has personally seen the president’s evidence of widespread voter fraud and believes that he won the election.

“I keep saying this is not a party issue,” Greene said. “We all want free and fair elections.”

She has put her full support behind Sen. Kelly Loeffler — a beige Humvee that once sported a large Greene campaign sign around town now boasts one for Loeffler — and recently called for voters in the 14th District to get out and vote.

“We’ve got to get to the polls everybody and get it done,” she said.

As she enters Congress, she said her main priorities are to “end big tech censorship” of conservative voices, promote the lessening of the debt as well as policies she described as “pro-Second Amendment, pro-life” saying she does not support any form of taxpayer funded abortion.

Republican Andrew Clyde (R-GA) also took the oath of office Sunday, according to the Gainesville Times.

Clyde, who gets sworn in on the House floor Sunday, Jan. 3, has spent later weeks getting ready for his new role, including orientation in Washington.

He said he attended sessions on drafting legislation, ethics, compensation, hiring staff, research and COVID-19.

Also, Clyde has worked hiring a staff and setting up offices in Washington and the 9th District. He will keep the same district office that Collins occupied at 210 Washington St. NW, Gainesville.

“We should have the staff up and running with major positions filled by the time we get the keys to our office,” or on Jan. 4, he said.

“I’ll be sending out emails on a regular basis that give updates to folks about what’s going on, where I’ve been in the district and what I’ve been doing in D.C.,” he said. “It’s very important we keep our district apprised as to what I’m doing and where I’ll be.”

Clyde also said he’s exploring “telephone town halls,” an approach Collins took in connecting with residents of the mostly Republican Northeast Georgia district, and “coffee with a congressman” events.

“It will be much less enjoyable for him being part of a minority rather than the majority,” said University of Georgia political scientist Charles Bullock, on Wednesday, Dec. 30.

“And as a freshman on a committee, he’s not going to be able to play much of a role. If you’re a junior member of the minority party, you’re going to be mainly watching and observing — which isn’t bad, as you get to learn the ropes and expectations.”

Democrat Keybo Taylor has taken action after being sworn in as Gwinnett County Sheriff, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Gwinnett County’s new sheriff made good on a promise he made months ago and formally announced on Friday that his office is opting out of the controversial 287(g) program and disbanding its Rapid Response Team in the county’s jail.

Sheriff Keybo Taylor made the move to end the department’s participation in the 287(g) program and disband the response team on his first day in office.

Chief Deputy Cleo Atwater said the human trafficking and child exploitation unit, which will be known as the TRACE Unit, will be tasked with ensuring there is a safe environment for children in the county. He pointed out that Gwinnett County is home to Georgia’s largest school district and said a key to making sure students in the district are successful in school is to ensure they are safe in the community.

Meanwhile, the gang unit will, as its name suggests, focus on reducing gang-related crimes in the county.

“Fifty percent of the violence that occurs in Gwinnett County has some type of gang, criminal street gang nexus,” Atwater said. “It is either gang-on-gang violence, or it’s gang members in the commissioning of other crimes and felonious acts.

“We will further the fight against criminal street gang violence by the implementation of education, mentoring and enforcement.”

United States Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) campaigned in Garden City for the Georgia Democratic candidates on Sunday, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris was greeted by thunderous car horns at a drive-in event near Savannah just days before voters decide their next Senators in contentious races that will shape Harris’ and President-elect Joe Biden’s governing future.

Harris reminded the enthused voters at Garden City Stadium of the stakes of the runoffs during the rally for Georgia Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and native Savannahian, the Rev. Raphael Warnock. They are challenging Republican incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, respectively.

Harris also encouraged voters whose faith in elections have been challenged to “dig deep and see in our hearts in minds what is possible.”

From another story in the Savannah Morning News.

Harris previously stumped for Ossoff and Warnock on Dec. 21 in Columbus.  Opposite Harris in Savannah on Sunday was South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott making the national pitch for the Georgia incumbents. Scott stumped for the Republican senators at 24e Design Co. on Broughton Street.

Earlier in the day Loeffler joined South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem in McDonough for a campaign event. It was the second of three events for Noem, who also made stops in  Dalton and Macon on Sunday.

[Senator David] Perdue is currently quarantining after being exposed to a staff member with the coronavirus. His campaign said Sunday that he has had three negative tests.

From the AJC:

“I’m here to thank you on behalf of Joe and myself for what you did in November,” she said, referring to President-elect Joe Biden. “And I’m here to ask you to do it again.”

Her visit was part of a push that will culminate with three rallies Monday: Vice President Mike Pence will stump for Republican U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler at a megachurch, while Biden and President Donald Trump hold dueling rallies later in the day.

Democrat Raphael Warnock campaigned in Brunswick, according to The Brunswick News.

“I’m running to be the United States senator for all of Georgia, but this is my part of the state,” Warnock said. “I’m from south Georgia. I’m from coastal Georgia. I know about a Lowcountry boil.”

Democrat Stacey Abrams campaigned in Columbia County, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

“Not only is it hard sometimes to live in a red state, it’s hard to live in a red county,” Abrams said.

Despite the challenges, Abrams said many of the votes that helped flip the state blue in the presidential election came from Columbia County.

“And we’re going to do it again,” she said.

Georgia voters set new turnout records for the General Election Runoffs, according to the Macon Telegraph.

As of Dec. 30, 2,812,994 million votes have been cast, according to data from the U.S. Election Project. The previous record was 2.1 million voters in the 2008 runoff election between former Republican U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss and Democrat Jim Martin.

Burke County voters turned out heavily during early voting, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Burke County Elections Director Laverne Sello said on Wednesday that in her 15 years of working in elections, she has never seen so many early voters in a Georgia runoff election as she has this year.

“It’s the best runoff we’ve ever had. We’ve never had a runoff like this,” said Sello, who oversees balloting in a county of about 22,000 just south of Augusta.

Those 3,501 ballots did not include mail-in absentee ballots that had been returned and accepted. These added another 825.

“The main thing you concentrate on is getting your people to come back to vote again,” said political scientist Charles S. Bullock III of the University of Georgia.

“Republicans had a ground game going into November — that is door-knocking, things like this,” he said. “Democrats didn’t in November, but they have one this time.”

“The Republican theme is largely one of fear: If the Democrats win, they say, ‘You lose.’” and pack the Supreme Court, harm health care, raise taxes and kill jobs and businesses, he said.

From The Brunswick News:

A total of 27,465 votes were cast in-person by the time early voting polls closed on Thursday, nearly 50 percent turnout. Voters cast 7,855 ballots at the early voting location in the Ballard Community Building, 4,696 in the Office Park Building in Brunswick and 7,150 at Glynn County Fire Station No. 2 on St. Simons Island.

According to local elections officials, 7,764 mail-in ballots have been accepted.

Turnout in the runoff election may very well be unprecedented in Glynn County. By way of comparison, Glynn’s registered electorate cast 35,098 votes early and by mail in advance in the Nov. 3 general election. A total of 42,202 ballots were cast in the general election.

President Trump spoke to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Saturday, according to the AJC.

President Donald Trump badgered and berated Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in a call Saturday, demanding that he “find” votes to reverse his election defeat in Georgia — the latest example of the extraordinary pressure he’s exerted on state Republican officials ahead of critical runoffs for control of the U.S. Senate.

Raffensperger refused demands from Trump to overturn the election results, telling him that the “data you have is wrong” as he pushed back on Trump’s sham theories of “stuffed ballot boxes” that the president said would reverse Joe Biden’s roughly 12,000-vote victory in Georgia.

“Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break. We have that in spades already,” Trump said, suggesting more legal action. “Or we can keep it going. But that’s not fair to the voters of Georgia.”

“We won this election in Georgia based on all of this. There’s nothing wrong with saying that, Brad. The people of Georgia are angry and these numbers are going to be repeated on Monday night,” Trump said, adding: “There’s nothing wrong with saying that you’ve recalculated.”

“It’s pretty clear that we won. We won pretty substantially. And you even see it by rally size,” Trump said, later accusing one of Raffensperger’s attorneys of being a “Never Trumper.”

“It’s going to have a big impact on Tuesday if you guys don’t get this thing straightened out fast,” said Trump. At another point in the conversation, he warned that a “lot of people aren’t going out to vote” in the runoffs to send a message to Raffensperger.

United States District Court Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner ruled that Muscogee County can continue to require provisional ballots from people with mailing addresses outside the county, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner ruled that Muscogee County may continue to require voters with mailing addresses outside the county to file provisional ballots in Georgia’s Jan. 5 runoffs, but it cannot disqualify those ballots based solely the voters’ names appearing on a postal service list called the “National Change of Address.”

That means to throw those ballots out, the county must have additional evidence showing those voters are not eligible to cast ballots here, such as proof that they have registered to vote in another state.

Besides people who have established residency elsewhere, the NCOA includes Columbus residents who have moved temporarily for work, college or military service, but still maintain homes in Muscogee County.

The county elections board found probable cause to sustain Russell’s challenge on Dec. 16, with the result that anyone challenged had to cast a provisional ballot to vote and would be asked to document a residence here to have that ballot counted, when the local elections board reviews the provisional ballots cast.

Gardner’s latest order sets out a procedure for the board’s handling voters whose ballots may be disqualified because other evidence shows they no longer maintain homes here:

•  They’re to be notified by phone and in writing by 5 p.m. EST Jan. 6.
• They’re to be advised of their right to be heard and present evidence that their ballots should be counted.
• They’re to be offered the opportunity to present their evidence in person or virtually at a hearing at 4 p.m. Jan. 8.
• They may email their information to elections director Nancy Boren at, fax it to 706-225-4394, mail it by 5 p.m. Jan. 8 to the Muscogee County Board of Elections and Registration at P.O. Box 1340, Columbus, Ga., 31902.

The City of Dalton has received $174,814 in federal COVID relief funding to provide eviction relief to local residents, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

Hall County schools will begin the new semester online, according to the Gainesville Times.

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