Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 23, 2021


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 23, 2021

Bon Homme Richard

John Paul Jones, at the helm of US ship Bonhomme Richard, won a naval battle off the coast of England on September 23, 1779.

After inflicting considerable damage to the Bonhomme Richard, Richard Pearson, the captain of the Serapis, asked Jones if he had struck his colors, the naval sign indicating surrender. From his disabled ship, Jones replied, “I have not yet begun to fight,” and after three more hours of furious fighting the Serapis and Countess of Scarborough surrendered to him.

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark returned to St. Louis Missouri from their exploratory trip to the Pacific coast on September 23, 1806.

On September 23, 1944, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was speaking at a dinner with the Teamsters union and addressed attacks that had been made by Republicans, including the allegation that after leaving his dog, Fala, behind in the Aleutian Islands, he sent a Navy destroyer to fetch the dog. This would become known as the “Fala speech.”

These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala. Well, of course, I don’t resent attacks, and my family don’t resent attacks, but Fala does resent them. You know, Fala is Scotch, and being a Scottie, as soon as he learned that the Republican fiction writers in Congress and out had concocted a story that I’d left him behind on an Aleutian island and had sent a destroyer back to find him—at a cost to the taxpayers of two or three, or eight or twenty million dollars—his Scotch soul was furious. He has not been the same dog since. I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself … But I think I have a right to resent, to object, to libelous statements about my dog.

The idea for the joke was given to FDR by Orson Welles. The political lesson here is that any time you get an audience laughing at your opponent, you are winning.

A statue of former Georgia Governor Eugene Talmadge on the grounds of the Georgia State Capitol was unveiled on September 23, 1949, the 65th anniversary of Talmadge’s birth near Forsyth, Georgia in 1884.

On September 23, 1952, Senator Richard M. Nixon was under fire for allegedly accepting $18,000 and using it for personal expenses. To salvage his place as the Vice Presidential candidate on Eisenhower’s Republican ticket, Nixon took to the airwaves in the first nationally-televised address and delivered what came to be known as the “Checkers Speech. From The Atlantic:

[A] 1999 poll of leading communication scholars ranked the address as the sixth most important American speech of the 20th century — close behind the soaring addresses of Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The “Checkers” speech wins this high rank for one stand-out reason: It marked the beginning of the television age in American politics. It also salvaged Nixon’s career, plucking a last-second success from the jaws of abject humiliation, and profoundly shaped Nixon’s personal and professional outlook, convincing him that television was a way to do an end-run around the press and the political “establishment.”

Click here for the full text of the “Checkers Speech.”

The last game played in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium took place on September 23, 1996.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp issued Executive Order #, empaneling a commission to consider the latest indictment of Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Mark Jones (D). From the Ledger-Enquirer:

Just a week after one felony case against Columbus District Attorney Mark Jones ended in a mistrial, authorities took the next step in pursuing a second case that ultimately could cost Jones his job.

The [appointed commission] members include:

•  Harold Melton, retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia
•  Joe Mulholland, District Attorney of the South Georgia Judicial District
•  Samir Patel, District Attorney of the Cherokee Judicial District

Under state law, the commission must submit a report to Kemp in 14 days, outlining its recommendations. Kemp may extend the review period.

If the commission recommends Jones be suspended and the governor follows through, then a replacement district attorney will be appointed to fill in pending the outcome of Jones’ criminal case.

If Jones is acquitted, he can return to office and be compensated for any lost pay. Jones will continue to be paid until possible conviction.

The commission will examine allegations detailed in a Sept. 7 indictment based on evidence from a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent, whose testimony was presented to a grand jury by a prosecutor state Attorney General Chris Carr assigned to the case.

It also says Jones attempted bribery when he offered Chief Assistant District Attorney Sheneka Terry and Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Schwartz $1,000 each to obtain murder convictions in cases the indictment did not specify. The indictment states that Jones attempted to get Schwartz to announce that a murder case was ready for trial when it was not.

Former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell‘s latest conspiracy theory posits a murderous Democratic plot in Georgia. From Yahoo News:

“I think what we are dealing with here is pervasive and very, very dark,” Powell said. “It’s organized. It’s well funded. It’s pure evil. They are willing to kill people, a la Kelly Loeffler’s aide in Georgia, who was suddenly blown up in his car on the way to a rally for her. He happened to be dating Gov. Kemp’s daughter. Gov. Kemp was considering, I think, at that point, a signature audit.”

She also mentioned a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent was “dead within a week” after the crash. She claimed this agent was leading an investigation into the crash, though the bureau has denied this was the case.

State Rep. Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus) has been named U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, according to the Capitol Beat News Service.

President Joe Biden nominated Georgia Rep. Calvin Smyre, D-Columbus, Wednesday as U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic.

Smyre, elected to the House in 1974 at the age of 26, has held a number of leadership positions over the years. He is currently chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and served as the first Black chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party.

His legislative record is highlighted by the critical role he played in replacing Georgia’s segregation-era state flag featuring the Confederate battle standard and by his sponsorship of legislation making Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a state holiday.

“If confirmed, I look forward to advancing the interests of the United States in the Dominican Republic and our relationship with the Dominican government,” Smyre said in a prepared stastement. “As a longtime businessman and public servant, I will bring my background and experience to continue the significant work with an important economic partner in the Caribbean.”

From the AJC:

Gov. Brian Kemp praised the Columbus Democrat’s “unmatched statesmanship and unique willingness to work across the aisle.” Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan said he was “so grateful” for his friendship.

And longtime friend, House Speaker David Ralston, said the nation “could not have a better ambassador” than Smyre.

“As a beneficiary of his wisdom and counsel, I consider it an honor to have served with him,” said Ralston. “And while I will miss seeing my friend everyday, our nation will be better for his service as our ambassador.”

Donald Trump, Jr. headlined a rally for State Sen. Burt Jones, who is running for Lieutenant Governor, according to the AJC.

Time and again, [Jones] emphasized his support for a special legislative session to “investigate” the election results — a move that Gov. Brian Kemp and other GOP leaders said would have flouted the state Constitution.

Without naming names, Jones said many of his fellow Republicans have turned their backs on the party’s constituency by refusing to take more drastic action to support Trump.

“It’s people like you in this room that put people like me in elected office. And when you forget about the people, you no longer deserve to be an elected official,” he told the crowd of about 200 packing the theater.

“I’m seeing a movement in this state. People are engaged and ready to push back. And, in a lot of cases, people are angry. They want an investigation of the 2020 election. Just a simple investigation.”

DJT, Jr. paid a visit to Adventure Outdoors in Smyrna, according to Yahoo News.

Without notes, the former president’s son spoke to the 50-some attendees about a variety of topics, but mainly focused on gun rights.

“As I see the attacks, you realize it’s not going to stop,” Trump Jr. said. “As I see the other parts of the agenda that are being pushed on us, you realize and understand why the Second Amendment is so important.”

Asked about election integrity by an audience member, he said that “we need people in the state legislatures, people in those positions of power in government, that have the guts to actually stand up.”

Trump Jr. reflected on his family’s long relationship with football great Herschel Walker, now a Trump-endorsed Senate candidate in Georgia.

“He’s just a great American, a great patriot, a believer in freedom … he could do whatever he wants, and he wants to fight for his country,” Trump Jr. told the MDJ. “And I think that’s absolutely awesome. I think we need a lot more of that in politics.”

Georgia Senate President Pro Tem Butch Miller (R-Gainesville) campaigned for Lieutenant Governor in Albany, according to the Albany Herald.

“The reason I’m running for lieutenant governor (is that) at a deep, dark period of my life when we experienced a family tragedy, people from across the state comforted my family and I and picked me back up on my feet,” the candidate said. “I want to do that or the state.”

Miller’s campaign has stressed his conservative bona fides, including his strong support for Senate Bill 202, part of controversial election legislation passed by the Legislature this year, as well as for immigration legislation and support for law enforcement. His Facebook page includes posts supporting the construction of a wall at the nation’s Southern border and Texas’ controversial abortion law that went into effect in September.

“I feel like our country and our state and our culture are at a crossroads,” Miller said. “We have seen in a few short months the government pay people for not working. We have seen violence in our cities, and we will see that violence come to our small towns. We have seen people not willing to work.”

“I think if we look at the state of Georgia and the future of this state, (it) is dependent on rural broadband,” he said. “Just like electricity was for generations prior, broadband will be for generations going forward.”

“No major manufacturer, no major health care company, no major investor is going to put themselves in an area that doesn’t have broadband.”
Miller said he would like for the state to develop a statewide strategy to provide broadband internet access and use federal dollars to implement that strategy.

Republican Jeanne Seaver, also running for Lieutenant Governor, will hold an event tonight on St Simons Island with former United States Senator David Perdue. For more information about her campaign, please visit her website.

State Rep. Susan Holmes (R-Monticello) announced she will retire from office after her current term.

Georgia state government has a $3.7 billion dollar surplus, according to the Center Square via the Albany Herald.

The Georgia Revenues and Reserves report said the state increased its rainy day fund and still had money left over after the 2021 fiscal year, which ran July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021.

Georgia’s rainy day fund grew from $2.7 billion on July 1, 2020, to nearly $4.3 billion by June 30 because of the surplus. State law requires 15% of the state’s general revenue funds be placed in the reserve account.

Lawmakers must decide what the state will do with the remaining nearly $2.2 billion. Economic analysts said the surplus is a one-time boost that has been injected into the state economy.

Cobb County elections has set early voting hours for the November elections, according to the AJC.

Early voting for the municipal elections will begin Oct. 12 in Cobb County, according to a voting schedule recently announced by the county’s elections officials.

Twenty municipal seats in Acworth, Austell, Kennesaw, Marietta and Powder Springs will be decided when voters hit the polls on Election Day, Nov. 2.

Seven advance polling locations throughout the county have been selected for voters to cast their ballots early.

For more information, check the Cobb County Board of Elections webpage.

Whitfield county opens early voting the same day for municipal elections, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

Voters in Dalton and Varnell go to the polls Nov. 2 for municipal elections.

Early voting for both cities will take place in the elections office in the courthouse. Early voting will be from Oct. 12 to Oct. 29 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Early voting will also take place on Saturdays, Oct. 16 and 23, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Voters must bring a photo ID.

Other local cities have no contested races this year and will not be having elections.

U.S. Representative Buddy Carter (R-Pooler) will not run for the Senate, according to The Brunswick News.

“Herschel Walker supports the America First agenda and has my complete endorsement,” Carter said Wednesday. “I’ll be his fullback and do everything I can to ensure he has the opportunity to fight for our Georgia values in the United States Senate.”

Carter had said all along that his own candidacy in the Senate race would depend on whether Walker stepped into the ring.

He will, however, seek a fifth two-year term of office in the House.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr (R) was in Albany this week, according to the Albany Herald.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said Wednesday during a visit to southwest Georgia that his focus on the duties of his office does not change when he’s on the campaign trail.

“I enjoy campaigning, but you have to find the right balance,” Carr, who met with The Albany Herald at Elements Coffee on Ledo Road for a one-on-one before heading to “a little work and a little campaigning” in Moultrie, said. “This is a big state — the largest east of the Mississippi — and setting up (campaign staff) in all 159 counties definitely keeps us busy.”

“Today, we’ve met with some sheriffs in the region, went to a fundraiser in Tifton, visited Lee State Prison, and we have a meeting with one more sheriff and a fundraiser in Moultrie. You do a lot of planning.”

“Look, I’m somebody who believes in staying in his lane,” the attorney general said. “I am a Constitutional officer elected to do the will of the people of the state of Georgia. The duty of our office is to provide legal advice, the best legal advice possible. And in this office, we do our job.”

“Professionally and personally, I believe in the rule of law. Any elected official who is not doing that is not carrying out the duties of his or her office, is guilty of dereliction of duty, of violating the oath of office.”

“Look, I’m pro-vaccine, and I encourage everyone to get the vaccine,” he said. “But for any individual to assume that, with the stroke of a pen, he can mandate that people do so is just wrong. Constitutionally, he can’t do this.”

“The way the constitution is set up, decisions of this sort are made by the individual states. Congress may be able to debate this, but the president does not have the Constitutional right to make such mandates.”

“I think history is going to judge Gov. Kemp and the state favorably,” he said. “In circumstances like this, there is no playbook. But what has to be weighed is the health of the state’s citizens and their right to earn a living. To lose either is tragic. I think the approach the governor and other state leaders have taken is the right one.”

The Chatham County Democratic Party nominated Alldrein Murray as their member of the Chatham County elections board, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Murray was nominated by the Chatham County Democratic Committee to replace Lang on the Board of Elections. State law gives local parties the authority to pick the replacement. Lang is a Democrat.

Murray will hold the seat through the end of the term next year.

Gwinnett County Commissioners banned discrimination based on immigration status, hairstyle, or housing status, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Gwinnett commissioners moved to broaden the county government’s nondiscrimination policies this week by adding several new protections for county employees, including barring discrimination based on their immigration status, hairstyle or housing situation.

The county’s nondiscrimination policy was updated by the commissioners on Tuesday. Among the new areas that are protected from discrimination are ancestry or homeless, immigration or family statuses.

The revisions also borrow from the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act, also known as the CROWN Act, by forbidding discrimination against employees if they have ethnic hairstyles.

The county said nationwide data shows that Black women are 1.5 times more likely to face discrimination in the workplace and be sent home if they wear ethnic hairstyles or textures. These styles and textures can include braids, locs, twists or knots, according to the county.

The Georgia General Assembly House and Senate Joint Study Committee on Airport Infrastructure and Improvements will meet on St Simons Island next Tuesday, according to The Brunswick News.

The committee is co-chaired by state Rep. Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, and Sen. Frank Ginn, R-Danielsville.

The committee is collecting input around the state on how Georgia can improve its airports to help keep the state economically competitive and a leader in the movement of goods and persons.

Jamestown Community Center in Augusta will revert to municipal management, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Jamestown Community Center will return to management by Augusta Recreation and Parks, the commission voted Tuesday.

A neighborhood association founded and run by Sias has had a contract to operate Jamestown for nearly 25 years. In the 2000s Sandridge Community Association began receiving sales tax funds to make capital improvements at Jamestown.

Sias was indicted in July for destroying evidence investigators sought involving Jamestown, Sandridge and Sales Tax 6 and then lying to a federal agent about it.

Rome City Commissioners declined to put a $25 million dollar road bond on the November ballot, according to the Rome News Tribune.

The board voted 6-3 at a special called meeting Wednesday against putting the question on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Instead, they adopted an alternative proposal from City Manager Sammy Rich to dedicate $4 million in the 2022 budget to add to other road funding. The city already gets an annual state grant, has an earmark in the SPLOST and is expecting federal funds from the infrastructure bill pending in Congress.

Warner Robins City Council may consider requiring permits for new types of events, according to 13WMAZ.

Warner Robins city leaders are talking about ways to restrict large parties and gatherings like the one that led to the fatal shooting of 15-year-old Tanyla Johnson, which happened at a large block party earlier this month — several hundred people attended. City officials say they don’t want that to happen again. The city currently requires a permit for parades or picketing, but no ordinance or permit for large gatherings like block parties, but that could change soon.

During Monday night’s city council meeting Councilman Clifford Holmes said someone came to him with concerns following the recent deadly shooting, so he brought the discussion to mayor and council. He agrees there should be limits on gatherings but for good reasons.

“We do not penalize churches, school organizations that helps things for fundraising purposes, churches that have anniversaries or homecomings or what have you,” said Holmes.

Assistant Police Chief Chris Rooks says they’re taking a look at party permit rules in nearby cities. He says they also need to adjust their current noise ordinance because it’s ineffective.

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