Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 20, 2022

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Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 20, 2022

On September 20, 1863, the Confederate Army of the Tennessee under General Braxton Bragg repelled Union forces under General William Rosencrans at the Battle of Chickamauga. After Gettysburg, Chickamauga is generally considered the second-bloodiest battle of the Civil War, with 18,500 Confederate casualties and 16,100 Union dead.

Chester A. Arthur was sworn in as President of the United States on September 20, 1881.

The year 1881 began with Republican Rutherford B. Hayes in office. Hayes served out his first and only term and officially turned over the reins of government to James A. Garfield, who happened to be a close friend of his, in March 1881.

Just four months into his term, on July 2, Garfield was shot by an assassin named Charles Guiteau. Guiteau claimed to have killed Garfield because he refused to grant Guiteau a political appointment. Garfield sustained wounds to his back and abdomen and struggled to recover throughout the summer. Though it appeared he would pull through in early September, the autopsy report revealed that the internal bullet wound contributed to an aneurism that ultimately killed Garfield on September 19.

The first classes at Oglethorpe University under it’s current non-denominational charter were held on September 20, 1916. Happy 101st Anniversary to the Stormy Petrels. The university was originally affiliated with the Presbyterian Church and located in Midway, Georgia. In 1870, after a period of closure during the Civil War they relocated to the Atlanta area.

On September 20, 1976, Playboy magazine released an interview with Jimmy Carter, then a candidate for President.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

A new poll by the AJC shows Governor Brian Kemp with an 8-point lead over Democrat Stacey Abrams, according to Axios.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has a commanding and expanding lead over Democratic rival Stacey Abrams with less than 50 days remaining until the widely anticipated 2022 elections, per the latest Atlanta Journal-Constitution/University of Georgia poll shared with Axios.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) is in a statistical dead heat with Republican challenger Herschel Walker.

From the AJC:

The poll of likely voters released Tuesday showed the U.S. Senate race deadlocked between Warnock, who had 44%, and Republican Herschel Walker, who was at 46%. That’s within the poll’s margin of error. An additional 3% of voters indicate they’ll back Libertarian Chase Oliver, while 7% are undecided.

Gov. Brian Kemp led Stacey Abrams 50% to 42% in the AJC poll, one of the first polls that shows the Republican incumbent north of the majority-vote mark he needs to win a second term without a runoff.

Some 51% of likely Georgia voters want the Republican Party to win control of Congress, while 70% say the country is on the wrong track.

And just 37% approve of President Joe Biden’s performance in office, statistically unchanged since the last AJC poll in July. While Biden’s approval rating is rebounding in some other battleground states, he remains underwater in Georgia.

The poll was conducted Sept. 5-16 and has a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points. It’s one of the first public polls in Georgia since Biden signed a federal tax and health care measure and announced his plan to forgive student college debt.

Republican Herschel Walker is setting expectations for his performance against Senator Raphael Warnock. From the Savannah Morning News:

The highly anticipated debate is less than a month away, but Walker downplayed himself when asked what he is doing to prepare for the showdown against Warnock.

“I am getting out talking to people and talking to you (referring to the media),” said Walker. “I’m a country boy. I’m not that smart. He’s a preacher. (Warnock) is smart and wears these nice suits. So, he is going to show up and embarrass me at the debate Oct. 14th, and I’m just waiting to show up and I will do my best.”

But when asked about why he declined to debate Warnock initially, he became aggravated and said he had to hunt down Warnock and told him to “put his big man pants on.”

“He may not even show up for that one,” said Walker. “He has made every excuse not to show up. I begged him until I chased him down and then he decided he was going to show up Oct. 14. I didn’t agree to do his debate because it wasn’t fair. A fair debate is doing it in front of the voters, and I’ve agreed.”

“The race is neck and neck,” said Walker. “And what I have to do is continue to get out and meet people, which is what I’m doing here. I’m more than just a football player. What I’m doing now is moving forward by talking to the voters, because that’s what really counts and let them know what I stand for. I was a great football player, but I will be a better senator because I represent the people.”

“Well, one of the things I learned is this port is the second largest generator in the country of money, and yet [they] wanted to hire 87,000 IRS agents. Wait a minute. If the Port is generating revenue, and if the second largest generator in the country is here, don’t you think we ought to take maybe 4,000 of those agents and put them here on the Port? That still leaves them 83,000. I can count. Then take maybe 3,000 and put them in the schools as police officers.”

“I am from Wrightsville, Ga.,” said Walker. “People are living paycheck to paycheck. They have to afford milk and eggs. Right now, this economy is terrible. The economy not getting better. That is a lie. We got to put money into other things and get people motivated to go to work.”

The AJC profiles the candidates for Agriculture Commissioner, Republican Tyler Harper and Democrat Nakita Hemingway.

For just the third time in over half a century, Georgia’s Department of Agriculture will have a new leader in 2023.

Since 1969, the agency has been led by two men: Democrat Tommy Irvin, who served as commissioner for more than 40 years, and his successor, Republican Gary Black, who is finishing his third term as agriculture commissioner. Now, after Black’s unsuccessful run for Georgia’s U.S. Senate seat, the door has been opened for new leadership.

The candidates vying to replace Black are Republican state Sen. Tyler Harper and Democrat Nakita Hemingway, as well as Libertarian David Raudabaugh. Hemingway and Harper are the favorites, but the third-party candidate could draw enough votes to keep anyone from reaching the 50% vote share threshold needed to avoid a runoff.

Whoever wins the general election will take over an agency that is critical to the state’s economy. The department is tasked with ensuring food safety; monitoring animal diseases; marketing Georgia’s fruit, vegetables and protein to the global market; and even regulating gasoline quality.

Harper says his farming heritage combined with his political experience gives him the tools to address the challenges facing Georgia’s No. 1 industry.

“I don’t think you’ll find a background, record or experience that matches what we have to go to work on day one in January to fight for this industry every day and ensure that it’s successful,” Harper said.

Chatham County, Savannah, and its other municipalities, are still negotiating Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) revenue split after entering mediation, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Negotiations over sharing nearly $1 billion in local sales tax funds resumed Friday, but the stakeholders have yet to reach agreement.

Local leaders met in Richmond Hill for the first in a series of mediation sessions regarding the Local Option Sales Tax, or LOST. The 1% levy is applied to the purchase of most goods and services in Chatham County. Agreement between Chatham County leaders and those of the county’s eight municipalities about how to split LOST proceeds must be reached before the current accord expires on Dec. 31.

A thorny round of discussions on how to divvy up a major source of revenue began in July. The county and cities ultimately failed to reach an agreement, leading to Friday’s mediation meeting, which took place behind closed doors.

During a Monday night council meeting, Garden City’s city attorney, James Gerard, said that the jurisdictions are “closer than we were before … but it’s going to take more meetings.”

The government jurisdictions have until the end of the year to agree on a new breakdown for the LOST certificate. Otherwise, the billion-dollar revenue generator will go uncollected, resulting in severe property tax hikes for all Chatham County residents.

Warner Robins City Council approved its property tax millage rate for this fiscal year, according to 13WMAZ.

Earlier this month, Mayor LaRhonda Patrick proposed keeping the millage rate the same at 9.98 mills, but most Warner Robins property owners could see higher tax bills because property assessments went up and the city has not adopted the rollback rate.

The city notice says on average, the owner of a $150,000 home would pay about $64 more.

The Richmond County public school system is reviewing its safety plans after two shootings at football games, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

The Thomson-Laney football game was postposed Friday night after shots were fired near the stadium. Two suspects were detained and three guns were seized, according to the sheriff’s office. No injuries were reported.

Less than 24 hours later, gunshots were reported at the T.W. Josey High School homecoming tailgate.

The shooting took place after the football game outside of the football stadium, according to the sheriff’s office. Two victims suffered at least one gunshot wound and were brought to the hospital for treatment. Their current conditions are unknown.

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