Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 21, 2022

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 21, 2022

On November 21, 1620 (November 11 under the calendar used then), the first governing document of the English colony at Plymouth, Massachusetts, the Mayflower Compact, was signed by most of the male passengers of the Mayflower.

Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.

The Georgia Trustees outlawed rum in the colony on November 21, 1733 after James Oglethorpe wrote them that it was responsible for sickness and death in Georgia. Two-hundred eighty-six years later, Richland Rum is being distilled with Georgia-grown sugar cane in Richland, Georgia.

North Carolina ratified the Constitution on November 21, 1789, becoming the twelfth state to do so.

On November 21, 1860 Governor Joseph Brown called a Secession Convention following the election of Abraham Lincoln as President.

Abraham Lincoln traveled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 18, 1863.

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President Abraham Lincoln delivered an 87-word speech at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, 1863.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

On November 19, 1864, as Sherman marched toward Savannah, the Georgia delegation to the Confederate Congress in Richmond, Virginia, sent a message to the state,

“Let every man fly to arms! Remove your negroes, horses, cattle, and provisions from Sherman’s army, and burn what you cannot carry. Burn all bridges and block up the roads in his route. Assail the invader in front, flank, and rear, by night and by day. Let him have no rest.”

Carl Vinson was born on November 18, 1883 in Baldwin County, Georgia. At noon on that day, U.S. and Canadian railroads implemented four time zones for the first time.

Efficient rail transportation demanded a more uniform time-keeping system. Rather than turning to the federal governments of the United States and Canada to create a North American system of time zones, the powerful railroad companies took it upon themselves to create a new time code system. The companies agreed to divide the continent into four time zones; the dividing lines adopted were very close to the ones we still use today.

Most Americans and Canadians quickly embraced their new time zones, since railroads were often their lifeblood and main link with the rest of the world. However, it was not until 1918 that Congress officially adopted the railroad time zones and put them under the supervision of the Interstate Commerce Commission.

November 21, 1922 was the first day of Rebecca Latimer Fulton’s service in the United States Senate from Georgia as the first woman to serve in that chamber.

Mickey Mouse debuted in a black-and-white film called “Steamboat Willie” on November 18, 1928.

On November 18, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt traveled from Washington, DC to Savannah, Georgia by train for Georgia’s Bicentennial and delivered a speech at Municipal Stadium.

Duane Allman was born in Nashville, Tennessee on November 20, 1946.

The first issue of National Review magazine was published on November 19, 1955.

President John F. Kennedy lifted the naval blockade of Cuba on November 20, 1962, ending the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Carl Vinson was honored on his 81st birthday in Milledgeville, Georgia on November 18, 1964; Vinson did not run for reelection in 1964 and retired after 50 years in office.

Apollo 12 landed on the moon on November 19, 1969.

President Richard M. Nixon flew into Robins Air Force Base for Carl Vinson’s 90th birthday on November 18, 1973; on the trip he announced the next American nuclear supercarrier would be named USS Carl Vinson.

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President Richard Nixon, Secretary of the Navy John Warner, Carl Vinson, Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird on November 18, 1973. John Warner would later be the namesake of USS John Warner, a Virginia-class nuclear submarine.

On November 20, 1975, Ronald Reagan announced he would run for President of the United States against incumbent Republican Gerald Ford. On May 4, 1976, Reagan won Georgia’s Presidential Primary with 68% over Ford.

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President Ronald Reagan met for the first time with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev on November 19, 1985.

On November 18, 1989, Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey signed the Abortion Control Act, the first abortion restrictions enacted after Roe v. Wade.

Newt Gingrich was reelected Speaker of the House on November 20, 1996.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Georgia Speaker David Ralston died last week. From Fox5Atlanta:

Ralston was elected by members of the Georgia House to serve as the 73rd speaker in 2010. He was the longest-tenured house speaker in the country before his death. He was the second-longest-serving speaker in the state’s history.

Ralston was elected by members of the Georgia House to serve as the 73rd speaker in 2010. He was the longest-tenured house speaker in the country before his death. He was the second-longest-serving speaker in the state’s history.

Speaker Pro Tempore Jan Jones, a Milton Republican, will take over the remainder of the term as House Speaker.

From the Georgia State House of Representatives:

Speaker David Ralston, 73rd Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, passed away on Wednesday, Nov. 16. Public memorial services for Speaker Ralston are as follows:

Tuesday, Nov. 22, at 11:00 a.m. until Wednesday, Nov. 23, at 11:00 a.m. Speaker Ralston lies in state in the Rotunda of the State Capitol Georgia State Capitol, 206 Washington Street SW, Atlanta

Friday, Nov. 25, from 2:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Visitation at Logan Funeral Home Logan Funeral Home, 357 Dalton Street, Ellijay

Saturday, Nov. 26, from 2:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Visitation at Akins-Cobb Funeral Home Akins-Cobb Funeral Home, 7871 Blue Ridge Drive, Blue Ridge

Sunday, Nov. 27, at 1:00 p.m. Funeral Service at Fannin County High School Performing Arts Center Fannin County High School Performing Arts Center, 1 Rebel Circle in Blue Ridge

Speaker Ralston’s full obituary may be found here.

Letters of condolence may be sent to the Office of the Speaker, 332 State Capitol, Atlanta, Georgia 30334.

From WGAU:

Upon news that he was stepping down, Gov. Brian Kemp said Ralston was a great leader for Georgia.

“David Ralston has been a steadfast leader for Georgia throughout his time as Speaker, and our state is better off thanks to his wisdom and commitment to all Georgians while guiding the House through challenging times,” Kemp said.

Former Gov. Nathan Deal called Ralston a personal friend.

“David has been a good, personal friend of mine for more than 40 years,” Deal said. “He’s been an outstanding leader. His steady hand and guidance helped bring order and efficiency to the General Assembly, which can be an unwieldy and unpredictable body at times. I could have asked for no better partner during my tenure as governor.”

Born in Ellijay, Ralston was a graduate of Gilmer County High School. He went on to attend Young Harris College and North Georgia College (now the University of North Georgia), where he earned his bachelor’s degree with honors. He later received his law degree from the University of Georgia.

Ralston leaves behind his wife Sheree and two children.

From the AJC:

Charles S. Bullock III, a political science professor at the University of Georgia and a longtime Capitol observer, said Ralston took control of the House “at kind of a troubled time” and gained “respect on both sides of the aisle.”

He had a calmer demeanor than the often mercurial Richardson and was thought to hold the House in good order, Bullock said. Though that became harder to do as the fragmented politics of the Trump era impinged on state legislatures and pulled segments further right or left.

Ralston began his legislative career in the state Senate, where he represented a North Georgia district as a Republican at a time when Democrats ran the Statehouse. He grew up in the region and hung his lawyer’s shingle there after getting a professional start in Athens. He served in the Senate from 1992 to 1998 before making an unsuccessful bid to become Georgia’s attorney general.

Ralston returned to the Capitol in 2003 after winning election to House District 7, which includes Fannin and Gilmer counties and part of Dawson County.

Veteran state Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur, said Ralston enjoyed a “good reputation for moderate leadership” and for not creating any additional tension in the House.

“He is a gentleman and professional, and I count him as a friend,” Oliver said before his death.

Oliver said Ralston, as a speaker, will be remembered for his advocacy for rural Georgia and his House district.

In early 2017, Ralston came out in support of a resolution, calling for creation of a rural caucus of 15 lawmakers that would be tasked with figuring out how to economically boost rural Georgia.

“Rural Georgia has not seen the positive results of growth and faces challenges, very real challenges to its future,” he said. “We have talked about this for too long. It is time now to make a priority of rural economic development in Georgia.”

Rural Georgia, like much of the nation, has seen hospitals close and its number of medical professionals shrink. When he made the statement, six rural hospitals had closed in Georgia in the previous four years.

University System Chancellor Sonny Perdue, who served as governor from 2003 to 2011, said, “Speaker David Ralston was a steadfast friend of the University System of Georgia and someone who epitomized the spirit of a great citizen legislator and leader. His vision helped create the University of North Georgia’s new Blue Ridge campus while his guidance helped set the tone for accountability and affordability on behalf of our students.”

Governor Kemp issued Executive Order #11.16.22.01, lowering flags on state properties to half-staff in honor of the late Speaker Ralston through sunset on the day of his interment.

From the Tifton Gazette:

“He cherished the idea of his beloved House being a body that truly represented all of Georgia’s people, and he respected each of the elected members that comprised it, regardless of partisan differences,” said Georgia Senate Majority Leader Steve Gooch, a Republican. “It takes a genuinely good and decent person to lead that way. That is how Speaker Ralston will be remembered in our hearts and our history, as a genuinely good and decent man.”

“Speaker Ralston cared about institutions in a way that is rare,” Democrat State Rep. Josh McLaurin said. “He showed respect where it was due and asked the same in return. Politics and disagreements are inevitable, but his statesmanship was a choice.”

Ralston, 68, also worked with leaders in both parties to move Georgia forward through bipartisan legislation like Georgia’s comprehensive adoption reform in 2018 and the state’s first-ever paid parental leave policy for state employees and teachers in 2021, according to his office.

In 2022, Ralston led the fight for historic reform of mental health care in Georgia, Georgia’s Mental Health Parity Act, and accompanying funding to transform both access to and delivery of mental health services and treatment options throughout the state.

“He possessed a formidable mind, served as a thoughtful leader and was a dear, true friend,” said former Democrat House representative and gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. “Our politics differed but David never allowed them to permanently divide. God’s peace to a great Georgian who will be missed.”

Georgia voters will have a Saturday early voting option in the U.S. Senate runoff, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thomas A. Cox Jr. ruled Friday in favor of a lawsuit challenging the Georgia Secretary of State’s barring of the Saturday early voting date for the much-anticipated Herschel Walker vs. Raphael Warnock U.S. Senate runoff. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger had instructed county elections officials to disallow Saturday voting based on his interpretation of state voting law.

Cox sided with Warnock and other plaintiffs in the lawsuit. The ruling means early voting locations across the state can be open for as many as seven days starting Saturday, Nov. 26. In some counties, including Chatham, polls will be open on Sunday, Nov. 27 as well.

The Secretary of State’s Office initially disallowed voting on Nov. 26 because of the dates proximity to two holidays.

Democratic plaintiffs argued that the exception for early voting was intended for primary and general elections, not runoffs.

From WTOC:

Chatham County will now offer early voting on a Saturday for the December runoff election in the U.S. Senate race between Senator Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker.

According to the Chatham County Voter Registration Office, they county will host early in-person voting on Saturday, November 26th from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the main office at 1117 Eisenhower Drive.

This comes after a Fulton County judge ruled in favor of allowing Saturday voting in a hearing Friday.

Georgia is appealing to the Georgia Court of Appeals a lower court decision on the state’s “Heartbeat Bill” abortion legislation, according to the AJC.

Fulton Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney on Tuesday ordered the state to no longer enforce the 2019 law, which banned most abortions once fetal cardiac activity could be detected, typically at about six weeks into a pregnancy and before many know they are pregnant. The law had been in effect in Georgia since July.

McBurney’s order said abortions must be regulated as they were before Georgia’s 2019 law took effect — meaning the procedure is again allowed up until about 22 weeks of pregnancy.

Attorneys for the state told the Supreme Court that it is in the public interest not only to overturn McBurney’s ruling, but to block it while the court considers the case.

“The harm to the state is significant and irreparable,” attorneys wrote in the appeal filed with the court. “Unborn children are at risk every day that the injunction continues.”

In their appeal, attorneys for the state said it doesn’t matter whether the law was not constitutional when it passed the General Assembly in 2019, it is now in line with the law as established by the Dobbs decision.

“The Superior Court fundamentally misunderstood the role of courts, which merely interpret law in the course of issuing judgments in individual cases,” attorneys wrote in the appeal. “Courts do not amend the constitution, and the constitution does not change simply because a court’s view of it changes.”

The Atlanta Press Club will not host a debate after neither candidate accepted their invitation, according to WTVM.

“The Atlanta Press Club believes debating is an important part of any election as a way to help voters contrast where the candidates stand on issues important to them,” said Ken Foskett, Atlanta Press Club board chair. “We are disappointed neither candidate confirmed participation in the debate.”

Apparently neither the candidates nor the voters agree with Mr. Foskett’s statement.

Governor Brian Kemp campaigned with GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker, according to the AJC.

Gov. Brian Kemp on Saturday campaigned for the first time with Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Herschel Walker, the most significant effort yet to persuade voters who backed both the governor and Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock to return to the GOP fold for the runoff.

“We cannot rest on our laurels here, everyone,” Kemp said to a crowd of hundreds outside a Smyrna gun store that plays hosts to many GOP rallies. “We have got more wood to chop.”

About 200,000 Georgians voted for Kemp but not Walker, whose campaign has been plagued by controversy. While Kemp and other statewide Republicans easily prevailed, Walker trailed Warnock by 35,000 votes. A four-week runoff was required when neither won a majority of the vote.

Now both candidates are taking steps to woo those swing voters. Warnock launched TV ads that highlight a Republican who said she was “proud” to back both Kemp and Warnock. And Democrats held a nearby event Saturday featuring other wavering Republicans.

Republicans hope Kemp is a powerful closing messenger for Walker now that he can no longer make a case that Senate control is on the line, depriving the GOP of one of its most potent arguments to skeptical voters.

Kemp steered the conversation back to the issue that helped him win his November rematch against Democrat Stacey Abrams: an effort to cast the GOP as the party working to blunt the effect of decades-high inflation on President Joe Biden’s watch.

“He will go fight for those values that we believe in here in our state. And that’s why it’s time to retire Raphael Warnock,“ Kemp said, adding: “I know that Herschel Walker will do like we’ve done in Georgia and be fiscally conservative and cut runaway spending.”

United States Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Extreme Northwest Georgia) was the first to endorse Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign, according to Atlanta News First via WTVM.

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene endorsed Donald Trump Thursday, becoming Georgia’s first congressional representative to endorse the nation’s 45th president in his latest quest for the White House.

Greene, a longtime Trump supporter, easily won re-election on Nov. 8 to a second term from Georgia’s 14 district.

Trump announced he was again running for president earlier this week. Greene made the endorsement on the Truth. social website.

Greene had been stripped of [Committee] assignments when Democrats controlled the House.

Presumptive new House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has indicated Greene will resume some of her old assignments.

During Trump’s Tuesday night announcement, he again reiterated his support for Herschel Walker, who is seeking to unseat Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock in a Dec. 6 runoff.

Albany and Dougherty County remain in a standoff over Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) proceeds, according to the Albany Herald.

With the state-mandated deadline looming for Dougherty County and the city of Albany to agree on a plan to renew the Local Option Sales Tax, Albany is seeking to increase its share of the revenue over the 10-year period to align the distribution more closely with the level of services each government provides.

The city proposes incrementally increasing its share of LOST dollars to 70% from the current 60% over the next decade.

With the state-mandated deadline looming for Dougherty County and the city of Albany to agree on a plan to renew the Local Option Sales Tax, Albany is seeking to increase its share of the revenue over the 10-year period to align the distribution more closely with the level of services each government provides.

The city proposes incrementally increasing its share of LOST dollars to 70% from the current 60% over the next decade.

“It’s essential for both the city of Albany and Dougherty County to come to an agreement that preserves this important source of revenue that provides for services our constituents depend on while providing property tax relief for homeowners and businesses alike,” Mayor Bo Dorough said. “The city and county work as partners and will continue to do so, but the current split doesn’t add up when you consider that the city provides 75% of intergovernmental services for the entire county.

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