Category: Elections


Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for January 7, 2014

On January 7, 1789, Georgia voters cast their first ballots for President of the United States of America. Georgia’s electors met the next month in Augusta and cast Georgia’s electoral votes for George Washington.

On January 7, 1795, Governor George Matthews signed legislation passed by the Georgia General Assembly, that described itself thusly,

An Act supplementary to an Act entitled ‘An Act for appropriating a part of the unlocated territory of this state for the payment of the late state troops, and for other purposes therein mentioned, declaring the right of this State to the unappropriated territory thereof, for the protection and support of the frontiers of this State, and for other purposes.’

This was one of the first major economic development undertakings by the state government and would come to be known as the Great Yazoo Land Fraud. The bill, passed under the pressure of intense lobbying, was such an abomination that the next year’s General Assembly revoked the Act and ordered all copies of the legislation burned, igniting a tradition that continues to this day.

Wedgwood Yazoo

In 1933, the Transylvania Club of Sandersville, Georgia commissioned a set of commemorative plates by Wedgwood; Mr. C.D. Shelnutt, Mr. C.F. Irwin, and Mr. B.J. Tarbutton paid the required deposit to begin production of the plates. In 1974, then-Governor Jimmy Carter signed a resolution of the General Assembly naming the plates the official historical plates of Georgia, and they continue to be offered for sale in pink or blue.

People who had purchased land under the Act sued to prevent the state’s overturning its own conveyances, and the United States Supreme Court for the first time invalidated a state law as unconstitutional, in a case styled Fletcher v. Peck (1810).

On January 7, 1961, Hamilton E. Holmes drove from Atlanta to Athens to enroll in the University of Georgia, beginning the desegregatation of the institution.

On January 7, 1972, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., having previously turned down appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States, was sworn in as an Associate Justice, along with William Rehnquist, who would be elevated to Chief Justice by President Ronald Reagan. Powell earned his undergraduate and law degrees from Washington & Lee University and its School of Law.

On January 7, 1997, Georgia’s Newt Gingrich was reelected Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the first Republican reelected in 68 years; he would resign his Congressional seat less than a year later.

On January 7, 1998, former White House intern Monica Lewinsky signed an affidavit denying she’d had an affair with President Bill Clinton.

On January 7, 1999, the Senate impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton began. Chief Justice of the United States William Rehnquist presided and Georgia Congressman Bob Barr was one of thirteen house “managers,” responsible for prosecuting the case in the Senate.

Voting today

The polls will be open today from 7 AM to 7 PM for Special Elections in Georgia State House District 2 (Catoosa, Walker and Whitfield) and District 22 (Cherokee, Forsyth and Fulton Counties.

If you live in one of those counties and have questions about whether you’re eligible to vote tomorrow and where, please login to the Secretary of State’s My Voter Page. You may also check with your county Board of Elections.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for January 6, 2014

Polls open for the 2014 Georgia Republican Primary Election in 134 days. Polls open tomorrow at 7 AM for Special Elections in Georgia State House District 2 (Catoosa, Walker and Whitfield) and District 22 (Cherokee, Forsyth and Fulton Counties.

If you live in one of those counties and have questions about whether you’re eligible to vote tomorrow and where, please login to the Secretary of State’s My Voter Page. You may also check with your county Board of Elections.

State House District 2 candidates

Neal Florence (R)  Facebook | raised $58k, spent $27k

Steve Tarvin (R)  Facebook | no reports filed

Doug Woodruff (R)  Facebook | raised $22k, spent $12k

State House District 22 candidates

Meagan Biello (R)  Facebook | raised $5k, spent $3k

Nate Cochran (R)  Facebook | no report filed

Jeff Duncan (R)  Facebook | raised $16k, spent $12k

Sam Moore (R)  Facebook | raised $18k, spent $11k

Note: all totals above are from the 15-days before report, though some have since filed a December 31 report. Reports were checked on Monday, January 6, 2014 between 9 and 9:30 AM.


On January 5, 2001, Congress certified George W. Bush as winner of the 2000 Presidential election.

On January 6, 1785, Samuel Elbert was elected Governor of Georgia by the General Assembly and later served as Sheriff of Chatham County.

On January 6, 1961, United States District Court Judge William Bootle ordered the University of Georgia to enroll Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter, ending the segregation of UGA.


 Glynn GOP: US Senate Candidate Forum with Rep. Jack Kingston

January 6, 2014 from 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Christian Renewal Church, 4265 Norwich St Ext (aka Hwy 341) Brunswick , GA 31520

Jack Kingston, US House Representative for Dist 1 and US Senate Candidate for GA, is appearing in the fourth of our US Senate candidate forums We are expecting a large crowd so come early to get your seat and to spend time talking with Rep Kingston before the program begins. Short candidate speech followed by questions posed by our panel Please bring a friend, neighbor, spouse – or even a stranger – who is interested in learning more about candidates…

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January 7, 2014 from 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM
Red Lobster, 700 Shorter Ave SW Rome, GA 30165+ Google Map

The Floyd County Republican Women meeting  – guest speaker will be Sam Olens, GA Attorney General. Please come and bring a friend.

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January 7, 2014 from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Olde Blind Dog Irish Pub,

705 Town Boulevard, Brookhaven , GA 30319 United States

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Please join Speaker David Ralston, Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, Majority Leader Larry O’Neal, Brookhaven Mayor J Max Davis, Chamblee Mayor Eric Clarkson and Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis at a campaign fundraiser for State Rep. Mike Jacobs. With Ron Paul inspired primary opposition set to formally announce after the start of the legislative session, we need your help now. Olde Blind Dog is located in Town Brookhaven, off of Peachtree Road just south of Oglethorpe University.

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January 7, 2014 from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
The Georgian Club, 100 Galleria Parkway Atlanta , GA 30339

You are Invited to a Reception For Senator Judson Hill, Vice Chairman of the Republican Senate Caucus, Chairman Senate Finance Committee. Suggested Contribution $250    Contributions may be made payable to Friends of Judson Hill, 3102 Raines Court, Marietta, GA 30062. In lieu of your appearance, please consider making an online contribution at

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January 7, 2014 from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Pinetree Country Club , 3400 McCollum Parkway, Kennesaw, GA 30144
January 7, 2014 from 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Gilmer county Court House, 1 Broad S Ellijay, GA 30540

The Gilmer County Republican Party with David Pennington, candidate for Georgia Governor. Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend this very important meeting.

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January 7, 2014 from 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Henry County Public Safety Complex Community Room, 116 Zack Hinton Pkwy McDonough, GA 30253

The monthly meeting of the Henry County GOP with  DAVID PERDUE Candidate for U.S. Senate and NANCY JESTER  Candidate for Georgia State School Superintendent

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January 7, 2014 from 10:00 PM – 11:00 PM


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January 8, 2014 from 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM
Johnny Harris Banquet Hall,

1651 E. Victory Drive Savannah, GA 31404 United States

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PROGRAM: Forum of Candidates for 1st District Congressional Seat Candidates: Buddy Carter, Darwin Carter, Jeff Chapman, Bob Johnson, John McCallum and Earl Martin. PERMANENT RESERVATION LIST: If you are on permanent list and you fail to show or notify otherwise, you are responsible for paying for lunch. You will be removed from the permanent list after two infractions. You must cancel by Monday before the luncheon. Please RSVP: Reservations to: Rebecca Rhinehart (398-0111) Reservation’s by Noon, Monday, January 6,…

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January 9, 2014 from 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Green Ginger Restaurant, 200 Market Place Connector Peachtree City , GA 30269

The Greater Fayette Republican Women’s Club will hold their installation of officers for 2014-2015 on Thursday, January 9th. The officers to be installed are President Alberta Lucas,  Vice President Mary Kay Rudd,  Secretary Becky Steely, and  Treasurer Debby Dickinson.  For more information, please contact Debby Dickinson, 404-376-4132

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January 9, 2014 from 4:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Columbus Convention and Trade Center, 801 Front Avenue Columbus , GA 31901

For 168 years the Chamber has been working for you in the Greater Columbus region. Join us for our Annual Meeting as we celebrate the successes of 2013.  A review of 2013 and a preview of 2014 will be presented. There is no cost to attend this event. Reservations on-line only by January 6, 2014.

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January 9, 2014 from 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
The Capital Grille, 255 E. Paces Ferry Road Atlanta , GA 30305+ Google Map

You are invited to support Senate President Pro Tempore David Shafer at this fundraising reception for his re-election campaign. Authorized by the David Shafer Senate Committee. Kindly RSVP to Denise Deal at 678.617.1625.

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January 9, 2014 from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
VFW, 725 Hwy 27 Cataula, GA 31804
Meet and Greet at 6:00 pm and Meeting at 6:30 pm.  Meals, Snacks, and Beverages available.
January 9, 2014 from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Be My Guest: Catering and Events,

4216 Washington Rd Evans, GA 30809 United States

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Our speaker, Dr. Linda Tucciarone, is the Executive Director of Heritage Academy in Augusta, Georgia. She will discuss Georgia’s GOAL Scholarship program, school choice as well as the mission and success of Heritage Academy in providing quality education for students who would normally be in poorly performing schools. Social/Dinner is 6-7 pm. Meeeting is 7-8pm. $12 buffet style dinner per person.

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January 9, 2014 from 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Six Feet Under – Grant Park, 437 Memorial Drive S.E. Atlanta , GA 30312
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Happy New Year!  We enjoyed our break after the Holiday Party and look forward to catching up with everyone at our January Happy Hour. With the venue just down the street from the Georgia Capitol, we hope that interns and staffers (and any interested legislators) can drop by as well.

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January 9, 2014 from 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Charlton County Public Library,

1291 Indian Trail Folkston , GA 31537 United States

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Charlton County GOP We will hold our first meeting of 2014 this Thursday, January 9th at 7pm in the Meeting Room of the Charlton County Public Library.

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January 9, 2014 from 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Mt. Pleasant UMC,

55 Hwy 229 Social Circle , GA 30035 United States

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Our January meeting. Featured speakers will include U.S. Senate candidate Karen Handel and Mike Collins for Congress, candidate for the 10th Congressional District.

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January 11, 2014 from 8:15 AM – 9:15 AM
Cobb GOP HQ, 799 Roswell St Marietta, GA 30060
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Cobb GOP January Pancake Breakfast with U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson

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January 11, 2014 9:00 AM @ 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
VFW, 1011 Corder Road. Warner Robins, GA 30188
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Houston County Republican Party welcomes to its January meeting Phil Gingrey, Republican candidate for Senate and Congressman representing Georgia’s 11th District

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January 11, 2014 from 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Golden Corral, 605 Bullsboro Drive Newnan , GA 30265
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Please join us for the monthly Coweta GOP breakfast meeting. This month’s speakers will be U.S. Senate candidates Karen Handel and David Perdue. This will be your opportunity to meet the candidates in person and ask them questions about their vision for Georgia and America. We encourage everyone to come early and have breakfast. We look forward to seeing you Saturday!

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Cherokee County GOP: Meeting with Rep. Phil Gingrey & Allan Levine

January 11, 2014 from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Winchester’s Woodfire Grill,

110 Mountain Vista Blvd Canton, 30115

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Congressman Phil Gingrey and Allan Levine will be joining us to talk about their respective campaigns for US Senate and US Congress. We look forward to a productive and exciting 2014 with you!

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January 11, 2014 from 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Kingwood Resort,

401 Country Club Drive Clayton, 30525

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Guest Speaker: Sen. John Wilkinson

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January 11, 2014 from 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
DeKalb GOP HQ,

1532 Dunwoody Village Court Dunwoody , GA 30338 United States

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Join us as we invite the candidates for the State School Superintendent to present their insights and vision for education in Georgia. Contact : Linda Kelley Smith, Chairman, Dekalb GOP 404-422-5462

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January 11, 2014 from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Fayette GOP HQ,

174 GLYNN ST N Fayetteville, GA 30214 United States

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Fayette County Teens Republicans have planned out their winter season projects and are ready to roll.  Chairman Tylan Jones, VC Matt Stordy, Secretary Arik Li and Treasurer Jack Fredrikson are the newly elected Executive Board and ask you to attend the first meeting. Teens are very welcomed from the ages of 14-18 years of age and have the desire to learn of the political process especially with an upcoming active 2014 campaign year.  Becoming a leader and learning lifelong skills…

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January 12, 2014

Happy Birthday – Lt. Governor Casey Cagle

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January 12, 2014 from 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Georgia Railroad Depot,

65 Martin Luther King, Jr., Drive, S.E. Atlanta , GA 30334 United States

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The “Wild Hog Supper,” a Georgia tradition dating to 1962, marks the opening of the legislative session each year. In recent years, the Atlanta Community Food Bank has collected non-perishable food items donated by attendees. Please join our Honorary Host Committee Governor Nathan Deal, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, Chairman John Wilkinson, Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee, Chairman Tom McCall, House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee, and the Executive Directors of Georgia’s 7 Regional Food Banks as we celebrate the…

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January 12, 2014 from 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Atlanta Dayanut Institute, 5065 High Point Rd Atlanta , GA 30342

“Israel Alone?” A Lecture with Michael Medved How Israel can continue to flourish in an increasingly hostile world

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January 13, 2014 12:00 AM
Georgia State Capitol, 206 Washington St SW Atlanta, 30334

First Day of Session – 2013 Georgia General Assembly

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January 13, 2014 from 7:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Georgia State Capitol,

206 Washington St SW Atlanta, GA 30334 United States

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On Monday, Jan. 13, SGA, in partnership with the Office of Government and Community Relations, will host its annual Georgia Tech Day at the Capitol and is inviting all students to join. At this event, students will learn more about what happens under the gold dome and can thank state leaders for their commitment to higher education. Students who attend will have the opportunity to: – Interact with representatives – Take a tour of the Capitol, receiving a special…

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January 13, 2014 6:45 PM @ 6:45 PM – 8:45 PM
Gainesville Civic Center,

830 Green Street, NE Gainesville, GA 30501 United States

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Register for Free Event Today! Invite A Friend! Concerned Women for America (CWA) of Georgia in partnership with American Principles Project is excited to announce the upcoming Confronting the Common Core education event in Gainesville, Georgia. Come hear a panel discussion that exposes the threat of the Common Core to Georgia’s educational sovereignty. Be ready to be educated, equipped and empowered to stop the Common Core! Walk away with the tools you will need to help Georgia reverse course and return…

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January 13, 2014 7:00 PM @ 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Mimi’s Restaurant,

4880 Mall of Georgia Blvd Buford, GA 30549 United States

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The January meeting of the GGRW will be on Monday, the 13th at Mimi’s Restaurant in Buford near Mall of GA. The featured speaker will be Mark Rountree, noted political consultant and campaign advisor for some of the most prominent Georgians.  Since this is an election year. and Georgia will be electing a new Senator and several Congressmen, Mark will discuss “winning in 2014” a strategy for Republicans. All are invited to attend what will surely be a topical and interesting meeting.…

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January 13, 2014 from 7:30 PM – 8:00 PM

Congressman Rob Woodall Telephone Town Hall Please join me for a Telephone Town Hall Meeting on January 13th. Dial-in: 877-229-8493 Password: 17849

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CQ Roll Call Candidate Spotlight: Dr. Bob Johnson


Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for January 3, 2014

Racetrack cover

In 137 days, the Primary Elections for federal offices will be held in Georgia, with the General Assembly likely to move state Primary Elections to the same date. It is also likely that the first ballots will be cast in a little over three months from today, as early voting will likely begin in April this year. Welcome to the starting line.

On January 3, 1766, the British crown sent its first taxation representative to Georgia to administer the Stamp Act, which required each piece of paper, including business and legal documents, to bear an embossed stamp to show that tax had been paid. Georgia’s royal Governor had to have the agent protected with armed troops and he left two weeks later. Georgia merchants agreed to pay the tax in order to allow ships to be unloaded (which required a written bill of lading, hence the tax requirement). Georgia was the only colony in which taxes were actually collected under the Stamp Act, earning the enmity of other states. Thus, our current disdain for taxation has an historical precendent.

On January 3, 1861, Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown ordered volunteer militia to seize Fort Pulaski, then controlled by the federal government, though Georgia then remained part of the United States. In spring 1862, the feds, with new rifled cannon, seized Pulaski back and cut off traffic on the Savannah River to the Port of Savannah.

On January 3, 1947 Helen Douglas Mankin ended her only term in Congress from Georgia. She is often cited as the first female member of Congress from Georgia, though Florence Gibbs actually holds that distinction. Mankin was elected in a 1945 Special Election and defeated for reelection in 1946.

On January 3, 1956, Iris Faircloth Blitch was sworn in to Congress from Georgia’s Eighth District, becoming the first woman elected in a regular election who would serve a full term in Congress from Georgia.

On January 3, 1973, Andrew Young became the first Black Member of Congress from Georgia since reconstruction, serving the Fifth District until his appointment in 1977 by fellow Georgian Jimmy Carter as Ambassador to the United Nations.

Saturday is the 53d birthday of Michale Stipe, born at Fort McPherson, Georgia in 1960.

On January 4, 1995, Georgia Congressman Newt Gingrich was elected Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, becoming the third Georgian to hold that office after Congressmen Charles Crisp (1892-1896) and Howell Cobb (1850-1851).

On January 4, 1999, Alvin T. “Al” Wong was sworn in as Judge of the DeKalb State Court, and took the bench as the first Asian-American judge in the Southeastern United States.

On January 5, 1868, General George Meade took command of the Third Military District, beginning the Reconstruction in Georgia.

On January 5, 1926, Hosea Williams was born in Attapulgus, Georgia.

In these three days, we see illustrated the sweep of Georgia’s history as a state. From the Colonial period, through the Civil War and Reconstruction, the movement of women into political leadership, followed by African-Americans, the ascendance of the Republican Party in Georgia and as the dominant Southern party, to the first steps of Asian-Americans and other minorities into roles of political leadership.

Speaking of Asian-Americans

First of all, I am one. My grandfather was Japanese. Also, two Asian-Americans were elected in Georgia in 2013, including Morrow City Councilwoman Hang Tran.

Five candidates may not sound like many, but previous election cycles typically saw just one or two, said Helen Ho, executive director of the Asian-American Legal Advocacy Center of Georgia.

“I kind of feel the snowball is finally getting bigger,” said Ho, whose organization is working to get Asian-Americans to vote. “There seems to be some momentum.”

Tran, who works as a chemist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the absence of Asian-Americans in local government motivated her to run. “I just thought there wasn’t enough representation,” she said.

This year, the name of Eugene Chin Yu, an Augusta businessman of Korean ancestry, will appear on the statewide ballot among candidates for Georgia’s open U.S. Senate seat.

Still, conversations with a half dozen Asian-Americans reveals a wide spectrum of political engagement — well short of a definitive groundswell. And even community leaders acknowledge the challenges of mobilizing a group that includes many disparate cultures and languages, as well as, among some immigrants, a fear of government instilled by repressive regimes in their countries of origin.

Daewon Hwang said his Korean church congregation in Cumming is a blank slate when it comes to political interest.

The reason? “The language problem,” the pastor said as he shopped in a Korean supermarket in Duluth, where 22 percent of residents are Asian-American.

Down the road in a Chinese supermarket, Yanfeng Li said he sees stirrings of engagement: websites that express political views, even some calls for candidates.

Edward Chu, an interpreter who lives in Lilburn, votes, but does not take an active interest in local politics. He’d like to see someone from the Chinese community elected to local office, but he would not support a candidate simply because of his or her heritage.

“I’d have to agree with them,” he said.

Behind the scenes, there’s a push under way to nudge Asian-Americans toward the voting booth.

Asian-American groups have canvassed door-to-door to register voters, made robo-calls before elections and brought in candidates for forums and dinners. For this year’s elections, they are targeting high-concentration areas such as Norcross, Clarkston, Duluth, Lawrenceville and John’s Creek.

Ho’s group has created a statewide database of Asian-Americans and other immigrants to track who is registered and who has voted. According to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, the number of Asian-Americans who are active voters grew by about 10,000 from 2008 to 2012 to stand at more than 72,000.

“We cannot just have other community members making important decisions,” said Travis Kim, who served as president for the past two years of the Korean American Association of Greater Atlanta. “We have to be involved.”

State Rep. B.J. Pak (R-Gwinnett) is the only Asian-American member of the Georgia General Assembly, and he wrote an op-ed in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution urging our fellow Asian-Americans to vote.

While Georgia’s AAPI voter rolls increased approximately 230 percent from 2004 to 2012, the actual turnout percentage has decreased. In Georgia, only 54.7 percent of Asian-Americans registered to vote voted in the 2012 presidential election.

In Gwinnett, where AAPIs comprise roughly 12 percent of the population — the highest percentage in the state — the turnout was even lower, at 51 percent. Despite having the highest percentage of those with college degrees among all groups, Asian-Americans had the lowest turnout percentage of all racial/ethnic groups.

AAPI statewide turnout percentage actually declined significantly during the last three presidential election cycles – from 65.7 percent in 2004 to 58 percent in 2008 and 54.7 percent in 2012. These percentages would shrink even more, if we were to include in the denominator the number of Asian-Americans who were eligible but not registered..

So, what might be causing lower turnout and perceived apathy? Based on my observations, some general themes emerge.

First, many first-generation AAPIs indicated they were unable to make it the polls on Election Day because they own and operate small businesses. Although several alternatives to in-person voting on Election Day exist, many of these voters simply were not familiar with the availability of early and absentee voting.

Second, the structure of government in the U.S. is complex. Many find it difficult to fully comprehend the functions of each political office for which they are voting. Many also find it intimidating to vote because they are not fluent in English. Ballots and instructions are in English.

Third, the AAPI population is diverse. Attitudes regarding civic involvement vary in light of their past experiences with their birth country. Some simply believe they cannot have a relationship with their elected officials, that their votes would not matter, or that they cannot make a difference in government.

Lastly, when AAPI parents do not vote, their children are less likely to be involved civically.

How do we reverse the trend? At the very least, it requires combined efforts by government officials, candidates for office, and community leaders.

Perhaps some folks would like to help Rep. Pak get his op-ed translated and published in some of the Asian-language newspapers and newsletters that appear in our communities. Sounds like a great way for the Georgia Republican Party to start outreach to groups of voters some of whom are likely to be sympathetic to conservative ideology if we reach out to them.

Helen Kim Ho, who is mentioned in the first article above, makes such a point in another Op-ed in the AJC.

Any political party interested in expanding its base in Georgia must engage immigrant voters or those who have come to this country recently and become naturalized citizens.

Take Gwinnett County, with 4.5 percent Asian, 4.8 percent Latino and 25 percent African-American active voters. While voter turnout as a whole went down between the last two presidential elections at both state and county levels, voter turnout in Gwinnett increased among immigrants.

In the 2012 Duluth House district race, state Rep. Pedro Marin — the Democratic incumbent who was redistricted to a majority Republican district running through New Koreatown — won in large part due to Asian-American voters. He also won by a larger margin there than in his former majority-Democratic district.

What can be deduced from Marin’s race is that while many Asian-Americans identify as Republican — slightly more than 50 percent, based on an exit poll we conducted in 2010 — they vote ultimately on issues. A voter survey we conducted this year of hundreds of voters in Gwinnett found 20 percent saying they voted based on party loyalty.

The percentage of white voters in Georgia is on the decline. Georgia is growing more urban and less rural. Counting on the vote of avowed Democrats in the state won’t win or influence larger elections. And token, last-minute pleas to immigrant voters with top-down messaging don’t work.

That’s where knowledge of what issues catalyze immigrant civic participation can help win votes. Our 2013 Voter Survey, which included a majority of Asian respondents, asked respondents to select their top priorities from a list of 11 issues. The top three issues were public education, economic equity/small business and access to health care. Immigration was also important, but as a secondary issue alongside transportation and public safety.

Georgia Republicans now have a challenge squarely in front of us. Who’s willing to work on this project? I very rarely say nice things about the AJC, though their reporting on APS cheating scandals was world-class, but I want to thank them for paying attention to this issue.

Allen West calls out Georgia Democrats for opposing a Georgia Democrat

Allen West has called out some Georgia Democrats who are opposing the nomination of DeKalb County State Court Judge Eleanor Ross to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

Civil rights leaders are showing their “true colors” again in my home state of Georgia over judicial appointments.

According to Politico,

President Barack Obama has upset Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and other civil rights leaders by ignoring their input in picking four nominees to fill vacancies on the federal bench in Georgia’s Northern District.

Lewis and fellow Presidential Medal of Freedom winners Joseph Lowery and C.T. Vivian are expected to ask Obama to withdraw his nominees — a demand that is unlikely to be met — amid concerns about the judges’ records and convictions on matters of importance to African-Americans.

The three appointments in question are:

Mark Cohen — the lead defense attorney in challenges to Georgia’s voter ID law.
Michael Boggs – a state judge who, as a member of the state Legislature, once voted to keep in place the Confederate-themed Georgia state flag
Eleanor Ross – a female state judge who is black and (gasp) a REPUBLICAN

The fourth nominee (not being specifically contested by Lewis) is Leigh Martin May – a female trial lawyer who is white — but a Democrat.

Why is Ross such a troublesome choice for Lewis? According to Joe Saunders, writing for BizPac Review,

U.S. Rep. John L. Lewis (D-Ga) is accusing the president of selling out his political base by naming Eleanor Ross as a federal judge. She is, literally, not politically correct enough. Since most black women are Democrats, Lewis reasons, any black woman Obama appoints should be Democrat, too.

This case also clearly demonstrates who is raging the real “war on women.” The Democrats want to keep black women in their place, on the political plantation.

The irony in this all is that I’m not aware, as a DeKalb Republican, of any evidence that Eleanor Ross is a Republican, other than Democrats simply stating it. Here’s Judge Ross’s voting history, from

Eleanor Ross Voting Record3

Her voting record above shows Democratic Primary elections and General Elections. She served as an Assistant District Attorney in Fulton County and Assistant Solicitor in DeKalb under elected Democrats. A search of the Ethics Commission website shows no Republican donations. The only Republican tie of which I am aware is that Governor Nathan Deal appointed Ross to the DeKalb State Court.

I reject the contention that Eleanor Ross is a Republican as being based solely on the facts that Governor Deal appointed her to a nonpartisan position in DeKalb County and that her nomination to the federal bench is apparently supported by Georgia’s Republican United States Senators, without which any nomination is doomed.

And speaking of Allen West, he will be the featured speaker at the Bridging the Gap Lincoln Day Dinner on February 27, 2014 in Leesburg, Georgia. From an email I received:

Bridging The Gap of Georgia is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization created to assist veterans with their transition home.  Many of the veterans we serve suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Combat Stress and are homeless. We utilize a mentorship program to enable veterans to function as productive members of our society by addressing their housing, job placement, and health needs.

For the 1st Annual Lincoln Day Dinner, our featured speaker is LTC. Allen West who will share with the audience his extensive knowledge and experience, as well as provide insight on the support systems needed to enhance services to veterans. Attendees will get valuable information about Bridging The Gap of Georgia and initiatives that can address the needs and issues of veterans in their local community.

Please find detailed information about the event below.

1st Annual Lincoln Day Dinner
February 27, 2014  Time to be announced
Featured Speaker: LTC. Allen West
The Bindery at Oakland Library & Event Center
445 Oakland Parkway, West
Leesburg, GA 31763
$50.00 per person (includes dinner)
Proceeds to benefit Bridging The Gap of Georgia
Sponsored by the Lee County Republican Party

LTC. Allen West is a Georgia native, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Fox News contributor and served in both Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield.  His book, “Guardian of the Republic” is due to be released in April 2014.  Throughout his years leading troops, raising a loving family, serving as Congressman in Florida’s 22nd district, and emerging as one of the most authentic voices in conservative politics, LTC. West has never compromised the core values on which he was raised: family, faith, tradition, service, honor, fiscal responsibility, courage, and freedom.

You can reserve your seat for the Lincoln Day Dinner by visiting Bridging the Gap on their website.

Nancy Jester visits Spalding County GOP

Last night, Nancy Jester, Republican candidate for State School Superintendent, visited the Spalding County Republican Party.

Jester Noble

Saturday, Jester will speak to the Gwinnett County Republican Party monthly meeting at 550 Trackside in Lawrenceville. Karen Handel will also be addressing the meeting.

County party organizations or other conservative groups who would like to hear Nancy Jester’s conservative message about how to get better educational results for our children through conservative fiscal management and “more classroom, less bureaucracy,” please email her at

Greg Williams handicaps the Senate race

Our friend Greg Williams has his take on the starting positions in the Senate race. My own analogy is that we’re at the point where the candidates have been training and are now settling into the blocks. Like the picture at the top, they all start from the same starting line, but some will have an inside track. We’re in the middle distance phase of the race now, where you need both stamina, and endurance. Greg, of course, prefers a football metaphor.

Greg’s List is proud to provide our version of Georgia’s Best Conservative Senator rankings beginning Week One 2014. Our rankings will be comprised of scientific polling data, objective interviews, subjective analysis, and generalities drawn from an amalgamation of traditional media, social media and new media reactions to the individual candidates…In other words, we will provide the proverbial “Educated Guess”…or, “Enlightened Prediction” as we grassroot melo-dramatists prefer..
So, without further adieu, we present our “inaugural” rankings of 2014: 1. Jack Kingston–There’s no such thing as bad press and Kingston recovered nicely from his verbal fumble regarding childhood cafeteria sweeping aka Work Ethic in public schools. Kingston is the Senior member of Congress out of the three announced House of Representative candidates and has significant support from Coastal and Southern Georgia. Appearances on Bill Maher’s show and other national networks has enhanced his name ID in Metro Atlanta and he leads the pack in fundraising…
2. Karen Handel–With her grassroots apparatus from previous state wide races intact, Handel is a formidable competitor in the Senate race…On a purely subjective basis, Handel has the luxury of combining passionate and articulate volunteers that show up en masse for every state-side grassroot event.
3. David Perdue–Money, money, money…And lack of a voting record…Both are Boons to a prospective Senate candidate, and his last name won’t alienate him to voters, despite the wistful predictions from the anti-Sonny crowd…
4. Phil Gingrey–Clumsy defense of Todd Akin’s insanity regarding “legitimate rape” questions his ability to articulate Conservative principles…Has money though, and a large network due to his previous Congressional Geographic coverage…

5. Paul Broun–Fundraising and lamentable Social Conservative strict Biblical interpretations hold this candidacy back…The passion of his supporters could elevate him to run-off status but many things would have to fall into place and its too early to predict their manifestation..

Bill Byrne announces for Cobb Commission District 1

Byrne served as Chairman of the Cobb County Commission from 1992 to 2002 and is running for the district seat being vacated by Helen Goreham, who is not seeking reelection. From his pre-announcement:

As of December 30, 2013, I am announcing that I am a Republican candidate for Commission District 1, of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners.

My campaign will focus on the following issues facing Cobb County:

Decisions by Government, at all levels, must be fundamentally based on the principles of the Constitution and be limited, focused and based on the WILL OF THE PEOPLE being served.

The primary responsibility of Government, at all levels, must always be Public Safety.

I am committed to work with the cities of Acworth, Kennesaw and Marietta to bring new companies and business opportunities to those urban centers of Cobb County.


This should get Matt Laughridge’s attention


Perhaps apropos of that, I was forwarded in the last couple of days an email that purportedly was from Matt Laughridge’s consultant in his failed bid for Senate District 14. Here it is with the alleged sender’s name redacted. I have no way of knowing of this is genuine or a hoax, so make of it what you will:

Dear Suppliers,

I want to let each of you know how much I have appreciated your patience with me these last few weeks. I have never been in such a difficult situation with a client in all of my twenty three years of political consulting. I have provided the Matt Laughridge Campaign with everything they have requested in an effort to secure payment. I have made numerous attempts to meet with them, and/or simply just talk over the phone, but there has been no direct communication with Matt except for some text messaging since the campaign. Matt has refused to talk to me and directed me to his attorney. I therefore have had to get an attorney involved as well. My attorney has been encouraging and believes there will eventually be a positive outcome.

The decision of the Laughridge Campaign to withhold payment has been devastating to me both personally and professionally. It is hard to understand how anyone would do this to people especially during the holidays. I have always taken care of my vendors in a very timely manner. As the sole breadwinner for me and my family, you can imagine that this has been a true nightmare. It is a week before Christmas. The one charge card I use is tied up with unpaid campaign debt. Last year was the first Christmas without my husband, my children’s father. This season is difficult enough for us. This added unnecessary stress on me is making this year virtually intolerable.

I want you all to know that I am doing all that I can to honor my obligations in a timely manner. There are no words to express how sorry I am for this delay and how much I appreciate your patience. I will update you as soon as I have any information.

[name redacted]


Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for December 2, 2013

Top Stories

1. Accusations fly in Senate District 14 Runoff Election
2. North Georgia key in Senate election
3. Jason Carter throws Nathan Deal into briar patch

Economic Disaster Day observed

December 2d shall henceforth be known as National Economic Disaster Day. On December 2, 1939, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was born in Searchlight, Nevada. On this date in 1970, the federal Environmental Protection Agency began operating. Five years ago today, then-newly elected President Barack Obama said he would act swiftly on an economic plan “to solve this crisis and to ease the burden on our states.” Americans still wait for action on that item. Also on this date in 2008, Senator Saxby Chambliss was re-elected in a runoff victory over Democrat Jim Martin.

The Georgia Pundit Telethon

We here at Georgia Pundit believe that December is a great time of year to renew our commitment to serving God and His people. It’s also convenient that it falls in the time of year that typically has very little political activity. So this is our month of service, and for me, that means it’s a month of personally begging you to open your hearts and your wallets.

My House is a home for children whom the system and their families have failed. They provide a loving home, 24-hour medical care, and the highest quality of rehabilitiation for broken and discarded children. The children at My House are in DFCS custody, having been abandoned by, or taken from, their birth families. Generally speaking, the cause for most kids there currently is gross physical abuse.

The children who have the greatest medical needs are not well-served by a state system that can barely keep up with the healthy ones, let alone those who need hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of specialized care and 24-hour nursing assistance.

In my fourteen year association with My House, I have seen battered and neglected children given a second chance at the lives they deserve to live. And they need your help. It costs roughly $30,000 per month above and beyond the per diem they receive for each child they care for. Earlier this year, My House weathered a financial crisis and is steadier but still rebuilding their fundraising and volunteer base.

So the greatest gift you could give me this Christmas is to open your wallet, get out your credit or debit card, and make an online donation right now. If you’ve been blessed and can afford it, please consider signing up for a monthly recurring donation. Any amount will help, as a donor has generously agreed to pay all the credit card processing fees from online donations. That helps your five-dollar donation go further.

Peachtree Road Christmas

We are blessed to worship at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, which has for years been a strong supporter of My House. It’s a beautiful church, especially when decorated for Christmas, but the beauty of our sanctuary is secondary to our year-round mission.

While the public spaces are beautiful, far more impressive are the ground floor rooms that are filled with brand new winter coats and Christmas toys in preparation for Christmas Kindness, open from December 7th through the 11th.

Christmas Kindness is when we open a store for underprivileged members of our community to shop for gifts. Each client we serve is given a personal shopper who helps them choose gifts for each member of their family along with Christmas treats and the respect that every individual deserves. There is no better Christmas gift you can give yourself than helping someone else make a blessed Christmas for their children.

If you’re in Atlanta and have some free time and would like to help, email me and I’ll put you in touch.

Runoff Elections tomorrow

Tuesday, December 3d holds runoff elections in a couple of state legislative districts, and local races.

In the runoff for Senate District 14, Bruce Thompson is the adult in the race and we encourage everyone who is eligible to go vote for him tomorrow.

State Rep. Scot Turner (R-Cherokee) has endorsed and gone door-to-door with Bruce Thompson, supporting him in the runoff election.

Bruce Thompson Chuck Hufstetler

Bruce has also received support from State Senator Chuck Hufstetler, who joined him on the campaign trail, knocking on doors yesterday.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for November 27, 2013

Happy Hannukah

Tonight begins the eight-day Hannukah festival for our Jewish friends and family. Happy Hannukah. I think I’m going to head over to Bagel Palace today.

Cobb County Commission approves Braves Stadium

The vote was 4-1 with Commissioner Lisa Cupid the only dissenting vote. Chairman Tim Lee joined Commissioners Bob Ott, Helen Goreham, and JoAnn Birrell in favor. To me, the most surprising thing was the ability of people who are otherwise conservative Republicans to suspend everything we know about government in the rush to pass the stadium financing. It will come back to bite at least one of the Commissioners who voted for the financing.

As a conservative, I believe that government is a poor tool to use for just about anything except building roads and defending the nation. My objection to Obamacare is not that I don’t want everyone to have affordable health care, but that the government is a tragically-bad vehicle for providing it. Likewise, the Braves stadium. I suspect that over the coming years, the costs, both in terms of taxation and quality of life for areas surrounding the stadium will be greater than anticipated, and the “extension” of a property tax surcharge will come to be seen as the property tax increase it is.

But as a conservative, I also believe in the right of people to raise their own taxes and spend the money on things with which I disagree. Here are the most interesting quotes I’ve seen. From the Marietta Daily Journal article:

“It gives us progressive things but not only for presently now but for the future,” said Don Wilson of Marietta, District 11 chairman for Democratic Party of Georgia.

atricia Hay, of Mableton, urged commissioners to delay a vote for at least 60 days.
“This deal is happening too fast. It’s been two weeks, and we spent two years discussing whether or not we could have chickens in the back yards,” Hay said, receiving applause referring to heated conversations the county had about whether or not Cobb is an appropriate place for farm animals.

Dr. Bill Hudson, a retired dentist and former board member of the Georgia Tea Party, accused the majority Republican commission of being “country club Republicans.”

All members of the commission are Republicans with the exception of Cupid, southwest Cobb commissioner who opposed Tuesday’s Braves vote.

“Chamber of Commerce Republicans are very different from conservatives,” Hudson said, pointing to the pro-business nonprofit that has lobbied in favor of the deal from the beginning.

And from a separate story in the MDJ:

[Commissioner Lisa] Cupid said it wasn’t that she opposed the Braves moving to Cobb County, but that she was being asked to make a decision much too quickly given the size and complexity of the deal.

“I just have a very difficult time reasoning through the rush when we spend more time speaking about zoning matters that impact a fraction, a minute fraction of the public than what the stadium will impact, and we can delay and delay to make sure we don’t have enough houses in a particular subdivision, or that people don’t have to look at a certain thing in somebody else’s backyard, and we can’t delay this vote?” Cupid said. “It frightens me, to be honest, the number of threats I’ve received. If you want a 5-0 vote, you could have gotten it, it could have been easy, but I will not ever be bullied into sacrificing my commitment to the people that put me into this position.”

Commissioner Bob Ott said he reviewed the information over the last few weeks and was satisfied.

“At this time I do not think that a 60-day delay (is needed); there is no more information that needs to be put out there about what we have to vote on,” Ott said.

Debbie Dooley wrote on Facebook that at least two candidates will challenge Commissioner Helen Goreham when she is next up for election. The candidate she named is Neva Lent, President of Cobb Regional Republican Women.

Phil Kent on Sandy Springs Runoff Election December 3d

Phil Kent sends his thoughts on the runoff election for Sandy Springs City Council District 6.

The lone Dec. 3 runoff for Sandy Springs City Council is heating up in District 6 between candidates Andy Bauman and John Stoj. Bauman, in a recent email, blasts “the partisan politics of my opponent” and piously pledges to run a “positive campaign.”

The problem for Bauman? Several prominent GOP legislators including state Sens. Hunter Hill and Judson Hill have endorsed Stoj (Pronounced “Stoy”) because their man proudly notes that he is philosophically a Republican who believes in fiscal conservatism. Isn’t that helpful information to voters who are studying the candidates?

Yet it is too much for Bauman,  especially since a Stoj mailer revealed that Bauman voted for a Democrat in the Feb. 5 2008 presidential primary– either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama!. So Bauman continues to whine that Stoj is engaging in “partisanship” and that, by contrast, he is running a “positive” campaign.

A thought: District 6 (full disclosure: I live there) is a predominantly Republican area– so, in fact, is Sandy Springs. So why is it somehow “negative” for Stoj to simply point out he is– gasp!– a Republican?. Why doesn’t Bauman just say he is a Republican, too? Well, could it be because he isn’t one?

Let’s hope the District doesn’t elect a crypto-Democrat and thus give them a foothold on the Sandy Springs City Council.

Senator George Hooks joins RTA Strategy Group

Our friends at RTA Strategy Group send along the following news:

RTA Strategy, a political management group founded by the former Executive Secretary of the Georgia Ethics Commission, Rick Thompson, announces a partnership with former Georgia State Senator and Board of Regent, George Hooks.

“Since my arrival in Georgia almost a decade ago, Senator Hooks has been a confident, reliable voice of wisdom to me; from my time as a regulator through private practice. I’m honored to have the Senator as a strategic partner in our firm,” says Rick Thompson, RTA’s founder and President. “Senator Hooks is transitioning from lawmaker and Regent to advocate, and RTA is fortunate to be in a position to collaborate with him on strategic client matters,” Thompson adds.

George Hooks, a lifelong Democrat, served five terms in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1980 to 1990. In 1991 then Representative Hooks was elected to Georgia’s 14th District Senate seat, the seat held by former President Jimmy Carter, where he served until his resignation in January 2013. Governor Nathan Deal appointed Hooks to the Georgia Board of Regents after his retirement from the post as Dean of the Senate. The former Senator announced he was stepping down from the Regent post last month citing his “lifelong passion involving historic preservation.”

Jason Boles, Partner and Chief Operating Officer, stated, “Senator Hooks will serve in an official capacity here as Senior Government Affairs Advisor. We are tremendously excited to have his insight. He will further improve the value to existing clients and will open the door to untapped relationships.” Hooks will be lobbying for his own firm as well. “We recognize Senator Hooks’ priority is lobbying for historic preservation measures and that Americus is his base of operations and home. We appreciate that he will be involved and are excited to see him around our office,” adds Boles.

Organized in 2009, RTA Strategy/ R. Thompson & Associates is a political management group providing an array of strategic enterprise services to candidates, campaigns, lobbyist, PACs and corporations. The cornerstone of its services is disclosure-reporting consultation.

Paul Broun claims Georgia Right to Life endorsement

Congressman Paul Broun sent an email claiming that he is endorsed by Georgia Right to Life in his campaign for United States Senate. I say “claiming” not because I have any reason to doubt it, but I consider such statements to be unverified claims until I see the statement by Georgia Right to Life PAC on their own website.

If you are a Pro-Life voter in Senate District 14, House District 104 or the City of Canton, check out the Georgia Right to Life PAC endorsements in those elections, and for goodness’ sake, in any case, go vote today!

From Monday’s Congressional Hearing in Gainesville

Woodall Collins Kingston Jack Kingston on Committee2

From “Your Honor” to “the inmate”

Former Crawford County Chief Magistrate Andrea Peterman was sentenced to ten years probation and 160-180 days to serve in state custody.

In a plea deal, Peterman agreed to plead guilty to a count of fiduciary theft from Crawford County Probate Court and a count of violating her oath of office as the county’s elected chief magistrate judge.

As part of the plea agreement, Cooke agreed not to prosecute a charge that Peterman stole from Magistrate Court. Cooke told reporters she took money multiple times from each of the courts and typically tried to pay it back on payday. That’s not legal.

“Any time someone involved in public trust violates public trust, they’re going to do time,” Cooke said.

According to the indictment, the Probate Court theft occurred in February 2012.

Other terms of the agreement include paying back $12,717.62 to cover the costs of a forensic audit of Magistrate Court. A Probate Court audit was not performed.

Though now a convicted felon, Peterman also agreed not to seek or hold public office as part of the plea agreement.

She also had agreed not to seek a judicial office in a separate agreement with the Judicial Qualifications Commission.

On the death of Ray Newman

Today at 10 AM, friends and family will gather at Union Baptist Church, 527 Union Church Road in Winder to mark the earthly death of Ray Newman. Ray was a preacher, serving most recently at Macedonia Baptist Church in Oakwood, GA and represented the Georgia Baptist Convention at the state capitol.

Ray Newman was a friend, but above all else I will remember him for living a life that so embodied the Good News that his friends and family rejoice at his passing, assured in the knowledge that Ray joins our Father.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for November 5, 2013

Voting Today 7 AM to 7 PM

Voting will be held today for Mayor and City Council in municipalities across Georgia, as well as a number of SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) referenda and local issues such as bond issues (Marietta) or Sunday Sales of alcohol.

Visit the Secretary of State’s website and use the MVP tool to check your voting information.

Today also happens to be Bob Barr’s birthday. The birthday party is from 5:30 to 7 PM at the Red Hare Brewing Company in Marietta.

Special Election Watch

We will have at least two Special Elections coming up.

In State House District 2, a vacancy has been created by the hiring of Rep. Jay Neal for a job in the Department of Corrections.

Crystal Springs Tarvin

This photo was taken the same day that news of Rep. Neal’s hiring was released, so we assume this means Steve Tarvin, who challenged Neal in 2012, will be a candidate. Facebook posts by Tarvin in the past three hours suggest he’s likely to announce for the seat.

“I will need your help in the District 2 House race, It will get started soon. I need you to get everyone you know on board with us as soon as possible. Private message me if you are willing to help. I will return you message as quickly as I get to them. Thanks”

State House District 22 is also vacant upon the death of State Rep. Calvin Hill, for whom a memorial service is being held today.

Georgia Ranked #1 State for Business

Deal Site Selection Announcement

Photo by Gov. Deal’s Press Office

Governor Nathan Deal held a press conference yesterday to which he invited members of the legislature to join him on the podium to announce that Georgia has been named the #1 state for business in the rankings by Site Selection magazine.

“Making Georgia the premier state in the nation for business has been a strategic goal from day one of my administration,” said Deal. “We have worked hard to stay ahead of the curve and anticipate business needs not only today, but in the future. Achieving this national recognition means we are on the right track and reminds us of the importance of continuing to strive for excellence in all we do.”

“Georgia is a regular top finisher in our annual analysis of state business climates, with five Top Ten placements in the last five years,” said Site Selection Editor in Chief Mark Arend. “Executives at companies investing there regularly point to its many logistics advantages, cutting-edge workforce training programs, particularly Quick Start, and proactive economic developers on the state and local levels who understand the business requirements of today’s capital investors.”

The magazine releases its annual rankings each November, bases its research partially on a survey of corporate real estate executives and in part by an index of tax burden criteria according to the Tax Foundation and KPMG’s Location Matters analysis and the states’ performance in Conway Data’s New Plant Database, which tracks new and expanded business facility activity.

Georgia has ranked among the top 10 states in Site Selection’s business climate rankings over the last 10 years, and moves up from No. 4 last year. The Peach State makes frequent appearances on national “Top 10” lists for business, including No. 2 in Area Development’s 2013 rankings and No. 8 in CNBC’s annual rankings.

“Our top-ranking business climate would not be possible without the efforts of our partners across the state who have long worked to position Georgia as a global economic powerhouse,” said Chris Carr, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “Rankings like these serve as a great calling card for site selectors, and then it’s up to us to follow up and give them deeper insight into our vast resources for business.”

Photo by Gov. Deal's Press Office

Photo by Gov. Deal’s Press Office

Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer released a statement:

ATLANTA (November 4, 2013) – Senate President Pro Tempore David Shafer (R – Duluth) today offered his congratulations on the announcement by Governor Nathan Deal that Georgia has been named the number one state to do business by Site Selection magazine, a prominent national economic development trade publication.

“The best social program has always been a good paying job,” Shafer said. “Our top legislative priority has been to create an environment where business flourishes and business leaders have the confidence to take risks, invest money and create jobs.”

The magazine’s rankings are based on a survey of corporate real estate executives, an index of tax burden criteria according to the Tax Foundation and KPMG’s Location Matters analysis, and performance in Conway Data’s New Plant Database, which tracks new and expanded business facility activity.

“I congratulate the Governor and pledge our continued support for his jobs creation agenda,” Shafer said.

Loeffler not a candidate for Senate 2014

Martha Zoller grabbed the scoop that Kelly Loeffler will not be a candidate for United States Senate in 2014.

The bottom line is the closing for her company’s deal for the stock exchange has been delayed again and she feels she can’t navigate that and run for office effectively, so she’s deferring, for now. Loeffler won’t be running in 2014, but she will be a force to be reckoned with in the Republican Party of Georgia as they seek to maintain their majority and become a more diverse party.  She’s already shown she can raise money and candidates will be vying for her support.


Votes I would cast today

Today, I won’t be voting because none of the incumbents on Brookhaven City Council are being challenged, but if I lived elsewhere, here are the candidates for whom I would be voting.

Senate District 14 – Bruce Thompson – I’ve already voted for Bruce before, as he was the winning candidate for the Republican Leadership for Georgia 2013 Class Vice President. I personally know him to be a man of integrity, a strong conservative and family man, and the kind of successful businessperson whose leadership will help Georgia retain our top ranking for business. He has my highest personal endorsement. Additionally, he is the only candidate in the race endorsed by Georgia Right to Life PAC, and he is also endorsed by Senator Josh McKoon.

One of Thompson’s opponents, Matt Laughridge, should be rejected by the voters of Senate District 14 because his campaign advertising has shown his character and truthfulness lacking.

Sandy Springs City Council – Gabriel Sterling – Despite more than 20 years in the political trenches, Gabriel has not lost his sense of community service. If anything, that experience allows him to know that there is no glory in serving on a City Council, only sacrifice and hard work. He is a credit to the voters who have elected him in the past and will continue to make them proud. My highest personal endorsement.

For Johns Creek Mayor – Bev Miller – for City Council Randall Johnson and Karen Richardson. The allegations against Mayor Mike Bodker are damning enough, but his Nixon-esque dodging, stonewalling and systematic evasion of the Open Records Act make him unfit for office. If an elected official uses a personal cell phone to conduct public business, the records for that cell phone become susceptible to Open Records Act disclosure.

Under the Open Records Act §51-8-70(b)

(2) ‘Public record’ means all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, computer based or generated information, data, data fields, or similar material prepared and maintained or received by an agency or by a private person or entity in the performance of a service or function for or on behalf of an agency or when such documents have been transferred to a private person or entity by an agency for storage or future governmental use.
Mayor of Warner Robins – Chuck Chalk – I like Chalk mainly because his campaign has shown an innovative approach to problem-solving, which bodes well for how he would serve as Mayor. This is his campaign’s finest moment:
That’s a consumer-grade flat-screen television running a PowerPoint presentation and powered by a generator. Someone who comes up with this idea will come up with great, money-saving ideas as Mayor.
[Disclaimer: The three candidates in Johns Creek and Chuck Chalk either are currently or have been clients of my political consulting practice. I do not work for people I wouldn’t vote for.]

Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for September 3, 2013

Americans for Prosperity Defending the Dream 2013

This weekend I attended the AFP Defending the Dream and RightOnline conferences in Orlando and will be discussing them a little bit this week.

I’d say the best-received of the politicians who spoke in the main sessions was Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). Here’s an excerpt of the section of his speech dealing with defunding ObamaCare.

This Saturday, AFP Georgia will hold their 2013 Metro Atlanta Georgia Freedom Conference including sessions on Surviving Obamacare and Fighting Common Core. I’ll be attending at least part of the conference and hope you can make it too.

What I learned about Facebook at RightOnline

For me, the best of the breakout sessions was called “Building Your Clout: Upping Your Social Media Impact,” and featured speakers from Facebook and a digital political consulting firm.

rsz_img_4844Facebook had some nifty giveaways, and I grabbed a set for a lucky reader. Simply “Like” Doug Everett’s PSC reelection page on Facebook and I’ll send the goodies to one person from that page on Friday.

Doug Everett PSC GaPundit FB BannerHere are two interesting facts I learned about social media this weekend.

First, Facebook now has more users on mobile devices than on desktops. So if Facebook is important to your business, organizations, or campaign, give some thought to how mobile users are experiencing your page, posts, and videos, and make sure it’s useful for mobile users too.

Second, on Facebook, only a percentages of your friends and followers will see any given post. This doesn’t mean that the answer is to triple the amount you post on Facebook. Rather, understand that how many of your posts your friends and followers will see depends on the level of interaction they have with your posts. The more people like or comment on your posts, the more likely they are to be seen by more people. And when someone interacts with you on Facebook, by commenting on a post, for instance, the more likely that individual is to see your posts.

From this perspective, is appears that the most interesting thing I do on Facebook is eating at The Varsity.

Georgia Pols may change fundraising rules

Leadership in both the State Senate and House indicated they may be open to changing the rules on campaign fundraising while the legislature is in session. The impetus for changing the ban on session-fundraising comes from the prospective shift of primary elections to May 20, closer to the session than ever before. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, said he expects nearly unanimous support from lawmakers for moving the state primaries up to May 20, too. And he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he supported “having a vigorous discussion” about the ban because, with the changes to the elections calendar, “the whole landscape changes.”

State law says no elected state official — including legislators, the governor and others who face statewide election — may raise money while the General Assembly is in session starting in January. That includes legislators running for Congress.

In normal years, that has led to a rush of fundraising by incumbents immediately before and immediately after the session, which lasts up to 40 non-consecutive days. Moving state primaries from July to May 20 would severely limit incumbents’ time to solicit contributions.

Ralston would not rule out also extending the ban on fundraising to challengers.

“There’s a fairness argument there,” he said. “I’m not prepared to say I support it, but it looks different under the primary calendar.”

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who presides over the Senate, framed the anticipated discussion as a way to improve Georgia’s ethics laws and strengthen public trust in government.

Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer, R-Duluth, called the ban “sound public policy,” and said “all candidates, whether they are incumbents or not, would benefit from a ‘cooling off period’ during which the focus is on issues, ideas and talking directly with voters, not endless fundraising.”

Contrary to what the writers of the AJC article state, the state ban on legislators raising funds to run for federal office does not in fact limit the ability of state legislators to raise money for a federal campaign while the General Assembly is in session. A 1996 decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that state law could not ban fundraising for a federal campaign because federal law preempts state law.

Some qualified to run for office, others not so much

One of the most interesting campaign qualifications last week was Mary Norwood qualifying to run for City Council. In 2009, Norwood ran against Kasim Reed for Mayor of Atlanta and lost the runoff by 700 votes; now her sights are on incumbent City Council member Aaron Watson in Post 2, which is elected at-large.

It will be interesting to see if and how Norwood’s appointment by the Fulton County Republican Party to the county elections board is framed by both Norwood and her opponent.

Pablo Picazo was booted from the ballot after he failed to collect enough signatures to turn in with his Pauper’s Affidavit, which if accepted would have allowed him to qualify for Gainesville City Council without paying the usual fee. From the Gainesville Times.

Pablo Picazo, a student, filed to run for Ward 1 as a pauper, meaning he needed 110 signatures from qualified and registered voters in the city. He got 146 signatures, but Hall County Elections Director Charlotte Sosebee said only 65 could be verified.

Pro-tip: if you’re collecting signatures to get yourself or a referendum on the ballot, aim for at least twice as many signatures as are required. Historically, large numbers of signatures collected for candidacies and ballot measures are found invalid by the local elections offices, which must verify that each accepted signature represents a qualified voter in the district in question, as well as that some other paperwork rules were followed. Even if Pablo Picaso had gotten twice as many as needed here, he would have fallen short, as less than 45% of his signatures were accepted as valid.

Also filed under pro-tips: generally speaking, you have to actually live and be registered to vote in the district you seek to represent, unless you’re running for United States Congress. From the same Gainesville Times article:

Albert Reeves did not qualify for Ward 4 because the Elections Office determined he was not a registered and qualified voter in the city of Gainesville, something required under the city charter.

Dems elect DuBose Porter as state party Chair

The Democratic Party of Georgia elected this weekend former State Rep. and failed 2010 Gubernatorial candidate DuBose Porter as their new state party chair. In the State House, Porter introduced legislation to return the 1956 Georgia flag, featuring the Confederate flag prominently, over the State Capitol twice each year, and voted twice to ban gay marriage in Georgia. Neither of those facts appear to have been touted during his candidacy for Chair.

Tea Party at the Georgia State Capitol today

This morning at 9:30, leaders of Tea Party Patriots are holding an Exempt America from Obamacare rally and press conference at the Gold Dome. Among the speakers will be ea Party Patriots founder Jenny Beth Martin, Media Research Center’s Brent Bozell, Atlanta Tea Party Co-Chair Debbie Dooley, and Atlanta Tea Party Co-Chair and Georgia Republican Assembly President Julianne Thompson.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for May 22, 2003

Election Law Update

United States District Judge Timothy Batten, Sr. found that at-large voting for Fayette County Commission seats violates the voting rights act and struck down the voting plan, asking the County to present a remedial plan for this year’s elections by June 25th.


Batten’s Tuesday order grants summary judgment to the individual plaintiffs in the case along with the state conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, who had argued that the county’s district voting process precluded black candidates from winning a seat on the county commission and board of education.

The judge’s order grants the plaintiff’s wish to create a district voting scenario, which is markedly different than the current at-large voting process. Currently, all Fayette voters are allowed to vote on all five seats on the county commission and board of education.

Under district voting, voters will be limited to choosing just one person for each governing body, depending on where each voter lives.

In his order, Batten determined that the current at-large voting process “essentially guarantees that no African-American will be elected to either board.”

Whether the plan submitted by the County will include a majority-minority district is unclear, according to the AJC.

[Fayette County Commission Chair Steve] Brown said [Judge] Batten conceded in his ruling that he would be hard-pressed to create a majority-minority district — a point the county’s own demographers said would be hard to achieve. At best, a district would yield 47 percent minority voting power, Brown said.

“He (Batten) literally admitted in the opinion that he could not come up with a majority-minority district. It was kind of odd because it’s very clear what you need to prove to show that you have any kind of discriminatory activity. That was never proven.”

Getting rid of at-large voting is by-and-large a cleanup operation now, dealing with individual situations where it remains. Bigger changes to Georgia’s voting laws may be on the way from another federal District Court, where Judge Steve C. Jones has found that Georgia’s runoff elections violate the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986 (“UOCAVA”).

The Court found that Georgia cannot comply with the UOCAVA requirement that ballots be transmitted to overseas voters at least 45 days to a federal election

The forty-five day deadline and transmittal period established in the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986 (“UOCAVA”), as amended, specifically 42 U.S.C. § 1973ff-1(a)(8)(A), applies to all federal runoff elections.

The additional requirement for runoff elections set forth in § 1973ff-1(a)(9) does not alter the forty-five day deadline established for runoff elections in § 1973ff-1(a)(8).

Defendants’ inability under Georgia’s current electoral system to transmit absentee ballots (that standing alone allow the voter to cast a meaningful vote) in future federal runoff elections to qualified military and overseas voters (i.e., UOCAVA voters) who have requested them by the forty-fifth day before such an election violates § 1973ff-1(a)(8)(A) of UOCAVA.

As to the matter of relief, the Court rules as follows. Within twenty days (20) of the issuance of this order, Defendants shall confer with Plaintiff and thereafter submit to the Court written proposed changes to Georgia’s election laws that show full compliance with UOCAVA as to all future federal runoff elections.

Plaintiff shall file a response within twenty (20) days of Defendants’ filing. In the event that the Defendants fail to present a proposal that fully complies with all UOCAVA requirements, the Court will order an appropriate remedy that will govern all of Georgia’s future runoff elections unless and until there is an enactment of changes to Georgia’s election laws that fully comply with all UOCAVA requirements, as determined by this Court.

So what does this mean? Very likely the end of runoff elections as we know them in Georgia, at least as far as federal elections are concerned. Whether we end up with a longer runoff period, or dispense with the greatest invention in political consulting democracy remains to be seen. It is possible that the state will retain the current runoff election structure for state elections, but it’s also possible that a federal court will end up deciding what some future elections look like in the Peach State.

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