Category: GaPundit Daily


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 5, 2014

Peter Early was sworn in as Governor of Georgia on November 5, 1813 after being elected by the Georgia General Assembly.

John Clark was sworn in to the first of two two-year terms on November 5, 1819, again after election by the legislature.

Howell Cobb, who previously served as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, was sworn in as Governor of Georgia on November 5, 1852, having been elected by popular vote.

Democrat Woodrow Wilson, who spent part of his youth in Augusta, Georgia and married Ellen Louise Axson, whom he met in Rome, Georgia, was elected President in a landslide victory on November 5, 1912.

Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected to his unprecedented third term as President of the United States on November 5, 1940.

Richard M. Nixon was elected President of the United States by a plurality vote on November 5, 1968.

On November 5, 2002, Sonny Perdue was elected the first Republican Governor of Georgia since Reconstruction, beginning the modern era of Republican dominance of Georgia state politics.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

First things first. In DeKalb County, we have a December 2 runoff election for County Commission District 2 between Nancy Jester and Holmes Pyles.

The Brookhaven Redevelopment Powers referendum was defeated.

60.07% of voters said ‘No’, while only 39.93% said ‘Yes’.

There was strong opposition to granting the City Redevelopment Powers.

Some citizens said one of their difficulties with the referendum was that it put too much decision making power in the hands of the current City Leadership and Council.

Others said the city “needs to slow down”, “get great at the basics” and then, perhaps, when those things are accomplished, look at Redevelopment Powers at some point on the future.

Just because you know the clowns doesn’t mean you want to spend all your money on circus tickets.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 4, 2014

Alexander Stephens was sworn-in as Governor of Georgia on November 4, 1882; Stephens had earlier been elected Vice-President of the Confederate States of America.

Howard Carter found an entrance to the tomb of King Tutankhamen on November 4, 1922.

Georgia Governor Richard B. Russell, Jr. campaigned on behalf of Democratic candidate for President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

On November 4, 1980, Republican Ronald Reagan was elected President, winning 489 electoral votes to 49 for incumbent Jimmy Carter.

On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama was elected President, becoming the first African-American elected to the position.

State School Superintendent

Later today I will walk two blocks to my voting precinct and cast my vote for the Republican ticket. I believe that Nathan Deal will be reelected and David Perdue elected to the United States Senate, in both cases without runoffs. Almost as important is our next State School Superintendent and I will cast my vote for Richard Woods, the Republican candidate.

The other incumbents on the statewide ticket – Attorney General Sam Olens, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, Labor Commissioner Mark Butler, and Public Service Commissioner Herman “Doug” Everett have earned my vote for reelection.

Others in my position without children might not consider State School Superintendent important to them personally, but 37% of Georgia’s tax dollars are spent on K-12 education and it is important to me to have a good steward of our money in that position to prevent upward pressure on taxes caused by an insatiable education bureaucracy that has failed to deliver.

I believe that if the Democrat is elected, we will hear nothing but four more years of crying for more of our money and excuses for why we graduate lower percentages of students at a higher cost than every neighboring state.

I believe that continuing Governor Nathan Deal’s successful drive to bring more jobs to Georgia is among our most important tasks in the years ahead and improving our public school system is vital to our continuing success. Empowering our teachers and parents to make more decisions in the education of their children and the children entrusted to them will lead to greater success. I believe that charter schools provide needed competition and both create better public school environments and spur improvement in the traditional public schools.

These are the reasons I am voting for Richard Woods for State School Superintendent and the reasons I hope you will join me.

Last night, James Salzer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that teacher’s unions and the liberal Better Georgia have teamed up with Democrat Valarie Wilson to spend nearly $475,000 in an attempt to buy the State School Superintendent’s election. I might not worry about the teacher’s unions if I believed they represented the needs of our state’s children and of rank-and-file educators, but they have made clear that their only interests are extracting more dollars from Georgians.

Under state law, individuals, businesses and groups can contribute about $16,000 directly to candidates, including money for primary runoffs.The Georgia Federation of Teachers contributed $9,300 to Wilson. The American Federation of Teachers gave $2,000, and the Georgia Association of Educators $6,300, according to disclosure records.

But Wilson is also benefiting from money contributed to Better Georgia and then used for advertising and phone calls on the candidate’s behalf.

Like a lot of groups with a point of view, Better Georgia is registered as an “independent committee,” meaning it doesn’t have to disclose all its donors.

However, the group has disclosed getting $134,000 this year from the Georgia Association of Educators and $70,000 from the American Federation of Teachers. In turn, the group reported spending about $204,000 on media buys and phone calls to support Wilson.

GAE most recently sank $70,000 into the Wilson campaign, through Better Georgia, last week.

Richard Woods is leading in the polls, but the number one threat to his election as State School Superintendent is voters who cast their ballots for Nathan Deal for Governor and David Perdue for United States Senate and walk away from the rest of the ballot. Don’t let the people who don’t care enough to vote determine who the next State School Superintendent is.

Predictions: Governor and United States Senate

At the end of the polling for 2010, the RealClearPolitics average showed Nathan Deal at 48.0% and he took 52.9%.

RCP Deal Barnes


Today, the RCP average shows Gov. Deal at 48.0% and I predict he’ll win tomorrow without a runoff.


RCP Deal Carter


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 3, 2014

Bacon, Barrow, Candler, and Evans Counties were created on November 3, 1914 when voters approved Constitutional Amendments – prior to these Amendments, Georgia was limited to 145 counties. On the same day, Carl Vinson was elected to Congress from Georgia, becoming the youngest member of Congress at the time. Vinson would eventually become the first Member of Congress to serve more than fifty years. Vinson’s grandson, Sam Nunn would serve in the United States Senate.

The Chicago Tribune published the infamous “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline on November 3, 1948. Ultimately, Democrat Truman won 303 electoral votes to 189 for Republican Dewey.

Laika, a female Siberian Husky mix who was found stray on the streets of Moscow, was launched into space aboard Sputnik 2 on November 3, 1957.

On November 3, 1968, Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson was elected President over Republican Barry Goldwater.

On November 3, 1970, Jimmy Carter was elected Governor of Georgia.

Democrat Cynthia McKinney became the first African-Amercian female elected to Congress from Georgia on November 3, 1992.

On November 3, 1998, Democrat Thurbert Baker was elected Attorney General and Michael Thurmond was elected Commissioner of Labor, becoming the first African-Americans elected to statewide executive office in Georgia.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Bill Lee, who served forty-two years in the State House of Representatives, serving Clayton County, has died.

The representative from Forest Park had built up enough respect and prestige during his 42 years in the house that Speaker of the House Tom Murphy made him chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee. In that position, he decided which legislation came to the House floor for a vote by the full body.

“Because he was the chairman of the Rules Committee, he was the second most powerful person in the House,” said former state Rep. Ron Dodson, who was Lee’s hand-picked successor in the legislative body.

Lee, who served in the House from 1956 until 1998, died Wednesday, according to his obituary which ran in Friday’s Clayton News Daily. He was 88.

FoxNews writes that the GOP appears poised for big wins nationally:

Republican Senate candidates are pulling away in the final days of key races, according to polls released this weekend.

Republicans are either leading in Georgia, Kentucky and Louisiana or will likely win runoff elections, according to a NBC/Marist poll released Sunday.

In addition, the Republican nominee in Iowa, Joni Ernst, now has a 7-point lead over Democratic challenger Rep. Bruce Braley, according to a Des Moines Register poll released Saturday.

Most polls have shown until now that the four races have essentially been deadlocked in the closing weeks.

The GOP needs to win a net total of six Senate seats to take control of the chamber, with essentially only the West Virginia and Montana contests apparently in hand.

National leadership of both major parties see this year’s elections breaking in favor of Republican candidates, according to the New York Times:

Republicans entered the final weekend before the midterm elections clearly holding the better hand to control the Senate and poised to add to their House majority. But a decidedly sour electorate and a sizable number of undecided voters added a measure of suspense.

The final drama surrounded the Senate, which has been a Democratic bulwark for President Obama since his party lost its House majority in 2010. Republicans need to gain six seats to seize the Senate, and officials in both parties believe there is a path for them to win at least that many.

Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 31, 2014

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg.

On November 1, 1732, the Georgia Trustees met in London and chose the name and location of a new colony to be called Savannah.

Georgia and the Creeks Indians signed a treaty on November 1, 1783 giving Georgia control of all land between the Ogeechee and Oconee Rivers.

The United States Congress admitted Nevada as the 36th state on October 31, 1864. Kind of fitting, in a way.

Richard B. Russell, Jr. was born in Winder, Georgia on November 2, 1897.

In 1927, at age 29, Russell was named Speaker of the House – the youngest in Georgia history. In 1930, Russell easily won election as Georgia governor on his platform of reorganizing state government for economy and efficiency. Five months shy of his 34th birthday, Russell took the oath of office from his father, Georgia chief justice Richard B. Russell Sr. He became the youngest governor in Georgia history – a record that still stands. After Georgia U.S. Senator William Harris died in 1932, Gov. Russell named an interim replacement until the next general election, in which Russell himself became a candidate. Georgia voters elected their young governor to fill Harris’ unexpired term. When he arrived in Washington in January 1933, he was the nation’s youngest senator.

Russell had a long and storied career in the United States Senate, during which he served for many years as Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, unofficial leader of the conservative Southern wing of the Democratic party and a chief architect of resistance to civil rights legislation. He also ran for President in 1952, winning the Florida primary.

The carving on Mount Rushmore was completed on October 31, 1941.

Jimmy Carter was elected President of the United States on November 2, 1976.

The current Georgia Constitution was ratified on November 2, 1982 by the state’s voters.

President Bill Clinton hit the campaign trail to help his wife, Hillary Clinton, in her race for United States Senate from New York on October 31, 2000. Bill will be in Atlanta today, campaigning to elect Hillary Clinton President in 2016 Democrat Michelle Nunn to the United States Senate. The AJC Political Insider crew tells us the details and some of the history:

Want to see former President Bill Clinton campaign for Michelle Nunn, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, in Atlanta on Friday? Then be at Paschal’s Fine Southern Cuisine, 180 Northside Drive S.W., at 12:30 p.m.

This is a ticketed, but public event, the Nunn campaign tells us. To get a ticket, call 404-445-6709.

Paschal’s is famous as the restaurant at which Atlanta’s civil rights leadership, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., plotted their strategy — though it was at a different location at the time. But the new site has some resonance for the Clintons. Seven years ago, Paschal’s was the site of a Hillary Clinton presidential rally, which featured an endorsement by U.S. Rep. John Lewis. The congressman was eventually pressured to switch his support to another candidate — Barack Obama.

Maybe someone at Paschal’s will ask Michelle Nunn if she shares her father’s opinion as he wrote in 1998,

It is now clear that President Clinton is primarily responsible for dragging this nation through seven months of preoccupation with the Monica Lewinsky story. The national interest required that he correct any false statements and apologize to the nation months ago.

Even for those who accept President Clinton’s definition of his behavior as “not appropriate,” rather than deplorable and accept his previous testimony under oath as “legally accurate,” not perjury, it must be clear that for the past seven months he has placed his own personal interests far above the national interest.

In the weeks ahead, the president must lead by putting the country’s interest first. This means a voluntary and complete disclosure of all relevant matters concerning alleged acts of illegality to the independent counsel, to the congressional leadership and to the American people.

This will require personal sacrifice and may even require his resignation, but it would fulfill the president’s most important oath — to preserve and protect our nation.

On November 2, 2010, voters elected Republican Nathan Deal as Governor, and the GOP swept all of the statewide offices on the ballot.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Mark Rountree of Landmark Communications brings us an update on early voting numbers:

Georgia early voting and absentee ballot numbers as of Wednesday morning:

32.2% African-American/black voters
63.3% White voters

2012 Obama year early voting/absentee ballot voting was 33% African American/black voters.

So there are fewer total voters than 2012, but as of Wednesday morning was almost exactly the same percentage.

Note that despite this, Romney still won 53% of the overall vote in 2012.

Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 30, 2014

King Henry VII of England was crowned on October 30, 1485.

King Charles I of England granted a charter for a new colony called Carolana that included much of present-day Georgia, along with the current states of North and South Carolina, on October 30, 1629.

Stephen Douglas of Illinois campaigned in Atlanta for President of the United States on October 30, 1860. Douglas had defeated Abraham Lincoln for United States Senate in 1858, giving rise to the Lincoln-Douglas style of debate.

On October 30, 1871, Republican Benjamin Conley became acting Governor of Georgia after Republican Governor Rufus Bullock resigned; Conley served as President of the state Senate before taking office as Governor.

Conley took the oath of office on Oct. 30, 1871. Two days later, the new General Assembly convened and elected a new Democratic president of the Senate, but Conley refused to give up the office. The General Assembly then passed a law over Conley’s veto to hold a special election for governor on the third Tuesday in December. In that election, Democratic House speaker James M. Smith defeated Conley and assumed office Jan. 12, 1872.

On October 30, 1938, a science fiction drama called War of the Worlds was broadcast nationwide in the form of a series of simulated radio broadcasts.

Jackie Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers on October 30, 1945, becoming the first African-American professional baseball player in the major leagues.

On October 30, 1970, a fastball from Nolan Ryan was timed at 100.9 miles per hour, putting him in the record books. On the same day, Jim Morrison of the Doors was sentenced to six months in prison and a $500 fine for allegedly exposing himself during a Miami concert. Morrision died before the case was heard on appeal.

Polls and Turnout

This is the time of year when you can play campaign strategist like you play fantasy football. Simply pick the poll you like and then figure out what your candidate needs to make it happen. I’m over public polling for the rest of the election and will instead be watching turnout figures.

That said, here’s my ten-cent analysis.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 29, 2014

Sir Walter Raleigh, founder of the first permanent English settlement in America, was beheaded on October 29, 1618 for conspiring against King James I.

Georgia’s first Royal Governor, John Reynolds, arrived at Savannah on October 29, 1754.

John Hancock resigned as President of the Continental Congress on October 29, 1777.

Duane Allman died in a motorcycle accident in Macon, Georgia on October 29, 1971.

The New York Stock Exchange crashed on October 29, 1929, beginning the spiral to the Great Depression.

The first ballpoint pen went on sale at Gimbel’s Department Store on October 29, 1945.

On October 29, 1998, at 77 years of age, John Glenn became the oldest human to travel in space, on the shuttle Discovery.

More on Democratic GOTV efforts

Dexter Sharper is a Democratic State Representative from Valdosta, and he offered his thoughts via Facebook on why you should vote.

Dexter Sharper Facebook

Hat tip to GaUnfiltered, who noted that:

According to the federal government, more than 46 million Americans receive food stamps as of June 2014. 43% of those getting food stamps are white, 33% are African-American, 19% are Hispanic, 2% are Asian, and 2% are Native American.

Section 8 is a federal rent assistance program administer by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As of 30 September 2014, 49% of [Section 8 recipients are] white and 46% [are] black….


Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 28, 2014

Christopher Columbus “discovered” Cuba on October 28, 1492.

The Battle of Wauhatchie, one of a handful of night battles in the Civil War, began along the Georgia-Tennessee border on October 28, 1863.

The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886; the first ticker tape parade followed.

The United States Senate overrode President Woodrow Wilson’s veto of the Volstead Act on October 28, 1919.

The Cuban Missile Crisis ended on October 28, 1962 as Kruschev agreed to remove Soviet missiles from Cuba if the United States would respect Cuban sovereignty.

Democratic President Jimmy Carter debated Republican Ronald Reagan in Cleveland, Ohio on October 28, 1980.


The Atlanta Braves beat the Cleveland Indians 1-0 to win the World Series on October 28, 1995.

Sunday Voting Part Two

Landmark Communications sent along their analysis of Sunday voting.

12,708 voters were listed as having voted on Sunday.

Based on current polling conducted by Landmark Communications as well as based on election results from demographics groups in previous election, it is our analysis that Sunday voting resulted in approximately 5,500 net additional statewide votes for Democrats over Republicans.
Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 27, 2014

Colonists in Georgia signed a letter allowing the beginning of the slave trade in Georgia on October 26, 1749

Georgia Sons of Liberty protested against the British Stamp Act on October 26, 1765.

On October 25, 1774, the First Continental Congress addressed a petition to King George III raising concerns about the Coercive Acts passed by Parliament and asserting its loyalty to the monarch.

On October 27, 1775, King George III addressed Parliament, raising concerns about an American rebellion.

The First of the Federalist Papers, an essay by Alexander Hamilton published under the pseudonym Publius, was published on October 27, 1787.

The United States and Spain signed the Treaty of San Lorenzo, also called Pinckney’s Treaty on October 27, 1795, setting the 31st parallel as the border between Georgia and Florida.

A state Constitutional Convention at Milledgeville, Georgia repealed the state’s Ordinance of Secession on October 26, 1865.

The nation’s first Gold Rush started after Benjamin Parks discovered gold in what is now Lumpkin County, Georgia on October 27, 1828.

Theodore Roosevelt was born in New York City on October 27, 1858.

The wooden keel of USS Monitor was laid at Continental Iron Works at Greenpoint, New York on October 25, 1861.

President Woodrow Wilson vetoed the Volstead Act, which implemented the Eighteenth Amendment prohibition on alcohol, on October 27, 1919; the House overrode his veto that same day.

Navy Day was established on October 27, 1922.

October 27 was suggested by the Navy League to recognize Theodore Roosevelt’s birthday. Roosevelt had been an Assistant Secretary of the Navy and supported a strong Navy as well as the idea of Navy Day. In addition, October 27 was the anniversary of a 1775 report issued by a special committee of the Continental Congress favoring the purchase of merchant ships as the foundation of an American Navy.

Ronald Reagan delivered the “A Time for Choosing” speech on October 27, 1964.

And this idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest and the most unique idea in all the long history of man’s relation to man.

This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.

You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well I’d like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There’s only an up or down—[up] man’s old—old-aged dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. And regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.

We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.

Jimmy Carter campaigned in New York on October 27, 1976.

Gladys Knight and the Pips reached #1 with “Midnight Train to Georgia” on October 27, 1973.

Andrew Young was elected Mayor of Atlanta on October 27, 1981.

President George W. Bush signed the Patriot Act on October 26, 2001.

Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy accepted the last Ford Taurus built in Hapeville, Georgia on October 27, 2006.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Statewide offices are not the only issues on the ballot this fall; Cobb County has yet another SPLOST election. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution argues that transparency issues with Chairman Tim Lee and the Braves stadium deal post a threat to the self-imposed tax’s passage.

Cobb County voters have historically been reluctant to give their sales tax pennies to county government, rejecting special purpose levies four out of nine times since 1981.

And two years ago, Cobb voters dealt the regional transportation sales tax one of its worst defeats in Metro Atlanta, casting 68 percent of the ballots against.

But this year’s proposed six-year, $750 million Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax is challenged by more than just history.

The Nov. 4 referendum follows a Cobb Board of Ethics’ decision to proceed with a trial-like hearing into Commission Chairman Tim Lee’s recruitment of the Braves, and after a year marked of critics complaining time and again about a lack of transparency in the county’s stadium dealings.

During a marathon July meeting of the commission in which the board approved placing the tax on ballots, Commissioner Lisa Cupid told Lee that voters shouldn’t have to “play detective” to understand the projects on the list.

“We are trying right now to overcome some concerns people have about how transparent we are,” Cupid said. “This is another example of us not being as transparent as we could and should be. …I feel like I’ve had to play detective.”

Concerns about transparency could be another reason for already skeptical Cobb voters to reject the tax plan, said David Shock, assistant chairman of Kennesaw State University’s Political Science and International Affairs Department, who has studied SPLOST initiatives statewide. He said Cobb voters are unusual in their distaste for sales tax. While that method of funding is typically embraced throughout Georgia, Cobb residents usually mount well-organized opposition that appeals to the county’s staunchly conservative voting base, he said.

Shock said the controversies surrounding Lee could have an impact, especially given the razor-thin margins of recent SPLOST votes. The two most recent initiatives approved were by an average of just 100 votes out of more than 40,000 ballots cast in each of the 2005 and 2011 elections.

Readers of Cobb County’s hometown newspaper, the Marietta Daily Journal, have been seeing this issue played out on the editorial pages for weeks. The MDJ editors have endorsed the SPLOST passage:

One of the beauties of a SPLOST is that it spreads the cost of government across all classes and everyone who spends money in a community, be they rich, poor, residents, non-residents or even here illegally.

Nobody likes paying taxes, but the benefits of past SPLOSTs can be seen all over the county. And Cobb’s triple-AAA bond rating, a distinction shared with only a few dozen other communities around the country, is further evidence that the county continues to be well run.

Next month’s SPLOST referendum will be a departure from its predecessors in one significant way, however. That is, it will take place in conjunction with a general election, when turnouts are high, rather than as a stand-alone special election, when turnouts are small and easier to manipulate. That has made it more incumbent than usual for the county to assemble a list of projects to be funded that are both needed and justifiable.

We think the county has done that — and that this SPLOST deserves your vote.

Last week, a letter to the editor in the MDJ raised the transparency issue and questioned whether county government can be trusted:

There are good arguments on both sides of the 2016 SPLOST renewal debate, which will be voted on by Cobb residents in a few days.

However, the real issue here is trust. I believe there are many good people in Cobb government who do their jobs with integrity and professionalism. However the Board of Commissioners has shown itself to be lacking in those qualities. We have a chairman who thinks it is OK to ramrod $400 million in borrowing through without bothering to inform his fellow commissioners until the last minute, not to mention allowing the county residents a vote. And we have seen with the 2008 parks bonds that the will of the voters can just be discarded whenever the commission feels like it. Those bonds were voter approved and could have been used to purchase valuable green space, at a time when real estate was cheap. I have to question whether this was done deliberately to allow those in the real estate development community, many of whom have close ties to the commission, more opportunities for profiteering.

If the voters cannot be trusted to weigh in on $400 million of bonds for the Braves stadium, or to have some influence on the future land use of an already overdeveloped east Cobb real estate market, then maybe they should not trust this commission as currently constituted to spend $750 million more of their money.

Oliver Halle also raised the question of whether the Commission can be trusted with SPLOST money:

For the first time I will not be voting for a SPLOST. There have been town hall meetings where both sides have laid out their case for and against it. I am not sure which side is the more meritorious, but my inclination would be to support it. A good part of the factors going into my deliberations is that I trust my elected officials unless I have reason not to. In this instance I no longer trust the chair of the Cobb County Commission, Tim Lee. I have never particularly liked his style of governing, but I am sincere in saying that I would not let that alone interfere with my making important decisions. That said, Lee broke faith with the electorate in the new stadium deal. As I wrote in last week’s Agitator, I can live with broken promises and deal with it at the ballot box. Things can change that caused an official to change his position, and that is up to each voter to decide whether it is a deal-breaker for earning that voter’s support.

Lee was caught telling one story about his relationship with attorney Dan McRae, only to have an email completely and factually contradict him. Adding to that was how the email was intentionally written outside the Cobb County government’s email system to avoid having to comply with any Open Records Act requests that might come along. And this particular email goes to the core of how the stadium deal was negotiated.

Cobb County is going to raise the hotel/motel/car rental tax and a few others to support the bond deal that will help pay for the stadium. The public never got a meaningful chance to voice its opposition to it. There are lots of questions about whether all the promises the Braves made can or will be kept, and whether the property owners will ultimately be on the hook if all the happy talk of revenue doesn’t live up to the expectations. By then Lee and many of his cheerleaders will be long gone.

The MDJ has also profiled the heads of groups for and against the SPLOST. On the pro-side is Justin O’Dell, co-chair of Secure Cobb’s Future.

O’Dell said the benefits of the tax for county residents are numerous.

“First and foremost, it has been the mechanism that has kept this county the home of the lowest property taxes in metro Atlanta for more than a decade,” he said. “Second, it is the fairest mechanism for which to pay for infrastructure and capital projects because it is a tax that all of those that utilize our service systems and infrastructure pay. And lastly, it keeps this county largely debt free.”

O’Dell said one of the biggest benefits of the SPLOST is it collects revenue from everyone who spends money in the county, which spreads out the tax burden. While there are conflicting studies about exactly how much of the $750 million would come from those who live outside the county, O’Dell said it’s more than nothing.

Does it make you suspicious when you see the largest newspaper in the county and the head of the pro-tax contingent apparently quoting the same talking points? Then again, good arguments tend to be repeated and used by others.

Coming out against the SPLOST is Lance Lamberton, a longtime conservative activist:

Lance Lamberton predicts Cobb voters will reject the county’s proposed six-year extension of its special purpose local option sales tax Nov. 4 for several reasons.

“I think this is the most wasteful SPLOST we’ve ever had,” he said.

“It’s for six years. There’s a credibility and trust issue. And it’s held in a general election,” Lamberton added.

“I’m of the view that putting more money in the private sector is a better use of people’s money than putting it in the public sector,” he added.

According to Lamberton, the proposed SPLOST would cost a family of four with a median annual income of $65,000 about $3,080 over its six-year life.

Lamberton said voters should also reject the SPLOST proposal to send a message to the state Legislature the county wants to be able to levy the SPLOST at less than 1 percent. A bill to allow for a fractional SPLOST failed to reach the governor’s desk during this year’s legislative session.

“We were very, very close to getting a fractional SPLOST in the last session of the Legislature,” he said. “I think that this defeat of the SPLOST will put it over the top. Then, we can present a SPLOST, and even the Cobb Taxpayers Association would not be in opposition to a good fractional SPLOST.”

Lamberton also has an issue with the six-year term of the proposal.

“It’s assuring the SPLOST will be in place for eight years,” he said. “That’s pretty unusual. On top of the fact that it’s already existed for 10 years continuously.”

The Marietta Daily Journal has done an excellent job of presenting both sides of the argument for their voters – that’s what I think makes them a great newspaper.

Early voting and voter turnout

Last week, Mark Rountree of Landmark Communications published an analysis of some of the early voting figures:



As of Thursday night Oct 23, 2014

307,703 people have voted in 2014:

93,577 or 30% are Black

201,716 or 66% are White


279,269 have voted in person so far:

89,106 or 32% are African-American in-person voters

178,915 or 64% are White in-person voters


28,184 have voted by paper mail-in ballot

4,408 or 16% are African-American voters

22,637 or 80% are White voters


42,397 ballots remain outstanding (not sent back in)

28% of outstanding ballots were mailed to African-American Voters

64% of outstanding ballots were mailed are to White voters

In 2010 at this time, 253,999 had voted.

26% were African-American voters and 72% were White voters

We received word yesterday that Sunday early voting in Albany netted 500 voters, of whom 470, or 94%, were African-American. Compare this to roughly 60% of 2010 votes in Dougherty County being cast by African-Americans. The Democratic party appears to have dominated Sunday early voting in Dougherty. The Albany Herald wrote about early voting there:

Four hundred ninety-nine voters cast ballots during the four-hour period, catching many elections officials off-guard with a turnout that Dougherty Elections Board Chairman Commodore Conyers said “proved there was a need for a Sunday vote.”

Dougherty Elections Supervisor Ginger Nickerson said she was not surprised by the large turnout and that the process was running as smoothly as possible.

“We had a state investigator come in and approve everything, and we’ve had a poll watcher assigned to keep an eye on everything,” Nickerson said. “Everyone’s being very patient.”

Poll watcher Joseph Brannan of Columbus said he’d been appointed by the state to keep an eye on the process in Albany. He said he’d seen no irregularities.

“Dougherty County is the only county in Southwest Georgia to hold Sunday voting, but watchers have been assigned at every place in the state where there’s Sunday voting,” Brannan said. “I’m not really watching for anything in particular.

“What I’ve seen so far is that the Elections staff has done a very good job of conducting the voting. I don’t think they or anyone was really prepared for this big a turnout, but they have worked diligently to keep the process moving.”

Dougherty County Commissioner Clinton Johnson, who asked the Elections Board to reconsider its initial vote not to allow Sunday voting, smiled broadly as he watched the voters stream into the Riverfront Resource Center.

“I think (the Elections Board) took the right side in this matter,” he said. “Today proves that the Democratic process works in Dougherty County. A need was definitely met here today.”

WSB-TV reported on some Sunday early voting in Metro Atlanta:

It’s the first Sunday voters can go to the polls in one metro county and many went straight from church for early voting ahead of the November election.

Former first lady Rosalynn Carter spoke to the Piney Grove Baptist Church on Glenwood Avenue Sunday morning.

After the service, she planned to caravan with parishioners to the early voting site in south DeKalb. The group planned to use a full-size bus and two other smaller vans to get what they called “Souls to the Polls.” Unfortunately, plans changed when the bus carrying Carter and several parishioners broke down. A different bus took some parishioners and Carter left to vote at another time.

We spoke with DeKalb County’s election director about the first chance to vote on a Sunday.

WRDW looked at Sunday voting in Richmond County:

Campaigners holding signs while people drive by, hoping to get voter for their favorite candidate. For the first time in Richmond County people can cast their ballot on Sunday.

“It’s better for me considering I’m a single parent and I’m very busy during the week day. This way I won’t have to interrupt my son’s schedule to come during the week day,” said Martha Gilyard Wilson.

After some prayer, church members hit the polls.

“So we as a congregation committed that we would become faithful voters, and we would exercise our rights by voting early,” said Pastor Mark Pierson.

The Athens Banner-Herald covered their local Sunday early voting:

Taking advantage of Sunday voting, a new trend this year in several Georgia counties, voters lined up outside the ACC Board of Elections Sunday, and by 1:30 p.m., 3,923 combined advance and Sunday voters had done so, and by the end of the day, about 300 would cast Sunday ballots.

Church vans pulled up throughout the afternoon, unloading passengers who otherwise might not have made it to the polls. But the turnout was already as varied as the candidates themselves: A group of men showed up on skateboards, wheeling past ladies still in their Sunday hats to take their place in line.

Election Supervisor Gail Schrader said she and her staff were surprised at the turnout.
“We knew it would be good, but we didn’t know exactly what to expect,” she said.

A man wearing a purple usher’s ribbon from church earlier in the day said his church leader encouraged people to get out and vote.

For Thaddeus, the man in the ribbon, Sunday voting was more about ease of access than anything else, and it was a nice change of pace from the usual election-day hustle and bustle.

“People like to get out and mingle, you know, but some of them might not be able to make it out, if they don’t have a car,” he said.
Another plus to Sunday voting was that parking downtown was free.

From the Gwinnett Daily Post:

As of early Friday, 14,530 residents have taken advantage of early voting in Gwinnett County. More than 10,000 voters have cast ballots in person at the elections office since advance voting began on Oct. 13.

An additional 4,449 voters have cast ballots by mail and 27 have voted via electronic ballots. Advance voting continues this week at the Gwinnett County Elections Office, located at 455 Grayson Highway, Suite 200, in Lawrenceville. Voters may cast ballots at the Elections Office through Oct. 31, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Voting will also take place at the county’s six satellite locations — Bogan Park Community Recreation Center, Lenora Park Activity Room, Centerville Community Center, Dacula Park Activity Building, George Pierce Park Community Recreation Center and Lucky Shoals Park Community Recreation Center. Satellite locations will be open from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, Oct. 27-31.

From the Augusta Chronicle:

After passing a resolution to allow Sunday voting last month, the Richmond County Board of Elections decided to operate a single polling location at the Municipal Building’s newly renovated lobby to gauge interest in the idea.

Though numbers didn’t come close to the 1,275 voters who visited four polling locations across the county Saturday, Board of Elections Executive Director Lynn Bailey said the 497 who cast ballots Sunday show how popular the concept might be.

Doors were open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and less than three hours into the first Sunday voting period, the polling location was running voters through at a rate of about 100 per hour, she said. The location featured 20 voting machines and 10 poll workers.

“I can’t attest to why they’re choosing to come out today, but it is certainly popular with many citizens,” Bailey said. “Anytime you provide an opportunity it’s always good to see people take advantage of it.”

From the Rome News-Tribune, published before Sunday voting opened there yesterday:

The option to cast an early ballot has drawn more than 2,000 people in its first two weeks. Elections officials say 892 voted early the first week, and 1,256 so far this week.

Floyd County voters will choose between Democrat Deboria “Bo” Arrant and Republican incumbent Larry Maxey for the Post 4 County Commission seat.

Republican Scotty Hancock and Democrat Ouida Sams are running for the Post 5 commission seat.

Incumbent John Mayes isn’t running for re-election.

There’s only one local state House of Representatives seat in contention. Republican incumbent Katie Dempsey will face Democrat Richard Garrett for the District 13 seat covering the city of Rome.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 24, 2014

On October 24, 1775, British naval forces sailed up the James River and attacked Norfolk, Virginia, while some troops went ashore to engage the patriot militia.

John Wesley wrote the last entry in his journal, which spanned 55 years, on October 24, 1790.

On October 24, 1861, Western Union completed the first transcontinental telegraph line, allowing communication between Washington, DC and San Francisco, California.

Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke in Atlanta on October 24, 1932, decrying what he called “destruction, delay, deceit, and despair – the four horsemen of the G.O.P.” and lambasting President Herbert Hoover for the great depression.

The Charter for the United Nations became effective on October 24, 1945.

Jimmy Carter found himself with a comfortable lead, with polls showing him ahead in states representing more than 300 electoral college votes, on October 24, 1976.

The Concorde made its last flight on October 24, 2003.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

That happened. I expect you’ll be hearing about it in robocalls, TV ads, and on the radio for the next couple of weeks, and perhaps into January.

Here’s a partial transcription of President Obama:

And these last two years I want a Congress that does work, and the only way I can do that, even though I’m not on the ballot, is to make sure that our people turn out to vote, that young people and black folks and latinos and progressives and people who share a vision of making sure that this economy works for everybody and not just a few people, that those folks turn out and when we do, we win, and no place is a better example than in Georgia.

Michelle Nunn will win the Senate if there is high turnout among Democrats. And if there is low turnout or just ordinary turnout, then she won’t win. And if Michelle Nunn wins, that means that Democrats keep control of the Senate, and that means that we can keep on doing some good work.

Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 23, 2014

On the Presidential campaign trail, Franklin Delano Roosevelt arrived in Atlanta on October 23, 1932, speaking to 10,000, and continued on to his “second home” at Warm Springs, Georgia.

smFDR Atlanta 1932

FDR campaigning in Atlanta and Georgia in 1932.

FDR Georgia

When he arrived at Warm Springs, FDR gave a short speech:

“Two more weeks to go. . . . First, let me say this: this old hat, a lot of you people have seen it before. It’s the same hat. But I don’t think it is going to last much longer after the 8th of November. I have a superstition about hats in campaigns, and I am going to wear it until midnight of the 8th of November. . . . Well, it’s fine to see, and I’m looking forward to coming down here for the usual Thanksgiving party at Warm Springs, and having a real old-fashioned Thanksgiving with my neighbors again. I thank you!”

On October 23, 1971, the Coca-Cola Company launched the advertising campaign “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.”

Georgia-born Clarence Thomas was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court on October 23, 1991.

An Ignominious End to John Barge’s Political Career

It is being widely reported that Republican (in name only) State School Superintendent John Barge will endorse Democrat Valarie Wilson today in a campaign event.

Sitting State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge (R) will join State School Superintendent Candidate Valarie Wilson (D) to make a special announcement and host a press conference on Thursday at 12 p.m. in front of Tucker High, 5036 LaVista Road, Tucker.

This brings Republican State School Superintendents who ended their political careers at their own hands to three. If you recall, Linda Schrenko ran for Governor in 2002 and was later convicted of embezzlement; Kathy Cox filed for personal bankruptcy in 2008 and resigned in 2010 to take a job in the private sector. Now Barge, who ran for Governor this year and appears to have spent the rest of his time seeking employment elsewhere without much success.

Continue Reading..