Category: Georgia History

6
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 6, 2012

Georgia and American History

Abraham Lincoln was elected 16th President of the United States and the first Republican to hold the office on November 6, 1860. By his inauguration in March, seven states had seceded.

On November 6, 1861, one year after Lincoln’s election, Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens of Georgia were elected President and Vice President of the Confederate States of America.

President Teddy Roosevelt left for a 17-day trip to Panama on November 6, 1906 to inspect work on the Panama Canal; he was the first President to take an official tour outside the continental United States.

A dam on the campus of Toccoa Falls Bible College burst on November 6, 1977 under pressure from heavy rains, killing 39 students and faculty.

Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Newt Gingrich (R-GA) resigned his office and his Congressional seat on November 6, 1998, effective in January 1999, despite having been reelected three days earlier.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The DunwoodyTalk blog has as good an explanation as I’ve read for how Holmes E. Pyles came in first in the DeKalb County Commission District 1 race.

A simple word was placed under each candidate’s name on the ballot.  Four of the five had ‘Republican’ listed and one had ‘Independent’ listed. Only Holmes E. Pyles was not listed as a Republican.

The runoff of Jester and Pyles will take place next month and will be the only item on the ballot.  The Dems won’t be back as the Republican vote is much bigger.  Jester will not have three opponents competing for the Republican votes.  We all know now that it is possible for a Democrat to make the runoff in District 1, but the chances of a Democrat winning the spot is low.  Jester will need a strong turnout for the runoff.

The blog notes that even in the only Republican-majority district in DeKalb, Michelle Nunn took a majority in 20 of 37 precincts. [Disclaimer: I am a consultant for Nancy Jester's campaign.]

Joel McElhannon, who served as the lead political consultant to the Georgia Republican Party’s Victory 2014 effort has penned “Seven takeaways from the 2014 Elections,” which we were happy to publish. It’s well worth reading the thoughts and conclusions one of Georgia’s top political minds who was instrumental to the best effort I’ve ever seen the GAGOP put forth. Here’s an excerpt:

1. Georgia Republicans Need A Competitiveness Assessment.

Last night was a huge win for Republicans nationally and in the state of Georgia. The GAGOP Victory Program, led by Chairman John Padgett and staffed by countless volunteers and sharp field directors, executed an unprecedented ground game in the Peach State. Over 350,000 doors knocked. Over 1.2 million volunteer phone calls – including 87,000 on Monday alone. Millions of pieces of mail dropped. It provided the rock solid foundation of success for our entire statewide ticket.

But Georgia Republicans should not be lured into complacency by this one night of success. We must also see clearly the political environment and the national wave the swept the country last night.

President Obama’s failed leadership is as popular as Ebola right now.

But he won’t be on the ballot again.

2. It’s Time For Georgia Republicans To Get Real.

Georgia is diversifying. In comparative demographic terms, Georgia is now the state of Virginia (metro Atlanta) dropped down in the middle of Alabama (the rest of our state). Our rural areas may continue to be part of the “old south” but the metro Atlanta region is a vibrant and diverse international community. Bluntly speaking, Georgia Republicans can no longer rely on simply appealing to white voters. We must diversify our approaches and speak to this new Georgia with a bold message about economic opportunity and effective governing.

3. Public Polling In Georgia This Cycle Was A National Embarrassment.

In the recent article “Are Bad Pollsters Copying Good Pollsters” on the highly respected Five Thirty Eight Blog, Harry Enten details how “polling” by non professional polling groups in states where a “Gold Standard” polling program does not exist are wildly inaccurate and tend to copy the results of legitimate pollsters as election day nears. In 2014, Georgia is the new case study for this assessment. As a highly respected political consultant friend told me recently, if these supposed pollsters for media outlets had been employed by campaigns and had been so wrong so frequently, they would have been laughed out of the business.

It’s worth reading in its entirety if you’re interested in the business and process of winning elections, even if I don’t agree with everything he writes.

Polling and Predictions

Speaking of polling, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is living in a glass house when it criticizes the public polling in Georgia, but they continue anyway.

Some of those predicting runoffs didn’t take into account caveats, like margins of error and undecided voters, that swung the numbers.

Meanwhile, some earlier surveys were simply imprecise. They relied on automated calling and Internet surveys, cheaper methods scorned by more established pollsters.

“We have major polling problems (in Georgia),” said Kerwin Swint, chairman of the political science department at Kennesaw State University.

“No one here knows how to model turnout based on voting patterns, population, and issues.”

Survey after survey suggested that Republicans Gov. Nathan Deal and U.S. Senator-elect David Perdue might not surpass the 50 percent benchmarks needed to avoid long, costly and unpredictable runoffs.

Landmark Communications, based in Alpharetta, surveyed Georgia voters in the final days before the election and placed both Deal and Perdue with  leads.

“We identified the Republican surge that took place in the closing days,” Landmark president Mark Rountree said.

“And in the end Georgia had the same surge for Republicans that the rest of the country saw, so the GOP candidates scored a few more percentage points than our, or anyone’s, poll reflected.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution commissioned New York-based Abt SRBI Inc. That survey, which used a mix of live calls to land lines and cellphones, took place Oct. 16-23. It showed the governor’s race in a dead heat and Perdue holding a slim lead in the Senate race. In it, the Libertarian candidates had 6 and 5 percent of the vote respectively. Ultimately that support was pegged at just 2 percent Tuesday night.

SRBI founder and chief research officer Mark Schulman said there were signs of a Republican wave in Georgia and elsewhere but the size of it “has befuddled the pollsters.”

Experts say the technique used by pollsters is significant. Live calling to homes and cell phones is considered the gold standard. Most of the public polls are done through automated calls to homes that under federal law cannot be made to cell phones. About 30 percent or more of registered voters only have cell phones so they are excluded.

First of all, to call the AJC’s polling the “gold standard” is laughable. Not only were they not any more accurate than most of the others, they were flat unable to poll the Republican and Democratic Primary elections earlier this year. In May, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published a major “gold standard” poll that tested all the possible November head-to-head combinations for Governor and Senate, but then they wrote this,

The AJC did not poll the Republican or Democratic primary races because low turnout and primaries not confined to party registrants would have made the polling results, in its view, too unreliable.

Gold standard my tailfeathers. Not only were they unable or unwilling to poll the primary elections, they also didn’t poll the last twelve days – nearly two weeks – of the election. There are strengths to live agent phoning to random-digit phone numbers, but getting in-and-out of the field quickly is not one of them.

The question of whether to use IVR “robopolls” or the much-more expensive live-agent polling is best answered, “yes.” That is, use both. Live agent polling is often better in the early stages of the election for message testing when you’re using a long survey instrument, and as occasional benchmarks to fine-tune your sampling frame and the model that predicts the composition of the electorate. IVR is stronger when you need results fast and often. I often run IVR surveys every night the last two-to-three weeks of an election, with sample sizes of 1000-1500 every night. This allows you to be in the field every night affordably. The continuous nature of this style of tracking allows you to pick up trends earlier and more accurately track how voters are converting from undecided to decided. IVR is also very strong with a homogenous electorate, such as within a Republican Congressional District or a Metro Atlanta county Primary, less so in a more diverse electorate.

The difference between the two forms of polling is like the difference between a Ford that you can buy at the dealership and the cars that carry the blue oval in NASCAR races and on drag strips. They both carry the same name, but the difference in specific use, cost, and convenience will often determine which you use. If you’ve got millions of dollars and want to win a race more than anything else on earth, you buy a racecar. If you want to go to the grocery store and pickup the kids from school, you buy a Taurus. If you’re running a second-tier statewide race and don’t have millions of dollars, you might be able to run a live-agent poll one time – at the beginning or the end – but it won’t be of any use and you’d be better using Robopolling or spending the money on advertising.

Media polls are not designed to provide the level of information that campaigns rely on and no sane campaign strategist will pay attention to make his or her decisions on the basis of what public pollsters say. Media polls are designed to provide inexpensive fodder for “horse race” stories, and while the respective media outlets take their accuracy seriously, it’s simply not the same as strapping on a race car.

Non-professionals following public polls closely also may have unrealistic expectations when it comes to polls – polls taken weeks out do not by themselves predict the results of elections.

When I predicted last Friday that Nathan Deal and David Perdue would win without runoffs, it wasn’t simply because I checked the most recent polls. I looked at the RealClearPolitics average and saw that Deal was in the exact same position – 48.0% – that he was in 2010 when he walked away with a victory over Roy Barnes. I considered the strength of the GAGOP voter contact program that at the time had made more than 1.5 million direct voter contacts. I considered what appeared to be a trend nationally of Democratic candidates cratering and undecideds breaking for the Republican party. Finally, I applied “Kentucky windage,” or my estimate of which way the wind was blowing based on my own personal experiences.

Professional strategists running multimillion dollar campaigns will have all these tools, plus their own internal polling, probably that of their respective state party and national organizations, and other analytics, like the results of Voter Indentification calls.

Mark Rountree of Landmark Communications, who did the polling for WSB-TV this cycle, also responded to the AJC’s article, via Facebook:

An AJC article is out tonight saying that polls were off in Georgia. Actually, no, and this premise is not correct.

Here are the actual election results. Our poll results are on our website at LandmarkCommunications.net (#1 and #2 below copied from AJC article)

#1. GOVERNOR’S RACE POLLING:

Election Results: Nathan Deal-R 53 percent; Jason Carter-D 45 percent

Landmark Communications Poll: Deal 51 percent; Carter 45 percent

SRBI Inc-AJC: Deal 43 percent: Carter 42 percent

Survey USA: Deal 47 percent; Carter 42 percent

#2. U.S. SENATE RACE:

Election Results: David Perdue-R 53 percent; Michelle Nunn-D 45 percent

Landmark Communications Poll: Perdue 50 percent; Nunn 46 percent

SRBI Inc-AJC: Perdue 45 percent; Nunn 41 percent

Survey USA: Perdue 47 percent; Nunn 44 percent

• Landmark correctly nailed in Georgia the GOP surge that surprised many other pollsters across the country.

• Landmark nailed the Democratic candidates’ numbers essentially on the head (actual was 45% for both, we had them with 45% and 46% respectively).

• Landmark quite accurately nailed the Libertarian numbers (2% & 3%).

• Landmark also reported the GOP candidate numbers very close to the mark — it’s pretty hard to get much closer than what we released in our final poll.

• Landmark also had undecideds lower than anyone and ran with the call.

Remember also, I wrote earlier this week and again today, that the RealClearPolitics average showed Gov. Deal at 48.0 just before election day, the exact same as he was at that time in 2010. Deal won 52.8% Tuesday night and in 2010 he took 52.9% against Democrat Roy Barnes. Consistency of results and repeatability are also important criteria for judging polling, and the aggregate of public polling was both consistent and repeated its performance.

Remember also that a single poll shows a snapshot of a moment in time for an electorate in flux and under the influence of millions of dollars of advertising. You can’t make a good prediction from one poll – looking at polling holistically, not only did the public polls show consistently both Deal and Perdue ahead, they also showed both Republican candidates on upward trajectories as undecided converted in favor of the GOP. If you got the wrong answer from this year’s polling, you weren’t looking at the whole situation.

Exit Polls

Georgia was the subject of National Election Pool exit polling this year for the first time since 2008. We’ll be diving into both the exit polls and the Secretary of State’s data on voter turnout over the coming days, weeks, and months, but here are a few snapshots from the early analysis, here from the New York Times.

NYT Exit Polls Race Ethnicity NYT Exit Polls Race Gender

These graphics show that the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, David Perdue, appears to have doubled the GOP’s share among African-American voters and increased it among both men and women. Interesting. I suspect Governor Deal carried more of the votes of African-Americans. We’ll see.

 

31
Oct

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..

27
Oct

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:

A COMPARISON OF 2010 VS 2014

EARLY VOTERS BY RACIAL DEMOGRAPHIC

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

IN PERSON

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

ABSENTEE BALLOTS ALREADY CAST

28,184 have voted by paper mail-in ballot

4,408 or 16% are African-American voters

22,637 or 80% are White voters

ABSENTEE BALLOT STILL OUTSTANDING (“UNCAST”)

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
COMPARE TO 2010:

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.

17
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 17, 2014

The Mason-Dixon line separating Pennsylvania from Maryland was established on October 18, 1767.

In 1760, tired of border violence between the colonies’ settlers, the British crown demanded that the parties involved hold to an agreement reached in 1732. As part of Maryland and Pennsylvania’s adherence to this royal command, Mason and Dixon were asked to determine the exact whereabouts of the boundary between the two colonies. Though both colonies claimed the area between the 39th and 40th parallel, what is now referred to as the Mason-Dixon line finally settled the boundary at a northern latitude of 39 degrees and 43 minutes. The line was marked using stones, with Pennsylvania’s crest on one side and Maryland’s on the other.

Twenty years later, in late 1700s, the states south of the Mason-Dixon line would begin arguing for the perpetuation of slavery in the new United States while those north of line hoped to phase out the ownership of human chattel. This period, which historians consider the era of “The New Republic,” drew to a close with the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which accepted the states south of the line as slave-holding and those north of the line as free. The compromise, along with those that followed it, eventually failed.

Five thousand British and Hessian troops surrendered to patriot militia on October 17, 1777, ending the Second Battle of Saratoga, and leading to France recognizing American independence and sending military aid.

On October 19, 1791, General Cornwallis formally surrendered to General George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia, ending the American Revolution. Cornwallis claimed to be ill and sent his second-in-command for the formal surrender.

An editorial published pseudononymously by Alexander Hamilton on October 17, 1796, accused Thomas Jefferson, then a Presidential candidate, of having an affair with a slave.

Happy birthday to the Texas Rangers, created on this day in 1835.

In the midst of their revolt against Mexico, Texan leaders felt they needed a semi-official force of armed men who would defend the isolated frontier settlers of the Lone Star Republic against both Santa Ana’s soldiers and hostile Indians; the Texas Rangers filled this role. But after winning their revolutionary war with Mexico the following year, Texans decided to keep the Rangers, both to defend against Indian and Mexican raiders and to serve as the principal law enforcement authority along the sparsely populated Texan frontier.

On October 18, 1867, the United States took over Alaska from Russia and ran up Old Glory there for the first time.

Separated from the far eastern edge of the Russian empire by only the narrow Bering Strait, the Russians had been the first Europeans to significantly explore and develop Alaska.

Seeing the giant Alaska territory as a chance to cheaply expand the size of the nation, William H. Seward, President Andrew Johnson‘s secretary of state, moved to arrange the purchase of Alaska. Agreeing to pay a mere $7 million for some 591,000 square miles of land-a territory twice the size of Texas and equal to nearly a fifth of the continental United States-Seward secured the purchase of Alaska at the ridiculously low rate of less than 2¢ an acre.

Paul Anderson, known as the “World’s Strongest Man,” was born in Toccoa, Georgia on October 17, 1932. From his New York Times obituary:

As the unknown substitute for the injured American champion at the first Soviet-American dual athletic competition, in Moscow in 1955, the 5-foot-9-inch Anderson was scorned by his hosts.

The scorn turned to snickers when Anderson called for a weight of 402.4 pounds, more than 20 pounds above the world record. The snickers stopped when the 340-pound Anderson lifted the weight. By the time he set another record, in the clean and jerk, he was being hailed by Soviet fans.

The stunning achievement at the height of the Cold War made Anderson an instant American hero, and it was largely an anticlimax when he set three more world records at the world championships in Munich, Germany, later that year.

Although virtually conceded the gold medal at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, Anderson was stricken with a severe inner-ear infection.

Competing at 304 pounds and with a 103-degree fever, he fell so far behind his chief rival that on the final of three required lifts, he needed to clean and jerk 413.5 pounds, an Olympic record, to claim the gold. Twice he tried and failed. On the third attempt he asked God for a little extra help and got it.

“It wasn’t making a bargain,” he said later, “I needed help.”

Paul Anderson Memorial Park in Toccoa is a private park supported by a 501(c)(3) organization.

Funeral for Mack Burgess today

A funeral mass for Mack Burgess will be held at St. Brigid’s Catholic Church, 3400 Old Alabama Road, Johns Creek, GA 30022 at noon today with a celebration of his life at 1:30 PM at the Country Club of Roswell, 2500 Club Springs Drive, Roswell, GA. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested a memorial be made in Mack’s honor, to the Shirley and Billy Weir Scholarship Foundation or the Sam Robb Fund.

Georgia Politics today

A mailer from the National Rifle Associations Political Victory Fund hit my mailbox yesterday.

Obama Bloomberg Nunn Mail Front

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15
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 15, 2014

Friday, October 15, 1582 marked the beginning of the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar – the previous day was Thursday, October 4th.

George Washington left New York, the nation’s capitol, on October 15, 1789, embarking upon the first Presidential tour to New England.

The world’s first combat submarine, CSS Hunley, sunk during testing in Charleston Harbor on October 15, 1863.

The 20th Amendment to the United States Constitution too effect October 15, 1933, changing the Presidential term of office to begin and end on January 20th following each quadrennial election and Senate and Congress to January 3d following biennial elections, both from March 4th.

Billy Graham launched his national ministry on October 15, 1949 in Los Angeles, California.

On October 15, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed legislation creating the United States Department of Transportation. May God have mercy upon his soul.

Interstate 285 around Atlanta was completed on October 15, 1969.

The Omni opened in Atlanta on  October 15, 1972, as the Hawks beat the New York Knicks by a score of 109-101.

Former Secretary General of the Communist Party of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev won the Nobel Peace Prize on October 15, 1990

Georgia-born Clarence Thomas was confirmed as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court on October 15, 1991.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Political Rewind Tonight

Last week, I spoke to the Georgia Municipal Association’s Legislative Policy Committee at their quarterly meeting with Tharon Johnson, a Democratic strategist, in what we jokingly called the “Political Rewind” road show.

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From GMA’s writeup:

The key to victory for the gubernatorial and senate candidates will be women, said political strategists Tharon Johnson and Todd Rehm. At the GMA’s Legislative Policy Council (LPC) meeting this week, Johnson and Rehm discussed the upcoming elections for governor and Georgia’s next U.S. senator.

“Independents, especially women, are going to be the key for election for both the governor’s race and the senate,” said Rehm, a Republican political consultant and blogger.

Johnson, a Democrat political consultant, said he’d advise Senate candidate Michelle Nunn to run commercials featuring her father, former Senator Sam Nunn. “Knowing that [David] Perdue is going to get more old white guys, put your dad on TV to get the older voters who remember and liked him.”
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14
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 14, 2014

On October 14, 1735, John and Charles Wesley sailed with James Oglethorpe from Gravesend, England, for Georgia and John Wesley wrote the first entry in his journal that would eventually cover 55 years. On that date, John Wesley wrote,

Our end in leaving our native country, was not to avoid want, (God having given us plenty of temporal blessings,) nor to gain the dung or dross of riches or honour; but singly this, to save our souls; to live wholly to the glory of God.

The First Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Colonial Rights in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 14, 1774.

Then-former President Theodore Roosevelt was shot before a campaign speech in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on October 14, 1912.

Roosevelt, who suffered only a flesh wound from the attack, went on to deliver his scheduled speech with the bullet still in his body. After a few words, the former “Rough Rider” pulled the torn and bloodstained manuscript from his breast pocket and declared, “You see, it takes more than one bullet to kill a Bull Moose.” He spoke for nearly an hour and then was rushed to the hospital.

A.A. Milne published Winnie-the-Pooh on October 14, 1926. E. H. Shepard illustrated the Pooh books.

Pooh_Shepard1928

The War Department renamed Wellston Air Depot to Warner Robins Air Force Depot to honor Brigadier General Augustine Warner Robins on October 14, 1942.

On October 14, 1964, Martin Luther King, Jr. was announced as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming Georgia’s first native-born winner. Today’s Atlanta Journal Constitution has a story on how King’s Nobel Prize effected Atlanta.

The honor wasn’t just a watershed for King and the civil rights movement but also for Atlanta. It set off a series of events that some say fundamentally changed the city’s business, religious and racial cultures by bringing blacks and whites together for the first time to share a meal in public.

That simple act, holding a multi-racial banquet in the new Nobel laureate’s honor, tested the will and even the nerves of those determined to make Atlanta a more just and inclusive place.

“It was a defining moment in the history of the city, and it should go down in the city’s documented memory,” said Janice R. Blumberg, the widow of Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, who was instrumental in organizing the event.

King’s three surviving children are due in court in December to determine if the 23-karat gold medal — along with a Bible their father once owned — should be sold at auction. Brothers Martin Luther King III and Dexter King, representing the King Estate, plan to sell the items. Sister Bernice King has opposed the sale.

Mayor Allen and J. Paul Austin, chairman of Coca-Cola, gathered the business elite at the Piedmont Driving Club. Allen warned then he would be taking notes on who did not attend the dinner. But Austin delivered the crushing blow.

According to Young’s written account, Austin said: “It is embarrassing for Coca-Cola to be located in a city that refuses to honor its Nobel Prize winner. We are an international business. The Coca-Cola Company does not need Atlanta. You all have to decide whether Atlanta needs the Coca-Cola Company.”

On October 14, 1980, Republican candidate for President Ronald Reagan announced he would name a woman to the Supreme Court if elected.

To achieve those ends, we need the best people possible at the highest levels of Government regardless of sex, race or religion. I am also acutely aware, however, that within the guidelines of excellence, appointments can carry enormous symbolic significance. This permits us to guide by example, to show how deep our commitment is and to give meaning to what we profess.

One way I intend to live up to that commitment is to appoint a woman to the Supreme Court. I am announcing today that one of the first Supreme Court vacancies in my administration will be filled by the most qualified woman I can find, one who meets the high standards I will demand for all my appointments.

It is time for a woman to sit among our highest jurists. I will also seek out women to appoint to other Federal courts in an effort to bring about a better balance on the Federal bench.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Can UGA sue?

Ron Daniels, an actual lawyer, raises the issue of whether the University of Georgia could sue the sports memorabilia dealer who allegedly paid Todd Gurley for autographed merchandise.

Apparently, in 2003, the General Assembly passed a law designed to allow universities to recover damages from situations like this. While this law has been on the books for over a decade, it does not appear to have ever been used. But O.C.G.A. 20-2-317 and O.C.G.A. 20-2-318 are finally getting some press. At first blush, it may seem like 20-2-318 may give UGA a cause of action against Gurley’s accuser.

In the words of one ESPN commentator, “[n]ot so fast my friend.” 2-20-318 is an obvious example of “feel good” legislation. But in the rush to pass such legislation, it appears a possible loop-hole may exist for any potential defendants.

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30
Sep

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

Wyoming adopted the first state constitution to allow women to vote on September 30, 1889.

In fall of 1863, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, the second woman in the United States to graduate medical school, traveled to the Chattanooga area to treat soldiers wounded in the Battle of Chickamauga.

Despite her degree, at First Manassas she was only allowed to serve as a nurse. Eventually she became an unpaid volunteer field surgeon for the Union army and served on front line battlefields for nearly two years.

In fall of 1863, in response to the dire medical needs, she was transferred to a Union hospital in Chattanooga.  Finally, in September 1863, her relentless perseverance paid off, and she was awarded a commission as a “Contract Acting Assistant Surgeon (civilian)” with the Union Army of the Cumberland. It was technically a civilian, not a military, position, but she did receive compensation. A few months later she was appointed a civilian contract assistant surgeon for the 52nd Ohio Infantry, a Union regiment wintering in Chattanooga.

Though she had been a civilian contractor, Walker was recognized as the first-ever female U.S. Army Surgeon. In November 1865, President Andrew Johnson signed a bill awarding her the highest U.S. Armed Forces decoration for bravery, the Medal of Honor. The citation stated that she had “devoted herself with much patriotic zeal to the sick and wounded soldiers, both in the field and hospitals, to the detriment of her own health.  She had also endured hardships as a prisoner of war for four months in a Southern prison.”

Walker remains today the only woman, and one of only eight civilians, ever awarded the Medal of Honor.

President Woodrow Wilson spoke in favor of Women’s Suffrage in an address to Congress on September 30, 1918. The bill to pass the 19th Amendment would die in the Senate that year after passing the House.

On September 30, 1927, Babe Ruth hit his 60th home run of the season.

On September 30, 1976, Democrat Jimmy Carter led the Harris Poll for President over President Gerald Ford by a 50-41 margin. In November 1976, the popular vote tallied 50.08% for Carter to 48.01% for Ford, with an Independent taking nearly a point.

Voter Registration

Even if you last voted in the July 22d runoff election, it’s worth taking a moment to check your voter registration by logging in to the Secretary of State’s My Voter Page, where you can also preview the November ballot.

Click here for complete information on registering to vote.

Click here for contact information for your County Board of Elections if you have questions.

Click here to register online if you have a valid Georgia driver’s license.

Click here for an absentee ballot application.

All of this information is available on mobile devices on Apple and Android platforms. To find the app, search for “GA Votes” in the Apple app store or the Google Play store.

If you need to register to vote, the deadline is Monday.

New Campaign Ads

The Fix blog at the Washington Post has analyzed TV buying information from FCC political filings to see what kind of patterns emerge.

Republicans advertise on ‘The Big Bang Theory.’ Democrats buy ads on ‘Big Brother.’

If you have seen the “Today” show or your local news or an NFL game in recent weeks and you are unfortunate/fortunate enough to live in (or near) a Senate battleground state, what I am about to write will probably not surprise you: Those broadcasts have been the most likely to host ads from Senate candidates and party campaign committees since Aug. 1.

Among daytime shows, Dr. Phil sells the most time to Republicans, while “The View” sells more ads to Democrats. Sunday ad time is more likely sold to GOP candidates than Dems. Interestingly to me, and somewhat counterintuitive, is that advertising during “Modern Family” advertising is about 2/3 by Republicans. Someone pointed out to me that in “Modern Family,” each family unit featured on the show has a stay-at-home parent.

Among re-runs, Andy Griffith is very popular among Republicans.

The Post also profiles social media use in a fascinating article:

In the aggregate, social media users are younger, more liberal … and less politically engaged than the general populace. Facebook is the closest thing we have to a neutral and all-inclusive public forum — and that’s only because so many people are on it that the overall politics and demographics of the platform are a wash.

Pinterest is one of the most conservative social networking sites — something that was already established by a Harvard Institute of Politics study of young adults from earlier this year. Quantcast also found that Pinterest users were wealthier and older than the users of other major social-media platforms

Twitter, on the other hand, leans the furthest left and features far more active political creatures than Pinterest. Quantcast found that Twitter users were the one exception to the rule that social media users tend to pay attention to politics far less than most Americans. The Harvard Institute of Politics study also found that Twitter users are more likely to be Democrats.

 

State and Local News Across Georgia

The address of The Allman Brothers Band Museum at The Big House will now read Duane Allman Blvd. after Macon renamed a portion of Vineville Avenue – Macon Telegraph.

GDOT held a public meeting about their plan to add new toll lanes in Gwinnett – Gwinnett Daily Post.

“The managed lanes are a way to meet the need when you need it,” she said. “It is not the best answer, but it’s the only answer we have right now.”

As with the existing toll lanes, the toll to use the new lanes will vary with demand and congestion. The new section, Pope added, will be tolled separately from the existing section and there will be signs indicating where the new toll begins.

“When you need that reliable trip time, you can choose to pay your way in and get it,” Pope explained.

Dacula resident Wayne Rowan is adamantly opposed to the project. Rowan travels approximately 30,000 miles a year, much of it in Gwinnett, but refuses to use the existing toll lanes.

“I refuse to pay for something I’ve already paid for before,” he said. “I don’t have a Peach Pass and I’m not going to get a Peach Pass. I’ll sit in traffic. I don’t care.”

 

U.S. Department of Transportation is giving Macon the chance of another year of subsidized commercial flights under the Essential Air Service Program – Macon Telegraph.

A loggerhead turtle who had been recuperating at the Sea Turtle Center after a fire ant attack was released to the wild – Savannah Morning News.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends IUDs or hormonal implants in addition to condom use for teenage girls who have sex  – Savannah Morning News. [Editor's Note: this will surely set off a firestorm of criticism.]

Voters in Dalton can hear from Miller Jones and Dennis Mock, candidates for Mayor, at a forum tonight at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall – Dalton Daily Citizen.

A reader of the Dalton Daily Citizen opines in a Letter to the Editor that Republican voters have an important job on November 4th:

Republican voters must not sit out the November elections. Such inaction could put two unqualified liberal Democrats into office.

Michelle Nunn, candidate for Senate, would be one more puppet vote for Barack Obama’s far-left liberal policies. She would not vote to repeal Obamacare, nor make any changes to that law. Further, as a senator, she would be just one more toady of the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to bottle up any and all legislation, without bringing it to a vote, which Reid doesn’t like. She would also vote along party lines to ensure Obama crams even far more leftists onto the federal courts and non-elected boards and commissions. Their opinions and decisions are as effective as laws but have not been passed by Congress.

Virtually all of her working life has been spent with nonprofit organizations. In this capacity, she has not had to be concerned with making sales to pay employees, pay the bills and keep the doors open. A Sen. Nunn would only help Obama create even more nonprofits from profit-making businesses, leading them to bankruptcy. This would further  increase unemployment, the last thing Whitfield County needs.

For governor, an inexperienced Atlanta lawyer, with a flip-flopping voting record in a brief state Senate career, speaks like a true Democrat. Jason Carter has all sorts of solutions to problems but offers no way to pay for them. He must not know that Georgia can’t print money.

With the Legislature solidly controlled by Republicans, he would have no chance of passing his Obama-lite legislation. If his family name were different, he probably would not even be a candidate.

“Hap” Harris has been named an intermim District 7 Commissioner by the Augusta City Commission to fill the term of a member who resigned – Augusta Chronicle.  The Augusta Commission is no longer “Hap”-less, at least in name.

The Washington Post notes that five statewide Democratic candidates are African-American women and dubs them “the Georgia Five.”

The five have received endorsements from top Democratic figures in the state as well as important progressive groups, but have largely gone under the national radar.

All the challenges women face in running for office — raising money, getting support from their party and convincing voters they have the chops — are magnified for women of color. Case in point: A recent study showed that black women raise an average $235,000 less than their black male counterparts when running for office.

There isn’t much good down-ballot polling for Georgia’s races, but most polls suggest that they will be close, with an edge given to Republicans (similar to the gubernatorial and Senate races), because of the state’s overall makeup. Democrats want very badly to capitalize on the state’s changing DNA and have said that increasing the voter rolls by 3 percent with Democratic voters would mean victory.

As voters, black women will be key to any get-out-the-vote efforts, as they are crucial to the overall turnout of African Americans, who made up 28 percent of the vote in the 2010 midterm elections in Georgia.

And although black women power the black vote, making up almost 60 percent of the voters in that key demographic — and cast ballots at a higher rate than any other demographic group in 2008 and 2012 — that has hardly translated to political power.

Lobbyists

Capitol Partners Public Affairs Group, Inc. announced that Caroline Womack joined the firm as a principal. Prior to joining Capitol Partners, Womack served as government relations director at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia.

“Caroline’s strong record of effective advocacy and results in addition to her relentless work ethic are tremendous assets to our clients,” said Rusty Sewell, principal and founder of Capitol Partners. “As we look to the future and position ourselves for growth, Caroline will be an integral part of our firm and leadership team. We are proud to welcome her to Capitol Partners.”

While at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, Caroline played a key role in expanding the company’s relationship with the State of Georgia. During her tenure, she successfully guided public affairs and external communications initiatives during one of the most turbulent periods for the health care industry.

“In government relations, there is no substitute for experience and strong relationships built on integrity and trust,” said Hunter Towns, principal at Capitol Partners. “Caroline brings in-depth knowledge of the legislative landscape in Georgia as well as her affable, winning personality. She knows how to get things done, which is an invaluable quality for our clients and our firm.”

Capitol Partners Public Affairs group represents top companies and nonprofits including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, the State Bar of Georgia, Blue Bird Corporation, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, The Auto Club Group (AAA) and the Georgia Cable Association, among others.

Events Calendar


Ladies Only! Mrs. Rick W. Allen for Lunch with Special Guests

September 30 @ 11:30 AM1:00 PM
Augusta Country Club Summer House, 655 Milledge Road, Augusta , GA 30904

 

+ Google Map

Please join Mrs. Rick W. Allen for Lunch with Special Guests Mrs. Saxby Chamblis…

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FREE

DeKalb County GOP: Take The Senate Tuesday

September 30 @ 5:00 PM9:00 PM
DeKalb GOP HQ, 1532 Dunwoody Village Parkway, Dunwoody, GA 30338

GATHER AT THE DeKalb GOP HQ to make phone calls for VICTORY. HELP US FIRE HARRY …

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50 / 75

BBQ and Politics – Fundraiser for Rep. Sam Teasley

September 30 @ 5:00 PM7:00 PM
Dave Poe’s BBQ, 660 Whitlock Avenue, Marietta , GA 30064

Please join State Representative Sam Teasley and support his re-election by comi…

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Nancy Jester Night in Brookhaven

September 30 @ 6:00 PM8:00 PM
Olde Blind Dog Irish Pub, 705 Town Blvd, Brookhaven, GA 30319

    As a candidate for the District One seat on the DeKalb Board of Co…

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Suwanee Tea Party Meeting

September 30 @ 7:30 PM8:30 PM
Ippolito’s, 350 Town Center Ave, Suwanee, GA 30024

Jane Robbins, an attorney and a senior fellow with the American Principles Proje…

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October 2014


GA State University CR: Meeting with Rep. Sam Teasley

October 1 @ 4:30 PM5:30 PM
GSU Campus, Capitol Suite, 3Rd Floor, Student Center, Atlanta, GA

 

+ Google Map

Reminder we are having our next meeting Wednesday at 4:30pm. State rep Sam Teasl…

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Dialing with DEAL!

October 1 @ 5:30 PM8:00 PM
GA GOP HQ, 3110 Maple Dr NE, Atlanta , GA 30305
Please join Gov. Nathan Deal live and in-person for a special night of ph…
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Oconee Regional GOP Women & UGA College Republicans: Beyond Common Core: It’s worse than you think

October 2 @ 7:00 PM8:00 PM
UGA – Miller Learning Center, Room 348, Athens, GA

  This Thursday the Oconee Regional Republican Women (ORRW) will host a spe…

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Buckhead YR: Happy Hour

October 2 @ 7:00 PM8:00 PM
Big Sky Buckhead, 3201 Cains Hill Pl NW, Atlanta, GA 30305

Join the Buckhead Young Republicans for our October Happy Hour on Thursday Octob…

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23
Sep

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

Bon Homme Richard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On September 23, 1976, President Gerald Ford and former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter met in their first televised debate.

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

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Latest Polling

Rasmussen has released polls on the Gubernatorial and Senatorial races. In the Gubernatorial race:

Nathan Deal………………45%
Jason Carter………………44%
Some other candidate…..3%
Undecided…………………..8%

And in the race for United States Senate:

David Perdue………………46%
Michelle Nunn…………….41%
Some other candidate……4%
Undecided……………………9%

It is a fundamental flaw and a sign of laziness in a poll of Georgia elections to not include the name of the third party candidates.

The Washington Post column on politics called The Fix wrote yesterday that Republicans are a slight favorite to gain control of the Senate, and specifically,

For those wondering about Kentucky and Georgia — Democrats’ other two pickup opportunities — both seem to be fading from sight.  All three models show Republicans with a strong chance of holding both seats. In Kentucky, the probabilities range from 85 percent to 99 percent; in Georgia it ranges from a 77 percent chance of a Republican victory to a 95 percent one.

Forget the “War on Women,” it’s a “War for Women’s Votes”

Yesterday saw duelling press events at the Georgia State Capitol. From Greg Bluestein, writing for the AJC:

We’ll start with Perdue’s presser, which focused on two EEOC complaints that Nunn’s camp unintentionally exposed in the infamous series of memos that leaked this summer. State Rep. Lynne Riley and other GOPers wrote a letter demanding that Nunn release the complaints, which haven’t been made public yet.

“The only way for Georgians to know the truth is for you to voluntarily release this information,” said the letter. “Why haven’t you done so already?”

They then marched over to Nunn’s event to deliver that letter to the Democrat’s campaign manager, a stoic Jeff DiSantis, as a few dozen Nunn supporters chanted “go blue” and “equal pay.” As you can see in the above video, they were briefly held up by state troopers.

Once the Republican gaggle was out of earshot, the Democrats proceeded to pummel Perdue over whether he’d back the stalled-out Paycheck Fairness Act. That bill aims to narrow the persistent pay discrepancy between women and men.

“All we want to do is go to work and be treated as equals, leave behind gender-based discrimination,” said Orrock, an Atlanta Democrat.

Here’s why the Democrats are talking about Paycheck Fairness, from polling earlier this year:

Republican voters divide on gender lines, with a majority of Republican women supporting the plan (54%) and more than a third (36%) of Republican men supporting it. Independent women are also strong supporters, 61% favor the plan as well as 49% of Independent men.

A strong majority (60%) of voters are also likely to use a candidate’s support for policies that have a direct impact on working families as a vote-determinant. This includes 84% of Democratic women, 57% of Independent women and 53% of Republican women.

Women Poll Table

Polls of the Georgia Senate race consistently show a gender gap, with Republican David Perdue leading among men and Democrat Michelle Nunn leading among women.

The distinction was sharpened in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll released Sunday. Democrat Jason Carter led Republican Gov. Nathan Deal by 10 points with female voters, and women gave Michelle Nunn a three-point advantage over Republican David Perdue in the Senate contest. Other recent polls have portrayed an even wider gap between male and female voters.

Susan Carroll, a Rutgers University political scientist who has studied the gap, said ultimately many women end up voting on the “kitchen table” issues such as the economy and education.

“Men are much more likely to be in favor of cutting back on government than women are,” Carroll said. “Women, even if they want to cut back, care more about protecting the safety net. Over time, that’s factored pretty seriously into the gender gap.”

Rural Georgia in play?

Rural issues in the Senate election are also getting significant attention. Rural health care has become a Rorschach test for the candidates’ views on Obamacare.

In an updated election guide, produced by Healthcare Georgia Foundation, the two candidates answer a new question about rural health care.

In her response, Nunn, a Democrat, calls for expansion of the Medicaid program in the state as outlined by the Affordable Care Act.

Expansion “would enable over 600,000 low-income Georgians to sign up for Medicaid and allow rural hospitals to receive payments for services to people who were previously uninsured,” Nunn said. “By not expanding Medicaid, Georgia will lose $33.7 billion in federal funding from 2013 to 2022, while our tax dollars are spent in other states.”

Perdue, rather than implement more of the ACA, would go in the opposite direction. The Republican candidate supports a plan by U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., to repeal the ACA and embrace free-market solutions to the problems of health care.

He blasts the ACA, often known as Obamacare, for ending government payments to hospitals that treat a large share of low-income patients, and for “driving insurance companies out of many underserved areas, and causing health care premiums to spike on the remaining plans.”

Democrats see rural voters as a group where they can make headway.

While Kentucky’s electorate is more rural than Georgia on a percentage basis, the Peach State has many more rural voters based on population. Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn is trying to run as a centrist in the mold of her father, Sam, whose long career in the Senate ran from 1972 to 1996.

While Democrats point to the growing numbers of African-American and Latino voters as a sign of the state’s purple-trending demographics, the fact is that a significant infusion of rural voters in central and south Georgia will have to cast a ballot for Nunn if she is to defeat businessman David Perdue for the seat held by outgoing Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

Keith McCants of tiny Oglethorpe, Ga. is perhaps his state’s most knowledgeable expert on rural politics, and he has a lot to say about what Nunn needs to do to be competitive over the final weeks in the rural counties.

McCants, who runs the respected Peanut Politics blog, said Nunn has two tasks in wooing rural voters. First, she must motivate “Obamacrats,” the rural black voters in the 1st, 2nd and 8th Congressional Districts who don’t come out to midterm elections like they do when Obama’s name is on the ballot. Second, McCants says Nunn needs independents and voters 55 and older to break her way. “Everyone assumes if you’re white and rural, you’re a Republican,” he laments.

As for Nunn’s field operation, McCants notes places like Tifton and Waycross have no organizers while “Perdue has a ground game [in the rural counties] and its going strong.”

 

22
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 22, 2014

On September 22, 1862, Republican President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which stated,

“. . . on the first day of January [1863] . . . all persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”

1024px-Chickamauga

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

800px-Cannon_Row Chickamauga

On September 21, 1863, the federal Army of the Cumberland retreated to Chattanooga after its defeat at Chickamauga.

President Rutherford B. Hayes visited Atlanta on September 22, 1877.

White vigilantes seeking to assault African-Americans after reports of four white women being assaulted led to the Atlanta Race Riots on September 22-24, 1906, which would claim the lives of at least 25 African-Americans and one white person.

On September 22, 1918, the City of Atlanta gasoline administator prohibited non-emergency Sunday driving to conserve fuel for the war effort.

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

Bert Lance resigned as Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Jimmy Carter on September 21, 1977. After a jury acquitted him on ten federal charges in 1980, Lance served as Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia from 1982 to 1985.

General Colin Powell was confirmed by the Senate Armed Services Committee as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on September 21. 1989. Powell served as National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan before being appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by President George H.W. Bush; in 2000, Powell was nominated by President George W. Bush as Secretary of State, the first African-American to hold that post.

On September 20, 1992, Atlanta Braves David Justice, Brian Hunter, Ron Gant, and Mark Lemke hit home runs in the 6th inning of a 16-1 victory over the Houston Astros.

Friends debuted on NBC on September 22, 1994.

On September 21, 2011, R.E.M. announced on their website that they were quitting as a band.

Michelle Nunn, Deceptive Democrat Dinged on Truthiness

Michelle Nunn, whose makeover from nonprofit maven to Senate candidate is the most drastic we’ve ever seen, apparently went so far as to alter the story of her life, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Politifact.Continue Reading..

18
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 18, 2014

The United States government took out its first loan on September 18, 1789, the proceeds of which were used to pay the salaries of the President, and First Congress. On the same day, future President Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to E. Rutledge in which he requested that a shipment of olive trees be sent via Baltimore.

President George Washington laid the cornerstone of the United States Capitol on September 18, 1793.

We know from that newspaper article, and from Masonic ritual, that Washington placed an inscribed silver plate under the cornerstone at the southeast corner of this building. However, we do not know whether that meant the southeast corner of the Senate wing, the first section of the building to be completed, or the southeast corner of the whole building as intended, which would locate it over on the House side. Two centuries later, the Architect of the Capitol is still searching for that cornerstone. Metal detectors have failed to locate the silver plate.

President Millard Fillmore signed the Fugitive Slave Act on September 18, 1850, requiring that slaves be returned to their owners even if they were in a free state.

General Robert E. Lee retreated from Antietam Creek on September 18, 1862, following the bloodiest day of fighting in the Civil War.

On September 18, 1973, Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter filed a report claiming that he saw an Unidentified Flying Object in the sky above Leary, Georgia in 1969.

Carter was preparing to give a speech at a Lions Club meeting. At about 7:15 p.m (EST), one of the guests called his attention to a strange object that was visible about 30 degrees above the horizon to the west of where he was standing. Carter described the object as being bright white and as being about as bright as the moon. It was said to have appeared to have closed in on where he was standing but to have stopped beyond a stand of pine trees some distance from him. The object is then said to have changed color, first to blue, then to red, then back to white, before appearing to recede into the distance. Carter felt that the object was self-luminous, but not a solid in nature. Carter’s report indicates that it was witnessed by about ten or twelve other people, and was in view for ten to twelve minutes before it passed out of sight.

Click here to view a copy of the report, allegedly on file at the Carter Center.

The Georgia General Assembly approved a new state Constitution on September 18, 1981, which was placed on the 1982 ballot and after approval by voters, went into effect in 1983.

On September 18, 1990, Atlanta was announced as the location for the 1996 Summer Olympic games.

Ted Turner announced on September 18, 1997 his intent to donate $1 billion to the United Nations.Continue Reading..