Category: Georgia Politics

15
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 15, 2022

James Oglethorpe left London on November 15, 1732 headed to a Thames River port named Gravesend, where he would board the ship Anne and lead the first colonists to Georgia.

On November 15, 1777, the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union were adopted in York, Pennsylvania.

Congress was a single house, with each state having one vote, and a president elected to chair the assembly. Although Congress did not have the right to levy taxes, it did have authority over foreign affairs and could regulate a national army and declare war and peace. Amendments to the Articles required approval from all 13 states. On March 2, 1781, following final ratification by the 13th state, the Articles of Confederation became the law of the land.

Edward Langworthy of Savannah, Edward Telfair, and John Walton signed the Articles of Confederation for Georgia.

Stephen Heard Conan OBrien

On November 15, 1815, Patriot leader Stephen Heard died in Elbert County, GA. Heard served on Georgia’s Executive Council during part of the American Revolution and as its President from 1780 to 1781. He later served in the Georgia House of Representatives, as a judge in Elbert County, and as a delegate to Georgia’s 1975 Constitutional Convention. The above portrait of Conan O’Brien Stephen Heard hangs in the basement (pied a terre) level of the Georgia Governor’s Mansion.

On November 15, 1864, General William Tecumseh Sherman’s army left Atlanta on its March to the Sea.

On November 15, the army began to move, burning the industrial section of Atlanta before leaving. One witness reported “immense and raging fires lighting up whole heavens… huge waves of fire roll up into the sky; presently the skeleton of great warehouses stand out in relief against sheets of roaring, blazing, furious flames.” Sherman’s famous destruction of Georgia had begun.

A 2010 Wired article argues that Sherman’s rampage through Georgia and the Carolinas changed modern warfare.

Vengeance aside, the real objective of Sherman’s march was to cut the Confederacy in two, cripple Southern industrial capacity, destroy the railroad system and compel an early Confederate surrender. It was also intended to break Southern morale — in Sherman’s words, to “make Georgia howl.”

Sherman was vilified for his barbarism, but the Union commander was a realist, not a romantic. He understood — as few of his contemporaries seemed to — that technology and industrialization were radically changing the nature of warfare.

It was no longer a question of independent armies meeting on remote battlefields to settle the issue. Civilians, who helped produce the means for waging modern war, would no longer be considered innocent noncombatants. Hitting the enemy where he ate and breaking him psychologically were just as important to victory as vanquishing his armies in the field.

Sherman grasped this and, though he wasn’t the first military proponent of total war, he was the first modern commander to deliberately strike at the enemy’s infrastructure. The scorched-earth tactics were effective. The fragile Southern economy collapsed, and a once-stout rebel army was irretrievably broken.

Meanwhile, the marshals of Europe watched Sherman’s progress with fascination. And they learned.

On November 15, 1977, President Jimmy Carter hosted the Shah of Iran in Washington, where they spent two days discussing U.S-Iranian relations.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp testifies today before Fulton County’s “grand jury” investigating former President Trump, according to the AJC.

The grand jury will meet with Kemp behind closed doors and is expected to ask him about the pressure he faced by Trump and his allies to help reverse Joe Biden’s win during the 2020 general election, the AJC’s Tamar Hallerman and Greg Bluestein reported.

Prosecutors have said they want to ask Kemp about the identities of the people who tried to get in touch with him and evidence the Trump campaign provided in support of its theory that Georgia’s election was rigged.

A judge allowed Kemp to delay his testimony until after the November election.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee and Senator Raphael Warnock’s campaign announced a lawsuit against Georgia.Continue Reading..

14
Nov

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 14, 2022

Callie is a 40-pound, young female mixed breed dog who is available for adoption from the Effingham County Animal Shelter in Springfield, GA.

Two Face is a 50-pound young male mixed breed dog who is available for adoption from the Effingham County Animal Shelter in Springfield, GA.

Bailey is a 50-pound, young female mixed breed dog who is available for adoption from the Effingham County Animal Shelter in Springfield, GA.

14
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 14, 2022

General Sherman’s army prepared for the March to the Sea on November 14, 1864.

On November 14, 1944, the Constitutional Convention working on a revised document for Georgia reversed its position on home rule that had been adopted the previous day on the motion of Governor Ellis Arnall.

Three astronauts with connections to Georgia – Eric Boe, Robert Kimbrough, and Sandra Magnus – were aboard the space shuttle Endeavor when it lifted off on November 14, 2008.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Georgia State House Republicans meet today to nominate a new Speaker of the House, according to the Associated Press via the Statesboro Herald.

[State House Majority Leader Jon] Burns just won his 10th two-year term in the House without opposition, representing a district that includes Screven County, part of Bulloch County and most of Effingham County. He’s been majority leader since 2015.

House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones of Milton, House Majority Whip Matt Hatchett of Dublin and Rep. Alan Powell of Hartwell have all said they won’t run for speaker this week, with all three Republicans endorsing Burns.

David Ralston of Blue Ridge has been speaker for 13 years, but stunned lawmakers and the Georgia political world when the Republican announced last week that he is stepping down for health reasons. As paramount leader of the House, Ralston has shaped taxes, spending and other laws, becoming the most powerful person in state government behind the governor. Ralston says he will continue as a representative.

From the AJC:

The race to succeed outgoing state House Speaker David Ralston appears to be a two-way competition between Majority Leader Jon Burns and state Rep. Barry Fleming that could dramatically shift the direction of the chamber.

Burns is running with support from Ralston’s coalition and other key legislators who opted against a run of their own. They include Jan Jones, the chamber’s No. 2 Republican; Matt Hatchett, another high-ranking Republican; and Alan Powell, a legislative veteran.

Fleming, long a Ralston rival, has his own base of support from the chamber’s more conservative flank, including members of the House’s far-right freedom caucus and Sam Watson, the leader of the powerful House Rural Caucus.

At stake is the consensus-driven politics in the House that Ralston cultivated during his tenure. Over more than a decade in leadership, Ralston shepherded his share of controversial conservative policies through the Legislature, but also worked across party lines to boost mental health programs, overhaul criminal justice laws and tap the brakes on some of the GOP’s more polarizing policies.

Fleming, who was the architect of Georgia’s new voting law, is likely to promise a more assertive — and, sometimes, combative — approach to conservative priorities in the House.

Georgia State Senate Republicans chose new leadership for the upcoming Session, according to the Associated Press via WRDW.Continue Reading..

11
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 11, 2022

Yesterday was the anniversary of the birth of the United States Marine Corps, which traces its lineage to the Continental Marines, formed by a resolution adopted by the Second Continental Congress on November 10, 1775. Here, former Georgia Governor and United States Senator Zell Miller tells of his decision to join the Marine Corps and the change it made in his life.

President George Washington returned to the City of Washington on November 13, 1789, ending the first Presidential tour.

On the same day, Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to his friend Jean-Baptiste LeRoy, in which he said,

“Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

The first twenty-three cadets at Virginia Military Institute began their service on November 11, 1839.

General William Tecumseh Sherman ordered the destruction of railroad and telegraph lines between Atlanta and Northwest Georgia on November 12, 1864. Sherman also burned the railroad bridge over the Chattahoochee, cutting his own supply line from Chattanooga.

On November 13, 1865, the United States government issued the first Gold Certificates.

The Georgia General Assembly adopted a resolution against ratifying the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution on November 13, 1866.

In deciding not to ratify the 14th Amendment, the General Assembly adopted a committee report explaining that: “1. If Georgia is not a State composing part of the Federal Government known as the Government of the United States, amendments to the Constitution of the United States are not properly before this body. 2. If Georgia is a State composing part of the Federal Government … , these these amendments are not proposed according to the requirements of the Federal Constitution, and are proposed in such a manner as to forbid the legislature from discussing the merits of the amendments without an implied surrender of the rights of the State.”

Excavation began for a new Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta on the site of the former City Hall/Fulton County Courthouse on November 13, 1884.

In what looks to me like a surprisingly progressive move for the 19th century, Governor John B. Gordon signed legislation on November 12, 1889 opening the University of Georgia to white women.

On November 11, 1918, word reached Georgia that an armistice was signed between the Allies and Germany, ending World War One. Georgia Governor Hugh Dorsery declared a state holiday. Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I, was first celebrated on November 11, 1919 and is celebrated on November 11th every year.

On November 12, 1918, Atlanta held a victory parade to celebrate the Armistice with Germany.

In 1938, Congress recognized November 11th as Armistice Day, making it a legal holiday, and in 1954, at the urging of veterans, Congress renamed the holiday “Veterans Day.”

The Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery was dedicated on November 11, 1921.

On Armistice Day, in the presence of President Harding and other government, military, and international dignitaries, the unknown soldier was buried with highest honors beside the Memorial Amphitheater. As the soldier was lowered to his final resting place, a two-inch layer of soil brought from France was placed below his coffin so that he might rest forever atop the earth on which he died.

The Tomb of the Unknowns is considered the most hallowed grave at Arlington Cemetery, America’s most sacred military cemetery. The tombstone itself, designed by sculptor Thomas Hudson Jones, was not completed until 1932, when it was unveiled bearing the description “Here Rests in Honored Glory an American Soldier Known but to God.” The World War I unknown was later joined by the unidentified remains of soldiers from America’s other major 20th century wars and the tomb was put under permanent guard by special military sentinels.

A monument to Nancy Hart was dedicated in Hartwell, in Hart County, Georgia, on November 10, 1931. Hart was an active Patriot in the American Revolution.

On November 10, 1934, two years after his election as President, FDR made his 28th trip to Georgia.

Walt Disney released “Fantasia” on November 13, 1940.

On November 11, 1942, the draft age was lowered to 18 and raised to 37. At the time, African-Americans were excluded from the draft over concerns about a racially-diverse military.

United States Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Moultrie) was born on November 10, 1943. Chambliss was elected to Congress in 1994 as part of the “Republican Revolution” led by Newt Gingrich.

On November 12, 1944, the Atlanta Constitution released a poll of Georgia legislators indicating that most wanted more local rule for cities and counties in the new Constitution being drafted. Georgia Governor and Constitutional Commission Chair Ellis Arnall moved that a home rule provision be included in the new draft of the state Constitution and his motion passed 8-7 on November 13, 1944.

On November 13, 1956, the United States Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that struck down a law requiring segregation on buses in Montgomery, Alabama.

The iron ore freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald sunk in a winter storm on Lake Superior on November 10, 1975.

The “General Lee” first left the ground, using a ramp to clear a police car, during filming of “The Dukes of Hazzard” on November 11, 1978.

President Jimmy Carter ordered an end to oil imports from Iran on November 12, 1979.

Ronald Reagan announced his campaign for the Republican nomination for President of the United States on November 13, 1979.

“The people have not created this disaster in our economy; the federal government has. It has overspent, overestimated, and over regulated. It has failed to deliver services within the revenues it should be allowed to raise from taxes. In the thirty-four years since the end of World War II, it has spent 448 billion dollars more than it has collection in taxes – 448 billion dollars of printing press money, which has made every dollar you earn worth less and less. At the same time, the federal government has cynically told us that high taxes on business will in some way “solve” the problem and allow the average taxpayer to pay less. Well, business is not a taxpayer it is a tax collector. Business has to pass its tax burden on to the customer as part of the cost of doing business. You and I pay the taxes imposed on business every time we go to the store. Only people pay taxes and it is political demagoguery or economic illiteracy to try and tell us otherwise.”

“The key to restoring the health of the economy lies in cutting taxes. At the same time, we need to get the waste out of federal spending. This does not mean sacrificing essential services, nor do we need to destroy the system of benefits which flow to the poor, the elderly, the sick and the handicapped. We have long since committed ourselves, as a people, to help those among us who cannot take care of themselves. But the federal government has proven to be the costliest and most inefficient provider of such help we could possibly have.”

“I believe this nation hungers for a spiritual revival; hungers to once again see honor placed above political expediency; to see government once again the protector of our liberties, not the distributor of gifts and privilege. Government should uphold and not undermine those institutions which are custodians of the very values upon which civilization is founded—religion, education and, above all, family. Government cannot be clergyman, teacher and parent. It is our servant, beholden to us.”

“We who are privileged to be Americans have had a rendezvous with destiny since the moment in 1630 when John Winthrop, standing on the deck of the tiny Arbella off the coast of Massachusetts, told the little band of pilgrims, “We shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world.”

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated on November 13, 1982 in Washington, DC.

Ronald Reagan became the first President of the United States to address the Japanese Diet in Tokyo on November 11, 1983.

On November 11, 1988, the Georgia Vietnam Memorial was dedicated in front of the Sloppy Floyd state government building across the street from the Georgia State Capitol.

Tim Berners-Lee published a Proposal for a HyperText Project, laying the foundation for the World Wide Web, on November 12, 1990.

HyperText is a way to link and access information of various kinds as a web of nodes in which the user can browse at will. Potentially, HyperText provides a single user-interface to many large classes of stored information such as reports, notes, data-bases, computer documentation and on-line systems help.

A program which provides access to the hypertext world we call a browser. A hypertext page has pieces of text which refer to other texts. Such references are highlighted and can be selected with a mouse. When you select a reference, the browser presents you with the text which is referenced.

The texts are linked together in a way that one can go from one concept to another to find the information one wants. The network of links is called a web.

On November 11, 1997, a monument to Georgia’s World War I veterans was dedicated, also in front of the Sloppy Floyd building.

On November 12, 2000, George W. Bush took the lead for the first time in the New Mexico vote count, paving the way for his eventual election as President. From the New York Times:

Gov. George W. Bush of Texas late Friday night took the lead from Vice President Al Gore in the race to claim New Mexico’s five electoral votes with what now stands as the slimmest statewide margin in the country and one of the narrowest in American history.

After 257 missing ballots were found on Friday, and Bernalillo County officials here decided to count 379 ballots by hand that had been rejected by electronic voting machines on Tuesday, Mr. Bush led Mr. Gore by just four votes — among nearly 600,000 cast. The count was 285,644 for Mr. Bush, and 285,640 for Mr. Gore, according to totals from the state and the county.

Mr. Gore, who now has 255 electoral votes, seemed the apparent winner in New Mexico on Tuesday night by about 5,000 votes. But by late Wednesday, county officials had discovered that 67,000 absentee and early ballots had not been counted.

By midnight on Thursday, nearly all the ballots had been tallied and added to the county totals, but county officials then found that 252 votes — a number that reached 257 by Friday — were missing. They also grappled with the problem of what to do with an ever changing number of ballots that voting machines had rejected.

Then, on Friday afternoon, Lou Melvin, a precinct judge, found a locked black ballot box in an outer storage room in the county warehouse building where all the tabulations were being conducted.

It would be a month before the Supreme Court rendered a decision in Bush v. Gore, ending the election.

From the New York Post, dated November 12, 2000:

Republican George W. Bush yesterday took an infinitesimal lead – just 17 votes – in New Mexico, flipping a state that was put in rival Al Gore’s column for days, then moved to undecided Friday as Gore’s lead shriveled.

It’s another black eye for the TV networks who rushed to judgment and wrongly called New Mexico for Gore on Election Night, just as they miscalled Florida – first for Gore and then for Bush before going back to undecided.

The TV network fumbles are coupled with coast-to-coast ballot bumbles that have undermined America’s faith in the whole voting system as four states could join Florida in recount-land: New Mexico, Wisconsin, Oregon and Iowa.

Former State School Superintendent Linda Schrenko was indicted by federal prosecutors on November 10, 2004 on eighteen counts.

On November 13, 2006, groundbreaking began for a memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr. on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

On November 11, 2013, the Atlanta Braves announced they would move from downtown Atlanta to Cobb County.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Voters may now request an absentee ballot for the December 6, 2022 Runoff Election, according to WTOC.

You can request an absentee ballot for the runoff now. The absentee ballot application must be received by your election office 11 days before the election.

Saturday, Nov. 26, would be the earliest day that early in-person voting could begin in any county, according to state officials. Whether there is early in-person voting on this day will be a county-by-county decision, on whether they want to offer weekend early voting.

Early voting will begin in all counties on Monday, Nov. 28.

You must have been registered to vote for the Nov. 8 election. You cannot register now just for the runoff.

You did not have to vote in the Nov. 8 election. If you are registered, you can vote.

From the Ledger-Enquirer:

You can request an absentee ballot online, by emailing your county board of registrars office, by mail, by fax or in person. The process for any of these options starts with downloading and printing the absentee ballot application.

To complete the process by email, complete the absentee ballot application and provide contact information under “voter details.” Enter your Georgia driver’s license number or state ID and scan a digital copy of it. Email the application and copy of ID to your local county board of registrars office.

To mail or fax the application and copy of identification, look up your county board of registrars office contact information online. To submit the information in person, fill out the downloaded application and bring acceptable photo identification to your county board of registrars office.

If you requested an absentee ballot for the initial election and checked that you are elderly, disabled or voting from overseas, you should automatically receive a ballot for this election as well.

From WTVM:

Nationally, some say it could turn into the most expensive senate race ever. One local political expert tells us this extra election, a month from now, could generate millions for Georgia and money from all those campaign ads are a big plus for the peach state economically.

“Probably for this runoff, you could be seeing literally 10′s of millions of dollars spent,” said Columbus State University Assistant Professor of Political Science Dr. Jacob Holt, who says the extension will generate tons of revenue for Georgia.

“Ads run by candidates. They get lowest ad rates, but the ones where you make a lot of money is these outside groups, because you can charge them whatever you want, as long as you’re willing to pay it,” said Holt. “Very likely, Raphael Warnock will raise a lot more money. So more of his spending will be from his campaign, which will be a bigger bang for his buck.”

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says voters can request absentee ballots from now until November 28. He also says early voting must begin no later than November 28 in all counties.

From WJBF:

“But this time it’s going to be a much quicker pace, before we had the nine weeks this time, we have four weeks, so we have to do everything all over again but it a shorter period of time,” said Augusta Elections Director Travis Doss.

In 2020, when both Georgia’s senate seats resulted in a runoff, the election was in January, and now voters are facing a December 6 voting date.

“The difference comes about we actually changed the law in the legislature where you basically had two months when we did it in 2020 now it’s four weeks so the time is much shorter now,” said State Senator Harold Jones.

For the 2020 runoffs, there were three weeks of advance voting, that’s not the case for the 2022 senate runoff.

There will be early voting starting on November 28 and last for one week.

In 2020, there was time for new voters to register and still take part in the runoffs, but no new voters will be taking part this time.

“‘The registration deadline if it is a Federal Run off the registration deadline was the 7th so that has already passed so no,” said Doss.

The runoff rules changes are part of the election law changes made after concerns were raised about the 2020 elections.

“Of course, we say it was designed to suppress Democratic turnout because the fact of the matter came about after this election in 2020 that’s why we look at, it but at this point in time it’s the law,” said Senator Jones.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office will audit the Secretary of State race election results, according to the Associated Press via AccessWDUN.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced Thursday that state election officials will conduct an audit of his own race to satisfy an audit requirement in state law.

The audit stems from a law passed in 2019, not from any concerns about any problems or the integrity of the state’s election results. An audit is required for general elections in even-numbered years on a race selected by the secretary of state. It must be completed before the election results are certified.

“Today’s about ensuring confidence in the outcome of our elections in Georgia and really across our entire country,” Raffensperger said.

The counties must begin the audit on Nov. 17, and the secretary of state’s office is asking them to complete it by the next day, Raffensperger said.

He said he chose the secretary of state race because it had the widest margin, which will make the audit easier for counties to carry out. Raffensperger, a Republican, beat state Democratic state House Rep. Bee Nguyen.

State law requires 90% certainty that the outcome is correct, but Raffensperger said he is increasing that to 95%, that is to say a “risk limit” of 5%.

To get to that level, it is likely that between 5% and 7% of the nearly 4 million ballots case statewide will end up having to be counted by hand, said Blake Evans, elections director for the secretary of state’s office.

The audit is open to the public, and Evans encouraged people to show up to observe the proceedings in their own counties. Counties must post the date, time and location of the audit on the elections office website or, if that doesn’t exist, in another prominent spot. While members of the public and the news media can attend the audit, no one but audit workers who have taken an oath may touch the ballots or ballot containers.

On Monday, Georgia State House Republicans will meet to discuss leadership for the upcoming legislative session. From the Associated Press via US News & World Reports:

Although the official vote won’t come until the new House convenes on Jan. 9, majority House Republicans are scheduled to gather Monday to choose their nominee. That person is likely to win the gavel unless the majority caucus fractures.

House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones of Milton, House Majority Whip Matt Hatchett of Dublin and Rep. Alan Powell of Hartwell have all said they won’t run for speaker this week, with all three Republicans endorsing Burns.

Republican Rep. Barry Fleming of Harlem is the only announced candidate still in the race besides Burns.

David Ralston of Blue Ridge has been speaker for 13 years, but stunned lawmakers and the Georgia political world when the Republican announced last week that he is stepping down for health reasons. As paramount leader of the House, Ralston has shaped taxes, spending and other laws, becoming the most powerful person in state government behind the governor. Ralston says he will continue as a representative.

His departure means both the House and Senate will have new leaders in the coming term.

Republicans won 100 seats in the House and are leading in one race The Associated Press hasn’t called, down from their current 103-seat majority.

In a Tuesday statement, Jones said she would run again for her pro tem post, the second-highest House position, saying “it’s my desire to ensure continuity and stability within our caucus while growing and diversifying our numbers.”

Burns could represent a continuance of Ralston’s rule, which sometimes blocked the most conservative proposals and maintained open lines of communication with Democrats.

His election would also mean rural lawmakers maintain control of the speakership.

Burns is a farmer in northern Effingham County and holds a law degree. He just won his 10th two-year term in the House without opposition, representing a district that includes Screven County, most of Effingham County and part of Bulloch County. He’s been majority leader since 2015. Earlier, he was briefly a member of the state board overseeing the Department of Transportation, winning election by state lawmakers, and was president of his local chamber of commerce.

From the Savannah Morning News:

Burns, who represents parts of Effingham and Bulloch counties in House District 159, currently serves as the House majority leader, who heads the majority party caucus. The House speaker is the chamber’s most powerful role and is widely considered the second-most influential position in Georgia’s state government, behind only the governor.

Georgia House Rep. Ron Stephens, a Republican who represents House District 164 and is the chairman of the Chatham legislative delegation, said he cannot think of a better candidate for the role than Burns.

“There is nobody else qualified to work with both sides,” said Stephens. “When you are speaker of the House, you are speaker of the whole House, not just your party. He is not extremely partisan and I think that might be his best quality. So it is the next logical step for him to be speaker of the House. You’ve got to have a willingness to work with folks who don’t think necessarily like you do.”

Stephens also pointed to Burns’ ability to handle the state budget and his time as majority leader, which has made him a fixture in the house.

Georgia House Rep. Bill Hitchens, a Republican who represents the district that neighbors Burns’s district, grew up with Burns’ older brother. The two later formed a friendship that has spanned four decades.

Hitchens said in all the years he has served as a legislator, Ralston was the fairest leader he’s ever worked with. He thinks Burns can follow in Ralston’s footsteps, citing how he worked alongside Ralston and learned the art of bipartisanship.

“Every time I’ve ever heard him speak, he always talks about what he thinks is best for Georgia,” said Hitchens.

Headline of the Week: “Stacey Abrams is a two-time statewide election loser.” From the Savannah Morning News:

It wasn’t even close — Stacey Abrams conceded the Georgia governor’s race to Gov. Brian Kemp before midnight on Election Night.

“I may no longer be seeking the office of governor, but I will never stop doing everything in my power to make sure the people of Georgia have a voice,” Abrams said during her concession speech.

Abram’s loss was not a surprise, according to Andra Gillespie, a political scientist at Emory University.

“I think it has to do with incumbency advantage,” Gillespie said of Abrams gaining far fewer votes this year. “In 2018, Kemp and Abrams were evenly matched, neither had been governor.”

Even with defeats up and down the ballot, Gillespie thinks that Democrats in Georgia still have a shot.

“I still think Georgia is competitive, it’s a different environment from 2020, you’re not running against Donald Trump,” she said.

Aimee Allison, founder and president of She the People, an organization focused on the political power of women of color, said she thought Abrams ‘work was in large part what got the state to where it is today, politically.

“The infrastructure that Stacey Abrams established, actually, before 2018, and the New Georgia Project, the statewide organizing infrastructure, has changed the political landscape and possibilities for the foreseeable future in Georgia,” Allison said.

Not decided this week: two seats on the Public Service Commission, which were removed from the ballot due to a voting rights lawsuit. From WABE via the Albany Herald:

A Voting Rights Act lawsuit stopped the election — and could change how Georgians choose commissioners.

But the commission plays a role in most Georgians’ lives: It determines how much Georgia Power customers pay for electricity, and where that electricity comes from. In fact, the five commissioners are considering a big rate-hike right now.

Civil rights activists [] sued the state over how Public Service Commission elections work, arguing they violate the Voting Rights Act. A federal judge agreed, and ordered the races for the two seats that were up for election this year to be taken off the ballot.

PSC elections are unusual: Candidates have to live in specific districts, but the actual votes are statewide.

“It sometimes is viewed as being kind of a halfway house between a pure at-large system and a pure districting system, so that you have some distribution of where your representatives come from,” UGA politics professor Charles Bullock said. “So they’re spread around the state somewhat. But then they are answerable to a broader constituency.”

Democrat Terry Coleman designed this system when he was Speaker of the Georgia House in the late ’90s. At the time, he said, lawmakers wanted to figure out “how we could make sure that places outside of the metro areas had representation.”

Coleman said the statewide election makes sense for the unique job the commission does regulating a statewide industry that has local impacts.

But the lawsuit brought by civil rights and environmental activists argues that because commissioners are chosen by a statewide vote, they don’t really represent the people in their local district.

The lawsuit says those hard-hit black ratepayers don’t have representation on the commission because the system dilutes their votes. Expert testimony in the suit showed that in past PSC elections, black voters generally agreed on a candidate — and that candidate consistently lost.

Only one black commissioner has ever been elected. Fitz Johnson currently serves on the commission. He was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp after his predecessor stepped down early. Johnson, whose district includes Atlanta, would have been up for election this year.

History note: David Burgess, a Democrat first appointed to the PSC by Gov. Roy Barnes (D), was elected to a full term in 2000 and defeated for reelection in 2006.

Voters elected four Muslim candidates to the General Assembly, all from Gwinnett County, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Gwinnett voters re-elected state Sen. Sheikh Rahman, D-Lawrenceville, who became the first Muslim elected to serve in the General Assembly in 2018, but they also made history in three other legislative races.

These include the election of Nabilah Islam, who will join Rahman in the Senate and become the first Muslim woman elected to that chamber, as well as Ruwa Romman and Farooq Mughal, who will be the first Muslim members of the Georgia House of Representatives.

It could end up being the second largest Muslim delegation in the nation, behind only Minnesota, which the Council on American-Islamic Relations projected would have five Muslim state legislators after this election.

Rahman, who was unopposed on Tuesday, will represent Senate District 5 while Islam will represent Senate District 7, Romman will represent House District 97 and Mughal will represent House District 105. They are all Democrats.

“Once again, the Georgia Muslim community have made their voices heard,” CAIR-Georgia Executive Director Murtaza Khwaja said in a statement. “They were part of record early voting turnout in the face of suppressive legislation like (Senate Bill) 202 to bring about the historic election of the first Muslim women to the Georgia state House and Senate.

“In addition to the two Muslim women, Georgia Muslims also elected the first Muslim man to the state House and ensured that our next state legislature looks more like us.”

Starting in January, six seats in Gwinnett’s 30-seat legislative delegation will be held by members of the AAPI community.

Democrats Sam Park and Marvin Lim won re-election on Tuesday. Lim was unopposed in his re-election bid in House District 98. Meanwhile, Park defeated Republican Hai Cao in the House District 107 race by capturing 68.22% of the 13,813 votes cast.

And, Soo Hong, a Republican, defeated Democratic Party candidate Ernie Anaya in the House District 103 race by getting 61.4% of the 21,609 votes cast in the race.

In all, Democrats won 20 of the 30 legislative races in Gwinnett while Republicans won the remaining 10 seats. Asian-Americans, Latinos and Blacks will hold 20 of the seats in the delegation.

Dougherty County voters approved the extension of their Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), according to the Albany Herald.

Voters helped a six-year extension of a 1% sales tax sail to approval on Tuesday in one of only two races decided wholly by Dougherty County voters, the other being the state House District 153 race won by Democrat David Sampson.

On the special-purpose local-option sales tax question, 18,386 voters (70.53 percent) voted yes, with 7,681 voting in opposition. The tax is expected to bring in more than $100 million and will help fund projects that include the city of Albany’s stormwater/sewage separation efforts.

“I think a lot of it had to do with the public’s wanting to find another way to fund the sewer project,” Albany City Commissioner Demetrius Young said on Wednesday. “I think that was one of the bigger things we put into the SPLOST. I think many found this is going to be the more palatable way to pay for the $105 million project.”

1Taxpayers and city utility customers also may have been thinking about their wallets, as the sales tax money received will help ensure that property taxes and utility rates won’t have to be increased to pay for the improvements, the commissioner said.

Turnout for early voting totaled a little more than 20 percent, but voters also turned out on Election Day, with a total of 26,769 out of 57,389 registered voters, 46.64 percent, participating.

“We had record turnout (compared) to previous midterm elections,” Young said. “That’s, from my perspective, a huge turnout for a midterm election.”

With a shrinking tax base and population in the county, the SPLOST seemed to be attractive for voters as a way to keep property taxes lower, Dougherty County Commissioner Russell Gray said.

Columbus voters decided on a number of amendments to their city charter, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

The first proposed amendment asked residents whether changes should be made in the language of certain provisions of the charter that would allow the Columbus Council to set the term of members of the Board of Tax Assessors.

Columbus residents approved of the Article IV charter amendment with about 76% voting for approval.

A proposed amendment to Article VI of the charter would make changes to the timing of regular and special elections consistent with state law. The measure passed with 72% voting for approval.

An Article VIII amendment on whether to refer to the Sheriff as the Sheriff of Muscogee County was approved by voters.

Columbus voters approved a change making violations of the Code of Ethics to be punishable by a fine up to $1,000.

Republican U.S Senate candidate Herschel Walker raised $3.3 million dollars on the first day of his runoff campaign, according to The Hill via WSAV.

Georgia GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker raised $3.3 million on Wednesday, the first day of his runoff campaign against Sen. Raphael Warnock (D), according to Fox News.

The former NFL star brought in another $1 million before noon on Thursday, Fox reported.

Walker trailed Warnock by just under 1 percentage point, about 35,000 votes, in Tuesday’s general election. However, since neither candidate breached the required 50 percent mark, they will face off once again in a Dec. 6 runoff election.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced on Thursday that it will be investing $7 million into field organizing efforts in the Georgia runoff for Warnock.

Sen. Rick Scott (Fla.), the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), joined Walker in sending a memo to supporters on Wednesday urging them to contribute and help them “stay on television.” The NRSC released its first ad of the runoff race on Thursday.

From the Savannah Morning News via the Augusta Chronicle (filed as Commentary):

Donald Trump is coming to Raphael Warnock’s rescue.

Next Tuesday, Nov. 15, Trump is expected to launch his 2024 presidential bid. By that time, the stakes for Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoff will officially be winner-take-all: majority control of the chamber and, with the GOP’s success in the U.S. House elections, the entire legislative branch.

What better way to launch a White House run than to use his influence to drive Republican turnout and help the party win back the Senate?

Trump is indeed a powerful force in Georgia elections — one likely to backfire on the GOP and lift Warnock, not Trump’s pal Herschel Walker, to runoff victory.

If success in a general election race comes down to political platform and who shows up, winning a runoff is entirely about turnout. All the campaign points have been made. All the other races are settled. Whichever candidate gets more of his voters to the polls wins.

Nothing impacts Georgia Democratic voter turnout more than the Trump effect.

Trump is just what a flat-lining Democrat such as Warnock needs to rally casual voters. They need a villain. Not that Walker didn’t try to mimic Trump, with all the name-calling, issue flip-flopping, race-baiting and belittling of women, transgender Georgians and those suffering from mental illness.

But to the barely engaged, maybe-I’ll-go-vote citizen, Walker is Dr. Evil to Trump’s Darth Vader — both are repulsive, but Walker warrants a mere eye-roll, not a sprint to the nearest polling station.

The same goes for the nearly 100,000 Georgians who did cast ballots on Nov. 8. Instead of giving Walker the Trump treatment and voting for the Democratic opponent, 80,000 went for the Libertarian candidate, and another 18,000 left the boxes next to the U.S. Senate candidates’ names blank.

Trump, though, changes the math. Once he becomes Walker’s outspoken champion, it becomes 2020 all over again. Trump is back on the ballot. Nearly half-a-million more Georgians participated in the 2020 Senate runoffs than did the Nov. 8 election. More than 300,000 of those 2020 runoff voters went for Warnock against Loeffler, who was a lousy candidate but not a mean-spirited, loathsome human being like Walker.

From the AJC:

The conventional wisdom is that Democrats believe a Biden visit to Georgia could hurt Warnock by energizing GOP voters who want to see the president’s power in Washington blunted by flipping control in the Senate. Biden stayed away during the run-up to the general election even as he stumped for candidates in other swing states.

But Republicans are almost daring the president to come down now. Appearing with Walker during a rally Thursday night was U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, who issued an invitation.

“Joe Biden, come to Georgia,” the Texas Republican said. “Come campaign alongside Raphael Warnock.”

“What does it tell you that Raphael Warnock is hiding from the president of the United States?” Cruz said. “The reason is Raphael Warnock’s record in Washington is wildly out of step with the values of the people of Georgia.”

[T]he former president remains committed to the plan to make an announcement next week. Some of his allies warn that launching his candidacy amid the Georgia election could help Warnock rally his Democratic base and keep split-ticket voters in his camp ahead of the Dec. 6 vote.

It also sharpens the possibility that Trump could join a parade of surrogates headed to Georgia that may include Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, another potential 2024 candidate.

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, a Lithonia Democrat, was among the 200 supporters who attended Warnock’s runoff campaign launch Thursday. He salivated over the idea of a Trump rally in Georgia on Walker’s behalf.

“I’d love for Donald Trump to come into this state and campaign vigorously for his candidate who he parachuted into Georgia just to run so that he could have an acolyte in the Senate,” Johnson said. “I really hope that Trump decides to come in; that will motivate even more people to come out against him.”

Savannah City Council voted to remove the name of Calhoun Square, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Savannah no longer has a square named after John C. Calhoun.

Now, the square on Abercorn Street has no name — “the square formerly known as Calhoun,” after Savannah City Council voted 9-0 to remove the name of Calhoun, a former vice president and South Carolina statesman who was known for being a staunch advocate for slavery.

The vote comes nearly two years after an activist group called the Center for Jubilee, Reconciliation and Healing and its founders, Patt Gunn and Rosalyn Rouse, began pushing for the square to be renamed for Suzie King Taylor, a Savannah icon.

Council’s vote on the topic was unanimous, with 1st District Alderwoman Bernetta Lanier making the motion, seconded by At-Large Post 2 Alderwoman Alicia Miller Blakely.

While choosing a new name for the square has no set timeline as of now, Gunn and Rouse say they’ll continue to push for a new name: That of Susie King Taylor, a Savannah icon.

From WTOC:

Before council took a vote, the city of Savannah had their director of municipal archives talk about the history of the square and land surrounding it.

“Enslaved individuals or persons of color were allotted a separate, segregated, cemetery known as the negro burial ground. The land once occupied by the stranger’s burial ground is now occupied by a small portion of Calhoun Square, building lots where the Massie School was built and a part of the street between the two,” said Luciana Spracher, Savannah’s director of municipal archives.

That council at the time called him a “treasure of the south” and proceeded to drape the council chamber in black for 30 days for him.

Spracher said: “Upon news of Calhoun’s death, the previous year in 1850, Savannah’s City Council adopted a resolution stating that council “mourns over him.”

Calhoun didn’t have ties to Savannah and the mayor says he does not reflect who Savannah is.

Mayor Van Johnson said the city will now begin the process of finding the new name for Savannah’s now unnamed square.

“This is a process that did not take place in 1851, but we have the opportunity to do it now. We won’t rush the process. We’ll take our time. We’ll hear the voices, we’ll research the names, the places, the concepts, it will go through the city’s process and then the city council will decide on a name.”

Mayor Johnson says the public will have the chance to weigh-in on what they want the square to be re-named.

9
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 9, 2022

Former Confederate General John B. Gordon was sworn-in as Governor of Georgia on November 9, 1886.

The next day, November 9, 1932, President-elect FDR addressed a national broadcast to the American people and mentioned that he would spend Thanksgiving at his “second home” in Georgia.

On November 9, 1938, Kristallnacht began the organized destruction and looting of Jewish businesses and homes in Munich, Germany.

On November 9, 1989, the former East Germany announced that citizens could cross the border to West Germany. That night, crowds began tearing down sections of the wall that divided the city.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp was reelected yesterday over Democrat Stacey Abrams. From the Associated Press via the Valdosta Daily Times:Continue Reading..

8
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 8, 2022

On November 8, 1860, Savannah residents protested in favor of secession following the election of Abraham Lincoln.

President Abraham Lincoln (R) was reelected on November 8, 1864.

Franklin D. Roosevelt made his 15th trip to Warm Springs, Georgia on November 8, 1928 after winning the election for Governor of New York.

Richard B. Russell, Jr. was elected to the United States Senate on November 8, 1932 and would serve until his death in 1971. Before his election to the Senate, Russell served as State Representative, Speaker of the Georgia House, and the youngest Governor of Georgia; his father served as Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. On the same day, part-time Georgia resident Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President of the United States.

On November 8, 1994, Republicans won control of the United States House of Representatives and Senate in what came to be called the “Republican Revolution.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

From the Secretary of State’s Absentee Voting Database:

In Person Early Votes Cast: 2,291,217

Mailed Early Votes Cast: 240,141

Electronic Votes Cast: 3,513

Total Votes Cast: 2,534,871

Mailed Votes Outstanding: 41,315

Electronic Votes Outstanding: 3,367

Polls are open today until 7 PM across Georgia. You’ll need a photo ID. From the Dalton Daily Citizen News:Continue Reading..

8
Nov

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 8, 2022

Binx is a young female Chihuahua mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Homeless Pets Foundation in Marietta, GA.

Binx is a tiny little lady who is beyond adorable. Binx is super active and loves so much to run and play! She would be great in a home with an active parent and would also do well with a doggie sibling. Binx has lots of energy but enjoys the cuddles that come after fun playtime! Binx is only 5 months old, so she is still a baby.

Boss is a young male Boxer mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Homeless Pets Foundation in Marietta, GA.

Boss would love to have a home to call his very own! Are you ready for a lifetime commitment of unconditional love!?! Boss, this absolutely adorable baby, is ready for a YOU! He is ready to fill your home with joy, happiness and love that only a doggie can provide!

River is a young male Boxer mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Homeless Pets Foundation in Marietta, GA.

7
Nov

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 7, 2022

Graham is a young male Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Athens Canine Rescue in Athens, GA.

At 7 months old and just about 35 pounds, this blonde hunk is our final puppy from the Summertime Litter born back in April. It took us a while to get him listed because Graham has had some medical ups and downs and we were waiting for him to completely stabilize before we released him for adoption. So! The bad news is that Graham was born with mega esophagus, a lifelong condition that can require a host of necessary accommodations. But the good news is that Graham’s case has been officially deemed mild: He is no longer on medication and does not need to be kept upright for meals, as many other animals with ME do. Graham is on special food (and will need to be for life) and requires supervision when drinking (if he drinks too fast, it’s not staying down), but he is otherwise happy and healthy.

Rain is a young male Cattle Dog and Husky mix puppy who is available for adoption from Athens Canine Rescue in Athens, GA.

Introducing Rain, our cute little wobbly puppy! Rain is currently around 8 months old and weighs in at just about 30 pounds! When full grown, we expect Rain to weigh around a solid 35 pounds.

Anyone who meets our sweet Rain can see that he is a special boy! You may notice that Rain walks a little differently than most puppies his age – he’s quite clumsy! A complete neurological and orthopedic evaluation at the University of Georgia didn’t show any specific abnormalities, so it is likely that Rain was born with several congenital issues that resulted in his quirky walk. He used to have some issues in the pottying department as well, but these are well controlled on a specific diet. At this time, Rain does not need any special medications or therapies to treat his unique condition. Just lots of love!

Hans is an adult male Wirehaired Terrier and Chihuahua mix who is available for adoption from Athens Canine Rescue in Athens, GA.

This nine year old, thirteen pound guy has wings to fly into your loving arms. He is ready to make his final landing and become someone’s new forever buddy. Hans is fully potty trained and crate trained. Even if it is raining, Hans will prance out, go potty, and return without any trouble. His favorite way to signal is to do a little dance to let you know he’s gotta go!

While Hans is crate trained, he typically does better when left in a dog-proof room alone with a bed while his humans are away. He isn’t destructive at all and tends to be a little more calm when left outside of the crate.

Hans is such a smart boy who is capable of learning lots of tricks and skills with some training! When it comes to his tricks, he’s working on “touch” and “leave it,” and he’s already mastered “sit” and “down” like a pro but continues to learn more every day.

Hans is a no kids, no cats kind of dog. Cats are fun to chase, and children stress him out so he’d do best in a home without either of them.

7
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 7, 2022

Georgia Governor Joseph Brown addressed the Georgia legislature calling on them to consider Georgia’s future on November 7, 1860, the day after Abraham Lincoln’s election as President.

Jeanette Rankin was elected to Congress, the first female Member, on November 7, 1916 from Montana. After leaving Congress, Rankin moved to Watkinsville, Georgia in 1925. The Jeanette Rankin Scholarship Foundation, based in Athens, Georgia provides college scholarships and support for low-income women 35 and older.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected to a record fourth term on November 7, 1944.

Democrat Sam Nunn was reelected to the United States Senate on November 7, 1978.

On November 7, 1989, David Dinkins was elected the first African-American Mayor of New York and Douglas Wilder was elected the first African-American Governor of Virginia.

On November 7, 2006, Georgia reelected its first Republican Governor since Reconstruction, Sonny Perdue, and elected its first GOP Lieutenant Governor, Casey Cagle.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Cobb County elections office failed to mail more than 1,000 requested absentee ballots, according to the AJC.

Cobb County election officials made a “critical error” and failed to mail over 1,000 absentee ballots to voters who had requested them, the county’s elections director said Friday night.

Most of the voters who weren’t sent their ballots will now have to vote in person on Election Day if they want to participate in the election. The county is mailing ballots by overnight delivery to out-of-state voters, but ballots will only be counted if they’re received back at the county’s elections office before polls close at 7 p.m., according to state law.

Elections Director Janine Eveler wrote in an email to the county’s elections board Friday that election workers didn’t upload ballot information to a mailing machine, and ballots were never created nor sent on two days last month. There were 842 ballots that were supposed to be mailed Oct. 13 and 194 ballots on Oct. 22.

“I am so sorry that this office let these voters down,” Eveler wrote. “Many of the absentee staff have been averaging 80 or more hours per week and they are exhausted. Still, that is no excuse for such a critical error.”

Of the 1,036 voters who weren’t sent ballots, about 250 of them instead voted in-person during early voting, according to state election data.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia called for officials to accept absentee ballots until the ballot return deadline for military and overseas voters on Nov. 14. All other voters must get their ballots in by Tuesday.

A lawsuit has been filed over the omission, according to the AJC.

Voters who were never mailed their absentee ballots filed a lawsuit Sunday asking a judge to require Cobb County to send ballots by overnight mail and extend the state’s deadline to return them.

The lawsuit comes after Cobb election officials acknowledged Friday that they failed to mail absentee ballots to 1,036 voters who had requested them.

“Hundreds of eligible Cobb County voters did everything right and yet find themselves on the brink of total disenfranchisement because they were never mailed their absentee ballots, as is required under Georgia law,” said Jonathan Topaz, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Voting Rights Project.

From the Secretary of State’s Absentee Voting Database:

Total ballots cast: 2,520,494

Total mail ballots cast: 226,197

Total in-person ballots cast: 2,291,161

In-person October 17, 2022: 134,876

In-person October 18, 2022: 135,204 *

In-person October 19, 2022: 127,954

In-person October 20, 2022: 123,107

In-person October 21, 2022: 141,844

In-person October 22, 2022: 80,638

In-person October 23, 2022: 18,131

In-person October 24, 2022: 133,506

In-person October 25, 2022: 125,739

In-person October 26, 2022: 119,747

In-person October 27, 2022: 112,198

In-person October 28, 2022: 139,652

In-person October 29, 2022: 93,740

In-person October 30, 2022: 24,147 *

In-person October 31, 2022: 131,255

In-person November 1, 2022: 124,738

In-person November 2, 2022: 135,136

In-person November 3, 2022: 157,826

In-person November 4, 2022: 231,588

In-person November 5, 2022: 12 **

In-person November 6, 2022: 1 **

In-person undated: 116

Total Electronic ballots cast (overseas and military voters): 3,136

Outstanding Electronic ballots (issued, not cast): 3,739

Outstanding Mailed ballots (issued, not cast): 55,200

* current number is lower than previously reported for this date.

** In-person early voting ended November 4, 2022.

Note: In Person numbers do not add up as one voter in Glynn County is recorded as having voted in person on 10/13/2022, when early voting was not open, and one voter in Pickens County is recorded as having voter in person on November 25, 2022.

Governor Brian Kemp and Attorney General Chris Carr announced the indictment of 17 alleged gang members, according to a Press Release.

Governor Brian P. Kemp, First Lady Marty Kemp, and Attorney General Chris Carr, joined by leaders of state public safety agencies, members of the General Assembly, and local law enforcement officials, today announced the indictment of 17 alleged members of the 183 Gangster Bloods following a large-scale investigation conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s (GBI) Gang Task Force and the Department of Corrections’ (GDC) Office of Professional Standards Investigative Division and Security Threat Group Unit. The indictment, obtained by the Attorney General’s Gang Prosecution Unit in Barrow County, charges the defendants with engaging in a pattern of racketeering activity that spans 10 Georgia counties and includes Murder, Trafficking in Fentanyl and other dangerous drugs, various weapons offenses, and the recruitment of children. Since becoming operational in July, the Gang Prosecution Unit has obtained 11 indictments, charging 46 alleged gang members and associates, including those announced today.

“We created the Gang Prosecution Unit with our partners in the legislature because we knew something had to be done to get dangerous criminals off our streets,” said Governor Kemp. “The GBI’s Gang Task Force has also made great strides working with law enforcement at every level to pursue those who pose a risk to our communities. Thanks to all involved in the investigation and prosecution of this case, these 17 gang members will face justice. Today is a great example of how my administration and other state partners are working with those on the local level who are fed up with gangs bringing drugs and crime into our communities and harming our children. Together, we are saying ‘enough!’”

Governor Kemp signed HB 1134, legislation that provided the Office of the Attorney General with concurrent jurisdiction to prosecute criminal gang activity statewide, earlier this year. Representative Chuck Efstration and Senator John Kennedy sponsored the legislation during this past session. Georgia’s FY 2023 budget also includes $1.3 million to fund the Gang Prosecution Unit’s operations.

“This case serves as a reminder that gangs are present and actively recruiting in every corner of our state, perpetrating violent crimes and terrorizing entire communities,” said Attorney General Carr. “We must continue to work together across all levels of law enforcement to combat this criminal activity, put violent offenders behind bars and keep our people safe. That is exactly what we are doing with our new Gang Prosecution Unit, and we will keep fighting each day to stop those who put our children, our families and our communities at risk.”

One of Governor Kemp’s early priorities in office, the GBI’s Gang Task Force has already found much success working with local, state, and federal partners to investigate and dismantle gangs. This past year, the GBI investigated 446 gang-related cases across 100 Georgia counties and charged more than 170 gang members.

“We value the strong working relationship we have with the Georgia Department of Corrections and the Georgia Attorney General’s Office,” said GBI Director Mike Register. “Gang activity will not be tolerated out on the streets or behind the wire. These indictments and arrests make that loud and clear. We are reaching our goal to make communities safer by investigating these cases that reach successful prosecutions.”

There are more than 14,000 validated Security Threat Group offenders in the Georgia GDC, which represents approximately 30 percent of the daily inmate population. The mission of GDC’s Security Threat Group Unit is to effectively validate related persons, gather intelligence on related activities, and provide investigative support in all related occurrences. GDC has confiscated more than 5,000 contraband cellphones since July and conducted 107 full facility shakedowns this calendar year alone.

“Identifying and managing those participating in gang activity from behind the walls of our facilities is paramount in our commitment to public safety and it is an ongoing battle,” said GDC Commissioner Timothy C. Ward. “We are proud of our team for bringing this case to our law enforcement partners and we appreciate their ongoing support in ensuring that justice will be served on these individuals for their role in jeopardizing the safe operations of our facilities, and most importantly, the safety of the public.”

The Enterprise

The 183 Gangster Bloods (1-8 Trey Bloods) is a set of the larger criminal street gang known as the Bloods. The 183 Gangster Bloods is based out of New York, specifically the Bronx. It is one of the original sets of the United Blood Nation, which is an alliance of Blood sets that was formed in the Rikers Island Correctional Facility in New York City.

The Attorney General’s Gang Prosecution Unit presented evidence to a Barrow County Grand Jury on Oct. 25, 2022, resulting in the indictment* of these 17 defendants.

The Conspiracy

As alleged associates of the enterprise 183 Gangster Bloods, the defendants are believed to have conspired to associate together and with others for the common purpose of illegally obtaining money, weapons, and property through a pattern of racketeering activity.

RICO Overt Acts and Predicate Offenses

All defendants are charged with Conspiracy to Violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The indictment includes 136 predicate acts of which the defendants are alleged to have committed and caused to be committed in furtherance of the conspiracy and to effect its objectives and purposes. All acts are alleged to have occurred between January 2019 and October 2022 and span the following Georgia counties: Athens-Clarke, Barrow, Bulloch, Candler, Chattooga, Fulton, Gwinnett, Laurens, Monroe and Walton.

Those 136 predicate acts include, in part, the following offenses: Murder, Aggravated Assault, Armed Robbery, Trafficking in Fentanyl, Trafficking in Methamphetamine, Trafficking in Cocaine, Trafficking in Marijuana, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Possession of a Firearm by a First Offender Probationer, Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, Terroristic Threats, Criminal Damage to Property in the First Degree, and Arson.

This case also has ties to alleged gang activity in the Department of Corrections by way of the two incarcerated individuals – Ralph Alicea, who is alleged to be a national leader of the 183 Gangster Bloods, and Jamar Ramsay, who is alleged to be a statewide leader of the gang. While incarcerated, Alicea and Ramsay are alleged to have directed other defendants to engage in criminal activity to further the 183 Gangster Bloods enterprise. In addition, the defendants are alleged to have engaged in discussions regarding the packaging and shipping of contraband items into a GDC facility, as well as the sale and distribution of controlled substances in Hays State Prison.

The indictment can be found here. No further information about the investigation or about the indictment may be released at this time.

Tuesday is the last day for voting in the General Election, according to The Brunswick News.

Glynn County voters who haven’t already mailed in their ballots or showed up to the polls during the early voting period have a final opportunity to vote Tuesday in person.

U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, whose 1st District includes Glynn and surrounding counties, will face Democrat Wade Herring.

Democrat Richard Ingalls will face Republican Thomas “Bo” Clark for the at-large Post 1 Glynn County Commission seat currently held by David O’Quinn, who did not seek another term.

Former Brunswick Mayor Cornell Harvey qualified as a Democrat for the District 4 seat and will face Republican David Sweat for the right to claim the office held by Republican Bill Brunson. Brunson is stepping down at the end of the year.

Rachael J. Thompson will face Hank B. Yeargan Jr. for the District 4 school board seat.

Voters also have a Local Option Sales Tax referendum to consider, along with two state constitutional amendments and two referendum questions.

From WTVM:

It’s been a great turnout across the Peach state, with more than two million people taking advantage of the voting opportunity. Just under 34,000 of those ballots are from Muscogee County voters.

The latest demographics show more women cast votes early, and most of those have been submitted by people between the ages of 60 to 65.

“Those were to be expected. That’s the usual group, so that’s to be expected, but all efforts are turned toward turning out men to vote and turning out young people to vote,” said Social Chair of the Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated Pat Hugley Green.

“If there’s any issue when you’re trying to vote, request a provisional ballot. Do not leave without casting a vote on a provisional ballot,” Green adds.

Employers in Georgia are required to give employees at least two hours paid time off to cast their ballot.

“The most critical thing that anyone can do before they go vote on Tuesday is to check my voter page so that you know where your polling location is,” said Butler.

You can also use the website to access a sample ballot and see who’s on your ballot before you arrive at the polls.

“This particular election, all eyes are on Georgia because we have an opportunity to make history. We have a female running for Governor — African American female running for Governor,” Hugley adds. “There’s a lot at stake, and this is a historical election, but EVERY election, not just the 2022 election, every single election is important.”

From WTVM reporting on Harris County:

“Here in Harris County, I had a wait of exactly 90 seconds, phew, I got it done,” says Tom Johnson, Harris County Resident.

More than 6,700 people have voted early in the county, so far. Chief Registrar of the Harris County Elections Office, Sherrail Jarrett, says these are fantastic numbers for mid-term elections.

As early voting ends today, Friday at 5pm, Jarret says about 30 percent of Harris County has voted, averaging between 400 to 500 voters a day.

“Usually, we have 100 or so the first few days each, but we started out with 400 and we haven’t slowed down since,” says Jarrett.

Glynn County voters will decide a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) referendum, according to The Brunswick News.

Jimmy Arnold and Donna Davis, two members of the Impact Glynn political action committee, feel very good about this year’s SPLOST referendum.

“We’re trying to improve our county as a whole,” Arnold said. “(Glynn is) one of six counties in the state that doesn’t have a SPLOST currently. That’s revenue that could go to good use, and Impact Glynn has been involved in the city and county in setting expectations about what we would like to see as citizens.”

SPLOST, short for Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, is a means for county governments and municipalities to raise funds for projects by asking citizens to impose a limited 1% sales tax. State law caps a SPLOST at six years. Historically, participating government organizations provided a list of projects they hope to use the money on. That happened in the 2016 SPLOST that passed and the 2021 SPLOST that failed.

“A big point for us is if we collect $133 million — that’s the Carl Vinson study, but also a consulting firm called GUDE — 44% would come from visitors,” Davis said. “That’s $58 million that’s coming from people who visit the area.”

“The way the information is now pulled from the Department of Revenue from the counties is a lot more detailed than it was in 2015. There’s a lot more detail to this information now,” Arnold explained. “This is hard data that’s been provided by the Department of Revenue to the Carl Vinson Institute. All the numbers are factual, independent of Impact Glynn or any other entity.”

From the Athens Banner Herald:

Advance voting in Athens-Clarke County concluded at 5 p.m. Friday. The three weeks of polling were marked by contention.

Activists and political candidates alike raised the alarm about local early voting rates falling short of the statewide average, prompting changes from the Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections.

Polling locations, most of which were open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., consistently collected between 600 to 700 ballots each day. But when the numbers began to slump in the second week, politicians and activists began to show some concern.

On Oct. 25, Mayor Kelly Girtz and Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Tim Denson announced a press conference in advance of the Board of Elections meeting. (The press conference was later canceled when the Board of Elections meeting was moved). UGA student organizations, like UGA Votes and the Davenport-Benham Black Law Student Association, pointed out Athens-Clarke County’s comparatively low early voting rates.

After rescheduling its meeting from Oct. 25 to Oct. 26, the Board of Elections voted to expand early voting hours at three locations. Each of the three polling stations would now be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on select days.

Early voting turnout picked up significantly in the third week, with more than 2,000 people casting their ballots each day. But it’s hard to say whether expanding voting hours did the trick.

From the Gainesville Times:

Less than a week before Election Day, officials have reported a robust turnout among Hall County voters, with the number of ballots cast surpassing totals seen in May’s general primary.

Figures from Hall County elections officials show that 33,265 voters have gone in-person to the polls to cast an early vote. That’s 18,516 more than the 14,749 total residents who participated in early in-person voting during the primary. It’s also 12,621 more than the 20,644 ballots cast on Election Day in May.

Hall County Elections Manager Paige Thompson said so far there haven’t been any issues reported at polling locations. Thompson attributed the recent efficiency of early voting to Hall County’s involvement in a new pilot program under the Secretary of State’s Office. The program, she said, is intended to quicken the process for voters going in and out of polling locations.

“In the past, an early voting voter would have to fill out a voter certificate, then go to the poll pad and laptop where a voter card would be made,” Thompson said. “With the new process a voter checks in just like on Election Day, which has cut the time per voter drastically.  We have not seen lines like in the past with the new system. The voters and poll workers love the test system.”

From the Rome News Tribune:

Some 61,573 advance and absentee votes had been accepted by elections offices in Floyd, Bartow, Gordon, Polk and Chattooga counties as in-person voting closed Friday evening.

As for the other forecast — turnout — that remains a calculated guess but usually we see election day turnout matching the early vote.

In Floyd County’s case, that should amount to 32,000 of 60,000 or so registered voters, or 53.3%.

In November 2018, 58% of Floyd’s voters turned out, or 30,440 of 52,469 eligible. That election featured more on the local ballot, including county commission, state House and state Senate races.

Governor Brian Kemp campaigned in Augusta, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

The local Republican parties put together a “Breakfast with Brian Kemp” Saturday morning under the pavilion at Evans Towne Center Park. Around 100 people enjoyed breakfast biscuits as they talked to and shook hands with Kemp. Many were dressed in Republican red complimented by Georgia Bulldog red fan gear in preparation of UGA’s game against the Tennessee Volunteers later that day. Kemp did his own pumping up by shouting “Go Dawgs!{ during the start and end of his speech, and his supporters joked that he was anxious to get back to Athens.

After a very brief introduction by Augusta businessman Don Grantham and State Rep. Jodi Lott, Kemp explained how they are working hard to make sure Stacey Abrams does not become governor. A large chunk of his speech involved criticizing Democrats, particularly Abrams, emphasizing that, come Election Day, “We wouldn’t move off kilter a little bit if we don’t turn out Tuesday. It’ll be a complete 180.”

On election reform, Kemp took pride in passing Senate Bill 202, calling it “the strongest elections integrity act in the country that makes it easy to vote and hard to cheat despite Stacey Abrams and President Biden and the woke corporate CEO’s and Major League Baseball all crying ‘Foul!’ They struck out.’

Abrams has also been very critical of her opponent, especially during her last visit to Augusta on Oct. 27. One issue she raised there and at other events was Kemp’s failure to expand medicaid. When asked about this, the governor called medicaid “a broken government program” and “that’s why we did two waivers to expand medicaid for certain populations but also to provide a pathway where they can get on an affordable private sector plan.”

“Stacey Abrams wants government to control everything in your life,{ he said. “She wants to control every decision you make, whether you get vaccinated or not, whether you wear a mask or not, and I do not. I trust the people over the government. She trusts the government more than the people, and that really sums up what this race is all about.”

Kemp has two more stops on his tour ahead of the election, including a lunch at the Outback Steakhouse in Ringgold on Sunday and a rally with other statewide candidates Monday afternoon at the Cobb County International Airport in Kennesaw.

From WJBF:

“People will ask you ‘hey you supporting Kemp,’ and you say yes, I’m supporting him, and they gon’ say why and you gon’ say ’cause I know him. ‘Cause he’s looked me in the eye and told me what he would do, and he has done it and he wants to keep doing it,” Governer Kemp said.

He says in the past two years, Georgia has had two record years in a row when it comes to creating jobs.

Senator Warnock held a meet and greet in Grovetown before making his way to Broad Street where he visited local residents at their home.

U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock (D-Atlanta) campaigned in Savannah, according to WTOC.

In the final hours of his 2022 midterm campaign incumbent Georgia US Senator Raphael Warnock knocked on Eastside Savannah doors hoping to mobilize voters.

“We’re actually in my mother’s neighborhood, not far from where my mom lives. So I know people all over the city and it’s great to be home,” Sen. Raphael Warnock said.

“I can’t tell you how many folks I’ve met, just knocking on doors, work every single day they have no healthcare. I’m going to be thinking about them hopefully when the people of Georgia return me to the Senate to do this work,” Sen. Raphael Warnock says.

The Senator met with supporters earlier in the day enlisting the help of film director Spike Lee to energize support.

“When I think about something like Medicaid expansion, for example, the fact that our hospitals have been closing. Almost all of them have been in rural areas, they’ve been outside of Atlanta. So, I absolutely care about these folks.”

Republican Georgia Senate Candidate Herschel Walker also hit the campaign trail near Atlanta Sunday. He was joined by former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley who was there to show her support.

From WSAV:

On Sunday, Senator Warnock made a stop in Savannah, his hometown. Warnock, greeted by dozens of supporters at Bethel AME Church, encouraged his supporters to get out and vote, calling this race “a battle for the soul of the state and nation.”

“I’m going to leave it all on the field,” Warnock said. “I’m going to work until we hear the four greatest words ever heard in a democracy, ‘the people have spoken.’ And I hope the people give me a chance to speak on their behalf for the next six years.”

The incumbent senator was joined by actress Lynn Whitfield, Spike Lee and several elected officials including Savannah Mayor Van Johnson, who urged Georgians to make their voices heard at the polls.

“Here’s the thing, while we’ve been paying record prices at the pump and at the pharmacy counter, at the grocery store there are corporate actors that have been experiencing record profits,” Warnock said. ” So the question is, who’s going to stand up to them? I don’t work for the big pharmaceutical companies, I don’t work for the big oil and gas companies. I work for the people of Georgia and you need somebody who’s going to stand up for ordinary people.”

Warnock said he feels confident in the tight race. If neither candidate gets more than 50% of the vote Tuesday, it will go to a runoff election on December 6th.

Walker has also been making his way through the Peach State on his Unite Georgia Bus Stop Rally, most recently in Paulding County on Sunday.

Warnock also campaigned in Augusta, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

“I think connecting with the people on a regular basis is an important part of governing,” Warnock said. “I’ve been engaging the people of Georgia way before the campaign got going in earnest. I’ve spent many of my recesses either talking to farmers…or talking to small business owners, or people in the manufacturing region or just talking to ordinary folks.”

He started at the Richmond County Democratic Party HQ on the 400 block of Broad Street, where he was met by dozens of volunteers ready to spread his message. The sky was gloomy, having showered in the last hour, and the air was humid, but that didn’t deter the canvassers, who crowded into the office to hear Warnock speak before they hit the damp streets.

“The role that canvassers play is so very important. People get to hear from the candidates, but there’s nothing like hearing from your own neighbors,” he said. “Don’t underestimate the power of your voice.”

Republican Nikki Haley said that Warnock ought to be deported, according to WSAV.

“Legal immigrants are more patriotic than the leftists these days,” Haley said at the Hiram, Ga., rally. “They worked to come into America and they love America. They want the laws followed in America. So the only person we need to make sure we deport is Warnock.”

Haley, who served as ambassador to the UN during the Trump administration and is considered a potential 2024 presidential candidate, has stumped for a number of GOP candidates across the country ahead of the midterms.

After rallies in Georgia and New Hampshire on Sunday, Haley will travel to Wisconsin and Pennsylvania on Monday.

At the rally, Haley, a former governor of South Carolina, said Walker is a “good person who has been put through the ringer and has had everything but the kitchen sink thrown at him.”

Democrat Stacey Abrams also campaigned in Savannah, according to WTOC.

Abrams had a number of people speak before her including Wade Herring, Bee Nguyen, Edna Jackson, and even actress Natalie Portman.

“We are three days from destiny, three days from victory that is unfinished business for the state of Georgia, three days away from reclaiming our rights and writing our future,” Stacey Abrams said.

Republican Chris West, seeking election in the Second Congressional District, campaigned in Albany, according to WALB.

Chris West is running for office for the first time against longtime Democratic Congressman Sanford Bishop. Part of his plan is to ensure better representation for the district he serves.

One of the concerns West wants to address is not having to rely on foreign countries for oil and gas. As gas prices are going up, that is one thing he hopes to fix if elected.

“I serve as an officer for Georgia’s National Guard. That’s also in the district of Robins Air Force Base and our military community. Our veterans mean a lot to me. And just the people throughout this district have grown up playing sports sometimes the same thing sometimes against relationships that go back years and I just love this community,” West said.

“We’ve been in the top 10 poorest congressional districts for years. 35 districts, out of the 435 districts, we’ve been in the top 10. I think it’s unfortunate because a lot of communities that have been left behind throughout this district need economic opportunity. And that’s what we’ve been doing in the private sector. And that’s what we want to do as the congressman for this area,” said West.

State Rep. Mike Cheokas (R-Americus) is defending his House District 151 seat, according to the Albany Herald.

The Republican incumbent is seeking a ninth term, with parts of Dougherty, Stewart, Terrell and Webster added to his territory of Chattahoochee, Marian, Schley and Sumter counties, and he is reaching out to colleague Gerald Greene, who is losing part of that territory after redistricting.

“I have a great working relationship with Gerald Greene and have his support,” Cheokas said. “Being part of the representation in rural Georgia, we talk a lot about the needs in our districts and how we can collaborate to help the people in southwest Georgia.

As chairman of the House Small Business Development Committee, the candidate said he is working to find solutions to perhaps the largest problems facing rural communities in the district — loss of population and lack of health care in those areas.

“Losing population and the service of local hospitals go hand-in-hand,” he said. “A hospital has to have a certain number of patients to be economically viable. In that capacity (the Small Business Development Committee is) looking at ways we can strengthen small businesses, strengthen entrepreneurship, so we can bring back life and vibrancy to these small communities.”

One key to helping those areas catch up is access to high-speed internet broadband service, he said. There are a number of examples of struggling businesses in the district that not only survived but thrived through expanding into online opportunities, and one of those in Marion County created 20 jobs.

Democrat Joyce Barlow is running against Cheokas, according to the Albany Herald.

To reverse the trend of closing hospitals, leaving many in rural areas with long trips to seek treatment or when faced with a health emergency, the owner of Englewood Health Care in Albany is endorsing the expansion of Medicaid for the state.

“We are one of 12 states that does not have Medicaid expansion,” she said. “Even if you have insurance, one illness can wipe out your savings. It affects those who do have insurance because it increases your co-pay.

“Under my opponent’s watch, we had three hospitals close, and in one county the only doctor retired, so they have no doctor in that county.”

The lack of accessibility leads individuals to put off preventive care and forces them to use home remedies or borrow medication from relatives, Barlow said.

Eventually they often end up in an emergency room with an acute condition that could have been treated earlier.

And, once a community loses its hospitals and sees doctors and nurses leave for other locations, it leads to a downward spiral for the economy, the candidate said, and the lack of health care can prevent companies from locating in the area. On top of that, those who worked in maintenance and as janitors and other roles in health care often are forced to commute to other cities to support their families.

“When you close your rural hospital, there’s a slow decline,” Barlow said. “We’re losing population. Most companies relocating know what they are looking for — quality health care, good schools, broadband is another.

“When people are in a car, driving 40 or 45 miles one way, they evaluate it, and eventually a family makes a plan to move.”

From WALB:

Barlow ran for state representative in each of the last two elections. She lost close races to a long-time incumbent, Gerald Greene. After redistricting, she now faces another incumbent, Republican Mike Cheokas.

State Rep. Darlene Taylor (R-Thomasville) is working to defend her House District 173 seat, according to WALB.

Darlene Taylor has served as the Georgia Representative for District 173 for 11 years now and said she’s not ready for her work to stop now.

“I feel like God put me here for a reason,” she said.

Representative Taylor said she was never into politics before she ran for her seat. She was encouraged to run in 2011 by some of her family and friends. Since then, she said she’s never looked back.

“I didn’t know really what I was getting into. It’s good to know something about politics but I didn’t go in totally blind. I understand the politics as far as you have to work with all people. You have to work across the aisle,” she said.

She added that she stands tall as a woman in politics as she’s worked on another passion of hers—women’s rights. For her, being a businesswoman in health care and a politician hasn’t always been easy.

“At first it was just getting in the room. Let’s be frank I grew up when woman were burning their bras. I didn’t care if I came in the back door. Being a woman, I can still be compassionate and people accept me now in the room because I have the knowledge to stand there with them,” she said.

After being defeated in 2014 when he ran against Taylor for seat 173, Democratic candidate Keith Jenkins is back eight years later ready for a rematch.

Republican State Senator Matt Hatchett is running for reelection in District 50, according to AccessWDUN.

Republican incumbent Bo Hatchett will be facing the Democratic nominee Paulette Williams for the Georgia State Senate District 50 seat in the 2022 midterm election.

District 50 covers Rabun County, Towns County, Habersham County, Stephens County, Franklin County, Banks County, east of White County, north of Jackson County and a small portion of Hall County.

Hatchett grew up in Demorest, Ga. and is a lawyer by profession, according to his website.  He has represented Georgia’s 50th District since 2021 and is pro-life, a 2nd Amendment supporter and believes in limited government and stopping government overreach.

Williams believes the focus should be on affordable health care and the expansion of Medicaid.

“Georgia ranks in the bottom of states in terms of our ability to provide health care to our citizens,” Daley said on behalf of Williams. “And one focus of her campaign is to have the Georgia State Legislature accept Medicaid expansion.”

WJBF profiles the candidates for Richmond County Board of Education District 7.

Both candidates for Richmond County’s Board of Education District 7 seat – incumbent Charlie Walker Junior and challenger Brittiany Broadwater — say they’re focused on what’s important – education .

“I think with my skill set– I have a background in education, I graduated from Stanford University where I studied education and all of the youth serving roles that I have had– I think I now have a skillset where I can contribute to improving our school district,” Broadwater said.

“To offer our teachers and our support staff the opportunity to get back to a normal environment, and to continue to support and nurture that early-learning opportunity so that when kids come into the system, it’ll give us a better chance to be a more successful school system,” Walker Jr. said.

Republican Hall County Board of Education District 1 member Mark Pettit faces Democratic challenger Isabel Martinez Flynn, according to AccessWDUN.

Pettit was elected to the board in 2018 for the post representing the south end of the county. The post is elected by an at-large vote.

“My goal is to be accessible to constituents and the public and be active within the community, so I feel like I’m always campaigning and listening to folks and engaging with the community and things of that nature,” Pettit said.

One issue that has recently faced the county school board is reading materials for children. A group of parents expressed concerns to the board in April about some materials that contained what they considered to be inappropriate content.

Pettit said said he is comfortable with the school system’s ability to address those concerns.

“We have a policy on the books in Hall County that’s been there for decades. If anybody at any time has any issue at all with any material in Hall County schools, they can issue a challenge. A committee will be convened, the content will be reviewed in its entirety for context and a decision will be made. If the individual is not happy with that committee’s decision, they can appeal it to the district level and if the same thing happens there and the individual is still not happy, they can appeal it to the board of education,” Pettit said. “The process has been used once in eight years, so I would say we don’t have an issue here.”

Flynn said she is against banning reading materials.

Speaking of banning books, more than twenty books in the Thomas County Public Library have received complaints, according to WALB.

Over 20 books at the Thomas County Public Library have been challenged and brought up for reconsideration of circulation.

Books like “The Other Boy” and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” are just two of those publications called into question. Community members are saying the material in these books is inappropriate for young readers.

The concerns started surfacing in September. Other familiar titles under review include “The Kite Runner”, “All the Boys Aren’t Blue” and “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”. Most of these books include race and sexuality as topics.

“In my 10 years as a library director, I have never had one material challenged,” said Holly Phillips, director of Thomas County Public Library System.

Phillips said some of the feedback she has received about these books say they “promote transgender agenda to children”, “Bible calls queer an abomination” and that the material had “controversial diversity issues” and included profanity.

Right now, 12 books have been reviewed by the library and either moved to the adult section or left in the teen and young adult sections.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has banned private ownership of some reptiles, according to the Savannah Morning News.

A controversy is brewing for reptile breeders and lovers after the Georgia Department of Natural Resources updated its wild animals list for the first time since the mid-1990s.

The list includes animals not allowed for importation, transportation, sale, transfer or possession due to their potential dangers and capacity to become a disruptive species.

Burmese pythons and Argentine white and black tegus were named as animals that Georgians must stop breeding and buying. The list also includes other reptiles as well as aquatic species, and critters like the marbled crayfish that have high potential to harm their native counterparts.

People who currently own these animals do not have to get rid of their pets. But they have 12 months to tag and register them with DNR.

For more information on the rule changes and a list of all the impacted animals, visit bit.ly/3NzPaOB.

In the Everglades, the non-native Burmese pythons, which can grow beyond 16 feet in the wild, have been colossally disruptive to the environment. Populations are exploding in south Florida and they out-compete native wildlife for food and resources.

“Invasive species cost billions of dollars of damage to the economy” beyond the ecological devastation they can bring, said Brett Albanese, assistant chief with DNR’s Wildlife Conservation Section. “The trick is that once something becomes established, it’s really hard to eradicate, so we are trying to be more proactive.”

Albanese said there’s uncertainty about whether pythons could survive and establish themselves in Georgia. But with the climate warming up, DNR is taking a cautious approach.

Whit Gibbons, a herpetologist at the University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Lab, said that the jury is out on what would happen if Burmese pythons made their way to the wilds of Georgia. There are two limiting factors he said would make it unlikely for the snakes to establish themselves.

“The difference between most of Georgia and the Everglades is that there is plenty of food for them in the Everglades,” Gibbons said. Released anywhere in Georgia, Gibbons said Burmese pythons would run out of food sources.

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 4, 2022

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

On November 4, 1932 Georgia Governor Richard B. Russell, Jr. campaigned on behalf of Democratic candidate for President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

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.

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.

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

Note on the electoral map in that clip, states that Reagan won were colored blue, and Georgia was a red state, going for Jimmy Carter.

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.

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.

On November 7, 2006, Georgia reelected its first Republican Governor since Reconstruction, Sonny Perdue, and elected its first GOP Lieutenant Governor, Casey Cagle.

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

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Georgia State House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) will step down from his speakership in January, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Georgia House Speaker David Ralston announced Friday he will not seek another term as leader of the legislative chamber in January, citing a health issue.

“Serving as speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives has been the honor of a lifetime, and I owe a heartfelt thank you to my colleagues for the trust and confidence they placed in me 13 years ago,” said Ralston, R-Blue Ridge.

“I need to take time to address a health challenge which has arisen recently, and the House needs a speaker who can devote the necessary time and energy to the office.”

Friday’s announcement will not affect Ralston’s representation of the 7th House District in Northwest Georgia. He is running for reelection next week unopposed and said he will continue to serve his district during the 2023-24 session.

“I love the House and want to see the honorable men and women who serve in it succeed,” he said. “I will work the remainder of my term as speaker to ensure a smooth transition for my successor.”

“David Ralston has been a steadfast leader for Georgia throughout his time as speaker, and our state is better off thanks to his wisdom and commitment to all Georgians while guiding the House through challenging times,” Gov. Brian Kemp said Friday. “While his service as speaker is coming to a close, I know I will continue to ask my friend for his advice and counsel.”

From the AJC:

Ralston’s decision sets off a scramble to replace him as the Georgia House’s leader. It wasn’t immediately clear Friday who would attempt to succeed Ralston, though potential candidates include House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, the No. 2 Republican in the chamber, and House Majority Leader Jon Burns, another high-ranking Republican.

Minority Leader James Beverly said he was “shocked and saddened” when he heard about Ralston’s health.

“He taught me a bunch about governing and working across the aisle. He was always very truthful with me,” said Beverly, a Democrat from Macon. “If he said something, he meant it, and he stuck to it. It’s a sad day.”

And in this year’s session, he championed a measure designed to make it easier for Georgians to access mental health services. After it passed unanimously, he declared it would “set Georgia on a path of lifting up and reforming a failed mental health care system.”

“He was what we needed during these times,” said state Rep. Calvin Smyre, a Democrat from Columbus and the longest-serving member of the General Assembly. “With Speaker Ralston, there was a level of trust between us. We had a great friendship. We worked hand-in-hand on elevating transportation and mental health.”

Deal said he Ralston worked together to make Georgia a top state for businesses following the recession from 2007 to 2009.

“As speaker, he’s been an outstanding leader. His steady hand and guidance helped bring order and efficiency to the General Assembly, which can be an unwieldy and unpredictable body at times,” said Deal, a Republican who was governor from 2011 to 2019.

Ralston said the job was “the honor of a lifetime” and thanked his longtime aide Spiro Amburn and others for their service.

“I could not have done all of this without the love and support of my family, particularly my wife, Sheree, and our children,” Ralston said. “They have been my rock, and I love them very much.”

Today is the last day of early voting ahead of Tuesday’s General Election. From WTOC:

The Peach State has set a new record at the polls. Early voter turnout has officially passed the 2 million mark, breaking the old record. The latest numbers from the Secretary of State’s office show more than 2.1 million Georgians have turned out to vote early.

This includes more than 66,000 who voted Thursday.

The five locations across Chatham County will be open and if you don’t vote Friday, you will have to wait until Election Day on Tuesday.

More than 6,000 people have voted absentee in the county. They have sent out nearly 10,000 ballots, which means that 3,000 have not been returned – those need to be back by the time the polls close on Election Day at 7 p.m.

From the Secretary of State’s Absentee Voting Database:Continue Reading..