Category: Georgia Politics

31
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 31, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

President Bill Clinton hit the campaign trail to help his wife, Hillary Clinton, in her race for United States Senate from New York on October 31, 2000. On October 31, 2014, Bill Clinton came to Atlanta to campaign for Michelle Nunn for United States Senate.

The historic Zero Mile Post from Atlanta has been relocated to the Atlanta History Center, according to the AJC.

Zero Mile Post — an 800 pound piece of marble that measures 7 feet 5 inches — was installed in the 1850s to mark the southern terminus of the Western & Atlantic Railroad. For more than 20 years, it has been housed in a locked building under the Central Avenue viaduct. The building is scheduled to be demolished later this year to accommodate the rebuilding of the Central Avenue and Courtland Street bridges, a project approved by voters in 2015.

On Monday, the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead announced that Zero Mile Post, will be open for public viewing on Nov. 17 as part of the new exhibition, “Locomotion: Railroads and the Making of Atlanta.

“We are excited and honored to be able to steward this artifact and have people see it, understand it and have it interpreted. It is a great honor for the Atlanta History Center,” said Atlanta History Center President and CEO, Sheffield Hale.

The artifact remains under the ownership of the Georgia Building Authority, which has agreed to a five-year renewable license with the Atlanta History Center.

“We gave Atlanta History Center a license and a license can be revoked at any time,” said Steve Stancil, State Property Officer serving as executive director. “Georgia Building Authority still owns it. The place it was at is in peril because of the rebuilding of the Central Avenue bridge.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

NO RUNOFF football MEME 4-01

Early Voting – Morning FixContinue Reading..

29
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 29, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Morning Fix:

Total Early Ballots cast: 1,199,697

 

The Augusta Chronicle writes about early voting in Augusta.

Hundreds of Richmond County voters took time out of their Sunday to make their voice heard ahead of this week’s midterm elections.

“Sunday voting is very well received,” [Richmond County Board of Elections Executive Director Lynn] Bailey said. “The last midterm election we had about 500 people come to vote on Sunday, and the last presidential election we had about 750 Sunday voters.”

The Board of Elections said 767 people cast their ballot Sunday.

Sunday voting was available to Richmond County voters at the municipal building from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., but was not available in Columbia County.

From the Chronicle on Saturday voting:

According to numbers supplied by Bailey, 2,898 people voted in Richmond County, pushing the total since advance voting began on Oct. 15 to 10,583. Nancy L. Gay, the executive director for the Columbia County Board of Elections, said 2,538 voted, increasing its total to 17,260.

President Donald J. Trump is widely expected to visit Georgia on Sunday, November 4th for a Macon-area rally in support of Brian Kemp’s gubernatorial bid. From the Macon Telegraph:

President Donald Trump is expected in Macon Sunday to urge Georgia voters to get Republican Brian Kemp victoriously over the finish line in a tight governor’s race with Democrat Stacey Abrams.

A week after Georgia’s first Sunday voting, Trump will host a rally in Macon, according to multiple sources.

The president reportedly will be traveling to eight states this week in the final push for Republican candidates in this midterm election where the balance of power in the U.S. House could shift to Democrat control.

From Axios.com:

Alexi McCammond got her hands on fresh details — dates and specific locations — of the Trump political team’s schedule ahead of the midterms. The locations and dates we cite here, the big picture details of which were first reported by Bloomberg, are based on internal White House planning and could change:

  • Oct. 31: Fort Myers, Florida
  • Nov. 1: Columbia, Missouri
  • Nov. 2: Huntington, West Virginia and an undisclosed location in Indiana
  • Nov. 3: Bozeman, Montana and an undisclosed location in Florida
  • Nov. 4: Macon, Georgia and Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Nov. 5: Fort Wayne, Indiana and Cape Girardeau, Missouri
  • Another rally, on a date we haven’t established: an undisclosed location in Ohio

Why this matters: In his final blitz,Trump is going to Trump country within Trump states. Not a single competitive House seat lies within these locations.

  • Trump won many of the counties by at least 20 points. He won all of the congressional districts by at least 20, and in one case (Cape Girardeau, MO) he won by more than 50.
  • The most striking exception is Macon, Georgia, which sits within Bibb County, which Hillary Clinton won by 20 points. But Trump won Macon’s congressional district by almost 30 points.

Vice President Mike Pence will appear with Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp this Thursday in Dalton, Grovetown, and Savannah. Here are links for free tickets.

Dalton Tickets
Grovetown Tickets
Savannah Tickets

The Dalton Daily Citizen writes about Vice President Pence’s visit to Dalton.

Pence and the Republican Party gubernatorial candidate, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, will appear at the convention center Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The two also have rallies scheduled for Savannah and the Augusta area that day.

Pence held a rally in Dalton during the presidential campaign in August 2016, when he was Donald Trump’s running mate.

“I understand Pence’s people thought the Dalton rally (in 2016) did very well, so I’m not surprised he’s coming back,” said 14th Congressional District Republican Party Chairman Ed Painter.

Two years ago, Pence’s rally was held in the ballroom of the convention center. This year, it will be held in a much larger arena, according to Whitfield County Republican Party Chairman Dianne Putnam.

“Two years ago, we had a capacity crowd of about 700, and security told us there were about 1,500 people who wanted to get in who couldn’t,” she said. “We are thinking this time we will have 2,000 to 2,500 people.”

Gavin Thompson, chairman of the Young Republicans of Northwest Georgia, says the rally will give a final boost to the Kemp campaign and other Republican candidates in the final days before the election.

“We’ve got a lot of momentum here locally. I think Republicans have been turning out, but this will give another push,” he said.

Jill Nolin writes about the contest for rural votes in the gubernatorial race.

Brian Kemp, a cowboy-boot-wearing Athens businessman, has traveled the state shaking hands with rural conservatives he is urging to show up in force.

“But we know right here in Hawkinsville, we are in the home of a lot of great farmers and a lot of great ag producers and many other hard-working Georgians,” he said. “And I have great appreciation for that because I’m one of you.

“And for my opponent to say that people shouldn’t have to go into agriculture and hospitality is wrong,” he said.

House Speaker David Ralston, a Republican from rural north Georgia who backs Kemp, said the comment was one of the most jarring he’s heard in what has become a bitterly fought race.

“That comment was so offensive on so many levels and shows a complete disconnect from what Georgians are thinking and what they’re proud of,” Ralston said in an interview Tuesday.

Kemp said he favors expanding a different program that offers a 100 percent tax credit for donors who give money to rural hospitals. He said he would form an economic development strike team whose daily focus would be to work with rural areas thirsty for jobs. To him, strengthening local tax bases is a step toward aiding the state’s fragile rural hospitals.

They have both pledged to renew a push under the Gold Dome to bring high-speed internet to areas that lack it.

Coweta County Democrats rallied for gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, according to the Newnan Times-Herald.

Floyd County Democrats rallied for early voting on Sunday, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

Former President Jimmy Carter says Brian Kemp should resign as Secretary of State, according to AccessWDUN.

The Gainesville Times looks at younger voters in the 2018 midterm elections.

Turnout for early voting in Hall County has been more than double what it was in the 2014 midterms, and young voters in Northeast Georgia are attributing that to increased political awareness, regardless of political party.

“There are always going to be people who are going to vote based on party lines, but I think most of the people I’ve interacted with at least are considering voting for candidates from parties they haven’t voted for in years or ever,” said Kyle Leineweber, president of Brenau University College Democrats.

Arturo Adame, president of Hall County Young Democrats, said he sees Republicans shifting further to the right, and Democrats are departing from tradition, too.

“Moderation isn’t going to win,” Adame said. “It’s going to be a real change that is going to affect things more drastically.”

Brooke Thigpen, chair of Brenau College Republicans, said Brenau students have collaborated to keep political conversations on campus civil. Brenau’s College Republicans worked with College Democrats and the county’s elections office to host an event to educate students about voting.

“On Brenau’s campus specifically, we’ve seen a sharp increase in the amount of students who are interested and engaged in the political process on all levels of government,” Thigpen said in an email. “… Ensuring young voters are informed of the political process is crucial to making sure young people have a voice.”

Curt Yeomans of the Gwinnett Daily Post writes about issues in the Governor’s race.

Abrams told the Daily Post in August that her school security plans include changing rules on education special purpose local option sales taxes so funds that have traditionally been limited to capital costs can also be used for school district operations such as school resource officers and other safety intervention specialists.

She also said there should be more investment in strategies designed to curb bad behavior from students and addressing mental health issues among students.

“I’m a very strong believer in gun safety regulations that improve the welfare of our entire community,” Abrams said. “That means background checks, waiting periods (and) having the opportunity to remove weapons from those who have been convicted of domestic violence.”

On other issues, Kemp told the Daily Post earlier this month that his approach to school safety includes funding $30,000 grants to all schools to cover security improvement costs and also funding one counselor position for every high school in Georgia so they can address mental health or substance issues that might prompt a shooting.

Although Kemp has heavily touted his support of second amendment rights on the campaign trail, he said he would leave the issue of arming teachers to individual districts to decide.

“It’s a local control issue,” he said. “I know we have some systems that are going that route. I certainly support the ability for them to do that, but for school systems that do not want to do that, I support them as well.”

Congressman Buddy Carter (R-Pooler) contributed to legislation on the opioid crisis, according to The Brunswick News.

President Donald Trump signed into law Wednesday comprehensive legislation meant to put controls on the prescription opioid industry, deter opioid abuse and address treatment and recovery. The bill — H.R. 6, the Support for Patients and Communities Act, includes language from three bills introduced by U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-1.

“While working with members on both sides of the aisle to create these solution to combat this crisis, I learned from constituents, colleagues and others that everyone and every community has been impacted by this epidemic in some way,” Carter said in a statement. “For me, as a pharmacist for more than 30 years, I saw addiction end careers and ruin lives and families.

“This is what has driven me to work so hard on this legislation to address prescription drug abuse while ensuring those who truly need the medications maintain access to it. It is great news this package is now law, and I am committed to continuing this strong bipartisan work to end this crisis once and for all.”

Carter’s contributions to H.R. 6 included specifications that the Department of Health and Human Services conduct a study on abuse deterrent formulations (ADFs) for chronic pain patients in Medicare — ADFs make it harder to modify medication for abuse.

The Ledger-Enquirer looks at a special election for Muscogee County Superior Court Clerk.

Since [incumbent Clerk Ann] Hardman’s unexpected death, Shasta Thomas Glover has been the clerk, sworn in after serving as Hardman’s chief deputy.

She faces a challenge from Danielle Forte, a prosecutor with the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit.

The Ledger Enquirer asked each candidate to cite three priorities, should she win this special election that voters must go to the end of their ballots to find, after proposed constitutional amendments and other state referenda.

Clay County will be home to an $89 million dollar solar farm, according to the Albany Herald.

26
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 26, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

President Woodrow Wilson vetoed the Volstead Act, which implemented the Eighteenth Amendment prohibition on alcohol, on October 27, 1919; the House overrode his veto that same day and the United States Senate overrode the veto on October 28, 1919.

Navy Day was established on October 27, 1922.

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

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

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

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

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

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

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Vice President Mike Pence will appear with Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp next Thursday in Dalton, Grovetown, and Savannah. Here are links for free tickets.

Dalton Tickets
Grovetown Tickets
Savannah Tickets

U.S. District Court Judge Leigh Martin May issued an injunction preventing local election officials from discarding mail-in ballots with mis-matched signatures, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The injunction is in response to two lawsuits that have been filed against Kemp and Gwinnett County elections officials challenging the rejection of hundreds of absentee ballots for mismatched signatures and other reasons.

“This injunction applies to all absentee ballot applications and absentee ballots rejected solely on the basis of signature mismatches submitted in this current election,” May said in the order. “This injunction does not apply to voters who have already cast an in-person vote.”

The judge’s order stipulates that any absentee ballots that raise questions because of mismatched signatures is to be treated as a provisional ballot and the voters should be given an opportunity to prove their identity in person or through an attorney.

It also lays out a process for appealing the rejection although it won’t change the date when local elections officials must certify the results of the general election.

Gwinnett County, for example, won’t have to recertify its results to account for absentee ballot rejections that are still being appealed — unless the county of those ballots could swing the outcome of a race.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp asked a federal judge for a stay of her order to appeal the Temorary Restraining Order governing treatment of absentee ballots with mismatched signatures, according to the Daily Report.

The motion, filed by Senior Assistant Attorney General Christina Correia with the office of state Attorney General Chris Carr, sought the stay until she can appeal U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May’s orders granting and implementing the TRO.

Correia sought the stay to allow a review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta, contending an appeal “will ensure at least a measure of careful deliberation before upending the state’s election processes in the middle of a general election.”

In announcing an intended appeal, Correia said Martin’s restraining order added “brand new, untested processes ad hoc to long-established election procedures at the eleventh hour.” Correia also contended it “will introduce uncertainty and confusion under extreme time pressure at best” and “risks undermining the integrity of the state’s election process.”

Correia also argued that receiving an absentee ballot and being able to vote by absentee ballot “together amount at most to a privilege and a convenience” rather than a fundamental right to vote.

Glynn County early voting has exceeded all early votes for recent midterm elections, according to The Brunswick News.

Glynn County residents voting early in the 2018 general election have already exceeded the last three midterm elections with 10,276 casting ballots since the early voting polls opened on Oct. 15.

During the 2014 general midterm elections, 7,239 cast their ballots during early voting. Prior midterm elections in 2010 saw 6,661 votes cast, up from around 3,011 in the 2006 midterms.

Last week, the board of elections saw more than 1,000 people a day, 5,728 total, at its early voting locations in Brunswick and on St. Simons Island. On Thursday, 1,020 people cast their ballots.

State House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) raised funds for fellow house members in Glynn County, according to The Brunswick News.

“My No. 1 priority each session is passing a balanced budget that addresses our need in Georgia — and obviously we’re going to deal with part of this during the special session, and that’s some financial relief for the hurricane damage in Southwest Georgia,” Ralston said. “I suspect that will probably carry over, and we’ll be dealing with some issues relating to the hurricane, even next session.

“The other thing I think will be a priority for me will be our rural development initiatives that we’ve had in the House — high-speed broadband, for example. I think that’s a very, very important thing that we need to here in the state, to revitalize rural Georgia. So, we’ll tackle that.”

He said there will certainly be other issues that demand the House’s attention next year, but he typically does not like to go into a session with a heavy agenda for what to address, and looks to support Kemp’s plans in the eventuality the GOP nominee wins in November.

State Rep. Terry England (R-Auburn) would like to see greater transparency in how funds received by hospitals under the Rural Hospital Tax Credit are spent, according to Andy Miller of Georgia Health News.

how hospitals are spending that money this year has not been officially tracked, the state says. And right now, there apparently isn’t publicly available information on how much in donations that each eligible hospital has received so far in 2018.

An influential state lawmaker said Tuesday that the law needs tweaking to increase transparency.

“There are things that need to be cleaned up,’’ said Rep. Terry England, R-Auburn, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

“Hospitals are thrilled to death’’ about the tax credit program, England said.

Legislators “are going to put things in place to see how these dollars are being spent’’ to increase transparency, said England, who’s also co-chair of the House Rural Development Council. “We want to be specific on allowable spending.”

“This is taxpayer money that would otherwise go into the General Fund,’’ England told Georgia Health News. “Every one of these hospitals want to do the right thing. I want to identify how the money is spent.”

Republican Bulloch County District 2B Commissioner Walter Gibson faces Democratic challenger Adrienne Dobbs, according to the Statesboro Herald.

The City of Savannah is considering a 10 PM shutoff time for tours, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Columbus City Council moved forward with getting courtrooms in the government center back in working order, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

“I think everyone from the judges to the staff to the citizens engaged on this issue are relieved that council took the decisive action to move forward in getting the courtrooms back up and running, getting basic, life-saving issues addressed for those that must work in the Government Center and starting the planning process for either a completely rebuilt or a wholly new judicial and government building,” [Mayor Teresa Tomlinson] said.

The measure council approved will not only accept the nearly $1.1 million in insurance settlement funds from Travelers to start the repairs on the damaged floors, but it will also allow the city to borrow $7 million in bonds issued by the Columbus Building Authority. The city will use $2.5 million of that to address safety issues in the government center, many of them surrounding fire safety.

The city will use $1 million of the borrowed money toward toward planning, engineering and assessment for the new building to potentially replace the 47-year-old Government Center, which houses city administration, multiple city departments and the courts.

The city will then use $3 million in borrowed money to upgrade the softball complex at South Commons. This will include work to the stadium and surrounding fields. The Columbus Sports Council made the pitch for these improvements in August, while telling council it had a chance to host an international softball tournament that will be televised by ESPN.

The Georgia Ports Authority wants to double capacity at the Port of Brunswick, according to The Brunswick News.

The Port of Brunswick had a gangbuster fiscal year 2018, handling a total of 630,000 cars, trucks and tractors, state officials said Thursday at the annual State of the Port address on Jekyll Island.

“The Port of Brunswick achieved a solid performance across all cargo categories over the last fiscal year,” said Griff Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority, or GPA. “As GPA adds new terminal space, we will expand our service area in the Southeast and beyond.”

Next year, the port’s Colonel’s Island terminal will add 60 acres of usable dockside space. Most of that land will be used for roll-on, roll-off, or “Ro/Ro,” freight, like cars and heavy machinery. This expansion will increase storage by 8,250 vehicle spaces. Currently, Brunswick’s port has a capacity of 800,000 units, and in the coming years, GPA plans to nearly double that to 1.5 million units and use an additional 400 acres, Lynch said.

To help meet that demand, the port authority will be doubling rail capacity with a new dockside expansion. This will give the port the ability to build trains up to 10,000 feet long, which are capable of traveling longer distance to meet markets west of the Mississippi River. Already, the Port of Brunswick is sending vehicles as far away as California, Lynch noted.

Rome City Council chose a firm to construct a new dog park, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

The Hall County Commission unanimously passed a ban on unsupervised dog tethering, according to the Gainesville Times.

25
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 25, 2018

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

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

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Libertarian candidate for Governor Ted Metz hopes to throw the November elections into a runoff, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

The lesser-known third-party candidate in the closely watched Georgia gubernatorial race says he wants your “protest” vote.

“This is going to be a runoff anyway,” Ted Metz, who is running as a Libertarian, said during the first televised debate. “If you’re tired of the two-party system and the two-party tyranny of the oligarchs running the planet, then a vote for me is a protest vote to show them that you are sick and tired of the same ol’ stuff.”

But if Metz cobbles together enough votes to deny Abrams and Kemp the votes needed for a majority, the race to name Georgia’s next governor could run into December. Four people have also qualified as write-in candidates in the race.

He said lower voter turnout — which he attributed to disinterested independent voters — is a bigger issue than voter suppression, which has become a major election issue in the homestretch of the race.

A federal court has issued an injunction governing how rejected absentee ballots must be handled, according to the Associated Press, via the Augusta Chronicle.

U.S. District Judge Leigh May ordered the secretary of state’s office to instruct county election officials to stop the practice for the November midterm elections. She outlined a procedure to allow voters to resolve alleged signature discrepancies.

Two lawsuits filed earlier this month allege that election officials are improperly rejecting absentee ballots and applications in violation of their constitutional rights.

If the voter’s signature on the absentee ballot envelope or absentee ballot application doesn’t match the signature on the voter registration card, state law says it should be rejected. An absentee ballot can also be rejected if the voter signs in the wrong place or incorrectly fills out spaces designated for address and year of birth on the envelope.

The law doesn’t allow voters to contest the allegation of a mismatched signature or to confirm their identity before rejection. The law says voters are to be notified “promptly” of any rejection, but no time frame is provided. The lawsuits say that could result in voters being notified too late to fix the problem, jeopardizing their right to vote.

May’s order says that if there’s a perceived signature mismatch on an absentee ballot, election officials must mark it as provisional. They must then send the voter a pre-rejection notice and allow the voter an opportunity to confirm his or her identity and have the vote counted no later than three days after the election, the order says.

For an absentee ballot application with an apparent signature mismatch, election officials must send the voter a provisional ballot along with information explaining how the provisional ballot process works, the order says.

 A Special Session of the Georgia General Assembly next month is likely to include the issue of sales tax on jet fuel, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Deal will outline the limits of the session in the coming weeks, but lawmakers are expected to take up an unrelated proposal to suspend the state jet fuel tax – an issue that garnered controversy earlier this year after Delta Air Lines ended a discount for National Rifle Association members.

Jay Powell, R-Camilla, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, told a group of lawmakers Tuesday the tax exemption will likely come up during the special session because state law dictates it.

Deal issued an executive order in July temporarily suspending the tax, which he’s authorized to do “until the meeting of the next General Assembly but no longer,” according to state code. That leaves it to lawmakers to decide whether to continue giving airlines the tax break.

[Georgia Department of Agriculture inspector general Gary] Kelley briefed the House Rural Development Council on the losses Tuesday: up to $600 million in losses to the cotton crop, $480 million in losses to vegetables and a $560 million hit to the pecan industry. The timber farmers are looking at as much as a $1 billion loss.

Rep. Sam Watson, R-Moultrie, is a vegetable farmer who lost much of his crop. He said the destruction to farmland will have a ripple effect in rural communities because of the businesses – such as hardware stores, fertilizer salesmen, tire dealers and others – who feed off farmers.

“These are the only businesses in rural Georgia,” Watson said. “If farmers don’t get paid, (the other businesses are) not going to get paid. And of course that’s sales tax revenue that the counties don’t get.

From the Newnan Times-Herald:

During the special session, the budget amendment will go through the same process that any bill goes through – it will be “dropped” and “first read” and then after a second reading will be assigned to the House Appropriations Committee.

That committee will hold a hearing, possibly make changes, approve the bill and send it to the Rules Committee, and then to the House floor for a vote. After the House approves it, things move to the Senate for a committee hearing and floor vote. Some rules could be suspended during the special session to make things move a bit faster, Smith said.

House members got an email Tuesday from Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge. In it, Ralston said that “while we will work as expeditiously as possible, legislative procedures will require several days,” Smith said, and Ralston tells House members to prepare to be at the capitol through at least Friday, Nov. 16, and to “bear in mind additional days may be required.”

Between now and the opening of the special session, various state agencies and the governor’s office will be compiling data on the damage and the need, and a prepared budget amendment should be ready to introduce on the first day of the special session, Smith said.

That article by Sarah Fay Butler is one of the best I’ve read on how the Special Session will work.

Republican State School Superintendent Richard Woods says Georgia’s education system has improved dramatically, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

As Georgia has become a top state in the nation to do business, Georgia Superintendent of Schools Richard Woods told a Republican women’s group Wednesday the state’s second-most improved sector is education.

Woods, a former high school history teacher who lives in Tifton, is facing Democratic challenger Otha Thorton, a former national PTA leader and retired Army officer, for a second term. Thornton did not return a request for comment.

Woods said due to the hard work of local systems and the state Department of Education, Georgia’s graduation rate is at an all-time high, with a 90 percent graduation rate “doable” in a few years. The state’s SAT and ACT test scores are out-performing the nation, and its high school graduates often also leave with college degrees, he said.

Repeating a theme heard often from Republican candidates in the Nov. 6 election, Woods said it was critical to elect Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp as governor to keep the state’s success rolling, including to replace the Common Core standards the state education board, which is appointed by the governor, adopted in 2010.

Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp said he will not recuse himself if his election against Democrat Stacey Abrams goes to a recount, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Republican Brian Kemp says he will not recuse himself as Georgia’s chief elections officer even if his gubernatorial race with Democrat Stacey Abrams goes to a recount.

“We’ve got a very competent elections team to oversee that (recount) process,” Kemp said, and in a nod to the microscope now on the state, added: “I’m certain that there would be a lot of people watching that.”

He was, however, asked repeatedly by Abrams and the moderators about voting-related issues, and maintained that he could do the job fairly despite his obvious interest in the election’s outcome.

“There are 7 million people that have correctly filled the form out,” Kemp said, referencing the state’s registration total, “and (Abrams is) blaming me for a few that couldn’t do that or they simply don’t exist.”

“She’s lying about my record,” he said, “to hide her extreme agenda.”

Democratic Bulloch County District 1B incumbent Commissioner Anthony Simmons faces a challenge from Republican W. Scott Brannen, according to the Statesboro Herald.

The Statesboro Herald has published a five-part video series of the debate between Republican Congressman Rick Allen and Democratic Challenger Francys Johnson.

Democrat Francys Johnson told the Augusta Chronicle that the economic recovery is skipping rural Georgia.

Raised on a Screven County farm between Sylvania and Hiltonia, Ga., Statesboro attorney Francys Johnson stressed that rural Georgia’s needs aren’t being met by the Republican agenda in a Wednesday interview with The Augusta Chronicle’s editorial board.

Johnson, a Democrat challenging GOP U.S. Rep. Rick Allen of Augusta to represent the 12th Congressional District, softened his tone but continued the barrage of attacks against Allen he launched at a Tuesday forum in Statesboro.

“Many of them feel that they don’t have a voice in Washington right now to represent rural America. They think their voice is not being heard because too much of what goes on is good for some, but not good for very many,” Johnson said.

“They know that even though the president says things are as good as they’ve ever been, walk down the main street of Millen or Swainsboro or even Statesboro, you’ll see otherwise,” he said.

It shows in the closing of rural hospitals, which Johnson said can be addressed by expanding Medicaid as a majority of states have done.

“Fifty years ago you could have a baby in Millen, Sylvania, Waynesboro – none of those places you can have a baby now,” he said.

The result is Georgia’s rank at the bottom nationwide in infant mortality. Twelve of 19 counties in the district are so poor, every child gets free lunch at public school, he said.

Republican Congressman Buddy Carter (Pooler) met his Democratic opponent in a forum, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Savannah Branch of the NAACP hosted the first meeting of the two candidates last week. Wednesday’s forum was hosted by the League of Women Voters of Coastal Georgia.

The forum was split into two hours worth of timed question-and-answer segments, allowing the candidates to expand on topics of concern for the position they hope to win in November.

Carter said he was in favor of changing the status of marijuana from a schedule 1 drug to a schedule 2 drug to allow research on the medicinal benefits of the plant, but was “absolutely opposed to recreational marijuana,” calling it a “gateway drug.”

Ring said she was in favor of medical marijuana, and said medical marijuana would cut down on the abuse of opioids.

The Judicial Qualifications Commission is seeking the suspension of Mack Crawford from his seat on the Superior Court for the Griffin Judicial Circuit, according to the AJC.

Judge Mack Crawford should be relieved of his duties, with pay, while an ethics complaint against him is pending, the Judicial Qualifications Commission said. In July, the JQC accused Crawford of the theft of more than $15,000 from the Pike County court’s registry.

Crawford’s continued service on the bench “would undermine public confidence in the judiciary,” the commission said in a motion filed Tuesday before the state Supreme Court. It noted the code of judicial conduct requires judges to uphold the integrity of the court system and “avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of their activities.”

In a prior interview, Crawford, 64, strongly denied doing anything improper. “I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong,” he said.

Macon-Bibb County Transit Authority is rolling out smart cards and a mobile app to make transit use easier, according to the Macon Telegraph. The downside is that you’re still in Macon.

Savannah Fire Chief Charles Middleton will retire at the end of this year, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Glynn County Commission Finance Committee will consider hiring an engineering firm for beach restoration outside the normal procurement process, according to The Brunswick News.

The Glynn County Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax 2016 Oversight Committee met to hear updates on projects financed under the 2016 tax measure, according to The Brunswick News.

Candidates for Mayor of Grantville met in a public forum, according to the Newnan Times-Herald.

24
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 24, 2018

On October 24, 1733, the Georgia trustees ordered a ship to Rotterdam to pick up a group of Lutherans expelled from Salzburg, Austria, and then send the Salzburgers to Georgia.

On October 24, 1775, Lord John Murray Dunmore, British Governor of Virginia, ordered the British fleet to attack Norfolk, VA.

On October 24, 1790, the Rev. John Wesley wrote the last entry in his journal, which he began keeping on October 14, 1735.

The first American “Unknown Soldier” was chosen on October 24, 1921 in Chalons-sur-Marne, France.

Bearing the inscription “An Unknown American who gave his life in the World War,” the chosen casket traveled to Paris and then to Le Havre, France, where it would board the cruiser Olympia for the voyage across the Atlantic. Once back in the United States, the Unknown Soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C.

The Charter of the United Nations took effect on October 24, 1945.

On October 24, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower pledged the United States’ support for the South Vietnam government led by President Ngo Dinh Diem.

On October 24, 1976, Newsweek released a poll showing Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter leading President Gerald Ford in 24 states, with a combined 308 electoral voters.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Morning Fix

Total early ballots cast: 747,986

Governor Nathan Deal announced yesterday that he will call a special legislative session after the November elections.

Gov. Nathan Deal today notified House Speaker David Ralston and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle that he plans to call for a special legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly. The special session is set to convene on Tuesday, Nov. 13.

“Georgia was severely impacted by Hurricane Michael and many communities across our state sustained heavy financial losses,” said Deal. “In response, I will ask the General Assembly to take immediate action and lead the way in spurring rapid economic recovery for southwest Georgia communities. Our state budget also needs to be amended to ensure that we adequately cover our obligations. I hope to work quickly with the General Assembly in the coming days to provide support to the Georgia communities that need it most.”

The regular session of the 2018 General Assembly adjourned sine die on March 29, 2018. Article V, Section II, Paragraph VII of the Constitution of the State of Georgia grants the governor the power to convene a special session of the General Assembly.

Totally unconfirmed and wildly speculative rumors have suggested that Amazon incentives may also be part of the special session.

From the AJC:

Deal made the special session announcement two weeks before heated midterm elections in which his successor — either Republican Brian Kemp or Democrat Stacey Abrams — will be chosen. The special session will begin a week after the election and is expected to last at least five days.

Chris Riley, the governor’s chief of staff, said the state tab for the cleanup will be in the neighborhood of $100 million, including about $70 million just for debris removal. The state will pay part of local government costs, including overtime for staffers who worked long hours during and after the storm.

“It’s a pretty severe financial impact, and we want members to vote on it,” Riley said. “We just don’t have the money in their (agency) budgets to cover these costs.”

Deal has squirreled away $2.5 billion in state reserves, but Riley said that money will be left for the next governor. Instead, Riley said, the state will use excess tax money that has come in so far this year, in the same way the General Assembly typically approves a midyear budget in the spring to cover new costs during the fiscal year, which ends June 30.

The session is being called, he said, because the midyear budget typically isn’t approved until February or March, “and bills need to be paid now” to cover personnel overtime, contractors and other storm-related costs. The state will have a better estimate of the cost by the time the session begins, he added.

“We owe it to the citizens and local governments impacted by Hurricane Michael to continue supporting their recovery efforts,” he said in a statement. “As such, we will need to amend our FY 2019 budget to fund the work ahead.” [said House Speaker David Ralston].

Senate President Pro Tem Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, said: “The majority caucus and I support this session and believe it is vital in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. Agriculture is a major player in our state’s economy, and right now our farmers need our assistance more than ever.”

The governor has also promised a special session if Amazon names Georgia as a finalist for its second headquarters. Riley said the state’s pursuit of the tech giant’s $5 billion campus did not factor into the decision and will not be a part of the legislative agenda.

Gov. Deal spoke in Dalton about having represented the area in elected office for 25 years, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

Deal noted that when he came into office in January 2011 the state was still feeling the impact of the Great Recession.

“Many businesses had closed,” he said. “The state had cut spending tremendously.”

He noted that the state had spent down its “rainy day” fund to just $160 million, enough to cover only two days of spending. He said that as he leaves office that reserve fund has been built up to more than $2.5 billion.

During Deal’s term in office, the state added 750,000 new non-government jobs and the unemployment rate has fallen to 3.8 percent from 10.6 percent.

Deal also touted the Appalachian Regional Port, which opened this summer in northern Murray County and links by rail to the Port of Savannah.

Carpet and Rug Institute President Joe Yarbrough announced that organization will be endowing a scholarship in Deal’s name at Georgia Northwestern Technical College.

“He has been a great governor,” Yarbrough said. “I believe history will regard him as one of our state’s greatest governors. I personally feel he has been our state’s greatest governor.”

Overdose deaths are leveling-off at the national level, said US HHS Secretary Alex Azar, according to the Statesboro Herald.

“We are so far from the end of the epidemic, but we are perhaps, at the end of the beginning,” Azar said at a health care event sponsored by the Milken Institute think tank.

Confronting the opioid epidemic has been the rare issue uniting Republicans and Democrats in a politically divided nation. A bill providing major funding for treatment was passed under former President Barack Obama. More money followed earlier this year under President Donald Trump. And tomorrow Trump is expected to sign bipartisan legislation passed this month that increases access to treatment, among other steps.

More than 70,000 people died of drug overdoses last year, according to preliminary numbers released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this summer— a 10 percent increase from 2016. Health and Human Services — the department Azar heads — is playing a central role in the government’s response.

The Georgia Department of Insurance estimates that insured losses from Hurricane Michael could exceed $250 million dollars, according to Insurance Journal.

Pecan farmers are beginning to tally their losses from Hurricane Michael, according to the Albany Herald.

Georgia’s pecan industry was forever changed by Hurricane Michael, according to University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Pecan Specialist Lenny Wells.

In Dougherty, Lee and Mitchell counties, which produce 30 percent of Georgia’s pecan crop, Wells estimates that 30-40 percent of the pecan trees were destroyed.

“Pretty much every orchard in the state has had damage of some kind,” Wells said. “We’re seeing limbs down, trees down, trees split. Under all of that are good nuts that have blown out of the trees.”

Overall, Wells said he believes Georgia lost half of this year’s pecan crop — a $100 million loss from this year’s crop plus $260 million in lost trees.

Republican Brian Kemp and his Democratic opponent met in a televised debate last night, according to the Macon Telegraph.

The two major-party candidates for Georgia governor split early on the question of in-state college tuition rates for young people who were brought to the United States illegally as children and who have temporary protection from deportation.

“I’ve been running my whole campaign on putting Georgians first,” said Kemp, adding that “free” tuition for such students is the wrong position.

Abrams said she supports in-state tuition rates for such students, and Georgia has to take every chance to improve its economy and fill in-demand jobs.

Politicos across the country are watching as Democrats are making a coordinated charge on the highest offices in Georgia, which have been held by Republicans for more than a decade. GOP candidates themselves have responded by coordinating their campaigning with each other more than in recent years.

But if several years’ worth of state Legislature elections are any indicator, the state’s not as reliably red as it once was. As Republicans watch their margins decline in former strongholds like Cobb and Gwinnett counties, that makes turnout among the base as important a strategy for Republicans as for Democrats.

From AccessWDUN:

Disputes over voting access took center stage at the debate, highlighting Abrams’ historic bid to become the first black female governor in American history and the long-simmering politics of race in the Deep South. Kemp, who is white, continued to fend off charges that he’s using his position as Georgia secretary of state to make it harder for minority voters to cast ballots.

Abrams said Kemp’s record as secretary of state “causes great concern” and pointed to the release of voter data under Kemp’s watch and the state’s “exact match’” voter registration system, which has left tens of thousands of voter registrations “pending” due to inconsistencies.

Kemp said accusations that he was suppressing the vote were “totally untrue.’”

“I’ve staked the integrity of my whole career on the duty that I have as secretary of state. I have always fulfilled and followed the laws of our state and I’ll continue to do that,” Kemp said.

Kemp said his record included making it “easy to vote and hard to cheat” in Georgia.

He fired back, citing a recent video clip in which Abrams seems to say that “undocumented” immigrants were part of her coalition.

“Why are you encouraging people to break the law to vote for you?” Kemp asked.

Democrat Stacey Abrams spoke about her burning of the Georgia flag at the State Capitol in 1992, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Abrams’ role in that flag-burning protest resurfaced in The New York Times on Monday, the eve of her first debate against Republican Brian Kemp. The paper cited a June 1992 Atlanta Journal-Constitution article; a caption for the accompanying photo identifies Abrams as a woman standing with her arms crossed, watching three other protesters burn the flag.

Abrams’ spokeswoman Abigail Collazo said Abrams was involved in a “permitted, peaceful protest against the Confederate emblem in the flag” while a student at Spelman College in Atlanta in 1992.

“During Abrams’ college years, Georgia was at a crossroads, struggling with how to overcome racially divisive issues, including symbols of the Confederacy, the sharpest of which was the inclusion of the Confederate emblem in the Georgia state flag,” Collazo said.

Abrams is seeking to become the first black female governor of any state. Kemp, who also is overseeing the election as Georgia’s secretary of state, has portrayed her as “too extreme for Georgia.” He’s said the race is a battle for the very “soul” of the state.

After the white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, Abrams advocated for the removal of a massive cliff-side carving on Stone Mountain near Atlanta, the largest Confederate monument anywhere. Protesters who consider such monuments to be symbols of Southern heritage have since targeted her at campaign stops across Georgia.

A federal judge is considering allegations of too many rejected absentee ballots, according to the Gainesville Times.

Two separate lawsuits allege election officials are improperly rejecting absentee ballots and absentee ballot applications without first giving voters an opportunity to dispute a finding of a mismatched signature. One of the lawsuits also challenges the rejection of absentee ballots because of what it calls technical errors, like writing the current year in a space designated for the voter’s birth year or signing on the wrong line.

State and county officials say they’re handling the ballots and applications the same way they have for at least two decades and the lawsuits were sparked by news coverage of rejections in Gwinnett County.

U.S. District Judge Leigh May heard arguments from both sides Tuesday and said she will likely focus on the signature mismatch issue in an order issued in the coming days.

In addition to suing Kemp, both lawsuits also singled out Gwinnett County, saying that information provided by Kemp’s office showed that the populous, majority-minority county accounts for a disproportionate number of the rejections.

Cristina Correia, a lawyer for the state, said some counties have not entered their data into the secretary of state’s system. Attorney Bruce Brown, who filed one of the lawsuits, seized on that information, saying the problem may be much bigger than it seems if some of the counties that showed no rejections actually hadn’t reported their numbers.

Republican Congressman Rick Allen (R-Augusta) met his Democratic challenger in a public forum yesterday, according to the Augusta Chronicle. You can watch the debate as it was livecast on Facebook.

State Representative Jeff Jones (R-St. Simons Island) is working on legislation to open oyster cultivation on the Georgia Coast, according to The Brunswick News.

“As this whole thing has begun to evolve, we’ve had contacts from a number of the … distributors throughout the state who are anxious to see us deliver quality, farm-raised oysters to the restaurant industry on a 12-month a year basis,” Jones said. “But, we’re going to need to bring the spat in from out of state. Quite frankly, there is not enough oyster hatchery facility or capacity currently in the state to be able to service what we believe will be a very good and strong industry.”

Jones said the state Department of Natural Resources’ Coastal Resources Division is going to need to hire at least three new staffers to kick off the oyster cultivation process, but he said there is money already set aside that can be used for these jobs.

“So, we’ve got legislation in process, got the full support of (DNR), we’ve got funding lined up, and we have market demand that’s already been expressed by folks such as Inland Seafood, a big seafood distributor out of Atlanta,” Jones said. “All the elements of this are coming together in an incredibly smooth fashion. And so for me, I more or less stumbled into this because of all the work done by the various folks involved in the industry.

“Actually, it was a reporter from The Brunswick News that contacted me three or four months ago — whenever that was — doing an article about why oysters haven’t taken off in the state of Georgia. And that piqued my interest enough that I jumped into that process, and again, we brought it to where we are today.”

The Valdosta Daily Times spoke to some locals about the midterm elections.

Much of the population growth in Whitfield County, Georgia, has been fueled by an influx of Hispanic workers.

The county’s population has almost doubled during the past 48 years. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county had an estimated population of 104,658 in 2017, up from 55,108 in 1970.

Dalton, Georgia, the largest city and county seat of Whitfield County, has seen its population grow almost as fast.

The Hispanic workers, many of them immigrants, are employed by floor-covering mills. The Hispanic population rose from the low single digits to an estimated 49 percent of the 2017 population of Dalton and 35.5 percent of the county population.

Bibb County Superior Court Chief Judge Edgar W. Ennis Jr. dismissed a lawsuit seeking to change a rezoning that would allow an abortion clinic, according to the Macon Telegraph.

The Northeastern Judicial Circuit Victim-Witness Assistance Program hosted a program in Gainesville with members of the Georgia State Board of Pardons & Paroles, according to the Gainesville Times.

Victims were allowed to meet with and make statements to the State Board of Pardons and Paroles at the event at Lakewood Baptist Church in Gainesville.

Victim impact statements are part of the record considered by parole board members when deciding an offender’s potential parole.

It was the first time the event was held in Hall County. It’s been held 30 times around the state since 2006.

Two members of the board, David Herring and James Mills, are from Hall County. All five members were in attendance Tuesday.

The board met with more than 135 crime victims and added information to 79 case files.

“It is the goal of the parole board to leave no victim in the dark, but to include the victims in every consideration where a victim wants to be considered,” said board chairman Terry Barnard.

Rome citizens will see higher bills for garbage pickup, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

23
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 23, 2018

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

smFDR Atlanta 1932

FDR campaigning in Atlanta and Georgia in 1932.

FDR Georgia

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

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

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

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

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal ordered flags on state properties to half-staff in honor of Gwinnett County Police Officer Antwan Toney, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.Continue Reading..

22
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 22, 2018

General James Oglethorpe, founder of Georgia, signed a treaty with the Spanish government of Florida on October 22, 1736.

On October 22, 1832, the Cherokee Land Lottery began in Milledgeville, with more than 200,000 Georgians competing for 53,309 lots of land.

Georgia Governor John B. Gordon signed legislation on October 22, 1887 that increased the number of justices on the Georgia Supreme Court from 3 to 5.

President Grover Cleveland arrived in Atlanta for the Cotton States and International Exposition on October 22, 1895.

On October 22, 1991, the Braves played Minnesota in the first World Series game in Atlanta.

The Atlanta Braves won Game 2 of the 1995 World Series, beating Cleveland 4-3, on October 22, 1995.

Georgia artist Howard Finster died on October 22, 2001.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Morning Fix Numbers:

2018 General Election Early Votes cast: 527,061

2018 General Election African-American Early Voters: 142,384 (27.01%)Continue Reading..

19
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 19, 2018

British General Charles Cornwallis surrendered to General George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia on October 19, 1781,  ending the American Revolution.

USS Constitution, named by President George Washington, was launched in Boston Harbor on October 21, 1791.

During the War of 1812, the Constitution won its enduring nickname “Old Ironsides” after defeating the British warship Guerriére in a furious engagement off the coast of Nova Scotia. Witnesses claimed that the British shots merely bounced off the Constitution‘s sides, as if the ship were made of iron rather than wood. The success of the Constitution against the supposedly invincible Royal Navy provided a tremendous morale boost for the young American republic.

Today, Constitution serves as a museum ship, and has sailed under her own power as recently as 2012. Southern live oak, harvested and milled on St. Simons Island, Georgia, is a primary construction material for Constitution.

On October 19, 1790, Lyman Hall, one of three signers of the Declaration of Independence from Georgia, died in Burke County, GA. Hall was elected Governor of Georgia in 1783, holding the position for one year, and was an early advocate for the chartering of the University of Georgia.

The United States Senate ratified a treaty with France on October 20, 1805, closing the deal on the Louisiana Purchase.

On October 20, 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt stopped in Roswell to visit his mother’s girlhood home at Bulloch Hall.

Dizzy Gillespie was born on October 21, in Cheraw, South Carolina.

President Warren G. Harding spoke in Alabama on October 21, 1921, and publicly condemned the practice of lynching.

Harding was a progressive Republican politician who advocated full civil rights for African Americans and suffrage for women. He supported the Dyer Anti-lynching Bill in 1920. As a presidential candidate that year, he gained support for his views on women’s suffrage, but faced intense opposition on civil rights for blacks. The 1920s was a period of intense racism in the American South, characterized by frequent lynchings. In fact, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) reported that, in 1920, lynching claimed, on average, the lives of two African Americans every week.

Lewis Grizzard was born on October 20, 1946 at Fort Benning, Georgia.

On October 21, 1976, Billy Carter spoke to an audience in Albany, Georgia, about his brother’s campaign for President.

On his brother Jimmy’s drinking habits, Billy said, “Jimmy used to drink liquor. Now he’s running for president he drinks Scotch, and I’ve never trusted a Scotch drinker.” Billy preferred the alcohol choice of his brother’s running mate, Walter Mondale – “I liked him the best of all the ones who came to Plains. He’s from a small town and he’s a beer drinker.”

Today, Billy Carter’s service station is preserved as a museum in Plains, Georgia.

On October 20, 1977, a small twin-engine plane carrying members of Lynyrd Skynyrd from Greenville, South Carolina to Baton Rouge, Louisiana crashed in a swamp in Gillsburg, Mississippi. Singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, vocalist Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray died in the crash.

On October 19, 1983, the United States Senate voted 78-22 to create a federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., to be celebrated on the third Monday of January. The House passed the King holiday bill, sponsored by Reps. Katie Hall (D.-IN) and Jack Kemp (R-NY), by a vote of 338-90 in August. President Ronald Reagan signed the legislation on November 3, 1983.

The Atlanta Braves won the first game of the 1995 World Series on October 21, 1995, as Greg Maddux dominated the Cleveland Indians, allowing only two hits. Native American groups protested the names of both teams.

The Ledger-Enquirer looks at the beginning of what would eventually become Fort Benning.

100 years ago, Camp Benning raised its flag on Oct. 19, 1918, almost two weeks after the first Army troops arrived on Macon Road where the Columbus Public Library and other public buildings stand. The only evidence from the MidTown site that housed 300 tents is a nearby monument in the neighborhood at South Dixon Drive and Mimosa Street.

That small camp led to a bigger location 8 miles down the road and redesignated Fort Benning on Feb. 18, 1922. The Maneuver Center of Excellence is home of the Infantry and Armor schools as the sixth largest military installation in the United States.

“Columbus has been a good neighbor to us and wanted us here,” said Scott Daubert, director of the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center. “They wanted us here. They courted the government.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Morning fix for numbers junkies:

Total early ballots cast so far: 387,186

2018 General Early Voters who also voted in the 2016 Presidential Preference Primary Election

Republican – 133,359

Democratic – 80,171

R:D ratio – 1.663

2018 General Early Voters who also voted in the 2018 General Primary Election

Republican – 89,971

Democratic – 70,539

R:D ratio – 1.2726

Continue Reading..

18
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 18, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

On October 18, 1870, Rockdale and McDuffie Counties were created when Georgia Governor Rufus Bullock signed legislation creating them.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Early voting by the numbers:

Total votes cast: 300,179

Early voters who cast ballots in the 2016 Presidential Preference Primary

Republican: 102,033

Democratic: 62,280

Early voters who cast ballots in the 2018 General Primary

Republican: 70,049

Democratic: 54,878

Early voters who cast ballots in 2018 Primary, 2018 Primary Runoff, or 2016 Presidential Preference Primary

Republican: 118,116

Democratic: 78,784

Early voters in 2018 who did not vote in 2014 General Election but voted in 2018 PRI, PRO, or 2016PPP

Republican: 6011

Democratic: 5368

Early voting is up, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Bibb County and others across Georgia are seeing an unusually high number of voters hitting the polls for a midterm election. The highlight of this year’s ballot is a closely contested battle between Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams to be Georgia’s next governor.

Through Tuesday, 211,861 Georgians had voted, which is a 214 percent increase over the last governor’s election in 2014 when 67,372 ballots were filled out over the same time frame, according to georgiavotes.com, which takes publicly available data and organizes it. It was in 2014 that Gov. Nathan Deal fended of Democratic challenger Jason Carter on the ballot.

Since Monday 3,767 people voted in person in Bibb County. That compares to just 1,631 advanced voters for the first three days of early voting in 2014, according to the Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections.

This year’s numbers are more on par with the 4,565 in-person voters for the first three days of early voting for the 2016 presidential election.

Through Tuesday, there were 2,453 votes cast in Houston County, up 278 percent from 2014, according to georgiavotes.com, which also shows large increases of voters in counties such as Monroe, Peach and Jones.

The large turnout is likely due to the “Trump factor” that’s rallying both sides of the political aisle. Also, in Georgia polls are showing a closely contested battle to become the next governor while other key state and local positions are up for grabs as well.

Governor Nathan Deal yesterday announced that the Trump Administration has approved federal assistance for seven additional Georgia counties.

Gov. Nathan Deal received notice from the White House that an additional seven counties have been approved for federal individual assistance following Hurricane Michael. A total of 13 counties have now been approved for individual assistance by President Donald Trump.

Individual assistance makes federal funding available to individuals and households, including grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the hurricane. The following counties were approved for individual assistance Tuesday evening: Crisp, Grady, Lee, Mitchell, Terrell, Thomas and Worth.

“I appreciate President Trump’s quick approval of our requests for federal assistance in the Georgia communities most heavily affected by Hurricane Michael,” said Deal. “Our partners at the federal level, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), are working diligently alongside state and local officials to help our communities recover as quickly as possible. I appreciate both President Trump and Vice President Pence visiting Georgia this week to show their support and reiterate the federal government’s commitment to Georgia’s citizens during the response and recovery process. I’m also proud of the brave efforts of Georgia’s first responders, emergency management officials, law enforcement officers, medical professionals, recovery teams and others who are providing much-needed aid to residents of the impacted areas.”

Baker, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Miller and Seminole counties were previously approved for individual assistance. Additionally, 31 counties were already approved for public assistance, which assists with emergency work and debris removal. A list of the counties approved for public assistance is available here.

FEMA and the Georgia Emergency Management & Homeland Security Agency are continuing to conduct individual assistance assessments, and the president may add additional counties for designation based upon the assessments.

Democratic candidate for Governor Stacey Abrams interviewed with the Augusta Chronicle editorial board.

Voters in State House District 14 will not vote on a replacement for State Rep. Christian Coomer (R-Cartersville) until a special election at a later date, according to the Daily Tribune.

Coomer was appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal to a seat on the Georgia Court of Appeals and in order for Deal to declare a special election to fill Coomer’s vacant house seat, Coomer had to either resign or just let time pass until he could be sworn in. Coomer said he opted to resign.

Now it’s up to Deal as to when the special election will be.

Georgia Code Section 21-2-541 stipulates that there be at least a 29 day period between the Governor’s call for a special election and the actual election, unless the special election is scheduled in conjunction with a state-wide general election, such as a runoff. However, a same-day special election must be conducted separately from the state-wide general election or runoff using completely different ballots, voting equipment, facilities, poll workers and paperwork.

With Coomer’s resignation already in the Governor’s hands, Nov. 5 would be the last day Deal could call for a special election in conjunction with the Dec. 4 runoff election, provided there is a runoff, according to Kirk.

Attempts were made to reach Deal for comment, but he was touring south Georgia for a first-hand look at the destruction wrought by Hurricane Michael. A spokesperson said the Governor’s Office said Deal could possibly make a decision by the end of the week.

Congressman Buddy Carter (R-Pooler) continues to enjoy a fundraising advantage over his Democratic opponent, according to The Brunswick News.

Going into the last weeks of his re-election campaign, U.S. Rep Buddy Carter, R-1, added to his cash in the bank, reporting $1.15 million on hand, adding more than $224,000 to the kitty over what he reported at the end of the second quarter of this year.

Through the third quarter, Carter reported contributions of $349,643.88 and expenditures of $120,855.75. That again dwarfs the reported numbers from Democratic challenger Lisa Ring, who reported $61,036.56 in contributions, $67,917.94 in expenditures and cash-on-hand of $5,264.78.

Georgia pecan farmers may lose half their crops this year from Hurricane Michael, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

The country’s top pecan producing state will likely end up with about half of its prized crop after Hurricane Michael ripped through southwest Georgia orchards last week.

Georgia pecan growers were expecting a bumper crop this year, with the state’s vast number of trees poised to produce a whopping 110 million pounds of the nut.

Now, farmers are looking at harvesting about 55 million pounds. It’s bad enough to make Hurricane Irma, which wiped out about 30 percent of the state’s pecans last year, look mild by comparison.

“A lot of these orchards have been in families and a lot of these trees that are down were planted by granddad and great-granddad and daddy, and they’re gone,” said Brent Brinkley, who said he lost about 3,000 trees at his farm, Weybrenee Farms, in Mitchell County.

“That’s where we’re different from the lost cotton crop. Next year, you just plant cotton again. This is a disaster – it is a disaster for the pecan industry,” Brinkley said.

Hurricane Michael was particularly brutal to older trees – some that have been around for eight decades or longer – that could produce more than 200 pounds of pecans each season.

Cotton farmers also suffered Hurricane Michael’s wrath, according to GPB News.

“We had a great crop of cotton out there that was opened up and ready to be harvested and that’s where the problem lies,” said Taylor Sills with the Georgia Cotton Commission.  “The wind came through and essentially blew the cotton off the plant.”  Sills called Michael one of the worst disasters that could happen to farmers.  “The ripples of this storm will continue to be felt in rural Georgia for years to come,” he said. Sills said some farmers are just now getting assistance after Hurricane Irma hit last year and losses topped $100 millon. This year’s damage is expected to far exceed that.

Both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence visited the state this week and pledged their support to help farmers.  On his visit, Pence said the federal government would do everything it could to make farmers whole.

Georgia’s ports at Savannah and Brunswick continue to post impressive numbers, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Port of Savannah handled 364,900 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) in September, for 23 consecutive months of growth.

The September numbers for Savannah represent an increase of almost 39,000 TEUs handled over September of 2017. Brunswick’s port had a 37.6 percent increase in roll-on/roll-off trade over the same time period.

“The impressive volumes moving through our deepwater terminals are related to our customers building inventory for the peak buying season,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. “We anticipate year-on-year growth to continue as we’re trending toward a strong fourth quarter of the calendar year.”

For the first quarter of fiscal year 2019, the Savannah Port handled 1.1 million TEUs. That performance is a 10.8 percent growth (109,164 TEUs) compared to the first quarter of FY2018.

Gwinnett County Public Schools students performed better on the ACT than the statewide and national averages, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The scores are in and Gwinnett County Public Schools exceeded the state and national average on the ACT assessment during the 2017-18 academic year, according to a report released on Wednesday.

GCPS students, on average, received a composite score of 22.6, outscoring the state average of 21.6 and national average of 20.8.

“The ACT is based on what students learn in high school and provides personalized information about their strengths for education and career planning,” Jonathan Patterson, associate superintendent of curriculum and instructional support, said. “The learning that takes place every day in the classroom and our pursuit of excellence in academic knowledge, skills, and behavior for each student helps us to better prepare our students for college and careers.”

According to GCPS officials 10 schools — Brookwood, Dacula, Discovery, Grayson, Gwinnett Online Campus, Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology, Meadowcreek, Norcross, Parkview and Peachtree Ridge — increased their composite score while Duluth and Lanier’s score remained unchanged.

The Georgia Department of Revenue has reopened the Rural Hospital Tax Credit program for donations to some rural hospitals, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

The state Department of Revenue announced Wednesday that the program will be reopened for donations. The agency did not say how much of the $60 million in tax credits remain untapped.

“We have not yet certified the exact amount,” said department spokesman William Gaston, who said the figure will be available in the coming weeks.

Rep. Terry England, R-Auburn, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, said some would-be donors likely realized their tax liability was not as great as they believed it would be when they first made the pledge.

The two-year-old program offers taxpayers a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for donations made to rural hospitals. Donors had until Oct. 1 to send in their check.

But England said he does not see this as a setback for the program, citing the interest taxpayers have shown. England said he was not told how much money is still available.

Savannah State University may have to lay off employees as enrollment declines, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Brunswick City Commissioners approved a revised alcohol ordinance, according to The Brunswick News.

Passed unanimously, the new city code replaces the former section and covers several other items. Most businesses that sell alcohol won’t see a change to their existing operations. Licensing fees won’t change, nor will the process for obtaining a license. Rather, the new ordinance would create whole new classes and licensing fees for manufacturers who sell and could serve their products.

Notably, the new ordinance passed did not include a previous provision that would have required servers of alcohol to obtain licenses — so called “bar cards.” Commissioners backed down from that proposal earlier this month after outcry on social media.

Valdosta State University political scientists will speak about the 2018 elections at the first Coffee Talk this afternoon, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Richard B. Russell Airport in Rome took delivery of an historic F-14, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

17
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 18, 2017

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

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

Happy birthday to the Texas Rangers, created on October 17, 1835.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Yesterday, 75,347 voters cast early ballots in person on the second day of in-person early voting, according to the Secretary of State’s Absentee Voter File produced last night. On Monday, 69,818 in-person early ballots were cast, for a total of 145,165 ballots cast in person.

69,006 mail-in ballots have been returned and processed.

TOTAL VOTES CAST SO FAR: 214,171

Vice President Mike Pence made an unannounced stop at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie yesterday, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Vice President Mike Pence, who was in the area examining storm damage, pledged the federal government will be there as the region recovers and touted the economy under President Donald Trump.

“Michael was a once-in-a-generation storm that dealt a devastating blow to Florida and the Sunbelt (area),” said Pence, whose trip was taking him to hard-hit Decatur County later in the afternoon.

“We’ll be there to help Georgia and the area recover,” Pence said. “The spirit of people in this region, the strength of the people of this area is inspiring (America). It really is.”

“They called and said the vice president’s coming with (U.S. Agriculture) Secretary (Sonny) Perdue, and they said we’ve got to make that happen and we did.” [said Expo Executive Director Chip Blalock.]

From The Hill:

“As the president has said, the climate is changing, but what the causes of that are, are yet to be seen,” he told reporters in Moultrie, Ga. “The reality is it’s some of the worst storms that have ever affected this area were 50 and 100 years ago.”

From WSB-TV:

Vice President Mike Pence visited southwest Georgia to survey storm damage from Hurricane Michael, a day after President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump did the same thing.

Channel 2 Action News was the only local station with Pence as he toured parts hit the hardest and met with farmers from Albany to Bainbridge.

“It’s not going to go unnoticed in this administration and we’re going to make sure the people of this region will have the support to rebuild,” Pence said.

Pence and his wife Karen Pence headed to the Sunbelt Agricultural Expo in Moultrie after they landed around 10:30 a.m. in Georgia.

“I expect today we’ll also help the American people understand that we’ve got a great challenge in one of the most prolific agricultural areas in America,” Pence said.

Gov. Nathan Deal, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue and U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop joined Pence during his visit.

The Albany Herald has video and photos of Pence’s visit.

Liberals are suing Gwinnett County claiming the board of elections discards too many bad mail-in ballots, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The Georgia Muslim Voter Project and Asian-American Advancing Justice-Atlanta filed the lawsuit against the county and Kemp late Monday night. The suit is a response to Gwinnett County elections officials decision to reject hundreds of absentee mail-in ballots because of various issues, including missing information or signatures that did not match the ones county officials had on file.

The civil rights groups want the U.S. District court for the Northern District of Georgia to let them have until three days after the Nov. 6 general election to prove their identity or two get an expedited hearing to resolve the matter.

Records from the secretary of state’s website shows more than 400 of the absentee ballots that have been returned have been rejected. Thousands of absentee by mail ballots were requested according to records, which were forwarded by Gwinnett County officials to the Daily Post.

County spokesman Joe Sorenson said the county has complied with laws governing the handling of ballots.

“The county is committed to a process that protects the voting rights of all of its citizens and fully complies with the law in the process,” he said.

From the Gainesville Times:

Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the Republican nominee, says Democrat Stacey Abrams and liberal allies are fighting for immigrants without legal status to cast ballots in the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

Abrams’ campaign says that’s untrue and Kemp is deliberately twisting her words and her record. It says Kemp is trying to deflect from his own record of making it harder for citizens to vote.

Kemp has sought to move past the controversy by swinging hard at Abrams. In an appearance Monday on Fox News, he said a soundbite of Abrams at a recent campaign event is evidence she wants immigrants without legal status to vote.

The clip of Abrams was from a campaign stop in Jonesboro last week with U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. During the event, Abrams said: “The thing of it is, is that blue waves aren’t blue … the blue wave is African-American. It’s white, it’s Latino, it’s Asian-Pacific Islander. It is disabled. It is differently abled. It is LGBTQ, it is law enforcement. It is veterans. It is made up of those who have been told they are not worthy of being here. It is comprised of those who are documented and undocumented. It is comprised of those who have been told they’re successful and those who have been left behind.”

During the Fox News interview, Kemp singled out Abrams’ words that the blue wave, referring to Democrats aspirations to sweep the November election, includes “those who are documented and undocumented.”

“Wow. It means she wants illegals to vote in Georgia. This is a shocking development in the campaign. While she was campaigning with Elizabeth Warren she actually said this,” Kemp said. “I think hard-working Georgians should decide who their governor is, not people here illegally like my opponent wants.”

From the Macon Telegraph:

Part of the problem stems from the confusing instructions on Gwinnett County’s absentee envelopes, which are printed in both English and Spanish. Gwinnett is the only one of Georgia’s 159 counties required by the federal Voting Rights Act to produce dual-language ballots because of a rising Hispanic voter base.

The suit said Gwinnett County, where 30 percent of voters are black, had rejected nearly one out of 10 absentee ballots through late last week, far more than any other county. Fulton County, the state’s most populous, has rejected 60 absentee ballots out of more than 4,355 as of Tuesday afternoon, Elections Director Rick Barron said. Many other Georgia counties, such as Chattahoochee, where Fort Benning’s soldiers rely heavily on absentee ballots, have not reported rejecting any such ballots.

Candice Broce, a spokeswoman for Kemp, said eligibility for absentee ballots is determined solely by local officials, but that his office opened an investigation on behalf of the state elections board Tuesday to ensure all counties are abiding by the law in handling those ballots.

She added that Kemp “will not be bullied by out-of-state organizations or political operatives who want to generate headlines and advance a baseless narrative.”

Democrat Sarah Griggs Amico says victims should be believed, but not when they’re accusing her company of racial and sexual discrimination. From the AJC:

Attorneys for the company headed by the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor sent letters to the state’s top two Republican campaigns demanding that they stop “making false statements” about a discrimination lawsuit filed against the business.

Jack Cooper, a truck-hauling company led by Sarah Riggs Amico, sent the letters Monday requesting Amico’s opponent, former state Rep. Geoff Duncan, his spokesman Dan McLagan and Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the Republican nominee for governor, retract statements made in a press release last week.

The request comes days after Kemp called for Amico to withdraw her candidacy, describing the allegations in the lawsuit filed in federal court in April as “unacceptable and disqualifying.”

“She had her dad call his lawyer on us?” McLagan said. “Well, Big Mike should read the sexual harassment allegations found in paragraphs 26, 116, 118 and 139 of the lawsuit.”

A press release from Kemp’s campaign last week called it a “sexual assault lawsuit.” Employees have alleged sexual harassment, according to court records.

Kemp campaign spokesman Cody Hall called on Stacey Abrams, the Democratic nominee for governor, to also ask Amico to withdraw from the race. He accused Abrams of playing politics, saying sexual harassment and racial discrimination shouldn’t be ignored.

“That’s why Brian Kemp has a plan to ensure that state employees are treated with respect and allegations of misconduct are addressed immediately,” he said.

Glynn County has seen 2229 ballots cast in the first two days of early voting, according to The Brunswick News.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, 1,046 had voted.

Another 1,183 turned out by 5 p.m. Tuesday to total 2,229 in the first two days of early voting, according to Elections and Registration Supervisor Monica Couch.

Of the total, 1,186 people voted in the mainland location at the Office Park Building in Brunswick.

The other 1,043 voted in the St. Simons Island polling place at Glynn County Fire Station No. 2.

She added that the board has been “overwhelmed” by just the first two days of early voting turnout.

The Augusta Chronicle reviews the Constitutional Amendment and referenda on the November ballot. +1 for using “referenda” in a headline.

More than 69,000 early ballots were cast Monday, according to WSB-TV.

Voters across Georgia rushed to the polls on the first day of in-person early voting Monday, with 69,049 people casting their ballots.

That’s a sharp increase from the last midterm election in 2014, when 20,898 people showed up on the first day of in-person early voting, according to numbers from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

Some early voters in Cobb County had to wait in lines for more than two hours, and others in Fulton County encountered delays because of technical difficulties.

About 58 percent of voters cast early ballots during the 2016 presidential election, and 37 percent voted in advance in 2014.

From the Rome News-Tribune:

On Monday afternoon, the Board of Elections Director Lee Ann George reported that more than 360 voters had cast ballots at either the Nathan Dean Community Center on Goodyear Ave. in Rockmart, or at the Elections office at the Polk County Administration building in Cedartown.

Locally, votes on two local County Commission seats and whether to extend the Special Purpose, Local Option Sales Tax to 2026 when it the current fund concludes a year and a half from now are some of the main issues facing Polk County on the ballot.

District 2 Commissioner and this year’s chair Jennifer Hulsey seeks a second term in representing the area on the Republican ticket, while longtime candidate Ricky Clark seeks Democratic support in Polk County.

In a special election for the District 3 rate, a trio of candidates are up on the ballot this year for the seat that will fill the rest of the time held currently by Commissioner Hal Floyd, who is running unopposed in the seat being left open when Marshelle Thaxton’s term expires on December 31.

Jeri Purdy, Ray Carter and Larry Reynolds are all seeking the seat that will be back up for a vote in 2020.

From Patch.com:

More than 10,000 ballots were cast Monday during the first day of early voting in Fulton County. The county has opened 20 early voting locations and 11 outreach locations in which residents can vote in the nation’s most watched governor’s race and other state and local elections.

“We are pleased with the high turnout on the first day of early voting,” said Richard Barron, Director, Fulton County Registration and Elections. “It is our hope that our residents will continue to take advantage of the many locations, extended hours and two weekends so they can vote early.”

Early voting continues through November 2. This year’s gubernatorial election between Republican Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams has also resulted in a record number of absentee ballots requested as well as a record number of voters being registered.

Congressman Buddy Carter (R-Pooler) and his Democratic opponent met in a debate, according to the Savannah Morning News.

First Congressional District incumbent Republican Buddy Carter and Democratic challenger Lisa Ring appeared alongside each other for the first time on Tuesday at a political forum hosted by the Savannah Branch of the NAACP.

RING: “We need to raise the federal minimum wage to 15. Wages have been stagnant since the 70s,” Ring said.

Ring said it was “unforgivable” that there are people working two full time jobs who still cannot provide for their families.

“When workers have money, they can spend it, and that strengthens the economy,” Ring said.

CARTER: “No we should not raise minimum wage. What’s happening right now is: wages are going up,” Carter said.

“What we need to do is create more jobs and have more demands for employees. That raises wages,” Carter said.

Gwinnett County Commissioners voted to issue $36.5 million through the Urban Redevelopment Agency to buy 103 acres at Jimmy Carter Blvd. and I-85, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Floyd County Commissioners are considering 4 percent raises for employees in the next fiscal year’s budget, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources reports that 1,730 sea turtle nests and 90,000 hatchlings were documented in Georgia, according to the Savannah Morning News.

“It’s another thoroughly average year,” said Department of Natural Resources senior wildlife biologist Mark Dodd. “But overall we’re interested in the long term and that trend is increasing 3 percent annually.”

Georgia now sees about twice the nesting levels documented when comprehensive surveys began in 1989. The record year was 2016, when 3,289 nests were found.

Nearly 400 of this year’s nests were recorded in Chatham County. Ossabaw Island led the county-wide count with 198 nests, then Wassaw with 153, Tybee with 21 and Little Tybee with nine.

Loggerheads nest from May through mid-August in Georgia, crawling up on sandy beaches near where they themselves hatched decades prior. They lay clutches that average 120 eggs, using their powerful hind flippers to dig out a nest cavity above the high tide line. Those eggs hatch in about 60 days, usually beginning in mid-July. Named for their large heads, loggerheads are considered threatened under the Endangered Species Act, but their numbers have been recovering.