Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 12, 2024

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 12, 2024

Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743 in what is now Albemarle County, Virginia. Jefferson served as Governor of Virginia, United States Secretary of State, delegate to the Second Continental Congress, and Third President of the United States. Jefferson is credited with writing the first draft of the Declaration of Independence.

The first American society advocating for abolition of slavery was founded on April 14, 1775, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Benjamin Franklin would later serve as President of the organization.

On April 12, 1861, Confederates in Charleston, SC opened fire on Federal-held Fort Sumter opening the Civil War.

During the next 34 hours, 50 Confederate guns and mortars launched more than 4,000 rounds at the poorly supplied fort. On April 13, U.S. Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort. Two days later, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteer soldiers to quell the Southern “insurrection.”

On April 13, 1861, Union forces surrendered Fort Sumter after 33 hours of bombardment by Confederates.

“The General” Locomotive was hijacked at Big Shanty (now Kennesaw), Georgia on April 12, 1862, leading to “The Great Locomotive Chase.” The locomotive is now housed in the Southern Museum in Kennesaw.

On April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth shot President Abraham Lincoln as the President attended a showing of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater, seven blocks from the White House; Lincoln survived nine hours before dying the next day.

RMS Titanic hit an iceberg just before midnight on April 14, 1912. Among those losing their lives was Major Archibald Butt of Augusta, Georgia, who had served as a military aide to Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.

“Captain Smith and Major Archibald Butt, military aide to the President of the United States, were among the coolest men on board. A number of steerage passengers were yelling and screaming and fighting to get to the boats. Officers drew guns and told them that if they moved towards the boats they would be shot dead. Major Butt had a gun in his hand and covered the men who tried to get to the boats. The following story of his bravery was told by Mrs. Henry B. Harris, wife of the theatrical manager: ‘The world should rise in praise of Major Butt. That man’s conduct will remain in my memory forever. The American army is honored by him and the way he taught some of the other men how to behave when women and children were suffering that awful mental fear of death. Major Butt was near me and I noticed everything that he did.”

“When the order to man the boats came, the captain whispered something to Major Butt. The two of them had become friends. The major immediately became as one in supreme command. You would have thought he was at a White House reception. A dozen or more women became hysterical all at once, as something connected with a life-boat went wrong. Major Butt stepped over to them and said: ‘Really, you must not act like that; we are all going to see you through this thing.’”

“He helped the sailors rearrange the rope or chain that had gone wrong and lifted some of the women in with a touch of gallantry. Not only was there a complete lack of any fear in his manner, but there was the action of an aristocrat. ‘When the time came he was a man to be feared. In one of the earlier boats fifty women, it seemed, were about to be lowered, when a man, suddenly panic-stricken, ran to the stern of it. Major Butt shot one arm out, caught him by the back of the neck and jerked him backward like a pillow. His head cracked against a rail and he was stunned. ‘Sorry,’ said Major Butt, ‘women will be attended to first or I’ll break every damned bone in your body.’”

“The boats were lowered one by one, and as I stood by, my husband said to me, ‘Thank God, for Archie Butt.’ Perhaps Major Butt heard it, for he turned his face towards us for a second and smiled.”

President Franklin D. Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945 in Warm Springs, Georgia.

On April 12, 1961, Russian Commienaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human being to go to outer space and the first to orbit earth.

The triumph of the Soviet space program in putting the first man into space was a great blow to the United States, which had scheduled its first space flight for May 1961. Moreover, Gagarin had orbited Earth, a feat that eluded the U.S. space program until February 1962, when astronaut John Glenn made three orbits in Friendship 7.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested in Birmingham, Alabama on April 12, 1963; while there he would write his famed, “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

The Braves played their first home game in Atlanta on April 12, 1966.

Kennesaw Junior College became a senior college on April 14, 1976 by vote of the Georgia Board of Regents.

By this time, enrollment had tripled from an initial student count of 1,014 in the fall of 1966 to 3,098 in the fall of 1975. Numerous local leaders were involved in the fight for four-year status, but the two politicians playing the most pivotal roles were state Representatives Joe Mack Wilson and Al Burruss of Marietta. In time the memories of both would be honored by having buildings named for them on the Kennesaw campus

The Space Shuttle Columbia became the first reusable orbital vehicle when it launched on April 12, 1981.

A U.S. Postage stamp bearing Georgia’s state bird and state flower was issued as part of a series including all 50 states on April 14, 1982, with first day ceremonies held in Washington and each state.

Thirty-five years ago, on April 14, 1989, “Say Anything” was released, marking the directorial debut of Cameron Crowe, who wrote “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and later directed “Singles.”

John Cusack, four years past playing a college freshman in The Sure Thing, plays graduating high school senior Lloyd Dobler. Ione Skye, three years after her debut in the very dark drama River’s Edge, plays the brilliant and shy Diane Court. And John Mahoney, four years before he found sitcom immortality as Frasier Crane’s father Martin, plays Diane’s adoring and deeply flawed father, Jim. Writer and first-time director Cameron Crowe was best-known at the time for the screenplay for Fast Times at Ridgemont High — which is fondly remembered now as the launching pad for many respectable careers, but which Roger Ebert had called “a failure of taste, tone and nerve.”

On April 14, 2010, a signature by Button Gwinnett, one of Georgia’s three signers of the Declaration of Independence sold at auction for $722,500 at an auction by Sotheby’s. About 50 examples of his signature are known to exist and six have been auctioned since 1974.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Sunday is National Pecan Day, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

Georgia is the largest pecan producing state in the nation, experts say. Making Georgia the right place to be for National Pecan Day.

“We produce somewhere around 100 million pounds annually,” said Lenny Wells, professor of horticulture and extension pecan specialist at the University of Georgia based in Tifton. “But we’ve been as high as 150 pounds. So we’re the largest producer.”

An average pecan harvest in Georgia is about 88 million pounds, enough to make 176 million pecan pies, according to experts.

April 14 is National Pecan Day It was created by the Shellers Association in 1966 to recognize and honor the workforce behind the cultivation of pecans in America.

“Pecans are not native to Georgia,” said Wells. “The industry started here in the early 1900s. Pecans are actually native to Oaxaca, Mexico, up through the river systems of eastern central Texas, up into the Mississippi River Valley and its tributaries all the way up to Iowa. So it’s got a really big native range.”

A nut that’s not a nut

“They’re actually what’s called a drupe,” said Wells. “So we’re actually eating the seed, not necessarily the fruit part. Tree nuts kind of have the fruit and seed all together. But with a drupe, you have a kind of fleshy fruit on the outside and the hard dry seed is on the inside. That’s the part that we eat.”

“They make a really good snack,” said Wells. “One of my favorite ways to eat them is roasted with olive oil. There are a lot of health benefits to eating pecans. Pecans are good for your heart. They’re good for lowering your bad cholesterol. They have anti-inflammatory properties. They’re high in antioxidants.”

Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia Executive Director Pete Skandalakis will take up the question of whether to prosecute Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones (R-Jackson) for his role in the aftermath of the 2020 election, according to the Associated Press via the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

The Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia announced Thursday that its executive director, Pete Skandalakis, will handle the matter after Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis was barred from prosecuting Jones as part of her election interference case against former President Donald Trump and others.

Jones was one of 16 state Republicans who signed a certificate stating that Trump had won Georgia and declaring themselves the state’s “duly elected and qualified” electors even though Democrat Joe Biden had been declared the winner in the state. As a state senator in the wake of the election, he also sought a special session of Georgia’s Legislature aimed at overturning Biden’s narrow win in the state.

As Willis was investigating possible illegal election meddling by Trump and others, Jones argued that Willis should not be able to pursue charges against him because she had hosted a fundraiser for his Democratic opponent in the lieutenant governor’s race. Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ruled in July 2022 that Willis’ actions created an “actual and untenable” conflict of interest.

McBurney’s ruling left it up to the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council, a nonpartisan state agency that supports district attorneys, to appoint a prosecutor to decide whether Jones should be charged. Right after Trump and the others were indicted, Skandalakis said he would begin looking for an appropriate prosecutor. But he instead decided to appoint himself.

The statement announcing Skandalakis’ appointment cites state bar rules and says that “no further comments will be made at this time.”

“I’m happy to see this process move forward and look forward to the opportunity to get this charade behind me,” Jones said. “Fani Willis has made a mockery of this legal process, as she tends to do. I look forward to a quick resolution and moving forward with the business of the state of Georgia.”

From the Capitol Beat News Service via the Macon Telegraph:

A Fulton County judge disqualified Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis nearly two years ago from looking into Jones’ connection to the election interference case, ruling her hosting of a campaign fund-raiser for Jones’ opponent in the 2022 race constituted a conflict of interest.

The investigation of Jones has been in limbo since then, while Willis went on to gain a grand jury indictment last summer charging former President Donald Trump and multiple co-defendants with taking part in a conspiracy to overturn Democrat Biden’s win in Georgia and award the state’s 16 electoral votes to Republican Trump.ward to a quick resolution and moving forward with the business of the state of Georgia.”

Meanwhile, Willis continues to move ahead in prosecuting Trump and the other co-defendants. The case hit a snag in January when a lawyer for one of the co-defendants filed a motion accusing Willis of having an improper relationship with Nathan Wade, the special prosecutor she hired to lead the case.

Fulton Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee ruled last month that Willis could remain on the case only if Wade resigned, which he did several hours after the judge handed down the decision.

Former President Trump highlighted Brian Jack’s campaign for Congress from the Third District, according to the AJC.

The former aide turned U.S. House candidate was the only person to greet Trump as he arrived in Atlanta and joined the former president as he delivered impromptu remarks to reporters. Between questions about Arizona’s abortion ban and the Fulton County election interference case, Trump introduced Jack to the national media.

“Do you know Brian Jack?” Trump asked. “He is going to be a fantastic congressman. District 3. Very simple name, don’t turn it around, Brian Jack, Jack Brian.”

Jack recently joined the wide-open race for Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District, and his campaign will test the power of Trump’s endorsement in one of the South’s most conservative districts.

Jack is also the rare candidate who is attempting to meld together Trump’s MAGA base with a more mainstream strain of conservatism. He also served as a deputy to ex-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and can tap the Californian’s vast fundraising network.

Later today, Jack reports the early fruits of his labor: His campaign said it has raised more than $600,000 since entering the race about three weeks ago. That could give him a big early boost over his Republican primary rivals, which include former Senate GOP leader Mike Dugan, ex-state Sen. Mike Crane and ex-state Rep. Philip Singleton.

Jack also rolled out endorsements from Lt. Gov. Burt Jones and Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper. And he unveiled a 30-second ad replete with images of Jack and Trump in the Oval Office and on the campaign trail. It ends with Trump calling Jack a tough, conservative “fighter.”

Former President Trump also discussed abortion laws, according to the AJC.

Former President Donald Trump said Wednesday while in Atlanta for a fundraiser that a 160-year-old Arizona law that bans nearly all abortions is too restrictive, and he called on Republicans to overhaul the measure “very quickly.”

But Trump stopped short of elaborating on what level of abortion restrictions he would support even as he defended the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion.

Trump said earlier this week that abortion should be left to the states to decide, even though he took aim Wednesday at Arizona after its state Supreme Court upheld an 1864 law that bans the procedure in most cases.

“It’ll be straightened out. And as you know, it’s all about states’ rights,” Trump told reporters. “It’ll be straightened out, and I’m sure that the governor and everybody else are going to bring it back into reason and that’ll be taken care of very quickly.”

Pressed during a stop at an Atlanta Chick-fil-A, Trump again tried to sidestep questions asking for specificity on his abortion stance, including when asked whether physicians should face punishment for performing the procedure.

“Let that be to the states. Everything we’re doing now is states and states’ rights. And what we wanted to do is get it back to the states,” he said. “Because for 53 years, it’s been a fight. And now the states are handling it.”

Polls show Biden and Trump in a tight race in Georgia, and Republicans say they can’t just rely on the Democrat’s low approval ratings to recapture the state in November.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr (R-Cobb County) spoke at the Jekyll Island Convention Center, according to The Brunswick News.

“We have to continue to build our workforce,” he said. “Tomorrow’s workforce is in today’s classrooms.”

The state’s strong right to work laws help attract employers, he said.

The state must continue to invest in the ports in Brunswick and Savannah.

The lack of workforce housing is a concern, he said.

“People want to live in the community where they work,” he said. “Georgia is the best place to live and work,”

One reason for the state’s robust economy is the decisions made to keep much of the state open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We made tough decisions even when they weren’t popular at the time,” he said.

Public safety is a priority for his office, Carr said.

“People don’t go to places where they don’t feel safe,” he said.

A gang prosecution unit has been created to address the problem of crimes created by gangs across the state, he said.

“They are responsible for the majority of crimes in Georgia,” he said. “It is a paramount responsibility to protect everyone.”

The unit is credited for 32 convictions for gang-related crimes, Carr said.

State Sen. Mike Hodges, R-St. Simons Island, said the past General Assembly session began with a “boatload” of bills that didn’t get passed last year.

State Rep. Rick Townsend, R-St. Simons Island, said building relationships on both sides of the political aisle is key to passing legislation. He said technical education and increasing pathways for students are important.

State Rep. Buddy DeLoach, R-Townsend, said he remembers what Jekyll Island looked like a few years ago.

“It’s always been a special place for me,” he said.

State Rep. Steven Sainz, R-St. Marys, praised Carr for transforming his office into the “front line of public safety” across the state.

Sainz said a common-sense workforce development policy is needed to take advantage of the highly skilled military retirees in the area that can help fill the job vacancies.

United States District Court Judge Eleanor Ross (ND-GA) upheld Georgia’s requirement for citizenship verification for voters, according to the AJC.

A federal judge upheld Georgia’s citizenship verification requirements for new Americans, dismissing the case midway through the trial Thursday after three days of testimony.

U.S. District Judge Eleanor Ross granted a directed verdict in court, finding that the plaintiffs failed to prove that the voting rights of naturalized citizens are violated when they have to show papers or get a new state ID before they can vote.

The quick ruling brings an abrupt end to a lawsuit that has been pending since 2018 over state laws that prevent new citizens from casting ballots until they show that they’re eligible.

Attorneys for Georgia said in court this week that citizenship checks are needed to prevent the possibility of illegal voting. Zero noncitizens have voted in recent elections, according to a 2022 audit by the secretary of state’s office.

Ross, an appointee of President Barack Obama, found that Georgia’s elections are open to all citizens and that the state has an interest in ensuring that only citizens are allowed to vote.

New citizens must either provide naturalization documents with their voter registration application, send papers to election offices, show citizenship information when they vote or present proof within three days of an election.

They can also pay $32 to update their driver’s licenses to reflect that they have become U.S. citizens and then re-register to vote.

The plaintiffs argued that Georgia’s citizenship verification process violated protections against discrimination in the U.S. Constitution, the Voting Rights Act and the National Voter Registration Act.

There’s no government system that automatically informs election officials when a Georgia resident earns citizenship.

Some disabled Georgians continue waiting for state-paid caregiver services, according to Atlanta News First via WALB.

The New Option Waiver Program (NOW) and Comprehensive Support Waiver Program (COMP) support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

According to the Georgia government, they are “for eligible people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities who require an intermediate care facility.”

In 2023, Commissioner Kevin Tanner said the program was in a state of crisis. There are more than 3,000 adults with disabilities in Georgia waiting for caregiver services.

State lawmakers recommended raises for caregivers. They currently make $10 per hour. Kaiser feels $16 is not enough.

Families and advocates like Kaiser pushed for change at the state capitol. They prioritized several bills that didn’t pan out.

Lawmakers didn’t pass two bills that Kaiser said could have made a real difference. HB 1125 would end the 14c certificate, which makes it legal to pay people with disabilities below minimum wage. SB 198 would have created a commission of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities “review the conditions, needs, issues, and problems related to support for Georgians with [intellectual and developmental disabilities].”

“I feel like they dangle a carrot in front of you and say ‘I’ll give you just enough this year to go away,’” said Kaiser.

Glynn County Public Schools are considering placing a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Education (E-SPLOST) on the ballot, according to The Brunswick News.

To help finance the future needs of public school students, Glynn County School District officials are requesting a new 1 percent countywide sales tax, known as ESPLOST (Educational Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax).

During a school board workshop meeting Thursday, school district staff proposed presenting a new ESPLOST tax for public approval as early as November of 2024.

Staff will seek the school board’s formal approval to begin preparing plans for the tax at the School Board’s 6 p.m. meeting Tuesday.

“We are asking to move forward with a referendum to put (the tax) on the ballot in November of 2024,” said Mike Blackerby, the school district’s assistant superintendent of operations. “If it’s approved (by the school board), we would move forward with writing the measure for the referendum.”

Before Tuesday’s presentation, board members recommended staff work out key details. Those include the length of time the 1 cent retail sales tax will be in effect countywide, and how much money it would be projected to earn. Staff said it would likely be a four- or five-year ESPLOST.

As with the county government’s SPLOST taxes, ESPLOST taxes must be approved by public referendum. If school board members give staff the OK to proceed, Blackerby said they hope to have a new ESPLOST referendum ready for public consideration in November.

Savannah City Council voted to adopt a revised firearms ordinance that requires secure storage in cars, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Savannah City Council unanimously approved Tuesday a gun storage ordinance that has long been a priority of Mayor Van Johnson. Now, the city will lead a 90-day public awareness campaign on the ordinance before beginning enforcement.

The ordinance requires firearms left in motor vehicles be “securely stored” in compartments or in a locked trunk while also requiring lost or stolen firearms be reported to Savannah Police Department. The approval was made with a host of supporters from the local chapter of Moms Demand Action, which included State Rep. Anne Allen Westbrook.

Here are the full provisions approved by council.

• Any owner or other person lawfully in possession of a firearm, rifle, or shotgun who suffers the loss or theft of said weapon shall within 24 hours of the discovery of the loss or theft report the facts and circumstances of the loss or theft to the Savannah Police Department.

• Every person with a firearm, rifle, or shotgun in a vehicle shall ensure that each such firearm, rifle, or shotgun is securely stored in a glove compartment, console, a locked trunk, or the area behind the last upright seat of a motor vehicle that is not equipped with a trunk at all times while such vehicle is unoccupied.

• Every person with a firearm, rifle, or shotgun in a vehicle shall ensure that no firearm, rifle, or shotgun is visible at any time while such vehicle is unoccupied.

• Every person with a firearm, rifle, or shotgun in a vehicle shall ensure that all doors and hatches are locked while such vehicle is unoccupied.

The final ordinance was passed with a few changes from a previous draft. One of the main items left out of the law’s final version was a requirement to report specific details of a stolen firearm such as make, model, manufacturer and serial number. Another item left off the final version would have required SPD to retain that information for use in locating those firearms.

From WTOC:

This comes after data shows that 83% of firearms stolen from vehicles in Savannah in 2023 were from unlocked cars.

A violation of any part of this ordinance would be penalized of up to a $1,000 fine or up to 30 days in jail.

“We need common sense gun laws in Georgia, and I’m committed to doing all I can to make sure that we’re able to find balance between someone’s right to exercise the second amendment rights, but the responsibility of people to be safe in their communities. That we’re able to balance the rights of the second amendment and the safety of second graders. That we’re able to balance the right of someone to carry a gun, and my right not to be shot by that gun,” said Mayor Van Johnson, City of Savannah.

Now that this ordinance has been approved, Mayor Johnson is calling for an intense awareness campaign throughout the city in the next 30 days.

From WSAV:

“This year and we are only in the eleventh day of the fourth month, we’ve had 69 firearms stolen from vehicles,” Mayor Johnson said. “Fifty-six of those were stolen from unlocked cars.”

He said in 2023, 244 firearms were stolen. Two-hundred and three of those were from unlocked vehicles.

“For us that was an issue,” he expressed. “That was 244 opportunities for someone to be shot victimized or killed by those weapons.”

“This ordinance creates the opportunity for someone to either take it with them or secure it when the car is not in use… in a glove compartment or a trunk,” Mayor Johnson explained.

Former Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill wants to influence the next round of elections in the county, according to the AJC.

Hill has vigorously opposed the reelection of former protege Sheriff Levon Allen on social media posts, just two weeks after being released from FCI Forrest City where he served about 10 months for a 2022 federal conviction for violating the civil rights of detainees in the Clayton County jail.

The federal bureau of prisons said Hill is now living in community confinement overseen by Atlanta authorities.

“Based on disappointing job performance and poor results, sadly, I will not give any further endorsements to Levon Allen,” Hill wrote in an April 1 Facebook post that also includes a raft of allegations against Allen.

The about face is a big deal in Clayton.

Despite being a convicted felon who has been the subject of an avalanche of lawsuits, Hill has a loyal following. Almost 300 people commented on the post criticizing Allen and more than 160 reposted the message.

“He does have a lot of juice,” said Patricia Pullar, a Clayton resident and former deputy director of the Democratic Party of Georgia. “Clayton has always been forgiving of him.”

Hill was sheriff of Clayton between 2005 and 2009 and again from 2012 until 2021, when he was suspended by Gov. Brian Kemp pending the outcome of the federal indictment on the civil rights violations charges.

Allen responded to Hill’s accusations on the social media site Nixle, claiming Hill had reached out to him from prison and tried to influence his decisions. Allen said he refused the requests. He did not say what Hill allegedly asked of him.

“Power and vengeance has become his life (sic) mission and I will not succumb to his tirades,” Allen wrote.

Others vying for the office against Allen are Jeff Turner, chairman of the Clayton County Commission; Clarence Cox, chief investigator for the Fulton County Solicitor General’s Office; and Charlene Watson-Fraser, a 24-year veteran of law enforcement who is currently working for the Clayton County Police Department.

Hill has not yet publicly endorsed a candidate.

Chatham County Sheriff John Wilcher has raised more than $230,000 dollars for his reelection campaign, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Chatham County Sheriff John Wilcher has raised more than $230,000 for his re-election campaign since 2016, including a portion from contractors operating in the Chatham County Detention Center (CCDC), according to a review of campaign filings obtained by the Savannah Morning News. That total far outpaces the money raised by the other two other sheriff candidates.

Kevin Burns, a former Chatham County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) Advanced Deputy, has raised about $934, mostly from ActBlue donations, according to campaign filings. ActBlue is a nonprofit fundraising organization that allows Democratic candidates to receive donations from supporters.

“Politics is what [Wilcher] does best, instead of what he’s sworn to do,” said Burns. “At the end of the day, it’s not about how much money you raise. It’s about the numbers at the ballot boxes.”

Richard Coleman, a law enforcement officer who has served in multiple departments throughout Georgia, hasn’t filed campaign contributions because he filed to run for sheriff after the campaign contributions were due on Jan. 30. A second round of campaign contributions is due on April 30.

“He’s an incumbent chair, that’s to be expected,” said Coleman, who said everything he has paid so far for his election has been out-of-pocket but wasn’t able to provide how much he has spent by publication time. “This election is not about money at all; it’s about change.”

A disqualified candidate for Bibb County Sheriff is appealing a decision by the Board of Elections that he did not meet the qualifications to stand for the office, according to 13WMAZ.

Marshall Hughes and his attorney, Joseph Siegelman, want a judge to decide whether he can stay in the race. Siegelman Wednesday pointed to a 2016 case in Muscogee County where Donna Tompkins, disqualified over a similar paperwork issue, appealed her disqualification and won the sheriff race.

Judge Gary McCorvey issued a nearly identical ruling in 2016 for Mark LaJoye, who was also disqualified from the sheriff race in Muscogee County for the same problem.

“He made, in my opinion, made the right, qualified decision to put us back into the election,” LaJoye said.

In the 2016 case, Judge McCorvey decided the important thing was that the two candidates turned the information in — not the time frame. McCorvey also found that in the context of the law, ‘shall’ doesn’t mean ‘must.’ In his ruling, he wrote judges must look at laws as broadly as possible in favor of the candidate appealing.

Early voting starts April 29 for the May 21 primary election.

Candidates for Columbus City Council District 4 met in a public forum, according to WTVM.

Members of the District 4 community were invited to a “Meet the Candidates” forum to learn more about current councilwoman Toyia Tucker and opponent Tyrone Thomas.

Tucker was first elected as city councilor in 2020. She has served in the Air Force and is the co-founder of the River Valley Black Chamber of Commerce.

Thomas is the senior pastor of New Hope Baptist Church and retired from his 30-year career with the Columbus Police Department.

Several people took to the podium to ask the candidates about their priorities and plans if they won the May 21 election.

The election for the City Council At-Large Seat will also be held May 21 where four candidates are vying for the spot.

Democrat Daughtry Melton IV withdrew from the race for Tift County Commission District 2, according to the Tifton Gazette.

Initially vying for the position against fellow Democrats Cal Russell Thomas and incumbent Melissa Hughes, Melton rescinded his campaign during a Board of Elections qualification hearing held March 28.

Board of Elections officials stated that the decision came as a result of an error in documentation submitted during qualification.

Thomas and Hughes are still expected to face off in the upcoming May 21 primary, with the winner then campaigning against sole Republican candidate Priscilla Prince in the November election.

Early voting for the May election will begin April 29 at the Tift County Elections office, every weekday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and May 4 and 11 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., until May 17. On election day, polls will remain open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Registration must be completed by April 22 to be eligible to vote.

Democratic candidates for the Thirteenth Congressional District will meet in a televised debate, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The Atlanta Press Club announced on Thursday that it will host a televised debate on April 28 for the Democratic primary election candidates running for the 13th Congressional District seat currently held by U.S. Rep. David Scott, D-Ga. It is one of seven debates the APC will host this spring as part of its Loudermilk-Young Debate Series.

Daily Post reporter Curt Yeomans will be one of the panelists for the 13th District Debate. The debate will be conducted in a studio at Georgia Public Broadcasting in Atlanta.

It will only involve the candidates for the Democratic Party primary — Scott is being challenged by six other Democrats. It will not include the two Republican candidates running for the seat.

The Democrats running against Scott include Brian Johnson, Marcus Flowers, Rashid Malik, Karen Rene, Mark Baker and Uloma Kama. The Republicans running for the seat are Johsie Cruz Fletcher and Jonathan Chavez.

The seat had traditionally been been on the western side of metro Atlanta, but redistricting last fall flipped it to the western side of the region. It is one of four congressional districts that include parts of Gwinnett County (the others are the 4th, 9th and 10th districts).

The district now includes parts of Fulton, Clayton, Henry, Newton, Rockdale and Gwinnett counties. The northern most tip of the district reaches into the Lawrenceville area.

The other debates that the Atlanta Press Club will host on April 28 include: Democrats running for the 6th Congressional District (which is now on the west side of metro Atlanta) at 10 a.m.; Republicans running for the 3rd Congressional District at 1 p.m.; Republicans running for the 2nd Congressional District at 3 p.m.; the Georgia Supreme Court at 4:45 p.m.; DeKalb County CEO at 5:45 p.m.; and Fulton County District Attorney at 6:45 p.m.

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