Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 15, 2021

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 15, 2021

On April 15, 1776, the Georgia Provincial Congress issued “Rules and Regulations,” which would serve as an interim state Constitution until the Constitution of 1777 was adopted.

On April 15, 1783, the United States Congress ratified a preliminary peace treaty with Great Britain, which was signed in November 1782.

RMS Titanic sunk at 2:20 AM on April 15,1912.

Jackie Robinson, born in Cairo, Georgia, became the first African-American professional baseball player in the Major Leagues on April 15, 1947, playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers against the Boston Braves. Robinson scored the winning run in that game.

The Atlanta Ladies Memorial Association was formed on April 15, 1966 to assist and honor Confederate veterans. One of its most well-known projects was the “Lion of the Confederacy” memorial in Oakland Cemetery.

Photo: J. Glover (AUTiger)

On April 15, 1989, Chinese students and intellectuals in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, mourned the death of Communist Party General Secretary Hu Yaoban, considered a liberal reformer.

DeForest Kelley, born in Atlanta and known for playing Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy on the original Star Trek series, was inducted into the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame on April 15, 1992.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Save the Date: mark down June 15 in your calendar for a Special Election for Mayor of Watkinsville and a seat on City Council. From the Athens Banner Herald:

Acting Mayor Brian Brodrick will be challenged by local attorney Peter Hall Steckel in the June 15 special election.

Brodrick was voted unanimously by other council members to fill the mayor’s post after Bob Smith resigned in a dispute with the council.

Also, in a contested election to fill the Post 1 seat, formerly held by Brodrick for eight consecutive terms, Chuck Garrett will face off against Carolyn Maultsby, who ran for the Post 5 seat in 2020 and lost to Jeff Campbell.

The special election in June will allow winning candidates to serve through the end of the year, but the mayor’s seat and Post 1 will be filled for two-year terms in a November election.

Early voting for the election will take place May 24 through June 11 with voting closed on Memorial Day, according to Oconee County Elections Director Rebecca Anglin.

Former State Representative and University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby has died, according to the AJC.

“He cared a lot about this state, and he cared a lot about education. He literally devoted his life to it,” said Steve Wrigley, who succeeded Huckaby as chancellor in 2017, and had been his friend since 1987.

“He had retired from UGA then decided to run for the legislature and got elected and then was asked to serve as chancellor,” Wrigley recalled. “He didn’t have to do that. He had already had a distinguished career. But he loved the state and wanted to make a difference.”

Huckaby was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives from Watkinsville but served only one term when he was appointed as chancellor of the University System and it’s $8 billion budget in 2011.

He oversaw consolidations of some institutions, taking the count from 35 to 29, and navigated controversial political issues such as the legislative fight to bar undocumented immigrants from state colleges and universities.

Two Republican County Parties passed resolutions to give the keys to the Governor’s Office to Stacey Abrams censure Governor Brian Kemp. From the New York Times:

In Whitfield county, in the northwest corner of the state, Republican officials unanimously voted to condemn Mr. Kemp, saying he “did nothing” to help Mr. Trump after the November election.

“Because of Kemp’s betrayal of President Trump and his high unpopularity with the Trump GOP base, Kemp could end up costing the GOP the governor’s mansion because many Trump supporters have pledged not to vote for Kemp under any circumstances,” reads the resolution, which was adopted by acclimation.

A similar resolution was adopted in Murray County, also in northern Georgia, by a nearly unanimous vote. It was opposed by only three of the dozens of members in attendance. Both counties also voted to censure Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

“I’d vote for Mickey Mouse before I would Kemp,” said Tony Abernathy, chairman of the Murray County Republican Party. “I know what I’ve got with Mickey Mouse. A RINO is useless.” RINO is the dismissive acronym for Republican in Name Only.

Other resolutions adopted by the counties supported a bill passed in the Republican-controlled Statehouse stripping Delta of a $35 million jet fuel tax break and urged Georgians to boycott Major League Baseball and “woke companies” that criticized the election law.

Governor Kemp received a standing ovation from the Cobb County GOP crowd, according to the AJC.

A crowd so thick it spilled out the doorway gathered to hear Gov. Brian Kemp, who was rewarded with a standing ovation by grassroots Republicans for his defense of an election law that includes new voting restrictions.

“If there was ever a time for us to reengage and reunite and fight the good fight, it is right now,” Kemp said, drawing more applause as he invoked the corporate pushback to the law that led Major League Baseball to ditch Georgia by moving its All-Star game.

“We will continue to fight the woke left and cancel culture — it’s not right, it’s not fair to hardworking Georgians and we won’t let up,” he said.

No issue has animated Georgia Republicans in the wake of defeats in November’s presidential election and January’s U.S. Senate runoffs quite like “cancel culture,” the idea motivated by cultural grievance that conservatives are being punished for views on the election law and other controversial matters.

“Cancel culture has definitely hit a nerve — and it’s given conservatives a moment to take advantage of the overreach by Democrats,” said DeAnna Harris, a veteran GOP activist who leads the Cobb Young Republicans. “You never let a good crisis go to waste, and we know we’ve got to ride this into 2022.”

Senate Bill 75 by State Rep. Kim Jackson (D-Stone Mountain) passed both chambers and would provide additional protections to victims of stalking, according to the AJC.

Senate Bill 75, sponsored by Stone Mountain Democratic state Sen. Kim Jackson, is an extension of legislation passed in 2018 that allowed victims of domestic violence who’d been granted a family violence protective order to break their lease in 30 days without a penalty, regardless of how much time is left on the contract. SB 75 allows those who’ve been granted stalking protective orders to do the same.

Jackson said people who are being stalked often feel like victims in their own homes even when the stalking is done online or doesn’t include violent threats. About 312,000 Georgians are stalked each year, according to the Georgia Commission on Family Violence.

“If someone has been stalking you via social media, the end of that story often is that they will come and find you in person,” she said. “Being able to get out of their lease to get a fresh and safe start over” is important.

House Bill 231 [by State Rep. Houston Gaines (R-Athens)] would allow those who are pregnant, currently dating someone or who have ended a dating relationship within the previous six months to obtain a protective order against someone who is abusing them.

“This is a tool that is a lifesaver,” Gaines said. “(Temporary protective orders) are tools victims use to seek relief from their abuser.”

Legislators also approved House Bill 255, which would create a tracking system of rape kits from initial collection to receipt, storage and analysis. Victims would be able to follow the evidence as it moves through the criminal justice system, including prosecutions.

Latham Saddler announced he will run as a Republican for United States Senate against incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock, according to the AJC.

Saddler, a banking executive and former Trump White House official, unveiled his campaign with a video that highlights his background as a Navy SEAL and a former aide on the National Security Council.

“I will put Georgia first and keep America first,” he said. “I will not back down in the face of our enemies who seek to destroy us, or from those among us who seek to divide us. I’ll fight for you with honor, hard work, respect and resilience. Because that’s the American Way.”

Saddler is the second Republican to announce a 2022 campaign against Warnock, the Democratic pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church who won a January runoff to become the first Black U.S. senator in Georgia history.

Kelvin King, a prominent Black Republican construction executive, entered the race earlier this week. And several higher-profile contenders are weighing a run. The lengthy list includes Attorney General Chris Carr, U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, former U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, former U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler and former UGA football star Herschel Walker.

Speaking of Senator Warnock, he’s been stacking campaign cash, with more than $5.6 million cash on had, according to the AJC.

The Democrat’s campaign said Thursday he raised more than $5.7 million from more than 101,000 supporters between Jan. 6 and March 31 – totaling what Warnock’s aides say is the highest off-year fundraising quarter in Georgia history. He ends the quarter with $5.6 million in the bank.

He raised nearly $150 million in his successful bid to oust Loeffler, a massive fundraising haul that trailed only fellow Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff, the other half of the Democratic Senate sweep. The unprecedented totals were due largely to the fact that their contests decided control of the chamber.

The federal report he’s set to file Thursday will show Warnock raised more than $4.5 million between Jan. 26 and March 31, though his campaign said he also collected roughly $1.2 million between Jan. 6 and Jan. 25 that isn’t reflected in Thursday’s filing.

“In just a few short months, Senator Reverend Warnock has proven he delivers for Georgia and quickly passed coronavirus relief that included stimulus checks, relief for small businesses and resources for communities hit hardest by this pandemic,” his campaign said.

Stimmie, indeed.

State Senator Jen Jordan (D-Atlanta) will run for Attorney General in 2022, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

“I’m running because it’s time that all of the people of Georgia had a voice – not just the powerful,” Jordan said in a morning announcement, “because our current attorney general just isn’t looking out for us.”

Raised near Eastman in Dodge County in rural south Georgia, Jordan has Augusta and state political ties. She’s married to Augusta native Lawton Jordan III, the nephew of former White House Chief of Staff Hamilton Jordan.

From the Associated Press via AccessWDUN:

With strengthening Democratic performance in Georgia elections, the party’s nominations for downballot offices could again feature heavyweight fights, unlike in recent years. A number of other Democrats have also announced their bids for statewide office in recent weeks.

Jordan was first elected to the Senate in a 2017 special election, taking over a seat previously held by a Republican. She said that she would take a more aggressive approach than Carr as attorney general, seeking to use the power of the office to further environmental protection, crack down on Medicare and Medicaid fraud and protect everyday Georgians.

She also questioned some of the decisions Carr has made, such as joining a lawsuit that sought to strike down President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul or defending a now-blocked state law that would prohibit most abortions.

“He seems to be more the governor’s lawyer than the people’s lawyer,” Jordan said, saying she would seek to play a watchdog role and would not automatically defend agencies that she believed had done wrong.

Defeated Congressional candidate in the 14th District Dr. John Cowan has been named a member of the Club for Growth Foundation fellows 2021 class, according to the Rome News Tribune.

“Once again the Club for Growth Foundation has an outstanding class of people in its fellowship program,” said Club for Growth Foundation President David McIntosh. “We have 36 men and women who are strong conservative leaders in their communities. They come from all across the country and from all walks of life. From state lawmakers and city councilmen to business leaders and military veterans, we have liberty-minded people who are concerned about the direction our country is going in. They are ready to engage the public about the virtues of free markets and a constitutionally limited government. We’re excited to have them on board.”

South and Middle Georgia’s 912 and 478 area codes will convert to using ten-digit dialing for local calls, according to the Statesboro Herald.

The change supports the establishment in 2020 of 988 as the new, nationwide, 3-digit phone number for Americans in crisis to connect with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The transition period will help customers prepare for 10-digit dialing, which will be required by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) beginning Oct. 24.

“April 24 through October 24 will be what is called a ‘permissive period,’” said Stuart Gregory, director of Business Solutions for Bulloch Solutions. “This means that callers will still be connected to another line when they dial a 7-digit phone number. However, we are encouraging people to begin using 3-digit area codes when dialing numbers as soon as possible in order to become accustomed to the new 10-digit dial rule.”

“On October 24, that permissive period will end and individuals who attempt to make a phone call using only seven digits will not be connected and must hang up and dial again using 10 digits. That’s why we want people to go ahead and get in the habit of dialing 10-digits now.”

Additionally, important safety and security equipment, such as medical alert devices, and alarm and security systems must be programmed to use 10-digit dialing. Many systems operate on 10-digit dialing by default, however some older equipment may still use seven-digits.

People are advised to contact their medical alert or security provider if you are not sure whether your equipment needs to be reprogrammed prior to Oct. 24 to accommodate the upcoming change to 10-digit local dialing.

From 13WMAZ:

Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tricia Pridemore says that’s because a new National Suicide Prevention Hotline number, 988, is starting.

Glynn County Commissioners and local municipal officials are considering whether to try again to pass a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), according to The Brunswick News.

The rejection of a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum in March has elected officials trying to determine if the public will be willing to reconsider it next year.

Ralph Staffins III, president and CEO of the Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce, asked people sitting at tables in the meeting room at the Brunswick Library to brainstorm about their priorities.

They agreed approval of the 1 percent tax is important to help the Golden Isles continue to prosper. There is a need to do a better job explaining the different projects and how they benefit the entire county.

The city and county will have to wait a year before presenting another SPLOST to voters after residents rejected it in March.

Chatham County schools received nearly $55 million in COVID relief funding from the federal government, according to WTOC.

“We’re alright right now thanks to the CARES Act. The CARES Act 1, 2 and the American Recovery Act. We are [thankful] for that or I would be very concerned, we’re going to be OK,” SCCPSS Budget Director Paige Cooley said.

Cooley says they received $10.9 million from the first round of funding, which will mostly be used by the end of this year. The second set of CARES Act funding totaled more than $44 million and has a deadline to be used by 2023.

“As the CARES Act has evolved, our direction is changing. Obviously at first it was more masks, sanitizers, computers, Wi-Fi now that we are coming back to school, it’s more on staff, smaller classes, remediation, summer school, tutoring, after school to pay staff, extra custodians to keep things tip top clean,” Cooley said.

Leaders say they have not gotten an official amount for the American Rescue Plan, though it is estimated at $99 million which must be spent within specific parameters by 2024.

Augusta Regional Airport will receive $2 million dollars in federal aviation grants for COVID relief, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

The first grant of $2,610,848 is funded through the Coronavirus Relief and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act and provides economic relief for cost related to operations, personnel, cleaning, sanitation, janitorial services, debt service payments and combating the spread of pathogens at the airport.

The second grant of $70,783 is funded through the Coronavirus Relief and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act Concessions, which provides economic relief for rent and minimum annual guarantees, on-airport car rental, on-airport parking and in-terminal concessions located at primary airports.

The Whitfield County Board of Education announced that Mike Ewton will take over as Superintendent from his current position as an Assistant Superintendent, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

The Valdosta Board of Ethics dismissed a complaint against Mayor Scott James Matheson, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

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