Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 17, 2017


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 17, 2017

The Trustees of the Georgia colony learned on April 17, 1737 that Spain had 4000 soliders and two warships in Havana, Cuba and was planning on invading Georgia or South Carolina. Thus began the rivalry between then-Spanish occupied Florida and Georgia. Floridians would have to wait until after the 1873 invention of blue jeans by Levi Strauss to develop their modern uniform of jean shorts.

On April 17, 1944, a fifteen-year old Martin Luther King, Jr., a junior at Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, traveled to Dublin, Georgia to give a speech in a contest sponsored by the local black Elks club. During the bus ride to Dublin, King and his teacher had to give up their seats to white riders and stand for much of the ride. King won the contest, delivering his oration, “The Negro and the Constitution.”

On April 17, 1950, the United States Supreme Court dismissed South v. Peters, a complaint against Georgia’s County Unit System of elections.

Each county is allotted a number of unit votes, ranging from six for the eight most populous counties, to two for most of the counties. The candidate who receives the highest popular vote in the county is awarded the appropriate number of unit votes. Appellants, residents of the most populous county in the State, contend that their votes and those of all other voters in that county have on the average but one-tenth the weight of those in the other counties. Urging that this amounts to an unconstitutional discrimination against them, appellants brought this suit to restrain adherence to the statute in the forthcoming Democratic Party primary for United States Senator, Governor and other state offices. The court below dismissed appellants’ petition. We affirm.

On April 17, 1964, the Ford Mustang debuted at the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York. The world has been a better, if somewhat louder, place ever since.

The Gwinnett Daily Post looks at contributions by Gwinnettians to the WWI effort.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

President Trump must have Georgia on his mind. After tweeting Friday about greeting Atlanta first responders, he tweeted last night:

Trump KS GA Tweet

President Trump will address the National Rifle Association convention on April 28, 2017 in Atlanta.

Trump’s appearance at the show will mark the first time a sitting president has appeared at the event since Ronald Reagan.

The NRA was one of the few mainstream organizations to endorse Trump for president. The group’s leaders named Trump over other Republican candidates during primary elections at last year’s meeting. The group would go on to spend more than $30 million last year supporting the billionaire businessman’s campaign.

At last year’s NRA convention, Trump vowed to abolish gun-free zones. Yet, this year there’s been growing support in Congress for measures that would allow for national carry reciprocity and silencer deregulation.

Trump will appear alongside other political leaders and speakers at the organization’s Leadership Forum on April 27 during the NRA convention in Atlanta.

Candidates in the Sixth District kicked out all the jams this weekend in their quest for votes.

As yet another sign that the race continues to attract national attention, actor Samuel L. Jackson has recorded a radio ad, urging people to vote for a Democrat in the 6th district, a district that has been held by Republicans since 1978.

On the GOP side, Karen Giorno, a former senior advisor for the Donald Trump campaign, is making her second day of appearances with Bob Gray, a former Johns Creek city councilman who is battling for a runoff spot with another Republican, Karen Handel.

Karen Handel, who, along with Gray, are vying for the No. 2 spot behind Ossoff, also picked up a national endorsement late last week. Maggie’s List, a federal political action committee dedicated to electing conservative women to federal office, endorsed Georgia’s former secretary of state.

Handel has also been endorsed by dozens of mostly local elected officials, as well as former U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

Low-polling GOP contender Amy Kremer was endorsed last week by national conservative talk show host Sean Hannity and Katrina Pierson, a former spokesperson and top aide to President Trump.

“Listen, you have been a champion out there hitting the pavement for all these years,” Hannity said. “It’s people like you that I’d love to see in Congress and think you would do a great job … I hope you win!”

“I fully support and endorse my friend Amy Kremer in her bid for Congress,” Pierson said. “Everyone claims to be #teamtrump but I know who actually was!”

More on the Samuel L. Jackson radio ad, from The Hill:

“Your vote goes a long way towards setting things right in this country. Vote for the Democratic Party. Stop Donald Trump, the man who encourages racial and religious discrimination and sexism,” Jackson says in the ad, which was created by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

“Remember what happened the last time people stayed home: we got stuck with Trump.”

Jackson calls on voters to “channel the great vengeance and furious anger” they have for Trump — referencing Ezekiel 25:17, the Bible passage his “Pulp Fiction” character recites multiple times in the film.

Note that Ezekiel 25:17 doesn’t actually say quite what the Pulp Fiction script says it does.

Former President Obama’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro came to Georgia to campaign for Democrat Jon Ossoff.

Castro is backing Jon Ossoff, the leading Democratic candidate to fill the seat of former Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), who became the Trump administration’s secretary of Health and Human Services.

Castro, who also served as a mayor of San Antonio, Texas, before joining the Obama administration, greeted volunteers at Ossoff’s office on Saturday as Democrats try to flip the red seat.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich recorded a robocall for Judson Hill.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich made a late push for Republican Judson Hill in the race to represent a suburban Atlanta district, declaring in a robo-call sent to thousands of voters that the former state senator the “only one who has proven he will fight for us.”

Gingrich endorsed Hill weeks ago, but this is the first time he’s been deployed in robo-calls for the campaign.

“If we’re going to seize on this opportunity to move America in a bold new direction and reverse the last eight years of decline,” he said, “we must vote for the only person with the proven record who can defeat Nancy Pelosi’s candidate, Jon Ossoff.”

Florida Senator Marco Rubio also boosted Judson Hill’s campaign with a robocall.

Rubio, who easily won the suburban Atlanta district in last year’s primrary, endorsed Hill in early March but the robo-call sent to thousands of household on Monday was his most public intervention in the race.

“He can provide the leadership we need to defeat radical terror and repeal and replace Obamacare,” Rubio said in the recording. “Judson is the only trusted conservative in the race.”

The Georgia Republican Party will hold a press conference today at 1 PM outside of the American Legion 201 Building, 201 Wills Road in Alpharetta, with veterans who oppose Jon Ossoff.

From Patricia Murphy, writing for The Daily Beast,

“It’s crazy, it’s a true jungle primary,” said Kerwin Swint, the chair of the political science department at Kennesaw State University, which sits just beyond the district’s current lines. “This is one of the headaches behind the way that Georgia does special elections, but it’s usually not this complex and it’s presenting some difficulties Republicans clearly didn’t anticipate.”

Chip Lake, a longtime Republican consultant in Georgia, described Ossoff’s fundraising as an alarming possible glimpse into the future for Republican candidates in a Trump era.

“I’ve been in this business for over 25 years and I have never seen anything like what Job Ossoff has been able to do,” Lake said. “That doesn’t mean he can win, but he is a shoe-in to make the runoff and two or three weeks ago we were worried he could get to 50 percent. They say money can’t buy you love, but it can buy a lot of votes.”

“Democrats see an opportunity. They’ve galvanized, they’ve organized, they’ve raised a ton of money, they’re going all out,” Kennesaw State’s Kerwin Swint said. “But just looking at the numbers, if Ossoff doesn’t win Tuesday, I just don’t see how he can win. What are you going to do, bus a lot of people in from California?”

“We really are in no-man’s land when it comes to campaigns and elections at the federal level,” Lake said. “Any Republican would be lying to you if they told you they weren’t deeply concerned about the damage Donald Trump could cause our party over the four years he’s in office.”

 A Pro-Trump SuperPAC is targeting Republican Bob Gray in the special election.

The 45 Committee — founded by GOP mega-donors Sheldon Adelson and Todd Ricketts — is hitting Republican Bob Gray in a new ad for his endorsement from the Club for Growth, which opposed the House GOP’s healthcare bill that Trump embraced.

“The D.C. special interest group Club for Growth is spending big to prop up Bob Gray’s failing campaign,” the ad’s narrator says. “More government-run healthcare, spending and gridlock.”

“If Bob Gray stands with the Club for Growth, how can we trust him to fight for us?”

Club for Growth vocally opposed Trump during the 2016 presidential election and joined other conservative groups in opposition to the House GOP’s healthcare bill, arguing it didn’t go far enough and offered new government entitlements. The American Health Care Act ended up getting pulled from a House floor vote after the conservative and moderate wings of the Republican Party took issue with parts of the legislation.

The Club for Growth has also gotten involved in Tuesday’s special election, attacking former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel for being a “career politician.”

Early voting numbers are in, though the vote results will not be counted until election night.

[T]he split between those pulling GOP ballots and those pulling Democratic ballots is a tie until the second decimal: 33.89 percent requested a Republican ballot and 33.81 percent requested a Democratic one.

74.1 percent — Nearly three out of every four early voters is white. That has outpaced the district, since only 66 percent of its registered voters are white.

11.5 percent — Millennials only make up about one-ninth of early voters, despite accounting for about one-quarter of the district’s electorate. Voters we call baby boomers plus, those age 52 and older, make up nearly 67 percent of those casting early ballots — even though they only make up about 42 percent of the district’s registered voters.

State Senate District 32 candidates are profiled by the AJC:

Of the eight Senate candidates, three are physicians: Democrat Bob Wiskind and Republicans Roy Daniels and Kay Kirkpatrick.

Along with Gus Makris, a Republican and tax attorney, Wiskind, Daniels and Kirkpatrick round out the top fundraisers in the race and dwarf the other competition. This is no coincidence.

The Senate candidates are focusing on health care at the state level. After Republicans in the U.S. House failed to agree on a repeal and replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act, the attention turned to the future of insurance exchanges in the state and potential changes to Georgia’s Medicaid program.

Nearly 4000 acres of federal land could cross the auction block if legislation passes Congress.

Thirty parcels of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest would be sold if a bill from Georgia lawmakers introduced this legislative session clears Congress.

Sen. David Perdue, R-Georgia, and Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, have restarted a years-old effort to sell 30 isolated parcels of the forest, almost 4,000 acres of federal land spotting the area around the national forest in Northeast Georgia, to willing buyers.

Legislation from the lawmakers would require the U.S. Forest Service to use any cash from property sales to purchase more appropriate land in or around the existing national forest, which proponents argue make the land sale a wash for the Georgia-Tennessee forest.

Most of the tracts identified for the potential sale are fewer than 100 acres — specks compared to the 867,510 acres of national forest in Georgia.

Hall County voters have approved seven Special Purpose Local Option Sales Taxes over the last 32 years.

A Hall County official says he’s confident voters will continue to back a revenue-generating 1-cent special purpose local option sales tax, commonly known as SPLOST.

Today, approaching the midway mark of SPLOST VII approved by voters in 2015, Tim Sims — the SPLOST and purchasing manager for the county — said Hall officials will soon start discussing needs and the prospect of pursuing the next penny-per-dollar sales tax as early as 2019. By his calculations, Sims predicts that if voters continue to vote for the sale tax, the county could top $1 billion in SPLOST revenues by 2030.

Hall County has a 7 percent sales tax, same as 107 of Georgia’s 159 counties, according to the state Department of Revenue. The sales tax includes the state’s fixed 4 percent sales tax and 1 cent each for an added local option tax, the county SPLOST and education SPLOST.

Another 45 counties have an 8 percent sales tax because they’ve added another penny per dollar for transportation, DOR data shows. The remaining counties have a 6 percent sales tax.

April is Lineman Appreciation Month and the General Assembly recently passed legislation creating a new license plate to honor linemen.

This year, Lineman Appreciation Month is particularly meaningful. During the 2017 legislative session, Georgia lawmakers passed House Bill 260, a legislation that creates a specialty vehicle license plate to honor linemen.

Proceeds from the plates will benefit the Southeastern Firefighters Burn Foundation, which provides assistance to families of burn patients at the JMS Burn Center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta. An event will be held late this summer to reveal the new license plate.

The notion of lineman appreciation began several years ago as a national one-day celebration. However, over time, Georgia utilities expanded the celebration to take place over the course of one month rather than one day. Doing so allows electric membership cooperatives (EMCs), Electric Cities of Georgia, Georgia Power, MEAG Power and municipal systems to celebrate within their local communities at a date and time suitable for each provider.

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