Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 30, 2018

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 30, 2018

George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States of America in New York City on April 30, 1789. From Washington’s inaugural address:

it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success the functions allotted to his charge.

In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own, nor those of my fellow-citizens at large less than either.

No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States.

On April 30, 1803, negotiators from France and the United States finished discussions of the Louisiana Purchase, which would double the size of the country.

By the middle of the 18th century, France controlled more of the modern United States than any other European power: from New Orleans northeast to the Great Lakes and northwest to modern-day Montana. In 1762, during the French and Indian War, France ceded its America territory west of the Mississippi River to Spain and in 1763 transferred nearly all of its remaining North American holdings to Great Britain. Spain, no longer a dominant European power, did little to develop Louisiana Territory during the next three decades. In 1796, Spain allied itself with France, leading Britain to use its powerful navy to cut off Spain from America.In 1801, Spain signed a secret treaty with France to return Louisiana Territory to France.

Reports of the retrocession caused considerable uneasiness in the United States. Since the late 1780s, Americans had been moving westward into the Ohio and Tennessee River valleys, and these settlers were highly dependent on free access to the Mississippi River and the strategic port of New Orleans. U.S. officials feared that France, resurgent under the leadership of Napoleon Bonaparte, would soon seek to dominate the Mississippi River and access to the Gulf of Mexico.

U.S. envoys agreed to pay $11,250,000 and assumed claims of its citizens against France in the amount of $3,750,000. In exchange, the United States acquired the vast domain of Louisiana Territory, some 828,000 square miles of land. In October, Congress ratified the purchase, and in December 1803 France formally transferred authority over the region to the United States. The acquisition of the Louisiana Territory for the bargain price of less than three cents an acre was Thomas Jefferson’s most notable achievement as president.

On April 30, 1886, former Confederate President Jefferson Davis arrived in LaGrange, Georgia for the unveiling of a monument to Benjamin Hill.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Advance in-person voting for the May 22 Primary and Nonpartisan elections begins today across Georgia.

“Early voting is a great option for busy Georgians,” said Secretary [of State] Brian Kemp.  “Local election officials work tirelessly to ensure that it runs smoothly all across the state, so please encourage your family and friends to head to the polls and make their voices heard in these elections.”

Information on early voting locations and hours by county is available on the Elections Division’s website. Voters can also use the office’s “My Voter Page” or download the “GA SOS” app to check registration status, view a sample ballot, find their voting location, or request a paper absentee ballot. Absentee ballots should be requested well in advance of the May 18, 2018 deadline to vote by mail in the General Primary and Nonpartisan Election.

Election Day is May 22, 2018, and polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Georgians can reference other important dates for the 2018 election cycle on the office’s website.

Governor Nathan Deal will tour Georgia tomorrow to sign the FY 2019 state budget.

Atlanta – 9 a.m.
North Wing of the State Capitol
The Atlanta ceremony will be streamed live for media unable to attend. Watch here.

*Gov. Deal will highlight FY 2019 budget priorities including fully funding the Quality Basic Education funding formula, investing in children’s mental health and continued focus on higher education, workforce development and transit.

Bartow County – 10:30 a.m.
Chattahoochee Technical College North Metro Campus, Business Administration Building
5198 Ross Road, Acworth

*Gov. Deal will highlight the FY 2019 investment in the Technical College System of Georgia.

Fannin County – 11:30 a.m.
The Art Center, 420 W Main St., Blue Ridge

*Gov. Deal, along with House Speaker David Ralston, will highlight investments made in the University System of Georgia, including funding for a new University of North Georgia campus.

Statesboro – 2 p.m.
Statesboro-Bulloch County Airport

*Gov. Deal will sign the budget, along with HB 85/HR 51 (Forestland Protection Act) and HB 673 (Hands-Free Georgia Act).

Tifton – 3:30 p.m.
Henry Tift Myers Airport

*Gov. Deal will sign the budget, emphasizing the state’s investment in rural communities. He will also sign HB 769, rural health care legislation, and HB 951, which promotes rural economic development and innovation.

Governor Nathan Deal appointed Douglas County Solicitor General Matthew Krull to the Georgia State Board of Education for the 13th Congressional District.

State Reps. Terry England (R-Auburn) and Roberty Dickey (R-Musella) both noted on Facebook that Gov. Deal signed Senate Bill 330, “The Green Agricultural Education Act” at the FFA Convention in Macon over the weekend.

United States Senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue issued a press release congratulating two newly-confirmed U.S. Marshals for Georgia.

John Cary Bittick of Forsyth, Ga., was confirmed as U.S. Marshal for the Middle District of Georgia and David L. Lyons of Savannah, Ga., was confirmed as U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Georgia.

Bittick is the sheriff of Monroe County, Ga. He has more than four decades of law enforcement experience coupled with 22 years of experience as a board member and past president of the National Sheriff’s Association.

Lyons recently retired as chief of police for Garden City, Ga. He has more than four decades of law enforcement experience and served as a military police commissioned officer. Lyons was named Police Chief of the Year by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police in 2016.

“Sheriff Bittick and Chief Lyons are dedicated law enforcement professionals who will bring decades of experience to their new roles as U.S. Marshals,” said Isakson. “I’m thrilled that they have been confirmed and will be able to get straight to work.”

“Sheriff Bittick and Chief Lyons have spent their careers protecting and helping others,” said Perdue. “They are both impressive law enforcement officials and will serve our country well as U.S. Marshals. Congratulations to Sheriff Bittick and Chief Lyons on being confirmed to serve our country in this important role.”

Bittick and Lyons were nominated by President Trump on Feb. 27, 2018

The Ledger-Enquirer profiles the campaigns on local primary election ballots.

Besides Georgia races for governor and other state executives, the state House and Senate and U.S. Congress, Muscogee County will have elections for mayor, the five odd-numbered Columbus Council seats plus a special election for at-large council Post 10, the four even-numbered school board districts and the school board’s at-large post. Thirty candidates in 11 contested races are running for those local offices.

Voters checking their ballot options should not put too much emphasis on the questions posed by each party. They are not referenda, and have no force of law. The vote on a ballot question amounts to little more than a survey, and not a scientific one.

“Should the sale and distribution of bump stocks be prohibited in the state of Georgia?” is the first question on the Democratic ballot. And even if everyone votes “yes,” bump stocks won’t be banned in Georgia.

“Should casinos be allowed in Muscogee County?” asks the Republican ballot, and no matter the results, casinos won’t be allowed in Columbus unless the law changes, and a party ballot question doesn’t change it.

“Weekends have picked up,” [Elections director Nancy] Boren said, noting the center was averaging about 900 voters a day on Saturdays and Sundays. “The Saturday and Sunday voting really picked up, and it’s become a popular option.”

The Post-Searchlight in Bainbridge also looks at what’s on the local ballots.

At stake for this election are the Democratic and Republican nominees for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, commissioner of insurance, state school superintendent, commissioner of labor, two Public Service commissioners, and a nonpartisan judgeship for the Court of Appeals in Georgia. Some of these nomination races may end up being decided in the July 24th Runoff Election.

There are also several candidates on the ballot that are uncontested for the primary but will face opposition in the Nov. 6th General Election.

The only contested race in Decatur County that will be decided on May 22 is the District 6 Board of Education seat being vacated by Jacky Grubbs.

The Savannah Morning News surveys local elections as early voting begins.

Coweta County District Attorney Herb Cranford Jr. is unopposed for reelection in November, according to the Newnan Times-Herald.

The qualifying period for candidates to run in November’s special election for District Attorney of the Coweta Judicial Circuit ended Friday.

“I look forward to serving the people of the Coweta Judicial Circuit this term and for many more to come,” Cranford said. “It was an honor to be appointed by the governor, and I’m naturally pleased to be on the ballot this November unopposed, so I can focus my attention on the important work of this office.”

Henry County Board of Education District Four voters heard from 2 of the three candidates, according to The Henry Herald.

Downtown Darien could see significant development in the near future, according to The Brunswick News.

Lucas Properties LLC plans for the downtown bluffs on the Darien River to include a multi-story condominium complex on what had been the offices of the Chamber of Commerce and the McIntosh County Industrial Development Authority, and a boutique hotel where a jellyfish processing facility sat. Owner Arthur Lucas said there will also be a restaurant and some retail shops.

Lucas said the first phase would be a dozen condominium units and that he is hopeful construction will start July 1 and be complete in a year to 14 months with the 40- to 50-room hotel following.

“It’s going to change Darien, we hope, for the better,’’ he said.

Hall County District One Commissioner Kathy Cooper faces a primary challenger from George Thorndyke, a recent transplant, according to the Gainesville Times. The Times also profiles other races on the primary ballot in Hall County.

Democratic In-Fighting

Three articles in the national media look at Georgia’s Democratic Primary for Governor.

FiveThirtyEight looks at national trends and how they play out in Georgia.

Whoever wins the Democratic primary for governor in Georgia will be an underdog in the general election. Georgia isn’t as red as you might think — Hillary Clinton lost there by only 5 percentage points in 2016. But it’s still a red state.

[The Democratic Primary] illustrates some of the broader debates and trends that define the post-Clinton Democratic Party nationally.

The Clinton-Sanders primary in 2016 started off with some major policy differences, but over the course of the campaign, each candidate moved left on issues on which they might have been vulnerable…. The same thing has happened in the Democratic Party at large since 2016: Rather than choosing between Sanders’s economic populism and Clinton’s cultural liberalism, Democrats are embracing more economic populismandmore cultural liberalism.

Democrats might mostly agree on policy, but that’s not true for politics. There is a broad debate among Democratic strategists about whether the party should focus more on winning so-called Obama-Trump voters (particularly white, working-class people in the Midwest) or try to maximize turnout among young people, college graduates and non-white voters (groups that are already more favorably inclined toward Democrats). That debate is playing out in this Georgia race too.

BuzzFeed uses the Clinton v. Sanders race as the backdrop for the War Between The Staceys.

Often in these kinds of election-excavating conversations, tension can arise, particularly among liberal-leaning women. It’s the same tension that’s been hanging above these women since Clinton and Sanders faced off in the Democratic primary — when, according to a CNN poll analysis, women voters under 30 (including three of the four at Parker’s house) supported Sanders by an astonishing 37 points. Sanders’ domination of millennial women resurrected a generational fight among feminists: An older generation watched with dismay as young women energetically flocked to a septuagenarian man over their dues-paying, pantsuited icon; the younger generation were just as dismayed that they were expected to vote along gender lines.

Since Trump’s victory, that tension may have cooled, replaced by a unison of women #resist-ing Trump. But in Georgia, amid a fascinating and historic Democratic primary for governor, it’s crept back — an unbustable ghost.

One progressive candidate in Georgia’s gubernatorial election has both grassroots and national support, including from EMILY’s List and Sanders’ group Our Revolution; if she were to win in May and then again in November, she’d be the nation’s first black woman governor. The other candidate has endorsements from influential figures in the state’s Democratic Party. Both are (somehow) named Stacey, and the stakes of their race are high. Georgia Democrats, who once occupied the governor’s mansion for more than a century, have lost the last four gubernatorial elections to Republicans. But particularly after Republican congressional candidate Roy Moore’s defeat in Alabama — a loss widely credited to black woman organizers — Democrats feel new hope in the South.

The Intercept looks at a recent redistricting for differences between the Democratic candidates.

There is a fight raging over voting rights across the country — especially in Georgia.

The contours of the battlefield are usually seen as partisan; restrictions on voting rights tend to be a Republican project. But testimony in a lawsuit brought by the NAACP and former Attorney General Eric Holder over a redistricting effort led by the Georgia GOP alleges that racially gerrymandered district maps were approved by the then-Democratic caucus leader in Georgia’s legislature, Stacey Abrams — and Abrams’s involvement could upend the effort to have the new district maps thrown out.

Abrams is one of the Democratic candidates for governor in Georgia this year, vying for the nomination against another former Democratic legislator, Stacey Evans. Both candidates have claimed the mantle of championing voting rights, but accounts of Abrams role in the 2015 redistricting could call her positioning into question.

“It didn’t take me long to see the redistricting in Gwinnett, in Henry, and in Atlanta were all dilutions of black voting strength,” says former state Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, in an interview. “I remember reading it in my office and just about hitting the roof. I remember saying this was just an obvious case, even Ray Charles could see this was the dilution of black Democrat voting power.”

In 2015, Democrats in the state House were led by then-caucus leader Abrams, who is now a candidate for governor in the state’s Democratic primary. Lawmakers have testified under oath that the gerrymandered maps were presented to Abrams, and that she consented to the changes, which is why the Democratic caucus was instructed to support the measure.

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