Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 26, 2016

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 26, 2016

Georgia and American History

General Robert E. Lee’s Confederates met General John Pope’s federal forces at the Second Battle of Manassas on August 29, 1862.

On August 26, 1864, having withdrawn from trenches and fortifications outside Atlanta the previous day, U.S. General Sherman sent most of his forces westward around Atlanta and toward the south of the city. Sherman’s forces tore up 12 miles of railroad between Red Oak and Fairburn on August 29, 1864.

On August 26, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted. Ratification took place on August 18, 1920, as the Tennessee House of Representatives adopted it, but adoption became official on August 26, when United States Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified the Amendment. It reads:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

August 28, 1929 saw Governor Lamartine Hardman sign a Constitutional Amendment authorizing the levy of a state income tax.

Advertising in the rights of way of state roads and placing signs on private property without the owner’s approval were prohibited in the first Georgia law regulating outdoor advertising, which was signed by Governor Richard Russell on August 27, 1931. Over the years, both practices would become enshrined in Peach State political strategy.

On August 26, 1939, the first televised major league baseball game aired, as the Brooklyn Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds split a doubleheader in Ebbets Field.

On August 26, 1961, the 718th Engineer Light Equipment Company of Fort Valley and the 210th Signal Base Depot Company of Augusta were called up to take part in the American response to the crisis in Berlin.

On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the “I Have a Dream Speech” on the Mall in Washington, DC.

President Lyndon B. Johnson was nominated for President by the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey on August 26, 1964.

On August 26, 1965, Sonny & Cher were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘I Got You Babe’, the duo’s only UK No.1. Sonny Bono was inspired to write the song to capitalize on the popularity of the term “babe,” as heard in Bob Dylan’s ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’.

On August 29, 1971, Hank Aaron broke the National League record for most seasons with 100 or more RBI, as he drove in his 100th run to make 11 seasons hitting that mark.

Former Georgia Governor Lester Maddox was nominated for President on the American Independent Party ticket on August 27, 1976, making the race probably the only one to ever feature two former Georgia governors. During the campaign, Maddox described Jimmy Carter as “the most dishonest man I ever met.”

An obscure college professor named Newt Gingrich began his political career on August 28, 1976, as he kicked off his first campaign against Congressman Jack Flynt.

Old Newt Pic

On August 27, 1982, Oakland Athletics outfielder Rickey Henderson broke the record for stolen bases in a season, nabbing number 119 against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Georgia Governor Zell Miller addressed the Democratic National Convention on August 27, 1996. In 2004, Miller would address the Republican National Convention, likely becoming the first Georgian to address both major parties’ national conventions. Congressman John Lewis and Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney also addressed the ’96 DNC.

On August 27, 2008, Barack Obama became the Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, the first African-American nominee of a major United States political party.

On August 26, 1996, President Bill Clinton signed a Welfare Reform bill, called the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.

On August 28, 2008, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools revoked the accreditation of the Clayton County Public Schools. Later that day, Governor Sonny Perdue removed four members of the Clayton County Board of Education upon the recommendation of an administrative law judge.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Trump-Pence campaign has released its Georgia campaign leadership list.

· Chairman: Senator David Perdue (R-GA)
· Chairman: Rayna Casey, Business and Civic Leader
· Co-Chair: State Senator Burt Jones (R-District 25)
· Co-Chair: State Senator Michael Williams (R-District 27)
· Co-Chair: State Rep. Steve Tarvin (R–District 2)
· Co-Chair: Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, Jr., Georgia Public Service Commissioner
· Co-Chair: Sue Everhart, former Chairwoman of Georgia GOP
· Co-Chair: Sheriff Butch Conway, Gwinnett County
· Finance Chair: Pete Petit, CEO of MiMedx Group
· Grassroots Steering Committee: Don Cole, Former 2nd District GOP Chairman
· Grassroots Steering Committee: Suzi Voyles, Past-President of Georgia Federation of Republican Women
· Grassroots Steering Committee: Brad Carver, Lt. Col. Army Reserves, 11th District GOP Chairman
· Grassroots Steering Committee: Joseph Brannon, National Committeeman, National Federation of Young Republicans

Republican Pollster White Ayres, formerly an Atlanta resident, writes in the Washington Post about how downballot Republicans can insulate themselves from a Trump loss in November.

To win, Republican candidates need the votes of Trump Republicans and Never Trump Republicans, as well as independents who find Donald Trump either refreshing or abhorrent. Fortunately, they have a model in Southern Democratic candidates who for years ran successful campaigns in presidential years while distancing themselves from the top of the ticket.

Preserving that level of split-ticket voting, with a substantial number of voters supporting Clinton for president and Republicans down-ballot, is the key to maintaining Republican control of the Senate.How can Republicans preserve those margins? Localize, localize, localize. Successful Southern Democrats gave no more than lip service to their party’s liberal presidential nominees, while using the advantages of incumbency to highlight specific ways their service in Washington benefited their constituents.

In 1972, Democratic nominee George McGovern’s support in the 11 states of the former Confederacy ranged from a low of 20 percent in Mississippi to a high of 33 percent in Texas. Yet in the same year five Democratic candidates won election to the Senate with remarkable majorities: 54 percent for Sam Nunn in Georgia, 55 percent for J. Bennett Johnston in Louisiana, 58 percent for James Eastland in Mississippi, 61 percent for John McClellan in Arkansas and 62 percent for John Sparkman in Alabama.

In 1984, Democratic nominee Walter Mondale’s Southern support ranged from a low of 35 percent in Florida to a high of 42 percent in Tennessee. Yet Mondale’s weakness in the South did not prevent David Pryor from winning in Arkansas with 57 percent or Howell Heflin winning 63 percent in Alabama or Nunn winning 80 percent in Georgia or Johnston winning Louisiana with 86 percent.

Nunn took a different tack in 1972 when his Republican opponent covered Georgia with posters linking him to McGovern. Nunn flew to Montgomery, Ala., to receive the endorsement of then-presidential candidate George Wallace, saying “George Wallace represents the real views of Georgians.” Nunn later said, “I frankly admired Wallace, not because of his racial views, but because of his willingness to stand up and shake a fist at Washington occasionally. There’s something therapeutic about that in the South.”

Emory Professor Alan Abramowitz predicts that Republicans will maintain control of the United States House of Representatives and have an even chance of losing the Senate to Democrats.

The results in Table 2 indicate that for almost any conceivable values of the generic ballot variable, Democrats are likely to make gains in both the House and Senate. That is largely due to the fact that, as a result of their successes in the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections, Republicans are defending unusually large numbers of seats in both chambers this year. However, the results indicate that in order for Democrats to gain the minimum of four seats they need to regain control of the Senate (if there is a Democratic vice president to break a 50-50 tie), they probably would need a lead of at least two or three points on the generic ballot and to gain the minimum of 30 seats they need to regain control of the House, they probably would need a lead of at least 13 points on the generic ballot.

According to HuffPost Pollster, results of recent national polls give Democrats an average lead of five points on the generic ballot. If that lead were to hold up until the week after Labor Day, the traditional cutoff date for the generic ballot forecast, Democrats would be expected to gain about 16 seats in the House and about four seats in the Senate — not enough to flip control of the House but enough to flip control of the Senate if Clinton wins the presidential election.

Of course any forecasts based on a statistical model are subject to a margin of error. In this case, the results in Table 1 indicate that if Democrats maintain a five-point lead in the generic ballot, they would be very likely to pick up between six and 26 seats in the House and between two and six seats in the Senate. They would have about a 50% chance of regaining control of the Senate (if there is a Democratic vice president) but less than a 15% chance of regaining control of the House.

Meanwhile, the New York Times Upshot writes that Democrats have a 60% chance of winning a Senate majority.

Included within this 60 percent is a 17 percent chance that the Senate ends up evenly split with a Democratic vice president providing the tiebreaking vote.

By our count, the Democrats need to win five seats among the 11 most competitive races. (The Democrats will need to win six if Donald J. Trump wins the presidential race; we put Mr. Trump’s chances of winning at only 11 percent). Ten of these seats are held by Republicans, and one by a Democrat, Harry Reid of Nevada, who is retiring.

This year, the Democrats are defending only 10 seats while the Republicans have to preserve 24. On fundamentals alone — that is, historical voting patterns, the candidates’ political experience and fund-raising — the Democrats would have about a 50-50 shot to win the Senate. The latest Senate polling improves this figure to 60 percent.

Bloomberg takes a look at the Democrats constant refrain that Georgia can be won by Democrats this year.

Ever since Barack Obama came within 6 percentage points of beating John McCain in Georgia in 2008, the state’s Democrats have pointed to a wave of minority, young, and transplanted voters as proof that their deeply Republican state was on the cusp of turning blue, or at least purple. Although whites now make up 58 percent of active voters in Georgia, down from 72 percent in 2002, the demographic shift remains a slow process, and Democrats have yet to capitalize on it in a statewide race. Obama lost ground in Georgia in 2012, and Michelle Nunn, the daughter of a popular former Democratic senator, got close but ultimately lost her bid to win a U.S. Senate seat in 2014.

But this year, Democrats may have a secret weapon in Trump, whose campaign appears to be accelerating an electoral change in Georgia that many political pros thought was still a few years away. “My view is that Georgia is probably in play, which I have never said before,” says Stuart Rothenberg, founder of the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report. “It’s entirely due to Trump.”

Trump has alienated the kind of middle-class suburban Republicans who turned out in force for Mitt Romney and McCain, more than offsetting his appeal to rural, working-class whites. He may now have to compete for Southern conservative voters who should have been a given. Even if Clinton doesn’t win Georgia, the mere fact that it’s competitive may force Trump to spend money there that he wouldn’t have otherwise, says Brad Coker, managing director at Mason-Dixon Polling & Research.

Georgia still looks solidly red from the outside. Republicans enjoy a strong majority in the state legislature, and they’ve controlled the governor’s mansion since the 2002 election. As white politicians switched parties to improve their chances of staying in power, the Democratic Party in Georgia increasingly became the province of minority groups and the urban young, both of which are outnumbered.

[O]rganizers for Democratic House member Taylor Bennett were already canvassing last weekend and promising four or five visits per voter by November, says organizer Evan Gillon: “They’ll be sick of us by the end.”

A trio of writers that includes Augusta University Political Science Professor Martha Ginn writes in the Washington post about how the media decides which polls to discuss.

Our research suggests yet another reason not to overreact to news stories about the newest poll: Media outlets tend to cover the surveys with the most “newsworthy” results, which can distort the picture of where the race stands.

Why? Consider the incentives of the news business. News outlets cover polls because they fit the very definition of newsworthiness. They’re new, timely, often generate conflict and allow political reporters to appear objective by simply telling readers and viewers what the public thinks. Horse-race stories are also popular.

Given that readers are drawn to drama and uncertainty, polls that offer intrigue or new developments — such as a close race or signs that one candidate is surging — are more likely to be deemed newsworthy. In particular, polls with unusual results may be more likely to make the news.

On the other hand, surveys that reveal stability or a lack of drama — such as one candidate maintaining a modest, steady lead — are less likely to get attention. Such judgments may lead news outlets to distort the true state of the race.

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle traveled to South Georgia to support Senator Greg Kirk’s reelection bid.

While showing his support for the re-election campaign of state Sen. Greg Kirk, R-Americus, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said economic development will be among the priorities Georgians should expect to see addressed out in the months and years ahead.

Cagle, a Republican and former state senator, said at an event at Chehaw supporting Kirk that the delegation representing Southwest Georgia is one that knows how to collaborate in order to get things done for their communities.

An example specific to rural Georgia is agriculture, the lieutenant governor said. If an agricultural product can be taken and the right marketing strategy developed for it, that product can go a long way.

“It’s about jobs, jobs and more jobs,” Cagle said. “Government doesn’t create jobs, but government does create the circumstances for jobs.”

 

The Georgia Department of Community Health is asking for an additional $300 million to fund healthcare for Georgia residents.

The $300 million projected to be needed for the midyear and fiscal 2018 budgets is only the state’s portion: The federal government would kick in about $600 million more in Medicaid spending for Georgia.

DCH officials are projecting 2 percent growth next year in enrollment for Medicaid and PeachCare insurance for children. About 1.87 million Georgians are enrolled in Medicaid, the health care program for the poor, disabled and elderly, and an additional 127,000 are on PeachCare.

House Appropriations Chairman Terry England, R-Auburn, said he’s worried about the increases as well.

“We are going to have to figure out something,” England told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an interview. “We’re going to have to figure out what’s the next trick in the bag to get control of it.”

Norcross has cancelled its November City Council elections after incumbents Josh Bare, Andrew Hixon and David McLeroy qualified without opposition.

In Twiggs County, a local politician is on the hot seat over multiple homestead exemptions he’s claimed.

Twiggs County Commissioner Tommie Lee Bryant stunned members of his own board earlier this month when he admitted he was not a fully disabled veteran. County tax officials say Bryant has claimed the service-related disability for years to avoid paying taxes on his Jeffersonville house.

“There is more than one way to get 100 percent (disability). In other words, I’m not (a) 100 percent disabled veteran,” Bryant said in a video of the Aug. 16 commission meeting provided to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I ain’t but 60 percent and I can show it to you in black and white.”

The hitch is that the homeowner must be 100 percent disabled as a result of their service, said Walter Ashby, chairman of the Twiggs County Board of Tax Assessors.

An internal investigation by the tax assessor found records were altered by Yolanda Thomas, a relative of Bryant who worked in the tax office. When the tax board met in May to determine whether to fire the employee, Bryant barged in and said he had told his relative to change the records in the computer, according to statements signed by the board members.

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