Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for December 1, 2021

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for December 1, 2021

General George Washington set up winter headquarters at Morristown, New Jersey on December 1, 1779.

On December 1, 1824, the election for President of the United States, in which no candidate received a majority of electoral votes, went to the United States House of Representatives.

Andrew Jackson of Tennessee won 99 electoral and 153,544 popular votes; John Quincy Adams–the son of John Adams, the second president of the United States–received 84 electoral and 108,740 popular votes; Secretary of State William H. Crawford, who had suffered a stroke before the election, received 41 electoral votes; and Representative Henry Clay of Virginia won 37 electoral votes.

As dictated by the Constitution, the election was then turned over to the House of Representatives. The 12th Amendment states that if no electoral majority is won, only the three candidates who receive the most popular votes will be considered in the House. Representative Henry Clay, who was disqualified from the House vote as a fourth-place candidate, agreed to use his influence to have John Quincy Adams elected.

The City of Sandy Springs began operations at one second after midnight on December 1, 2005. Three years later, Dunwoody became a new city, on December 1, 2008.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty (Western District of Louisiana) enjoined the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers, according to WSAV.

More than a dozen states, including Georgia and South Carolina, filed a lawsuit claiming the mandate for workers at some health care facilities and home health care providers is unconstitutional and violates multiple federal statutes.

Monday would’ve been the deadline for workers to receive their first dose off the vaccine, with a Jan. 4 deadline for the second dose.

The Daily Advertiser reported Louisiana-based U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty ruled the Biden administration doesn’t have the authority to bypass Congress in issuing such a mandate.

An identical ruling was handed down Monday from Missouri U.S. District Judge Matthew Schelp covering 10 other states, though Doughty added the nationwide injunction.

Attorney General Chris Carr and Gov. Brian Kemp both tweeted that they’ll continue to fight vaccine mandates on behalf of Georgians.

Republican Richard McCormick announced he will switch from the 7th Congressional District to the 6th District after redistricting changed both, according to AccessWDUN.

Rich McCormick said he would run in the new 6th District, which will include parts of Cobb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties and all of Forsyth and Dawson counties. The territory is expected to be strongly Republican.

The district is currently represented by Democratic U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, but she has said she will run instead for election in 2022 in the redrawn 7th District, which includes parts of Gwinnett and Fulton counties. Democratic U.S. Rep Carolyn Bourdeaux currently holds that district. She defeated McCormick in 2020 in the current, more GOP-friendly version of the 7th.

McCormick joins an already active GOP primary field in the 6th District that includes lawyer and former state ethics commission chair Jake Evans and former state Rep. Meagan Hanson. Others vying for the GOP nomination include Suzi Voyles, Mallory Staples and Elfreda Desvignes. Republican Harold Earls dropped out last week, saying he didn’t want to sacrifice family time to run for office.

McCormick said he was switching because it includes parts of the old 7th District and because he has ties to other parts of the 6th. He unveiled endorsements for the 6th District race from 28 Republican U.S. House members including five of eight current Republicans from Georgia — Reps. Rick Allen, Buddy Carter, Andrew Clyde, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Jody Hice.

He has raised more than $1.2 million so far in 2021. and had $767,000 in cash on hand as of Sept. 30.

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux said she will run for reelection in the 7th facing a challenge from fellow Democratic incumbent Lucy McBath, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

State Rep. Donna McLeod, D-Lawrenceville, has also announced that she will be running for the seat.

“This is an area where I have run five separate races,” Bourdeaux said. “I’m very invested in this community. It’s one I love. It’s one where I have a lot of the mayors and the county commissioners on my cell phone. We talk all the time and I want to continue to serve.”

Bourdeaux did criticize the congressional districts map that the General Assembly passed last week. She said she expects “a number of legal challenges” to the maps adopted by the General Assembly.

The new map made her district safer for Democrats, and more Gwinnett-centric, but she was drawn out of the district and the neighboring 6th Congressional District was heavily redrawn in an attempt to force McBath out of office. The 6th District now stretches from east Cobb County and north Fulton County to Dawson County, and also includes the Sugar Hill area.

Cosby Johnson was elected Mayor of Brunswick in yesterday’s runoff election, according to The Brunswick News.

Johnson got 950 votes, or 75%, in Tuesday’s runoff election to defeat Ivan Figueroa, who got 326 votes, or 25%. Less than 15 percent of the city’s 8,542 registered voters cast votes in the runoff.

The two candidates advanced to a runoff after earning the most votes among eight people seeking the non-partisan seat to replace Cornell Harvey, who cannot run again because of term limits.

Johnson, born and raised in Brunswick, said education, economic development and a transparent and accountable government are priorities.

He said he wants to reduce blight in the city and crack down on slumlords renting houses in unlivable conditions.

Warner Robins voters elected LaRhonda Patrick as the next Mayor, over incumbent Randy Toms, according to 13WMAZ.

She received 4,559 votes, or 51.85% of the vote. Toms received 4,234 votes, or 48.15% of the vote. In all; 8,801 people cast their ballots — 17.54% of registered voters in the city.

Patrick, who is currently the Fort Valley city attorney, grew up in Warner Robins. She told 13WMAZ when she qualified in August that she worked at the Georgia State Capitol in college and thinks politics has a big impact on the community.

From the Macon Telegraph:

Patrick, a Warner Robins native and attorney who works as the city attorney for Fort Valley, becomes the first woman and first Black person elected as mayor of Warner Robins.

“I’m feeling overjoyed, proud and exhausted,” Patrick said after results were announced. “First steps are getting to know the staff… spend time with my directors and staff in each of the departments. That’s important to me and our city.”

Toms was seeking his third term as Warner Robins mayor.

WALB covers runoff elections across SWGA.

Vilnis “Dip” Gaines unseated Incumbent BJ Fletcher in the Albany City Commission Ward3 race. Gaines got 706 votes and Fletcher 473 votes.

In the Sylvester mayor’s race, Incumbent Charles Jones was in the runoff race with Harold Proctor, Jr. Proctor got 510 votes and Jones got 307 votes.

Peter Charpentier, the incumbent, won the runoff election for Suwanee City Council Post 5, according to AccessWDUN.

Atlanta City Council member Andre Dickens won the runoff election for Mayor of Atlanta, according to the AJC.

Andre Dickens, the Atlanta native who first beat an incumbent eight years ago for a spot on the City Council, defeated Felicia Moore in Tuesday’s runoff election to become Atlanta’s 61st mayor.

Dickens will succeed Keisha Lance Bottoms, who did not run for a second term and endorsed Dickens to replace her as mayor, a job Dickens said he has wanted since he was a teenager.

Moore was considered the frontrunner going into the runoff after getting 41% of the vote in the general election, but Dickens quickly gained momentum, fresh big-name endorsements and a fundraising advantage.

While Moore performed well in Buckhead, Dickens dominated in southwest Atlanta and made up ground on the Eastside, beating Moore in precincts she won three weeks ago. She called for Buckhead residents to work with the new administration.

Gov. Brian Kemp congratulated Dickens on Twitter and said he looks “forward to working with him to combat crime, spur economic development, and ensure a brighter future for our capital city and state.”

From the Associated Press via AccessWDUN:

Dickens won a campaign dominated by concern over rising violent crime in the city, arguing he would be more effective than Moore, who had often been a sometimes-lonely critic of previous mayors in her 20 years on the City Council. Moore had been the leading candidate by a wide margin in the first round of voting on Nov. 2 among 14 candidates in a nonpartisan race.

Also from the AJC:

In Fairburn, former mayor Mario Avery is poised to unseat his successor Elizabeth Carr-Hurst to regain the keys to the city. He had 60% of the vote. He nearly won outright on Nov. 2, but he was 17 votes shy, forcing the runoff.

Two other mayoral incumbents were also fighting for reelection. Forest Park Mayor Angelyn Butler ran against Thomas Smith, and South Fulton Mayor William “Bill” Edwards faced off against Khalid Kamau. In South Fulton, Kamau had 59% of the vote. Butler had 56% of the vote late Tuesday night in Forest Park.

Preliminary results show a potential blowout in Marietta. Carlyle Kent had 78% of the vote over incumbent Reginald Copeland for the Ward 5 council seat.

In Tucker, Cara Schroeder’s early voting total topped Imani Barnes’ number in a race for a District 2 council seat. Schroeder had 53% of the vote.

This is notable to me: Cara Schroeder lost on Election Day, but had enough of a margin in early voting to win overall. That’s the importance of working the Absentee and Advanced voting.

Aretta Baldon won reelection to the Atlanta Board of Education District 2 while Tamara Jones won in At-Large District 7, according to the AJC.

The revised deadline for absentee ballot applications caused 52% of rejections, according to the AJC.

Election data show about 52% of all absentee application rejections were caused by voters requesting ballots within the last 11 days before the election, too late to meet the requirements of a voting law passed in March.

Few people voted after their absentee requests were rejected because of the deadline. About 26% of those who submitted their absentee ballot requests after the deadline went on to cast ballots in person on Election Day.

The absentee ballot deadline is part of Senate Bill 202, which also put limitations on remote voting by restricting ballot drop boxes and requiring additional forms of ID. The majority-Republican General Assembly tightened absentee ballot access after a record 1.3 million Georgians voted remotely in last year’s presidential election, two-thirds of whom supported Democrat Joe Biden.

The second-largest cause of absentee application rejections also stemmed from Georgia’s voting law. Missing or incorrect ID information accounted for 15% of denied ballot requests.

The voting law requires a driver’s license number, state ID number or a photocopy of another form of ID for absentee voting. Previously, election officials verified absentee voters by a system of signature matching and registration information verification.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger spoke with members of the Congressional committee investigating January 6th, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“I spoke to the January 6th committee to ensure they included the full record of how stolen election claims damage our democracy — whether in 2016, 2018, or 2020,” Raffensperger, a Republican and Georgia’s top elections official, said in a statement to CNN.

“While liberals in Washington, D.C. remain focused on Trump, conservatives should focus on the kitchen table issues that really matter to the American people,” he added.

Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan (R-Forsyth County) spoke to the Gainesville Kiwanis, according to the Gainesville Times.

“I just don’t personally believe that Donald Trump’s ever going to be the president of the United States again,” Duncan said, addressing Gainesville Kiwanis Club. “I just don’t think with history and self-inflicted wounds that’s even a possibility, and I think we’re wasting our time even trying to prop up that effort, And so we need a new pathway forward, one that makes sense and solves real problems.”

Duncan, who is not seeking re-election in 2022, wrote about his plan for the party in his book, “GOP 2.0: How the 2020 Election Can Lead to a Better Way Forward for America’s Conservative Party,” released in September and started the GOP 2.0 organization earlier this year.

“We are addicted to 10-second sugar highs,” Duncan said. “Looking forward there are going to be leaders who rise up to the occasion, who really truly understand the value of leadership that put in a plan that doesn’t look backward to past elections but looks forward at the country’s opportunities in front of us.”

When asked what his long-term plan is, Duncan left the door open for another run for elected office, though he said he does not have any current plans to run.

“I’m going to continue to push the GOP 2.0 mindset,” he said. “I hope to be in elected office again at some point. I don’t know when or where that will be.”

Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia David H. Estes announced 24 indictments related to an alleged human trafficking operation, according to the Savannah Morning News.

According to a newly unsealed indictment revealed last week by acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia David H. Estes, 24 people conspired for three years to smuggle Mexican and Central American workers and forced them to work in brutal conditions on farms located across the world, including the southern, middle and northern regions of Georgia.

After receiving a tip from a trafficking hotline in November 2018, federal law enforcement officers from the Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation started investigating multiple agricultural organizations registered under the agent Maria Leticia Patricio. The officers discovered that, since 2015, these organizations conspired together to bring more than 100 foreign workers into the United States, exploit them and imprison them under inhumane conditions. The multi-agency investigation came to a head on at 6 a.m., Nov. 17, when 200 federal officers executed more than 20 search warrants across three jurisdictions and performed a dozen seizure warrants of financial institutions.

The trafficked workers primarily  labored on onion farms, digging with their bare hands, and paid only 20 cents for each bucket. The conspirators forced the workers, despite making very little, to pay for transportation, food, and housing.

According to the indictment, the network of organizations used the H-2A program, which allows U.S. employers or U.S. agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs. When the workers arrived, they were placed under the guise of “contract agricultural laborers.”

The Columbus Redistricting Commission will hold a public meeting to discuss city council maps and board of education map proposals, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

The independent Columbus Districting Commission will hear public comments during its 10 a.m. Dec. 4 meeting before voting on a new map.

Following their vote, Georgia law requires that the new districts be certified by the state. Columbus Council could vote on its new map as early as Dec. 16.

Changes to the map must ensure each of the city’s eight districts has between 24,727 and 25,227 residents. The at-large districts of 9 and 10 are not affected by this process.

Districts 2, 4 and 6 have too many residents and must shrink. The remaining districts must grow.

“(Changing districts) is like squeezing air in a balloon,” commission member Mary Sue Polleys said of the process. “There is no way to fix every single thing.”

Some Camden County residents are circulating a petition asking for a referendum before the government spends any more money on the proposed Spaceport, according to The Brunswick News.

Opponents of a proposed spaceport in Camden County plan to deliver petitions signed by more than 4,100 registered voters asking for a special election to determine if any more money should be spent on the project.

Megan Desrosiers, president and CEO of the environmental group One Hundred Miles, said she plans to deliver the signed petitions to a Camden County Probate Court judge on Dec. 8 to certify the signatures. She said more than 5,000 people have signed the petitions but some of the signatures could not be validated. That could simply mean they signed after elections officials updated the voting rolls or they were not registered voters in Camden County.

Desrosiers said if at least 4,100 signatures are validated — 10 percent of the registered Camden County voters — a special election must be held within 90 days. Voters will be asked to repeal an agreement between county officials and Union Carbide to purchase a tract where the proposed spaceport will be located — in effect killing the project.

John Simpson, a Camden County spokesman, said he believes the petition is on “shaky legal ground and significant legal questions will need to be resolved before any referendum is likely.”

But Desrosiers expressed confidence that county officials will be compelled to schedule a special election because the Georgia Constitution is on her side. According to Article IX, Paragraph 1(b)(2) of the state constitution a probate court judge will determine if the petition is valid within 60 days of being filed and to set a date for a special election 60 to 90 days after validating the signatures.

“Just because there is little to no case law on this provision of the Georgia Constitution doesn’t mean that the petition is on shaky legal ground,” she said.” Collecting thousands of signatures on a complex legal petition is extremely difficult. I can understand why it has hardly (if ever) been done in Georgia before.”

My experience in politics leads me to believe the petition will fail. I generally recommend gathering at least twice as many signatures as required because of the historical rate of signature validation.

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