Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for December 5, 2019

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for December 5, 2019

On December 5, 1887, Georgia voters approved a new State Constitution and voted to keep the state capital in Atlanta instead of moving it back to Milledgeville.

On December 5, 1933, Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment, repealing the 18th Amendment and ending prohibition. Earlier that day, Pennsylvania and Ohio had ratified the Amendment.

On December 5, 2000, the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou was released.

On December 5, 2006, Republican Chuck Eaton won the General Election Runoff for Public Service Commission District 3, beating incumbent Democrat David Burgess. Total votes cast: 215,092.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Click here for the statements of statewide elected officials and members of Congress in support of Kelly Loeffler’s appointment to the United States Senate.

The AJC has more reactions.

Politico reports that Senator-designate Loeffler will spend up to $20 million dollars of her own money.

Soon-to-be Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler plans to spend $20 million of her own money on her 2020 Senate campaign in Georgia — a massive sum that could give potential rivals pause about trying to unseat her.

She has told advisers in recent days of her intentions to tap her vast fortune to win next year’s special election to complete Isakson’s term, according to a person with direct knowledge of the decision.

Loeffler will not solely rely on self-financing, however. Those close to her say she also intends to raise money from donors.

Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) has said he would consider a Senate bid in the event Gov. Brian Kemp passed him over for the appointment. But Loeffer’s personal investment could factor significantly into his decision — as well as those of Democrats considering challenging her.

Loeffler’s $20 million injection also takes financial pressure off the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is supporting her. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) said Tuesday that Loeffler would have the full backing of the party infrastructure, and he expected her to enjoy “total support from the Republican conference.”

From WSB-TV:

Loeffler will have to run in 2020 to fill out the remainder of Isakson’s term. If Collins decides to run against her, Democrats think it could split the Republican vote and make it easier for their candidate to win.

“I think it’s an absolutely great opportunity for one strong Democratic candidate to come through and win the election in 2020, possibly without a runoff,” said South Fulton Lawmaker William Boddie.

Boddie and Cobb County Senator Jen Jordan both point out that 2020 will be what’s called a “jungle election,” meaning Republicans and Democrats will all run together in one primary.

They think that if Collins and Loeffler split the Republican vote, then a strong Democratic candidate could win the senate seat.

“And I think all it’s going to do for us is open up an opportunity to show people that we care about the issues, and they can take their side battles and their fight on Twitter to the side while we try and get things done,” Jordan said.

Sally Quillian Yates, former Former Acting U.S. Attorney General and U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, repeated her assertion that she will not run for the Senate in 2020, according to the AJC.

“Why won’t you run? They love you, they need you, you’re a person of high integrity, you’re a great public servant, you would easily win,” he said, prodding her once more. “Why won’t you just do it?”

Said Yates: “Running for Senate, that’s just not something that’s ever really felt like me. I really am incredibly flattered by your support. We’ve got some great people that are running …

Bharara: “But they’re not you.”

Yates: “Well, but they’re terrific folks. I just don’t think that’s the thing for me.”

One of the best statements I’ve read was posted on Facebook by State Rep. Susan Holmes (R-Monticello).

Please get to know Kelly Loeffler. Yesterday I was with her and heard her make her acceptance speech and then take random questions from the press. Kelly grew up on a farm in Illinois, was very active in 4-H, worked her way through college, worked hard and is now living the American Dream. She is a devout Christian, active Republican, huge pro-life advocate and arch conservative.

Because of her appointment, we are fortunate to have both Doug Collins and Kelly Loeffler representing us in DC. Neither President Trump nor Senator David Purdue had any political experience and they have done a fine job. Please reserve your opinions until you get to know the real Kelly Loeffler.

So, for all of my friends, I’d invite you to join me in the group of rational adults who is willing to give Kelly Loeffler a chance to prove herself, and give Governor Brian Kemp the benefit of the doubt.

When you read headlines about Gov. Kemp “defying” President Trump, take it with a grain of salt and with the understanding that many in the leftist mainstream media see this as a two-fer. They get to write headlines about how a Republican Governor is defying the President, and also sow seeds of discord withing the Georgia Republican electorate.

David Emadi, head of the Georgia State Ethics Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, discussed allegations against a Stacey Abrams-connected organization, according to the AJC.

The state ethics commission’s director told the panel Wednesday that a voting advocacy nonprofit connected to Stacey Abrams acted as a political committee during the 2018 elections and should have both registered with the state and reported how much it raised and spent.

David Emadi, the executive director of the commission, also raised questions about whether the New Georgia Project Action Fund — which is affiliated with another nonprofit Abrams founded but no longer leads, the New Georgia Project — illegally coordinated with her campaign.

Emadi said the investigation of Abrams’ campaign and groups that backed her unsuccessful bid for governor in 2018 is ongoing and that he had not yet determined whether coordination between the organizations occurred. Under state law, so-called “independent” committees can work to help get people elected but are not allowed to coordinate their activities with a candidate.

The new details about Emadi’s investigation became public during a commission meeting in which lawyers for the New Georgia Project and the New Georgia Project Action Fund asked the panel to quash subpoenas for records including insurance policies, bank statements and campaign materials.

The commissioners rejected the request, and the commission’s chairman, Jake Evans, said there was enough evidence to suggest the groups may have violated campaign finance laws.

The Commission also declined to quash subpoenas related to the Cobb County Sheriff, according to the AJC.

Albany‘s municipal leadership will look different when newly-elected officials take office, according to the Albany Herald.

With the settling of the dust from three Albany municipal elections, the end result is that nearly half of the city’s government will be composed of new faces next year.

One of those was settled in November, with the victory of Chad Warbington in the Albany City Commission Ward IV race over incumbent Roger Marietta. In Ward VI, voters knew there would be a new city commissioner as incumbent Tommie Postell elected not to seek another term.

But on Tuesday, the third of those new players emerged when Albany attorney Kermit “Bo” Dorough won a runoff election against incumbent Mayor Dorothy Hubbard.

Doraville elected Joseph Geierman as the new Mayor, according to Project Q.

Joseph Geierman beat incumbent Mayor Donna Pittman by 30 points in Doraville, according to the DeKalb County Elections Office. Geierman beat Pittman by 11 points in the November general election but did not get at least 50 percent of the vote, forcing Tuesday’s runoff.

“Ultimately what I think it says is the people of Doraville were ready for change and I’m glad that they believed in my vision for the city,” Geierman said.

Joy Peterson won election to the Warner Robins City Council, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Statesboro City Council adopted an ordinance creating a tax on blighted properties, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Statesboro City Council unanimously adopted a “blight tax” ordinance Tuesday. But its future was immediately placed in doubt when Mayor Jonathan McCollar announced he would reduce the penalty portion of the program from a seven-fold tax to 1% of the regular millage rate.

The penalty tax would be the first phase of a tax incentive program that also includes a later, reduced tax rate for owners who repair or remove dilapidated buildings or otherwise clean up their properties to city standards.

The Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce unveiled its 2020 agenda for local elected officials, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Securing state funding for the expansion of the Savannah Convention Center topped the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2020 State Legislative Agenda, which was presented on Wednesday during the organization’s annual Eggs and Issues Legislative Breakfast at the Marriott Savannah Riverfront.

“Our goal is to always work with our business community, our delegation and other chambers of commerce to help keep Georgia as the No. 1 state to do business,” said Jon Pannell, the chamber’s Governmental Affairs Council chairman.

State Rep. Ron Stephens said along with fully funding the HOPE Scholarship, the center’s expansion remains of the utmost importance to him as the session approaches.

“It’s been a priority now for a while, but this will be the largest funded project that the state, as far as I know, has ever done if we can get it done,” he said.

The Athens Area Chamber of Commerce also heard from local legislators, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

State tax revenue is flatlining, state Sen. Bill Cowsert, told Athens Area Chamber of Commerce members on Wednesday.

“We’re not certain where that is coming from,” Cowsert said, noting the economy remains strong.

That’s why Gov. Brian Kemp is calling for spending cuts next year, likely to be one of the main themes when Georgia’s Legislature convenes in Atlanta next month.

Four other legislators who represent portions of Clarke County joined Cowsert at the annual event. They were Sen. Frank Ginn, R-Danielsville, whose District 47 includes a small part of Clarke County; Rep. Marcus Wiedower, R-Watkinsville; Rep. Houston Gaines, R-Athens; and Rep. Spencer Frye, D-Athens.

Chatham County will shoulder $1.6 million dollars in expenses for cleanup from Hurricane Dorian, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Chatham County Commissioners will consider how to pay for over $1.6 million in evacuation expenses left over from Hurricane Dorian in September now that Georgia and federal agencies have denied payment.

“On September 1, 2019, Chatham County was under a Hurricane Watch and a mandatory evacuation order was issued by the Governor of Georgia,” the finance director memo states. “CEMA [Chatham Emergency Management Agency] enacted related emergency preparation activities and evacuation protocols for Chatham County resulting in expenditures of $1,662,226.”

During the commissioners’ Sept. 13 meeting, Chairman Al Scott mentioned the possibility that state and federal officials might not reimburse Chatham County coffers for Dorian-related expenses.

According to the memo from Davis, state and federal officials have indeed left Chatham County taxpayers to foot the bill for all hurricane-related expenses.

“No federal or state funds have been allocated to cover costs of these emergency operations,” the memo states. “The finance director therefore requests board approval to appropriate fund balance/net assets to cover the cost of these operations.”

State Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Cobb) proposes expanding Medicaid coverage to some Georgia women, according to the Georgia Recorder.

State Rep. Sharon Cooper, a Marietta Republican, said Tuesday that she has been “battering” the governor’s office and other state leaders about allowing women to retain Medicaid coverage for as long as one year after giving birth. Currently, coverage is cut off two months after the pregnancy ends.

“We are trying to get that extension,” Cooper said at a meeting of a House study panel focused on Georgia’s high rates of maternal deaths. “I feel like I’m making some progress … but you have people pulling for 50,000 other things – for children, for people who have brain injuries and everything else.”

Cooper called the proposal a priority for her. Her study committee hasn’t yet drafted recommendations ahead of the new legislative session, but she said afterwards that extending Medicaid could be among them.

The chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee said afterwards that she thought the cost of stretching out coverage to six months or as long as a year after delivery would be minimal in the big picture. But adding any new expense may prove a tough sell at a time when the governor is ordering nearly all departments to cut spending.

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