Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for December 7, 2016

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for December 7, 2016

On December 7, 1801, Georgia’s United States Senator Abraham Baldwin was elected President Pro Tem of the Senate.

Today is the 75th anniversary of the Japanese bombing attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Lauren Bruner didn’t speak of his experience on USS Arizona until recently, but found that speaking of it helped relieve his nightmares.

Here are seven interesting facts about Pearl Harbor.

GeorgiaInfo has the reactions of Georgia leaders to the Pearl Harbor attack,

U.S. Sen. Walter F. George stated: “Japan’s deed is an act of desperation by a war-mad people. The attack on Hawaii is a deliberate act of the Japanese government. I am utterly amazed. It is unthinkable… . An open declaration of war will give us greater freedom of action.” Noting the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, George optimistically predicted that “it may take two or three years to fight this war to the end.”

U.S. Sen. Richard B. Russell responded to the attack by stating: “Japan has committed national hari-kari. I cannot conceive of any member of Congress voting against a declaration of war in view of the unpardonable, unprovoked attack on us. I am utterly astounded.”

U.S. Rep. Carl Vinson, chairman of the House Naval Affairs Committee, added: “Of course we will have to declare war. There is nothing else for Congress to do. This is a concerted action by the Axis Powers, but I am confident our Navy is ready and will render a glorious account of itself. It probably means we will be drawn into the world conflict on both oceans.”

On December 7, 1946, the Winecoff Hotel in downtown Atlanta, previously considered fireproof, burned in the worst hotel fire to date.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Washington Democrats are considering “slow-walking” Trump’s cabinet nominations, including Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services.

“They’ve been rewarded for stealing a Supreme Court justice. We’re going to help them confirm their nominees, many of whom are disqualified?” fumed Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). “It’s not obstruction, it’s not partisan, it’s just a duty to find out what they’d do in these jobs.”

Senate Democrats can’t block Trump’s appointments, which in all but one case need only 51 votes for confirmation. But they can turn the confirmation process into a slog.

Democrats could conceivably force up to 30 hours of debate for each Cabinet nominee, which would be highly disruptive for a GOP Senate that usually works limited hours but has big ambitions for next year. The minority could also stymie lower-level nominees and potentially keep the Senate focused on executive confirmations for weeks as Trump assumes the presidency and congressional Republicans try to capitalize on their political momentum.

Democrats are likely to require roll call votes and possibly delay the nominations of Betsy DeVos to be secretary of education and Tom Price to to be Health and Human Services secretary, in addition to Mattis, Mnuchin and Sessions.

This will, of course, affect the timing of Price’s resignation and elections in the Sixth Congressional District and any state or local offices that open up as a result.

I’m going to go ahead and predict that the election to succeed Price will not happen before the end of the legislative session, unless the session goes long in order to find out what will happen with ObamaCare and Medicaid, which will have dramatic effects on the state budget.

State Rep. Jan Jones, the second-highest ranking member of the State House, will not run for Price’s seat in Congress.

The Milton Republican said in a note to Republican colleagues that while the chance to represent the 6th District was appealing, she has decided to stay as the No. 2 Republican in the Georgia House.

“I am more invigorated than ever to answer the urgent call to make things better and create even brighter possibilities for my fellow Georgians,” she said in the letter.

She was being recruited by allies of Gov. Nathan Deal and other supporters to run for the seat, and spent the last few days in a constant churn of meetings and phone calls about the contest. It was no easy decision: A run for the U.S. House would force her to resign her seat – and a chance at the Georgia House’s top job if David Ralston steps down, is appointed to a judgeship or runs for higher office.

Her decision is likely good news for state Sen. Brandon Beach, whose network overlaps with Jones, state Rep. Chuck Martin, who could benefit from united support from the House, and former Secretary of State Karen Handel, who is vying to be the first Republican woman elected to Congress in Georgia.

Republican June Wood was elected Chair of the Henry County Commission yesterday.

With all the precincts reporting, Wood received 66.6 percent, or 7,628 votes. Harrell fell far behind with just 33.4 percent, or 3,825 votes.

“I am promising them a fair hearing and my promise is to do the right thing to help move us in a positive direction,” said Wood of Henry County voters during a previous interview with the Herald. “I will do everything in my power to help bring us together and be respectful of each other for positive change.”

During the Nov. 8 General Election, Wood received just 97 more votes than Harrell. She received 47,255 votes, or 49.39 percent, while Harrell received 49.28 percent.

Democrat Donna Tompkins pulled out a slim margin of victory to win the runoff election for Muscogee County Sheriff over incumbent John Darr.

“Tomorrow I go to the Georgia Sheriff’s Association in Forsyth, because most of the sheriffs started right after the election, so I’m going to be catching up,” she said. “I have to be there tomorrow evening, and pick up in class…. It’s four weeks of training, and I’ve missed two and a half already.”

Tompkins said she believes she’ll be sworn in as sheriff on Jan. 3.

Judy Neal won the runoff election for Mayor of Stockbridge, Georgia.

With all precincts reporting, Neal received 54.33 percent, or 890 votes. Lewis-Ward received 45.67 percent, or 748 votes.

“Tonight is a big win for Stockbridge and a day when the people have spoken,” said Neal after Tuesday’s win. “They want their city to move forward with dignity and honor, using taxpayer money wisely. They don’t want anymore lawsuits or bad things being said about Stockbridge. The people have spoken, they want their city back.”

Chuck Horton was elected to Oconee Commission District 2 in the runoff election.

Horton garnered 2,181 votes, or 56.8 percent, compared to 1,661 votes for Wiedower. Horton is a former county commissioner and former chairman of the Oconee County Board of Education, who works as director of Downtown Athens Parking Services. Wiedower, a political newcomer, is a custom home builder.

Horton led voting in the Nov. 8 general election, earning 8,028 of the 17,649 votes cast in the Post 2 race. That total, though, gave him just 45 percent of the vote, short of the 50 percent plus 1 vote needed to take the seat outright.

Steve Copeland was elected to Post 1 (at-large) on the Brunswick- Glynn Joint Water and Sewer Commission in a runoff election.

According to the unofficial results supplied by the Glynn County Board of Elections, Copeland garnered 421 votes and Valerie Scriven took 115, totaling 78.54 percent and 21.46 percent, respectively.

Ray Paulk won the runoff election for a full term as Berrien County Sheriff , having previously won a special election to serve out the rest of 2016.

Unofficial results from Tuesday night’s runoff race showed incumbent interim Sheriff Ray Paulk with 1,894 votes against challenger Frank Swanson’s 746, said elections chief Melanie Ray. The runoff was to decide the winner of one of two simultaneous sheriff’s elections held by the county in November, a situation caused by federal charges against a former sheriff plus unusual timing.

The results are unofficial because, while totals from all five precincts were in as of 9 p.m., provisional vote totals won’t be available until Friday, Ray said. The Georgia Advocacy Office website defines a “provisional” vote as one cast by someone whose name does not appear on the voter lists at the polling place; a “provisional vote” isn’t counted until the voter’s eligibility can be confirmed.

A combination of federal criminal charges and interesting timing resulted in Berrien County holding two simultaneous elections for sheriff Nov. 8.

The sheriff’s post was already up for a vote in the regularly scheduled general elections of Nov. 8 for the new term beginning Jan. 1. The result: both the special election to fill out the few weeks left in Heath’s term and the “regular” election for a new sheriff had to be held on the same day.

Paulk won the special election against two opponents, carrying 55 percent of the vote; but in the regular election, facing four opponents, there was no clear-cut winner. Paulk had the most votes, but fell just short of the 50 percent plus one required to win, forcing a runoff with Swanson, the candidate with the second-most votes.

Lynn Miller was elected Mayor of Culloden, Georgia in a runoff election required after a rare tie-vote in November.

The Culloden mayoral race came down to just a few votes as expected, 53-32 in favor of Lynn Miller.

Miller beat out incumbent Melvin James.

94 voters were all tied up 47-47 in the last mayoral election in November–an election Faye Eller voted in.

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