Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 2, 2020


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 2, 2020

On January 1, 1751, the law prohibiting slavery in Georgia was repealed after an act passed by the Georgia Trustees the previous year.

On January 2, 1766, some Sons of Liberty marched on the Royal Governor’s Mansion in Savannah to “discuss” the Stamp Act, which required the use of stamped paper for all printing as a means of taxing the colonies. They were met by a pistol-toting Governor Wright.

Georgia became the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution on January 2, 1788.

Timothy Pickering of Massachusetts became the first United States Senator to be censured by the body on January 2, 1811.

The Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln went into effect in eleven Southern states on January 1, 1863, though parts of Virginia and Louisiana were exempt.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp issued a Writ of Election for a Special Election to State Senate District 13, comprising Crisp, Dodge, Dooly, Lee, Tift, Turner, Worth and parts of Sumter and Wilcox Counites, to be held on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. A Special Election for House District 171 will be held January 21, 2020, with a runoff, if needed, on February 25, 2020.

Two candidates have announced so far for the 14th Congressional District seat being vacated by Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ranger), who announced he will not run for reelection this year, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Clayton Fuller has announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, making him the second candidate to declare for the seat currently held by Tom Graves, R-Ranger.

A native of the 14th District, Fuller and his wife Kate live in Lookout Mountain with their two young children.

Appointed by President Donald Trump as a White House Fellow, Fuller recently worked in the office of the Vice President, assisting Second Lady Karen Pence with various projects.

Also on Wednesday, Paulding County School Board member Jason R. Anavitarte announced he would not be seeking the District 14 seat.

Early last month, wealthy Alpharetta businesswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene switched from challenging U.S. Rep. Karen Handel in the District 6 race, becoming the first to enter the District 14 contest following the announcement by Graves that he wouldn’t seek reelection in 2020.

From the AJC:

Another name to keep an eye on: Dallas Mayor Boyd Austin, the former president of the Georgia Municipal Association.

State Rep. Richard Smith (R-Columbus) will chair the House Rules Committee in the coming session, according to the AJC.

Smith will take over the Rules Committee after its previous chairman, state Rep. Jay Powell, died during a retreat of Republican legislative leaders in November.

“Richard Smith has earned the trust and respect of every member of our House of Representatives,” said Ralston, a Republican from Blue Ridge. “He is a wise and thoughtful leader who always puts the interests of this state and its citizens first.”

Since 2011, Smith has served as the chairman of the Insurance Committee. Before he was elected to the House in 2004, Smith was a member of the Columbus City Council.

State Rep. Eddie Lumsden (R-Rome) will serve as Chair of the House Insurance Committee, while State Rep. Bonnie Rich (R-Duluth) takes the reins as Chair of the Legislative & Congressional Reapportionment Committee.

Dougherty County and Albany are looking to work together for continued economic growth, according to the Albany Herald.

Dougherty County Commissioner Anthony Jones said … [t]he county should continue working with the city of Albany to keep the momentum going, Jones said during an interview about what he would like to see local governments focus on in 2020.

“I’d like to see the county and city work together,” he said. “I’d like to see downtown development continue to move forward. I really think it’s important the city and county continue to work together to carry out the goals and ambitions of the citizens of this community.”

The Georgia Capitol main outside staircases will be renovated, according to the Albany Herald.

The historic limestone and granite steps at the north and south entrances of the Georgia Capitol will get a makeover this year.

The Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission has released a request for qualifications seeking a contractor for the $1.5 million project.

Bids on the project are due Jan. 15. The work will begin at the end of the 2020 General Assembly session, likely in early April, with completion expected within 210 days.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division has issued its 2020 revised sport fishing regulations, according to the Albany Herald.

The 2020 Georgia Sport Fishing Regulations Guide provides information such as a color fish identification chart for both freshwater and saltwater fish, license purchasing information, contact information for Wildlife Resources Division and Coastal Resources Division fisheries management offices, DNR Law Enforcement offices, trout stream listings, public fishing area information, state record fish listings, fishing regulations for Georgia and more.

The 2020 Georgia Sport Fishing Regulations may be found online at, or through the Outdoors GA app (free app for iPhone or Android users). Anglers also can pick up a printed copy at any Wildlife Resources Division fisheries management or DNR Law Enforcement office, or at fishing license vendors throughout Georgia.

Van Johnson has been sworn in as Mayor of Savannah, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Savannah Mayor-elect Van Johnson II on Wednesday became mayor before a church full of celebrants gathered for the 157th Annual Emancipation Proclamation Celebration of President Abraham Lincoln’s edict ending slavery in the Confederate states.

“I’m becoming your mayor in front of you right now,” Johnson told the audience from the pulpit of historic St. Philip AME Church on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard before taking the oath of office in what he said fulfilled a legal obligation to have a mayor in office on Jan. 1.

And Chatham County Commission Chairman Al Scott challenged the worshipers, telling them that have an opportunity in 2020 to make history and urging them to make a New Year’s resolution “to take your city back.”

He said that with the 2020 census it was “absolutely important that you participate.”

Scott said the actions of the Trump Administration to undo the work of the 44th president, Barack Obama, in what he called, “2016 may have been the start of the new reconstruction.”

Formal inauguration of Mayor Johnson and city council will be held tonight, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Mayor-elect Van Johnson and members of the city council will be sworn in at inauguration ceremonies tonight, Thursday, Jan. 2.

The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. and is being held in the Johnny Mercer Theater at the Savannah Civic Center.

Newly elected Mayor Johnson will take the oath of office along with all members of council.

For Johnson it will be his second time taking the oath of office.

Council-elect members are Kesha Gibson-Carter, Post 1, At-Large; Alicia Miller Blakely, Post 2, At-Large; Bernetta B. Lanier, District 1; Detric Leggett, District 2; Linda Wilder-Bryan, District 3; Nick Palumbo, District 4 and Kurtis Purtee, District 6.

Current council member for District 5, Estella Edwards Shabazz will be sworn in for her third term as an alderman.

Statesboro City Council will have a majority of new members, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Three new members of Statesboro City Council — the first women elected by districts to the council in its history — will be sworn in at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the City Hall council chambers at the start of their first official meeting.

They are Paulette Chavers of District 2, Venus Mack of District 3, and Shari Barr of District 5. Another woman who holds elected local office, Judge Lorna DeLoach of the Bulloch County Probate Court, is slated to administer the oath of office.

Gwinnett County Senior Magistrate Judge Emily Powell died after being hit by a truck while crossing the street, according to AccessWDUN.

The police department said in a news release that Judge Powell was one of the original Gwinnett County magistrates where she served the court for over 20 years She attended the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer. Based on her experience, she was routinely tasked with helping train and mentor new judges in Gwinnett County. Judge Powell was also a graduate of Leadership Gwinnett and active with Gwinnett Senior Leadership. She leaves behind a husband and two children.

From the AJC:

Because of her experience, she was routinely tasked with training and mentoring Gwinnett’s newest judges.

“Thank you Emily for being you,” one of those judges, Angela Duncan, wrote on Facebook this week. “Thank you for your love, support, mentorship. Thank you for being one of the strongest, (most) beautiful women I know so filled with grace.”

Powell leaves behind her husband, Tony — a well-known local attorney and former Lawrenceville city councilman — and their two children.

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