Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 15, 2015

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 15, 2015

On July 15, 1864, Sherman’s army began crossing the Chattahoochee River and would take the better part of three days to complete the crossing. Georgia Public Broadcasting has a series on Sherman’s Georgia campaign, and you can watch this week’s episode here.

Major General George Stoneman’s cavalry had come to the area south of Atlanta. On July 15, 1864, Stoneman wrote from camp near Villa Rica, Georgia.

As I indicated to you in my last note, we completed the bridge (Moore’s), and were ready to cross at daybreak yesterday morning, but before we essayed it a report came from Major Buck, in command of a battalion seven miles above, that the enemy had been crossing above him on a boat or a bridge, and that his pickets had been cut off.

Colonel Biddle, who was left with his brigade at Campbellton, reports the enemy quite strong at that point, with two guns of long range in each of the two redoubts on the opposite bluff, which are opened upon him whenever any of his men show themselves.

I was very anxious to strike the railroad from personal as well as other considerations, but I became convinced that to attempt it would incur risks inadequate to the results, and unless we could hold the bridge, as well as penetrate into the country, the risk of capture or dispersion, with loss of animals (as I could hear of no ford), was almost certain.

On July 15, 1870, Georgia was readmitted to the United States, with the signature by President Ulysses Grant of the “Georgia Bill” by the U.S. Congress.

On July 15, 1938, the first recorded use occurred of the name “Alcoholics Anonymous” in a letter from Bill W. Next July, the organization will gather in Atlanta to celebrate its 80th anniversary.

On July 15, 1948, President Harry Truman was nominated at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago to run for a full term as President of the United States.

Election Wrap-Up

In the House District 24 Runoff election, Sheri Gilligan (R) whipped David Van Sant by better than 3-to-1.

From the Forsyth County News,

“I’ve never been so proud with a group of volunteers as I’ve been with the people who’ve worked so tirelessly for me,” Gilligan said. “Every phone call they made, every door that they knocked on, everything they did got me to this point. I am so very proud.”

Van Sant expressed gratitude to his supporters and congratulated Gilligan on her victory.

“I appreciate all the support we had. We had a lot of good people out there behind us, and Sheri got her people out there behind her as well,” he said. “I just look forward to her accomplishing the things that she ran on.”

Gilligan, a former CIA analyst and U.S. Navy Reserves veteran who teaches at Lanier Technical College, said she had not been notified of when she would officially take office.

Voter turnout for the runoff topped 11 percent, with 3,800 of the district’s 34,371 registered voters casting ballots. Some 1,660 of them did so during the advance voting period leading up to Tuesday.

So that runoff drew more voters (3800 even) than the June 16th Special Election that preceded it (3573). That’s quite unusual.

In the Special Runoff Election for House District 55 to fill the seat formerly held by Tyrone Brooks, fewer voters (2438) turned out to vote by a 58-42 margin for Democrat Marie Metze over fellow Democrat Shelitha Robertson. In June, 2769 voters turned out.

From Neighbor Newspapers,

Metze, 76, is a retired educator and community organizer.

She said was surprised to beat Robertson because of that candidate’s name recognition, but Metze said she feels “great” about the win and ready to go to the state Capitol in January.

“My No. 1 goal is economic development for District 55,” Metze said.

Former Roswell City Council Member Betty Price (R) won the election for House District 48 outright, taking slightly more than 51% against fellow Republican Dave McCleary (34.3%) and Democrat Jimmie Johnson (14.6%). From the Roswell Neighbor,

Republican Betty Price stated that she was not surprised by the results of the evening.

“I think that this shows we have a diverse community, it shows that by in large within our party, they’re pretty solidly behind me,” said Price. “I think my supporters are a solid, good bunch of people.”

Price added that the campaign experience was positive and the challenge from another member of her party motivated her to campaign harder.

“Personally I knocked on 3,000 doors and that was just a fun experience, I ran into people I haven’t seen for 20 years, I got reacquainted with people and I heard all sorts of things that are on peoples’ minds,” Price said. “I have a good feeling and a good sense for what the issues are that people have and we were right on with our three main issues that we were promoting and planning to work on.”

Republican Dave McCleary said, “We were the underdogs going in and we knew it was going to be tough race. I’m just excited I had the opportunity to meet so many great citizens in Roswell, we went door to door and that was a really fun part of the campaign.”

As it happens, Price was one of two Congressional spouses to win election to state or local office in runoffs last night, as Mereda Davis Johnson (D), wife of Congressman Hank Johnson (D-Guam) won DeKalb County Commission District 5.

Mereda Davis Johnson, an attorney and wife of Congressman Hank Johnson, received 53.12 percent of the July 14 vote to become the new District 5 representative on the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners.

“I’m excited for my election and I’m also excited that we finally have representation in the Fifth District after two years,” Johnson said. “I look forward to serving with my colleagues on the commission and I’m going to hit the ground running.”

Johnson thanked her supporters for their “vote of confidence.”

During a June 29 forum with her opponent, George Turner, she pledged to “work with the chambers and also East Metro DeKalb [community improvement district]–to establish and to attract quality economic development within the area.

“I’d like to see international partnerships with DeKalb County, as well as in DeKalb County schools for our students need to be exposed to different cultures so that they will understand that this is [a] global society,” Johnson said.

House District 80 will be the only August runoff election with a Democrat on the ballot, and the only election in which party control of a legislative seat could change from the previous holder. It will also likely determine the partisan majority of the Fulton County House Delegation. Democrat Taylor Bennett, who carried 36.8% meets Republican J. Max Davis, who took 31.5% and a 57-vote margin over the third place finisher.

But it shouldn’t be surprising that a Democrat took the highest vote total in a seat formerly held by Republican Mike Jacobs. To determine the partisan balance of the electorate, consider that Republicans took 63% of the votes cast yesterday in that seat and that in 2010, the last contested General Election for HD80, Republican Jacobs took 65.9% of the vote over the hapless Democrat. By the way, I was the general consultant for that winning race.

Consider too the 2014 Special Election for DeKalb County Commission District One. Like HD80 yesterday, a multitude of Republicans (4) lined up against a single Independent, who carried enough votes to come in first place. But in the December runoff election, top Republican vote-getter Nancy Jester cruised to  3-to-1 victory. I happened to be the general consultant for that winning race too.

In a district like HD80 that contains a sizable minority of Democrats, a single Democratic candidate lined up against 3 or 4 Republicans can be expected to show well and make a runoff. But in the runoff, demographics and party ID play out as the dominant party in the district reasserts itself behind a single candidate.

That said, Taylor Bennett ran a strong campaign, with a great ground game. J. Max Davis will have to take control of the race early and drive out Republicans who want lower taxes, better schools, and who appreciate the crime reductions we’ve seen since Davis helped build out the Brookhaven Police Department in a very short time.

Coming in fifth place, with a single write-in vote, was Bugs Bunny.

Bugs Bunny Voter2

House District 146 will see a runoff election between Republicans Shaw Blackmon (43.8%) and Larry Walker, III (35.2%). From the Macon Telegraph,

House District 146 covers a piece of Houston County roughly from Perry to part of Warner Robins and Bonaire.

Blackmon, 42, put cutting red tape near the top of his legislative plan.

“I think we had a good night,” said Blackmon, just after the results were published. “This was a good, clean, positive race that we all ran.”

Walker, 50, said jobs should be at the top of the Georgia Legislature’s agenda.

On Tuesday night, Walker said, “We’re still enthused, we felt pretty sure it would end up in a runoff … [we] had three reputable candidates.”

Both men also said they would put a high priority on supporting Robins Air Force Base’s missions.

Blackmon raised nearly $90,000 for the election, Walker reported more than $77,000 in campaign cash, and Burke reported over $18,000.

South Georgia’s House District 155 will host a runoff election between top finisher Clay Pirkle (36.5%) and second-place Horace Hudgins (31.6%). From the Tifton Gazette,

There will be a runoff between Pirkle and Hudgins on Aug. 11.

Clay Pirkle of Turner County led in Tift County for the State House District 155 seat in Tuesday’s special election.

Going up against Pirkle in the race were candidates Sherry Miley of Tift County, Scott Lowell Downing of Ben Hill County and Horace Hudgins of Irwin County.

Gary Thrower won a 35-vote victory in the Runoff Election for Mayor of Milledgeville, according to Channel 13, WMAZ.

Gary Thrower beat former Mayor Floyd Griffin, 50.78% to 49.22%. The actual numbers show just how close the vote was 1,134 votes for Thrower to 1,099 votes for Griffin. A difference of just 35 votes.

Thrower was emotional when he heard the results and celebrated with friends and family. He says he’s looking forward to taking office and moving Milledgeville into the future. “Try to build trust with the existing council. Hopefully let them know that I’m here to work with them as a teammate. I want them to trust me and I want to be able to trust them,” said Thrower.

Thrower says bringing economic development to the city is also on the top of his list.

Former Milledgeville Mayor Floyd Griffin says he was shocked by how close the vote was. “My first election for mayor, I won by 22 votes in the runoff. So those kinds of things can happen and is not surprising. I expected a close race, I just didn’t think it was gonna be quite this close,” said Griffin.

After winning a runoff for Blakely City Council, Margret Wimberly will become the first female and first African-American to represent District 1 on council.

Scott Walker comes to Atlanta again

As part of his Presidential Announcement tour, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker comes back to Atlanta with an event this evening.

Julianne Thompson, co-founder of the Capitol Coalition of Conservative Leaders and former co-chairman of the Atlanta Tea Party, was at the Wisconsin announcement and sent in her write-up of the event.

July 13, 2015 was a beautiful day in Waukesha, Wisconsin, as scores of supporters packed-out the Wausheka Country Expo Center to see Governor Scott Walker announce his candidacy for President of the United States.

Faith, family, and freedom were at the center of every message spoken by those who took the podium at Walker’s announcement. Every member of the Walker family had a role to play. Rev. Walker (the Governor’s father) gave the invocation. His brother and two small nieces led the audience in the pledge. His wife introduced him, and his sons, Matt and Alex kicked-off the event.

Matt and Alex began the event with a humorous look at just what it is like being the sons of a well-known Governor turned Presidential candidate. “To us he is just “dad”, said Matt Walker. “He likes to embarrass us. He still wears jeans shorts and long tube socks. He looks forward to Halloween more than we do, and one year he and my mother dressed-up as Yoda and Luke Skywalker.”  The boys were a huge hit with the audience who loved the anecdotes. Throughout the afternoon it was easy to see this could be any American family. The humorous stories, those of love and devotion, the good times and the bad…and how they weathered the storms together – the recall and even death threats. One thing is certain, this is a family built on a firm foundation of faith, and they will tell you that God has been faithful to the Walker family.

Another trend of the event was the campaign’s understanding of the importance of the female vote. Every speaker at the event, aside from Walker himself and his sons was female. After an enthusiastic Lt. Gov. Kleefisch, and a rousing speech by author and television personality Rachel Campos-Duffy, the First Lady of Wisconsin took the podium.

“You all have no idea what you mean to our family”, Tonnette Walker stated. “We appreciate you from the bottom of our hearts. You knocked on doors, you made phone calls, you travelled to Wisconsin from around the country to help, but most of all you prayed for us, and we know you prayed for us, because we felt those prayers.” After speaking for a few minutes Tonette Walker introduced the Governor.

From the description of Scott Walker wearing jean shorts, we know he’s preparing for the Florida Presidential Primary.

The entire Walker family at Scott Walker's Presidential announcement

The entire Walker family at Scott Walker’s Presidential announcement

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