Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 25, 2016


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 25, 2016

James Oglethorpe, founder of Georgia, left the colony for the last time on July 23, 1743, returning to England.

On July 24, 1778, Georgia ratified the Articles of Confederation.

Georgia’s John Walton was present on July 9, 1778, and signed the document then. Georgia’s other two delegates – Edward Telfair and Edward Langworthy – did not sign until July 24, 1778, which is the date most often used for Georgia’s ratification of the Articles.

An interesting sidenote is that John Walton‘s brother, George Walton, signed the Declaration of Independence on Georgia’s behalf.

On July 24, 1919, the Georgia General Assembly rejected ratification of the 19th Amendment, which extends the right of voting to women.

The All-Star Game was held in Atlanta on July 25, 1972, with the National League winning 4-3 in ten innings.

On July 25, 1974, the United States Supreme Court ruled in the case of United States v. Nixon that executive privilege did not allow the White House to refuse to turn over audio recordings that had been subpoenaed by a special prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal.

On July 22, 1975, the United States House of Representatives voted to restore U.S. Citizenship to General Robert E. Lee posthumously.

Though President Andrew Johnson issued a proclamation of amnesty and pardon to the Southern rebels in 1865, it required Lee to apply separately. On Oct. 2, 1865, the same day that Lee was inaugurated as president of Washington College in Lexington, Va., he signed the required amnesty oath and filed an application through Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.

Nonetheless, neither was Lee pardoned, nor was his citizenship restored. After receiving it, Secretary of State William Seward gave Lee’s application to a friend as a souvenir. Meanwhile, State Department officials, apparently with Seward’s approval, pigeonholed the oath.

In 1970, an archivist, examining State Department records at the National Archives, found Lee’s lost oath. That discovery helped set in motion a five-year congressional effort to restore citizenship to the general, who had died stateless in 1870.

President Gerald Ford signed the congressional resolution on July 24, 1975, correcting what he said was a 110-year oversight. The signing ceremony took place at Arlington House in Virginia, the former Lee family home. Several Lee descendants, including Robert E. Lee V, his great-great-grandson, attended.

On July 24, 2000, former Georgia Governor Zell Miller was appointed to the United States Senate to serve in the seat vacated on the death of Senator Paul Coverdell.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

According to the mainstream media, the 2016 Republican National Convention was “negative,” “mean,” riven with “fear,” and “The Worst Convention in History.” It might have looked negative and mean if your name is “Hillary Clinton,” but I disagree with almost everything being written about the convention to the extent that I wonder if any of those folks actually attended the same event I was at.

Yes, Ted Cruz’s speech got booed. I might suspect it was organized, but if it was, it would have been the single most well-organized event at the convention with the exception of the buses running between hotels and the convention center.

But for those of us who were Republicans, it was a great event. The City of Cleveland got rave reviews, as did Cleveland law enforcement, which was supplemented by federal, state, and local officers from across the nation.

Jade Morey, a Georgia Delegate, wrote on Facebook,

It’s hard for the Republican Party to get a message of inclusion out when the media literally refuses to print/air it. Can’t tell you how many times I gave interviews this weekend and they don’t want to hear it. They want divisive, crazy quotes. Their view of the convention was in some ways a stark contrast from my personal experience. Never ceases to amaze me how far they will go to push their bias. #RNCinCLE‬

At the Convention, Ginger Howard took her seat as Republican National Committeewoman for Georgia.

Houston County Republicans support Trump in the General Election, according to WGXA.

“What our message is, is to go out and educate people on what Mr. Trump really stands for and that’s why I said you have to get beyond what you hear and get beyond what you see,” said [Vivian] Childs.

Houston County Republican Party 2nd Vice Chair Bethany Ballard is in charge of recruiting guest speakers. She explained her reasoning for inviting Smith and Childs to the group’s meeting was to show everyone that Trump is for the younger generation as well as minorities.

“It’s hard to get millennials out to the polls sometimes. Sometimes the young people seem very excited about elections and they’re very vocal but then they don’t show up on election day,” said Ballard.

Ballard explained she herself was not always a Trump supporter.

“It was a hard decision to support Trump but I decided in the end that Trump is the best choice for America going forward,” said Ballard.

Childs believes GOP voters of all ages should stand with one another to support their nominee.

Jentezen Franklin of the Free Chapel in Gainesville spoke to the Gainesville Times about his role on a committee advising GOP nominee Donald Trump on evangelical issues.

“I see my role on the committee as representing the evangelical community in general, but also the voices of the men and women in my church and every church that can’t be heard by Mr. Trump or be in that circle,” said Franklin, who has led Free Chapel for nearly 25 years ago, seeing it grow to include campuses nationwide.

For Franklin, whose ministry includes a national TV program, “Kingdom Connection,” his work on the committee began several months ago with an invitation via a phone call from the campaign.

“They made it clear (serving on the committee) was not an endorsement but that it would be basically a listening session,” he said. “(Trump) was interested in the concerns and fears of the evangelical community.”

The initial meeting was scheduled to last an hour but went on for three. The group, comprising 15 prominent pastors and others, gathered with Trump around a long conference table.

Trump “was very attentive,” Franklin said. “He has one persona on television, but when you get in a room with him, he’s actually a very good listener. And the people who were there spoke very bluntly — I would even call it, at times, confrontational.

“We understand that anytime we get those kinds of calls from politicians, it’s got to do with votes, too.”

The group could continue to meet monthly until the Nov. 8 election.

However, if he’s elected, “he has indicated that he absolutely wants to have an ear to the evangelical community through this executive committee,” Franklin said.

I’ll be writing more about the convention over the coming days, and hopefully speaking to a few more members of the delegation. But we’ve got business to do in Georgia with the Primary Runoffs tomorrow.

Primary Runoff Elections Tuesday

After his speech in Cleveland at the Republican National Convention, Ted Cruz headed to Georgia, where he headlined a rally for Mike Crane in the Third Congressional District.

“He understands that freedom matters. He’ll speak the truth, and he is a fighter,” said Cruz, stumping for the hometown District 3 congressional hopeful in front of a packed house at the Newnan Centre.

Shouts of “Amen!” and “That’s right!” marked a far friendlier reception than the one in Cleveland two days earlier, when the initially supportive crowd became outraged, erupting in boos and chants of “We want Trump!” after Cruz shattered the unified image that his party had struggled to establish by refusing to formally endorse the Republican presidential nominee.

Crane stood nearby as Cruz gave him a glowing endorsement.

“You need someone with a body part that not very many people have these days,” Cruz said. “A backbone. Mike Crane has a backbone.”

Cruz arrived in Newnan just before 6 p.m. Friday to help fire up Crane’s supporters for Tuesday’s runoff, where he will face former West Point Mayor Drew Ferguson. Crane and Ferguson essentially tied in a seven-man Republican primary in May. The runoff is for the nomination and the chance to face Democratic nominee Angela Pendley in November.

11Alive spoke to Cruz at the event.

I asked Crane if there was any hesitation to bring Cruz down after his speech.

“Hesitation? No, I would have driven him down myself,” Crane said, “you don’t abandon your friends.”

Crane was an early supporter of Cruz. Though, now he says he supports Trump.

“I thought he did a great speech, he congratulated Donald, and he encouraged everyone to get out and vote in November and vote for the constitutional officers up and down the ballot,” Crane said, “for me, that says wholeheartedly, let’s vote for Donald Trump.”

While Cruz didn’t speak about Donald Trump, he did speak speak about party unity.
“The way we unite and the way we win in November, is we come together to defend freedom,” Cruz said.

Atlanta Magazine inverviewed Mike Boyce about his runoff election against incumbent Cobb County Commission Chair Tim Lee.

On January 3, Boyce launched a campaign to unseat Cobb Chairman Tim Lee. He had a simple plan: Six days a week, the 66-year-old political novice knocked on doors as his mostly volunteer team called voters from a phone bank set up in the basement of his brick ranch home. To date, Boyce’s “army” has reached out to more than 120,000 voters with a pledge to bring transparency back to the Cobb commission following the SunTrust Park deal in 2014. Five months after his campaign began, Boyce shocked political observers as the top vote-getter in the May Republican primary—coming within 400 votes of winning the seat outright.

You’ve emphasized how grassroots your campaign has been. How so, exactly?

I knew we had to do something different [than in 2012]. I had to find a campaign guru. I had to raise money. Nobody knew who I was; I had to fall back on my social network of people that supported me before, and my wife and I conducted a number of private dinners, and we told people why we needed their help. My secret weapon is my wife. Everybody in this army does something. Why our campaign has worked is that we guarantee that, when they show up to so something, we’re prepared for them. We don’t waste their time.

How many volunteers do you have at this point in time?

Well over 300. It’s hard for people to believe that the key to this campaign was that in January, three people—my campaign guru, manager, and a Kennesaw State intern—drove this campaign. We agreed on this strategy to go door-to-door unless something drastically changed. But my issue from day one has always been if you can vote on a $40 million park bond, why can’t we vote on a $350 million stadium bond?

The only thing harder than getting people to turn up to a primary is to get them to turn up to a runoff. What’s your strategy against a well-funded opponent?

It’s not about money. It’s about volunteers. The chairman has the money. I have the army. He’s got to buy his army. Mine walk in the door. There are people downstairs in my basement right now—and I have no idea who they are—who believe in this cause of representative government.

More than 13,000 absentee and advance voting ballots have been cast in the Cobb County runoff elections.

Through three weeks of advanced voting, 10,727 people cast a ballot in person and 2,367 mailed one in, according to unaudited numbers from Cobb Elections. Bucking a trend with runoff elections, the number of early votes surpasses the number who voted early in the primary, when just 9,894 people voted in person and 1,752 mailed in a ballot — a total of 11,646 early votes.

The ballot for the July 26 runoff election features Cobb Chairman Tim Lee squaring off against retired Marine Col. Mike Boyce for the Republican nomination for the chairman’s seat as well as a race between local attorneys John Morgan and Kellie Hill for a seat on the county’s State Court.

Two seats on the Muscogee County Board of Education will be decided tomorrow.

In the District 1 race, three-term incumbent Pat Hugley Green faces retired educator JoAnn Thomas-Brown.

Green, an insurance agent and chief administrator for Hugley’s Facility Management and Janitorial Service, is the board’s vice chairwoman and chairs the finance committee. She is the sister of Columbus City Manager Isaiah Hugley and the sister-in-law of state Rep. Carolyn Hugley, D-Columbus. Green received 46.62 percent of the district’s 2,651 votes in the May 24 election.

Thomas-Brown is owner and chief executive officer of B&O services, which provides support and a group home for the intellectually disabled. She worked 36 years in the Muscogee County School District, including as principal of Baker Middle School, and earned a place in the runoff by finishing second in the three-way race with 29.95 percent. Al Stewart, another retired educator, came in third with 23.35 percent. There were two write-in votes.

District 7 representative Shannon Smallman, a real estate broker, didn’t seek re-election to a second term. She instead is campaign manager for Cathy Williams, president and chief executive officer of NeighborWorks Columbus, which promotes and provides access to fit and affordable housing.

Cathy Williams, the wife of Ledger-Enquirer senior reporter Chuck Williams, received 46.04 percent of the district’s 1,173 votes in the May 24 election. Her runoff opponent is Shelia Williams, who works with Thomas-Brown as executive director of B&O Services.

Shelia Williams also has been a team leader and support coordinator for Columbus Community Services, an online adjunct criminal justice instructor for Troy University at Fort Benning and a lead teacher for Easter Seals of West Georgia. Shelia Williams received 32.91 percent of the District 7 vote May 24 to qualify for the runoff.

Madison County voters will decide on runoff elections for Sheriff and County Commission Chair.

In the Madison County sheriff’s race, Sheriff Kip Thomas is being challenged by former Deputy Michael Moore in the Republican primary runoff.

Thomas led May balloting with 2,242 of the 4,827 votes cast, but that got him just slightly more than 46 percent of the vote, short of the 50 percent plus 1 vote needed to claim victory. Moore earned 32 percent of the vote, while the third candidate in the contest, David Larkins, took 21 percent.

There are no Democrats in the race, so Tuesday’s vote will determine the new sheriff in Madison County.

In the Madison County Commission chairman’s race, John Scarborough and Stanley Thomas emerged as the top two vote-getters in the Republican primary, with Scarborough claiming 25 percent of the 4,680 ballots cast and Thomas earning 24 percent of the vote in a five-way contest that resulted from long-time incumbent Anthony Dove’s decision not to seek re-election.

State Rep. John Yates (R-Griffin) is in the battle of his political lifetime for reelection against fellow Republican Karen Mathiak.

John Yates, still gets misty-eyed talking about his first election in 1989 as one of the Georgia House’s few Republicans. Now, during a primary runoff in what he has said would be his last re-election bid, the 94-year-old legislator from Griffin is trying to avoid an undignified exit from a state Legislature he helped turn red.

Defeat of Yates, the last World War II veteran still serving at the statehouse, would represent an end of an era at the Capitol and is one of the headline races in Tuesday’s statewide runoff election.

Yates, whose framed war medals line his second-floor Capitol office, is one of two prominent GOP House incumbents facing runoffs after failing to get enough votes in the state’s May general primary. The other is state Rep. Tom Dickson, a retired school superintendent from Whitfield County who fell 16 votes short of an outright win and now faces Chatsworth farmer Jason Ridley in the runoff.

I call it the battle of his political lifetime, not the biggest battle of his lifetime. That would probably be the Battle of the Bulge. You know, an actual battle. There are some fascinating videos online of this member of The Greatest Generation discussing his service in WWII.

In Cherokee County, Commission District Three will be decided between Bob Kovacs and Jack Staver.

Early voter turnout for the runoff was low, elections officials say, and the race could be decided by how many people the candidates persuade to cast their ballots on Election Day.

Elections Director Kim Stancil predicted that voter turnout in the race would be extremely low, as is typical in most runoffs. The fact that the District 3 race is the only one being contested, she said, lowered those expectations even more.

Both candidates have spent their evenings in recent months going door to door in their district to meet with voters in the hopes of gaining their support.

The two candidates say they have spoken to thousands of voters during their campaigns, but say the vast majority of the residents they have talked to are unaware that a runoff was even taking place.

Richmond County voters will decide on a new State Court Judge in tomorrow’s runoff elections.

The contest pits Robert “Bo” Hunter III against current Richmond County State Court Solicitor Kellie McIntyre.

The winner of the election will serve as one of four judges on the State Court bench where misdemeanor criminal cases, which include nearly all traffic offenses in Georgia, are handled, as well as civil lawsuits.

The Dawson County Commission will advertise a lower property tax millage rate for 2017 with three public hearings scheduled for August. Randall Dowling has resigned as Dawson County Manager, according to

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