Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 26, 2016

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 26, 2016

On July 26, 1775, the United States Postal Service was created by the Second Continental Congress, may God have mercy on their souls. Benjamin Franklin served as the first Postmaster.

On July 26, 2015, former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, the first pitcher inducted who had undergone Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow.

Smoltz won the 1996 Cy Young award and reached the playoffs 14 times with Atlanta. The Braves won five pennants and the 1995 World Series with Smoltz on the roster. He’s the first pitcher to win more than 200 games and save at least 150 games. He’s also the first player inducted with Tommy John surgery on his resume.

Smoltz understood his debt to John.

“I’m a miracle. I’m a medical miracle,” Smoltz said. “I never took one day for granted.”

Smoltz also heaped praise on former manager Bobby Cox and teammates Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, who were inducted a year ago, and delivered a message to parents of the players of tomorrow as the number of Tommy John surgeries continues to escalate.

“Understand that this is not normal to have a surgery at 14 or 15 years old,” Smoltz said to warm applause. “Baseball is not a year-round sport. They’re competing too hard, too early. That’s why we’re having these problems.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Today is election day, and per my tradition, I’ll be walking over to cast my ballot today. Among the races on my ballot will be House District 80, where I’ll vote for Meagan Hanson.

Paulding County voters will choose between two former County Commissioners — David Carmichael and Roger Leggett — in the Republican runoff election for County Commission Chair, with no Democratic opposition in November.

Lee County hosts a runoff for Probate Judge between Miles O’Quinn and Melanie Gahring. In Terrell County, Democrats will choose between Darlene Paul and Mary Ellen Harnage for Tax Commissioner; also on the Terrell County Democratic ballot is a runoff between incumbnt Sheriff John Bowens against James Driver Jr.

Southeast Georgia will see several Primary Election Runoffs today:

[I]n Brantley County [] former sheriff Robert C. Thomas is facing deputy sheriff Len Davis in the Republic primary. Thomas lost his 2012 re-election bid to the current sheriff, Jack Whisenant, who did not make the runoff in what had been a five man race in May.

The winner will take on Democrat Chris Allen, who had no opposition in the primary.

Glynn County has three races on the Republican primary ballot.

St. Simons Island voters will decide between County Commissioner Dale Provenzano and challenger Peter Murphy. In countywide voting, retired banker Ron Adams and process server and bartender Sam Tostensen are running for county clerk of court and Deputy Coroner Jo Chapman and former Glynn County police detective Marc Neu are running for coroner.

In McIntosh County, longtime Chief Magistrate Teresa Jennings is facing Harold A. Webster III in her re-election bid.

In Camden County, the only race on the ballot is a nonpartisan runoff for the District 5 school board seat between Ronnie Wise and Mark Giddens.

Fulton County Democrats will choose today between incumbent Sheriff Ted Jackson and former Sheriff Richard Lankford for the right to face Republican Ben Cowart in November.

If you live in Fulton County and voted in the Republican Primary on May 24th, there are no GOP runoffs unless you live in Sandy Springs House District 80. Outside of HD 80, you will be voting in the Nonpartisan Primary Runoff for two judicial seats.

“Our biggest concern is turnout,” said Fulton County Magistrate Judge Gary Alembik, who is running against Eric Dunaway for the [Superior Court] seat currently held by Judge Wendy Shoob. “Fulton County has more than 500,000 voters, and they only expect 3 percent to show up for the runoff.”

Dunaway, a DeKalb County prosecutor, said his strategy is to campaign as widely as possible.

“We’ve been very strong in south Fulton, East Point and Fairburn; now we’re going up into Roswell, talking to voters all over the county,” he said. “Too many folks think the election’s in November.”

Getting people to vote is also top of mind for former Fulton Magistrate Sterling Eaves, who is running against Belinda Edwards for the seat of departing Judge Bensonetta Lane. Eaves started campaigning in August, ahead of the other candidates, and said she’s “spent the last year doing everything I know how to get my name out there.”

She said the fact that the runoff is for several races—the county solicitor, sheriff and four Georgia House districts—could prompt more voters to participate. But, she said, “Most people aren’t as aware there’s a runoff as you’d like them to be.”

As she campaigns, Edwards, the former chief judge of the Fulton County Juvenile Court, said she frequently hears comments like “There are too many elections in Fulton County” and “Why is there a runoff?”

The Fulton County Democratic Primary Runoff for House District 59 has already run to more than $400,000 in combined spending.

Both Janine Brown and David Dreyer have said they want to see more school funding, better transit and more jobs in their district, though they rank the issues a little differently. Voters ranked the two pretty close together in the first round of voting: Brown took 1,650 votes to Dreyer’s 1,610. Third-place finisher Josh Noblitt was knocked out of the race with 896 votes.

Brown’s professional history — she spent years as a union rep — is reflected in her labor-heavy list of top donors, as added up by Atlanta Unfiltered. She had raised about $140,000 through June 30. Dreyer, an attorney, has also attracted cash from fellow legal eagles. His donations totaled up to around $200,000 through June 30.

The three campaigns — Brown, Dreyer, and Noblitt — raised in total more than $419,000 through the first half of this year.

In Senate District 43, Democrats Tonya Anderson and Dee Dawkins-Haigler, both current or former State Reps., are on the runoff ballot for the November election against Republican State Senator JaNice VanNess.

State Senate District 24 in the Augusta area has a Republican Primary Runoff between former State Rep. Lee Anderson and Greg Grzybowski to advance to November’s General Election against Democrat Brenda Jor­dan.

More National Convention News

Georgia Delegate to the Republican National Convention Jade Morey spoke to WGXA about her experiences in Cleveland.

State Senator Michael Williams, an early Trump supporter, spoke to the Forsyth News about the Convention.

“It went fantastic,” said state Sen. Michael Williams, a Georgia delegate and early Trump supporter, on Friday. “It was extremely energetic.

People left last night just absolutely in love with Donald Trump and ready to go out there and work hard for him.”

Williams, who represents District 27 in Forsyth, said the majority of the party is behind Trump.

“We still have a very, very small contingent that is not on board with Donald Trump,” he said. “But for the vast, vast majority, 95 percent of us, we left there completely energized and ready to go out there.”

Yesterday in Philadelphia, now-former Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was booed offstage in her own state’s delegation meeting. I guess Democrats heard that Politico called the GOP the “Worst Convention in U.S. History” and took that as a challenge.

Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson disgraced himself, his political party, and his constituents when he referred to Jewish settlers in the West Bank as “termites.”

A poll indicates that Georgia may be in play in November at the Presidential election level, but I won’t lose any sleep over it.

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