Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 16, 2015


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 16, 2015

On June 16, 1736, General James Oglethorpe arrived in England with Tomochichi, the Yamacraw Indian chief, Tomochichi’s wife and several other members of the tribe on a trip to meet the Georgia Trustees and King George II.

Creek Indians signed the Treaty of Fort Wilkinson on June 16, 1802, ceding two parcels of land in Georgia to the United States.

On June 16, 1858, Abraham Lincoln addressed the Illiniois Republican Convention as a candidate for U.S. Senate and warned that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”

The Atlanta Constitution was first published on June 16, 1868.

Bob Dylan recorded “Like a Rolling Stone” on June 16, 1965.

The Monterey Pop Festival opened at the Monterey Fairgrounds on June 16, 1967, often considered one of the opening events of the “Summer of Love.” Among the artists playing the Festival were the Jefferson Airplane, The Who, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Macon-born Otis Redding.

Six Flags Over Georgia opened on June 16, 1967.

Atlanta Braves player Otis Nixon tied the modern record for steals in one game with six stolen bases agains the Montreal Expos on June 16, 1991.

Georgia Politics

State Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) has been named an Administration Floor Leader by Gov. Nathan Deal.

Milledgeville voters will elected on of three candidates for Mayor in a Special Election today after the former Mayor was arrested for insurance fraud.

Age: 66 Occupation: Car care business owner Political experience: Never held elected office

Age: 71 Occupation: Retired U.S. Army colonel; funeral home president and CEO Political experience: Georgia Senate, 1994-1998; Milledgeville mayor 2002-2006

Age: 55 Occupation: Commercial mortgage and staffing business owner Political experience: Never held elected office

In House District 55, where voters go to the polls today to elect a successor to former State Rep. Tyrone Brooks, Sr., who was indicted and pled guilty to federal charges, the drama involves whether his son, Tyrone Brooks, Jr. will be on the ballot today. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Esmond Adams held a hearing on Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s decision to strike Brooks, Jr. after an Administrative Law Judge found the candidate failed to prove one year of residence in the district. Judge Adams held a hearing yesterday, but we haven’t heard anything at this time.

Speaking of going to the polls, if your normal voting precinct in Atlanta is at Peachtree Hills Park and Recreation Center, you will vote instead at Second Ponce de Leon Baptist Church on Peachtree Road due to construction at the Rec. Center.

In other HD55 drama, rapper Killer Mike announced yesterday via Twitter that he would be a write-in candidate for the seat just hours before announcing that he was out of the race. Then he announced that a 2016 campaign might be possible.

Killer Mike spoke about why he made his announcement and what his political future might hold.

So what’s going on with this political run? You’re running?

Well actually, it can’t happen because in Georgia, I have to register as a write-in. It’s what I found out. But I had every intention of it happening, and if it would’ve happened I would’ve stepped up. And if it did, I would’ve done the job.

But more importantly—and the reason why I did it besides the fact that I think politicians need to understand that people from the regular constituencies are willing to run against tem—I wanted to make people aware that the election was even happening. The guy Tyrone Brooks, who used to hold the seat, got involved with some sticky business with donations and charities and that type of thing, so the seat is wide open. There are a few decent candidates that people should look into and they should get out and vote. A lot of times elections are lost and the hope of the public is lost because they don’t turn out. So if I, as a celebrity, can get people to pay attention to the fact that there is a vote going on period, then my job is done.

But I do plan on running for political office one day. The next election I’m probably going to go register as a write-in. If it would’ve worked, I definitely would’ve been going to Washington to represent the people of Georgia.

Yeah, your average person probably didn’t know about the election.

Yeah they didn’t. I only knew because I’m a nerd. [laughs.] I do plan on running though. I absolutely am. I’m just glad that my willingness to run today—even though I was doing it to get people to get out and vote and encourage people to get more politically involved and passionate enough to run for office.

Let’s hope it happens. Thanks for your time, Mike.

No problem. Now I’m off to get some ice cream with my wife.

Of course, State Representatives only go to Washington as tourists. So there’s that. But I can fully endorse his platform of getting ice cream with his wife.

House District 24 in Forsyth County saw higher early voting both HD 55 and the DeKalb County Commission Special Election combined, with 1518 early and advance ballots cast.

Early voting to fill the unexpired terms of Rupert Sexton, for Cumming City Council Post 1, and Mark Hamilton, state House District 24, has been open since May 26, but only pulled 1,518 for advance voting. District 24 has about 38,000 voters eligible to vote in the election, while Cumming has more than 2,600.

“[Voting has gone] very slowly,” said county Supervisor of Voter Registrations and Elections Barbara Luth. “It has picked up a little bit, but not anything to speak of. This was the last push.”

Voting was open at three locations, Cumming City Hall, the Forsyth County Administration Building and Midway Park, for final week of voting. Despite not opening Saturday and for the final week of advance voting, Midway drew more voters than the other two locations.

“For the Admin Building, 476 [people voted,] and of course that would be for all three weeks.

“City Hall, because it was open all three weeks, 494, and then Midway Park, which just opened Saturday, 548.”

“We’ll be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. [on Tuesday,]” Luth said. “Voters need to bring their photo ID, so that they can vote. It would help if they would go online to ensure that they are in the city and/or in House District 24 before they show up to the poll.”

For the city’s election, whoever simply gets the most votes will win, but the House race will require a larger percentage of votes. If no candidate gets more than half the votes a runoff will be held.

“In the 24th District, if a candidate doesn’t get 50 percent plus one vote, the top two vote getters will be in the runoff, which will be on July 14,” Luth said.

The nonpartisan council race features four candidates: Roger Crow, a past president of the Cumming-Forsyth Chamber of Commerce; former Forsyth County Commissioner Linda Ledbetter; Julie Tressler, a real estate agent and small business owner; and Cumming banker Chuck Welch.

While much of the media covering HD24 has concentrated on the feud between Ethan Underwood and David Van Sant, I can see any of the four candidates, which also include Sherri Smallwood Gilligan and Will Kremer, making a runoff election.

In DeKalb County Commission District 5, the Special Election for County Commissioner drew only 400 early and advance ballots. With ten candidates vying for the job today, we expect a runoff.

Mary Ann Whipple-Lu will remain in office as Mayor of Gordon, Georgia under a Georgia Supreme Court decision.

Two city councilmen and members of the Concerned Citizens of Gordon group filed a lawsuit against Whipple-Lue in 2014, just months after she took office, alleging she violated the state’s Open Meetings Act and other misconduct. The group has sought her removal from office.

A Superior Court judge granted temporary restraining orders sought by the plaintiffs last summer, suspending Whipple-Lue from office twice amid additional allegations of misconduct. The judge later reinstated Whipple-Lue with conditions governing her conduct until the case goes to trial.

Monday, the high court unanimously upheld part of the judge’s ruling and reversed part of it.

Gordon’s charter states four council members make a quorum and distinguishes between council members and the mayor, according to court documents.

“A meeting of three council members plus the mayor does not constitute a quorum of the city council and is not a meeting that is subject to the Open Meetings Act,” the opinion states.

Justices determined the trial court was wrong to deny the mayor’s motion to dismiss that portion of the complaint seeking her removal from office.

GOP struggles with race in Virginia, Mississippi

Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy, whom some might call the AJC’s Batman and Robin of politics, write about lessons Georgia Republicans can glean from Mississippi.

There is no state in the U.S. with more black officeholders and a higher proportion of the black vote than Mississippi. There is also no state where voters are more polarized.

The plight of Democrats here is no mystery to counterparts across a region now dominated by Republicans. While Democrats in Georgia and elsewhere pin their hopes on a growing minority population and all-out registration efforts, some party luminaries are urging not to forget their once-fervent white base.

“They can’t write off the South,” U.S. Rep. David Scott, a black Atlanta Democrat, said of his party’s leaders.

Republicans face the inverse problem of trying to expand their appeal to minority voters who have been largely allied with Democrats since the civil rights era — and whose numbers are growing as a portion of the electorate.

The math has helped Republicans dominate the South.

In Mississippi, blacks make up a higher percentage of voters than any other state, with 36 percent in 2012, and they reliably shower Democrats with their support. But Mississippi’s remaining voters, overwhelmingly white, are tremendously loyal Republicans. Nearly nine in 10 white voters, for instance, voted for Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential contest.

The Washington Post similarly looks to lessons from the Virginia Republican Party.

When it comes to attracting minority voters, Republicans are starting to catch up with Democrats in one key way in Virginia: recruiting nonwhite candidates to run for public office.

In primaries last week for this fall’s legislative elections, Republicans nominated two Asians and one Hispanic, as well as a Jewish immigrant from Belarus. On the Democratic side, meanwhile, two Asian American Democrats ran and fell short in the primaries, as did several women and African American candidates. The Democratic candidates nominated in competitive races Tuesday were entirely white and male.

“For two cycles in a row, we have a field that looks and feels like Northern Virginia,” said Ed Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chairman who is working to prepare the GOP for the 2016 presidential election.

Democrats continue to win the lion’s share of minority votes, and the party includes far more nonwhite public officials in its ranks. On top of that, Virginia’s booming population of Latinos and Asians, particularly in the suburbs of Washington, has helped give Democrats an undeniable edge in recent statewide elections: They haven’t lost one in six years.

In other words, the Republican focus on recruiting minority candidates isn’t likely to translate immediately into new victories among nonwhite voters. But it reflects a reality that GOP strategists are keenly aware of: If they don’t try to win a greater share of the minority vote, they are ceding to Democrats the fastest-growing segment of the electorate. And if they figure out how to do it, the Virginia GOP could become a model for other crucial swing states where minority voters can make or break the outcome of elections.

Democrats Endorse Democrat in HD 80

The Georgia Democratic Party unsurprisingly endorsed the only Democrat running for the House District 80 seat vacated by former State Rep. Mike Jacobs (R), who was appointed to the DeKalb County State Court.

Georgia Democratic Party Chairman and former House Minority Leader DuBose Porter said in a statement, “As a small business owner, Taylor understands the importance of locally owned companies in a community, and the gravity of the roles those businesses play in the lives of that community’s families. He understands that for families to succeed, they first need opportunity and access to the resources that inevitably lead to success. Middle class families in House District 80 need someone on their side—and that’s who they’ll get in Taylor Bennett. Taylor is a leader who will make the case for his constituents, and serve as an advocate for Georgia’s families under the Gold Dome.”

Bennett said he is honored and humbled to receive the support of his party. “I’m grateful to be a member of a party that believes in making Georgia more competitive and prosperous for both employers and employees, and that has done such an admirable job championing the rights of all Georgians regardless of race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation,” said Bennett. “I look forward to carrying our shared ideals of inclusion, cooperation, and progress into my service as State Representative for House District 80.”

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