Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 17, 2015

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Jun

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 17, 2015

John Wesley, founder of Methodism, was born on June 17, 1703 in Epworth, England.

On June 17, 1759, Sir Francis Drake claimed California for England.

On June 17, 1775, British forces under General William Howe engaged American colonists at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

On June 17, some 2,200 British forces under the command of Major General William Howe (1729-1814) and Brigadier General Robert Pigot (1720-96) landed on the Charlestown Peninsula then marched to Breed’s Hill. As the British advanced in columns against the Americans, Prescott, in an effort to conserve the Americans’ limited supply of ammunition, reportedly told his men, “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!” When the Redcoats were within several dozen yards, the Americans let loose with a lethal barrage of musket fire, throwing the British into retreat.

After re-forming their lines, the British attacked again, with much the same result. Prescott’s men were now low on ammunition, though, and when the Redcoats went up the hill for a third time, they reached the redoubts and engaged the Americans in hand-to-hand combat. The outnumbered Americans were forced to retreat. However, by the end of the engagement, the Patriots’ gunfire had cut down some 1,000 enemy troops, with more than 200 killed and more than 800 wounded. More than 100 Americans perished, while more than 300 others were wounded.

President Andrew Johnson appointed John Johnson (no relation) provisional Governor of Georgia after the Civil War on June 17, 1865; John Johnson had opposed secession.

France announced its intention to surrender to Germany on June 17, 1940.

Five men were arrested for burglary of the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate office and apartment complex in Washington, DC on June 17, 1972.

The affair began with the arrest of five men for breaking and entering into the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate complex on June 17, 1972. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) connected cash found on the burglars to a slush fund used by the Committee for the Re-Election of the President, the official organization of Nixon’s campaign.

In July 1973, as evidence mounted against the president’s staff, including testimony provided by former staff members in an investigation conducted by the Senate Watergate Committee, it was revealed that President Nixon had a tape-recording system in his offices and he had recorded many conversations.

After a protracted series of bitter court battles, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the president had to hand over the tapes to government investigators; he ultimately complied.

Recordings from these tapes implicated the president, revealing he had attempted to cover up the questionable goings-on that had taken place after the break-in.

Facing near-certain impeachment in the House of Representatives and equally certain conviction by the Senate, Nixon resigned the presidency on August 9, 1974. His successor, Gerald Ford, then issued a pardon to him on September 8, 1974.

Newton Leroy Gingrich was born on June 17, 1943 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Gingrich graduated from college at Emory University, where he founded the Emory College Republicans. Gingrich’s congressional papers are collected in the the Georgia’s Political Heritage Program at West Georgia College, where he taught before being elected to Congress. Also at West Georgia are the papers of former Congressmen Bob Barr, Mac Collins, and Pat Swindall, along with a near-perfect replica of Georgia Speaker Tom Murphy’s office.

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Georgia Politics

In House District 24 (Forsyth County), it appears that Sheri Smallwood Gilligan missed an outright win by 2 votes, garnering 49.97% of ballots cast, while Georgia law requires 50% plus one vote. From the Forsyth County News,

A July 14 runoff election appears likely in the race to fill the District 24 seat in the Georgia House of Representatives.

Sheri Gilligan received the most votes, 1,785, for about 49.9 percent of the total — just shy of the 50 percent plus one vote required to win without a runoff.

But that tally put her well ahead of the other three Republican candidates, including second-place finisher David Van Sant, who drew 877 votes, or about 24.5 percent.

At stake is the remaining 18 months on the term of longtime incumbent Mark Hamilton, who stepped down last month to relocate to Tennessee for a job.

According to Forsyth County elections officials, four provisional ballots still must be counted Friday, when the results will be finalized.

Two lessons can be learned from this race. First, is to leave nothing in reserve in running to advance to the next level. Two votes might have meant getting in your car to drive across town and pick up a couple of elderly family members or fellow church members and driving them to the polls, or a last mail piece or robocall. Second, is that sometimes running against an incumbent and losing can lead to running in an open seat later and winning. Nothing helps you build a campaign infrastructure and network like actual campaigning, and it’s hard to imagine that Gilligan’s 40% effort against Mark Hamilton last year, and the lasting goodwill from her supporters was not a major part of her very strong first place win yesterday. Luck and timing go into the mix as well, but you can’t always control those.

Meanwhile, in the Cumming City Council race, Chuck Welch took first place with 30% of votes cast, or 117 out of 391 votes. That race didn’t require the usual 50% plus one vote, so Welch will be taking office on the Cumming City Council.

The election itself was a rarity in a town with little turnover on its governing body. Rupert Sexton had held Post 1 since 1971 before stepping down this spring to enjoy retirement.

As was the case in most election years, Sexton was unopposed for another term in 2013. The last contested election the city held was in 2003, when Mayor H. Ford Gravitt faced opposition.

Welch will fill the remainder of Sexton’s term, about 18 months, and will be sworn in July 1. His first official meeting as a councilman will be July 21.

Prepare for a nasty runoff in House District 55, where perennial candidate Shelitha Robertson took first place with 30.76% of voters and Marie Metze took second place with 30.39%. Only ten votes separated the two Democratic women, and the campaigns leading up to yesterday’s votes were particularly fierce from both frontrunners. Attack robocalls against both of the runoff candidates, spoofed caller ID and an anonymous mailpiece attacking Robertson for alleged ties to a strip club were all part of the Special Eleciton and I’d expect the attacks to sharpen in coming weeks.

DeKalb County Commission District Five also hosts a runoff election, this one between first-place finished Mereda Davis Johnson, wife of Congressman Hank Johnson, and retired MARTA executive George Turner.

In Milledgeville, the Mayoral Special Election will go to a runoff between former Mayor Floyd Griffin and Gary Thrower, a local businessman.

Griffin received 44%, Thrower got 33%, and in third place, Melba Burrell, who received 22%.

One-time Milledgeville Mayor Floyd Griffin celebrated moving forward in the election process and says he’s pleased with the results. Griffin, who served from 2002 through 2006, says he was hoping to go home having recaptured the title, but says he isn’t shocked that he’s in a runoff with candidate Gary Thrower. “Obviously we wanted to win this race without going into a runoff and that should always be the goal. And that’s what we worked to make that happen and anytime you’re in an election with more than two individuals you have to at least expect a runoff,” said Griffin.

Griffin says the next step is to continue campaigning. He says he wants to make sure he wins the runoff on July 14th. “We are going to take a look at what we’ve done over the last six weeks. We’re going to reevaluate that and we’re going to get started here again and go through the next four weeks,” said Griffin.

Businessman Gary Thrower rallied his supporters at the Antebellum Inn in Milledgeville. He says he was surprised by voter turnout, he thought it would be higher. “I was a little shocked about the voter turn out in total, considering the early voting results. I was expecting to have more out. But I was enthused that I did have my share of the votes enough to get into the runoff,” said Thrower.

Thrower and Griffin will face each other in the runoff on July 14th.

Bonus: What I’m Listening To

This morning, I’ve been listening to part of Bill Nigut’s extended interview with Vernon Keenan, who serves as Director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. During sessions, he’s often seen at the State Capitol, but the interview is an interesting portrayal of the man who is often seen as the embodiment of the GBI.

The interview can be heard online at the Georgia Public Broadcasting webite or you can find it through iTunes as a podcast for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod.

 

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