Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 12, 2024


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 12, 2024

On March 12, 1739, James Oglethorpe, recognized as the Founder of Georgia, wrote the Georgia Trustees, urging them to continue the ban on slavery in the new colony.

Juliette Gordon Low held the first meeting of the Girl Guides, which would later be renamed the Girl Scouts, in her home in Savannah, Georgia on March 12, 1912.

Gianni Agnelli was born on March 12, 1921 in Turin, Italy, and would come to be the wealthiest man in Italy, head and principal shareholder of Fiat, and recognized as an Italian Senator for Life in 1991. Among those who follow fashion, Agnelli has long been recognized as an archetype of the Italian approach to menswear.

His style was about more than clothes—it was an attitude, a philosophical response to absurdity. Watching him could tell you how to live, how to behave. In Italy, they call it sprezzatura, making the difficult look easy. Americans are gonzo, a spirit personified by Hunter S. Thompson, who defined it as a man who learns to fly by falling out of a plane. Agnelli might look gonzo—especially on nights when he showed up in boots and an ill-fitting tie—but was, in fact, sprezzatura; he knew how to fly all along. “When he was not perfectly dressed, it was contrived,” says Taki Theodoracopulos, the writer, columnist, socialite and son of a Greek shipping tycoon. Taki is one of the few surviving members of Agnelli’s social circle. “The tie askew, the unbuttoned shirt—nothing was an accident. Or, to put it another way, it was meant to be an accident, which made it even more stylish.”

Clarence Thomas, originally from Pin Point, Georgia, was sworn in to the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit on March 12, 1990.

R.E.M. was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 12, 2007.

Happy birthday to former Atlanta Braves slugger Dale Murphy.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Voters go to the polls today in the Presidential Preference Primary. From the AJC:

Polls are open across Georgia for the presidential primary today, when voters will make their voices heard about their choices to lead the country.

All registered voters are eligible to participate in either the Democratic or Republican primaries, headlined by President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

Voters can pick from 11 Republicans or three Democrats. All votes will count, including ballots cast for candidates who have dropped out or suspended their campaigns.

Turnout could exceed 1 million voters Tuesday after 440,000 Georgians already cast their ballots either through early or absentee voting.

The results of Georgia’s presidential primary will award delegates to candidates, with nominees chosen at each party’s convention this summer.

Voting locations will be open across Georgia from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Voters can find their precincts and sample ballots through the state’s My Voter Page at

From WTOC in Savannah:

Between absentee and early voting, just over 7,800 people have cast ballots in Chatham County. That’s around 3% percent of registered voters in Chatham County.

Billy Wooten, the Elections Supervisor for Chatham County, says there’s no way to predict what voter turnout will look like.

“The people that want to vote every time will show up. The people that are thinking about the races and just want their voices to be heard are going to show up. With just two candidates now and the primaries before us have almost decided that race of who will be on the November ballot, some people will not show up,” said Wooten.

Wooten adds that the state primary is on May 21st – any state legislators or judges running for office will appear on that ballot.

Here’s a few things you need to remember if you’re going to the polls to vote Tuesday:

• You have to go to your assigned polling place.
• You need to bring a photo ID.
• You have to pick a party to vote in.
• Most polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

From the Macon Telegraph:

Georgia was a battleground state in 2020, swinging in favor of Biden by only about 12,000 votes. The closely-contested race left Trump disputing the outcome and attempting to overturn the election. He faces prosecution over his efforts to have the result in Georgia flipped.

While it’s still primary season, both candidates began ramping up their General Election campaigning in Georgia before officially securing nominations. Biden and Trump each made appearances in the Peach State over the weekend and took aim at one another while here.

From the Augusta Chronicle:

By the end of the day March 8, the Richmond County Board of Elections reported 3,931 votes cast in advance, just under 1,200 cast for Republican nominee, more than 1,700 for Democrats, and one for nonpartisan.

In Richmond County, Blythe residents will vote for a new city council member following the resignation of Blythe City Councilwoman Judy Cordova. It will be either veteran Mike Rineer or former Blythe Mayor Phillip Stewart.

In Columbia County, Grovetown residents will vote for a new city council member and residents in House District 125 will have a runoff to decide who represents them in the Georgia House. Grovetown candidates include former Grovetown City Councilwoman Beretta Smith and H&R Block Senior Tax Specialist Jacqueline Rivera-Player. The House runoff is down to conservative activist C.J. Pearson and former Columbia County commissioner Gary Richardson.

From WJBF:

Tuesday, voters will cast their ballots in the House District 125 run off that covers parts of McDuffie and Columbia Counties. None of the 5 candidates for Barry Flemming’s old seat received 50 percent plus one vote in February’s election.

Just 300 votes separated the top two candidates for the District 125 seat. Today Republicans CJ Pearson and Gary Richardson go head to head in a quest for that seat, but whoever wins won’t hold it for long.

The winner takes on Kay Turner in November’s general election.

It’s important for voters in District 125 to remember that they have to vote twice today because of the presidential primary, which is very unusual.

“There’ll be two sets of voting equipment and two sets of poll workers– one for the PPP and one for the 125 race in those 15 precincts. So voters need to be aware that they will actually have to vote twice, if they if they choose to,” said Nancy Gay with the Columbia county Board of Elections.

Gay said that so far, the separate voting has gone well.

“We ended up voting just about 1500 people total in that election so far with absentee and in advance in person. We had six days of voting for the advanced part and we voted more people in the advanced section than we did in the three weeks for advanced voting for the first election for that race.”

From the Athens Banner Herald:

The presidential primaries are the only election in Oconee County. However, residents of Winterville in Athens-Clarke County will vote on a special measure that will allow the city to regulate the Sunday sales of alcohol by the drink. Voters will vote either yes or no.

This question will be on both Republican and Democratic party ballots.

From AccessWDUN:

Additionally, in the City of Oakwood, city residents will cast their vote Tuesday in a special election to fill a currently vacant Post 4 City Council seat. That follows the passing of late City Councilman Dwight Wood in September 2023.

Candidates Volley Collins and Rhonda Wood are both vying for that City Council seat. You can read more about the two candidates by clicking here.

From the Rome News Tribune:

As of the end of the early voting period, 4,118 local voters had cast ballots, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. That’s just over 6% of the county’s 66,473 registered voters it has on its rolls. The total includes 7,029 listed as inactive, but voting in the primary would automatically move them back to the active list.

Under the Gold Dome Today – Committee Work Day

8:00 AM Senate Econ Dev & Tourism – 450 CAP
10:00 AM HOUSE Judy NC Reeves Sub – 132 CAP
10:00 AM HOUSE Education Curriculum Sub – 506 CLOB
10:00 AM HOUSE Natl Res & Envt Res Mgmt Sub – 406 CLOB
10:00 AM Senate Natl Res & Envt – 450 CAP
10:30 AM HOUSE Education Policy Sub – 506 CLOB
11:00 AM Senate Judiciary – 307 CLOB
12:00 PM Senate Finance – Mezz 1 CAP
1:00 PM Senate Children & Families – 307 CLOB
1:00 PM Senate Banking & Financial Institutions – 450 CAP
1:30 PM HOUSE Public Safety & HS Dean Greene Sub – 415 CLOB
2:00 PM HOUSE Regulated Ind Regulatory Sub – 515 CLOB
2:30 PM Senate Agriculture – 450 CAP
2:30 PM Cancelled – Senate Education & Youth – 450 CAP
4:00 PM Senate Regulated Industries & Utilities – 450 CAP
5:00 PM Cancelled – Senate Ethics – 307 CLOB

The legislative schedule under HR 978 for the rest of this week is:

Wednesday, March 13 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . convene for legislative day 34
Thursday, March 14 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . convene for legislative day 35

Governor Brian Kemp’s Office announced that state government revenue fell in February 2024, according to a Press Release.

The State of Georgia’s net tax collections in February totaled more than $2.03 billion, for a decrease of $92.3 million or 4.3 percent compared to FY 2023, when net tax collections totaled $2.12 billion for the month. Year-to-date, net tax revenue totaled roughly $21.15 billion, for an increase of $223.4 million or 1.1 percent over the same period in FY 2023, an increase that was driven principally by the collection of the state’s motor fuel excise tax, which was suspended during much of the first eight months of last year. Net of motor fuel tax changes, revenues for the eight months ended February 29 were down 3.1 percent from this time a year ago.

The changes within the following tax categories help to further explain February’s overall net tax revenue decrease.

Individual Income Tax: Individual Income Tax collections totaled $878.8 million, for a decrease of almost $205 million or 18.9 percent compared to last year when Individual Tax collections totaled $1.08 billion.

The following notable components within Individual Income Tax combine for the net decrease:

• Individual Income Tax refunds issued (net of voided checks) were up $159.8 million or 53.5 percent.
• Individual Withholding payments declined by $39.6 million or 3.1 percent from the previous year.
• All other Individual Tax categories, including Estimated payments, were down a combined $5.6 million.

Sales and Use Tax: Gross Sales and Use Tax collections totaled roughly $1.41 billion in February, for an increase of $43.4 million or 3.2 percent compared to February 2023. Net Sales and Use Tax increased by $20.3 million or 3.0 percent compared to last year, when net sales tax totaled $680.7 million. The adjusted Sales Tax distribution to local governments approached $706 million, for an increase of nearly $37.9 million or 5.7 percent, while Sales Tax refunds declined by $14.8 million or 65.1 percent compared to FY 2023.

Corporate Income Tax: Corporate Income Tax collections for February totaled $88.9 million, which was an increase of $40.7 million or 84.4 percent compared to last year.

The following notable components within Corporate Income Tax make up the net increase:

• Corporate Income Tax refunds issued (net of voided checks) were up $16.1 million or 106.5 percent.
• Corporate Income Tax Return payments increased by $26.2 million or 141.3 percent over FY 2023.
• All other Corporate Tax types, including Corporate Estimated payments, were up a combined $30.6 million.

Motor Fuel Taxes: Motor Fuel Tax collections increased by $57.6 million or 48.4 percent over FY 2023, when Governor Kemp’s Executive Order to suspend the state excise tax was in effect through January 10, 2023.

Motor Vehicle – Tag & Title Fees: Motor Vehicle Tag & Title Fees increased by $0.4 million or 0.9 percent for the month, while Title Ad Valorem Tax (TAVT) collections increased by $5.3 million or 7.5 percent over last year’s total of $70.5 million.

Chatham County saw lower in-person Advance Voting this year, according to the Savannah Morning News.

At the start of the Presidential Preference Primary Tuesday morning, votes cast early are slightly down this year compared to recent elections, according to unofficial tallies from the Chatham County Board of Registrars.

Georgia’s presidential primary comes as the presumptive nominees of each party have amassed blow-out wins in preceding primaries. Trump outpaces Nikki Haley by nearly 1,000 delegates, and Haley suspended her primary campaign on March 6 after multiple losses on Super Tuesday. Biden leads the Democratic field with about an 1800-delegate lead.

Former president Donald Trump likely will garner 140 more delegates among Tuesday’s state primaries in Georgia, Hawaii, Mississippi, and Washington to cross the threshold of 1,215 delegates needed to secure the Republican nomination.

For the Democratic Party, Biden will likely clinch the total of 1,968 delegates of a total of 4,672 to face a rematch with Trump in November.

Early voting in Chatham County’s primaries this year is down by about 1,000 votes from a record turnout in 2020. Compared to 2016, a year where both parties had competitive primaries, voting is down by about 200 votes.

For those who voted in person, there were nearly 400 more votes cast in the Republican primary than the Democratic primary. The county’s most used early voting location was the voter annex on Eisenhower Drive.

Glynn County Sheriff Neal Jump expressed his frustration with federal immigration policy, according to The Brunswick News.

One of the guest speakers at the Golden Isles Republican Women’s Club meeting Monday, Jump said his department conducts a background check on anyone arrested for prior violations, arrest warrants and immigration status for undocumented aliens.

The problem is immigration officials are not fulfilling their obligation to deport violators.

“Immigration is notified immediately,” he said. “Immigration will not pick anyone up since (President) Biden was elected. It’s not an instance of us not doing our jobs.”

Jump said he has the cooperation and support of Keith Higgins, district attorney for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit.

Higgins said the sheriff’s department contacts his office whenever an undocumented alien is arrested.

If an undocumented alien is not sentenced to prison, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has 48 hours to pick up the individual or the sheriff has to release the inmate.

Jump said he doesn’t like releasing undocumented aliens when immigration officials fail to pick them up, but he is not going to jail himself for refusing to release them after the 48-hour hold expires.

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