Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 15, 2024

15
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 15, 2024

On May 15, 1791, George Washington left Augusta for Savannah.

On May 15, 1800, President John Adams ordered all 125 employees of the federal government to begin packing to move the capital from Philadelphia to Washington, DC.

On May 15, 1864, General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Military Division of the Mississippi remained engaged against Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee at Resaca, Georgia.

On May 15, 1864, at New Market, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley, Major General John C. Breckenridge commanded 4800 Confederate soldiers, including the entire Corps of Cadets from Virginia Military Institute. Breckenridge previously had served as United State Representative and Senator from Kentucky, and as the youngest Vice President of the United States under President James Buchanan. Breckenridge was the Democratic nominee for President in 1860, coming in third in the popular vote and second in the Electoral College to Abraham Lincoln.

Breckenridge attacked forces under Major General Franz Sigel and they skirmished through the morning until Union forces broke through the Confederate lines.

When a gap opened in the Confederate lines, Breckenridge realized that the only force available was the VMI cadets.

He turned toward an aide and issued the following command;

“Put the boys in, and may God forgive me for the order.”

The charge of the VMI cadets remains the most noticeable feature of the Battle of New Market. With rain pouring the cadets broke the charge of the 34th Massachusetts Regiment and then advanced themselves in attack.

When the day ended, 10 cadets had been killed and/or mortally wounded. Another 48 suffered wounds.

Ten cadets died or suffered mortal wounds that day. New Market hosts the oldest continuous historical battle reenactment in the United States that is still held on the original terrain, but this year’s is canceled because of COVID-19, as was last year’s.

On the anniversary of the Battle of New Market, the roll of those who died there is called.

On the same day, the Battle of Resaca was fully engaged in Northwest Georgia.

On Saturday, May 14, the fighting at Resaca escalated into a full-scale battle. Beginning at dawn, Union forces engaged the Confederates along the entire four-mile front. In the early afternoon Schofield’s Army of the Ohio attacked the sharply angled center of the Confederate line. The assault was badly managed and disorganized, in part because one of Schofield’s division commanders was drunk. As the Union attack unraveled and became a fiasco, Johnston launched a counterattack on Sherman’s left flank. The counterattack collapsed, however, in the face of a determined stand by a Union artillery battery. In the evening Union forces pushed forward and seized the high ground west of Resaca, which placed the bridges leading south from the town within artillery range and threatened Johnston’s line of retreat.The following day Sherman renewed his assault on the Confederate center.

Carl Sanders was born on May 15, 1925 in Augusta, Georgia. He served in the United States Air Force, Georgia House of Representatives and State Senate, where he was President Pro Tem. In 1962, Sanders won the Democratic Primary for Governor, defeating former Governor Marvin Griffin, and in November was the first Governor of Georgia elected by popular vote after the County Unit System was abolished.

American artist Jasper Johns was born May 15, 1930 in Augusta, Georgia.

Former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz was born on May 15, 1967 in Lansing, Michigan. Smoltz pitched a complete game shutout against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the seventh game of the National League Championship Series in 1991, sending the Braves to their first World Series since moving to Atlanta in 1966. Smoltz was chosen for the All Star team eight times and won the Cy Young award in 1996.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Chatham County Board of Elections reports meager voting in the Advance Voting period, according to the Savannah Morning News.

According to the election board, with more than 200,000 registered voters in the county, a little over 2,500 votes have been cast for the primary. News 3 spoke to Trish Brown, Chatham County Board of Elections member, about the turnout.

“You can understand that we are really hoping for those numbers to come out on Election Day because we are definitely not seeing them for early voting right now,” she said.

In the May 2022 primary election, Brown said 26,000 votes were counted.

“I understand there is a lot of voter fatigue and there is still a lot of people learning that we still have early voting going on right now,” she explained. “We are definitely trying to get the word out. There are signs posted everywhere.”

Chatham County’s district attorney and sheriff are just some of the positions up for grabs. Brown told News 3 voting is important for the future of the county.

“These are the elections that are smaller, closer to home,” Brown said. “These primary elections are extremely important.”

The last day for early voting is Friday. Primary Election Day is Tuesday, May 21.

Muscogee County Board of Elections is seeing few mail-in ballots returned, according to WTVM.

More than 1,000 absentee ballots have been mailed in Muscogee County, but less than 200 have been received by Muscogee Elections and Registrations. Usually, at this point in an election, about half of the absentee ballots have been received.

“We have been addressing telephone calls to our offices for the last at least week,” says Director of Elections Nancy Boren.

One reason for those calls is some people have not received their absentee ballots.

Muscogee Elections and Registrations sent out a message to voters saying they have identified significant issues with absentee ballots placed in the mail service and the return rate.

“So, we have issued 1,392 absentee ballots. We have only received just under 200,” said Boren. Something she says is uncommon.

Boren adds that they have been working with the United States Postal Service to determine the reason for the delay.

People who have not received their ballot or have any issues with the Elections Office receiving their ballot should contact the office at 706-653-4392 or email MuscogeeAbsenteeDelivery@columbusga.gov with your name and address.

Additionally, Boren said if you are able, try to make it to a voting location.

If you do have your ballot, Boren says it’s best to deliver it to the ballot collection drop box at the City Service Center or the Elections Office instead of mailing it in.

According to her, they do have plans for the upcoming November elections to prevent this from happening.

“The plan at this point is to find a third service vendor who can provide for us the mailing services similar to USPS, but with a tracking ability for us and for the voter so that they can determine that their ballot has been delivered here at our office. So, that we can determine that the ballot has been delivered to their residence or their address,” Boren said.

From the Ledger-Enquirer:

One week before the May 21 primary and nonpartisan election, less than 15% of the 1,392 absentee ballots the Muscogee County Elections and Registration Office mailed to voters have been submitted, according to office director Nancy Boren.

Normally, at least half of the mailed absentee ballots have been submitted this close to an election, Boren told the Ledger-Enquirer.

She urges anyone who has received an absentee ballot and wants to ensure their vote counts before the 7 p.m. deadline on Election Day to submit it in the ballot collection drop box at the City Services Center, 3111 Citizens Way, or at the election office in the same building.

“We’re just trying to understand the problem,” she said. “We need to know the numbers (of unsubmitted absentee ballots) so we can track it. I don’t know if people aren’t returning their ballot or they haven’t received it.”

Based on the hundreds of calls and emails her office has received about the problem, Boren said, she suspects most of the unsubmitted absentee ballots are because voters who requested them haven’t received them. The office mailed the absentee ballots April 26 and 27, she said.

State law forbids absentee ballots to be picked up in person, Boren said. Friday was the deadline for absentee ballots to be requested for this election.

For those unable or choosing not to vote in person at their precinct May 21, early voting will remain open through May 17, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at three locations in Columbus: City Services Center, Columbus Technical College and Shirley Winston Recreation Center.

If you have requested an absentee ballot, you still may vote in person early or on Election Day, Boren said.

During the March presidential primary, Boren noticed a slowdown in the rate of submitted absentee ballots, but the problem wasn’t as critical as it is now. That’s why, she said, “We’re looking at options for November other than USPS.”

Boren declined to specify a vendor, but she noted FedEx and UPS are alternatives the Muscogee election board could choose to bypass the government’s service.

“Our postage budget is rather robust ($50,000) for the upcoming year,” she said. “I think we would have the funding.”

Speaking of mail-in ballots, U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy wrote that he will delay the Postal Service’s restructuring, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Macon Telegraph.

In a letter to U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, DeJoy acknowledged complaints he has received from Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., a member of the committee, and other senators citing delays in on-time delivery of mail processed at distribution centers in Georgia and other states.

During a committee hearing last month, Ossoff revealed that only 36% of inbound mail handled by the Atlanta Regional Processing and Distribution Center in Palmetto was being delivered on time as of the end of February, shortly after the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) consolidated a group of local mail distribution offices into the single regional center.

“In response to the concern you and your colleagues have expressed, I will commit to pause any implementation of these moves at least until after Jan. 1, 2025,” DeJoy wrote to Peters. “Even then, we will not advance these efforts without advising you of our plans to do so, and then only at a moderated pace of implementation.”

DeJoy told the committee the delays in mail processing in Georgia and at a second regional distribution center in Richmond, Va., occurred as the postal service was rolling out a restructuring plan aimed at making the agency financially self-sufficient and better able to compete with private shippers.

The Savannah Morning News writes about judicial races on the ballot next week.

Four sitting justices, John Ellington, Nels Peterson, Andrew Pinson and Chief Justice Michael P. Boggs are currently running for re-election. The newest member of the court, Andrew Pinson, is currently being challenged by former Democratic Congressman John Barrow.

Barrow recently made headlines by openly centering abortion rights in his Georgia Supreme Court campaign — a tactic that has made him the subject of an ethics complaint due to a state law that urges judicial candidates to “not make statements or promises that commit the candidate with respect to issues likely to come before the court that are inconsistent with the impartial performance of the adjudicative duties of judicial office.”

“Partiality has nothing to do with your opinions about the law,” [Barrow] said. “As the root word implies, it entails feelings about the parties, being in favor of one party or another. The United States Supreme Court explained this a good while back when they said ‘impartiality,’ of the sort that judges should strive for, means you’re not going to favor one party over another.”

Barrow filed a lawsuit in federal court in response to the complaint, arguing that it impedes his First Amendment right to free speech, but a judge has yet to issue a ruling.

Unlike seats in the legislative or executive branch, justices on the supreme court are elected through a nonpartisan election process, and serve six-year terms. This year, four of the nine justices are running for re-election, with only one justice facing a primary challenger.

Although Supreme Court justices in Georgia are elected via popular vote, there is rarely an open seat on the court; new justices are almost always appointed by the governor to finish out their successor’s term, and will then run as an incumbent in the next election.

Jason Carter discussed his grandfather’s health, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Jason Carter, former President Jimmy Carter’s grandson, gave an update on his grandfather’s health on Tuesday, saying that he’s “coming to the end.”

“My grandfather is doing okay. He has been in hospice, as you know, for almost a year and a half now,” Jason Carter said at the 28th Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum at the Carter Center. Jason Carter is the chair of the board of trustees for the global charity established by former president and former first lady Rosalynn Carter in 1982.

Jimmy Carter, 99, entered hospice care in February 2023. Though hospice care is often associated with the immediate end of a person’s life, it’s not always a short-term option. The Carter Center announced last year that the former president would not receive “additional medical intervention.”

“He really is, I think, coming to the end that, as I’ve said before, there’s a part of this faith journey that is so important to him, and there’s a part of that faith journey that you only can live at the very end, and I think he has been there in that space,” Jason Carter said Tuesday.

Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Tadia Whitner will hold an emergency hearing in the lawsuit that aims to stop the City of Mulberry incorporation referendum, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

A Gwinnett Superior Court judge has scheduled an emergency hearing on a lawsuit aimed at stopping the Mulberry cityhood referendum, which is part of the May 21 ballot, from going forward. The hearing will take place in Judge Tadia Whitner’s courtroom at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.

“To allow the proposed City of Mulberry referendum to go forward on May 21, 2024, would perpetuate a fraud on the public,” Hughes’ attorney Allen Lightcap wrote in an emergency motion asking for the hearing.

“The key portions of the charter will never survive a legal challenge, but they are being sold in town hall after town hall as the main reasons to vote for the city.”

“To be clear, proponents of the proposed City of Mulberry have told the public that Mulberry will be a limited city that cannot collect property ad valorem tax and also must exercise three powers: zoning, storm water collection, and code enforcement,” Lightcap wrote in the emergency motion.

“Each of these features is illegal under our Constitution, and none of them will survive a legal challenge. If this city is approved, the voters will get a city that no one voted for. That is why it is imperative that the referendum be enjoined or otherwise removed from the ballot because the public cannot be forced to vote for a city whose charter is plainly unconstitutional.”

Supporters of Mulberry cityhood, including Georgia House Majority Leader Chuck Efstration, have decried the lawsuit and said special interest groups are behind it. There have been allegations that developers are working behind the scenes on a campaign to defeat the cityhood proposal.

Citizens For Mulberry President Michael Coker previously told the Daily Post that cityhood is polling well and will likely pass next week.

“There’s been polls done and clearly this referendum is very popular,” Coker said. “Everybody seems to be on board with it. I think this is, in essence, a last-ditch effort to try to defeat the referendum because they know how popular it is with our community …”

Georgia State House Speaker Jon Burns (R-Newington) reviewed the latest legislative session, according to WRDW.

Among the many bills Georgia’s House passed this session, Speaker Jon Burns says legislation expanding school choice and access to rural health care were among some of the most important.

The Screven County Republican says House Bill 13-39, which Kemp signed last month, makes it easier for rural hospitals to open under certain requirements like teaching prospective healthcare workers.

“Quality of life in Georgia when it comes to our healthcare is not quite where we want it to be but we’re getting close to it,” Burns said.

Several public safety bills also passed including House Bill 11-05, which penalizes Georgia jailers who don’t report inmate immigration status.

“When the police arrest someone or bring someone in, they should be held until they’re thoroughly questioned and ensure why they’re here, what they’re charged with and what their past record is.”

Other closely watched proposals did not make it to the governor’s desk, like Medicaid expansion and sports betting, a topic Burns says could come up next session.

“Understanding any guardrails that need to be put up and certainly taking all voices into consideration – those in favor and those opposed.”

Governor Brian Kemp signed House Bill 1489, which repeals the earlier Camden Spaceport Act, according to The Brunswick News.

House Bill 1489, sponsored by state Rep. Steven Sainz, R-St. Marys, and which dismantles the authority, was signed into law by the governor Monday.

“After listening to our constituents, who resoundingly rejected the land purchase for the spaceport by more than 70 percent in a local referendum, it was clear what our community wanted,” Sainz said. “This bill is a testament to our commitment to respect the will of the voters and focus on realistic economic development opportunities that bring real benefits to Camden County.”

Camden County commissioners appointed members to the spaceport authority days after voters approved a referendum in 2022 prohibiting commissioners from spending more money to establish a spaceport and search for a company interested in launching rockets.

After commissioners made the spaceport authority appointments, Sainz said the county’s state legislative delegation “did not create this authority to allow the county to have an option to circumvent the clear will of local voters.”

The five-member authority never met or made any decisions regarding the spaceport, though there were concerns about a spaceport authority circumventing the will of voters on the technicality that it would be an authority, not the county commission, that would continue to pursue a spaceport that had already cost taxpayers an estimated $12 million.

The new legislation nullifies the previous act in its entirety.

“I am immensely grateful to Gov. Kemp for his leadership in signing this bill into law as it reflects the community’s choice and opens a path for future collaborations in economic initiatives that are more aligned with local needs,” he said.

The Floyd County Board of Tax Assessors found property values rose by 8.5% over the last year, according to the Rome News Tribune.

[Chief Appraiser Danny] Womack said valuations are up 8.5%, on average. That’s a considerably smaller jump than last year, he said.

“Our valuations are based upon most recent home sales,” Womack said. “And we’re seeing valuations increase again — but not as much as last year.”

Statesboro City Council will consider whether to raise the property tax millage rate for their FY 2025 budget, according to Grice Connect.

Statesboro City Manager Charles Penny presented the City of Statesboro fiscal year 2025 budget to the Mayor and Council in a work session on Tuesday, May 14, 2023.

The $53,253,761 budget proposal reflects a projected balanced budget.  The budget proposal does include fully funding the employee raise implemented in January of 2023. The balanced budget will require a transfer of $1.7 million from the fund balance or a 1 mill increase in taxes along with a $700,000 transfer from the fund balance.

A public hearing about the budget will be held on June 4th. They will adopt the budget on June 18th. However, they will not receive confirmed assessment data for a few more months. They will have to set the millage rate in September after receiving the digest. Once they receive the digest they will be able to determine how much of a millage increase will be required to balance the budget as written.

Mr. Penny said that the staff cannot be certain about the millage rate without the tax digest. With current estimates from the assessors office they will need a 1 mill increase to generate the $1 million of revenue. This will be combined with a $730,755 transfer from the fund balance.

A 1 mill increase equates to about $78 per year for a $200,000 home.

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents voted to resume requiring test scores for most college applicants, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Athens Banner Herald.

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents voted Tuesday to rescind a temporary waiver of test-score requirements for undergraduate admissions starting with the fall semester of 2026.

The university system began waiving test requirements for 23 of the system’s 26 institutions in 2020 with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The waiver has been in effect for all but 10 months since then.

“Putting COVID a little bit behind us feels good,” board Chairman Harold Reynolds said before Tuesday’s unanimous vote.

Under the policy change the regents approved Tuesday, minimum SAT and ACT test scores will be enforced at seven USG institutions beginning in the fall of 2026: the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, Georgia College & State University, Augusta University, Kennesaw State University, and Georgia Southern University.

Test-score requirements will be optional at the other 19 colleges and universities in the system.

System Chancellor Sonny Perdue said bringing back test-score requirements for freshman admissions will give administrators on each campus a helpful tool in evaluating the needs of entering freshmen moving forward.

The SAM Shortline Railroad will receive $1.6 million in state funding, according to 13WMAZ.

The SAM Shortline Excursion Train carries some of the most precious cargo — people. The shortline started back in 2002 to let people ride the tracks and visit some historic places.

The Savannah, Americus and Montgomery Railway has been around since the 1880s. In 2000, founders decided to keep this piece of history rolling. Over the past 20 years, they’ve been sidetracked by one problem.

“We have currently been forced to take cars from this site that is our site here at Georgia Veterans State Park and run them to off-site locations for maintenance which adds to the expense and the difficulty to provide the service to the cars,” Kinnamon said.

To help, the Georgia Department of Transportation is sending $1.6 million dollars from the state Locomotive Tax Program. It will add a maintenance and storage track at Georgia Veterans State Park. It will allow the cars to stay in house when they need attention.

One of the big stops on the route is the city of Plains. People get to see the childhood sights of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. Cathy Williams is on the State Transportation Board said it’s fun to stop and learn about the cities.

The grant money will help keep the shortline rolling longer. Kinnamon is also chairman of the Southwest Georgia Railroad Excursion Authority. He said people can feel the difference when the tours come to a halt.

“They will tell you when it goes into it’s down season when we’re not running the train, they notice a huge difference in the bottom line. When we’re operating receipts are great. When we’re not operating, they see a difference,” Kinnamon said.

Chattahoochee County Commissioner Damon Hoyte is suing the County, according to WTVM.

Chattahoochee county commissioner Damon Hoyte is suing the county over property he was fined for and required to move.

Damon Hoyte believes where his fellow commissioners went wrong was having the county’s code of enforcement to issue citations for this property. At the end of all of this, if he were to lose his commissioner seat…he says it would be worth it to keep something like this from happening again.

“This should have never had happened,” says Hoyte.

In November 2022, Damon Hoyte was cited to remove a mobile home on Stagecoach Road in Chattahoochee County. Hoyte moved a mobile home on to the property he’s owned since 2017.

Hoyte’s attorney Kamau Mason says the judge presiding over this case before it was sent to superior court should have recused himself from this case because of conflict of interest. The judge over the case is Johnny Floyd who was the the county’s planning and zoning chairmen previously.

“Judge Floyd gave Mr. Hoyte gave him insight on how to move forward with the permits and then over the next years or so when Mr. Hoyte is in his courtroom, he’s presiding over where Mr. Hoyte is being prosecuted.”

Mason says to have the same person who advised Hoyte on his property back in 2017 now be the judge deciding the case is more than unfair.

Republican Brian Jack leads the Third Congressional District race in fundraising, according to the AJC.

Brian Jack, who served as an aide to then-President Donald Trump, has raised the most money in the race. But about 75% of his itemized donations — contributions of $200 or more — came from individuals outside of Georgia.

By comparison, out-of-state donations accounted for less than one-third of the donations received by the other candidates in the race, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of the latest fundraising data by the Federal Election Commission.

The donations indicate that Jack has connections and support from outside the district but not much else, said Charles Bullock, a political scientist at the University of Georgia.

“He has no base to build upon,” Bullock said, “where those who have held office at some point in the past at least would be known by those voters in areas which they represented.”

The 3rd District spans all or part of 15 west and west-central Georgia counties ranging from Haralson County in the north to parts of Columbus at its southern end. The district favors Republican candidates. U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson, a Pike County Republican, represents the district, but he announced in December that he would not seek reelection.

Jack grew up in the district, but he has not held elected office in the state like three of the other Republican candidates who served in the Georgia Senate or House — Mike Crane, Mike Dugan and Philip Singleton. Jack worked as a political director in Trump’s administration. The fifth Republican candidate, Jim Bennett, is a former police officer and retired IT professional.

Jack’s out-of-state contributions push him to the top of the leader board in total donations, with more than $500,000 sent from individuals who live outside of Georgia and more than $900,000 total, a figure that includes small, unitemized donations and transfers from other committees.

Bullock said candidates need to spend money to introduce themselves to voters. With so many candidates running and no incumbent in the race, contenders will have to build name recognition.

Inside the district, Dugan and Crane are roughly tied in local donations, collecting about $200,000 each. However, Dugan, a former Senate majority leader, has collected money from the most donors in the district, with donations from more than 180 people.

“That’s a good thing then, isn’t it?” said Dennis Robinson, a high school friend of Dugan’s who sent over $3,000 to his campaign. “He’s got the most donations from inside, so that seems like that would be the most representative of the district, right?”

In a statement, Dugan’s campaign said that he is honored by the support he has received from the 3rd District and has “worked hard to earn his hometown voters’ confidence by prioritizing their needs and listening to their voices.” Crane and Almonord did not respond to requests for comment.

Six candidates are challenging U.S. Rep. David Scott in the Democratic Primary for the 13th Congressional District, according to the AJC.

Mark Baker, a former South Fulton City Council member who ran unsuccessfully against Scott in 2022, sees an opening. Baker said 70% of voters in the 13th are new, meaning the incumbent now has less of an advantage.

“Gwinnett County has the most voters in our district,” he said. “So I just thought that was also an opportunity.”

Because of the way the district is drawn with an electorate that is heavily Black and Democratic, the winner of the primary will be the favorite against the Republican challenger in November.

Raising the second-most dollars is former East Point City Council Member Karen Rene, who had $16,365 in her account as of March 31. Rene was just two years into her first term in office when she resigned to run against Scott.

Other candidates include Uloma Kama, a physician and public health advocate, and Brian Johnson, an attorney. Johnson’s campaign is focused heavily on younger voters, particularly concerning the issue of legalizing marijuana, which he supports.

During a recent debate, Rashid Malik, another candidate in the Democratic field, focused heavily on international affairs, particularly on the need to end the conflict between Israel and Hamas and bring peace to the Middle East.

At the same debate, much of the attention was focused on Marcus Flowers, who decided to run in the 13th District after unsuccessfully challenging Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene in her 14th District in northwest Georgia in 2022.

Gwinnett County voters will decide several judicial races on Tuesday, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The contested races include State Court Judge Shawn Bratton facing a challenge from Deputy District Attorney Ramona Toole, while Juvenile Court Judge Rodney Harris and Magistrate Judge Kimberly Gallant are running to replace retiring Judge Ronnie Batchelor and attorney B. Thassanee “BT” Gutter-Parker, former Gwinnett Deputy County Attorney Tuwanda Rush Williams and Magistrate Court Judge Regina Matthews are running to replace retiring Superior Court Judge Karen Beyers.

In the race to replace Beyers, the three candidates running for that seat said mental health remains a major issue, among others, facing Gwinnett’s court system.

[Tuwanda] Williams said judges should put intervention plans in place for defendants who are suffering from mental health issues. She said Gwinnett Superior Court judges face a challenge in that about 40% of the court’s cases involve someone who has some form of mental health diagnosis.

“For humanity, financial and staffing shortfall reasons, it makes more sense to impose a mental health intervention plan on such persons than to lock them up,” Williams said. “But too often, we simply warehouse people in jail until services become available, and that limits the effectiveness of our accountability courts.”

Voters can read the candidates full responses to the Daily Post’s questionnaire, including why they are running and their approaches to sentencing, by visiting gwinnettdailypost.com.

The Gwinnett Daily Post also has a Q&A with candidates for the Board of Education.

The Augusta Chronicle writes about the candidates for Richmond County Sheriff.

Three names are on the Democratic ticket: Incumbent Richard Roundtree, Eugene “Gino Rock” Brantley (a former Richmond County sheriff’s deputy and sergeant with the Marshal’s Office), and Bo Johnson (a former Richmond County sheriff’s deputy and federal air marshal).

May 21 will determine who takes the Democratic nomination for Richmond County Sheriff. There are no Republican candidates. A fourth candidate, Richard Dixon, is running as an Independent. If Dixon submits his petition by July 9, he will face off against the Democratic nominee on Nov. 5. Otherwise, whoever wins the nomination will automatically win the sheriff’s seat.

The Augusta Chronicle also writes about the election for Richmond Judicial Circuit District Attorney.

An office that’s particularly important to the Augusta area’s safety and security is the District Attorney of the Augusta Judicial Circuit, which encompasses Richmond and Burke counties. Incumbent Jared Williams is defending his seat against Amber Brantley, a local Trial Team leader and prosecutor for the Domestic Violence Accountability Court and an assistant DA for multiple offices.

Worth County voters will choose a Tax Commissioner, according to WALB.

Candidates Lakeysia McGill, Tori Sanders, and Keetra Barns are all running for Worth County Tax Commissioner in hopes of gaining back the trust of voters. However, there are other key items on the ballot such as your local chief magistrate, county commissioner, and coroner.

The last day for early voting will be this Friday from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. The next election will be for the General Primary and Specials on May 21.

Two candidates are running for Macon-Bibb County Commission District 6, according to the Macon Telegraph.

George Thomas will face incumbent Raymond Wilder next week in the race for the Macon-Bibb County Commission seat in District 6.

Wilder has been in office since 2020 and is seeking a second four-year term. Wilder works as an insurance adjuster and grew up in Macon. Thomas works as a leasing manager with NewTown Macon, a local economic development agency.

Early voting for the May races ends on Friday, and Election Day is May 21. Because the race is non-partisan, it will be decided in May instead of during the General Election in November. The winner’s term will begin Jan. 1.

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