Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 16, 2018


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 16, 2018

Button Gwinnett v Lachlan McIntosh

Button Gwinnett and Lachlan McIntosh met outside Savannah on May 16, 1777 and fought a duel; Gwinnett was mortally wounded.

Gwinnett returned to Georgia immediately after signing the [Declaration of Independence] to find city Whig Lachlan McIntosh commanding Georgia’s nascent military efforts. Determined to take control of Georgia politics, Gwinnett became speaker of the legislature, guided the Georgia Constitution of 1777 into existence and took over as governor when Archibald Bulloch died suddenly in office.

Gwinnett then wanted to lead an expedition to secure Georgia’s border with Florida. A dispute between McIntosh and Gwinnett over who would command the effort ultimately led to their duel and Gwinnett’s death.

A Constitutional Convention met on May 16, 1795 in the capital of Louisville to amend the Georgia Constitution of 1789

The United States Senate voted to acquit President Andrew Johnson of 11 Articles of Impeachment passed by the House of Representatives on May 16, 1868.

The North Georgia Electric Company was incorporated on May 16, 1901 to build a hydroelectric dam on the Chattahoochee River near Gainesville; in 1916, it would be bought by the company that today is known as Georgia Power.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Candidates for Georgia Governor have spent or reserved more than $12 million in television time for the primary, according to Greg Bluestein of the AJC.

The biggest spender, by far, is Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. The Republican front-runner has spent more than $4.3 million on ads touting his education and economic agenda. He’s been bolstered by $1 million more from Citizens for Georgia’s Future, a pro-Cagle outside group.

Stacey Evans snapped up the most airtime of either Democrat, spending at least $1.3 million through the weekend, according to an analysis conducted by Strategic Media Services.

Her rival, former House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, has spent a relatively meager $500,000 on ads, and records show she wasn’t on air in metro Atlanta during stretches of April and May.

[Abrams] can afford the hands-off approach thanks to plenty of backup from third-party groups. BlackPAC, PowerPAC Georgia and Emily’s List combined to spend nearly $2 million boosting her campaign, giving Abrams air cover the last two months of the race.

In all, about $9.1 million was spent on ads for the Republican campaigns, while Democrats have shelled out more than $3.6 million.

Republican candidate for Insurance Commissioner Jay Florence is the recipient of the largesse of the industry he would regulate, according to James Salzer of the AJC.

Late last month an independent committee was set up to support Florence. Insuring America’s Future, which listed a UPS Store post box as its address, boasted online that it is sending mail pieces to 98,000 Republican primary voters in Atlanta, Augusta and North Georgia border areas touting Florence as the “trusted conservative choice for insurance commissioner.”

A campaign report [by the independent committee] filed May 8 — two weeks before the primary — reports $224,000 in contributions. One contribution of $24,000 came from a medical malpractice insurance company, The Doctors Management Co. in Napa, Calif.

The rest — $200,000 — came from Eli Research of Durham, N.C., part of Eli Global, a diversified company that includes insurance companies, such as Global Bankers Insurance, which specializes in life insurance and annuity products.

Democratic candidates for Governor Stacey Evans and Stacey Abrams debated on Georgia Public Broadcasting last night. From the AJC’s Bluestein,

Stacey Evans slammed her rival, Stacey Abrams, over her alliance with Republicans over cuts to the HOPE scholarship. Abrams hit back by criticizing her rival for “scaring” African-American students about the depth of the cuts.

Evans, a former state lawmaker, has relentlessly assailed her rival for supporting the 2011 Republican-backed legislation to cut the lottery-funded program’s awards when she was the House’s top Democrat. She claims Abrams betrayed Democrats by “gutting” the program.

“I’m not out to scare anyone,” Evans said. “There was a gap that was created that cannot be filled.”

Abrams countered that she negotiated with Republicans to prevent deeper cuts to the scholarship, which is awarded to students with “B” averages. And she launched her own attack, slamming Evans for voting for a GOP-backed initiative to grant the state more power over struggling schools.

The primary has pulled Evans and Abrams further to the party’s left flank as they both embrace progressive issues, such as broad new firearm restrictions, Medicaid expansion and the decriminalization of marijuana. And in the closing days of the race, both have tried to present themselves as the most ardent progressive.

The State House Study Committee on School Security held its first meeting in Dawsonville, according to the Dawson County News.

The study committee, chaired by state Representative Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, was established by House Resolution 1414 during the 2018 legislative in response to the Parkland, Fla. school shooting in February.

Representatives from Dawson, Fannin, Forsyth, Gordon and Pickens counties gathered in Dawsonville to address the committee and have a frank discussion about what the state can do to address the topic of school safety.

“This is not an effort by the state to interfere with local governments and control of schools,” said Speaker of the House David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge. “Rather this is simply a way to see if we can help local school districts ensure the safety of their staff and students.”

This year the state legislature also approved $16 million of the FY2019 budget to be divided among school districts for local boards of education to fund security measures.

“It will be up to the local boards of education and superintendents to determine how to best use their allotment and that’s the way it should be,” Ralston said.

Politico profiles Congressmen who enjoy video gaming and tags Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville).

The Entertainment Software Association, the largest lobbying group for video games, estimates that about a dozen House members regularly play on consoles like a Switch, PlayStation or Xbox. Many more play games like Candy Crush and Angry Birds on their phone. Fewer play in the Senate, which skews much older than 35, the average age of a gamer.

Others have caught on to the industry’s economic benefits in their districts, like in Washington state, where Microsoft and Nintendo’s U.S. headquarters are based, or in Georgia, where the industry now generates more than $160 million a year. “It’s excellent for Georgia,” Rep. Doug Collins, a Republican from Gainesville, Ga., says of video games in his state. Collins played games like Madden NFL and MLB The Show with his two sons when they were growing up. “It was really a big deal if I beat one of them, because they wouldn’t let each other live it down until they beat me again,” he says with a laugh. Now, he’ll sometimes play Candy Crush or chess on his iPhone “just to keep my mind occupied.”

The Valdosta Daily Times looks at an upcoming T-SPLOST vote in light of three regions that passed T-SPLOST in 2012.

Now, during every Georgia State Transportation Board meeting, Tim Golden, board secretary and former Georgia state senator, said he hears about all of the projects happening in the three regions and how much they have benefitted from T-SPLOST.

“My region, the Valdosta/Lowndes and surrounding counties, voted against it, and I have to watch these presentations,” Golden said. “They show how many projects they had, how many projects they’ve finished. They won’t stop talking about how great it’s been for them. … Those regions are leaving those that didn’t vote for it, like us, behind.”

Sitting on the state transportation board gives Golden an interesting perspective of the regional sales tax option that is, once again, up for a vote on the May 22 ballot.

The tax is expected to generate more than $296 million across the 18 counties in the region to pay for transportation projects.

The Harris County Board of Education has named an interim superintendent after former superintendent Jimmy Martin resigned.

Savannah is updating its alcohol license procedures after revising the city’s alcohol sales ordinance, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Brunswick Times spoke to the candidates for Glynn County Commission At Large Post 1.

Plant Vogtle held a biannual emergency drill.

The Burke County Sheriff’s Office received a significant donation of opioid-overdose reversing Narcan.

The J.D. Paugh Memorial Foundation gave the office 48 double doses of the nasal spray Narcan. It was a welcome sight that was “a long time coming,” said Lt. Scott Usry, a training director with the sheriff’s office.

“We had a unique opportunity earlier in the year to receive some training that was actually given to us by (the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities) so that agency was able to come in and provide training for us, but they were only able to give us a limited number of Narcan kits,” he said. “So because we (did not have it factored into the budget) and we had the training and opportunity to get multiple people trained, we reached out to the J.D. Paugh foundation to try to seek assistance buying the kit.”

“This is just as important as having an EpiPen for someone who has allergies,” he said. “When you’re dealing with an opioid epidemic, it’s a necessity. You could be somewhere minding your business or working on your car, changing a tire, and get exposed to (an opiate) and be dead within a few minutes if you don’t have something on board.”

There have been at least two occasions this year in which deputies had to administer the drug as the first responders to the scene.

The Augusta Chronicle held a forum for Columbia County Chair candidates.

WTOC looks at the election campaign for the 12th Congressional District, represented by incumbent Rick Allen (R-Augusta).

Whether you vote in the Democratic or Republican primary in the 12th District, you’ve got choices. Rick Allen is seeking his third term as a Republican representing a district that stretches from Augusta to Douglas to the outskirts of Savannah.

“Everywhere I go in the district, the confidence among businesses seems to be high,” Rep. Rick Allen, Incumbent, said. “Of course, the 12th District is the envy of the rest of the county. We’ve got a lot going on here.”

Allen says agriculture, jobs, and the economy tops his list of priorities.

“I went to Congress to get people back to work because I had that opportunity when I was in the business world, and there’s no greater joy in the world than to see people get a good job and have the career and dignity they deserve,” he said.

Eugene Yu is facing Allen for the nomination for the third time.

“I’m not saying whether he’s done a good job or a bad job,” Yu said. “Just that I would be much better. The most important complaint I hear from constituents is they don’t see him. You only see the congressman when it’s election time.”

Three candidates square off on the Democratic side.

Porsche Cars North America racked up an all-time sales record for April, according to the AJC.

The German carmaker sold 5,570 vehicles, surpassing the previous all-time high of 5,555 cars recorded last November. It also marks a 0.7 percent gain over April 2017, another record month for the company. Retail sales for January through April were up 7 percent from a year ago to 19,524 vehicles.

“The Porsche mix of two and four-door sports cars is getting a broad welcome from customers. We see this in the strong April demand that crosses model lines,” said Klaus Zellmer, president and CEO of PCNA, based in Atlanta. “Our 189 dealers are continually improving the customer experience, and this certainly is an essential factor for our mutual success.”

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