Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 28, 2024

28
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 28, 2024

Lt. Colonel George Washington fought French and Indian scouts on May 28, 1754, beginning the Seven Years War.

On May 27, 1813, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to John Adams to let Adams know of the death of a mutual friend.

On May 28, 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, requiring all Native Americans to relocate west of the Mississippi River.

On May 27, 1863, Chief Justice Roger Taney, sitting as a federal district court judge, issued a decision in Ex parte Merryman, which challenged President Abraham Lincoln’s suspension of the right of habeas corpus. Lincoln ignored the ruling.

Yesterday was the anniversary of the Battle of Pickett’s Mill in Paulding County, Georgia, where Sherman’s forces attacked Johnston’s Confederates on May 27, 1864. Among the combatants on the Union side was Ambrose Bierce, who would later write The Crime at Pickett’s Mill. Pickett’s Mill is the site of annual reenactments.

On May 27, 1864, the Federal Army, having been stopped in its advance on Atlanta two days earlier by the Battle of New Hope Church, attempted to outflank the Confederate position. Some 14,000 Federal troops were selected for the task, and General Howard was given command. After a five-hour march, Howard’s force reached the vicinity of Pickett’s Mill and prepared to attack. Waiting were 10,000 Confederate troops under the command of General Cleburne.

The Federal assault began at 5 p.m. and continued into the night. Daybreak found the Confederates still in possession of the field. The Federals had lost 1,600 men compared to the Confederate loss of 500. The Confederate victory resulted in a one-week delay of the Federal advance on Atlanta.

Here are some photos of the battlefield and links to additional material.

The Battle of Dallas, Georgia began on May 28, 1864. Click here to watch Week 6 of the Georgia Public Broadcasting/Atlanta History Center series on the Civil War in Georgia.

On May 27, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said the United States was in an unlimited national emergency and laid out conditions under which Germany’s expansionism would constitute an attack on the United States.

Happy Birthday to Gladys Knight, born in Atlanta on May 28, 1944.

On May 27, 1976, former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter blasted the “Stop Carter” movement in a speech in Cincinnati.

On May 27, 1995, actor Christopher Reeves was thrown from his horse in an equestrian competition in Culpepper, Virginia, becoming quadriplegic.

Ten years ago, a poll by Rasmussen showed Democrat Michelle Nunn beating both Jack Kingston and David Perdue in a General Election matchup and Democrat Jason Carter beating Gov. Deal.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The election for Crisp County Magistrate Judge became tied after a recount eliminated a one-vote margin, according to WALB.

A recount has changed the results of the Crisp County Chief Magistrate race.

But because the race was so close, Crisp County election officials did a recount Thursday, and now, the race is tied after that recount — 943 to 943.

So how did one vote get lost? Crisp County Elections Supervisor Becky Kitchens says it was a scanning error that showed up during the recount.

But she says two more votes are still expected to come in from overseas ballots.

If the votes aren’t received by 5 p.m. Friday, by federal law, the results will stand and the race will go to a runoff on June 18.

To avoid a runoff, the winner must have over 50% of the vote, even if it’s just one more vote.

In Columbus, a dispute near a polling location led to people brandishing guns, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

A dispute Tuesday at Shirley B. Winston recreation center in Columbus led to people brandishing firearms, according to Columbus police.

Police said they responded to the dispute at 4:54 p.m. Tuesday during polling hours to reports of guns being produced by multiple individuals during an altercation.

The parties involved in the altercation had left by the time police arrived, according to a news release.

Police said the altercation didn’t disrupt the voting process which was happening at a separate area inside the recreation center.

Glynn County Commission Chairman Wayne Neal said low voter turnout reflected contentment with the Board’s decision-making, according to The Brunswick News.

“People show up to meetings when they don’t want something next door to them,” he said.

Neal said the low turnout for Tuesday’s primary elections is also an indicator most voters support the decision county officials are making in Glynn County.

“I believe a reason for the low turnout is the majority of people are satisfied with the direction of the county,” he said. “We’re trying to make the government more user friendly.”

Commissioner Walter Rafolski said voters don’t show up to the polls for local elections the way they do for state and federal elections, even though local officials impact lives in many ways state and federal officials don’t.

Rafolski won his bid for the Republican nomination in a three-candidate race, garnering more than 62% of the vote.

Christina Redden, deputy supervisor of the Glynn County Board of Elections and Registration, said prior to early voting, local election officials were expecting a turnout of 18% to 20%.

Turnout for Tuesday’s primary election was closer to 15%, she said.

She blamed voter fatigue for the low turnout.

That won’t be the case for the November election. Redden said election officials expect numbers close to the last presidential election when 67% of registered voters in the county showed up at the polls.

Chatham County District Attorney Shalena Cook Jones was returned to office for another term, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Voters handed incumbent Shalena Cook Jones a resounding victory in the May 21 Democratic primary for Chatham County District Attorney with 73.1% of the vote. Her opponent, former Assistant District Attorney Jenny Parker, garnered 4,347 votes, or 26.90%, of the overall tally.

Jones will face Republican Andre Pretorius, a former deputy chief assistant for the Chatham County State Court. He works now on a part-time basis as an attorney for Chatham County government.

The Brunswick News writes about the results of party ballot questions.

Republican questions:

• For future elections, do you want hand marked paper ballots, scanned and verified by hand count on live stream video? Yes: 3,810, or 57%. No, 2,878, or 43%.

• Should the Georgia Republican Primary have a closed primary, meaning that only registered Republicans would be allowed to vote in the Republican Primary? Yes: 4,217, or 63%. No: 2,426, or 37%.

• Would you support a statewide vote to allow gaming in Georgia so the voters can decide this issue instead of politicians in Atlanta? Yes: 5,192, or 78%. No: 1,472, or 22%.

Here are the result of the Democratic Party ballot questions:

• Should the United States and the State of Georgia protect Georgians from gun violence by banning assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, closing background check loopholes, and passing other common-sense gun safety reforms? Yes: 2,017, or 95%. No: 103, or 5%.

• Should the State of Georgia expand voter access by allowing same day voter registration, removing obstacles to voting by mail, and making secure ballot drop boxes accessible at all times through Election Day? Yes: 1,916, or 91%. No: 191, or 9%.

• Should the State of Georgia protect reproductive freedom by repealing the current six-week abortion ban, restoring the protections of Roe v. Wade and ensuring access to contraceptives, IVF, abortion and other reproductive health care? Yes: 1,952, or 93%. No: 148, or 7%.

Some South Georgia areas are losing population, according to WALB.

As Georgia’s population shows continued growth, especially in cities like Atlanta, there is also new Census data on cities in South Georgia. Some towns are seeing growth, while others are declining.

As people migrate in high numbers to the South from other regions, South Georgia is seeing changes in its population numbers.

Out of major counties in South Georgia, Dougherty County saw the largest decrease in population, whereas Lowndes and Lee counties saw a 2.10% increase.

Other notable facts from the Census show that with the 2022 median age in the U.S. being 39, Georgia averages at 37.

Atlanta ranks the 6th highest city for population growth in the U.S. between July 2022 and July 2023. Georgia’s capital city beat out other well-known cities in growth including Houston, Texas, Washington D.C. and Raleigh, North Carolina.

Georgia ranks 4th in the nation for seatbelt use, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Georgia ranks the fourth highest state in seat belt use, with an impressive 95% of car-riders using the safety measure.

The study examined seat belt usage from 2015 to 2022 and it seems Georgia was consistently in the top 5%, aside from a slight dip in 2022 where the rates fell to 89%. Overall, only 1 in 25 Georgians were not wearing their seat belt.

Despite the number of traffic accidents increasing by 22% in 2015, seat belt use by Georgia drivers was at an all-time high, topping out at 97%. This could be attributed to a then-stronger economy and cheaper gas making drivers use their vehicles more, according to the National Safety Council.

The Libertarian Party nominated Chase Oliver of Atlanta for President of the United States, according to the Associated Press via 13WMAZ.

The Libertarian Party on Sunday nominated party activist Chase Oliver for president, rejecting former President Donald Trump and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. after they each spoke at the party’s convention.

Third parties have rarely been competitive in U.S. presidential elections and the Libertarian candidate four years ago won 1% of the vote. But the party’s decision is getting more attention this year due to the rematch between Trump and Democratic President Joe Biden, which could hinge again on small vote margins in a handful of contested states.

Oliver is an activist from Atlanta who previously ran for the U.S. Senate and U.S. House from Georgia. His campaign website calls for major cuts to the federal budget with an eye toward balancing the budget, the abolition of the death penalty, and the closure of all overseas military bases and ending of military support to Israel and Ukraine.

The AJC writes about Metro Atlanta runoff elections.

The race for Clayton sheriff and the choice of DeKalb’s chief executive officer to replace outgoing CEO Michael Thurmond are among the races expected to appear on June 18 runoff ballots. Clayton also has a runoff for County Commission chair.

Congressional races: Three U.S. House primaries will require runoffs: the 2nd District, Republicans Chuck Hand and A. Wayne Johnson; the 3rd District, Republicans Brian Jack and former state Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan; the 14th District, Democrats Clarence Blalock and Shawn Harris.

Clayton County: Incumbent Sheriff Levon Allen is likely to face Clayton County Commission Chairman Jeff Turner, the second-place finisher in unofficial results. Commissioner Alieka Anderson will face former Tax Commissioner Terry Baskin for Clayton County Commission chair. Runoffs are also expected in commission races for Districts 1 and 3.

Cobb Commission: Jaha Howard and Taniesha Whorton were the top finishers in District 2 in a field of five candidates. The Cobb election may still be affected by an ongoing legal challenge to the county’s new political district map.

DeKalb County: Former Commissioners Lorraine Cochran-Johnson and Larry Johnson will meet again in a runoff for chief executive officer. Runoffs are also expected in the District 4 commission race and school board District 5.

Gwinnett County: Runoffs are expected for two school board seats. In District 1, incumbent Karen Watkins and Rachel Stone were the top finishers. In District 3, Steve Gasper and Shana V. White finished first and second.

Gwinnett County voters will choose a new Superior Court Judge on November 18 in a runoff election, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The nonpartisan race to replace retiring Judge Karen Beyers is heading to a runoff between Magistrate Judge Regina Matthews and former deputy county attorney Tuwanda Rush Williams. The runoff will be held on June 18.

Matthews received 45.1% of the votes cast in the three-person race on Tuesday, followed by Williams with 30.91% and B.T. Gutter-Parker with 23.98%.

In the other two contested judicial races on the ballot this year, State Court Judge Shawn Bratton won re-election by defeating attorney Ramona Toole, with 72.9% of the votes cast in that race, while Magistrate Judge Kimberly Gallant defeated Juvenile Court Judge Rodney Harris to replace retiring Superior Court Judge Ronnie Batchelor. Gallant received 61.44% of the votes cast in that race.

Gwinnett County voters approved a referendum to increase the property tax homestead exemption, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Voters overwhelmingly approved a measure to double the existing homestead exemption on property taxes. They also approved a measure to create an additional homestead exemption for public service employees

“Hardworking Gwinnett homeowners deserve substantial tax relief to support their pursuit of the American Dream,” state Rep. Matt Reeves, who authored the legislation calling for the referendums, said in a statement. “I am immensely proud to have championed this cause for Gwinnett’s homeowners and taxpayers.

“The overwhelming approval by Gwinnett voters demonstrates our community’s strong commitment to providing much-needed financial relief and fostering a better quality of life for all.”

The vote on Tuesday marks the first increase in property tax relief for Gwinnett homeowners in 36 years.

There were two measures put before voters on Tuesday.

The first one was to double the existing homestead exemption from $4,000 to $8,000. That proposal was passed with 73.73% of the 74,609 voters who cast ballots saying “Yes.”

The second measure was to create an additional $2,000 homestead exemption for public service workers, including police, firefighters, teachers, nurses and active duty military personnel. It passed with 63.54% of the 74,776 voters who participated in that referendum saying “Yes.”

Gwinnett voters also approved the incorporation of a new City of Mulberry, according to AccessWDUN.

The City of Mulberry successfully passed Tuesday night on the ballot, adding a new city to Gwinnett County in the area commonly known as Hamilton Mill.

The residents who voted in favor of the city adoption pulled in over 56% of the vote.

The effort to adopt a new city was spearheaded by Georgia House Majority Leader Chuck Efstration (R-Auburn) and State Senator Clint Dixon (R-Buford), quickly becoming a topic of debate among residents of Northeast Gwinnett County.

Mulberry will reportedly operate similarly to the southwest Gwinnett County city of Peachtree Corners. The city will not have police, fire, or garbage services, outsourcing those to Gwinnett County, but would handle zoning, code enforcement and stormwater runoff services, according to officials.

The successful adoption of the City of Mulberry Tuesday night will now allow residents in the area to vote for their city council members this November.

Also from AccessWDUN:

Georgia State House District 104 Representative Chuck Efstration said he was excited to see that voters approved the incorporation of the new city of Mulberry in northeast Gwinnett County Tuesday night.

The Republican Georgia House Majority Leader helped lead the legislative push to put the creation of the city on the May 21 ballot. He spoke Wednesday morning, saying he believes Mulberry will be a success.

“I’m very excited by the results. 57 percent of voters supported local control of planning and zoning without a city property tax,” Efstration said. “This is a new day, really, for our area. Having local control of planning and zoning so that our voices are actually heard so we can have responsible growth, rather than just high-density without limits.”

Efstration, who lives in the boundaries of the new city, said the area will now be in a transitionary period until Mulberry’s first city council members are elected in November. The five council members will be elected by district, with a mayor being chosen among the council members.

Gwinnett County Commission Chair Nicole Love Hendrickson moves forward to the November General Election, according to AccessWDUN.

Incumbent Nicole Love Hendrickson is set to face John Sabic following Tuesday’s Gwinnett County Commission Chair Primary Election.

Hendrickson won the Democratic Primary against Donna McLeod with over 71% of the votes.

The Republican Primary results showed Sabic with over 65% of the votes, ahead of Justice Nwaigwe.

Hendrickson and Sabic will compete against each other for the seat in the November 2024 election.

Drew Echols won the Republican Primary for the Senate District 49 seat being vacated by his wife, Senator Shelley Echols, according to AccessWDUN.

Echols ran against fellow Republican candidate Josh Clark in a hotly contested race, pulling in over 52% of the vote.

“Hall County, Georgia, you go back to just the tremendous amount of leadership that has come through this county,” Echols said. “Statewide, I feel like Hall County is a beacon on the hill, so to speak. We do a lot of things right, we do some things wrong, but we have to continue to lead right here in this district and what we need is somebody that has been here. We need somebody that is rooted in this community, that has worked hard, that has sweat in this community, that has cried in this community. I’m going to be that guy.”

Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree was forced into a runoff by Gino Brantley, according to WRDW.

To Brantley, it’s a battle for change, while Roundtree wants to continue the work he’s been doing in his 12 years as sheriff.

With all precincts reporting in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, Roundtree had 49% of the votes, compared to 28% for Brantley. To win the primary, a candidate would need 50% plus one vote, so that means there will be a runoff June 18.

Roundtree says he’s been here before.

He faced a runoff 12 years ago against Scott Peebles and won.

But Brantley says the numbers show people want change.

“The seat is never guaranteed – the seat was never guaranteed to me,” Roundtree said. “But I think again, of last 12 years, we’ve been putting in the work people have seen – a product which speaks for itself. And I’m confident based on the numbers that came in last night that citizens of Augusta would give us four more years.”

“If you look at the numbers, more people were not backing the current sheriff because he didn’t get 50% plus one vote, so that meant that more people feel like we need change, whether it was me or Bo Johnson,” [Brantley] said. “So that was very encouraging, and so that lends to tell me that the fight must go on.”

Brantley says that from now until June 18, it’s about securing change.

“That change is for a sheriff that’s accessible, active and approachable in our community,” he said.

Three other Sheriff’s races are going into overtime, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

The sheriff’s races are in Elbert, Franklin and Morgan counties. There were no incumbent sheriffs running in any of these counties.

In Clarke County, the only runoff election is for the District 2 Board of Education seat between front runner Claudia Butts with 319 votes and Mary P. Bagby with 299 votes in Tuesday’s primary.

The runoff is set for June 18 with advance voting from June 10-14. In Clarke County, the only polling places open for advance voting are at the main election’s office at 155 East Washington St. and the Miriam Moore Community Center at 410 McKinley Drive.

In the sheriff’s races, the Elbert County runoff features Democrats Darren Scarborough, a captain in the sheriff’s office who received nearly 48 percent of the vote with 699, and Elbert County native Drekevious Gibbs, who received 526 votes.

The winner faces Republican candidate Jamie Callaway in November.

The Morgan County race in the Republican primary runoff features Joseph Pritchett, a lieutenant with the sheriff’s office, and Tyler Hooks, a veteran of the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office. They were the top vote-getters in a race that featured seven candidates.

Pritchett received 1,518 votes or about 35 percent and Hooks received 1,236 votes. The winner will face Democratic candidate Derrick Reid Sr. in November.

In Franklin County, a runoff is set between Scott Andrews, a retired Georgia State Patrol trooper, and Brian Stovall, a current deputy in the sheriff’s office.

Andrews narrowly missed taking the office as he had 49.49 percent of the vote, according to the tally on the Secretary of State’s website. In a three-man race, Stovall came in second with 30.5 percent of the vote.

State Rep. Marcus Wiedower (R-Watkinsville) was nominated for reelection, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

In the Republican primary for House District 121, which includes much of Oconee County and parts of Athens-Clarke County, incumbent Republican Marcus Wiedower, a small business owner, handily defeated John Michael Grigsby, a nurse practitioner making his first foray into electoral politics.

Wiedower claimed 4,515 of the 5,432 votes in the contest, with Grigsby earning 917 votes. Wiedower claimed more than 80% of the votes cast within each county.

The win earned Wiedower the right to face Democrat Courtney Frisch, an engineering consultant, in November’s general election.

The race for House District 124, which includes part of Athens-Clarke County and stretches into Greene, Oglethorpe, Putnam and Taliaferro counties, saw Greensboro paralegal Melanie Miller decisively win over Rickie Glenn, about whom little is known, in Democratic primary balloting.

In the Republican primary contest for the District 47 seat in the state Senate, which stretches across part of Athens-Clarke County and into Barrow, Jackson and Madison counties, incumbent Frank Ginn won over businessman Ross Harvin.

Ginn received 8,705 votes in the race, with Harvin claiming 5,294 ballots. In Athens-Clarke County, Ginn earned 1,253 votes, with Harvin garnering 320 ballots.

State Rep. Teri Anulewicz (D-Smyrna) was defeated in the Democratic Primary Election, according to the AJC.

… Anulewicz lost her reelection bid on Tuesday in a surprise defeat to Gabriel Sanchez, a 27-year-old democratic socialist from Cobb County.

If Sanchez wins a general election in November, he’ll be the first democratic socialist ever elected to the General Assembly. But he may find less than enthusiastic Democrats waiting for him in the state House, if he gets that far, after making accusations about Anulewicz during the campaign that many said were not only sexist, but in many cases inaccurate.

The mailer and text messages were sent from the Atlanta Chapter of the DSA according to Kelsea Bond, the co-chair of the group. But that’s just part of what the democratic socialists did to get Sanchez elected.

Bond also described a sophisticated, seven-month campaign by the DSA in conjunction with Sanchez.

“We canvassed weekly starting in November,” Bond said. “We had students from Kennesaw State and Georgia Tech coming out to knock on doors. Individual members hosted fundraisers for the campaign at their houses.” Bond said they also threw fundraiser concerts and a comedy show to help elect Sanchez.

“We were pretty involved in the life of the campaign, the energy around it, and a lot of the community outreach.”

Sanchez canvassed with the group every week. “He was out there knocking on doors with us. And obviously, those are the most effective conversations with voters because they love to talk to the candidate.”

All of this paints a portrait of an effective grassroots campaign against Anulewicz, but one that also raises potential ethical concerns since the Atlanta chapter of the DSA is a 501(c) 4 nonprofit organization, which worked directly with Sanchez to get him elected.

David Emadi, the executive director of the State Ethics Commission, said that in general, nonprofit groups are permitted to conduct issue advocacy, but not to campaign to elect or defeat a specific candidate. In contrast, a super PAC could work to elect specific candidates, but would not be eligible for tax-exempt status and would not be allowed to coordinate with a candidate’s campaign.

Clarke County Sheriff John Q. Williams won reelection, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

In the contest for sheriff, incumbent John Q. Williams, a former Athens-Clarke County Police Department detective, easily won reelection, earning 6,173 of the 9,447 votes cast in the countywide contest.

Oconee County Commission Chair John Daniell was reelected in the Republican Primary and faces no opposition in November, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

The race for chairman of the Oconee County Board of Commissioners was decided in Tuesday balloting in the Republican primary, as incumbent John Daniell easily outdistanced Republican challenger Pamela Lohr Hendrix.

Daniell won the balloting with 4,459 votes, while Hendrix earned 1,233 ballots in the contest.

On his way to winning a third term, Daniell touted the county’s low tax millage rate and high bond rating.

The Post 4 race for the Oconee commission also was decided Tuesday, as incumbent Mark T. Saxon won the Republican primary with 4,697 of the 5,676 ballots cast for the at-large post.

In addition to the array of partisan primary contests, all Oconee County voters on Tuesday faced 10 ballot questions, all related to potential changes to the homestead exemption on property taxes in the county.

All 10 questions earned passage, with approvals ranging from 69% to 84% among the nearly 7,000 votes cast for each measure.

Broadly, the affirmative answers to the 10 questions will repeal four existing homestead exemptions, but add six new exemptions. If any of the questions were defeated, the county could not enact any proposed changes.

The races for Oconee County sheriff, Oconee County Superior Court clerk and County Commission Post 1 will be decided in the November general election, although candidate’s names appeared alone on their respective partisan primary ballots on Tuesday.

Jefferson County incumbents were reelected last week, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Incumbent Dist. 2 Commissioner Johnny Davis (Dem), who received 394 votes (49.94 percent), will face Rodney F. McKinnie (Dem), who received 218 votes or 27.63 percent of the total in a runoff election June 18. The third challenger for the Dist. 2 county commission seat, Machelle Phillips Lamb (Dem), received 177 votes or 22.43 percent of the total.

Incumbent Sheriff Charles “Gary” Hutchins, who was first elected into office in 1993, retained his seat as the Democratic candidate receiving 1,998 votes or 56.42 percent of the total cast. Challengers Henry “Tre” Lewis III received 1,236 votes, 34.91 percent, while John Maynard received 307, or 8.67 percent.

In November Hutchins will face Republican candidate Colby Harrell who received 243 votes during the primary.

Incumbent Coroner Edward C. James (Dem) received 1,919, or 55.69 percent of the votes over challenger Jerry L. Taylor’s (Dem) 1,527 or 44.31 percent.

Incumbent Jefferson County Commission Chairman Mitchel McGraw (Dem) received 2,781 votes. This November he will face Republican challenger Leonard “Lenny” Hobbs Jr who received 287 votes in the primary.

State Senator Shawn Still (R-Gwinnett County) faces a young challenger in November, according to USA Today via the Augusta Chronicle.

Ashwin Ramaswami, 24, was an intern in the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency when former President Donald Trump fired his boss in late 2020 for publicly disputing Trump’s claims of voter fraud in the election.

Now, Ramaswami, a Democrat, is running for Georgia state Senate in District 48 against Shawn Still, the Republican incumbent − and a Trump ally who was indicted last year for allegedly posing as a fake elector to try and overturn the 2020 election.

The Indian American Gen Z candidate, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary Tuesday, launched his campaign last year, telling USA TODAY in an interview that protecting the legitimacy of election results and a person’s right to their vote is what inspired him to run in his home state of Georgia, where Trump has been indicted by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on allegations that he tried to wipe out Biden’s victory in the state through the use of fake electors and by pressuring state officials.

Ramaswami’s campaign has vastly outraised Still’s in the latest filing period between Feb. 1 and April 30, with Ramaswami raising $146,442 and Still raising only $6,400. Since he launched his campaign in December of last year, Ramaswami raised over $282,000, with only $8,066 of that being self-funded.

But Ramaswami as a first-time political candidate faces challenges if he wants to defeat his opponent, including appealing to voters in a district that has been redrawn to favor Republicans, political science experts said.

“Given his youth, this may be more of a dry run for the future,” said Carl Cavalli, a professor of political science at the University of North Georgia.

The makeup of District 48 is another challenge. David Shafer, an indicted Trump ally and former Georgia GOP chair, held the District 48 state senate seat from 2002 to 2019. Two Democrats held the seat after: Zahra Karinshak and Michelle Au.

However, the district was redrawn after the 2020 election which made it more heavily favor Republicans, said Charles S. Bullock II, a professor of political science at the University of Georgia. After redistricting, Still won the seat in the 2022 midterms by 13% against his Democratic opponent at the time, Josh Uddin.

“Bottom line: Ramaswami has a chance in November,” Bullock said.

Augusta District Attorney Jared Williams handily won reelection, according to WRDW.

Voters in Tuesday’s Democratic primary are on their way to keeping District Attorney Jared Williams in office.

Late Tuesday with all precincts reporting, Williams had 68% of the votes, compared to 32% for challenger Amber Brantley.

Williams currently serves as DA for Richmond and Burke counties, while Brantley is assistant district attorney in Columbia County.

Two Gwinnett County Board of Education races are headed to a June 18 runoff election, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Two of the three Gwinnett school board seats that are up for election this year are headed to runoffs which will be held on June 18.

School board vice-chairwoman Karen Watkins came up short of reaching the 50% threshold and will face Rachel Stone in the District 1 runoff. According to unofficial results, Watkins received 41.81% of the 18,580 votes cast, followed by 30.57% for Stone and 27.62% for Leroy Ranel Jr.

Meanwhile, the District 3 race will go to runoff between Steve Gasper and Shana V. White. Gasper led the five-person field with 36.11% of the 15,379 votes cast in the race while White received 21.33% of the vote. Domonique Cooper came in third with 20.07%, followed by Yanin Cortes with 16.11% and Anthony Mulkey with 6.38%.

Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan won reelection in the Democratic Primary and faces no opposition in November, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan has won the Democratic nomination for the coroner’s job, defeating opponent Royal Anderson, according to unofficial election results from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

Bryan has no competition left in the general election, so he is re-elected.

Bryan has served as the Muscogee County Coroner since 2012. In that year, his opponent was disqualified but still on the ballot. This was the first time Bryan faced opposition since the 2012 election, having run unopposed in 2016 and 2020.

Bryan, 74, defeated Anderson, 44, by securing 64.18% of the 11,006 votes cast, according to unofficial election results from the Georgia secretary of state’s office. Election officials said results could be missing fewer than 100 provisional and military ballots, which could come in as late as Friday.

The election for an At-Large seat on Columbus City Council goes into extra innings, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

The even numbered districts on the Columbus Council were up for election on Tuesday, but only two of them were competitive.

Four candidates are vying to fill former Columbus Councilor John House’s at-large seat for both the remaining months of the current term in a special election, and also for the next four years.

Both the special election and the regular election decision for the same seat were on the ballot for voters Tuesday: The special election decision determines who fills the position until January 2025, at which point the winner of the regular election would take office.

John Anker, Travis Chambers, Patrick Leonard and Rocky Marsh all ran for the seat in both races.

The [regular election] race for the at-large district seat heads for a run-off election on June 18 as Travis Chambers leads with about 44.2% of the vote with all precincts reporting, according to unofficial results from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, which were missing fewer than 100 provisional and military ballots that could come in as late as Friday.

Anker is in second place with about 38.7%.

Results for the special election were similar with Chambers leading Anker, Marsh and Leonard with about 43% of the vote.

District 4 incumbent Toyia Tucker, who was first elected in 2020, was challenged by Tyrone Thomas, a pastor who retired from his 30-year career with the Columbus Police Department.

Tucker will hold onto her seat with about 52.4% of the vote, according to the unofficial results.

Patricia “Pat” Frey won the election for Muscogee County Board of Education District 7, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

The race for the board’s District 7 seat was between incumbent Patricia “Pat” Frey and challenger Laketha Ashe.

With all Muscogee precincts reporting, Frey received 571 votes (54%) to 485 (46%) for Ashe, according to unofficial results on the Georgia Secretary of State’s website.

Muscogee County elections director Nancy Boren told the Ledger-Enquirer the countywide report includes all votes except less than 100 provisional and military ballots that have until the close of business Friday to be submitted with the required information.

Warner Robins City Council voted to expand the curfew for minors, according to the Macon Telegraph.

At the May 20 city council meeting, the governing body voted unanimously to amend the enforced curfew, moving the starting time up to 11:30 p.m. and setting it to last until 5 a.m., the city announced. The previous curfew started at 12 a.m. and had been around since the 1970s. It’s enforced for anyone under the age of 18.

City officials said the amended curfew aims to foster a safer community by reducing the likelihood of minors encountering hazardous situations during late-night hours and that the city remains committed to the welfare of its residents and will continue to implement measures that enhance public safety.

Parents and guardians will be held responsible for ensuring their children adhere to this curfew, according to the city.

The election for Hall County State Court Judge proceeds to a Runoff Election, according to AccessWDUN.

John “Tripp” Wingate III obtained 29% of the vote while Brian Heck pulled in over 26%, sending the race to a runoff election planned for June 18, according to officials.

Republican Mark Pettitt was elected Hall County Clerk of Courts, according to AccessWDUN.

Previous Hall County School Board member Mark Pettitt won his primary election bid Tuesday night for the Clerk of Court role in the county.

Pettitt ran against fellow Republican Chris Slate, obtaining over 68% of the vote.

“I am excited about this new challenge, and I look forward to operating a Clerk’s Office that provides superior customer service, modern technology solutions, and efficient administration of justice for the People of Hall County,” Pettitt said.

He was first elected to the Hall County Board of Education in 2018 to represent South Hall County. Pettitt became the youngest county-wide elected official in Hall County after winning that seat. He was then re-elected in 2022.

Chatham County intends to stand up their own fire department, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Chatham County officials plan to establish a county-run fire department this summer by transitioning fire services personnel, equipment and fire stations from the current nonprofit provider.

Details of the planned transition were included in the draft 2024-2025 fiscal-year budget, which was presented to the commissioners at their meeting Friday for review purposes.

Effective July 1, the county fire department will be created with 152 employees and the transfer of all equipment from Chatham Emergency Services, according to the draft budget. The total fire department budget is reportedly $18.5 million, which includes two new fire trucks.

Commissioners were scheduled to consider a conveyance agreement with CES in which the county would pay the nonprofit almost $4.7 million over a five-year period for vehicles and equipment. However, that agreement was removed from Friday’s agenda before the meeting, as was an agreement to lease the service provider’s fire stations for $1 per year.

Savannah is asking for input on a “To-go cup” district downtown, according to WTOC.

City leaders are considering expanding the to-go cup zone and they want to hear from you.

Savannah’s Historic District is well known for its open container policy but for the many bars in the Starland District, those rules don’t apply here but that soon could change.

It’s a rule that Starland Yard general manager Ava Pandiani says can be confusing for some tourists.

“They’re told they can take their to go cup from any restaurant or bar. Then, all of the sudden, they go a little bit further downtown and that rule isn’t there and it isn’t really clearly communicated,” said Pandiani.

Which can lead to headaches for staff at the outdoor bar and restaurant.

“Our staff is dealing with people who have already been drinking, who don’t want to be told no, and we have to enforce this rule that seems sort of arbitrary at that point,” said Pandiani.

Right now, the gray area is the current to-go cup zone allowing people to take their alcoholic drinks with them when leaving bars or restaurants.

According to a draft ordinance the expansion, highlighted in orange, would move the boundary south to Victory Drive and east to Waters Ave and Wheaton Street.

District two Alderman Detric Leggett says the change could be good for business…but city staff are still collecting info on how it might impact litter and public safety resources.

A petition calls for Governor Brian Kemp to rescind his decision to turn down a USDA Summer EBT program, according to WTOC.

In 2023, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp joined leaders from other states in refusing the Department of Agriculture’s summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) program. The governor cited a lack of nutritional requirements and Georgia’s already existing food programs for his decision to opt out.

“Ensuring Georgia children have access to a healthy and nutritious meal throughout the year remains vitally important to this administration, particularly when students are out of school for the summer. Unlike the many successful programs Georgia already has in place, the most notable being GaDOE’s Seamless Summer Option, which alone provided millions of breakfast and lunch meals to students statewide last year, this federal covid-era EBT program not only lacks basic nutritional requirements and sustainability but fails to address the mission of improving the health and wellness of our children. Therefore, along with our neighboring states, Georgia opted not to participate in the proposed EBT program and instead remains focused on well-established and effective programs that are tailored to address our state’s specific needs by providing necessary nutrition and engagement to families and kids.”

– Garrison Douglas, Spokesperson for the Georgia State Governor’s Office

While the program is federally funded, participating states are required to administer it and pay for some of the costs — Roughly $4.5 million.

A ParentsTogether Action petition is calling for a reversal across 14 states that have opted out of the program. The petition has already garnered over 1,600 signatures.

“My daughter does get free school breakfast and lunch and it helps our family tremendously! Groceries would be much more difficult and expensive without her getting two meals during the week at school,” said parent Tasha Miller.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division will allow pass-free fishing on June 1 and 8, 2024, according to WSAV.

According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (Georgia DNR WRD), residents do not need a fishing license, trout license or Lands Pass (WMAs/PFAs) to fish on Saturday, June 1, and Saturday, June 8.

“I can’t imagine anyone not wanting an opportunity to get out on the water, whether fishing from the bank, boating with friends or fishing while boating,” said Scott Robinson, chief of the Georgia DNR WRD Fisheries Management Section.

“Everyone benefits when you are out on the water because boating and fishing helps you connect with family and friends,” Robinson said, “it provides stress relief; and it also means you are actively supporting conservation efforts with the purchase of fishing equipment and boating fuel.”

My favorite boating fuel is the pizza buffet at the Racetrac in Ellijay.

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