Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 29, 2015


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 29, 2015

The Treaty of Augusta was signed on May 31, 1783, between the Creek Indians and Georgia Commissioners. A second, identical document would be signed on November 1 of that year.

The first graduation ceremony for the University of Georgia was held on May 31, 1804.

On May 29, 1836, the United States Senate ratified the Treaty of New Echota, which required the movement of all Cherokee out of Georgia and led to the “Trail of Tears.”

Savannah-born John C. Fremont was nominated for President of the United States by the Radical Republicans on May 31, 1864. Fremont had previously been nominated for President by the Republican Party as their first presidential candidate in 1856. A couple weeks ago, Bill Nigut at GPB interviewed Cokie Roberts on her book, Capital Dames, and there’s an interesting segment on John C. Fremont and his wife, Jesse Benton Fremont, starting at about 10:30 into the audio track.

The Capital City Club in Atlanta was chartered on May 31, 1889.

On May 30, 1922, Chief Justice of the United States William H. Taft dedicated the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Inside the memorial is a seated statue of Lincoln by Daniel Chester French carved from 175 tons of Georgia white marble.

French also created the statue of Jame Oglethorpe that stands in Chippewa Square in Savannah and a seated statue of Samuel Spencer considered to be a prototype of the Lincoln carving. Samuel Spencer was the first President of Southern Railway and was originally located at the rail station in downtown Atlanta before moving to the Southern Railway passenger station in Buckhead in the 1970s and is currently at 1200 Peachtree Street in front of Norfolk Southern.

On May 29, 1942, Adolf Hitler ordered all Jews in Nazi-occupied Paris to wear a yellow Star of David on their coats.

On May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Nepalese Sherpa, became the first to summit Mount Everest.

On May 28, Tenzing and Hillary set out, setting up high camp at 27,900 feet. After a freezing, sleepless night, the pair plodded on, reaching the South Summit by 9 a.m. and a steep rocky step, some 40 feet high, about an hour later. Wedging himself in a crack in the face, Hillary inched himself up what was thereafter known as the Hillary Step. Hillary threw down a rope, and Norgay followed. At about 11:30 a.m., the climbers arrived at the top of the world.

News of the success was rushed by runner from the expedition’s base camp to the radio post at Namche Bazar, and then sent by coded message to London, where Queen Elizabeth II learned of the achievement on June 1, the eve of her coronation. The next day, the news broke around the world. Later that year, Hillary and Hunt were knighted by the queen. Norgay, because he was not a citizen of a Commonwealth nation, received the lesser British Empire Medal.

The lone surviving member of the Hillary-Norgay expedition tells his story of the assault on Everest.

In 1953, Kanchha Sherpa was just a young boy and had little idea that he would be part of history.

“I didn´t know much,” says Kanchha, now the lone survivor of the first successful expedition to the Mount Everest. “What I knew was I was on a very risky journey.”

Until then, no human being had ever set foot on the Everest. Edmund Hillary was on a risky mission to achieve that unprecedented feat. He was backed by a group of 16 Sherpas from Darjeeling, India. And Tenzing Norge was the leader of the Sherpas.

“Tenzing was a friend of my father,” says Kanchha, now 83. “So, he took me on his expedition. He treated me like his son. So did Hillary.”

The second Brown v. Board of Education decision was handed down by the Supreme Court on May 31, 1955, ordering the Topeka, Kansas schools be desegregated ““with all deliberate speed.”

Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter appeared on the cover of Time magazine on May 31, 1971.

Time Magazine May 31 1971

Georgia Politics

Two Georgians are running for head of their parties’ respective farm teams. Meagan Hanson is running for Chair of the Young Republican National Federation at their contention in Chicago July 29 through August 2, 2015.

At the same time, Louis Elrod is running for President of the Young Democrats of America and currently serves as Vice President of the organization. His endorsements include Jason Carter, who lost the 2014 election for Governor, and Georgia Democratic Party Chair Dubose Porter.

Two serious questions. First, does it help or hurt your chances of winning one of these offices if the other party’s counterpart looks likely to elect a national leader from the same state? Second, was Georgia really so competitive in 2014 that both parties can claim to have had a good year, run good campaigns, and outperformed expectations?

Speaking of the Democratic Party of Georgia, keep an eye on their performance in House District 80 in the July Special Election. This seat features Republican J. Max Davis, currently serving as Mayor of Brookhaven, alleged Republican Catherine Bernard, and Democrat Taylor Bennett. With six special election, five of them featuring Republicans and four of them looking like Primaries, GOP volunteers, professionals, and resources will be stretched thin. Democrats are currently contesting only two of those races – HD 55, which has a clown car of Democratic candidates and was previously held by Democrat Tyrone Brooks, Sr. and HD 80. The latter race is the more interesting one.

In 2004, Mike Jacobs won the general election in HD 80 against J. Max Davis largely on the strength of ground game. While tweaking of district lines has stretched the district into Sandy Springs and out of Toco Hills, it remains one of a handful of numerically-competitive districts. With at least two Republicans and a sole Democrat who has the potential to tap into real money, this is the summer race to watch.

In Cherokee County, they’re going like gangbusters, having and active race for Sheriff in 2016. Earlier this year, I posted a brief rundown of the announced and semi-announced candidates when Sheriff Roger Garrison will not be running for reelection.

Now, Jeff Donley has gone from the likely candidate column to the group of announced candidates, holding an open house last week.

Jeff Donley, a detective sergeant in the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office, on Tuesday, May 26 held a meet-and-greet event with residents in Towne Lake.

Donley, who has a 31-year career in law enforcement under his belt, said serving the people of Cherokee County for the last three decades “uniquely qualifies him, as he understands the expectations of our citizens when it relates to law enforcement within Cherokee County.”

“The Cherokee Sheriff’s Office is a respected agency with great leadership and the deputies and staff under the command of Sheriff [Roger] Garrison are committed to making our sheriff’s office the best in the state,” he said. “This commitment has taken many years and our achievements speak for themselves. As we move forward into 2017, I feel we can always do better.”

I guess I’ll start working on the 2016 elections page for the GaPundit website. In case you missed it, here’s an ongoing roll of the 2015 campaigns.

Georgia Politics Online

Echols Snarky Republican

It’s rare to see an elected official performing constituent service on social media, even more rare for them to get a shout-out for doing so on Twitter, but Republican Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols received kudos for helping an anonymous Georgian via the social medium usually reserved for passive-agressive snark and mocking other. I award three points, one each for the tweets that made the exchange memorable.

For what it’s worth, I enjoy reading the tweets from @SnarkyCon. Witty and not usually mocking or insulting – that’s a rare combination on Twitter. I have no idea who runs that account, but it sounds to me like they might be from Athens.

As a disclaimer, I am helping Tim Echols on his reelection campaign.

Freshman State Senator Michael Williams has written a post on his campaign website about his decision to support the transportation tax bill, and it’s worth reading. He articulates very well what he believed to be the need for additional funding, what he likes and dislike about the bill as it finally passed, and his reasons for casting a “Yea” vote when the politically-convenient path would have been voting “Nay.” Agree or disagree, it’s good to see him take the time to lay this all out in a logical fashion for his constituents. I award two points – one for the post, and one for the title.

Here’s an excerpt from Michael Williams,

One of the hardest votes I made this past legislative session was on HB 170, the Transportation Funding Act of 2015. Going into my first session, I knew transportation was going to be a hot topic. During the summer and fall of 2014, a joint study committee traveled throughout the state to hear what concerns people had and to determine ways the state of Georgia could improve its transportation infrastructure.  In addition, the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House identified transportation as a priority for the 2015 legislative session.

Naturally, no one wanted the citizens to be faced with a rise in taxes.  Everyone I spoke with had their own ideas about how to solve the problem, most of which did not included a tax increase.  The more conversations I had, the more I realized that what people wanted was for everyone to “pay their fair share” and for the money already collected to be used conservatively and optimized to the fullest extent.  If these two things were being done and there still wasn’t enough money, then and only then, would the people support the need for an increase in taxes.

Without fail, conversations would eventually start to question how effectively the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is utilizing the funds they currently receive.  This bill requires GDOT to submit an annual budget and 10 year strategic plan to the Senate and House Transportation Committees for approval.  So for the first time in GDOT history, there is direct oversight by elected officials of the legislative body. This is an enormous victory, legislators will now have a direct say in the way money is spent on transportation.

This bill is a start to solving our transportation funding dilemma. However, I will be the first to admit that HB 170 is not perfect.  I disagree with the $5 per night hotel/motel tax and would prefer a lower excise tax, but we cannot wait any longer to solve this traffic problem that has been more than 30 years in the making.  We already have bridges that are unsafe for school buses to use and our commutes are getting longer and longer every day.

State Rep. Michael Caldwell wrote an article titled “Anatomy of a Bill,” published in TowneLaker. You can see a copy of the article via Twitter and an almost-legible photo here. I award 1 point – half-a-point for doing the print version which I can’t find in full on the web, and half-a-point for tweeting it out. He’s eligible for another full point if he posts it on his campaign website or elsewhere in a more-easily readable format.

SEC/Waffle House Primary Update

Arkansas legislators voted to move the 2016 Presidential Primary to May 1, joining Georgia and others in the SEC Primary, also called the Waffle House Primary. Under a compromise measure, after 2016, the razorback primary will revert to a later date in May.

The legislation moves Arkansas’ primary election from May 20th to March 1st and changes the start of the fiscal session from second Monday in February to the second Wednesday in April.

[Senate Minority Leader Keith Ingram, D-West Memphis] says it will force campaigning to start earlier.

“We’re headed down a path, I fear, where we’re going to have full time legislators, and that’s all they do,” he said.

Bell warns longer general elections allow political parties to raise more money and exert greater control over candidates.

He also decried an amendment sunsetting the change after just one year.

“Making a temporary move that we then potentially move back only serves to greater increase voter confusion,” [State Rep. Nate] Bell said.

But supporters say a May 20th primary means Arkansans have little influence on selecting presidential candidates.

“Typically candidates have already dropped out the primaries more or less already decided,” said bill sponsor Andy Davis, R-Little Rock.

There’s been speculation the move is an attempt by the Republican legislature to provide an early primary win and bolster the candidacy of Republican former governor Mike Huckabee.

But supporters say that’s not the case.

“I can understand why someone would have that perception,” Davis said.  “All I can tell you as the bills sponsor, the guy running the bill, that’s not my purpose. This is not for Mike Huckabee.”

The governor is expected to sign the changes into law Friday.

Meanwhile, Ohio has moved its 2016 Presidential Primary to May 15, which means that the Buckeye State is eligible under RNC rules to award delegates to the 2016 National Convention on a winner-take-all basis.

An Ohio legislative panel has approved a plan to push back the swing state’s 2016 presidential primary election by a week.

The bill passed Tuesday by the Senate’s State and Local Government Committee would move that primary to March 15. The election is currently set for March 8, the first Tuesday after the first Monday of the month.

The bill’s GOP supporters have said the date change follows Republican National Committee rules designed to discourage states from holding primaries too early to boost their influence in the party’s nominating process.

Ohio’s full Senate passed the bill and sent it to Gov. John Kasich’s desk for signature.

Ohio lawmakers set the table for Gov. John Kasich to potentially take all of the Buckeye State’s GOP presidential delegates in one swoop next year.

By moving the state’s 2016 primary election back a week — from March 8 to March 15 — Ohio’s Republican vote will be a winner-take-all contest.

The Senate gave the legislature’s final approval on Wednesday, 23-10. The measure becomes law with Kasich’s signature.

Ohio likely will join Florida, Missouri and possibly Illinois with primaries on March 15 next year — the first date allowed under national GOP rules in which states can hold winner-take-all primaries and not suffer any potential loss of convention delegates.

Although Kasich has not formally declared his White House candidacy, he is widely expected to join the crowded field this summer. He must be a declared candidate (and rank high enough in national polls) to qualify for the Aug. 6 GOP presidential debate in Cleveland.

If House Bill 153 is not enacted, Ohio would have to conduct a primary that awards delegates proportionally, based on each congressional district. That happened in 2012, when former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum picked off a few Ohio delegates, even though former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the state.

Sen. Frank LaRose, R-Copley, said the Ohio GOP wants to go united into the Republican National Convention next summer in Cleveland.

“It enhances the prestige of the delegation to be able to speak with that one voice,” he said.

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