Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 6, 2016


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 6, 2016

On May 6, 1789, the Constitutional Convention in Augusta, Georgia adopted a new Georgia Constitution.

Jefferson Davis spoke in Savannah, Georgia on May 6, 1866.

Davis … defend[ed] the South’s cause in the Civil War, stating, “In 1776 the colonies acquired State sovereignty. They revolted from the mother country in a desperate struggle. That was the cause for which they fought. Is it a lost cause now? Never. Has Georgia lost the State sovereignty which … she won in 1776? No, a thousand times no.” Davis’s fiery remarks were captured by reporters for the New York Times and other northern newspapers.

Because of the national attention generated over his visit to Alabama and Georgia, Davis took a more conciliatory tone in a speech that evening, noting, “There are some who take it for granted that when I allude to State sovereignty I want to bring on another war. I am too old to fight again, and God knows I don’t want you to have the necessity of fighting again… . The celebration today is a link in the long chain of affection that binds you and the North together. Long may it be true.”

On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister became the first person to break the four-minute barrier for running the mile.

For years, so many athletes had tried and failed to run a mile in less than four minutes that people made it out to be a physical impossibility. The world record for a mile was 4 minutes and 1.3 seconds, set by Gunder Hagg of Sweden in 1945. Despite, or perhaps because of, the psychological mystique surrounding the four-minute barrier, several runners in the early 1950s dedicated themselves to being the first to cross into the three-minute zone.

At 6 p.m., the starting gun was fired. In a carefully planned race, Bannister was aided by Chris Brasher, a former Cambridge runner who acted as a pacemaker. For the first half-mile, Brasher led the field, with Bannister close behind, and then another runner took up the lead and reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 3 minutes 0.4 seconds, with Bannister at 3 minutes 0.7 seconds. Bannister took the lead with about 350 yards to go and passed an unofficial timekeeper at the 1,500-meter mark in 3 minutes 43 seconds, thus equaling the world’s record for that distance. Thereafter, Bannister threw in all his reserves and broke the tape in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. As soon as the first part of his score was announced–”three minutes…”–the crowd erupted in pandemonium.

A “sub-four” is still a notable time, but top international runners now routinely accomplish the feat. Because a mile is not a metric measurement, it is not a regular track event nor featured in the Olympics. It continues, however, to be run by many top runners as a glamour event.

On May 6, 1984, Spinal Tap played a “comeback show” at CBGB’s in New York.

On May 6, 1996, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Atlanta was the most dangerous city in America.

Parliament-Funkadelic were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio on May 6, 1997.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Yesterday, Gov. Nathan Deal announced he is appointing State Rep. Dustin Hightower (R-68) as a Superior Court Judge for the Coweta Circuit. Because Hightower is the only candidate qualified for election to his State House seat, we will almost certainly see a Special Election there.

Hightower spoke to the Douglas Sentinel about his appointment,

“Once I’m sworn in, that seat will become available, and it’s up to the governor to decide whether or not someone will be appointed, or whether there will be an election,” said Hightower. “I’ll be involved in discussions with Gov. Deal on what the best course of action will be to address that situation. I just want to make sure the people of the 68th District are taken care of because they have certainly taken care of me. I’m looking forward to serving the people of the Coweta Circuit, and I intend to do the best job I can.”

Neighboring State House districts in DeKalb County present two of the very few opportunities for close contested elections in November. From the AJC.

[T]wo legislative House districts in and around Brookhaven, Chamblee and Doraville — including Johnson’s district — could be a case study on how delicately some candidates must treat changing political demographics and hot-button social issues such as Georgia’s roiling “religious liberty” debate

In these two districts alone, six Republicans will compete to challenge rising-star Democrats Taylor Bennett and Scott Holcomb in the fall. A lot is at stake: Bennett’s victory in a special election last year gave Democrats more than one-third of the seats in the state House, blocking Republicans from passing proposals to amend the state constitution without help from the minority party.

Hightower’s fellow Carrollton Republican Kevin Cooke, in an interview with WLBB, criticized Gov. Deal’s veto of Campus Carry legisation,

“Given this governor’s ability to do the right or the wrong thing, he’s going to choose the latter every time.”

“People want to know why Donald Trump is the nominee for president. Nathan Deal is the reason Donald Trump is the nominee for president. People are sick and tired of stinking politicians telling them what they’re going to do when they get in office, and then when they do that, they do the exact opposite.”

“So now the state of Georgia is either being led by these uber-corporations and-or the Board of Regents, which gets $2 billion a year from the Georgia General Assembly with no strings attached. That’s who is leading the state…

“What I want is the best for my state, long term. And all he’s doing systematically is tearing down anything good that we could have done. Heck, we’re building his legacy, trying to build it for him. And what’s he doing? He’s running the other way.”

The United States Department of Justice continues to pursue allegations that the State of Georgia illegally purged registered voters leading up to the 2016 elections, according to the AJC.

In a court filing, U.S. Attorney John Horn and members of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division indicated concerns with the state’s policy toward kicking voters off the rolls due to inactivity. The filing came in response to a request by Georgia officials to dismiss the suit after it was filed in February.

“This case asks whether, consistent with federal law, a state may consider a registered voter’s failure to vote to be reliable evidence that the voter has become ineligible to vote by virtue of a change of residence, thus triggering the designated NVRA (National Voting Rights Act) process,” Horn and the others wrote. “Defendant argues that it can. In fact, it cannot.”

The Federal Elections Commission is investigating the source of $700k loaned by 12th District Congressional candidate Eugene Yu to his 2014 campaign, according to WJBF.

News Channel 6 obtained documents that show correspondence between the Federal Election Commission and Eugene Yu’s former campaign team.

This investigation is in reference to Yu’s 2014 run for Senate, which you’ll remember he ended up changing to run for the House of Representatives instead.

In the documents, the commission says there is reason to believe Yu and his campaign committee violated federal law.

Meanwhile, the AJC continues to cover investigations related to former Congressman Paul Broun’s 2014 Senate campaign.

In 2014, then-U.S. Rep. Paul Broun repeatedly told congressional ethics investigators that a political consultant paid with tax money was a “volunteer” for his election campaigns, but a federal corruption indictment unsealed last month called that a “cover story.”

The indictment against David Bowser, Broun’s former chief of staff, casts doubt on Broun’s claims that the consultant was hired solely to advise him in his official role as a member of Congress, and did not have a paid position with Broun’s campaigns for House in 2012 and Senate in 2014.

It’s against the law for members of Congress to spend taxpayer dollars intended for staffing their official offices on their political campaigns. From 2012 to 2014, Broun paid Brett O’Donnell, a high-priced Washington consultant known as the “tea party whisperer,” $43,750 to give him communications advice.

O’Donnell pleaded guilty to lying about the arrangement last year and is awaiting sentencing in federal court. The government’s April indictment against Bowser charged Broun’s top aide with obstructing a House ethics investigation into O’Donnell’s hiring, making false statements and stealing government property.

The question now is whether the corruption investigation will stop there or engulf Broun, who has consistently denied wrongdoing as he challenges U.S. Rep. Doug Collins for the Ninth District congressional seat in the May 24 Georgia Republican primary. The scandal has become a campaign issue for Broun in the increasingly fiery race.

Meanwhile, a candidate for Henry County Commission awaits trial on child cruelty charges, according to the Henry Herald.
The trial for a Henry County commission chairman candidate who is facing a child cruelty charge has been placed “on call” at the request of his attorney after learning the trial would be delayed due to a pending murder trial.Larry Morey was scheduled for Monday’s Henry County Superior Court trial calendar for a charge of cruelty to children in the second degree, stemming from an October 2014 incident in which he allegedly disciplined a child with a belt at the ABC Montessori school where Morey was an administrator.Morey has qualified as a candidate for chairman of the Henry County Board of Commissioners. He will face fellow Republicans June Wood and Lisa McGarity in the May 24 primary election. The winner of the primary election will square off against Democrat Carlotta Harrell in the November General Election.

Candidates for Henry County Commission District 2 answered questions for the Henry Herald., led by Editor and Publisher Elliott Brack, has released endorsements in local races ahead of the May 24 Primary elections.

[I]n his first term as a Commissioner, Tim Echols has shown great ability and provided ideas benefiting the commission. We endorse the Echols candidacy.

Once again we endorse the candidacy of Fran Millar, 66, of Dunwoody, a solid veteran Legislator. We particularly look forward to his continued work on transportation and Medicaid expansion.

Our choice [in House District 95] is Scott Hilton, 36, a commercial banker, making his first bid for office.  His outlook on issues and his ties to the community tell us he will make a good servant of the people, and we endorse his candidacy. No Democrats are running for this post.

There are three non-partisan judicial races in Gwinnett this year, with two candidates for each open position. In the recent history, Gwinnett County has enjoyed a reputation of having high quality and fair judges on its benches. While three qualified and worthy candidates oppose each of the judges, we appreciate and approve of the conduct of the three incumbent judges.  Therefore, we endorse the incumbents for these offices.

That includes:

  • Judge of Superior Court: Ronnie Batchelor, 66, of Snellville.
  • Judge of State Court: Shawn Bratton, 44, of Suwanee.
  • Judge of State Court: Carla Brown, 50, of Dacula.

Candidates for those judicial seats met in a forum in Norcross yesterday, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Incumbent Hall County Board of Education member Craig Herrington meets challenger Clay Davis in the Republican Primary.

Condolences and prayers for the family of State Senator Mike Crane, a candidate for the 3d Congressional District, after Crane’s mother died.

The Coweta County schools system will issue Chromebook laptops to students grade 3 and higher in the next school year, according to the Times-Herald.

Chatham County remains the state’s capital for Bald Eagle nests, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Chatham County boasts more bald eagle nests than any other county in Georgia: 22 in all this year. And that’s nothing new. A flip through the record book shows Chatham has long been king where our national symbol is concerned.

“Chatham County has pretty much led the way since we started surveys in 1992,” said Bob Sargent of the Department of Natural Resources. Chatham routinely provides 10-12 percent of all the nests in the state.”

Sargent and his crew started helicopter nest surveys in January and finished in April, ultimately counting 201 occupied nesting territories, 149 successful nests and 240 young fledged. Those totals are slightly lower than last year’s 210 territories, 170 successful nests and 270 fledglings, Sargent said.

Still, it’s the second year in a row more than 200 bald eagle nests have been documented in Georgia. And despite the slight dip the overall trend still points upward for the national bird in Georgia.

As they have across the continent, bald eagles have rebounded in Georgia, going from no known nests in 1970 to nests this year in at least 63 counties, from Camden to Walker.

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