Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 10, 2015


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 10, 2015

Today we celebrate the birth of the United States Marine Corps, which traces its lineage to the Continental Marines, formed by a resolution adopted by the Second Continental Congress on November 10, 1775. Here, former Georgia Governor and United States Senator Zell Miller tells of his decision to join the Marine Corps and the change it made in his life.

A monument to Nancy Hart was dedicated in Hartwell, in Hart County, Georgia, on November 10, 1931. Hart was an active Patriot in the American Revolution.

On November 10, 1934, two years after his election as President, FDR made his 28th trip to Georgia.

United States Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Moultrie) was born on November 10, 1943. Chambliss was elected to Congress in 1994 as part of the “Republican Revolution” led by Newt Gingrich.

The iron ore freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald sunk in a winter storm on Lake Superior on November 10, 1975.

Former State School Superintendent Linda Schrenko was indicted by federal prosecutors on November 10, 2004 on eighteen counts.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Meagan Hanson for House2

Local attorney Meagan Hanson announced her campaign for the Republican nomination in House District 80 in Brookhaven and Sandy Springs.

“Over the past few years, House District 80 has experienced incredible growth and transformation. Brookhaven, Sandy Springs, and Chamblee have each seen home values increase, local businesses succeed, and families choose this community to raise their children.

“Maintaining these advancements presents serious challenges – especially with prevalent corruption in county governance. Ensuring that our community and our state continue to move in the right direction should be our first priority. To do this, our community needs an effective, principled leader who shares our community’s values and will champion our causes. This is why I am excited to announce my candidacy to represent House District 80.

“In the State House, I will work every day protect what we have built in our community. I will work with my colleagues to find solutions to our transportation challenges, fight to keep taxes low, foster successful schools for our children, and hold county governments accountable,” said Hanson.

Meagan Hanson is an attorney with the Atlanta law firm of Boyd Collar Nolen & Tuggle. In 2014, James Magazine listed her as one of Georgia’s most influential attorneys.

As a homeowner and active community leader in Brookhaven, Hanson was deeply involved in the grassroots effort for the Brookhaven cityhood movement as a board member for BrookhavenYES.

Hanson is an active member of the Junior League of Atlanta, where her service earned her the 2012 Volunteer of the Year award.

As a Republican leader, Hanson is the immediate past chair of the Georgia Young Republicans, having served three years as Chair. She was awarded the Georgia Young Republicans’ 2015 Woman of the Year.

Hanson is a graduate of the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama School of Law. She and her husband, David, also an Atlanta attorney, are members of Peachtree Road United Methodist Church and live in Brookhaven with their two chocolate labs, Beau and Lucy.

Politics and Elections Across Georgia

Initial election results from DeKalb County were incomplete, as some votes were not included, according to the AJC.

DeKalb elections officials added 41 votes countywide Monday that they had overlooked when they certified the election three days ago, changing the vote count in the LaVista Hills cityhood referendum that’s already under investigation by state officials.

The margin of defeat for LaVista Hills grew as a result, with the city effort falling short by 139 votes instead of 136 votes. The previously uncounted votes were all on provisional ballots, which are cast when there are questions about a voter’s eligibility.

Elections Director Maxine Daniels said the votes weren’t misplaced or lost, but election officials neglected to include them in Friday’s vote tabulation.

“We were aware of them — they just weren’t in that tabulation,” Daniels said. “I can’t even explain how it happened. … I take responsibility for it as the director. There were a lot of things happening and we didn’t follow our procedures and get it right.”

Also having problems running elections was Chatham County, according to the Savannah Morning News.

“There were allegations of campaigning within 150 feet of the polls, there were questions about newly approved district lines, and there were lots and lots of questions of county residents who don’t live in municipalities who wanted to vote for the mayor, or council or the pool or whatever,” he said. “We responded to those questions we received, and we were able to resolve most of those concerns.”

Left unresolved at the close of Election Day, however, were the allegations of unlawful campaigning activity at eight precincts in the city of Savannah last week.

Speaking on behalf of a group of citizens, John McMasters, a former Chatham County commissioner, asked the Elections Board to specify who is responsible for ensuring that Georgia code is not violated during elections, its procedures when someone alleges such a violation and whether the board would commit to filing charges against anyone suspected of violating the law.

The Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity ranked Georgia 24th among the states for ethics and transparency laws, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

A national advocacy group has awarded Georgia a D-minus for laws dealing with campaign finance, government ethics and openness in an assessment released today.

I don’t think that a D-minus is a fair assessment,” said Stefan Ritter, the executive secretary of the Georgia Government Trans­parency Commission and Cam­paign Finance Commis­sion. “I don’t know what that means if you’re not grading on a curve.”

Rep. Joe Wilkinson, an Atlanta Repub­lican who has headed the House Ethics Com­mit­tee for the past 11 years, said a review of the previous report card found that Georgia was graded lower than other states that had substantially identical laws.

“The report in 2012, I think, was fraudulent,” he said.

That report came in the middle of a legislative election that made ethics an issue.
Both political parties polled their voters during a primary and found overwhelming support for limits on lobbyists’ gifts to public officials.

The next year, the General Assembly enacted a $75 cap. It also required candidates and lobbyists to file reports more frequently while boosting fines if they don’t.

Don’t look for an endorsement from former Carrollton Mayor Fred O’Neal in the December 1 runoff, as his employment terms prohibit it.

The City of Ellijay will continue election season to fill two seats on City Council after filling three seats last week.

With the election only 3 people obtained sufficient votes to obtain a spot on the Council. These three candidates were:

David Westmoreland (Incumbent) with 189 votes.
Al Fuller (Incumbent) with 167 votes.
Ruth Caudell (Incumbent) with 155 votes.

This means that three of the five seats have been filled. Now, what happens next?

There will be a run-off on December 1st. No need to worry though, all citizens of Ellijay are allowed to vote again in the run-off. This election will fill the final 2 seats of the council and will include the next four highest voted candidates:

Lynelle Reece Stewart with 142 votes.
Katie Lancey (Incumbent) with 136 votes.
William Jerry Baxter with 130 votes.
Roy “Smitty” Smith with 129 votes.

Ellijay appears to have goofy non-standard elections, and I’ll try to unravel it before tomorrow’s edition.

Allen Brown and Charles Frasier will be on the ballot in the runoff election for Mayor of Hinesville after no candidate secured a majority vote.

A tie vote in another jurisdiction with goofy non-standard elections puts Willie Morgan and Charlie Fish, Jr., each of whom earned 77 votes, in a runoff for the second contested City Council seat in Flovilla, GA.

Because all of the Flovilla council seats are at-large posts, when there are two seats to fill, the top two vote-getters win. James C. Hosford, who has previously held office on the council, picked up the most votes Nov. 3 — 88 — and won one of the seats outright.

But Morgan and Fish tied for the second-highest total, setting up an unusual runoff.

Butts County Elections Director Avery Smith, whose office certified the results of the Nov. 3 election on Nov. 4, said it was the first time she can recall a tie in a local city election in her 39 years of elections work.

The aptly-surnamed Jack Smith will serve as the next Mayor of Smithville, GA, after a provisional ballot was disqualified, handing him the majority of votes and the Mayor’s gavel.

Joe McGoogan died from a heart attack two days after winning his election to Clermont Town Council.

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