Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 11, 2022


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 11, 2022

Yesterday was the anniversary of 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.

President George Washington returned to the City of Washington on November 13, 1789, ending the first Presidential tour.

On the same day, Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to his friend Jean-Baptiste LeRoy, in which he said,

“Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

The first twenty-three cadets at Virginia Military Institute began their service on November 11, 1839.

General William Tecumseh Sherman ordered the destruction of railroad and telegraph lines between Atlanta and Northwest Georgia on November 12, 1864. Sherman also burned the railroad bridge over the Chattahoochee, cutting his own supply line from Chattanooga.

On November 13, 1865, the United States government issued the first Gold Certificates.

The Georgia General Assembly adopted a resolution against ratifying the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution on November 13, 1866.

In deciding not to ratify the 14th Amendment, the General Assembly adopted a committee report explaining that: “1. If Georgia is not a State composing part of the Federal Government known as the Government of the United States, amendments to the Constitution of the United States are not properly before this body. 2. If Georgia is a State composing part of the Federal Government … , these these amendments are not proposed according to the requirements of the Federal Constitution, and are proposed in such a manner as to forbid the legislature from discussing the merits of the amendments without an implied surrender of the rights of the State.”

Excavation began for a new Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta on the site of the former City Hall/Fulton County Courthouse on November 13, 1884.

In what looks to me like a surprisingly progressive move for the 19th century, Governor John B. Gordon signed legislation on November 12, 1889 opening the University of Georgia to white women.

On November 11, 1918, word reached Georgia that an armistice was signed between the Allies and Germany, ending World War One. Georgia Governor Hugh Dorsery declared a state holiday. Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I, was first celebrated on November 11, 1919 and is celebrated on November 11th every year.

On November 12, 1918, Atlanta held a victory parade to celebrate the Armistice with Germany.

In 1938, Congress recognized November 11th as Armistice Day, making it a legal holiday, and in 1954, at the urging of veterans, Congress renamed the holiday “Veterans Day.”

The Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery was dedicated on November 11, 1921.

On Armistice Day, in the presence of President Harding and other government, military, and international dignitaries, the unknown soldier was buried with highest honors beside the Memorial Amphitheater. As the soldier was lowered to his final resting place, a two-inch layer of soil brought from France was placed below his coffin so that he might rest forever atop the earth on which he died.

The Tomb of the Unknowns is considered the most hallowed grave at Arlington Cemetery, America’s most sacred military cemetery. The tombstone itself, designed by sculptor Thomas Hudson Jones, was not completed until 1932, when it was unveiled bearing the description “Here Rests in Honored Glory an American Soldier Known but to God.” The World War I unknown was later joined by the unidentified remains of soldiers from America’s other major 20th century wars and the tomb was put under permanent guard by special military sentinels.

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.

Walt Disney released “Fantasia” on November 13, 1940.

On November 11, 1942, the draft age was lowered to 18 and raised to 37. At the time, African-Americans were excluded from the draft over concerns about a racially-diverse military.

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.

On November 12, 1944, the Atlanta Constitution released a poll of Georgia legislators indicating that most wanted more local rule for cities and counties in the new Constitution being drafted. Georgia Governor and Constitutional Commission Chair Ellis Arnall moved that a home rule provision be included in the new draft of the state Constitution and his motion passed 8-7 on November 13, 1944.

On November 13, 1956, the United States Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that struck down a law requiring segregation on buses in Montgomery, Alabama.

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

The “General Lee” first left the ground, using a ramp to clear a police car, during filming of “The Dukes of Hazzard” on November 11, 1978.

President Jimmy Carter ordered an end to oil imports from Iran on November 12, 1979.

Ronald Reagan announced his campaign for the Republican nomination for President of the United States on November 13, 1979.

“The people have not created this disaster in our economy; the federal government has. It has overspent, overestimated, and over regulated. It has failed to deliver services within the revenues it should be allowed to raise from taxes. In the thirty-four years since the end of World War II, it has spent 448 billion dollars more than it has collection in taxes – 448 billion dollars of printing press money, which has made every dollar you earn worth less and less. At the same time, the federal government has cynically told us that high taxes on business will in some way “solve” the problem and allow the average taxpayer to pay less. Well, business is not a taxpayer it is a tax collector. Business has to pass its tax burden on to the customer as part of the cost of doing business. You and I pay the taxes imposed on business every time we go to the store. Only people pay taxes and it is political demagoguery or economic illiteracy to try and tell us otherwise.”

“The key to restoring the health of the economy lies in cutting taxes. At the same time, we need to get the waste out of federal spending. This does not mean sacrificing essential services, nor do we need to destroy the system of benefits which flow to the poor, the elderly, the sick and the handicapped. We have long since committed ourselves, as a people, to help those among us who cannot take care of themselves. But the federal government has proven to be the costliest and most inefficient provider of such help we could possibly have.”

“I believe this nation hungers for a spiritual revival; hungers to once again see honor placed above political expediency; to see government once again the protector of our liberties, not the distributor of gifts and privilege. Government should uphold and not undermine those institutions which are custodians of the very values upon which civilization is founded—religion, education and, above all, family. Government cannot be clergyman, teacher and parent. It is our servant, beholden to us.”

“We who are privileged to be Americans have had a rendezvous with destiny since the moment in 1630 when John Winthrop, standing on the deck of the tiny Arbella off the coast of Massachusetts, told the little band of pilgrims, “We shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world.”

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated on November 13, 1982 in Washington, DC.

Ronald Reagan became the first President of the United States to address the Japanese Diet in Tokyo on November 11, 1983.

On November 11, 1988, the Georgia Vietnam Memorial was dedicated in front of the Sloppy Floyd state government building across the street from the Georgia State Capitol.

Tim Berners-Lee published a Proposal for a HyperText Project, laying the foundation for the World Wide Web, on November 12, 1990.

HyperText is a way to link and access information of various kinds as a web of nodes in which the user can browse at will. Potentially, HyperText provides a single user-interface to many large classes of stored information such as reports, notes, data-bases, computer documentation and on-line systems help.

A program which provides access to the hypertext world we call a browser. A hypertext page has pieces of text which refer to other texts. Such references are highlighted and can be selected with a mouse. When you select a reference, the browser presents you with the text which is referenced.

The texts are linked together in a way that one can go from one concept to another to find the information one wants. The network of links is called a web.

On November 11, 1997, a monument to Georgia’s World War I veterans was dedicated, also in front of the Sloppy Floyd building.

On November 12, 2000, George W. Bush took the lead for the first time in the New Mexico vote count, paving the way for his eventual election as President. From the New York Times:

Gov. George W. Bush of Texas late Friday night took the lead from Vice President Al Gore in the race to claim New Mexico’s five electoral votes with what now stands as the slimmest statewide margin in the country and one of the narrowest in American history.

After 257 missing ballots were found on Friday, and Bernalillo County officials here decided to count 379 ballots by hand that had been rejected by electronic voting machines on Tuesday, Mr. Bush led Mr. Gore by just four votes — among nearly 600,000 cast. The count was 285,644 for Mr. Bush, and 285,640 for Mr. Gore, according to totals from the state and the county.

Mr. Gore, who now has 255 electoral votes, seemed the apparent winner in New Mexico on Tuesday night by about 5,000 votes. But by late Wednesday, county officials had discovered that 67,000 absentee and early ballots had not been counted.

By midnight on Thursday, nearly all the ballots had been tallied and added to the county totals, but county officials then found that 252 votes — a number that reached 257 by Friday — were missing. They also grappled with the problem of what to do with an ever changing number of ballots that voting machines had rejected.

Then, on Friday afternoon, Lou Melvin, a precinct judge, found a locked black ballot box in an outer storage room in the county warehouse building where all the tabulations were being conducted.

It would be a month before the Supreme Court rendered a decision in Bush v. Gore, ending the election.

From the New York Post, dated November 12, 2000:

Republican George W. Bush yesterday took an infinitesimal lead – just 17 votes – in New Mexico, flipping a state that was put in rival Al Gore’s column for days, then moved to undecided Friday as Gore’s lead shriveled.

It’s another black eye for the TV networks who rushed to judgment and wrongly called New Mexico for Gore on Election Night, just as they miscalled Florida – first for Gore and then for Bush before going back to undecided.

The TV network fumbles are coupled with coast-to-coast ballot bumbles that have undermined America’s faith in the whole voting system as four states could join Florida in recount-land: New Mexico, Wisconsin, Oregon and Iowa.

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

On November 13, 2006, groundbreaking began for a memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr. on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

On November 11, 2013, the Atlanta Braves announced they would move from downtown Atlanta to Cobb County.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Voters may now request an absentee ballot for the December 6, 2022 Runoff Election, according to WTOC.

You can request an absentee ballot for the runoff now. The absentee ballot application must be received by your election office 11 days before the election.

Saturday, Nov. 26, would be the earliest day that early in-person voting could begin in any county, according to state officials. Whether there is early in-person voting on this day will be a county-by-county decision, on whether they want to offer weekend early voting.

Early voting will begin in all counties on Monday, Nov. 28.

You must have been registered to vote for the Nov. 8 election. You cannot register now just for the runoff.

You did not have to vote in the Nov. 8 election. If you are registered, you can vote.

From the Ledger-Enquirer:

You can request an absentee ballot online, by emailing your county board of registrars office, by mail, by fax or in person. The process for any of these options starts with downloading and printing the absentee ballot application.

To complete the process by email, complete the absentee ballot application and provide contact information under “voter details.” Enter your Georgia driver’s license number or state ID and scan a digital copy of it. Email the application and copy of ID to your local county board of registrars office.

To mail or fax the application and copy of identification, look up your county board of registrars office contact information online. To submit the information in person, fill out the downloaded application and bring acceptable photo identification to your county board of registrars office.

If you requested an absentee ballot for the initial election and checked that you are elderly, disabled or voting from overseas, you should automatically receive a ballot for this election as well.

From WTVM:

Nationally, some say it could turn into the most expensive senate race ever. One local political expert tells us this extra election, a month from now, could generate millions for Georgia and money from all those campaign ads are a big plus for the peach state economically.

“Probably for this runoff, you could be seeing literally 10′s of millions of dollars spent,” said Columbus State University Assistant Professor of Political Science Dr. Jacob Holt, who says the extension will generate tons of revenue for Georgia.

“Ads run by candidates. They get lowest ad rates, but the ones where you make a lot of money is these outside groups, because you can charge them whatever you want, as long as you’re willing to pay it,” said Holt. “Very likely, Raphael Warnock will raise a lot more money. So more of his spending will be from his campaign, which will be a bigger bang for his buck.”

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says voters can request absentee ballots from now until November 28. He also says early voting must begin no later than November 28 in all counties.

From WJBF:

“But this time it’s going to be a much quicker pace, before we had the nine weeks this time, we have four weeks, so we have to do everything all over again but it a shorter period of time,” said Augusta Elections Director Travis Doss.

In 2020, when both Georgia’s senate seats resulted in a runoff, the election was in January, and now voters are facing a December 6 voting date.

“The difference comes about we actually changed the law in the legislature where you basically had two months when we did it in 2020 now it’s four weeks so the time is much shorter now,” said State Senator Harold Jones.

For the 2020 runoffs, there were three weeks of advance voting, that’s not the case for the 2022 senate runoff.

There will be early voting starting on November 28 and last for one week.

In 2020, there was time for new voters to register and still take part in the runoffs, but no new voters will be taking part this time.

“‘The registration deadline if it is a Federal Run off the registration deadline was the 7th so that has already passed so no,” said Doss.

The runoff rules changes are part of the election law changes made after concerns were raised about the 2020 elections.

“Of course, we say it was designed to suppress Democratic turnout because the fact of the matter came about after this election in 2020 that’s why we look at, it but at this point in time it’s the law,” said Senator Jones.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office will audit the Secretary of State race election results, according to the Associated Press via AccessWDUN.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced Thursday that state election officials will conduct an audit of his own race to satisfy an audit requirement in state law.

The audit stems from a law passed in 2019, not from any concerns about any problems or the integrity of the state’s election results. An audit is required for general elections in even-numbered years on a race selected by the secretary of state. It must be completed before the election results are certified.

“Today’s about ensuring confidence in the outcome of our elections in Georgia and really across our entire country,” Raffensperger said.

The counties must begin the audit on Nov. 17, and the secretary of state’s office is asking them to complete it by the next day, Raffensperger said.

He said he chose the secretary of state race because it had the widest margin, which will make the audit easier for counties to carry out. Raffensperger, a Republican, beat state Democratic state House Rep. Bee Nguyen.

State law requires 90% certainty that the outcome is correct, but Raffensperger said he is increasing that to 95%, that is to say a “risk limit” of 5%.

To get to that level, it is likely that between 5% and 7% of the nearly 4 million ballots case statewide will end up having to be counted by hand, said Blake Evans, elections director for the secretary of state’s office.

The audit is open to the public, and Evans encouraged people to show up to observe the proceedings in their own counties. Counties must post the date, time and location of the audit on the elections office website or, if that doesn’t exist, in another prominent spot. While members of the public and the news media can attend the audit, no one but audit workers who have taken an oath may touch the ballots or ballot containers.

On Monday, Georgia State House Republicans will meet to discuss leadership for the upcoming legislative session. From the Associated Press via US News & World Reports:

Although the official vote won’t come until the new House convenes on Jan. 9, majority House Republicans are scheduled to gather Monday to choose their nominee. That person is likely to win the gavel unless the majority caucus fractures.

House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones of Milton, House Majority Whip Matt Hatchett of Dublin and Rep. Alan Powell of Hartwell have all said they won’t run for speaker this week, with all three Republicans endorsing Burns.

Republican Rep. Barry Fleming of Harlem is the only announced candidate still in the race besides Burns.

David Ralston of Blue Ridge has been speaker for 13 years, but stunned lawmakers and the Georgia political world when the Republican announced last week that he is stepping down for health reasons. As paramount leader of the House, Ralston has shaped taxes, spending and other laws, becoming the most powerful person in state government behind the governor. Ralston says he will continue as a representative.

His departure means both the House and Senate will have new leaders in the coming term.

Republicans won 100 seats in the House and are leading in one race The Associated Press hasn’t called, down from their current 103-seat majority.

In a Tuesday statement, Jones said she would run again for her pro tem post, the second-highest House position, saying “it’s my desire to ensure continuity and stability within our caucus while growing and diversifying our numbers.”

Burns could represent a continuance of Ralston’s rule, which sometimes blocked the most conservative proposals and maintained open lines of communication with Democrats.

His election would also mean rural lawmakers maintain control of the speakership.

Burns is a farmer in northern Effingham County and holds a law degree. He just won his 10th two-year term in the House without opposition, representing a district that includes Screven County, most of Effingham County and part of Bulloch County. He’s been majority leader since 2015. Earlier, he was briefly a member of the state board overseeing the Department of Transportation, winning election by state lawmakers, and was president of his local chamber of commerce.

From the Savannah Morning News:

Burns, who represents parts of Effingham and Bulloch counties in House District 159, currently serves as the House majority leader, who heads the majority party caucus. The House speaker is the chamber’s most powerful role and is widely considered the second-most influential position in Georgia’s state government, behind only the governor.

Georgia House Rep. Ron Stephens, a Republican who represents House District 164 and is the chairman of the Chatham legislative delegation, said he cannot think of a better candidate for the role than Burns.

“There is nobody else qualified to work with both sides,” said Stephens. “When you are speaker of the House, you are speaker of the whole House, not just your party. He is not extremely partisan and I think that might be his best quality. So it is the next logical step for him to be speaker of the House. You’ve got to have a willingness to work with folks who don’t think necessarily like you do.”

Stephens also pointed to Burns’ ability to handle the state budget and his time as majority leader, which has made him a fixture in the house.

Georgia House Rep. Bill Hitchens, a Republican who represents the district that neighbors Burns’s district, grew up with Burns’ older brother. The two later formed a friendship that has spanned four decades.

Hitchens said in all the years he has served as a legislator, Ralston was the fairest leader he’s ever worked with. He thinks Burns can follow in Ralston’s footsteps, citing how he worked alongside Ralston and learned the art of bipartisanship.

“Every time I’ve ever heard him speak, he always talks about what he thinks is best for Georgia,” said Hitchens.

Headline of the Week: “Stacey Abrams is a two-time statewide election loser.” From the Savannah Morning News:

It wasn’t even close — Stacey Abrams conceded the Georgia governor’s race to Gov. Brian Kemp before midnight on Election Night.

“I may no longer be seeking the office of governor, but I will never stop doing everything in my power to make sure the people of Georgia have a voice,” Abrams said during her concession speech.

Abram’s loss was not a surprise, according to Andra Gillespie, a political scientist at Emory University.

“I think it has to do with incumbency advantage,” Gillespie said of Abrams gaining far fewer votes this year. “In 2018, Kemp and Abrams were evenly matched, neither had been governor.”

Even with defeats up and down the ballot, Gillespie thinks that Democrats in Georgia still have a shot.

“I still think Georgia is competitive, it’s a different environment from 2020, you’re not running against Donald Trump,” she said.

Aimee Allison, founder and president of She the People, an organization focused on the political power of women of color, said she thought Abrams ‘work was in large part what got the state to where it is today, politically.

“The infrastructure that Stacey Abrams established, actually, before 2018, and the New Georgia Project, the statewide organizing infrastructure, has changed the political landscape and possibilities for the foreseeable future in Georgia,” Allison said.

Not decided this week: two seats on the Public Service Commission, which were removed from the ballot due to a voting rights lawsuit. From WABE via the Albany Herald:

A Voting Rights Act lawsuit stopped the election — and could change how Georgians choose commissioners.

But the commission plays a role in most Georgians’ lives: It determines how much Georgia Power customers pay for electricity, and where that electricity comes from. In fact, the five commissioners are considering a big rate-hike right now.

Civil rights activists [] sued the state over how Public Service Commission elections work, arguing they violate the Voting Rights Act. A federal judge agreed, and ordered the races for the two seats that were up for election this year to be taken off the ballot.

PSC elections are unusual: Candidates have to live in specific districts, but the actual votes are statewide.

“It sometimes is viewed as being kind of a halfway house between a pure at-large system and a pure districting system, so that you have some distribution of where your representatives come from,” UGA politics professor Charles Bullock said. “So they’re spread around the state somewhat. But then they are answerable to a broader constituency.”

Democrat Terry Coleman designed this system when he was Speaker of the Georgia House in the late ’90s. At the time, he said, lawmakers wanted to figure out “how we could make sure that places outside of the metro areas had representation.”

Coleman said the statewide election makes sense for the unique job the commission does regulating a statewide industry that has local impacts.

But the lawsuit brought by civil rights and environmental activists argues that because commissioners are chosen by a statewide vote, they don’t really represent the people in their local district.

The lawsuit says those hard-hit black ratepayers don’t have representation on the commission because the system dilutes their votes. Expert testimony in the suit showed that in past PSC elections, black voters generally agreed on a candidate — and that candidate consistently lost.

Only one black commissioner has ever been elected. Fitz Johnson currently serves on the commission. He was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp after his predecessor stepped down early. Johnson, whose district includes Atlanta, would have been up for election this year.

History note: David Burgess, a Democrat first appointed to the PSC by Gov. Roy Barnes (D), was elected to a full term in 2000 and defeated for reelection in 2006.

Voters elected four Muslim candidates to the General Assembly, all from Gwinnett County, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Gwinnett voters re-elected state Sen. Sheikh Rahman, D-Lawrenceville, who became the first Muslim elected to serve in the General Assembly in 2018, but they also made history in three other legislative races.

These include the election of Nabilah Islam, who will join Rahman in the Senate and become the first Muslim woman elected to that chamber, as well as Ruwa Romman and Farooq Mughal, who will be the first Muslim members of the Georgia House of Representatives.

It could end up being the second largest Muslim delegation in the nation, behind only Minnesota, which the Council on American-Islamic Relations projected would have five Muslim state legislators after this election.

Rahman, who was unopposed on Tuesday, will represent Senate District 5 while Islam will represent Senate District 7, Romman will represent House District 97 and Mughal will represent House District 105. They are all Democrats.

“Once again, the Georgia Muslim community have made their voices heard,” CAIR-Georgia Executive Director Murtaza Khwaja said in a statement. “They were part of record early voting turnout in the face of suppressive legislation like (Senate Bill) 202 to bring about the historic election of the first Muslim women to the Georgia state House and Senate.

“In addition to the two Muslim women, Georgia Muslims also elected the first Muslim man to the state House and ensured that our next state legislature looks more like us.”

Starting in January, six seats in Gwinnett’s 30-seat legislative delegation will be held by members of the AAPI community.

Democrats Sam Park and Marvin Lim won re-election on Tuesday. Lim was unopposed in his re-election bid in House District 98. Meanwhile, Park defeated Republican Hai Cao in the House District 107 race by capturing 68.22% of the 13,813 votes cast.

And, Soo Hong, a Republican, defeated Democratic Party candidate Ernie Anaya in the House District 103 race by getting 61.4% of the 21,609 votes cast in the race.

In all, Democrats won 20 of the 30 legislative races in Gwinnett while Republicans won the remaining 10 seats. Asian-Americans, Latinos and Blacks will hold 20 of the seats in the delegation.

Dougherty County voters approved the extension of their Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), according to the Albany Herald.

Voters helped a six-year extension of a 1% sales tax sail to approval on Tuesday in one of only two races decided wholly by Dougherty County voters, the other being the state House District 153 race won by Democrat David Sampson.

On the special-purpose local-option sales tax question, 18,386 voters (70.53 percent) voted yes, with 7,681 voting in opposition. The tax is expected to bring in more than $100 million and will help fund projects that include the city of Albany’s stormwater/sewage separation efforts.

“I think a lot of it had to do with the public’s wanting to find another way to fund the sewer project,” Albany City Commissioner Demetrius Young said on Wednesday. “I think that was one of the bigger things we put into the SPLOST. I think many found this is going to be the more palatable way to pay for the $105 million project.”

1Taxpayers and city utility customers also may have been thinking about their wallets, as the sales tax money received will help ensure that property taxes and utility rates won’t have to be increased to pay for the improvements, the commissioner said.

Turnout for early voting totaled a little more than 20 percent, but voters also turned out on Election Day, with a total of 26,769 out of 57,389 registered voters, 46.64 percent, participating.

“We had record turnout (compared) to previous midterm elections,” Young said. “That’s, from my perspective, a huge turnout for a midterm election.”

With a shrinking tax base and population in the county, the SPLOST seemed to be attractive for voters as a way to keep property taxes lower, Dougherty County Commissioner Russell Gray said.

Columbus voters decided on a number of amendments to their city charter, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

The first proposed amendment asked residents whether changes should be made in the language of certain provisions of the charter that would allow the Columbus Council to set the term of members of the Board of Tax Assessors.

Columbus residents approved of the Article IV charter amendment with about 76% voting for approval.

A proposed amendment to Article VI of the charter would make changes to the timing of regular and special elections consistent with state law. The measure passed with 72% voting for approval.

An Article VIII amendment on whether to refer to the Sheriff as the Sheriff of Muscogee County was approved by voters.

Columbus voters approved a change making violations of the Code of Ethics to be punishable by a fine up to $1,000.

Republican U.S Senate candidate Herschel Walker raised $3.3 million dollars on the first day of his runoff campaign, according to The Hill via WSAV.

Georgia GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker raised $3.3 million on Wednesday, the first day of his runoff campaign against Sen. Raphael Warnock (D), according to Fox News.

The former NFL star brought in another $1 million before noon on Thursday, Fox reported.

Walker trailed Warnock by just under 1 percentage point, about 35,000 votes, in Tuesday’s general election. However, since neither candidate breached the required 50 percent mark, they will face off once again in a Dec. 6 runoff election.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced on Thursday that it will be investing $7 million into field organizing efforts in the Georgia runoff for Warnock.

Sen. Rick Scott (Fla.), the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), joined Walker in sending a memo to supporters on Wednesday urging them to contribute and help them “stay on television.” The NRSC released its first ad of the runoff race on Thursday.

From the Savannah Morning News via the Augusta Chronicle (filed as Commentary):

Donald Trump is coming to Raphael Warnock’s rescue.

Next Tuesday, Nov. 15, Trump is expected to launch his 2024 presidential bid. By that time, the stakes for Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoff will officially be winner-take-all: majority control of the chamber and, with the GOP’s success in the U.S. House elections, the entire legislative branch.

What better way to launch a White House run than to use his influence to drive Republican turnout and help the party win back the Senate?

Trump is indeed a powerful force in Georgia elections — one likely to backfire on the GOP and lift Warnock, not Trump’s pal Herschel Walker, to runoff victory.

If success in a general election race comes down to political platform and who shows up, winning a runoff is entirely about turnout. All the campaign points have been made. All the other races are settled. Whichever candidate gets more of his voters to the polls wins.

Nothing impacts Georgia Democratic voter turnout more than the Trump effect.

Trump is just what a flat-lining Democrat such as Warnock needs to rally casual voters. They need a villain. Not that Walker didn’t try to mimic Trump, with all the name-calling, issue flip-flopping, race-baiting and belittling of women, transgender Georgians and those suffering from mental illness.

But to the barely engaged, maybe-I’ll-go-vote citizen, Walker is Dr. Evil to Trump’s Darth Vader — both are repulsive, but Walker warrants a mere eye-roll, not a sprint to the nearest polling station.

The same goes for the nearly 100,000 Georgians who did cast ballots on Nov. 8. Instead of giving Walker the Trump treatment and voting for the Democratic opponent, 80,000 went for the Libertarian candidate, and another 18,000 left the boxes next to the U.S. Senate candidates’ names blank.

Trump, though, changes the math. Once he becomes Walker’s outspoken champion, it becomes 2020 all over again. Trump is back on the ballot. Nearly half-a-million more Georgians participated in the 2020 Senate runoffs than did the Nov. 8 election. More than 300,000 of those 2020 runoff voters went for Warnock against Loeffler, who was a lousy candidate but not a mean-spirited, loathsome human being like Walker.

From the AJC:

The conventional wisdom is that Democrats believe a Biden visit to Georgia could hurt Warnock by energizing GOP voters who want to see the president’s power in Washington blunted by flipping control in the Senate. Biden stayed away during the run-up to the general election even as he stumped for candidates in other swing states.

But Republicans are almost daring the president to come down now. Appearing with Walker during a rally Thursday night was U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, who issued an invitation.

“Joe Biden, come to Georgia,” the Texas Republican said. “Come campaign alongside Raphael Warnock.”

“What does it tell you that Raphael Warnock is hiding from the president of the United States?” Cruz said. “The reason is Raphael Warnock’s record in Washington is wildly out of step with the values of the people of Georgia.”

[T]he former president remains committed to the plan to make an announcement next week. Some of his allies warn that launching his candidacy amid the Georgia election could help Warnock rally his Democratic base and keep split-ticket voters in his camp ahead of the Dec. 6 vote.

It also sharpens the possibility that Trump could join a parade of surrogates headed to Georgia that may include Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, another potential 2024 candidate.

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, a Lithonia Democrat, was among the 200 supporters who attended Warnock’s runoff campaign launch Thursday. He salivated over the idea of a Trump rally in Georgia on Walker’s behalf.

“I’d love for Donald Trump to come into this state and campaign vigorously for his candidate who he parachuted into Georgia just to run so that he could have an acolyte in the Senate,” Johnson said. “I really hope that Trump decides to come in; that will motivate even more people to come out against him.”

Savannah City Council voted to remove the name of Calhoun Square, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Savannah no longer has a square named after John C. Calhoun.

Now, the square on Abercorn Street has no name — “the square formerly known as Calhoun,” after Savannah City Council voted 9-0 to remove the name of Calhoun, a former vice president and South Carolina statesman who was known for being a staunch advocate for slavery.

The vote comes nearly two years after an activist group called the Center for Jubilee, Reconciliation and Healing and its founders, Patt Gunn and Rosalyn Rouse, began pushing for the square to be renamed for Suzie King Taylor, a Savannah icon.

Council’s vote on the topic was unanimous, with 1st District Alderwoman Bernetta Lanier making the motion, seconded by At-Large Post 2 Alderwoman Alicia Miller Blakely.

While choosing a new name for the square has no set timeline as of now, Gunn and Rouse say they’ll continue to push for a new name: That of Susie King Taylor, a Savannah icon.

From WTOC:

Before council took a vote, the city of Savannah had their director of municipal archives talk about the history of the square and land surrounding it.

“Enslaved individuals or persons of color were allotted a separate, segregated, cemetery known as the negro burial ground. The land once occupied by the stranger’s burial ground is now occupied by a small portion of Calhoun Square, building lots where the Massie School was built and a part of the street between the two,” said Luciana Spracher, Savannah’s director of municipal archives.

That council at the time called him a “treasure of the south” and proceeded to drape the council chamber in black for 30 days for him.

Spracher said: “Upon news of Calhoun’s death, the previous year in 1850, Savannah’s City Council adopted a resolution stating that council “mourns over him.”

Calhoun didn’t have ties to Savannah and the mayor says he does not reflect who Savannah is.

Mayor Van Johnson said the city will now begin the process of finding the new name for Savannah’s now unnamed square.

“This is a process that did not take place in 1851, but we have the opportunity to do it now. We won’t rush the process. We’ll take our time. We’ll hear the voices, we’ll research the names, the places, the concepts, it will go through the city’s process and then the city council will decide on a name.”

Mayor Johnson says the public will have the chance to weigh-in on what they want the square to be re-named.

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