Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 27, 2019


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 27, 2019

On November 28, 1777, Congress appointed John Adams as commissioner to France, replacing Silas Deane.

General George Washington set up winter headquarters at Morristown, New Jersey on December 1, 1779.

On November 30, 1782, British and American signed a preliminary treaty in Paris to end the American Revolution, which included withdrawal of British troops and recognition of American independence.

Georgia ratified the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution on November 29, 1794, which reads,

The judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another state, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign state.

On November 30, 1819, the SS Savannah returned to Savannah, GA from its trip as the first steamship to cross the Atlantic.

On December 1, 1824, the election for President of the United States, in which no candidate received a majority of electoral votes, went to the United States House of Representatives.

Andrew Jackson of Tennessee won 99 electoral and 153,544 popular votes; John Quincy Adams–the son of John Adams, the second president of the United States–received 84 electoral and 108,740 popular votes; Secretary of State William H. Crawford, who had suffered a stroke before the election, received 41 electoral votes; and Representative Henry Clay of Virginia won 37 electoral votes.

As dictated by the Constitution, the election was then turned over to the House of Representatives. The 12th Amendment states that if no electoral majority is won, only the three candidates who receive the most popular votes will be considered in the House. Representative Henry Clay, who was disqualified from the House vote as a fourth-place candidate, agreed to use his influence to have John Quincy Adams elected.

On November 27, 1864, Sherman ordered the courthouse in Sandersville, Georgia burned.

The Grand Ole Opry began live radio broadcasts from Nashville, Tennessee on November 28, 1925.

On November 29, 1947, the United Nations passed a resolution to partition Palestine and allow the creation of a Jewish state of Israel.

On November 29, 1963, President Lyndon Johnson appointed the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, referred to as the Warren Commission. Senator Richard B. Russell, Jr. of Georgia was appointed to the Commission.

The Tawana Brawley case began on November 28, 1987; the greatest lasting impact would be the rise to celebrity of community activist the Rev. Al Sharpton.

The City of Sandy Springs began operations at one second after midnight on December 1, 2005. Three years later, Dunwoody became a new city, on December 1, 2008.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Georgia State House Rules Committee Chair Jay Powell (R-Camilla) died yesterday at a legislative retreat, according to the Albany Herald.

Powell, 67, a Camilla Republican who served in Georgia House District 171, collapsed Monday during a retreat for Republican leadership at Brasstown Valley Resort in Young Harris.

An attorney who had served 10 years in the House, Powell previously was a Camilla City Council member and mayor of the city. He was elected to the House in 2008 and had become the chairman this year of that body’s Rules Committee.

“This is certainly going to be a big loss to District 171 and a big loss to the state of Georgia,” Mitchell County Administrator Clark Harrell said. “Jay was somebody you could always turn to, very accessible. You could always pick up the phone and call him.

“Jay was a leader not only in his district but a leader in southwest Georgia and the state of Georgia. Jay will be missed.”

Moultrie Mayor Bill McIntosh said that he has known Powell for a long time, back to Powell’s days in Camilla city government and his time as president of the Georgia Municipal Association.

From the AJC:

“This loss touches us all and leaves a hole in our hearts and in the heart of our House family,” said House Speaker David Ralston, a Republican from Blue Ridge. “Jay Powell served with integrity and his leadership truly moved Georgia forward.”

Powell served one year as the leader of the Rules Committee, which decided which bills would receive final votes in the full House of Representatives. Powell was previously chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the primary tax-writing committee.

“Chairman Powell was a trusted leader and compassionate public servant whose work positively impacted countless people’s lives over the years,” said Gov. Brian Kemp. “His loss is devastating to Georgia.”

Stacey Abrams, a Democrat who ran for governor against Kemp last year, said Powell worked in a bipartisan way to improve Georgia.

“Though Chairman Jay Powell and I stood on separate sides of the aisle, we worked together to advance good tax policy for Georgia and to support our local governments,” said Abrams, who was minority leader in the Georgia House before her run for governor. “He cared about community and getting good done.”

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins said after Powell was elected to the Georgia House, they were seated next to each other in the House chamber.

“Over those many hours on the floor, he shared his thoughts about life, law and politics that made me a better person,” said Collins, a Republican representing the Gainesville area. “Jay always had my back even through the storms of politics, which means more than anything. He helped me as a new attorney and provided wise counsel over the years regarding our public service.”

“Jay was well respected because of his strong work ethic, his ability to put sound policy above political bickering and most of all, because he was a great guy,” said Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into the matter, according to

The Towns County Sheriff’s Office requested the GBI investigate. The agency has not responded to questions about the nature of the investigation.

Governor Brian Kemp and Senate applicant Kelly Loeffler went to Washington to meet with President Trump, according to the AJC.

Gov. Brian Kemp embarked on a secretive trip to Washington with Kelly Loeffler, his favorite for a U.S. Senate opening, to try to win Donald Trump’s support after the president repeatedly pushed for another rival, according to several people with direct knowledge of the discussions.

The Sunday trip did not go as expected for Kemp, who encountered a president who was said to be frustrated with his decision-making process and blunt about his support for U.S. Rep. Doug Collins and others whom he considered to be safer political picks.

The meeting, not previously disclosed, lasted roughly an hour and involved the governor, Loeffler and Nick Ayers, a former top aide to Vice President Mike Pence. Ayers, who also served as a Trump adviser and remains close to the president, was brought in to facilitate conversations between both politicians.

The fact that Loeffler accompanied the governor to the White House was rare proof that he favors her in the selection process. Loeffler was a last-minute applicant for the seat U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson is giving up at the end of the year for health reasons. She has never run for office, though she briefly considered a 2014 run for the Senate seat Republican David Perdue won.

From the Wall Street Journal via Marketwatch:

[T]he private huddle turned tense and ended quickly, according to people familiar with the meeting. Trump has preferred Rep. Doug Collins, a Republican who has vocally defended the president during the impeachment process, and he told Kemp that he would be taking a risk by appointing the politically untested Loeffler. At one point Trump questioned why they were holding the meeting if Kemp had made his decision.

The Georgia governor presented Loeffler as his top choice, Trump told allies. But Kemp also told the president that he was open to his opinion, according to the people familiar with the meeting. Kemp’s team has discussed announcing the decision after Thanksgiving.

And back to the AJC:

The governor is sandwiched in a vise that only seems likely to tighten. On Sunday, he telegraphed his support for Loeffler, a wealthy self-funder, by bringing her to that fateful White House visit with Trump.

So backing away could damage his political clout and erase his hopes of putting — in GOP terms — an unconventional candidate in office.

But tapping Loeffler could be just as tricky. Collins has amassed a legion of grassroots supporters who have flooded social media with messages of support – and Kemp’s office with phone calls and letters urging him to back the four-term congressman.


Georgia Democrats are targeting nonpartisan runoff elections in Savannah and Valdosta, according to the AJC.

 The party said Tuesday it will launch a “full get out the vote” effort to back Savannah Alderman Van Johnson and former fire chief J.D. Rice in Valdosta in nonpartisan contests on Dec. 3.

The party is also recruiting volunteers and reaching out to voters to help candidates in metro Atlanta suburbs of College Park, Johns Creek and Smyrna.

State Sen. Nikema Williams, the chairwoman of the state Democratic party, said the party launched the initiative to contest nonpartisan municipal races to help build the party’s infrastructure at the grassroots.

The first is the race between Johnson and Mayor Eddie DeLoach, the first Republican elected to lead the city in decades. Johnson outpolled DeLoach by more than 1,500 votes earlier this month, but didn’t capture the majority needed to win outright.

Johnson has support from other prominent Democrats, including Stacey Abrams. DeLoach, meanwhile, is in familiar territory. He finished in second place in 2015 to defeat incumbent Edna Jackson in the runoff, and says he can pull off a repeat.

Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis is supporting Michael Bloomberg for President, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

“I look forward to formally endorsing @MikeBloomberg for president and working to win the great state of Georgia,” Davis said in a tweet Sunday. “Our state motto is ‘Wisdom, Justice and Moderation;’ Mike will bring those qualities to the debate when it is desperately needed.”

Davis, a former Democratic state legislator, has an affinity for mayors and mayors’ groups. He currently leads the African American Mayors Association, which he helped found, and travels to U.S. Conference of Mayors events.

A proposed Augusta region transportation tax initiative has overestimated revenues and underestimated costs, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

As the clock ticks toward a Dec. 25 deadline, the region’s transportation wish list needs more work after a Georgia Department of Transportation report said project price tags assigned by counties are off by a combined $300 million.

The Transportation Investment Act project list is intended to go before voters March 24 on the presidential primary ballot. If approved, it will extend the current 1% sales tax for transportation for another decade across 13 counties, from 2022 through 2031.

The state Transportation Department estimated revenues from the next tax at $610.7 million, and the counties turned in what they budgeted as $721.5 million in projects earlier this month. But in its latest review, the department says the list would actually cost $1 billion, more than $400 million above estimated revenues.

Athens-Clarke County Commissioners hit pause on e-scooter regulations, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

An Athens-Clarke Commission committee has called off for now its work on a possible new ordinance and pilot program to allow rentable dockless scooters in Athens.

The commission’s legislative committee learned last week that any local legislation on the scooters could be pre-empted by new state regulations when the state Legislature convenes in January. The committee also learned that existing property easements up and down the Oconee Rivers Greenway system specifically prohibit motorized vehicles, including electric bicycles.

Buzz kills in Athens-Clarke County are considering raising the minimum price of alcoholic beverages, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

The Athens-Clarke County Commission might soon raise the minimum price of an alcohol drink to $2, a price increase that would apply to bars and restaurants countywide, not just in downtown as first envisioned.

Police believe the change could reduce excess drinking.

“Raising that drink minimum price does have an effect on all these other things … that come from over-consumption of alcohol,” Athens-Clarke police Sgt. Laura Lusk told members of the Athens-Clarke Commission’s legislative review committee in a recent meeting.

Cherokee County Coroner Earl Darby announced he will retire at the end of his term, according to the Cherokee Tribune & Ledger News.

“I have been honored to serve (the public) since Jan. 1, 1993 and to have been elected seven times,” Darby said in an email to the Tribune on Tuesday. “It is time that I step aside and enjoy more family time and continue growing our family business. I want to thank the citizens of Cherokee County for the confidence to serve you for 28 years. I would also be remiss if I didn’t thank my wife, Olene, and my family for supporting me all those years and being forgiving as I missed so many family events as I served.”

Darby’s term of office will end on Dec. 31, 2020, and he explained he chose to announce his retirement now in order to allow those who may be interested in serving the county as its coroner more time to plan and prepare for the 2020 election. The role of coroner is to determine the cause, manner and circumstance of deaths, especially those under violent or unusual circumstances.

“The Cherokee Sheriff’s Office has worked closely with Earl Darby for decades,” Sheriff Frank Reynolds said. “He has been an outstanding coroner, and the quality of work from the coroner’s office under Earl’s leadership has been impeccable. Earl has honorably served the citizens of Cherokee County, not only as coroner, but as a businessman and a volunteer.”

A female Right Whale, possibly pregnant, has been spotted off Florida’s coast, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission confirmed and identified the animal as North Atlantic right whale number 3101, nicknamed Harmonia. She’s an 18-year-old female who last calved four years ago. It’s believed she could be pregnant again. Harmonia is the daughter of a whale named Aphrodite.

Right whales are so named because their habits of swimming slowly and close to shore along with the fact that their carcasses float made them the “right” whale to hunt. They were hunted to near extinction with an estimated 100 individuals remaining in 1935 when the League of Nations banned the whaling of the species. Their numbers gradually recovered, reaching about 500 in 2010. But this decade they’ve been seen decreased calving numbers including no calves in 2018 and seven calves this year, coupled with a high mortality from human-related causes including ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear. There are an estimated 400 left.

Right whales migrate from their summer feeding grounds off New England to give birth off the coast of Georgia and Florida in the winter. They are Georgia’s state marine mammal and are monitored via aerial surveys while here. Florida FWC’s survey will start flying off Georgia and Florida on Dec. 1, weather permitting. The generally fly from Cumberland to Mayport. A team from Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Georgia Department of Natural Resources will start flying on Dec 9, covering the area from about Sapelo to Cumberland.

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