Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 17, 2022

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 17, 2022

Five thousand British and Hessian troops surrendered to patriot militia on October 17, 1777, ending the Second Battle of Saratoga, and leading to France recognizing American independence and sending military aid.

An editorial published pseudononymously by Alexander Hamilton on October 17, 1796, accused Thomas Jefferson, then a Presidential candidate, of having an affair with a slave.

Happy birthday to the Texas Rangers, created on October 17, 1835.

In the midst of their revolt against Mexico, Texan leaders felt they needed a semi-official force of armed men who would defend the isolated frontier settlers of the Lone Star Republic against both Santa Ana’s soldiers and hostile Indians; the Texas Rangers filled this role. But after winning their revolutionary war with Mexico the following year, Texans decided to keep the Rangers, both to defend against Indian and Mexican raiders and to serve as the principal law enforcement authority along the sparsely populated Texan frontier.

Paul Anderson, known as the “World’s Strongest Man,” was born in Toccoa, Georgia on October 17, 1932. From his New York Times obituary:

As the unknown substitute for the injured American champion at the first Soviet-American dual athletic competition, in Moscow in 1955, the 5-foot-9-inch Anderson was scorned by his hosts.

The scorn turned to snickers when Anderson called for a weight of 402.4 pounds, more than 20 pounds above the world record. The snickers stopped when the 340-pound Anderson lifted the weight. By the time he set another record, in the clean and jerk, he was being hailed by Soviet fans.

The stunning achievement at the height of the Cold War made Anderson an instant American hero, and it was largely an anticlimax when he set three more world records at the world championships in Munich, Germany, later that year.

Although virtually conceded the gold medal at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, Anderson was stricken with a severe inner-ear infection.

Competing at 304 pounds and with a 103-degree fever, he fell so far behind his chief rival that on the final of three required lifts, he needed to clean and jerk 413.5 pounds, an Olympic record, to claim the gold. Twice he tried and failed. On the third attempt he asked God for a little extra help and got it.

“It wasn’t making a bargain,” he said later, “I needed help.”

Paul Anderson Memorial Park in Toccoa is a private park supported by a 501(c)(3) organization.

Note this: it’ll come in handy when you get to the items below about FLOTUS Jill Biden rooting for the Phillies.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Georgia leads the nation in flu cases, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention weekly influenza map shows Georgia leading the U.S. in positive flu cases, a significant shift after flu activity was unusually low in 2020 and 2021.

Explanations for the unusually low flu activity pointed toward lockdown measures implemented to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. With those restrictions lifted, Dr. Lawton Davis, health director for the Coastal Health District, said the U.S. is predicted to have a potentially bad flu season this year.

“Most of the health experts feel that the reason we didn’t have a very significant flu, or RSV season, back in 2020 and 2021 is that everybody was practicing those social distancing mitigation practices like wearing a mask and watching washing your hands and staying out of crowds, etc. and all that is pretty much gone by the wayside now,” Davis said.

In Chatham County, the Coastal Health District is hosting drive-thru vaccination clinics, with two upcoming clinics on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at the Savannah Civic Center and the Georgia Tech Savannah Campus on Wednesday, Oct. 26 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

Governor Brian Kemp outlined a public safety agenda, according to the AJC.

Gov. Brian Kemp unveiled a slate of public safety policies on Monday that includes pledges to crack down on gangs, create a loan program to boost the ranks of law enforcement officers and steer judges toward issuing cash bail in certain instances.

His agenda sharply contrast with his Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams. She has promoted many of the policies she pushed in 2018, including a call to decriminalize low-level drug offenses and a push to eliminate cash bail in some cases.

Echoing his 2018 anti-gang platform, Kemp would increase the penalty for recruiting a minor into a “criminal street gang” from five years to 10 years. He also would launch a new database aimed at sharing organized crime details that he promised during his last bid for office.

Another proposal would require judges to consider a defendant’s criminal history when issuing “own recognizance” bonds, a form of bail that doesn’t involve any payment. And he wants to ban judges from issuing those bonds to defendants with a history of failing to appear in court.

As part of a broader initiative to target human trafficking, Kemp would double fines for businesses that violate state law requiring them to post information aimed at potential victims of the crime. That years-long effort is led by Kemp’s wife, Marty Kemp.

In a second term, Kemp wants to create a loan reimbursement program of as much as $20,000 over a five-year period to recruit and retain 800 law enforcement officers seeking higher education coursework in the field. It echoes an initiative promoted by Georgia House leaders.

A similar program geared for prospective medical examiners would provide reimbursable loans of up to $100,000. Only about half of the state’s 19 medical examiner posts are filled, which factors into investigative delays.

Republican Governor Brian Kemp will debate Democrat Stacey Abrams tonight, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The debate will air live at 7 p.m., and all debates hosted by the Press Club will be available for viewers to watch on GPB.org and The Atlanta Press Club Facebook page.

The race is a rematch of 2018, when Kemp and Abrams faced off for the first time. But Kemp has been in Atlanta for the past four years with a chance to follow through on his promises, while Abrams has raised her national profile as a voting rights advocate. With the cost of living top of mind for many Georgians, both candidates are focusing on pocketbook issues — but voting rights, abortion and guns are also likely to be brought up.

In a September poll conducted by the University of Georgia School of Public and International Affairs for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, 19.6% of respondents listed the cost of living as the top issue facing the country, and 15% listed it as the second most important issue.

“Gov. Kemp has refunded over $1 billion to Georgia taxpayers, signed the largest state income tax cut in Georgia history, and suspended the state’s gas tax to provide economic relief to Georgians facing 40-year-high inflation and skyrocketing gas prices under the Biden Administration,” campaign spokesperson Tate Mitchell wrote in an email at the time.

From WTOC:

But this year’s rematch is much different from their 2018 encounter. Kemp now has a four-year record as governor of mostly popular conservative philosophies; oversees a strong state economy; and seems to have weathered a blistering attack from former President Donald Trump for not overturning the outcome of state’s 2020 presidential election.

Abrams, meanwhile, has been out of office since 2017 and is consistently trailing in the polls, the most recent coming Wednesday that showed Abrams trailing Kemp by 10 points.

From the Associated Press via AccessWDUN:

Republican incumbent Brian Kemp, who has been touting his record of reopening Georgia’s economy during the COVID-19 pandemic and assailing Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams as soft on crime, rolled out a batch of crime proposals Monday, signaling that could be a major theme of the debate.

Kemp is proposing to increase the prison sentence for recruiting youths under 18 into a gang to a minimum of 10 years from the current minimum of five years. He’s also proposing to make it harder for judges to release people who have been arrested without cash bail, saying judges should have to consider a person’s criminal history and to prohibit release without cash bail for people with a history of failing to appear in court.

Kemp also wants to provide loan forgiveness of up to $20,000 for people who study to become police officers in the state and up to $100,000 for people who become medical examiners.

Abrams, who has been trailing Kemp in polls as the two match up again following Abrams’ narrow 2018 defeat, said she wants to use Monday’s debate to highlight her plans to expand Medicaid, increase child care subsidies, raise teacher salaries, make housing more affordable and expand small business opportunities.

Kemp campaign spokesperson Cody Hall said Kemp’s goal in the debate will be to “communicate the governor’s record but also make it clear how that record contrasts with where Stacey Abrams wants to take our state.”

Voters in Georgia are already sending in ballots by mail, with more than 1,000 received by Friday through the mail. More than 200,000 people have requested mail ballots already, with an Oct. 28 deadline to request them. Early in-person voting will run through Nov. 4, with counties mandated to offer two Saturdays of balloting and given the option of offering two Sundays.

Hall said Kemp’s goal is to remain “competitive” in early voting. “We feel confident about our ability to do that,” Hall said.

Early voting starts today for the November General election, according to The Brunswick News.

For those who want to avoid lines on Election Day but vote in the Nov. 8 general election, early voting starts Monday at three locations in the Golden Isles.

Polls open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays from Oct. 17 through Nov. 4. Polls will also be open Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 22 and 29.

There is no Sunday voting in Glynn County.

Christina Redden, assistant supervisor of the Glynn County Board of Elections & Registration, said she expects a larger turnout than average for a mid-term general election.

A new state law requires additional voting machines in every polling place in Georgia, but strong participation in early voting in the Golden Isles helps minimize waits on Election Day. In fact, local elections officials believe they do not need the additional machines mandated by the state.

The deadline for an absentee ballot is Oct. 28. Redden said if there is a runoff, the only voters who will get an absentee ballot automatically are those who have designated themselves as elderly or disabled. Anyone else wanting to vote absentee will have a very short window to request a ballot for the runoff, she said.

Redden said it’s important to request an absentee ballot for the runoff as soon as the ballot is announced.

Georgia is a no-excuse state, meaning anyone can request an absentee ballot. The person asking for the ballot must fill it out unless he or she is disabled and incapable of doing it themselves, Redden said.

From the Dalton Daily Citizen News:

On Nov. 8, voters in Whitfield and Murray counties head to the polls to pick a governor, a U.S. senator and a U.S. representative. However, you don’t have to wait until Election Day to vote.

Early voting for the general election begins Monday. In Whitfield County, voters can cast their ballot at the courthouse at 205 N. Selvidge St. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday through Friday, Nov. 4. In Murray County, early voting is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday through Friday, Nov. 4, at the Murray County Recreation Department at 651 Hyden Tyler Road.

There are two Saturdays of early voting — Oct. 22 and Oct. 29. Voting hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the courthouse in Whitfield County and at the Murray County rec center.

Oct. 28 is the deadline to request an absentee ballot. On Election Day, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Those in line at 7 p.m. are allowed to vote.

We encourage everyone who is registered to vote, and to vote early. Take advantage of the convenience that early voting provides and exercise your right to vote.

From WTOC:

People at the [Chatham County] Board of Elections office say they expect most people will choose to vote early.

Colin McRae with the Chatham County Board of Registrars says to expect the longer lines to be in the earlier hours of the day, but if you want to know before you go, there’s an alert system in place on the county’s elections website where you can check wait times at the polls.

“You might be headed to the main office and you see there’s an hour wait time there, but you look and you see that the Civic Center has a 10 minute wait time it might be worth your effort to go down to the Civic Center if you have the means of getting down there,” McRae said.

Early voting [in Chatham County] lasts for three weeks. McRae says they do have more weekend hours this election cycle than ever before. Saturday voting takes place on Oct. 22 and 29. Sunday voting will be held on Oct. 23 and 30. The last day is Nov. 4, the Friday before Election Day.

Drop boxes for absentee voting are only available during the early voting period and they’re only located at a few polling sites in Chatham County.

As a reminder, if you’re mailing in your absentee ballot, McRae says to mail it in at least seven to 10 days before Election Day. If they don’t have it by 7 p.m. on Election Day, it won’t be counted.

From WJBF:

In Georgia there are two Constitutional Amendments and two statewide referendums that voters will have their say in.

Election officials say it is very important to read over those and make sure you understand them before you go to the polls.

“And I strongly encourage people at anytime to get a sample ballot before going to the polls. Give yourself an opportunity to look over those questions. Kind of make your decisions before you get there so you’re not surprised when you get into the booth and you see this long question and you’re not quite sure what they’re asking for,” said Travis Doss, Director of the Richmond County Board of Elections.

Doss explained that poll workers are not allowed to explain anything on the ballot.

“The sad thing is, poll workers can’t really help you once you get to the polls, because their opinion of the question may not be the exact meaning of the question. Or their opinion could influence your decisions. So, a lot of times people will ask poll workers to please explain this question and unfortunately they’re directed to say ‘I’m sorry. You’re just going to have to read over it and make your own decision,’” he said.

From the Augusta Chronicle:

Richmond County early voting is underway only at the Augusta Municipal Building at 535 Telfair St. 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday through Oct. 28 and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22.

Starting Saturday, Oct. 29, advance voting will expand to the Henry Brigham Recreation Center at 2463 Golden Camp Rd., the Robert Howard Community Center at 103 Diamond Lakes Way, and the Warren Road Recreation Center at 300 Warren Rd. from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the following week 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday. Polls will also be open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 30.

As an incentive for Augustans to vote early, the Richmond County Board of Elections created a new stickers just for early voters. The board’s executive director Travis Doss said they promote voting early because it can avoid long lines and other complications that come with Election Day.

Columbia County early voting is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday now through Friday, Nov. 4 at the county government complex at 610 Ronald Reagan Dr. in Evans and at Euchre Creek Library at 5907 Euchee Creek Dr. in Grovetown.

Advance voting polls will also be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22 and 29.

From the Gwinnett Daily Post:

[Gwinnett] county will have 11 early voting sites, including the Gwinnett Voter Registrations and Elections Beauty P. Baldwin Building, where residents can go from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. each day of early voting — which is officially called advance in-person voting — between Monday and Nov. 4.

From the Rome News Tribune:

Advance voting [in Floyd County] starts today at the elections office on East 12th Street and the Anthony Center. voting times: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturdays at the elections office, Oct. 22 and 29, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23, at the elections office, 1 until 5 p.m.

From the AJC:

In-person early voting lasts three weeks leading up to Election Day on Nov. 8, with voting locations required to open on every weekday and two Saturdays. Some counties are also offering early voting opportunities on Sundays.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said he hopes there will be few lines, a smooth voting experience and high voter participation during the period.

“The earlier you can vote during early voting, the better, because we are expecting really strong turnout,” Raffensperger said. “If you’re driving around the neighborhood and find out there’s an early voting location and no one is there, just take the 10 minutes and go ahead and vote. You’ll be glad you did.”

Turnout in the last midterm election four years ago approached 4 million voters, and over 5 million ballots were cast in the 2020 presidential election. Raffensperger said he anticipates turnout this year to fall somewhere in between.

More than half of voters usually cast their ballots before Election Day in Georgia, either through in-person early voting or absentee voting. In-person early voters accounted for 54% of turnout in the 2020 presidential election and 48% of turnout in the 2018 midterms.

Nearly 217,000 voters had requested absentee ballots through Sunday, a slightly higher rate than at this point before the 2018 election but much lower than two years ago during the coronavirus pandemic. About 1.6 million voters had applied for absentee ballots at this point in 2020.

Each county’s early voting locations are open to all county residents. But on Election Day, voters must report to their neighborhood precincts.

State election officials remind us that voters cannot challenge the qualifications of others at the polls, according to the Georgia Recorder via the Albany Herald.

Before the new rule outlined in the state’s 2021 election law overhaul in Senate Bill 202, it was already legal for Georgians to present a list of voters to their local election board who they think should be removed from voter rolls because they might have omitted an apartment number or were living in another state.

Georgia’s State Elections Director Blake Evans sent a memo to county officials on Thursday clarifying how they should handle challenged voters. Evans’ first bulletin gave the impression that someone could challenge voters when they show up to vote in person starting next week, triggering concerns, particularly in the black community.

A group of Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams’ supporters lambasted the letter at a press conference Wednesday, calling it part of a broader national scheme to target Democratic and minority voters.

The state issued further guidance to local election officials the next day.

Any voter challenge must be in writing, stating clearly the basis of the challenge, and must be filed with the board of registrars, which should review the claims to determine if enough probable cause exists to investigate further. Voter challenges cannot be filed with a poll manager or any poll worker, and Mike Hassinger, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office, said challenging someone in person is not permitted under state law.

“There’s no legal means for an in-person, face-to-face, immediate confrontation at the polling place on Election Day. That would be disturbing the peace at the very least,” Hassinger said.

Glynn County Commissioners will discuss preparations for the Georgia-Florida weekend, according to The Brunswick News.

Georgia-Florida football weekend is a major event for the Golden Isles, with visitors descending on area hotels and vacation rentals to party before the annual rivalry game between the University of Georgia Bulldogs and University of Florida Gators, and to be close to the venue in Jacksonville. The game is scheduled for Oct. 29.

Traditionally, East Beach on St. Simons Island has been the focal point of “Frat Beach,” which draws hundreds to thousands of college students and others. Glynn County and other law enforcement agencies typically patrol the streets on the St. Simons Island to interrupt any unruliness before it affects residents. The county and Southeast Georgia Health System also provide a first aid tent to deal with the consequences of excessive drinking in the hot sun.

Former President Barack Obama will campaign with fellow Democrats in Georgia, according to CNN via the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The Democratic Party of Georgia said in a statement Saturday that Obama will campaign with Democratic candidates on October 28. It was unclear which Democrats the former President would stump with in Georgia, which is home to high-profile races for governor and US Senate.

From the AJC:

The location of the visit wasn’t immediately announced, but the Democratic Party of Georgia stressed it will focus on driving up early voting participation in Georgia. The three-week early voting period begins Monday, and Obama’s visit will coincide with the start of the third week.

Obama has staked out a limited schedule of appearances this campaign cycle, and the Georgia visit is one of his only announced events. State Democrats hope his trip could drive up Black voter turnout and inject more energy into Georgia campaigns in the final stretch of the race.

U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock (D-Atlanta) and Republican challenger Herschel Walker met in a televised debate, according to WSAV.

During their opening remarks Friday, Walker presented himself as the candidate of faith and family values and immediately tried to link Sen. Warnock to President Joe Biden, inflation and high taxes.

Warnock sidestepped the strategy and focused on his connection to the community, highlighting his childhood growing up as one of 12 children in a public housing development a mile away. He wrapped up his statement by telling the audience, “This race is about who’s ready to represent Georgia and the U.S. Senate. I think that choice is clear.”

Walker on Friday denied his previous support for an outright national ban on abortion, making the shift in his lone debate against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock.

Walker insisted his position is the same as Georgia’s state law, the so-called heartbeat bill that bans abortion at six weeks, before many women know they’re pregnant.

But on the debate stage, Walker tried to shift the question to Warnock. Walker blasted Warnock for being a Baptist pastor who supports abortion rights.

“On abortion, you know, I’m a Christian. I believe in life. … I’ll be a senator that protects life,” Walker said, later suggesting that Warnock doesn’t care about abortions in the Black community. Both men are Black.

“Instead of aborting those babies, why aren’t you baptizing those babies?” Walker asked.

Warnock insisted he can support abortion rights as a Christian and as a pastor. “God gave us a choice and I respect the right of women to make a decision. These are medical decisions, they are deeply personal,” Warnock said, adding that Walker “wants to arrogate more power to politicians than God has.”

From WTOC:

Walker repeatedly attacked Senator Warnock’s character, citing a lawsuit against him and a report that his church, Ebenezer Baptist in Atlanta, recently evicted low-income residents over small amounts of missed rent payments.

Warnock fired back, specifically calling Walker out for previously repeatedly claiming to have worked in law enforcement.

Warnock argued the government should not be involved in such matters, and lamented the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“I think that the women of this country and the women of this state woke up one summer morning, and a core protection that they’ve known for 50 years was taken from them by an extremist supreme court,” Warnock said.

The two also expressed different views on federal student loan debt relief and insulin prices. Sen. Warnock accused Walker of ignoring the pressing need of diabetics.

“I think he should tell the people of Georgia why he thinks they should have expensive insulin, and why the pharmaceutical companies should be able to charge us whatever they like,” Warnock said.

Walker responded by accusing Sen. Warnock of not understanding the complexities of the issue.

“You know, I believe in reducing insulin, but at the same time you got to eat right. He may not know this. I know many people who are on insulin, and unless you’re eating right, insulin is doing you no good,” Walker said.

The two candidates also traded barbs over President Biden’s decision to forgive federal student loan debt for millions of Americans, something Sen. Warnock fought for.

From WRDW:

Walker repeatedly blamed Warnock and Biden for inflation, thought he offered little when pressed for details about what he would do to fix it. Walker said the first step to a more stable economy is “getting back” to energy independence rather than depending “on our enemies.” The U.S. has, in actuality, never been completely free from depending on fossil fuel imports from other countries, including some with whom Washington has tense relationships, such as Russia.

In his defense, Warnock highlighted Democrats’ “Inflation Reduction Act,” with a focus on provisions he sponsored capping insulin and other health care costs for Medicare recipients, Democrats’ extension of the child tax credit and infrastructure provisions that Warnock shepherded with Republican colleagues. But Warnock also offered few specifics about any additional steps Congress could take.

Warnock also declined to engage on whether Biden should seek reelection in 2024, arguing that Georgia’s immediate choice for the Senate is more important. Senate Democratic candidates around the country have distanced themselves from Biden during the fall campaign.

Walker deviated from his friend, former President Donald Trump, by acknowledging that Biden won legitimately in 2020. But Walker wasted no time saying he’d support Trump in 2024, calling it an act of loyalty. Trump encouraged Walker to run and has endorsed him.

From the Capitol Beat News Service via the Rome News Tribune:

Warnock repeatedly criticized Walker’s honesty.

“My opponent has a problem with the truth,” he said.

Walker tied Warnock to President Joe Biden over and over, blaming inflation and a host of other problems on the Democratic duo.

“You have to blame this administration and Senator Warnock because within two years, this inflation has gotten worse,” Walker said. “They cut out energy independence. They also raised taxes.”

Warnock also praised Biden’s recent decision to forgive some student loan debt and said more help is needed. Walker called the loan forgiveness “unfair” and said people should not have to pay for someone else’s loan.

Warnock grounded his pro-choice stance in his belief in women’s privacy and theology.

“A patient’s room is too narrow and small and cramped a space for a woman, her doctor and the United States government,” Warnock said. “I’m a man of faith and I have a profound reverence for life and a deep respect for choice.”

On crime, Warnock pointed to his support for increased funding and resources for local law enforcement departments. And he said he is pleased about a new gun safety law Congress passed in June.

In contrast, Walker emphasized his strong support for the Second Amendment right to bear arms and painted Warnock as soft on crime.

“He’s empowered criminals to think they’re better than the police, and he believes in no-cash bail and releasing prisoners,” Walker said. “He don’t protect the border. Fentanyl is coming into this country and also Atlanta.”

Democrat Stacey Abrams and other Democratic candidates campaigned at the Valdosta State University homecoming, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, State Rep. District 62 and Georgia Labor Commissioner candidate William Boddie Jr. and Georgia Senator and State Attorney General candidate Jen Jordan visited VSU alumni at the Divine Nine’s Homecoming tailgating picnic Saturday.

After all three candidates spent time meeting with Valdosta and Lowndes County Democratic voters about their policies and concerns, the trio took to addressing the tailgaters, with Abrams starting off by outlining her vision for “getting Georgia right.”

“We got a governor we need to fire because he doesn’t care, he won’t help and he’s done nothing but attack our freedom. He’s put guns on the street, put them in the hands of dangerous people, and if you’re a woman, he’s told you that you’re a second-class citizen in this Georgia,” she said.

“It took a man to break Georgia’s promises; it’s going to take a woman to put it right. We are going to take the state on Nov. 8 and we’re going to have more money in our pockets, more opportunities in our communities and more freedom in our lives. Let’s get it done,” she said.

Early voting [in Lowndes County] will take place Oct. 17 to Nov. 4 and will run 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and includes 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays, and noon-5 p.m. Sundays. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.

First Lady Jill Biden spoke with some Fort Benning families on Friday, according to WTVM.

First Lady Jill Biden stopped by Fort Benning [Friday]. It’s in connection to an initiative first introduced by Michelle Obama back in 2011 called ‘Joining Forces’. It’s designed to help get military members, caregivers, and survivors the support they need.

“This is not a red issue or a blue issue, this is really fighting for our kids and what’s best for them,” she said.

First Lady Biden says Friday’s roundtable discussion is not a party issue, but a an issue to bring awareness to what’s needed for the exceptional family member program — aiding military families who have children with special needs.

“I’ve traveled as second lady and a first lady across this country and heard about the many challenges and this one keeps coming up over and over again,” said Biden.

“This is one of the things I’ll talk about. ‘Hey Joe, this is what military families need help with, and our ‘Joining Forces’ will be helping with this and this is how you can lend a hand,” said First Lady Biden.

FLOTUS campaigned in Atlanta, according to the AJC.

Biden, in remarks that lasted about seven minutes, told the crowd gathered at an Inman Park home Friday afternoon that incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp’s approach to governing is harmful to families.

“When your current governor brags about signing one of the toughest abortion bans in the country, when he refuses to expand Medicaid for Georgians who desperately need health care, as Stacey said, when he tried to make it harder and harder for people to simply use their voices and to go out and vote: I know that that makes you angry,” Biden said, according to a pool report.

The first lady said Abrams, the Democratic challenger, has focused on a platform that could reverse those policies and make life better for “One Georgia.”

“A Georgia where kids can get a great education, where all families can afford health care and housing they need, where small businesses can thrive and communities are safe from violence, and where the freedom to vote and the right to choose are protected,” Biden said. “Atlanta, Stacy has been a tireless champion of your families. And we need her as your next governor.”

Abrams introduced Biden to the crowd of about 75 donors required to make a minimum donation of $1,000 to Abrams’ One Georgia Leadership Committee to attend. U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams, an Atlanta Democrat who represents the neighborhood where the fundraiser occurred, and Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens were also in attendance.

There was a lighthearted moment when Biden mentioned that she grew up attending Phillies games with her family and cheering for the team. The crowd jokingly booed at the mention of the Atlanta Braves’ current rival in the National League Division Series.

Incumbent Second Congressional District Representative Sanford Bishop (D-Albany) debated GOP Challenger Chris West, according to the AJC.

“I’ve delivered for our farmers, for our military, for their families,” the incumbent Democrat said Sunday. “I believe that I have given good account for my stewardship, and I asked you to compare my resume with that of my opponent and send back a proven leader who has worked and will continue working for you.”

The challenger, Republican Chris West, said during the Atlanta Press Club’s Loudermilk-Young debate that a fresh voice is needed in Washington. West said farmers and business owners are struggling, and that his lack of experience holding elected office is ultimately beneficial to that task.

“I think most folks would tell you that Washington is broken to a large extent, and what the people in this district are recognizing is that the private sector experience where we actually create jobs and bring a businessperson’s perspective is really the benefit,” he said.

After redistricting, this 2nd Congressional District contest was considered a toss-up. But after West defeated a better-funded candidate in the primary, political analysts say Bishop has the edge in November.

West asked Bishop about an ethics investigation into his use of campaign funds and district office funds. A U.S. House Ethics Committee investigation is still pending. Bishop said that he immediately took action when issues were raised and personally reimbursed the disputed funds.

Republican Incumbent U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (14th District – Upper Left-Hard Corner) met her Democratic opponent in a debate, according to the AJC.

“I stand by the words that I say,” Greene, a Republican, said during Sunday’s Atlanta Press Club debate. “They’re just offensive to Washington, D.C., and the swamp creatures there because the words that I speak are the same as Americans back home — the same as people in Georgia’s 14th district, and the words I speak are the truth.”

Despite how polarizing of a political figure Greene is, she is still the heavy favorite to win a second term in her deeply conservative northwest Georgia district. The district is overwhelmingly Republican, and although Flowers raises money from across the country from people who want to see Greene unseated, there is little indication her voters will abandon her.

Greene took issue with Flowers’ attempts to tie her to the violence of that day.

“I was a victim of the January 6 riot just as much as any other member of Congress,” she said. “That was the third day I had on the job. I had nothing to do with what happened there that day, and I will not have you accuse me of that.”

The Statesboro Herald has separate profiles of the candidates for Bulloch County Commission Post 1-B: 30-year incumbent Democrat Anthony Simmons, and 27-year old Republican challenger Preston Tutt III.

The Gainesville Times profiles the candidates in Georgia’s Ninth Congressional District, Republican incumbent Andrew Clyde and Democratic challenger Mike Ford.

The Savannah Morning News writes about how some voter grievances are used to drive turnout.

Abortion is commanding broad attention from candidates of both parties. A University of Georgia School of Public and International Affairs poll conducted in September showed that 44% of those polled, and nearly 75% of Democrats, said that the Dobbs v. Jackson decision to overturn Roe v. Wade made them more motivated to vote.

Another UGA poll conducted in October showed that 26% of respondents strongly supported Georgia’s new abortion law, which bans abortion after about six weeks, while about 54% strongly opposed it.

“I think it’s an open question about whether or not those efforts will work,” Gillespie said of Democratic get-out-the vote efforts. “But the strategy is clearly to try to get young people, and women in particular, angry about the proscription of rights related to reproduction.”

Wedge issues are at the core of Georgia’s governor’s race. Kemp is running in part on his legislative victories, which include the abortion limitations, a permitless carry gun law and parental rights in education measures. Meanwhile, Abrams is arguing that Kemp’s partisan agenda has left many Georgians behind.

Kemp has his own line of anti-other party talking points that he references on the campaign trail. A favorite is America’s stubbornly high inflation rate, which he blames on President Joe Biden and the Democrats in the U.S. Congress.

“Every day, families in Georgia and across the country are facing the consequences of 40-year-high inflation driven by failed policies and leadership in Washington,” wrote Kemp spokesperson Tate Mitchell, in response to an inquiry about the policy issues Kemp thinks will drive turnout. “While Stacey Abrams proudly supports the disastrous Biden agenda that created the current economic crisis, Gov. Kemp remains laser focused on providing inflation relief and building on his record of generating jobs, investment, and economic success in Georgia.”

Secretary of State Raffensperger, a Republican who is running for re-election against Democratic challenger Bee Nguyen, thinks the potentially high turnout is a reflection of interest in federal politics, even while Georgia’s economy is doing well.

“I think it’s voter engagement,” he said. “I think voters nationally are feeling pain points — gas prices, inflation. Many of those are just federal issues.”

Abrams and Warnock “are attacked as being Joe Biden Democrats; that they do Biden’s bidding all the time,” said Gillespie. “The goal of that is to try to tie these Democrats to Joe Biden, and to remind him that if you disapprove of the job that Biden doing right, then don’t give him people who are going to aid and abet the programs that he’s already proposing.”

“The overturning of Roe, that went a ways towards balancing enthusiasm by getting some Democrats more interested, more concerned about the campaign,” said Charles Bullock, a University of Georgia political science professor who has followed politics in the state for years.

Asked about other issues that might sway turnout, Bullock said voter turnout is likely to be more about political personality and partisanship — an October surprise, or a possible Donald Trump rally before the election.

“He may say or do things at that rally that might have an impact particularly, say, in the gubernatorial contest,” Bullock said. “In that if it re-awakened the dislike that white, college educated voters, or a share of them, have for him, and they therefore decide to vote for Democrats in response, that could be important.”

Tybee Island City Council voted to ban Short Term Vacation Rentals in residential neighborhoods, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Council passed a number of new regulations aimed at limiting the number of STVRs on the island. Defined as dwellings rented to guests for 30 days or less, STVRs and how to regulate them have taken the local spotlight as the beach town’s popularity surged with tourists in recent years. Tybee first adopted an STVR ordinance in 2016.

Among the amendments passed Thursday is a provision barring STVRs from specified residential districts. The majority of the island is zoned residential, and, over the years, longtime residents’ complaints of disruptive “party houses” and a diminished sense of community have grown louder, prompting the city to reexamine the burgeoning vacation rental industry.

STVR proponents, however, are fighting back with a lawsuit. In anticipation of the city’s move for stricter regulations, the Tybee Alliance, a group of property management companies and STVR owners, filed a complaint against the city last week, claiming that their STVR ordinance is not enforceable.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, Tybee Alliance said, “We believe that many if not all of the amendments passed last night are ripe for legal challenge. The Alliance will initiate additional legal action accordingly.”

Dalton City Council will consider Service Delivery Agreements with Whitfield County when they meet tonight, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

The service delivery strategy agreements spell out what services each government provides and are aimed at avoiding duplication of services. State law says these agreements must be updated every 10 years. Tunnel Hill has also approved the agreements.

“From a legal perspective, we just need Dalton to approve on Monday and the agreement can be filed with the (state) Department of Community Affairs to meet our 10-year obligation,” said Whitfield County Board of Commissioners Chairman Jevin Jensen. “We do look forward to all municipalities approving the agreements though, including Varnell and Cohutta, so we have it unanimous.”

The previous agreements are 39 agreements, covering areas ranging from ambulance service to zoning. But several of those were consolidated, now to 26 agreements.

Sparks Mayor Earl Jackson and City Superintendent Antoyo “Buck” Tucker were arrested and charged with theft, according to WALB.

Mayor Earl Jackson, 76, and City Superintendent Antoyo “Buck” Tucker, 42, are each charged with one count of theft by taking, one count of theft by appropriation and one count of theft by conversion.

The investigation began on September 22, when the GBI Douglas Regional Office was asked by the Alapaha District Attorney’s Office to begin a theft investigation.

Initial information shows that while both Jackson and Tucker were working in their roles as Sparks city officials, they used funds intended for city use to buy items for personal use, according to the GBI.

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