Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 22, 2018

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 22, 2018

General James Oglethorpe, founder of Georgia, signed a treaty with the Spanish government of Florida on October 22, 1736.

On October 22, 1832, the Cherokee Land Lottery began in Milledgeville, with more than 200,000 Georgians competing for 53,309 lots of land.

Georgia Governor John B. Gordon signed legislation on October 22, 1887 that increased the number of justices on the Georgia Supreme Court from 3 to 5.

President Grover Cleveland arrived in Atlanta for the Cotton States and International Exposition on October 22, 1895.

On October 22, 1991, the Braves played Minnesota in the first World Series game in Atlanta.

The Atlanta Braves won Game 2 of the 1995 World Series, beating Cleveland 4-3, on October 22, 1995.

Georgia artist Howard Finster died on October 22, 2001.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Morning Fix Numbers:

2018 General Election Early Votes cast: 527,061

2018 General Election African-American Early Voters: 142,384 (27.01%)

2018 General Early Voters who also voted in the 2016 Presidential Preference Primary Election

Republican – 175,905

Democratic – 108,935

R:D ratio – 1.615:1

2018 General Early Voters who also voted in the 2018 General Primary Election

Republican – 115,260

Democratic – 95,543

R:D ratio – 1.206:1

All 2016 or 2018 GOP Primary Voters: 215,078

All 2016 or 2018 DEM Primary Voters plus African-American Voters: 205,052

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution, with outdated numbers:

Throngs of Georgia voters rushed to cast their ballots during the first week of in-person early voting, with nearly three times as many people voting so far compared with the last midterm election.

Already, 482,435 people have voted in advance, including nearly 92,000 on Friday alone. The number of early votes so far represents 19 percent of all votes cast in the 2014 midterms.

The high early turnout indicates that Georgia voters are enthusiastic about being counted in this year’s race for governor between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp — and that they want to lock in their votes now rather than wait until Election Day on Nov. 6.

It’s impossible to tell which candidate is leading in the race because no votes will be counted until Election Day.

From The Hill:

“All signs point to a higher turnout election,” said Michael McDonald, a political scientist at the University of Florida who closely tracks early vote tallies. “Where we can make comparisons, so far the numbers are up from 2014. Which is not a surprise because 2014 was an exceptionally low turnout election.”

Early statistics in Georgia show African-American voters are showing up at disproportionately high rates. Of the more than 300,000 Georgia residents who have voted early, about 30 percent are black, a higher rate than the 2014 figures.

That last bit from the Hill is not correct.

Gwinnett County Police Officer Antwan Toney was shot and killed in the line of duty on Saturday, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The funeral for 30-year-old Gwinnett County Police officer Antwan Toney, who was gunned down in Snellville on Saturday, will be held on Wednesday at 12 Stone Church in Lawrenceville.

Crowell Brothers Funeral Home, the funeral home handling Toney’s arrangements, will also be holding two visitations on Tuesday at its Peachtree Corners location, its website says.

The visitations will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at 5051 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in Peachtree Corners, while the funeral will be held Wednesday at 11 a.m. at 12 Stone Church, which is located at 1322 Buford Drive in Lawrenceville.

Governor Nathan Deal spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Lanier Technical College Hall Campus.

The 335,000-square-foot campus is the first newly constructed technical college campus in the history of technical education in Georgia.

“Institutions like Lanier Technical College are an essential part of Georgia’s robust workforce and thriving business climate,” said Deal. “With unparalleled resources for learning and mastering high-demand skills, this location is truly a 21st-century campus for a 21st-century workforce. We understand the immense importance of Georgia offering a well-trained workforce to meet the employer demands of today and tomorrow, and the Hall Campus of Lanier Technical College will prove to be a historic investment in technical education. As Georgia’s newest economic development tool, this new campus will provide thousands of students with even greater opportunities to find enduring and meaningful careers here in the No. 1 state for business.”

The $150 million campus will accommodate more than 5,000 students and double Lanier Tech’s current capacity. Located on 95 acres, the Hall Campus features state-of-the-art equipment and includes six buildings for technical education instruction. At the ceremony, the Gov. Nathan Deal Economic Development Center building was unveiled in honor of Deal.

“This campus was built not only for the students of 2018, but for those who choose technical education in 2078,” said Dr. Ray Perren, president of Lanier Technical College. “We know, without a doubt, that our community partners will reap the benefits of the elite workforce produced at the Hall Campus of Lanier Technical College. The lives of generations will be forever changed because of this new campus.”

The Hall Campus will offer Lanier Tech’s 45 existing programs, as well as four new programs specific to the campus. The campus also has outdoor instructional space, including a commercial truck driving range and a burn tower for fire science instruction.

“This new, state-of-the-art campus in Hall County is the result of tremendous leadership, vision, and collaboration by Georgians committed to developing a skilled workforce,” said TCSG Commissioner Matt Arthur. “Generations of students will have meaningful career opportunities through postsecondary education in facilities that are second to none.”

TCSG broke ground on the new campus in September 2016. The campus will be open to students in January 2019.

Governor Deal has endorsed Republican Matt Reeves in the election for State Senate District 48, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Reeves’ campaign announced it has received an endorsement from Gov. Nathan Deal ahead of the Nov. 6 general election. Reeves is facing Democratic attorney Zahra Karinshak in the race to replace outgoing Sen. David Shafer, R-Duluth.

“I am supporting Matt Reeves for State Senate because he will work to keep us No. 1 in job growth in Georgia,” Deal said in a statement released by Reeves’ campaign. “He is dedicated to growing jobs and protecting our neighborhoods and schools.”

The senate district is split between Gwinnett and Fulton counties, and includes Duluth, Berkeley Lake and portions of Johns Creek, Peachtree Corners, Suwanee and Lawrenceville.

“Throughout his eight years as governor of Georgia, Gov. Deal accomplished a tremendous amount in creating more jobs and prosperity for everyone,” Reeves said. “His efforts in criminal justice reform and public safety have made us a better Georgia.

“I am thankful for Gov. Deal’s support, and I am honored to have his endorsement as a distinguished leader and true public servant to the many communities across Georgia.”

The Gwinnett Daily Post writes about the election for Solicitor General, in which Republican incumbent Rosanna Szabo meets a Democrat challenger.

Szabo, the Republican incumbent, has held the position of Solicitor General since 2006, while Democratic candidate Whiteside, a former law enforcement officer, currently serves as a constitutional lawyer.

“No work has given me more satisfaction than helping the people of this community find solutions to right wrongs, whether that’s helping a victim recover or helping a defendant correct bad choices, or even dismissing cases when justice calls for no prosecution,” Szabo said. “I’ve been dedicated to that mission for 30 years and in the second most populous county in the state, (which is) rapidly approaching 1 million citizens, this is not the job for a novice prosecutor.”

Szabo, who said she “learned and earned” her way up the ranks in the solicitor general’s office, said her experience is what gives her a leg up in the race.

“I’ve tried more than 300 jury trials, published more than 100 appeals and earned the respect of the legal community,” she said. “I have experience delivering justice services efficiently and effectively to 4,000 victims, 8,000 defendants, 35,000 witnesses and 80,000 ordinance violators each year. I’ve learned a lot, and there’s a lot of value in what I have learned that makes the office more effective in serving the public’s interests.”

Gwinnett County voters will also elect two members of the Board of Education, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Two of the five seats on the Gwinnett County Public Schools Board of Education are open during this election cycle. Longtime board members Robert McClure in District IV and Dan Seckinger in District II both decided not to run for re-election.

In District II, Democrat Wandy Taylor is facing Republican Steve Knudsen. In District IV, Democrat candidate Everton Blair is running against Republican candidate Chuck Studebaker.

If either of the Democratic candidates — both of whom are black — are elected, it would mark a change for an all-white school board that, along with the county commission, is the subject of a federal lawsuit which claims district boundaries are set up to prevent minority candidates from being elected.

United States District Court Judge R. Stan Baker was sworn into his seat on the Southern District of Georgia bench, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The formal swearing-in in the packed third floor courtroom of the Wright Square federal courthouse came before what U.S. District Chief Judge J. Randal Hall called “quite a road to get to this point” for the former St. Simons Island lawyer and U.S. magistrate judge.

Baker, who took the oath of office administered by Hall and accompanied by his wife, Crystal, and daughters Anna Beth, 13, and Bella Grace, 8, was effusive in his praise and thanks for his family, parents, judges and supporters.

Baker, 41, succeeds Senior Judge William T. Moore Jr. and will be headquartered in Savannah. He started his actual duties on Sept. 4 in the first floor chambers and courtroom at the federal courthouse on Wright Square.

The Gainesville Times looks at how nonprofits are working to address homelessness.

[T]he city of Gainesville is cracking down on “urban camping,” or living or sleeping in public spaces like parks or the side of the road. The City Council unanimously passed a pair of ordinances on Oct. 2 banning urban camping and “aggressive solicitation,” new rules that city officials have said will help law enforcement handle complaints and connect people with local nonprofits to get help. At the public hearing on Oct. 2, however, some raised concerns that the ordinances would criminalize homelessness and further disadvantage people in poverty.

Flowery Branch and Oakwood passed similar ordinances in 2015.

In fall 2016, Gainesville officials cleared a camp underneath the Queen City Bridge following a request from the Georgia Department of Transportation, which owned the right of way. 2016 estimates put Gainesville’s homeless population at about 200 to 400 at any given time.

The Augusta Chronicle examines efforts to help mentally ill prisoners in Georgia.

Three times as many mentally ill people are in jails and prisons than in hospitals specializing in mental health care as states across the nation close them, according to the Treatment Advocacy Center. In Georgia, there are only 10 beds per 100,000 residents. At the same time, the numbers of incarcerated mentally ill people has increased.

About 25 percent of inmates in Georgia require psychiatric medications, according to the state Department of Corrections. In Richmond County’s jail and the other jails served by Correct Care Solutions, 48 percent of inmates receive medication for mental illness, Christopher Rud of Correct Care wrote in an email response to The Augusta Chronicle’s questions.

As psychologist Holly Tabernik testified during the Richmond County Superior Court hearing, there isn’t enough funding in Georgia for the treatment of mental illness. It’s difficult to get people in the hospital and it’s difficult to get patients placed in the community, she said. Psychologist Jason Henle testified that with only five mental health hospitals, there aren’t enough resources to even work to restore to competency those mentally ill people accused of felony crimes. They had 120 mentally incompetent defendants on a waiting list at the start of the month.

To settle a lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice in 2010, Georgia agreed to move all mental health and developmentally disabled patients into the least restrictive setting possible. The state has moved nearly all patients out of the hospital facilities.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources will open oyster season on Wednesday at 6 AM, according to The Brunswick News.

The standard for safety is a water temperature of 81 degrees, as applied by the National Shellfish Sanitation Program.

“Based on recent monitoring of shellfish growing areas, water temperatures have declined and are nearing the 81-degree Fahrenheit threshold,” Dominic Guadagnoli, shellfish fishery manager for the DNR’s Coastal Resources Division, said in a statement. “Coastal forecasts are showing a significant cooling trend, and we anticipate water temperatures to be below threshold levels by the middle of next week.”

The Coastal Resources Division advises people who are buying oysters, clams and mussels from seafood dealers and markets to, “only buy fresh in-shell or shucked oysters, clams or mussels from a licensed retail or wholesale food dealer that has product properly tagged with a harvest location, dealer name and date,” “only buy shellfish that have been refrigerated or iced at 45 degrees Fahrenheit or less,” not consume raw shellfish if you have a compromised immune system, and keep in mind that the risk of illness from shellfish consumption is dramatically reduced by thoroughly cooking.

Georgia DNR met with LaGrange locals to discuss West Point Lake, according to the LaGrange Daily News.

The meeting focused on the County-wide concern of the decline in largemouth bass population in West Point Lake, along with ways in which the increase in striped bass was affecting the fishing community. The objective established at the gathering was to create a balance between fishing, recreational, and economic stimulus use of the lake by identifying habitat preservation necessities while maintaining cleaner lake conditions.

“West Point Lake attracts the most visitors of all of our attractions in Troup County,” said LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce President Page Estes. “It is a valuable asset in our tourism portfolio. The Chamber is proud to support collaborative efforts that will enhance the visitor experience for anglers, boaters, water enthusiasts and nature lovers.”

Firearms season for deer opens October 20, according to the LaGrange Daily News.

“Hunting is a grand tradition in Georgia, with all types of people participating,” said Charlie Killmaster, state deer biologist for the Wildlife Resources Division. “It is an exciting activity enjoyed by many, and Georgia has one of the longest deer seasons, with a deer harvest that is sustainably among the highest, and with quality bucks.”

During firearms deer season last year, more than 321,000 hunters harvested almost 310,000 deer in the state. The use of regulated deer hunting ensures that Georgia’s deer population continues to be healthy and strong.

Glynn County’s Citizens’ Oversight Committee for Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax 2016 will meet Wednesday to discuss project updates, according to The Brunswick News.

He pleaded guilty in September to 70 felony counts of theft by taking from the court and has been ordered to pay about $150,000 restitution to the county. A Georgia Bureau of Investigation audit showed that about five times that much is unaccounted for but the actual amount is likely higher.

The indictment showed that much of the money was cash taken from child support accounts covered with checks that had been issued to individuals who never received them.

The Brunswick News writes about how former Glynn County Clerk of Courts bookkeeper Larry O. Morten stole from the county’s coffers.

Savannah-Chatham County public schools are urging student to report bullying incidents, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Savannah Morning News will host a “Brews & News” event to discuss the 2018 midterm elections.

Gwinnett County Police Department will implement new crime reporting software under a federal grant, according to AccessWDUN.

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