Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 24, 2022

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 24, 2022

On October 24, 1733, the Georgia trustees ordered a ship to Rotterdam to pick up a group of Lutherans expelled from Salzburg, Austria, and then send the Salzburgers to Georgia.

On October 24, 1775, Lord John Murray Dunmore, British Governor of Virginia, ordered the British fleet to attack Norfolk, VA.

On October 24, 1790, the Rev. John Wesley wrote the last entry in his journal, which he began keeping on October 14, 1735.

The first American “Unknown Soldier” was chosen on October 24, 1921 in Chalons-sur-Marne, France.

Bearing the inscription “An Unknown American who gave his life in the World War,” the chosen casket traveled to Paris and then to Le Havre, France, where it would board the cruiser Olympia for the voyage across the Atlantic. Once back in the United States, the Unknown Soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C.

The Charter of the United Nations took effect on October 24, 1945.

On October 24, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower pledged the United States’ support for the South Vietnam government led by President Ngo Dinh Diem.

On October 24, 1976, Newsweek released a poll showing Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter leading President Gerald Ford in 24 states, with a combined 308 electoral voters.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

COVID and related school closures created an “historic” achievement gap across the country, according to the Associated Press via WSAV.

Across the country, math scores saw their largest decreases ever. Reading scores dropped to 1992 levels. Nearly four in 10 eighth graders failed to grasp basic math concepts. Not a single state saw a notable improvement in their average test scores, with some simply treading water at best.

Those are the findings from the National Assessment of Educational Progress — known as the “nation’s report card” — which tested hundreds of thousands of fourth and eighth graders across the country this year. It was the first time the test had been given since 2019, and it’s seen as the first nationally representative study of the pandemic’s impact on learning.

“It is a serious wakeup call for us all,” Peggy Carr, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, a branch of the Education Department, said in an interview. “In NAEP, when we experience a 1- or 2-point decline, we’re talking about it as a significant impact on a student’s achievement. In math, we experienced an 8-point decline — historic for this assessment.”

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said it’s a sign that schools need to redouble their efforts, using billions of dollars that Congress gave schools to help students recover.

In both math and reading, students scored lower than those tested in 2019. But while reading scores dipped, math scores plummeted by the largest margins in the history of the NAEP test, which began in 1969.

Math scores were worst among eighth graders, with 38% earning scores deemed “below basic” — a cutoff that measures, for example, whether students can find the third angle of a triangle if they’re given the other two. That’s worse than 2019, when 31% of eighth graders scored below that level.

No part of the country was exempt. Every region saw test scores slide, and every state saw declines in at least one subject.

Confirming what many had feared, racial inequities appear to have widened during the pandemic. In fourth grade, Black and Hispanic students saw bigger decreases than white students, widening gaps that have persisted for decades.

When schools shifted to remote learning, higher-performing students were far more likely to have reliable access to quiet spaces, computers and help from their teachers, the survey found.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney will hear arguments on whether the state’s “Heartbeat bill” abortion restrictions are enforceable, according to the AJC.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney has scheduled a two-day bench trial to hear arguments from abortion rights supporters who want him to block the new restrictions from being enforced. State lawyers will contend the law should remain in effect because “abortion always harms a third party.”

McBurney denied an August request from abortion providers asking him to stop enforcement of the law while the case was ongoing. A decision in the case will determine whether the law will continue to be enforced, though any decision will likely be appealed.

A ruling from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in July allowed Georgia’s 2019 abortion law to be enforced. That means most abortions are no longer allowed once a doctor can detect fetal cardiac activity, typically about six weeks into a pregnancy and before many women know they are pregnant.

The state had unsuccessfully tried to “cancel or delay” this week’s trial, saying, among other things, it was too close to the Nov. 8 election. Abortion is a hot topic on the campaign trail this fall.

McBurney quickly denied the request.

“The state has offered four reasons for this ‘cancellation,’ which can be summarized as ‘We are really busy with other things,’ ‘There are no facts in dispute,’ ‘We don’t know what facts are in dispute,’ and ‘You can’t do what you are trying to do,’ ” McBurney wrote. “The court’s response, detailed below, can be summarized as ‘Who isn’t?,’ ‘There are,’ ‘You do,’ and ‘I can.’ ”

From the Secretary of State’s Absentee Voting Database:

Total ballots cast: 841,482

Total mail ballots cast: 80,836

Total in-person ballots cast: 759,304

In-person October 17, 2022: 134,744

In-person October 18, 2022: 135,083

In-person October 19, 2022: 127,834

In-person October 20, 2022: 122,859

In-person October 21, 2022: 140,913

In-person October 22, 2022: 79,748

In-person October 23, 2022: 18,122

Total Electronic ballots cast (overseas and military voters): 1342

Note: In Person numbers do not add up as one voter in Glynn County is recorded as having voted in person on 10/13/2022, when early voting was not open.

Glynn County voters turned out at a brisk pace for early voting, according to The Brunswick News.

Glynn County Elections and Registration Director Chris Channel described election turnout at the end of the first week of early voting as “brisk” on Saturday.

Golden Isles residents cast 9,066 votes by the time the polls closed Saturday, 8,204 in person at one of the three early voting locations and 862 by mail, according to the Glynn County Board of Elections.

A total of 2,051 mail-in ballots had been issued as of Saturday, with 900 of them returned to the local board of elections. Thirty-eight of the total had yet to be processed or were challenged. None had been rejected as of Saturday.

The total turnout at the state level is 728,278, with 660,139 voting in person and 68,892 by mail.

“As of Saturday morning, approximately 660,000 Georgia voters have cast their ballot during in-person early voting, with 140,166 showing up on Friday … Friday’s total marks a 51% increase from day five of 2018 midterm early voting and is only 18% less than the total of day five of early voting in the 2020 presidential election,” according to the secretary of state’s office.

“We owe our county election directors a great deal of gratitude,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a statement. “Lines are short. The check-in process is going smoothly. There’s been very few instances where our office has had to step in and provide extra support. The counties are doing a fantastic job.”

If trends from previous years hold, early voting turnout will slow in the middle week and pick up again in the last week, according to Raffensperger’s office.

But Glynn County elections experienced a “glitch” in one of their ballot scanners, according to The Brunswick News.

An estimated 3,200 paper ballots for early voting that were cast last week at the St. Simons precinct will have to be recounted after a glitch was discovered in one of the scanners.

The Glynn County Board of Elections and Registration will hold a special-called emergency meeting at 12:30 p.m. Monday to address the error message displayed on a scanner Saturday morning.

The meeting will be held to supervise the rescanning of ballots on the machine.

Channell said the problem was discovered when power to the machine was turned on Saturday, and the screen indicated the error message. He believes the problem is likely from a power surge. There were no signs of tampering, he said.

From the Capitol Beat News Service story published on Friday:

After eclipsing the 2018 midterm elections turnout on the first day of early voting this week, Georgians surpassed the turnout ahead of the 2020 presidential election on the second day of early voting.

“We’re extremely pleased that so many Georgians are able to cast their votes, in record numbers and without any reports of substantial delays,” Raffensperger said. “This is a testament to the hard work of Georgia’s election workers, the professionals who keep our elections convenient and secure.”

This year’s midterms mark the first general election since the Republican-controlled General Assembly passed controversial election-reform legislation last year replacing the signature-match verification process for absentee ballots with a photo ID requirement and restricting the location of absentee ballot drop boxes.

Raffensperger and other Republican leaders are pointing to the strong early voting numbers as proof the new law is not suppressing the vote as Democratic critics have claimed.

But Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams argued the record turnout is a result of Democrats overcoming the voting restrictions.

“It does not mean voter suppression doesn’t exist,” Abrams told supporters Tuesday during a rally in southeastern Atlanta. “But we’re stronger, better, and faster than it.”

From the Savannah Morning News:

One week into voting for the 2022 midterms, early in-person voting is pacing ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Nearly 838,000 Georgians cast ballots as of Oct. 22, and absentee voting is underway as well. Early voting continues through Nov. 4, and registered voters can request absentee ballots through Oct. 28.

Approximately 248,000 absentee ballots have been requested thus far, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.

As Mike Hassinger, a public information officer for voting with the Georgia Secretary of State office, said, the interest in the 2022 election stems from angst over the aftermath from the disputed 2020 presidential election and the voting reforms that followed.

“There are real contests going on, there’s a tremendous amount of advertising that’s taking place, and under those conditions, a voter will potentially feel like it’s really important that he or she goes and registers their own preferences, where as in a low visibility kind of contest, a lot of voters wouldn’t be aware it’s taking place,” said Charles Bullock, a University of Georgia political science professor widely considered the foremost authority on state politics.

From WTOC:

The next and final Saturday early in person voting day will be October 29th from 9am-5pm.

From the Augusta Chronicle:

Richmond County has been seeing such high turnouts for early voting, they will be opening two additional polls ahead of schedule.

The local board of elections voted Friday to open Henry Brigham Community Center at 2463 Golden Camp Rd. and Robert Howard Community Center at 103 Diamond Lakes Way on Wednesday, Oct. 26. Until this point, the only advance voting poll in Augusta was at the Augusta-Richmond County Municipal Building at 535 Telfair St.

Henry Brigham and Robert Howard were scheduled to open on Saturday, Oct. 29, but they are being opened early due to record-breaking voter turnout for a midterm election. Early voting started on Oct. 17, and the first week saw, on average, over 270 more voters than the first week of 2018’s midterm, according to numbers provided by Richmond County Board of Elections Executive Director Travis Doss.

Starting on Halloween, all four polls will be open 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Friday, Nov. 4. Voting will resume on Election Day, Nov. 8. At which point, all of the area’s polls will be activated and run 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. For a full list, go to augustaga.gov.

From the AJC:

Through the first seven days of early voting, nearly 838,000 people had already cast their ballots, most of them at in-person voting locations. Absentee ballots accounted for less than one-tenth of votes so far, though the numbers will increase as the 248,000 voters who requested absentees return them.

• Women voters showed up at higher rates than men, accounting for 54% of turnout through Sunday.

• Turnout among both Black and white voters exceeded their share of the electorate, while early turnout was lower among Hispanic and Asian voters. About 55% of voters of voters were white and 33% were black, while Hispanic and Asian voters each accounted for 1.5% of turnout.

• Older voters were the largest age group during the first week of voting. About 45% of voters were at least 65 years old, and just 6% of voters were under 30.

• About 34% of voters so far cast Republican Party ballots in this year’s primary, and 32% voted on Democratic Party ballots. Georgia allows all registered voters to choose either party’s primary. One-third of general election voters so far didn’t participate in the primary.

Over 18,000 people voted in 15 counties that offered Sunday voting, an option preserved in the state’s election law passed last year.

LaGrange municipal elections had a problem, according to WTVM.

Some Georgia voters are worried after officials noticed an error on submitted ballots for a city council race in LaGrange. Earlier, we spoke to one of those candidates running and to election officials about how they’re fixing the issue.

The first person I talked to was the Troup County NAACP, who say they’re on top of getting this error fixed and making sure it NEVER happens again. Other people say they were upset to hear about the mistake and some voters believe the best solution is to fire those in charge.

City officials say the incorrect ballot shows candidates running for District 2 in LaGrange on the city’s ballot for District 1. The special election was announced after former District 2 Councilman LeGree McCamey passed away in January. McCamey held the seat for 14 years before dying at Wellstar West Georgia Medical Center at 63. It’s unclear what the cause of his death was. There are five candidates running for District two. One tells me they’re all worried about the outcome of the race. The Troup County board of elections says they immediately contacted state officials once they were made aware of the mistake.

“The confidence went down to all five that are running. It’s like going into the woods — you don’t know where you’re going. This is going to make it worse. It’s going to make it a battle. Even who wins, it’s going to be confusion about who won,” said District 2 candidate Dr. Israel Prince Barsh.

“As soon as we were made aware of the error, we contacted the Secretary of State’s office. Upon their direction, they advised that it was too late to recreate the ballot and all the background information and advised us to move forward with the election,” said Troup Co. Board of Elections Chairman Bill Stump.

The Troup County Board of Elections says they were told to proceed with early voting as long as they made voters aware of the issue. In a letter posted on Facebook Monday, Chairman Bill Stump says illegal votes cast for District two will NOT COUNT. I also spoke to Mayor Pro Tem Willie Edmondson, who also represents District 2, who says there is no one to blame for the mistake besides the Troup County Board of Elections. Edmondson says he also suggests having checks and balances in place to prevent this from happening again.

From the Associated Press via AccessWDUN:

Republican activists who believe the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump have crafted a plan that, in their telling, will thwart cheating in this year’s midterm elections.

The strategy: Vote in person on Election Day or — for voters who receive a mailed ballot — hold onto it and hand it in at a polling place or election office on Nov. 8.

In Georgia, a recent online flier by one grassroots group read: “Voting in person and on Election Day is the only way to overwhelm the system.” A conservative group in the state, VoterGA, told its members to “protect” their votes by applying for an absentee ballot early and waiting to deliver it until Election Day.

In Georgia, about 23% of mailed ballots have been returned with just over two weeks before Election Day compared to about 35% at about the same time in 2020 and almost 37% in 2018. As of Oct. 19 in Wisconsin, 45% of mailed ballots had been returned compared to 56% in at the same point 2020 and 2018.

Governor Brian Kemp continues to campaign across Georgia, according to the AJC.

Gov. Brian Kemp begins a southeast Georgia swing Monday that features a stop in Savannah on Tuesday to celebrate the groundbreaking of Hyundai Motogroup’s $5.5 billion “Metaplant America” in nearby Ellabell. It’s the largest economic development project in state history.

Stacey Abrams continues to trail Gov. Brian Kemp by significant margins, including in a poll released by left-leaning Data for Progress that shows Kemp with a 53% to 43% edge.

Gov. Brian Kemp took his campaign bus to Norcross on Saturday morning for a Diwali celebration at the Global Mall in Gwinnett County.

The event took place on the first of five days of celebration for the festival of lights, a religious holiday celebrated culturally by many of the nation’s 4.6 million Indian Americans.

“You have my commitment that I will continue to be focused on keeping Georgia the best state in the country for business,” Kemp told the crowd, reminding them of his decision to lift pandemic restrictions.

Attendees who spoke to our AJC colleague Anjali Huynh said they were grateful for Kemp’s acknowledgment of the holiday. For Sandhya Rajan, a Cumming resident, it was especially noteworthy that the program featured kids like her 11-year-old daughter, who danced at the event.

Gov. Brian Kemp has three stops planned today on his bus tour: IHS Pharmacy & Gifts in Metter, Mt. Vernon Community Center in Mt. Vernon, and the Veterans’ Community Center in Claxton.

Herschel Walker’s Unite Georgia Bus Tour makes stops today at the Floyd County GOP headquarters in Rome, Carpets of Dalton Event Center in Dalton, and at Appalachian Gun and Pawn in Jasper.

Columbus is a hotbed of campaigning. Democrat Stacey Abrams campaigned there, according to WTVM.

Democrat Stacey Abrams is encouraging Georgians to vote early. She’s going up against Incumbent Brian Kemp for the second election in a row.

On Oct. 20, Abrams held an event at Warehouse 9 on 9th Street in Columbus and will have another stop in Americus next week.

Abrams has also gotten national attention for how she answered a question on TV about abortion and inflation, saying, “You can’t divorce being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy from the economic realities of having a child.

United States Senate candidates Herschel Walker (R) also campaigned in Columbus, according to WTVM.

The campaign stop happened outside the Piggly Wiggly on 13th Street at 2PM.

WTOC has a video of the entire appearance by Walker.

Republican candidate for the Second Congressional District Chris West also campaigned in Columbus, according to WTVM.

West met with local voters, and some traveled out-of-state at the Hilton Hotel on Victory Drive.

West is running against long-time Congressman Sanford Bishop in the highly contested race for District 2.

WTVM hosted a debate featuring both candidates in the studio. West says his primary goal 18 days before the election is to bring a new face to Congress and undo “bad” policies by the Biden administration.

“We’re just getting out, knocking on doors, seeing people from Columbus. We’ve got some great volunteers who are donating their time to go out and participate in our country. And they want to get out and tell folks that they think our country’s leadership is headed right now in the wrong direction,” said West.

U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock campaigned in Athens, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

The City of Atlanta will buy the state building at Two Peachtree for $39 million dollars, according to the Associated Press via AccessWDUN.

The state has owned the 2 Peachtree Street building for about 30 years. It was the tallest building in Atlanta when it was built in 1968 for the First National Bank of Atlanta, which eventually became part of Wells Fargo & Co.

The state has been emptying the tower of government tenants, moving some into vacant offices around the state capitol. Some state agencies downsized after concluding during the coronavirus pandemic that remote work meant they needed less office space.

The state budgeted $45 million earlier this year to move out of 2 Peachtree. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Terry England said then that it would cost more to renovate the building than it was worth. Georgia spent more than $100 million on an earlier round of renovations.

[Atlanta Mayor Andre] Dickens said the site is prime for affordable housing because it’s next to the the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority’s Five Points rail station. He said housing would go on top, with offices and stores and restaurants on lower floors, and that redevelopment would “move us closer to our vision of a world-class downtown area.”

Dickens said in a news release that city agency Invest Atlanta will seek a private developer for 2 Peachtree. The mayor said city money would create “dedicated and deeply affordable housing units.” Dickens said several hundred new housing units would be created overall, calling it a “huge leap forward” toward his goal to create or preserve 20,000 affordable housing units by 2030. The city says 5,800 units are finished or being built.

The money for the purchase will come from a special taxing district that includes parts of downtown.

The late Mrs. GaPundit worked in that building for several years, and based on her experienes and those of other I know who work or worked there, it’s a terrible idea that Atlanta plans.

Chatham County hosted a session to promote the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Transportation (T-SPLOST) on the November ballot, according to WTOC.

As record numbers of Georgians head to the polls, Chatham County residents will be asked a question about a sales tax that would fund transportation in the county.

TSPLOST is a penny sales tax that would go toward transportation projects in the county.

Since this is the first time voters in Chatham County will have this on the ballot, the county commission chairman is hosting meetings like this one tonight at Godley Station School to make sure voters understand the tax.

“Tonight comes out of one of my neighbors asking about TSPLOST and asking about the voting so I found out that if she didn’t know there were a lot of people who didn’t know. Tonight is the county’s opportunity to give people the benefits and how it will affect Chatham County,” said Chairman Chester Ellis.

Former United States Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-Atlanta) continued working to improve turnout, according to the Associated Press via WSAV.

On a crisp fall morning, eager volunteers fanned out in the leafy suburban Atlanta [Marietta] neighborhood to knock on doors, trying to persuade reluctant and skeptical conservatives to register to vote in next month’s midterm elections.

Dispatching the group on the hunt for votes was an unlikely emissary — former Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who initially stood by the defeated president’s effort to undo Joe Biden’s victory, but was now working, in blue jeans and a country plaid shirt, to bring election skeptics back to the polls.

“This effort is about amplifying Georgia’s voices and taking our state back and saying that we will not be silenced,” Loeffler said, pumping up the volunteers before sending them out. “We know that when people feel like their vote counts, they’re more likely to vote.”

A wealthy former businesswoman who remains close to Trump, Loeffler has invested more than $2 million in Greater Georgia and its companion Citizens for Greater Georgia get-out-the vote effort for Republicans. She is modeling her work partly after Democrat Stacey Abrams, the gubernatorial candidate, whose voting rights efforts have catapulted her into a national figure in her rematch against Kemp.

“I said from Day One when I started this effort, we cannot allow the left to have a monopoly on voter registration in our state,” Loeffler said about the group she launched after her defeat.

The Augusta Chronicle looks at who is financing state local legislative campaigns.

 

The City of Cuthbert will receive a $30,000 grant to repair their water tower, according to WALB.

The city of Cuthbert secured $30,000 in funding for its water tower restoration. The project will help clean the structure and replace bolts that have come loose, however, the structure will still maintain its character. The tower hadn’t been cleaned for decades.

State Senator For District 151 Gerald Greene is proud of the funds they were able to secure.

“Now that COVID is behind us, it allows us to more easily get funding for these projects that make a huge impact in the community,” Senator Greene said.

The water tower is set to be restored within the next year.

Republican Gerald Greene is a member of the State House, not a state Senator.

Macon-Bibb County Sheriff David Davis will hire part-time officers to address staffing shortages, according to the Macon Telegraph.

The plan to “fast track” officers from anywhere in the state, or even the ranks of the retired, was announced during a press conference Monday at the Bibb County Sheriff’s Annex. Despite the urgency implied by the term “fast track,” Sheriff David Davis said any part-time officers brought on patrol would be fully trained.

The Sheriff’s office would pay $40 an hour, without benefits, to any POST certified law enforcement officer who would like to spend what would otherwise be their time off patrolling Macon.

The offer stands for retired officers and firefighters, too, though without certification firefighters would have some limitations on what jobs they could perform, likely reserved as courtroom bailiffs or security at special events.

The plan, which has the full support of Macon-Bibb Mayor Lester Miller, was announced a day ahead of scheduled updates from local non-profits participating in the Macon Violence Prevention program which is aimed at slowing violence through social services.

Columbus Columbus Council members may revise their alcohol ordinance, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

The proposal would amend the Columbus Consolidated Government Code by adding in a new section to provide outdoor consumption of alcohol in a designated entertainment district. The boundaries of the proposed district are from the south side of Ninth Street to the north side of 14th Street and from the east side of Broadway to the west side of Bay Avenue and Front Avenue.

• Outdoor consumption of alcohol in the district would be allowed with the following restrictions:

• Licensed establishments within the district could provide alcohol in an approved container for carryout. Limited to one 16-ounce, shatter-proof container per person legally allowed to drink alcohol.

• Uptown Columbus Inc., which promotes downtown vibrancy, would be responsible for the distribution of stickers or other means for identifying qualified open containers in the district. Outdoor consumption from such containers would be limited to the boundaries of the district between the hours of 11 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Pam Hodge, deputy city manager for finance, planning and development, told the L-E the idea of downtown entertainment district has been discussed since 2018. The request from passenger-powered party bike company Pedal Pub to expand its business into downtown Columbus prompted the entertainment district proposal to become a front-burner issue.

Based on a request from District 7 Councilor Mimi Woodson, who represents the targeted area, instead of creating a narrowly tailored ordinance specifically accommodating the Pedal Pub, the city administration decided to recommend establishing an entertainment district to make regulating open containers of alcohol easier to enforce and create more of a welcoming environment, Hodge said.

Former DeKalb County Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton will face a jury in a federal trial alleging extortion and bribery, according to the AJC.

The case against Barnes Sutton is one that prosecutors from the U.S. Department of Justice’s public integrity unit didn’t charge until 2019, just before the statute of limitations on her alleged offenses of bribery and extortion expired. There have been years of subsequent delays due to COVID-19 and a litany of other issues.

Barring any further complications, though, proceedings will begin with jury selection Oct. 25.

The trial is expected to take about two weeks, give or take a few days. It could get tedious; Barnes Sutton’s public defender, Mildred Dunn, recently suggested that “a lot of bank records and a lot of phone records” will be in play.

Barnes Sutton’s defense team is seemingly poised to argue that the commissioner suffered both an aneurysm and a stroke in 2012, about two years before the alleged crimes took place — and that the malady may have caused “relevant cognitive damage” that should be considered by jurors as they weigh her guilt or innocence.

The government’s case, meanwhile, centers around secret recordings garnered by their wire-wearing source, who’s since been confirmed to be Morris Williams. He previously served as the chief of staff for DeKalb’s Board of Commissioners and deputy chief operating officer for the county administration.

Four candidates toil to govern water and soil in coastal Georgia. From the Brunswick News:

Even the candidates for the Satilla River Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor position would describe the organization as obscure.

Before 2020, three of them didn’t know it existed. What candidates Laurie Lohne, Heath Holdsworth and Glenn Cook have in common is that their first exposure to it was noticing no one else was running for the position a year ago.

“It’s made up of county representatives, the counties in the district,” [supervisor Ron] Sadowski said. “Basically, we promote best practices for land and water activities.”

According to the agency’s website, Georgia’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts were brought into existence by a state law passed in 1937.

“Their original mandate was to encourage soil conservation following the Dust Bowl,” according to the website. “Their mandate was later expanded to include water conservation. The districts work with private landowners to improve the state’s natural resources.”

The Satilla River Soil and Water Conservation District is part of the statewide Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission. Under the commission are five regions divided into 40 districts, each with a district manager. Two representatives for each of Georgia’s 159 counties — one elected and one appointed — make up the bulk of the organization.

That intro line breaks out into a nice little haiku:

Four candidates toil (5 syllables)

to govern water and soil (7 syllables)

in coastal Georgia (5 syllables)

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