Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 24, 2023

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 24, 2023

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

Early voting continues in many local elections. From the Dalton Daily Citizen News:

From Oct. 16 through Oct. 18 [Whitfield County Registrar Shaynee Bryson] said the office recorded just 146 in-person voters at the Whitfield County Courthouse.

At the end of Oct. 18, she said an additional 74 absentee by mail ballots had been sent. The first day to apply for such a ballot was Aug. 21 — the last day for voters to apply is Oct. 27.

“It’s not a very high turnout, sadly,” she said. “Even with all four cities being on the ballot.”

“But we expect Election Day to be a little more busy when it comes to the city of Dalton precincts,” Bryson continued. “But so far, as the early voting goes, it’s pretty much the same as it has been before.”

The Georgia Supreme Court reversed a lower court decision that enjoined enforcement of the state’s abortion restrictions, according to Atlanta News First via WTOC.

The Georgia Supreme Court overturned on Tuesday a lower court’s ruling that halted the state’s controversial ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, and sent the case back to Fulton County Superior Court to consider the merits of the other challenges brought by the law’s opponents.

The ruling in effect upholds Georgia’s LIFE Act, which is also known as the “heartbeat bill,” which prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually at around a pregnancy’s six-week mark. Tuesday’s state Supreme Court’s ruling focused on whether the legislation is viable since it was passed in 2019 when Roe v. Wade was still in effect and guaranteed a federal right to abortion.

Georgia’s law was passed by state lawmakers and signed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in 2019 but had been blocked from taking effect until the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which had protected the right to an abortion for nearly 50 years. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed Georgia to begin enforcing its abortion law just over three weeks after the high court’s decision in June 2022.

From 13WMAZ:

The law, which was signed back in 2019, did not go into effect until Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022. Once the law was set to go into effect, a Fulton County judge ruled to overturn the state’s ban on abortion.

Judge Robert C.I. McBurney held in a decision in November 2022 that the ban was invalid because it violated the U.S. Constitution and U.S. Supreme Court precedent at the time it became law.

The Georgia Supreme Court in an opinion released Tuesday held that that was wrong, writing, “the trial court erred in concluding, based on since-overruled decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, that the LIFE Act violated the U.S. Constitution when the Act was enacted.”

“The holdings of United States Supreme Court cases interpreting the United States Constitution that have since been overruled cannot establish that a law was unconstitutional when enacted and therefore cannot render a law void ab initio,” Justice Verda M. Colvin wrote in the majority opinion.

The Supreme Court has now “sent the case back to the trial court to consider the merits of the other challenges brought by opponents of the Act.”

From WRDW:

Tuesday’s ruling does not change abortion access in Georgia and may not be the last word on the state’s ban.

The ruling in effect upholds Georgia’s LIFE Act, which is also known as the “heartbeat bill.” It prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually at around a pregnancy’s six-week mark.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney said last November that the ban was “unequivocally unconstitutional” because it was enacted in 2019, when Roe v. Wade allowed abortions well past six weeks.

State officials challenging that decision noted the Supreme Court’s finding that Roe v. Wade was an incorrect interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. Because the Constitution remained the same, Georgia’s ban was valid when it was enacted, they argued.

From the AJC:

That means most abortions will continue to be banned once a doctor can detect fetal cardiac activity, typically around six weeks of pregnancy and before many know they are pregnant, while the Fulton County Superior Court considers other arguments made by abortion advocates and providers about why the restrictions should be lifted.

Claire Bartlett, executive director of anti-abortion group Georgia Life Alliance, called the ruling a “huge win.”

“We’re thrilled to pieces about the news,” she said. “The battle continues as it goes back to (Fulton Superior) Judge Robert McBurney for determination of their claim that there’s a right under the Georgia constitution to abortion, which in our reading it does not. But we shall see.”

Georgia’s Supreme Court justices agreed 6-1 with the state’s argument. Two justices did not participate in the oral arguments in March.

State Rep. Karlton Howard (D-Augusta) discussed his recent trip to Israel, according to WJBF.

Georgia State Representative Karlton Howard …. was in Israel when the war with Hamas began. Rep. Howard tells us how he was able to mantain a sense of calm and peace as the conflict raged on. He also describes being among the last groups to get out before officers closed the borders.

Columbia County may consider incorporating, according to WJBF.

A study being done by Valdosta State University on the pros and cons of Columbia County possibly incorporating and consolidating some of its communities is due by Dec. 31.

The plan would combine unincorporated communities like Evans, Martinez, Appling, Winfield and Leah into one city, then consolidate it into the county.

“We don’t have the study back yet so it’s really hard to go over all of the benefits,” Couch said. “There’s been talks about franchise fee collections and things of that nature, but at this time we just don’t have all of the data back on it.”

Harlem and Grovetown would still be their own cities, but some worry this could prevent these two cities from expanding.

“That would be a concern because as you know your census drives a lot of the finances that you get both from the county, the state, and the national level,” said Harlem Mayor Roxanne Whitaker. “And if we are landlocked, then that will affect our future population. I do hope they allow those that are on the cusp of city limits of both Harlem and Grovetown the option to annex in if they would like, that would be my main concern.”

Residents of Adel in Cook County are complaining about paying unitemized utility bills, according to WALB.

Citizens have been continually voicing their opinions at city council meetings, as well as hosting peaceful protests due to the back billing situation. But they say there are still no answers from the city as to how they got so behind. One lady showed WALB her bill, which was over $4,000.

They say that they feel the city government does not care that people are struggling to survive in the current economy and that back-billing customers are hurting their finances even more.

“Be aware of how people are basically in poverty, basically struggling, be aware of that and come up with a plan to help that,” Pinkney said.

Residents say that they feel lied to because they don’t know how much they’re paying per kilowatt — as the bills do not have breakdowns.

“But you’re not telling me how much you are charging per kilowatt. But all you’re saying is that this bill is this much and it’s extremely high,” Dorothy Johnson, an Adel resident, said.

Later this week, Fort Gordon will be renamed Fort Eisenhower, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

On Friday, Oct. 27, Fort Gordon will become Fort Eisenhower, replacing the name of a confederate general with the former president and commander of allied forces in Europe in World War II.

“It was wrong to have these things named after the enemy, after those who killed U.S. Army soldiers for the worst possible reason, to create a slave republic,” said Ty Seidule, a retired Army general and a historian who served on the congressionally appointed commission that suggested new names for Fort Gordon and eight other military bases named for confederates.

United States Representative Austin Scott (R-Tifton) is running for Speaker of the U.S. House, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

He originally announced his bid for the position on Oct. 13, but withdrew his candidacy hours later after House Republicans nominated U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio— an avid supporter of former President Donald Trump, who also endorsed him for the seat. Scott lost the nomination to Jordan in a 124-81 vote.

Jordan, however, failed to secure the 217 votes needed by Congress after three attempts the following week.

Scott, a Republican from District 8, on Oct. 20, announced his plans to vie again for the role.

“If we are going to be the majority we need to act like the majority, and that means we have to do the right things the right way,” he wrote as he posted his announcement on X, formerly Twitter. “I supported and voted for Rep. Jim Jordan to be the Speaker of the House. Now that he has withdrawn, I am running again to be the Speaker of the House.”

Scott was elected to Congress in 2010, officially taking office in 2011 in the position he now holds.

Albany Mayor Bo Dorough stands for reelection next month, according to the Albany Herald.

In making his case for another four years at the helm of Albany’s government, Mayor Bo Dorough pointed to the previous four years and what the Albany City Commission has accomplished under his leadership.

The bill came due in the first term for Dorough, who faces three challengers: former commission member Henry Mathis, Omar Salaam and Antonio Screen Sr.

“These improvements make Albany a more attractive destination for tourists who are served by those buildings, but most importantly it makes Albany a better base of operations for our corporate citizens,” Dorough said.

The city also has made significant investments in public safety, including technology and five pay increases for law enforcement officers over the previous five years to increase recruitment and retention, the mayor said. It also has made significant investments in infrastructure and equipment that will pay off in years to come. Previously the city had no rotation plan for replacing aging vehicles, he said, and drove cars and equipment until they were worn out and had no resale value.

“You can’t reduce crime without addressing the social and economic roots of crime,” he said. “That’s what we see. … We have to create economic opportunities to continue to make Albany a place people want to move to instead of move away from. That’s why you get into quality of life, downtown, recreation, our infrastructure. That’s when you have people wanting to move to.”

Former Guyton Mayor Michael Garvin is running for his old seat, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Garvin is a household name in Guyton, having served in various capacities in local government for three decades. He was on the original planning board in the early ‘90s and served on city council in 1997. In 2004, Garvin was serving as mayor pro tem and was appointed mayor the same year after then mayor C.D. Dean died. He was reelected for two consecutive terms before he lost the race to Jeff Lariscy in 2015 and again in 2019 to Mayor Russ Deen.

Under his tenure, Garvin brought back vital healthcare amenities to include a drug store and a doctor’s office. He also helped secure funding and the design for the wastewater facility.

He lost the 2019 election by just 17 votes. Despite being well-known throughout town, he is hitting the campaign trail to minimize the risk of yet another close race.

According to Garvin, some residents in Effingham County have lost their land because they can’t afford the taxes, some of which live in unincorporated areas near Guyton. Garvin said if those residents cannot afford to live there, the city will continue to lose tax dollars.

“If Guyton does not grow, then it dies,” said Garvin. “The taxpayer cannot continue to foot the bill. I support TSPLOST and SPLOST because those taxes are everybody’s taxes. If we get that, why we can’t we roll back the taxes?”

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