Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for December 17, 2013


Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for December 17, 2013

Early Voting Information for HD 2

Walker County

12/16 – 12/20 from 8:30am – 5pm
Location: Walker County Courthouse, 103 S. Duke St., Rm. 110, LaFayette GA  30728

Whitfield County

12/16 – 12/20 from 8am – 5pm
Location: Whitfield County Courthouse, 205 N Selvidge St. Suite K
Dalton, GA 30720

That’s in addition to Catoosa County’s two voting locations.

Don Balfour’s trial

From the rapt news media coverage, you’d think it was the trial of an alleged criminal kingpin. But there is some interesting coverage. As you would expect, the best is coming from the Fulton Daily Report:

William Hill Jr., a former Superior Court judge and assistant attorney general, handled voir dire for Balfour’s defense team, which also included former Albany district attorney Kenneth Hodges III. Both lawyers are with Rafuse Hill & Hodges.

Hill focused most of his questions on potential jurors’ trust in elected officials, as well as their diligence toward financial bookkeeping at home and at work.

When Hill asked whether anyone would have a hard time believing an elected official, only one prospective juror raised his hand. But later, when Hill asked whether anyone in the pool believed that elected officials would spend taxpayer money to further their personal agendas, all raised their hands.

Many of the potential jurors indicated they either submitted reimbursement requests for work or supervised reimbursement claims and payments. Many indicated they were meticulous about filing their claims but knew coworkers who were not. When pressed by Hill, most said they believed the mistakes of others were due to laziness and not nefarious intent.

“It’s just who we are,” said one potential juror, a single mom who ended up being seated as a juror.

Another interesting twist in the Balfour trial came when Judicial Qualifications Commission member Richard Hyde appeared in the courtroom after lunch. While he said he was on “routine patrol,” members of the public, including Common Cause executive director William Perry, said they were locked out of the courtroom for a portion of voir dire.

After Hyde arrived, Fulton Superior Court Judge Henry Newkirk instructed his bailiff to unlock his courtroom doors.

The Senate Ethics Committee investigated Balfour in 2012 and ordered him to pay a $5,000 fine and roughly $366 in restitution, but cleared him of malfeasance.

Meanwhile in Clarkston

Former Vice Mayor and City Council Member Joan Swaney pled guilty in federal court to embezzling more than $60,000 from the Clarkston Community Center.

Elena Parent is in for Senate District 42

Yesterday, former State Rep. Elena Parent announced that she will announce in January a campaign for Senate District 42, which is currently held by State Rep. Jason Carter (D-Inman Park) and will be open as Carter is running for Martyr Governor.

State Reps. unveil anti-Obamacare legislation


Yesterday, Republican State Reps. (from left) Jason Spencer, Scot Turner, David Stover, Michael Caldwell, and Paulette Braddock, introduced at a press conference House Bill 707, titled The Georgia Health Care Freedom and ACA Noncompliance Act. From Christopher Collins at

“The bill’s main thrust is to prohibit state agencies, officers and employees of the state from implementing any provisions of the Affordable Care Act, leaving implementation entirely in the hands of the federal government, which lacks the resources or personnel to carry out the programs it mandates,” R. Spencer told the Washington Times.

Spender stated that the bill’s bite is rooted is anti-commandeering doctrine.

He said that this doctrine, which has been established by the United States Supreme Court (Printz v. United States), dictates that the federal government cannot force state legislatures to enforce federal laws.

In the Printz v. United States case, the case centered on whether or not states have to follow the federal government law in doing background checks. The suit asked whether or not the mandatory obligation imposed on the States by the interim provisions of the Act, commanding state and local officers to perform background checks on prospective handgun buyers and to perform certain other related tasks, violates the Constitution.

In the Printz v. United States case judgment, the court said, “The Federal Government may not compel the CLEOs to perform background checks on prospective gun buyers and to perform certain other related tasks as required by the interim provisions of the Act.”

“It is unconstitutional for the federal government to directly compel states to enforce federal regulatory programs.”

Spencer also plans to ask Georgia’s Attorney General or a special counsel to file a lawsuit on behalf of the citizens of Georgia in federal court to overturn NFIB vs. Sibelius (Obamacare).

I’m not holding my breath for a floor vote on HB 707.

2014 Campaigns

We continue to update our page listing 2014 campaigns and ask for your help in passing along any challenges or candidates in newly-open seats that we may have overlooked.

Here’s a trend we’re seeing: 2014 appears to be developing as the year for challenging senior state legislative Republicans in the Primary elections.

Among those with announced challengers: Speaker David Ralston, Caucus Secretary/Treasurer Allen Peake, Education Chair Brooks Coleman all have announced challengers and MARTOC Chair Mike Jacobs is expecting to be challenged.

In the State Senate, Majority Whip Cecil Staton and Regulated Industries Chair Jack Murphy have announced challengers, and we expect to see a “Liberty” candidate emerge against Senator Fran Millar.

It will be an interesting year for political bloggers and political consultants this year, that’s for sure.


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