Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for September 5, 2012


Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for September 5, 2012

Jessie and Woody are sister and brother Pointer mix puppies, who are 6-8 weeks old and weigh eight pounds each. Dixie is a 2-year old, 45-pound pointer mix female. Each is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Services today. The two puppies were owner surrenders, which means there is no mandatory holding period, putting them at immediate risk of euthanasia.

Autumn is female, approximately two months old, and weighs ten pounds. She will be available for adoption beginning Friday.

Lola is a year-old, 60# black lab mix. She’s said to be very sweet and friendly, and “wags her whole butt back and forth.” Bailey is a six-month old, 30# black lab mix turned in by her owner, again meaning no mandatory hold, at risk of euthanasia. Finally, we have what is described as a Beagle, but looks to me like a Beagle/Basset Hound mix, estimated to be one-year old and 25 pounds. These dogs are all available for adoption today from Walton County Animal Shelter.

This is the happy ending for the black lab formerly known as Gwinnett County Inmate 26397, who was featured here a couple weeks ago. He was adopted by a reader, who has also adopted a yellow lab who was featured in our emails. So I guess that means I’m stuck doing these every morning until there are no more dogs in need.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections

If there isn’t already a word for when satire becomes reality, there should be.

Jim Galloway brings us this: speaking of Republican criticisms of President Barack Obama, the Rev. Joseph Lowery said,

”I think people recognize that it’s not good to change horses in the middle of the recovery stream. I think the closer we get to the election, the more people are going to recognize that what [Republicans] are talking about is rather dangerous. And we don’t want to risk it.”

[citing audio recorded by Jamie Dupree]

Aside from the laughability of the idea that we’re in the middle of an economic recovery stream, it reminded me of  “Wag the Dog”, starring Robert DeNiro and Dustin Hoffman, where the fictional candidate’s slogan became “Don’t changes horses in mid stream”.

Andre Walker at Georgia Unfiltered asked whether Georgia Democratic Party Chairman Mike Berlon is better off today than he was four years ago and found one indicator that he isn’t.

Four years ago, when Barack Obama took office, the home of Georgia Democrat Party chairman Mike Berlon was worth $339,500.

Now, in 2012, Berlon’s home is worth $244,200 (and I doubt he could get that much for it on the fair market).

Over the last three years of Barack Obama’s presidency, the home of Georgia Democrat Party chairman Mike Berlon has declined in value; to the tune of $95,300.

I note that home valuations by county tax assessors are publicly-available information.

Lee Anderson has been certified as the winner in the Twelfth Congressional District Republican Primary Runoff election – by a 159 vote margin.

“We have won the battle,” Anderson spokesman Ryan Mahoney said, urging Republican voters who were divided between four Republicans in the primary race to unite behind Anderson. “Now it’s time to win the war!”

Augusta businessman Rick W. Allen, the runner-up in the Aug. 21 runoff, immediately asked Secretary of State Brian Kemp for a recount. The candidate is entitled to one under state law because Anderson’s victory margin was less than 1 percent of the total votes.

“Given the fact that it was so close … we think it’s prudent to make sure everything was counted properly,” Scott Paradise, Allen’s campaign manager, said Tuesday.

Kemp’s spokesman, Jared Thomas, said election officials were planning to have the recount finished Thursday.

A recount isn’t likely to change the outcome. With electronic voting, re-tallying the ballots is much like punching the same numbers into a calculator a second time. When election officials recounted the July 31 GOP primary to make certain Allen had advanced to the 12th District runoff, the results shifted by just four votes.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published a story about how changing demographics in Georgia may lead to a Democratic party renaissance in the coming years.

“The demographic changes are happening,” Carpenter said. “As Georgia becomes more diverse, it becomes more competitive for Democrats.”

Alan Abramowitz, an Emory University political scientist and expert on voter demographics, said the continued increase in African-American and Latino population will eventually change the state’s political dynamic.

In January 2001, Georgia’s electorate was 72 percent white and 26 percent black, while Hispanics made up less than two-tenths of 1 percent, according to data compiled by the secretary of state. As of Aug. 1, those numbers had changed dramatically.

Blacks now make up 30 percent of active registered voters while whites are at 60 percent. Hispanics make up nearly 2 percent of the electorate after seeing their registration numbers increase from just 933 in 2011 to 85,000 as of Aug. 1.

Those shifts portend positive returns for Democrats. African-Americans in Georgia vote overwhelmingly Democratic, and party leaders believe they can, thanks to Republican policies on immigration, do well among Latinos. But with the current numbers, it is unlikely to be enough to change the outcome this year, Abramowitz said.

On that topic, Emory University Political Science Professor Andra Gilliespie will speak at the Emory Breakfast in Buckhead next Friday, September 14th from 7:30 to 9 AM at Maggiano’s in Buckhead about “Race and Reelection: The Obama Presidency and the 2012 Elections.” If you’re interested in going, I have a couple of guest slots, so email me.

AJC writer Wayne Washington followed up the earlier story on changing demographics to discuss the possibility of Democratic gains in the South.

Democrats aren’t holding their convention in North Carolina this week ‘cause they love themselves some NASCAR.

North Carolina was one of three southern states to give its Electoral College votes to Barack Obama in 2008, and the party wants to consolidate those gains — an ambitious goal, if current polls accurately reflect the state of the race.

Not that long ago, the South was cinder block-solid for the Republican Party. The president, George W. Bush of Texas, was a southerner. The majority leader of the U.S. Senate, Bill Frist of Tennessee, was a southerner, and important committee chairmen throughout Congress were, too.

Republican presidential candidates didn’t campaign hard in the South because its electoral votes were assured. But as officials in both parties try to map a road to electoral dominance in the 21st century, they face a new reality: Them days are going, if not already gone.

Demographic changes — namely, the rapidly expanding Hispanic population — and continued black antipathy toward the GOP could spell increasing trouble for a Republican Party that has not yet found a message that resonates with most minority voters.

Some Republicans are sounding an alarm.

“The demographics race, we’re losing badly,” U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., told The Washington Post. “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”

That’s not a bad piece and it makes some good points if you can get past the gibberish masquerading as Southern dialect. Whichever editor let him get away with that should be ashamed, as should Washington.

Clayton County voters have an opportunity to not further embarrass themselves and the rest of the state of Georgia by electing someone not named Victor Hill as their next Sheriff. As you probably know, Hill won the Democratic Primary for Sheriff despite a 37-felony count indictment over his last term in office. But there’s hope, Clayton County. Not much, but hope.

Clayton County Chief Deputy Garland Watkins filed notice Tuesday he will run as a write-in candidate against former Sheriff Victor Hill, who defeated the incumbent and Watkins’ boss.

With Hill’s win in last month’s Democratic primary runoff, he was on track to retake the office in January.

But Watkins said Tuesday he is running because he was asked to by those who want another choice on the November ballot.

“It’s just to give people a second choice and let them know they do have options,” Watkins said.

This is his second run for the office. Watkins came in third in the 2008 Democratic primary, pushing Hill and current Sheriff Kem Kimbrough into a runoff.

It appears that the other shoe is yet to drop in the continuing saga of former Gwinnett County Commissioner Shirley Fanning-Lasseter, who pled guilty to federal bribery charges.

Former Gwinnett County Commissioner Shirley Lasseter’s son has provided information on three targets of an ongoing federal corruption investigation – including at least person one who tried to buy Lasseter’s vote, a court motion filed Monday says.

While cooperating with investigators, John Fanning, Lasseter’s son, recorded a series of meetings with at least one person in which they discussed the sale of Lasseter’s vote on a matter the person believed to be pending before the Board of Commissioners, the motion says. The person ultimately provided $3,000 to Fanning in exchange for Fanning’s assurance that Lasseter would vote favorably on the pending legislation.

Fanning has provided federal investigators with information “on at least two other targets of the FBI’s corruption investigation,” the filing says.

We have no idea of whether any of the other targets of the federal investigation are current or former elected officials.

Pro-tip: it’s always a good idea to have someone proofread your campaign mailer before you do something this stupid:

An Assembly candidate whose campaign sent mailers using the word “negrohood” to residents in his Sheepshead Bay district apologized Wednesday — calling the racially tinged language a “typo.”

“As the candidate, I take full responsibility for this inadvertent error and I am sorry to anyone who was offended by it,” Ben Akselrod, who’s running in the Sept. 13 Democratic primary against Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, said in a statement.

The Friends of Ben Akselrod sent the mailers last week, claiming that his opponent “has allowed crime to go up over 50% in our negrohood so far this year.”

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