Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for November 21, 2013


Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for November 21, 2013

McCallum Announces for First Congressional District

McCallum logo

Here’s his website. Following is an excerpt from his press release, which can be read in its entirety here.

(Glynn County, Georgia) – Today, conservative businessman and community leader John McCallum announced his candidacy for Congress in Georgia’s 1st District.

“I am running because we are at a tipping point between two vastly different visions for our country’s future,” said McCallum. “There are two camps competing for the hearts and minds of the American people. I believe our country’s greatness rests in the power of the American people. Our opponents believe our greatness lies in our government. These two visions are at war with each other – both cannot win – and liberty hangs in the balance.”

“It’s time to send people to Washington who are willing to defend the Constitution, not the status quo. I’m ready suit up, buckle my chinstrap and get in the game. And while this may be a sacrifice for my family, I simply cannot sit on the sidelines any more.”

John’s start in the political realm was at the bottom of the proverbial ladder. With no money or political connections, he piled all of his worldly possessions in a car and drove to Washington, D.C. In the summer of 1993, he landed an unpaid internship with an up-and-coming Congressman from Georgia, Newt Gingrich. John was eventually hired as a Legislative Aide for Speaker Gingrich where his work focused on budget, banking and tax issues.

With roots in Georgia that extend 225 years, John is proud to live in Glynn County with his wife, former Miss America Heather Whitestone McCallum, and their four sons – John, James, Wilson and Liam. They attend St. Simons Island Community Church.

Bryce Johnson announces for 13th Senate District

Senator John D. Crosby announced he will not run for reelection. Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer said, “”Judge Crosby brought a wealth of talent and experience to the Senate. We will greatly miss both him and his wife, Rose.”

Especially missed, I suspect, will be having a retired Judge to Chair the Senate Ethics Committee, which has no doubt helped during a difficult last session of the General Assembly.

Worth County Solicitor Bryce Johnson was the first to announce for Crosby’s seat.

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“Sen. Crosby has been a terrific public servant, not just in the Senate, but throughout his career,” Johnson said. “It is my hope to emulate his leadership and dedication, and I’m asking the people of the nine counties of the 13th to send me to the Senate to do just that.”
Johnson, a Worth County native, said he is best qualified for this seat because he has made a lifetime commitment of participating in government and serving the public. “We must have a strong voice in Atlanta to be sure the needs and concerns of our district are met,” he said. As the elected Solicitor-General of Worth County and assistant prosecutor in courts in Dodge, Tift, and Turner counties, he has worked to make the highways and homes of his constituents safer for nearly a decade. As Senator, he will work to continue to work for citizens in growing jobs in South Georgia and improving education for our children.
Johnson was first elected as Solicitor-General of Worth County in 2008 and was re-elected without opposition in 2012. He has been the assistant Solicitor-General of Tift State Court since 2005 and special assistant district attorney in Worth and Turner counties since 2007. He is co-host of the Triangle Furniture Football Friday Night radio show, heard on stations all across south Georgia. He previously served as assistant district attorney in Dodge County and occasionally teaches history at ABAC.

Special Election ballots set in HD 2 and 22

Qualifying closed yesterday for the January 7, 2014 Special Elections to fill vacancies in House District 2 (Jay Neal, resigned) and District 22 (Calvin Hill, deceased).

In House District 2

Neal Florence of LaFayette

Steve Tarvin of Chickamauga

Doug Woodruff of Ringgold

In House District 22

Meagan Biello of Canton

Nate Cochran of Canton

Jeff Duncan of Ball Ground

Sam Moore of Ball Ground

A number of those candidates’ websites are still under construction.

Here’s a pro-tip. Reserve your domain name, then create a Facebook page for your campaign. Point the domain name at your campaign’s Facebook page until you have a fully functional website set up.

For some campaigns, that’s sufficient and all you really need. In any case, at the very least, when someone is looking for information on your campaign early in the election, they’ll have a way to find out more about you, connect on Facebook, and get in touch with you. And that beats an “Under Construction” sign at your website address.

Roll Call: The Candidate Donna Sheldon

Donna Sheldon is running for Congress in the Tenth Congressional District.

Will Art Gardner matter in U.S. Senate race?

Art Gardner is an interesting candidate – a self-professed social moderate in an election that appears to be a race to the right. He has built out his website and doomed his candidacy discusses a couple of specific issues that will make or break his campaign. Here’s where he departs from Georgia Republican orthodoxy:

Social Issues:
As a consistent Conservative, I advocate for smaller government and less government intrusion into our lives. The federal government is too big, wields too much power, and is too involved in so-called “culture wars”. Curbing rights of Americans is wrong, and that includes the right of gay Americans to marry or a woman’s right to exercise control over her own body. We should be wary of federal attempts to curb personal liberty.

Let me know if you think I’m wrong, but that sounds like he’s for allowing gay marriage and abortion.

In most any GOP Primary in Georgia for the last 20-30 years, that would be the end of Art Gardner, but this year’s 8-way cluster primary may be different. If it’s possible to make a primary runoff slot with support in the low-20 point range, and I think that’s accurate, will there be enough socially-liberal Republicans to put someone like Gardner in the runoff?

From a purely theoretical standpoint, I think that’s possible, and even a showing in the teens will make Gardner’s support in a runoff important if he doesn’t make it himself.

That kind of scenario requires Gardner to make a strong effort and run an effective campaign, which I haven’t seen from any of the more moderate candidates in GOP primaries.  But it possible and could make an interesting race of 2014.

Competing to pack the house in Cobb

Two organizations on different sides of the debate on public financing of a new Braves stadium in Cobb are calling for their supporters to pack the house at County Commissioner Helen Goreham’s Town Hall Meeting tonight.
The Cobb County Chamber of Commerce wrote in an email yesterday:

Cobb Chamber Board of Directors:

Since the email that was sent out yesterday by Ben Mathis, Greg Morgan and Kim Menefee (see below), many of you have called and asked how you can help with the Braves’ move to Cobb and this coming Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners vote. We need you and your company to step out in support of this monumental time for Cobb. This may very well be the biggest vote for economic and community development in the history of Cobb County – past and future – and an opportunity Cobb County cannot pass up. We will likely not receive another chance to impact our community in such a positive way, and the loss of this deal would negatively affect all future economic development endeavors.
There are several ways you can help our commissioners know the business community’s tremendous support of the Braves’ move to Cobb:

Attend Three Key Events:
i. Come [Thursday] night to Commissioner Helen Goreham’s Town Hall Meeting. It starts at 7 p.m., but come early. If you arrive prior to 6 p.m., the first 100 to arrive will receive “Cobb Home of the Braves” t-shirts to wear for this and other events described below. This meeting will be held at the Senior Wellness Center located at 1150 Powder Springs Street, Marietta, GA 30064. We need a strong presence from the business community and need your support. This meeting has been scheduled for some time as a regular town hall meeting, but has now become a meeting about the Braves because of timing. All commissioners will most likely be there — as well as individuals who oppose this project. Help us show how excited and supportive the business community is of the Braves’ move to Cobb! Be ready to talk to the news media to let them know that you support this significant economic development project for Cobb County and metro Atlanta.

ii. Come to Commissioner Bob Ott’s Town Hall Meeting this coming Monday night. It starts at 7 p.m. but also come early. If you arrive prior to 6 p.m., the first 100 to arrive will also receive “Cobb Home of the Braves” t-shirts to wear. This meeting will be held at the Board of Commissioners auditorium located on the 2nd floor at 100 Cherokee Street, Marietta, GA 30090. We need a strong presence from the business community at this event also. This meeting was just scheduled today for the Braves project as Commissioner Ott wants to get input from his constituents and others. Help us show how excited and supportive that the business community is of the Braves’ move to Cobb! Be ready to talk to the news media to let them know that you support this significant economic development project Cobb County and metro Atlanta.

iii. Come to this Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners meeting. Doors open at 6 p.m. (starts at 7 p.m.) and has limited seating, so come as early as you possibly can (we suggest arriving at 4-5 p.m.) This is where the vote will take place. The location is 100 Cherokee Street, Marietta, GA 30090. Just like the above events, it’s very important that we have a strong business community presence. Help us show how excited and supportive that the business community is of the Braves’ move to Cobb! Be ready to talk to the news media to let them know that you support this significant economic development project Cobb County and metro Atlanta.

Email your Commissioners with the subject line “Please Vote YES for the new Braves Stadium.” Thank you to John Loud and Jay Cunningham for setting up – and promoting it with advertising they have donated – to make it easy for citizens to email their commissioner in support based on address. All commissioner emails are listed below as well.

Meanwhile, Americans for Prosperity Georgia sent an email to their list:

Your County Commissioners are about to vote to raise $300 million in Cobb taxes to pay for the new Atlanta Braves stadium. We need your help at a meeting this Thursday night, November 21st, to send a strong message – don’t leverage Cobb County taxpayers on behalf of the billionaires that own the Atlanta Braves! Let them build their own stadium! The Commission vote is scheduled for next Tuesday evening so time is of the essence.

What can you do to stand for your own bottom line?
1) Send a letter to your district commissioner here and urge them to vote NO on the “Tomahawk Tax”
2) Share the letter with friends by email and on your Facebook page and encourage them to send it to their commissioner.
3) Show up at Thursday night’s commission town hall (details below) and voice your opposition
4) Sign AFP’s “Say NO To Tomahawk Tax” Petition here and share it with friends and family. We’ll be sending it to the Commissioners in advance of Tuesday’s vote.

What: Cobb County Commission Town Hall Meeting
When: THIS Thursday, November 21st, 7:00pm-8:30pm
Where: Senior Wellness Center, 1150 Powder Springs Street, Marietta GA 30064

The Cobb County Tomahawk Tax calls for $300 million dollars in taxes for Cobb residents including a 3 percent countywide car rental tax, an additional fee on the hotel-motel tax in the county and a new tax on property owners within the Cumberland CID, not to mention the on-going maintenance cost-sharing for the new stadium. The bulk of the funding comes from a reallocation of property tax revenues starting in 2017 to cover existing bond payments for 30 years. Historically, such bond deals have often caused a spike in millage rates to local property owners if the project doesn’t return on its projected revenues. Analysis of publicly funded sports stadiums over the decades reveals that they rarely return on the investment of taxpayers.

The bottom line: leveraging local taxpayers to fund professional sports stadiums is a waste. We’re not here to guarantee profitability for the Atlanta Braves. Sports teams should pay for their own facilities and not bilk taxpayers in the dead of night simply because its faster than raising private capital and the down side risk is covered by the taxpayer.

As of an AJC story published last night, emails to the Cobb County Commission released to the public were running 4-1 against the stadium.

Meanwhile in Falcons land, Atlanta residents who thought they were working on legislation to divide community development money set aside in the Falcons stadium budget process were stunned to learn that the council appears to be moving ahead without waiting for their recommendations.

Young Republicans


Gwinnett Young Republicans will meet tonight at 7 PM for their monthly meeting and happy hour.

This week, Buckhead Young Republicans elected their Board for the next year:

Chairman Greg Williams
Vice Chair Keith Hanks
Membership Chair Steve Hawrylik
Secretary/Social Chair Bri Wilmot
Treasurer Erica Tomofff

Atlanta Young Republicans also elected new officers:

John Bush, President
Angelyn Dionysatos, Executive Vice President
Rosy Harvey, Vice President for Political Affairs
Justin Ryan, Vice President for Events
Dory Webber, Vice President for Membership
Nick Carlson, Secretary
Weston Kirk, Treasurer
Nick Protentis, General Counsel
Chris Perlera, Communications Director

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