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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 25, 2018

The Constitutional Convention of 1787 convened at Independence Hall in Philadelphia on May 25, 1787.

With George Washington presiding, the Constitutional Convention formally convenes on this day in 1787. The convention faced a daunting task: the peaceful overthrow of the new American government as it had been defined by the Article of Confederation.

The process began with the proposal of James Madison’s Virginia Plan. Madison had dedicated the winter of 1787 to the study of confederacies throughout history and arrived in Philadelphia with a wealth of knowledge and an idea for a new American government. It featured a bicameral legislature, with representation in both houses apportioned to states based upon population; this was seen immediately as giving more power to large states, like Virginia. The two houses would in turn elect the executive and the judiciary and would possess veto power over the state legislatures.

William Patterson soon countered with a plan more attractive to the new nation’s smaller states. It too bore the imprint of America’s British experience. Under the New Jersey Plan, as it became known, each state would have a single vote in Congress as it had been under the Articles of Confederation, to even out power between large and small states.

Alexander Hamilton then put forward to the delegates a third plan, a perfect copy of the British Constitution including an upper house and legislature that would serve on good behavior.

Confronted by three counter-revolutionary options, the representatives of Connecticut finally came up with a workable compromise: a government with an upper house made up of equal numbers of delegates from each state and a lower house with proportional representation based upon population. This idea formed the basis of the new U.S. Constitution, which became the law of the land in 1789.

On May 27, 1813, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to John Adams to let Adams know of the death of a mutual friend.

Georgia Militia under General John Floyd began rounding up Cherokee Indians on May 26, 1838.

General Robert E. Lee wrote a letter dated May 26, 1861 to Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown asking the state to send any weapons available for Georgia volunteers who arrived in Virginia unarmed.

On May 27, 1863, Chief Justice Roger Taney, sitting as a federal district court judge, issued a decision in Ex parte Merryman, which challenged President Abraham Lincoln’s suspension of the right of habeas corpus. Lincoln ignored the ruling.

The Battle of New Hope Church was fought near Dallas, Georgia May 25-26, 1864 between Confederates under General Joseph E. Johnston and Federal troops under General William T. Sherman.

Sunday is the 154th Anniversary of the Battle of Pickett’s Mill in Paulding County, Georgia, where Sherman’s forces attacked Johnston’s Confederates on May 27, 1864. Among the combatants on the Union side was Ambrose Bierce, who would later write The Crime at Pickett’s Mill.

On May 27, 1864, the Federal Army, having been stopped in its advance on Atlanta two days earlier by the Battle of New Hope Church, attempted to outflank the Confederate position. Some 14,000 Federal troops were selected for the task, and General Howard was given command. After a five-hour march, Howard’s force reached the vicinity of Pickett’s Mill and prepared to attack. Waiting were 10,000 Confederate troops under the command of General Cleburne.

The Federal assault began at 5 p.m. and continued into the night. Daybreak found the Confederates still in possession of the field. The Federals had lost 1,600 men compared to the Confederate loss of 500. The Confederate victory resulted in a one-week delay of the Federal advance on Atlanta.

Here are some photos of the battlefield and links to additional material.

On May 25, 1907, an equine statue of John B. Gordon was unveiled on the grounds of the Georgia State Capitol.

President Calvin Coolidge signed the “Comprehensive Immigration Act” on May 26, 1924.

Many Americans saw the enormous influx of largely unskilled, uneducated immigrants during the early 1900s as causing unfair competition for jobs and land. Under the new law, immigration remained open to those with a college education and/or special skills, but entry was denied to Mexicans, and disproportionately to Eastern and Southern Europeans and Japanese. At the same time, the legislation allowed for more immigration from Northern European nations such as Britain, Ireland and Scandinavian countries. A quota was set that limited immigration to two percent of any given nation’s residents already in the U.S. as of 1890, a provision designed to maintain America’s largely Northern European racial composition. In 1927, the “two percent rule” was eliminated and a cap of 150,000 total immigrants annually was established.

The law particularly angered Japan, which in 1907 had forged with U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt a “Gentlemen’s Agreement,” which included more liberal immigration quotas for Japan. By 1924, strong U.S. agricultural and labor interests–particularly from California, which had already passed its own exclusionary laws against Japanese immigrants–favored the more restrictive legislation signed by Coolidge. The Japanese government viewed the American law as an insult, and protested by declaring May 26 a national day of humiliation in Japan.

Fort Frederica National Monument was established on St Simons Island, Georgia on May 26, 1936.

On May 27, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said the United States was in an unlimited national emergency and laid out conditions under which Germany’s expansionism would constitute an attack on the United States. There are those who believe that Roosevelt suspended the right of habeas corpus with Executive Order 9066, which led to the internment of Japanese-Americans in concentration camps.

May 26, 1949 was named Clay Day in Marietta, Georgia in honor of General Lucius Clay, who spoke at the courthouse square.

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia held on May 25, 1962 that the Georgia General Assembly was malapportioned and ordered the reapportionment of the State House and Senate.

On May 27, 1976, former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter blasted the “Stop Carter” movement in a speech in Cincinnati.

Star Wars opened on May 25, 1977.

Actor Christopher Reeves was thrown from his horse in an equestrian competition in Culpepper, Virginia on May 27, 1995, becoming quadraplegic.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Congratulations to Randy Evans, who was confirmed yesterday by the United States Senate to the post of Ambassador to Luxembourg.

The U.S. Senate voted 48-43 (with nine not voting) Thursday to confirm Atlanta lawyer J. Randolph “Randy” Evans as President Donald Trump’s choice for ambassador to Luxembourg.

“As a lifelong Georgian, Randy Evans has served his state and country with distinction in both the public and private sectors,” Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., said in a news release Thursday congratulating Evans. “He understands the complex issues the United States faces across the globe and is committed to maintaining strong relationships with our European allies. I’m excited that finally today the Senate voted to confirm President Trump’s excellent choice of Randy Evans for this post, and I know our country will be represented by our nation’s very best in Luxembourg.”

“I am delighted that Randy Evans has been confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg,” Senator Johnny Isakson, (R-GA) said in a news release. “Randy is a distinguished attorney, and he is exactly the person we need to have in a place of such strategic importance to the United States.”

Former State Rep. Melvin Everson (R-Snellville) appears to be running for the Republican National Committeeman seat being vacated by Randy Evans.

Georgia Supreme Court Justice Britt Grant appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday for hearings to confirm her nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, according to the Daily Report1.

To begin, she was introduced by Georgia Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson, who said he’d been friends since high school with her parents—who were present along with her sister, her husband, Justin (formerly with the CIA for 10 years, and now with IBM), and other family members, friends and former colleagues.

“To tell you how far we go back, I hired her as an intern when I first went to the House 20 years ago,” Isakson said. He gave her a pass for going to Wake Forrest instead of the University of Georgia and said she went on to a “great law school”—Stanford, in California.

Then the senator pointed out that she clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the D.C. Circuit, also present.

Isakson failed to mention she went from the job with Kavanaugh to Kirkland & Ellis in Washington, D.C., before returning to her hometown, Atlanta, to work as solicitor general for the Georgia Attorney General’s Office. She served there for a year before Gov. Nathan Deal nominated her to the Georgia Supreme Court a year and a half ago.

Sen. Michael Lee, R-Utah, provided a chance to trip over the constitutional limits of judicial powers. Grant said it’s the duty of judges to faithfully apply the law and legal precedent, and if she wanted to make policy, she would have run for the state assembly.

“But what if they pass a really stupid law?” Lee asked. “What if it tugs at your heartstrings and you really don’t like it?”

“I’ve done that already,” Grant said of applying laws with which she might disagree. “I would pledge to continue doing that if I’m fortunate enough to be confirmed.”

The Dalton Daily News notes that Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Charlie Bethel appears to be the first Dalton resident elected statewide.

On Tuesday, Bethel didn’t face any opposition for his seat on the bench, but he still etched his name in Dalton history. Bethel is believed to be the first Dalton native to be elected to a statewide office. Court of Appeals judges are voted on by the entire state in non-partisan races.

Statewide, more than 1.1 million people voted in races which included Republican and Democratic primaries for governor and other elected offices. Bethel garnered 100 percent of the vote in his race with a total of 884,428 votes, according to the Secretary of State’s website

Bethel acknowledged, with a laugh, that running an uncontested race is much less stressful, but he was honored to be on the ballot and allowed to return to the Court of Appeals. Gov. Nathan Deal appointed Bethel to the Court of Appeals in November 2016.

“In truth, every time, you ever have your name on the ballot, it is a humbling experience when you see your own name on the ballot,” Bethel said. “Part of the premise of our system of government is that we allow people to exercise their power at the ballot box. It is humbling and an honor and really is a privilege.”

Gwinnett County continued a trend of electing women in open seat  judicial elections. From the Gwinnett Daily Post:

Two Superior Court seats and one State Court seat were up for grabs due to retirements — Debra Turner from Superior Court- Division 2, Tom Davis from Superior Court- Division 9 and Joseph Iannazzone from State Court- Seat 4.

With 82 percent of precincts reporting as of 12:45 a.m., Tracie Cason won with 61.14 percent of the vote, or 40,475 votes, followed by Wesley Person with 20.4 percent, or 13,508 votes and B.T. Parker with 18.46 percent, or 12,219 votes for the seat Turner is vacating.

In the race for the seat being vacated by Davis, Tracey Mason was barely ahead of Veronica Cope, 29.77 percent to 28.76 percent, in a race heading to a runoff. They were followed by John Burdges (18.89 percent), Jason Park (15.16 percent) and Jon Setzer (7.41 percent).

Over in the race for Iannazzone’s seat, Ronda Colvin-Leary won with 60.29 percent of the vote, or 39,664 votes over Lance Tyler, who had 39.71 percent, or 26,123 votes.

So, that’s three open seats on the bench, two of which elected women outright, and in the third, two women advance to the Primary Runoff.

Nick Bowman of the Gainesville Times looks at the early fallout in the Runoff Election for the Republican nomination for Governor.

Casey Cagle is a “puppet,” and Brian Kemp is “incompetent” — barbs were flying almost instantly after the dust settled around Tuesday’s Republican gubernatorial primary.

Georgia Republicans should prepare for a bloody runoff between Lt. Gov. Cagle and Secretary of State Kemp as the two men scramble for their party’s nomination to face Democrat Stacey Abrams in the November general election.

Cagle let loose his first few conspicuous blows against Kemp in an afternoon announcement to media, saying that his accomplishments offer a “stark contrast” to those of Kemp.

Meanwhile, Kemp came out hard against Cagle a celebratory speech Tuesday night in Athens, where he labeled Cagle a “puppet” who is beholden to special interests and has “twisted every arm at the state Capitol he could find.”

A bitter runoff between the two could be bad news for the GOP in November, said Douglas Young, a professor of political science at the University of North Georgia’s Gainesville campus.

“Cagle and Kemp need to be very careful that this runoff does not get so nasty or bitterly divisive that whoever loses, his supporters will simply say, ‘Well, I’m going to stay home,’” Young said on Wednesday. “Remember, Abrams, she doesn’t have another election until early November.”

Macon-Bibb County may see the first runoff election of the year, as the Board of Elections is expected to set the runoff date in the special election for County Commissioner. From the Macon Telegraph:

The Bibb County elections board is expected to vote Friday on setting the District 1 runoff for June 19, board member Mike Kaplan said.

The elections board reached out to the Secretary of State’s Office following Tuesday’s election to get clarification on which day the runoff could be held, he said.

The elections board would also discuss if there will be an early voting period.

Savannah will resemble a goat rodeo, as the city deploys the ruminants for foliage control. From the Savannah Morning News:

The city will rent 60 goats and two livestock guardian dogs from Atlanta-area company Get Your Goat Rentals, according to a press release issued Thursday afternoon. The goats will be used to remove vegetation along a ravine in the Laurel Grove North Cemetery located near W. Anderson Street and at the Clinch Street Pond behind Derenne Middle School.

The goats will benefit the city in several ways, according to city officials. Goats are able to clear vegetation in areas that are difficult for workers to clear or to access with machinery they thrive on poison ivy, poison oak, Kudzu, blackberries, nasty vines, and briers; and cost-savings are expected to result from using the goats instead of city staff. In addition, city officials said the goats are more environmentally friendly since the type of vegetation they eat ordinarily requires heavy machinery or toxic chemicals to manage and they leave behind natural fertilizer.

The city is scheduled to receive the goats on June 19. While the goats are working they will be confined using marked electric fencing. Get Your Goat Rentals estimates it takes 20-25 goats one week to eat one acre of vegetation.

After making an unsuccessful attempt to secure a federal grant for the goats last year, the estimated cost of using temporary workers for six months is about $21,000, although it may take less time than that, said city spokesperson Michelle Gavin.

Lowndes County Commissioners approved the county’s participation in a national lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Augusta Commissioner-elect John Clarke is under fire for allegedly racist Facebook posts, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Augusta commissioners are speaking out about offensive Facebook posts attributed to commissioner-elect John Clarke, but Clarke says he is not stepping down and wants a chance to serve.

Clarke, who took down his Facebook account Sunday after some of the posts became public, won the Super District 10 commission seat Tuesday with 52.8 percent of votes over Lori Myles. The super district encompasses regular commission districts 3, 6, 7 and 8.

While The Augusta Chronicle’s City Ink column referenced one post from Clarke’s account stating white men “had to go to work” so they could not march on Washington, another post circulated Sunday that showed Clarke repeatedly using racial slurs in conjunction with obscenities in reference to black protestors.

With the posts coming out on the eve of Tuesday’s election, Clarke, 70, said he’d been “hacked” and declined to comment further.


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 24, 2018

Blue Moultrie

Blue is a young male American Bulldog mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Moultrie-Colquitt County Humane Society in Moultrie, GA.


Bluesy is an adult male Bluetick Coonhound mix who is available for adoption from Angels Among Us Pet Rescue, Inc. in Alpharetta, GA.

Bluesy Tod is a 2-3 yr old BlueTick Coon Hound (pure breed), about 40 pounds. House broken and walks nicely on a leash. He’s handsome, sweet, and affectionate. He loves his walks as much as cuddling. He does does great with children, other dogs, and is cat curious, but never aggressive. He would make a wonderful family dog or for active adults. He probably should have a fence, because he likes to wander, he is a hound dog in the purest sense. No health issues, and all around great dog!

Blue Jasper

Blue is a 2-year old female Catahoula Leopard Dog who is available for adoption from Pickens Animal Rescue Inc in Jasper, GA.

Hi, my name is Blue and I am a 2 year old sweet girl. I came from a home with a family that I was with my whole life. But I love to run and play and be outside. I love climbing under things and jumping on you to give you hugs. I have one blue eye and one brown and it makes me even prettier. I am constantly happy and am looking for a home with pretty much anyone because I am good with all people! Come out and meet me and see how pretty I am to be your furever doggy :)


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 24, 2018

John Hancock was elected President of the Second Continental Congress on May 24, 1775.

Then-Lt. Governor Marvin Griffin announced his candidacy for Governor on May 24, 1954.

John Smoltz tied the record for most strikeouts by a Braves pitcher, throwing 15 Ks against Montreal Expos on May 24, 1992.

Happy Birthday to Bob Dylan, who was born on this day in 1941.

Two years ago today, the 2016 General Primary and Nonpartisan General Election was held in Georgia.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Red snapper, one of the tastiest of all fish, may be  legal to catch in Georgia if a regulatory change is enacted, according to The Brunswick Times.

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council passed the change — Snapper Grouper Amendment 43 — at its meeting in September 2017. NOAA Fisheries published the rule last week, and is now receiving public comments through June 18.

For the limited season, there would be a total annual catch limit of 42,510 fish, of which 29,656 are reserved for recreational harvesting. The recreational bag limit would be one red snapper per day. The commercial limit would be set at 124,815 pounds whole, with a trip limit of 75 pounds gutted. There would not be any size restrictions.

The Commerce Department gave the OK to a limited red snapper season in late 2017, but the announcement came so close to the season that many fishermen did not have enough time prepare to take full advantage. Should this amendment be approved, it would also need a thumbs-up from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

 Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis won reelection with 56 percent of the vote, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Davis won re-election with 56 percent of the vote, carrying 42 precincts while [Challenger Gould] Hagler won 26. Turnout was just over 26 percent of the city’s 117,000 registered voters.

“The citizens of Augusta came out to the polls, they voted and they said we want to give you four more years,” Davis said. “When you look at the body of work the commission has done, that we have done over the last four years, positioning Augusta to be that premier city in the state of Georgia in which to live, to learn, to work and to raise a family – I think that speaks volumes to the citizens that came out and voted in this election.”

Republican Vance Smith returns to the State House, according to the LaGrange Daily News.

The race came to a close Tuesday, with Smith receiving approximately 89 percent of the vote for the Republican nomination. He will now run unopposed in the general election.

His opponent, Christopher Gyening received approximately 10 percent of the vote.

“My wife and I, we are very excited,” Smith said shortly after results were tallied. “We had a great team of people working together and couldn’t have done it without them. I want to hear what the people have in mind, some of the issues they are facing, and I want to be able to communicate those issues to Atlanta. I just look forward to representing this area and making sure we are in on all the conversations to bring business here to create some jobs.”

Columbus City Council member Skip Henderson was elected Mayor without a runoff, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

With all of the early vote and the city’s 25 voting precincts reporting about 1 a.m., Henderson had 13,481 votes, or 56.3 percent, to Baker’s 7,656, or 32 percent.

Henderson, 59, who resigned his citywide Columbus Council seat to run for mayor, was considered the one to beat, having five times won at-large elections. Baker, 41, a frequent candidate who forced Mayor Teresa Tomlinson into a runoff in her first run for office in 2010, was considered the contender most likely to gain enough votes to send the race into a July 24 runoff.

First elected to council in 1996, Henderson was known for his expertise in city finance and budgeting, and had the support of council colleagues Evelyn Turner Pugh, Judy Thomas, Mike Baker and Gary Allen, and from former councilor Jack Rodgers, a fiscal conservative.

Republican State House District 141 candidates Dale Washburn and Gary Bechtel head to a primary runoff election, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Republicans Dale Washburn and Gary Bechtel will head to a runoff that will decide which of them will represent House District 141 under the Gold Dome. They got about 34 percent and 27 percent of the vote, respectively.

The two Realtors were fairly close in campaign contributions. Washburn reported raising about $34,000 and loaning himself another $10,000. Bechtel raised about $53,000.

Name recognition also has value. Bechtel has a boatload of that. Between the county commission and the school board, he has been a Bibb County officeholder for about 18 years.

Not a single Democrat signed up to run in the deep red district. So the Republican primary runoff will decide it.

Democratic candidates for State House District 144 Jessica Walden and Gregory Odoms will be on the primary runoff ballot, according to the Macon Telegraph.

In a district that’s sent a Republican to the Gold Dome for years, Democrat Walden reported raising about $33,000 for the election. That’s more than 10 times as much as the next closest candidate of either party who filed reports.

Odoms’ report has not been filed, but he said he’s raised about $200.

Walden is a communications consultant and is the niece and daughter of the brothers who founded Capricorn Records. Odoms is a pastor and former member of the Twiggs County Board of Education. They got roughly 34 and 29 percent of the vote, respectively.

On the Republican side, [Danny] Mathis, a coroner and funeral service provider from Bleckley County, got about 64 percent of the vote. So he needs no runoff against fellow Republicans Trey Ennis, an attorney, and Milton Sampson, a retiree.

Muscogee County Board of Education District 2 voters will choose between two runoff election candidates, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Retired teacher Mike Edmondson received 1,864 votes (47 percent), Kar-Tunes owner John “Bart” Steed 1,172 votes (30 percent) and Aflac claims specialist Sheryl Hobbs McCraine 897 votes (23 percent).

In early voting, Edmondson had 55 percent of the vote, with 535, followed by McCraine with 231 and Steed with 198.

District 2 representative John Thomas, an IRS agent, is in his first term and didn’t seek re-election but is supporting McCraine.

Bulloch County Commission District 2B will host a runoff election, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Incumbent Walter Gibson garnered the most votes with 1,762 (about 43 percent), while challenger Travis Chance pulled in 1,248 votes (about 31 percent). Republican challenger Sid Jones trailed behind with 1,073 votes.

Formerly a Statesboro city councilman, Chance resigned from that position to run for the county commission seat, planning to move out of the city limits. During his campaign, he said he felt his experience would help improve the relationship between city and county governments. He also said he feels Bulloch County should capitalize on its potential for growing jobs and industry.

During his campaign, Gibson, who has served several terms, focused on budgets and millage rates and touted past accomplishments county commissioners have achieved to improve the county.

State Rep. Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine) was retired by voters after four terms, according to The Brunswick News.

He has been challenged in the Republican primary elections each time he sought another term in office. Spencer, who was seeking a fifth Republican primary win, lost handily in Tuesday’s Republican primary election. He received 42 percent of the vote against his opponent, Steven Sainz, a 24-year-old political newcomer who had never sought public office before.

District 180 encompasses most of Camden County and parts of Charlton and Ware counties. Spencer defeated Sainz by 13 votes in Charlton County and by 61 votes in Ware County.

But in Camden, his home county, Spencer lost by more than 700 votes. He got 1,241 votes, or 38 percent, in Camden County, while Sainz got 2,458 votes, or 62 percent.

Jim Stein, former chair and current board member of the Camden County Republican Party, said he was not surprised Spencer lost because Spencer rubbed people the wrong way in Atlanta.

“I don’t recall we’ve ever had anyone with this much time in office with this much opposition,” he said. “He stayed at odds with the folks in Atlanta. It was obvious because of Spencer’s antics they weren’t going to work with him.”

Savannah-Chatham County Board of Education President candidates Joe Buck and Betty Morgan face each other in a runoff election, according to the Savannah Morning News.

In unofficial results, Buck received 45.31 percent, or 12,988 votes. Morgan came in second in the field of five candidates with 24 percent of the vote, or 6,894 votes.

A run-off is required due to Buck not receiving 50 percent plus one of the vote. The run-off will be held on July 24.

Buck served as school board president from 2007 to 2014.

“Morgan is a dedicated former teacher and she’ll do a good job in the run-off,” Buck said. “I’m looking forward to working with her through it.”

State Rep. Darrel Ealum (D-Albany) was retired in his party’s primary election, according to The Albany Herald.

House 153 challenger CaMia Hopson pulled off a monumental upset Tuesday in the House District 153 Democratic Primary, ousting incumbent Darrel Ealum by 90 votes.

With all precincts reporting, Hopson pulled in 1,928 votes (51.28 percent), while Ealum, who was first elected to the House in 2010, tallied 1,832 votes (48.72 percent). The numbers stuck, and Hopson will face Republican challenger Tracy Taylor in the November general election.

“I’m ecstatic right now,” Hopson said moments after final results were announced. “I think there were a couple of things that made the difference in this race. One, the people who know me know I really care about making our community better. And two, I think people have just reached a point where they expect more from the people who represent them.”

Now the question is does she have a strategy against Republican Tracy Taylor in November’s general election?

Dougherty County Commission District 2 incumbent John Hayes was forced into a runoff, according to the Albany Herald.

Hayes finished second in a three-way race for the seat, collecting 582 votes to challenger — and former Commissioner — Victor Edwards’ 643. Edwards’ winning total, though, amounted to only 38.69 percent of the total vote, so he and Hayes will square off in a July 24 runoff to determine who will claim the seat.

Incorrect ballot formatting led to delays in counting Floyd County votes, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

The two county school board seats were included on ballots for the six city precincts although Rome residents — who have a separate school system — are ineligible to vote in those races.

Elections Board Chairman Steve Miller said Wednesday the two races had to be manually removed from those precincts’ memory cards before the results from any precincts could be tabulated and reported.

“The error in the ballot happened in the (county elections) office and I can assure you it will not happen again,” Miller said. “We’ll have a meeting to discuss it, but we’re going to have more than two people proofreading the ballots from now on.”

The Georgia Chamber of Commerce rolled out its “8 for 18” legislative wish list in St Simons Island, according to The Brunswick Times.

Chris Clark, Georgia chamber president, laid out those priorities Wednesday during a breakfast meeting at King & Prince Beach and Golf Resort on St. Simons Island.

“We’ve got to make sure we maintain our positive business climate,” Clark said to a crowd of local business leaders and elected officials.

The chamber’s campaign, dubbed “8 for 18,” emphasizes eight key areas facing statewide policy makers: business climate, infrastructure, prosperity and diversity, workforce development, trade, health care, rural Georgia and entrepreneurship.

Of particular interest to some Golden Isles business owners, Clark said the Georgia chamber is supporting a state constitutional amendment that would divert some taxes toward tourism and recreation.

The Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act, if approved by voters in November, would take a portion of taxes collected from the sale of recreational equipment and licenses and redirect that money to permanent fund for maintaining state parks and recreational areas.

Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (T-SPLOST)

Middle Georgia voters rejected an 11-county T-SPLOST, according to the Macon Telegraph.

The Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or T-SPLOST, on the ballot in 11 Middle Georgia counties narrowly failed by a vote of 31,024 against it to 29,748 in favor, according to unofficial results. The 1-percent additional sales tax over 10 years was expected to raise $637 million, funding 55 specific projects with 75 percent of the funds and the rest of the money going to counties to be spent on local transportation projects.

Laura Mathis, executive director of the Middle Georgia Regional Commission, said without approval of the tax there is no alternative funding for the projects at this time. However, she added that the state could fund some of the projects in the future.

It’s the second time the tax has failed. It also failed on 2012, but this time it was much closer. It could be considered again if enough counties want it.

Tommy French, chairman of the Baldwin County Commission, said he would like to see it re-considered at some point. Baldwin was among six counties where a majority of voters approved it, with 2,715 voting for it in Baldwin and 2,139 against it. French said voters there recognized the need for it.

Voters in Houston played a key role in the defeat of the tax, voting it down by a margin of 7,769 opposed and 6,390 in favor. It was closer in Bibb County, but it also failed there by 10,799 to 10,555. The overall outcome was based on the total number of votes in the region.

Bulloch County voters approved a T-SPLOST on Tuesday, according to the Statesboro Herald.

The proposal by the county government and the cities of Statesboro, Brooklet, Portal and Register for a T-SPLOST, or sales tax for transportation, was approved by 58.7 percent of voters. While 4,394 voted “yes,” 3,089 voted “no.”

“I’m very thankful to the citizens of Bulloch County for supporting it, and it’s going to benefit our county greatly,” said Bulloch County Board of Commissioners Chairman Roy Thompson. “We’re just behind in road paving and resurfacing and bridges, you know. The Akins Pond Road bridge is a great example of that.”

The T-SPLOST is an added 1 percent sales tax and not a continuation, so total sales taxes on nonexempt items here will rise to 8 cents on the dollar when the tax takes effect in October.

South Georgia voters in an 18-county region approved a T-SPLOST, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

With the 18-county South Georgia region approving T-SPLOST, Lowndes County residents will see a 1 percent sales tax increase effective Oct. 1.

T-SPLOST will raise more than $500 million to fund about 150 transportation projects across the region, including nine for Valdosta and 12 for Lowndes County.

Tuesday, residents across the region voted 19,975 in favor to 17,731 against, according to a county-by-county compilation of results available at the Georgia Secretary of State’s website. Lowndes County voted against T-SPLOST by 1,377 votes.

“I’m happy that we were able to close the gap between those against and in favor,” [Valdosta Mayor John] Gayle said. “We didn’t have a campaign to really push for this last time in 2012 but I think it made it difference this go around.”

“I think, in 10 years time, all of this anger and dissatisfaction will die down, and people will be pleased with the results and with how much we will improve,” [State DOT Board member Tim] Golden said.

Voter Turnout

Glynn County voter turnout was consistent with recent elections, according to The Brunswick News.

According to Monica Couch, elections and registration supervisor, voters cast 10,393 ballots in the primary on election day, during early voting and through absentee ballots.

That’s up from the May 2016 primary, in which voters cast 10,026 ballots, but down from 2014’s primary, where 10,883 county residents voted.

“The turnout was a little lower than it was in 2014 and we didn’t have any significant issues. It went pretty well,” Couch said.

In 2014, 3,465 people voted early compared to 3,271 in 2016 and 3,448 this year. Mail-in ballots accounted for 390, 319 and 147 in 2014, 2016 and 2018, respectively.

A smaller percentage of voters took to the polls this year, however, with only 22.3 percent of registered voters in Glynn County casting ballots. That compares to 24.7 percent in 2014 and 24.3 percent in 2016.

The Savannah Morning News reports 17.45% of eligible voters turned out for the primary elections on Tuesday.

Henry County reported higher early voting this year, according to the Henry Herald.

Compared to the totals from the May 2016 election and the May 2014 election, more voters participated in early voting during this election cycle.

According to data from Tina Lunsford, Henry County’s director of elections and registration, 8,167 Henry voters participated in the early and advance voting sessions from April 30 to May 18.

Of those 8,167 voters, a total of 4,118 voters filled out the Democratic ballot, 3,986 filled out the Republican ballot and 63 filled out a non-partisan ballot.

In May of 2016, for a primary election which featured primary races for a U.S. Senate seat, the chairperson of the Henry County Board of Commissioners and two commissioners’ seats, a total of 6,125 voters cast their ballots early.

In May 2014, during a primary election that featured a primary for the other U.S. Senate seat and for the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and three seats on the Henry County Board of Commissioners, a total of 4,761 voters cast their ballots early.


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 23, 2018

Splinter PAWS

Splinter is a female Plott Hound mix who is available for adoption from PAWS Atlanta in Decatur, GA.

Agent Doggit PAWS

Agent Doggit is a female Hound mix who is available for adoption from PAWS Atlanta in Decatur, GA.

Dover PAWS

Dover is a young male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from PAWS Atlanta in Decatur, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 23, 2018

Serial bank robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were shot to death near Sailes, Louisiana by a group of LA and Texas state police on May 23, 1934.

On May 23, 1954, the NAACP petitioned the Fulton County Board of Education to desegregate after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

Former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter won the Virginia Caucus on May 23, 1976, gaining 24 delegates. On May 25, 1976, Carter won the Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky Primary Elections for President.

On May 23, 1990, the NFL announced that Atlanta would host the 1994 Super Bowl.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal appointed Lewis R. Lamb to a vacancy as District Attorney for the Southwestern Judicial Circuit, which includes Lee, Macon, Schley, Stewart, Sumter and Webster Counties.

Click here for last night’s election results.

Today’s edition will not just recount the results, but will discuss ten things that caught my eye last night while obsessively refreshing the results page.Continue Reading..


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 22, 2018

Stormy Statesboro

Stormy is a young male Labrador Retriever and Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Statesboro & Bulloch County in Statesboro, GA.

Yogie Statesboro

Yogie is a young male Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from Fixing the Boro in Statesboro, GA.

Foxy Statesboro

Foxy is a young female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from in Statesboro, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 22, 2018

On May 22, 1856, Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina beat Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner with his cane. Brooks used the cane as the result of injury sustained in a previous duel, and found Sumner at his desk in the Senate Chamber. In the course of a two-day Senate speech on the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which would have nullified the Missouri Compromise on the expansion of slavery, Sumner had criticized three legislators, including a cousin of Rep. Brooks, Senator Andrew Butler of South Carolina.

On May 22, 1819, the steamship Savannah left the port of Savannah for Liverpool, England. After 29 days, it became the first steamship to cross the Atlantic. On May 22, 1944, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating the voyage of the Savannah.

On May 22, 1932, New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt gave the commencement address for Oglethorpe University at the Fox Theater in Atlanta.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

It’s election day in Georgia and polls are open statewide until 7 PM. Don’t forget to bring your photo ID.

The Dalton Daily Citizen looks at local races on the ballot.

Chuck Payne (incumbent) and Scott Tidwell face each other in the Republican Party primary for the District 54 state Senate seat. Mike Cowan and Barry Robbins (incumbent) are the two Republicans seeking the District 1 seat on the Whitfield County Board of Commissioners.

The winner of the District 54 state Senate GOP primary faces Democrat Michael S. Morgan in the Nov. 6 general election. There is no Democratic opposition in the board of commissioners race, so the primary winner is expected to win that seat.

The Valdosta Daily Times considers candidates for the local Board of Education.

For Lowndes County Commission District 2, Aaron Strickland qualified as a Democrat; incumbent District 2 Commissioner Scott Orenstein runs as a Republican.

District 3 County Commissioner Mark Wisenbaker and District 4 County Commissioner Demarcus Marshall are running unopposed.

J.R. Rogers and Walter Byrd are challenging incumbent Lowndes County school board member Eric Johnson for the Lowndes County Board of Education District 2 seat.

For Lowndes County Board of Education District 2, incumbent Michael Davis and challenger Willie Harris are running.

For county school board District 3, incumbent Brian Browning and challenger Erin Price are running.

For area Statehouse races, incumbent state Rep. John LaHood faces fellow Republican Coy Reaves.

Bulloch County voters will decide on a Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, according to the Statesboro Herald.

One item that does appear on all Bulloch County ballots, in the nonpartisan section, is the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum. A “yes” vote would add a penny tax to fund transportation projects of the county government and the four towns: Statesboro, Brooklet, Portal and Register. Sales taxes on nonexempt items here would then total 8 cents on the dollar, but 4 cents goes to the state.

Bulloch County Board of Commissioners, District 2, which encompasses the larger portion of the county’s population, has a Republican-ballot race among challenger Travis Chance, incumbent Walter Gibson and challenger Sid Jones for Seat 2B. The winner Tuesday or July 24 will meet Democratic challenger Adrienne Dobbs on the November ballot.

Savannah voters will see a slate of Board of Education seats up for election, according to the Savannah Morning News.

In Chatham County elections, voters will cast their vote in four contested races and 17 uncontested races.

Voters have five candidates to choose from for school board president: former school board president Joe Buck, David Lerch, Board District 6 representative Larry Lower, Betty Morgan and Tye Whitely. Current school board president, Jolene Byrne, is not running for a second term.

Also on the ballot for contested local races are elections for school board District 5, 6, and 8 seats.

Candidates in District 5 are incumbent Irene Hines and challenger Theresa Watson. District 6 candidates are David Bringman and Alfreda Goldwire. In District 8, incumbent Ruby Jones is facing challenger Tonia Howard-Hall.

The Rome News-Tribune looks at early voting turnout.

During the early voting period that ended Friday, 2,574 people cast ballots. The Georgia secretary of state’s office listed 50,787 registered voters as of May 1, putting the turnout at about 5 percent so far.

Just under 20 percent of Floyd County voters weighed in during the 2014 primaries, the last midterm election with big state races on the ballots.

[Elections Supervisor Willie] Green said he doesn’t expect long waits at the polls but he asked voters to look over the ballots and be aware of the choices before they step up to a machine.

“Be aware of the questions the Democratic Party is presenting to its voters,” he said. “Also, I want to remind people that some of the candidates have been removed from the Republican ballot and votes for them won’t be counted.”

Albany is a crossroads in the campaign for Governor, with Republican Lt. Governor Casey Cagle visiting, according to the Albany Herald.

Cagle, along with his wife, Nita, made a stop at the Eagles of America base of operations at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport Monday morning, one of eight stops he was expected to make around the state. There to greet him were several of his supporters from the Albany area, along with officials from the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission and the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce. He made a brief appearance before moving on to his next planned stop.

The lieutenant governor made specific mention of Albany’s Commodore Conyers College and Career Academy and the role it has in helping students achieve the knowledge and skills to be successful.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp also campaigned in Albany seeking the GOP gubernatorial nod.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp gave a speech and met with supporters during a fly-in campaign stop at Albany’s Eagles of America base at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport on Monday.

The stop was part of a statewide tour Kemp was making in advance of today’s primary elections.

“We started this campaign literally 14 months ago with the message of putting Georgians first,” Kemp said. “We’ve literally been to all corners of our state. …We’re the first campaign to organize in all 159 counties, and that’s going to serve us well tomorrow night when the returns start coming in.”

Democrat Stacey Abrams brought her campaign bus to Albany.

Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Stacey Abrams, who announced her plans to seek the state’s top office in Albany, returned to the city on Monday as part of the final leg of her campaign, mere hours before voters were to head to the polls for today’s primary election.

“As much as we want to do work, you have to have people who believe that the work should be done,” Abrams said, thanking all of the people who came out on Wednesday to support her campaign.

Abrams talked about the importance of the inclusion of all of Georgia when it comes to statewide matters. She said she thinks that southwest Georgia, especially the city of Albany, has too long been overlooked by the state. Abrams said that Georgia needs a governor who recognizes that the city of Atlanta and its surrounding counties are not the only part of Georgia.

Casey Cagle‘s hometown Gainesville Times has a prediction for today’s elections.

Casey Cagle will wake up on Tuesday and win Georgia’s Republican primary election.

No one ever doubted that Georgia’s longtime lieutenant governor, born in Gainesville and raised in Hall County, would come out on top on Tuesday. With almost 100 percent of voters recognizing his name and more than twice the campaign cash of anyone else in the race, Cagle’s four other major challengers haven’t raced for first place; even the day before the election, they proclaim they’re happily “surging” into second place.

Cagle will win — but will he win by enough?

If Cagle, 52, doesn’t get a majority of votes cast in the primary, he’s bound for a runoff against the second-place finisher. That’s why former state Sen. Hunter Hill, Secretary of State Brian Kemp and businessman Clay Tippins have all made the case that they’re the only ones who can topple the lieutenant governor in a July runoff — a runoff is their only hope.

The Gainesville Times also lists local offices on the ballot in Hall County.

Gwinnett County early voting shows a trend that may be worrisome for Republicans, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The figures released by Gwinnett’s elections departments show 14,997 ballots were cast early. The majority of them — 8,447 ballots to be exact — were for the Democratic primary while another 5,846 early ballots were cast in the Republican primary. The county said 704 nonpartisan early ballots were cast as well.

Among Democratic voters, 7,981 voted advance in person by going to one of the county’s early voting sites between April 30 and last Friday. The county had also received 458 absentee by mail ballots in the Democratic primary as of Monday and another eight ballots were received by electronic ballot delivery from military and overseas voters.

Among Republican voters, 5,314 ballots were cast through advance in person voting while 532 absentee by mail ballots had been received. No ballots cast by electronic ballot delivery were received for the Republican primary.

The City of Stockbridge filed suit and is seeking an injunction, alleging that legislation setting up a referendum to create a new City of Eagles Landing is unconstitutional, according to The Henry Herald.

In addition, attorneys representing the city also indicated they would file a federal civil rights suit in the coming weeks.

The city is seeking a declaratory judgment and an injunction stating that the Eagles Landing bills that were signed by Gov. Nathan Deal are unconstitutional. The bills were referred to as Act 548 and Act 559 by attorneys on Thursday.

In addition, the city also seeks an interlocutory injunction against the BOC and the Board of Elections and Registration “from taking any action to aid or abet the creation of the city of Eagles Landing.”

“We’re asking the court to hold everything in place until the constitutionality of the two actions is determined,” [attorney Bob] Wilson said. “No case is perfect, and no case is a certainty, but we believe as a legal counsel this is a solid case. Not only have the constitutional provisions been violated, but the Supreme Court of Georgia, since the 1950s, ruled on exactly these same points, and each time, they ruled in the direction we’re asking the courts to find now.”

The Gwinnett County Commission may consider purchasing the OFS site on Jimmy Carter Boulevard, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Gwinnett County commissioners will decide whether they support the county purchasing more than 100 acres of the OFS property near Norcross on Tuesday.

The agenda shows the commissioners will take up a resolution “in support of the Urban Redevelopment Agency of Gwinnett County entering into a Purchase and Sale Agreement with OFS Brightwave Solutions Inc. to purchase 104 acres of land.” County tax records show OFS owns 168.85 acres of land at the site. The company will continue an ongoing expansion on the property it will keep, according to county documents.

The URA plans to pay $330,000 per acre — which amounts to a total of just over $34.3 million — for the property, according to the meeting agenda.

The resolutions shows plans for the portion of the OFS property that the URA is buying would be used for economic redevelopment, but the nature of that redevelopment was not specified in documents.

Macon protestors gathered outside a planned abortion clinic site, according to the Macon Telegraph.

“We’re here today to pray and silently protest the fact that this space has been authorized as an abortion clinic,” said Ann Beall, director of the The Saint Maximilian Kolbe Center for Life, which she described as a pregnancy resource center supported by the Catholic Church. “Our goal is to hopefully ever prevent them from opening.”

Beall said opponents have reached out to local government officials but added, “we have not had a specific conversation about this clinic, but that is coming.”

Last week, the Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission approved a conditional-use permit for the Summit Center PC, to allow a medical office at 833 Walnut St. No one attended the meeting to oppose the application. The parent company, Summit Medical Centers, has offices in Atlanta and Detroit. It would provide low-cost women’s gynecological health services including pap smears, vaginal infection treatment, flu vaccines, contraceptive prescriptions and “first trimester only abortion care and gynecological exams,” according to its application.

Democrats go to Court

The ACLU of Georgia represents Democrat Maria Palacios in a lawsuit alleging she was unlawfully removed from the ballot, according to the Gainesville Times.

Until Friday, May 18, Maria Palacios was running as a Democrat in the primary for Georgia House District 29. Running unopposed, Palacios was lined up to face Rep. Matt Dubnik, R-Gainesville, and independent challenger Nancy Stead in the November general election.

But on Friday, Secretary of State Brian Kemp signed an order declaring Palacios was unqualified to run for office because she didn’t become a U.S. citizen until 2017. Kemp and his office have ruled that because Palacios hasn’t been a citizen for more than two years, she doesn’t meet the state requirements for public office.

The Georgia statute quoted by the secretary of state’s office states, “At the time of their election, the members of the House of Representatives shall be citizens of the United States, shall be at least 21 years of age, shall have been citizens of this state for at least two years, and shall have been legal residents of the territory embraced within the district from which elected for at least one year.”

The ACLU of Georgia, which is representing Palacios in a lawsuit filed this week, argues the term “citizens of this state” is up for interpretation.

Democrat Ken Montano filed a complaint with the USDOJ alleging election improprieties against his campaign for State House District 107, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Ken Montano, a Democrat running for the House District 107 seat, said he was told by a voter that a sign that said Montano withdrew from the race had been posted in the advance polling location where they cast their ballot. Montano, who is running against Shelly Hutchinson in the Democratic primary for the seat, said he did not drop out of the race, however.

“My campaign has been irretrievably harmed by the actions taken prior to Primary Election Day,” Montano said in an email. “My civil rights, and the rights of voters to select the candidate of their choice, were violated. Removing the Notices on Tuesday and even making a public announcement about the error will not suffice. The harm has already been done.

“There may be grounds to invalidate the election. I have reached out to a local civil rights attorney for assistance, and filed a formal complaint with the Department of Justice Elections Division.”

The incident raises questions about how the notices were posted in the polling sites during early voting. Montano said he was told by Gwinnett County Board of Voter Registrations and Elections Chairman Stephen Day that the signs had been posted at the early voting sites because they had been authorized by the Secretary of State’s Office.

Montano said he spoke with an official in the Secretary of State’s Elections Division on Monday and was told the county had not been authorized to post the notice.


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 21, 2018

Bob Atlanta Lab

Bob is a 1-year old, 35-pound male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Atlanta Lab Rescue in Atlanta, GA.

Bunny Atlanta Lab

Bunny is a 1-year old, 28-pound female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Atlanta Lab Rescue in Atlanta, GA.

Roxie Atlanta Lab

Roxie is a 3-year old, 65-pound female Labrador Retriever who is available for adoption from Atlanta Lab Rescue in Atlanta, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 21, 2018

Georgia Colonists signed the Treaty of Savannah with the Lower Creeks on May 21, 1733.

George Washington left Georgia on May 21, 1791, crossing a bridge over the Savannah River at Augusta.

American Charles Lindbergh landed at Paris on May 21, 1927 in The Spirit of St. Louis, completing both the first nonstop transatlantic flight and the first nonstop flight from New York to Paris.

On May 21, 1942, German authorities removed 4300 Polish Jews from Chelm to an extermination camp at Sobibor and killed them by poison gas. The Sobibor camp’s five gas chambers would kill 250,000 Jews during 1942 and 1943.

On May 21, 2011, Herman Cain announced his candidacy for President of the United States at Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park, and I photographed it.

During the next eighteen months, when someone talks about whomever is leading the latest polls, remember that six months after announcing his Presidential campaign, Herman Cain was leading the polls. Less than one month later, Cain was out of the race.

In Candler County, Georgia, the SAR and DAR placed markers at the graves of two patriots.

In a remote, wooded area of what is now Candler County, between the Excelsior community and the Canoochee River, two Revolutionary War veterans influential in the early government of the state of Georgia and of Bulloch County are buried among their kin.

Members or the Georgia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, or SAR, and several Daughters of the American Revolution, or DAR, chapters gathered there May 12. After posting of the colors, laying of wreaths, volleys of musket and cannon and the bugling of Taps, organizational leaders unveiled an SAR Patriot marker at the grave of Charles McCall, 1732-1814, and a DAR Patriot marker for John Everett, 1754-1820.

Candler County Commission Chairman Glyn Thrift and Candler County Historical Society President Steve Waller also welcomed the families, and Georgia SAR Senior Vice President Scott Collins brought greetings from the society’s 33 chapters and, he said, nearly 2,000 members.

Representatives of at least nine DAR chapters presented the wreaths.  Jane Durden, regent of the Gov. David Emanuel-Adam Brinson DAR Chapter, organized a reception held afterward at Excelsior Baptist Church for the 100 or so people who attended.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal ordered flags on state buildings and properties to be flown at half-staff on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 in honor of the victims of the Santa Fe High School shooting in Texas.

The New York Times profiles the race between Democrats Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans for Governor of Georgia.

Ms. Abrams, a former minority leader of the Georgia House, is also testing a risky campaign strategy: that a Democrat can win a statewide election in the Deep South without relying on the conservative-leaning white voters long considered essential.

“The approach of trying to create a coalition that is centered around converting Republicans has failed Democrats in the state of Georgia for the last 15 years,” Ms. Abrams said after mingling with diners in this North Georgia town.

Her rival in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, former State Representative Stacey Evans, has scorned Ms. Abrams’ strategy as unrealistic and “unhealthy for democracy.”

Democratic candidates nationwide are wrestling with whether they should try to reclaim some of President Trump’s supporters or try to maximize support from their racially diverse, liberal base. At a time in the country’s politics when issues of race and gender are central, with women at the forefront of an uprising against the president, Ms. Abrams’ candidacy looms even larger.

It’s an excellent piece worth reading in its entirety.

National Public Radio also takes on the question of Democratic campaign strategies.

“Political analysts keep looking at not only what the structure of Georgia is, but they’re also looking at the playbook that was used in Georgia, and that’s an old playbook,” said Abrams. “It’s an old playbook that never invested in any of these communities of color in Georgia.”

Abrams is convinced the only way a Democrat can win is by engaging with untapped minority voters, particularly those in rural communities, who’ve often been overlooked.

But her opponent Stacey Evans has a different strategy. She, too, says the party needs to dig deep into its base and reach out more to rural voters, but she’s also committed to converting disaffected moderate Republicans.

“I want to go into the suburbs of Georgia and talk to moderate voters about why progressive policies like restoring tuition-free technical college … will not just help individual families, but will help our economy,” she said during a debate on Georgia Public Broadcasting. “And I know that when we do that we will get votes.”

The Atlantic asks whether the Democratic party has a coherent message.

The race for the Democratic nomination will culminate on Tuesday, when Georgians head to the polls for the state primary. But in the meantime, it has been an illuminating vignette, exposing the larger questions facing the Democrats ahead of the midterms—distinct from the tensions between the Bernie and Hillary wings of the party, and different, even, from the question of who can more fairly identify as progressive. Should Democrats focus more on capturing white working-class voters who feel let down by Trump? Or should they mobilize black voters and rally the base?

A local Democratic strategist summed up the state of things this way: “The Democratic Party …” He took a long pause before letting out a dispirited sigh. “If you ask people what the Democratic Party stands for, they can’t tell you,” he said. “As soon as you get beyond anti-Trump, nobody seems to know.” The choice in Georgia is between two different playbooks: an ambitious-but-risky plan of action, versus a careful, more traditional one. More broadly, the Georgia race illustrates the challenges facing the Democrats not just in November, but also in 2020. This primary could help define the party and give it an identity it desperately needs.

But what if Democrats didn’t focus so much on reclaiming Trump voters? What if they dedicated their resources, instead, to reaching the millions who didn’t vote—and reaching them early? This is the question Stacey Abrams is asking.

The Associated Press writes about the Republican debate among the candidates for Governor.

Never mind cutting taxes, creating jobs and other pocketbook mainstays of past Republican campaigns. Amid fierce competition in the GOP primary race for Georgia governor, the five remaining candidates are battling it out over who loves guns the most, who would prove toughest on people in the country illegally and who would best support President Donald Trump.

The major candidates, a cadre of statewide officeholders, former lawmakers and businessmen, have similar policy goals on those issues but are locked in an increasingly noisy battle over each other’s records as they try to win over conservative voters.

Curt Yeomans of the Gwinnett Daily Post looks at what the primary elections could mean for Georgia’s future.

The result of this week’s primary election, as well as the general election in the fall, might be a barometer of sorts, telling more than just who will lead the state for the next four years, according to a Georgia State University professor who studies Georgia politics.

“What the governor’s race will tell us is the degree to which the demographics of the state are making a difference,” Associate Professor of Political Science Daniel P. Franklin said. “All of the conditions right now are favorable to the Democrats, well almost all of the conditions — the economy is good — but take away the economy, and you’ve got a relatively unpopular president in a midterm election.

“This will be a good indicator to state Republican leaders, and also to state Democratic leaders, of where they stand.”

“The Republican side is pretty standard fare in the sense that the Republican electorate in this state is very conservative,” Franklin said. “Anybody who hopes to get the Republican party’s nomination has to move fairly far to the right so it’s a fairly standard practice that Republican candidates for statewide try to outflank each other on the right, but then move back to the center for the general election.”

“The conventional wisdom is that the rougher the primary, the harder the time the candidate has in the general election,” Franklin said. “I suspect that the Democrats will have an easier time uniting than the Republicans will because (there won’t be a runoff) so they’ll have to spend less.”

The Statesboro Herald looks at the amount of turnover in Georgia’s top elected statewide offices.

The Macon Telegraph lists reasons for local voters to turnout tomorrow, including,

Transportation sales tax: A regional transportation sales tax, known as the T-SPLOST, will be on the ballot for voters in 11 Middle Georgia counties, including Houston, Macon-Bibb, Monroe, Jones, Crawford, Putnam, Twiggs, Peach, Baldwin, Wilkinson and Pulaski. Voters are being asked to vote yes or no on a 1-percent transportation sales tax projected to bring in $637 million over the next 10 years. The revenue would be used to fund various road projects across the region.

New faces, new challengers: Two state House races are wide open after veteran politicians Allen Peake and Bubber Epps decided not to run for their respective districts. There are seven candidates in the primary for Epps’ former District 144 seat while four Republicans are vying for the House District 141 seat that had been held by Peake for the past 12 years.

Early voting was up in Glynn County over the 2014 Primary elections, according to The Brunswick News.

More voters turned out for early voting in advance of the May 22 primary than 2014’s gubernatorial primary, according to Glynn County Board of Elections officials, with more than 3,500 voters casting their ballots as of 5 p.m. Friday.

Of the total, around 2,430 early voters cast Republican ballots, while roughly 1,070 cast Democratic ballots, according to Monica Couch, elections and registration supervisor.

This year’s turnout is also up from the 3,270 people who voted early in the May 2016 primary.


House Bill 217, signed by Gov. Deal, will increase the amount of tax credits available for some scholarship donations, according to The Brunswick News.

A new Georgia law will allow private schools like St. Simons Christians School to provide more scholarships to students.

House Bill 217, recently signed by Gov. Nathan Deal, has expanded a tax credit program for scholarships.

The law raised the cap on donations from $58 million to $100 million.

Through the program, taxpayers can pledge money — up to $1,000 for individuals, $2,500 for married couples and $10,000 for shareholders or owners of businesses — to designated private schools. The donors receive tax credits for the amount.

Savannah may consider using tolls to pay for maintenance on the Truman Parkway, which was built with SPLOST funds, according to the Savannah Morning News.

After construction began 20 years earlier, all five phases of the Truman Parkway were completed in 2013 using Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds approved by voters. Now city and county officials are contemplating new funding methods to cover the costs of maintaining the popular link between Savannah’s Southside and downtown.

City Manager Rob Hernandez has even suggested making the parkway a toll-funded roadway in recent correspondence to County Manager Lee Smith, although city spokesman Michelle Gavin said the idea was just “big picture brainstorming.”

Zeph Baker claims that his failure to file required campaign contribution disclosure reports is due to donors’ fears of retribution, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Columbus mayoral candidate Zeph Baker is the only contender out of six who has not filed a campaign disclosure report this year.

According to the Muscogee County Board of Elections and Registrations, he is now facing up to $1,375 in fines this year for missing deadlines to file either a disclosure of his contributions and expenditures, or an affidavit swearing his campaign does not intend to receive or spend at least $2,500 this year.

Baker said he won’t reveal his contributions because his supporters could be “bullied” were he to identify them in a public record.

“My disclosure is simple, and rather uneventful by most standards, but it does reveal the identity of my supporters, and while not a single one of my financial contributors asked me to remove them or conceal their identity, I felt a sense of responsibility to protect them from the senseless attacks as much as possible. The fine, which is assessed to candidates who fail to file timely, is not at all unusual.”

Gwinnett County Superior Court candidate Jason Park is leaving the District Attorney’s office, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

On Friday, Jason Park, one of five candidates vying for retiring Judge Tom Davis’ seat, confirmed to the Daily Post that his last day with the DA’s office would be June 8, though did not specify a reason for his departure.

But, earlier on Friday, Park’s opponent, John Burdges, called for Park to withdraw from the race, saying “allegations of abuse of power” had been made against his opponent. Burdges did not specify what the allegations were.

When asked about Park’s resignation, Gwinnett District Attorney Danny Porter confirmed that Park is still employed at the DA’s office — for now — but is on administrative leave for an “internal personnel matter” and will resign in three weeks. The county’s top prosecutor disputed Burdges’ allegations.

“I don’t know where the allegations of abuse of power are coming from,” Porter said. “I can definitively say that those allegations were not part of the (resignation) discussion, and while I can’t discuss details given it’s an ongoing matter, the statement ‘candidate for Gwinnett Superior Court judge Jason Park abruptly resigned last week … allegations of Park’s abuse of power are surfacing’ is not technically correct.”

Here’s the CBS 46 story that apparently kicked off the kerfuffle.

The Rome News-Tribune writes about the election for Floyd County Superior Court.

Early voting ended Friday with 2,574 ballots cast, according to Elections Supervisor Willie Green. All 25 precincts will be open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Rome attorneys Emily Matson and Kay Ann Wetherington are vying for the seat being vacated by Superior Court Chief Judge Tami Colston. Matson, in private practice, specializes in family and civil law. Wetherington is an assistant district attorney in Colston’s courtroom.

Ninety-six Floyd County voters asked for the nonpartisan ballot, according to Green, compared to 718 opting to vote in the Democratic primary and 1,760 picking the Republican ballot. Georgia is an open primary state, which means voters may choose either ballot without registering with a party.

While the GOP maintains a clear advantage locally, there’s been a shift since the last midterm primary that included statewide races.

In the 2014 primary, 81.6 percent of eligible Floyd Countians voted on the Republican ballot and 18.4 percent voted in the Democratic elections. This year’s early voting period saw 68.4 percent pick up a Republican ballot and 27.9 percent choose Democratic.

The RN-T also profiles Floyd County Superior Court candidates Emily Matson and Kay Ann Wetherington.


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 18, 2018

Hallie Greensboro

Hallie is a young female Doberman Pinscher and Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Circle of Friends Animal Society Inc. in Greensboro, GA.

Sweet Hallie spent over 2 months of her life in a shelter before she was finally rescued. Hallie is ready to enjoy her freedom in a new forever home. Hallie can be a little timid and laid back when first meeting you but warms up pretty quick. She is the sweetest little girl. And….so cute! She loves the attention from people and is always happy to see you. She loves playing with toys and she is good on a leash. She is very smart and has already learned lots of tricks.

Hallie is up to date on her vaccinations, spayed and micro chipped. She is about 6 months old.

Phoebe Greensboro

Phoebe is a young female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Oconee Regional Humane Society in Greensboro, GA.

Phoebe is the daughter of a Labrador Retriever mix. We are surprised this one is not a Leo because she must be the star of the show. She loves being the center of attention! Phoebe’s toy of choice is any toy that squeaks!

Daisy Greensboro

Daisy is a young female Hound mix who is available for adoption from Oconee Regional Humane Society in Greensboro, GA.

Daisy was found alone after having puppies but her puppies were never found. This sweet and frightened little girl spent the next month in animal control until ORHS was asked to help. Daisy has only been with us a few short days, but she has won our hearts and she is very loved. She is still shy, but her tail now wags when she sees us and she loves when we sit and love on her. Daisy is a calm and quiet dog, good on leash and affectionate once she gets to know you. We think she’ll be a wonderful and loyal companion for someone who will make some time to earn her love and trust.