Blog Topic: Raging Election

  • In the Loop: Video: Democrats Host U.S. Senate Candidates in Athens

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    Photo Credit: Chris Dowd

    From left, Sarah Riggs Amico, Jon Ossoff and Ted Terry.

    The Athens-Clarke County Democratic Committee hosted conversation with three U.S. Senate candidates—former 6th Congressional District candidate Jon Ossoff, former candidate for lieutenant governor Sarah Riggs Amico and Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry—on Nov. 11 at the Cotton Press. (A fourth candidate, former Columbus mayor Teresa Tomlinson, did not attend because of a scheduling conflict.) The winner of the May primary will face Republican Sen. David Perdue in November.

    The Q&A sessions were moderated by state Reps. Spencer Frye (D-Athens) and Dar'shun Kendrick (D-Lithonia).


  • In the Loop: Voters Overwhelmingly Approve SPLOST 2020


    Athens voters have overwhelmingly approved extending a local 1% sales tax for capital projects.

    Over three quarters of voters approved SPLOST 2020, which passed with 78.4% of 8,978 ballots cast. 

    SPLOST 2020 will last an estimated 11 years and fund $314 million worth of projects. Big ticket items include a new judicial center to replace the outdated and overcrowded courthouse, an arena at the Classic Center and redeveloping the aging, dilapidated Bethel Midtown Village affordable housing complex. That's in addition to 34 smaller projects, ranging from crowd-pleasers like park improvements to necessities like equipment for firefighters.


  • In the Loop: Michael Thurmond: Dems Can Flip Oconee County

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    Photo Credit: Lee Becker

    Michael Thurmond speaks to Oconee County Democrats.

    Oconee County is an excellent opportunity for Democrats, DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond told a gathering of party members at the Bogart Library earlier this month, because of the demographics of the county.

    The county has one of the highest educational levels in the state and in the Southeast, Thurmond said, and the college educated, and particularly college-educated women, are being targeted by Democrats nationally.

    In the Atlanta suburbs, Thurmond said, college-educated white women were crucial in 2018 in turning areas that normally vote Republican to the Democrats.


  • In the Loop: Watkinsville Republican Turns Mayor's Race Partisan

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    Photo Credit: Lee Becker

    Bob Smith demonstrates how close the race could be.

    Democrat Stacey Abrams, who ran unsuccessfully for governor a year ago, is watching the outcome of the mayoral race in Watkinsville, Bob Smith, one of the two candidates in that contest, told Oconee County Republicans last month.

    The race is nonpartisan, but Smith made it clear he is running as a Republican and told those gathered they needed to make sure he wins to send a message back to Abrams.

    Abrams “has these billionaire socialists pumping money” into her nonprofit voting rights organizations, Jason Thompson, Republican National Committeeman from Georgia, told the same gathering. He told them to take action to thwart her.


  • In the Loop: Watkinsville Mayor Dave Shearon, Opponent Bob Smith Face Off in Debate

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    Photo Credit: Lee Becker

    Bob Smith (left) and Dave Shearon.

    More than 100 people turned out on Thursday night for an election forum in Watkinville that featured a very respectful exchange between incumbent Mayor Dave Shearon and challenger Bob Smith.

    Though Smith, a real estate agent and former state representative, has had open disagreements with the Watkinsville Council in recent months regarding development of his property, little of the tension was in evidence on Thursday night, until the very end.

    In his closing comments, Smith implied that the city was not transparent and that citizens were not being treated with respect by the mayor.


  • In the Loop: Paul Broun Wants to Be a Senator (Again)

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    Remember Paul Broun Jr., Athens' former congressman who regularly made late-night talk show fodder with proclamations like "evolution is a lie straight from the pit of Hell"?

    Well, Broun is back. He's been laying low after a failed U.S. Senate run in 2014, but now he wants Gov. Brian Kemp to appoint him to the seat Sen. Johnny Isakson is leaving at the end of the year.

    From the AJC:


  • In the Loop: Commissioner Andy Herod Won't Run for Re-Election

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    Andy Herod, who’s represented the Eastside on the ACC Commission since 2007, won’t run again in 2020, he announced in his monthly newsletter to constituents.

    “Although I have enjoyed the work tremendously, there are some things I would like to pursue in my professional life that I have put on hold for several years,” the UGA geography professor wrote.

    Andrea Farnham, a sex and relationship therapist, announced her candidacy for the District 8 seat in June, running on a social justice platform.

    Longtime local activist Carol Myers, the retired dean of general education at Athens Tech, told Flagpole after Herod’s announcement that she also plans to enter the race. Myers has worked on several local campaigns, served on the SPLOST committee, is active in BikeAthens, helped write ACC’s bike and pedestrian master plan and now chairs a committee overseeing implementation of that plan.


  • In the Loop: Sen. Johnny Isakson Will Resign at the End of the Year


    U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson will resign effective Dec. 31, he announced today, citing health problems, giving Gov. Brian Kemp an opportunity to appoint his successor and putting another Georgia Senate seat up for grabs in 2020.

    Isakson has suffered from Parkinson's Disease for several years. He broke four ribs in a fall in July, and revealed in a statement today that he also had a growth removed from his kidney this week.

    “In my 40 years in elected office, I have always put my constituents and my state of Georgia first," he said. "With the mounting health challenges I am facing, I have concluded that I will not be able to do the job over the long term in the manner the citizens of Georgia deserve. It goes against every fiber of my being to leave in the middle of my Senate term, but I know it’s the right thing to do on behalf of my state."


  • In the Loop: Former State Rep. Bob Smith Challenges Dave Shearon for Watkinsville Mayor

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    Photo Credit: Lee Becker

    Bob Smith.

    Watkinsville alone among Oconee County’s four cities will hold an election this fall, with two candidates competing for the mayor of the city and two more competing for Post 2 on the city council.

    Incumbent Watkinsville Mayor Dave Shearon and Bob Smith, a real estate agent and former state representative, filed paperwork last week qualifying for the mayoral contest.

    Incumbent Post 2 council member Connie Massey and Jonathan Kirkpatrick, a retired federal government employee, qualified for the Post 2 position.

    Incumbent Watkinsville Post 1 council member Brian Brodrick also qualified, but he will have no opposition on the ballot in November.


  • In the Loop: Mokah-Jasmine Johnson Explores State House Bid


    Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file

    Mokah-Jasmine Johnson.

    Local activist Mokah-Jasmine Johnson is considering running for an Athens state House of Representatives seat that Democrats surprisingly flipped in 2017 but lost again last year.

    Johnson filed paperwork Tuesday to begin raising money to run in House District 117, currently held by Rep. Houston Gaines (R-Athens). Last November, Gaines ousted Democrat Deborah Gonzalez in a rematch of a special election the previous year.

    The district—which includes parts of Clarke, Oconee, Jackson and Barrow counties—had been in Republican hands for decades. It's now a swing district that's considered crucial if Democrats hope to win control of the House in 2020. The GOP currently has a 14-seat advantage but lost ground last year, mainly in the metro Atlanta suburbs.


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