MDJ: Early voting numbers dwarf 2014 turnout; politicos weigh in

Early voting numbers dwarf 2014 turnout; politicos weigh in

Ross Williams

Election Day is Tuesday, but for thousands of Cobb County residents, their civic duty is already done.

This year, 111,882 Cobb voters cast their ballots early in person, according to unofficial numbers from the Cobb Elections Department.

That’s nearly a 90 percent increase over the last midterm election in 2014, when 59,134 Cobb voters came to the polls early.

There were 17 days of early voting this year, two of them Saturdays, while in 2014, there was only one Saturday and 16 total early voting days.

No major incidents were reported this year, but there were long lines, and voters waited up to three hours during the busiest times.

Cobb Elections Director Janine Eveler said she is happy with how things turned out. She said poll workers were happy to see the big crowds, though she does wish the department had arranged to have a second polling location open the first week.

During that week, only the county elections headquarters was open for early voting. The next week, Jim R. Miller Park became available, and in the third and final week, nine more spots opened up.

“I think overall it went well, although I wish we had arranged to have Jim Miller Park for the first week as well,” Eveler said. “Our Main Office is a little too small to handle that kind of turnout. We always expand our locations from few to many as the three weeks go along, but this election was unique in that there were so few people who were undecided, even in the first week of voting. … We knew this would be an exciting midterm so we offered all our locations, even some we normally only use in presidential years, and also extended hours.”

Eveler said there is a snowball effect to early voting — when people see long lines, they are more likely to get in lines themselves, making the lines even longer. But she said that may be good news for those planning to vote on Election Day.

“If people see lines to early vote, they figure they better get theirs done too,” she said. “They worry that early voting lines mean there’ll be lines on Election Day and it becomes important not to wait until Tuesday. In reality, the higher turnout in early voting reduces lines on Election Day.”

If you are one of those who plan to cast a ballot on Tuesday, you can do so between 7 a.m. And 7 p.m. Remember you must vote at your assigned polling location — you can find that at — and don’t forget to bring your photo ID.

Eveler also said to be sure to double-check your ballot before submitting and to report any irregularities to poll workers before casting your ballot.

Cobb party chiefs react

Perhaps nobody in the county has been paying more attention to the early voting numbers than the heads of the two major parties, Michael Owens of the Cobb Democrats and Jason Shepherd of the Cobb GOP.

Both men said they were glad to see people taking part, but neither dared to predict what the turnout might mean for their parties.

“I think it means the voters are engaged,” Shepherd said. “The question is: Is it our voters who are engaged, or their voters who are engaged? Right now it’s looking like everyone’s voters are engaged.”

Owens and Shepherd both spoke to the MDJ by phone from different last-minute get-out-the-vote efforts, capping off a long election cycle.

Owens said Cobb Democrats are working hard to capitalize on trends indicating the county may be moving toward the Democratic column, citing, among other points, that Cobb voters chose Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in the 2016 election. He would not say whether he thinks the change will come this year, but he believes it’s coming.

“Cobb County is a red-to-blue county,” he said. “We know we’re trending toward blue. There’s a large part of the county that is already blue and that continues to grow. What we’ve historically considered red is definitely flipping, going up all the way to north Cobb County, up to Acworth. We have a solid trend toward Cobb County turning blue, and we’re going to continue trending toward blue.”

Owens said gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’ historic candidacy plays a role in that— if she wins, she will be the first African-American woman to govern any American state. But he said a solid stable of Democratic candidates up and down the ballot has encouraged Democratic voters to turn out in Cobb.

“It’s an opportunity for Democrats to vote for Democrats on the ballot in every part of the county,” he said. “Historically, that hasn’t been the case. … We have contested races in every single part of the county. … Not only do we support Stacey Abrams and (lieutenant governor candidate) Sarah Riggs Amico, but we’re actually engaging voters, talking about our candidates for state House … we have taken a focused effort to ensure we have good candidates across the county.”

Shepherd said he is well aware of the work Democrats have been putting in to flip Cobb County, referencing recent trips to town by big names such as former President Barack Obama, comedian Will Ferrell and media mogul Oprah Winfrey to stump for Abrams.

“The amount of effort Democrats are making in Cobb County, they see Cobb County as a big prize, Cobb being historically a Republican county, but one that went a little purple the last election cycle,” Shepherd said. “Democrats are working very hard to flip it. … They think Cobb is in play, and the Cobb Republican party is doing everything it can to make sure we can get out and show them Cobb isn’t in play. We’ll find out on Election Day.”

Shepherd acknowledged it is typical for the party in control of the White House to lose seats in a midterm election, but he wasn’t ready to accept a blue wave yet.

“The Democrats are really trying to push the blue wave, and the Republican Party is trying to stand out with a red wall to stop it,” he said. “They talk about waves; we talk about wave breakers.”

AJC: Former Ossoff volunteers try to make Democratic gains in red suburbs

Former Ossoff volunteers try to make Democratic gains in red suburbs

Nov 02, 2018
By Amanda C. Coyne, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Luisa Wakeman never used to talk about politics. The Cobb County Democrat knew most of her neighbors were dedicated Republicans and she didn’t want to alienate herself.

Her first toe dip into the political pool was an event in East Cobb supporting then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016.

“We went to the rally and it grew minute by minute,” Wakeman said.

She was energized, volunteering for Clinton and becoming a precinct captain for Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff in the 2017 special election for the 6th Congressional District

While both of her candidates lost, Wakeman was encouraged; she had found people close to home who shared her views, and she was no longer afraid to talk about politics. She went to a one-day boot camp held by Georgia’s Win List, a political group that supports female Democratic candidates.

“I thought we were signing up to help other candidates run successful campaigns, but then I found out they were signing up to run my campaign,” Wakeman said. “I realized I had to do my part to make sure the needle shifted.”

Wakeman is one of a handful of former Ossoff volunteers who are running for state House districts in Cobb, Fulton and DeKalb counties that have long histories of Republican domination: Essence Johnson in East Cobb-based District 45, Angelika Kausche in Johns Creek’s House District 50 and Mike Wilensky in Dunwoody-based District 79.

Republicans have held all of those districts since at least 2012.

Republicans are aware that some districts are changing.

A few Sandy Springs precincts in House District 43 went Democratic in 2016, according to Cobb County Republican Party Chairman Jason Shepherd. But the newly contested districts are still “pretty red,” he said.

The last time Cooper faced a Democratic challenger, in 2010, she won with 66.9 percent of the vote. In Kausche’s District 50, the last contested election, also in 2010, resulted in then-Rep. Lynne Riley winning with 70 percent of the vote. District 79’s Rep. Tom Taylor won by a 67.7 percent margin when he was last challenged by a Democrat in 2010.

Rep. Sharon Cooper, District 43’s longtime incumbent and chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee, is confident that her constituent service combined with her high rank in the legislature will secure her 12th term.

“I don’t think (my district) would want to replace someone with my seniority with a freshman in a minority party that will have little ability to benefit the district.”

Networks and resources
These types of Democratic challenges are not unique to areas within the 6th Congressional District — neighboring Gwinnett County has also seen an increase in Democrats filing to run. But the much-watched, most-expensive special election created a new trove of voter information and campaign infrastructure that wasn’t there before, candidates say.

Mike Wilensky in Dunwoody-based District 79, planned to run for the state House before the 6th District race began, but saw a growth in Democratic campaign resources after Ossoff’s congressional race ended.

There was “very little information at all about who were Democrats in this district” before Ossoff’s campaign, Wilensky said. Ossoff campaign’s nonstop canvassing — it reportedly attempted more than 1 million door knocks — allowed Wilensky and other Democratic state house candidates to better assess their chances and figure out their likely supporters.

Essence Johnson, running for House District 45, was surprised at jhow Republican-dominated the area was when she moved to East Cobb in 2015 from northern Virginia. She had been politically engaged since college, thought about running for local office, but stepped back after having her son, who is now 6. The 6th District race is drew her back into politics.

“It really lit my fire again, people who are progressive and liberal, working to flip the seat and also in the community,” Johnson said.

Before the special election campaign, “there was no organizing” in the East Cobb area, Johnson said. What she found in the 6th District race and now her own is that many of the Democrats getting involved are mothers like herself.

“It’s getting those moms out and getting engaged,” Johnson said. “ … In East Cobb, I never in a million years thought there would be so many people who are progressive, moderate, liberal, that are my neighbors.”

Special election impact
This kind of network-building is not uncommon after presidential races with candidates that particularly electrify a party’s base — think Kennedy, Reagan and Obama, said Charles Bullock, the Richard B. Russell Chair in Political Science at the University of Georgia. What’s happened in the 6th District is an example of the phenomenon on a smaller scale, he said.

Ossoff came within four points of Republican Karen Handel, who won the seat. The close margin was assisted by an eye-popping $29.9 million fundraising total on Ossoff’s side; Handel raised $6.3 million, but was assisted by $30 million in spending by outside groups. After election day, it was the most expensive U.S. House race in history.

Previous Democratic challengers to Rep. Tom Price, who vacated the seat when he became U.S. secretary of health and human services, lost by up to 40 points.

Democrats hoped to flip the seat and haven’t given up on the quest. Ossoff is not running in the current election, but has supported new 6th District Democratic candidate Lucy McBath. The race has been locked in a statistical tie in recent polls.

But the high fundraising totals and national attention of the 2017 special election may have ended up further galvanizing Republican support, Shepherd, Cobb’s GOP chairman said.

“If you’re well-known in the community, you’ve represented the community well, you represent the district well, you tend to stay in office,” Shepherd said. “People come out to protect an elected official they really like.”

Republicans are also highly energized because of the governor’s race, which has been locked in a statistical dead heat between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp. Cooper thinks her increased campaigning may have a trickle-up effect on the governor’s race and other statewide offices.

“By my turning out more Republicans to vote … that in the end could hurt Stacey Abrams and higher up the ticket,” Cooper said. “If I hadn’t had someone running against me, I wouldn’t have done all this mailing. I wouldn’t be out knocking on door … I would not have done all I’ve done for our Republican governor candidate Brian Kemp.”

No matter the outcome Tuesday, Wakeman and other candidates are determined to continue growing the Democratic infrastructure in Atlanta’s northern suburbs.

“We didn’t talk to each other about politics and we needed to,” Wakeman said. “Now we’re talking more openly.”

Chairman’s Corner: 2018 Constitutional Amendments

15 days until Election Day.
In addition to the candidates, there are five amendments to the Georgia Constitution on the ballot this year. While the Republican Party does not take an official position on these amendments, I hope we can answer some of the questions you may have.
Amendment 1 – Land conservation, parks, trails: This amendment will set aside a portion sales tax funds already being collected on sporting goods for conservation efforts. The goal is to raise $200 million over the next 10 years when the amendment automatically sunsets.
Amendment 2 -Business courts: This amendment would create special state business courts (supposedly out of the current state court budget) to specifically handle business litigation matters. Currently, State Courts and Superior Courts in the counties handle business matters. The goal is to have specialized judges hearing these cases. Also, unlike other Georgia judges, these Business Court judges would not be elected, but be appointed by the Governor with the approval of the Georgia House and Senate Judiciary Committees for a five-year term.
Amendment 3 – Timber tax: While the devil is in the details, this amendment is designed to lower the tax burden on timber landowners. There was already a tax provision passed in 2008 and this fixes some of the holes in that amendment. Georgia has one of the highest tax rates on timber that is between 3 and 6 times higher than neighboring states.
Amendment 4 – Crime victims’ rights: I will come out and say that I am voting for this amendment and Brian Kemp has endorsed it as well. Also known as “Marsy’s Law,” the amendment will require victims to not only be notified when certain proceedings occur. There is already a state law dealing with this issue, but there are several issues with the state law. First, many counties are ignoring the law as there are no repercussions for ignoring the law. The amendment will put the law on a constitutional rather than a statutory level and add teeth to go after jurisdictions that fail to notify.
There are valid criticisms, namely that a statutory change can accomplish the same thing without amending the Georgia Constitution and estimates that the cost burden may be as high as $11 million to comply with. Additionally, the notification are required even before a conviction which may mean some who have not been convicted of a crime may have to wait in jail longer because a victim couldn’t be found to be notified. Of course, the ultimate purpose is to make sure that an offender on bail or released from a sentence does not surprise a victim seeking revenge.
Amendment 5: Local option sales tax: This would remove the requirement that a county school system and a city schools system (like Cobb County Schools and Marietta City Schools) would have to agree before offering an amendment for a local option sale tax to support the school system. As noted in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Cobb County State Sen. Lindsey Tippins has said the measure was proposed because there were situations across Georgia where independent school districts serving a small portion of a county’s students would “hold the larger districts hostage” on the referendum in hopes of obtaining a larger share of the tax proceeds.
I hope this helps explain the five amendments that will be on the ballot. You can read the ballot language and download a sample ballot on the Cobb Board of Elections webpage at
Just 15 days left.

Chairman’s Corner: 22 Days

22 days until Election Day.
2018 is a mid-term election year. Typically, in mid-term years, the party that has the White House will lose. That means, if history is any guide, Republicans are on the defensive this year.
However, politics have been anything but typical these last few years.
One thing that is certain though is votes. We know that Stacey Abrams and the Democratic Party of Georgia has been running a very aggressive absentee ballot campaign mailing out millions of absentee voter request cards.
They know we are not mailing out millions of absentee voter request cards.
The result has been obvious. According to the website, so far in 2018, 52,968 Georgia voters have cast their votes by turning in their absentee ballots. This is a 127.8% increase over four years ago.
Why does that matter?
In Presidential election years, like 2016, approximately 70-80% of registered voters vote. In mid-term election years, like 2014 and 2018, only about half of registered voters vote in the election.
In Cobb County in 2014, only 214,490 votes were cast. This was 53.35% of Cobb’s registered voters. In 2016, 335,466 voters cast ballots. That was 79.09% of Cobb’s registered voters.
This is important because if only 53.35% of Republicans vote in Cobb in 2018 and 79.09% of Democrats show up, Cobb’s Republicans will be washed away in the Blue Wave simply because good Republicans stayed home and did not vote.
While I do not think that 79.09% of Cobb’s Democratic voters will vote in the next 22 days, what if it’s 58% or 60%? Lower than in 2016, but higher than a typical midterm election.
As I said, statewide, the absentee ballots being returned are more than double what they were four years ago. And in Cobb County, the numbers are even higher.
In Cobb County, absentee voting has jumped by nearly 285%!
While most of these voters, nearly 60%, early voted two years ago or did not early vote, but are doing so this year, over 40% of these early voters in Cobb are new voters.
And history and demographics suggest they are not Republican Voters!
If 285% of Democratic voters in Cobb show up on Election day versus Republican, the result can be catastrophic for Georgia.
As my Georgia Bulldogs found out this weekend, once you get behind, it’s hard to catch up.
We will have elected a Governor who wants to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), leaving our borders not only vulnerable to illegal aliens but human traffickers and drug smugglers as well, all while encouraging illegal immigrants to voteAll of this while falsely accusing Brian Kemp of voter suppression.
We will have a Lt. Governor who attacks Republicans as racist and sexist while her own company is being sued for racial and gender discrimination.
But if we are going to win, we need your help.
That’s why the Cobb GOP has created the “Keep Choppin” Pledge.
Take a minute to pledge to give just 10 volunteer hours between now and the election day to help our Republican candidates in Cobb and Statewide get elected.
Pledge to vote early or on Election Day.
Pledge to get your friends and family to take the pledge too.

It doesn’t take much for us to finish the drill and win in November.
And there are just 22 days left.

Chairman’s Corner: Mr. Kavanaugh Goes to Washington

by Jason Shepherd
29 days until Election Day.
In the 1939 Frank Capra classic movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, newly appointed Senator Jefferson Smith (Jimmy Stewart) is falsely accused by the political machine back home run by Boss Jim Taylor, of corruption, bribery, and everything but sexual assault when he was in high school. The political machine controlled the press which fed the lies about Smith to his constituents, controlling the narrative and refusing to let any evidence that would exonerate the Senator get through to the people.
When his supporters, those who knew him best, went out and championed his cause, they were intimidated, bullied, harassed, and even assaulted. To stop the Senate from expelling him on these false charges, Senator Smith does the only thing he can do – filibuster the debate on his own removal. 
At the end, thousands of letters are delivered to the Senate floor calling for Smith’s removal…not one in support. Exhausted from speaking for hours, even through the night, discouraged by the thousands of letters against him, he directs his final words (the clip below) towards the senior senator from his state, Senator Joseph Paine (Claude Rains), a loyal part of the corrupt political machine that’s destroying the good name Smith has spent his whole life building. 
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Speech
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Speech
Like Jefferson Smith, Judge Brett Kavanaugh has now come into the United States Senate and has had to then defend his good name and reputation against accusations levied against him by the Democratic Party, the modern-day Taylor Machine.
False allegations trumpeted by United States Senators blinded by partisanship and more drunk on the prospect of returning to power (God, I too hope they never get it) than Brett Kavanaugh ever was at any high school party in 1982.
Allegations that were then repeated by an all-too-willing media, and, just like that, a man’s entire life’s work and reputation are tarnished and smeared, perhaps forever.
While those on the left might watch Smith’s passionate defense of his own innocence and cheer, when they see Brett Kavanaugh’s same passionate defense of his good name, they jeer and claim it’s further proof he does not have the “temperament” to be on the U.S. Supreme Court. 
Kavanaugh has all the temperament he needs. I wouldn’t want anyone on the Court who wouldn’t passionately champion the American idea that a person is innocent until proven guilty, even if the one he is passionately defending is himself.
At the end of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Smith’s name is only cleared when, in a moment of revelation and experiencing a crisis of conscience, Senator Paine tries to kill himself and, when stopped, runs screaming back into the U.S. Senate demanding that he be expelled admitting everything Jefferson Smith said about him and the Taylor Machine is true. 
If only real life were that simple. If only the villains came clean and those falsely accused were vindicated. We won’t hold our breath waiting for Senator Diane Feinstein to have a moment like Senator Joseph Paine.
Sadly, real life is more like the book and movie To Kill a Mockingbird. There, attorney Atticus Finch loses the defense of Tom Robinson, a black man who, in 1930’s Alabama, was clearly falsely accused of the rape of a white woman, Mayella Ewell, a rape that a physical disability would have made impossible for him to commit.
Finch protects Robinson when a pre-trial lynch mob tries to remove him from the jail to kill him, but, after the guilty verdict, he cannot protect him and word comes back to Finch that Robinson is killed, allegedly trying to escape, a claim that seems all too convenient after the lynch mob and the clearly biased verdict.
Mayella Ewell was fine to see Tom Robinson go to prison for something she knew was not true. There was never a time when she, like Senator Paine, confessed. In fact, Mayella Ewell’s father seeks violence and revenge. He attacks Atticus Finch’s two children, however, his justice is swift as the reclusive neighbour Boo Radley kills Ewell with his own knife and saves the children.
Today we see the left seeking the same violence. We cannot forget the crazed left-winged activist who took shots at Republican Congressmen, including our own Congressman Barry Loudermilk, and seriously injuring Steve Scalise of Louisiana, or Congresswoman Maxine Waters’s call for more violence.
Still, Kavanaugh’s confirmation has brought a new round of insanity from protesters actually clawing at the bronze doors of the U.S. Supreme Court, as my friend Emily Zanotti points out in The Daily Wire, to calls for violence from the likes of even Georgetown University professors.
However, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert  writer Ariel Dumasmay have given the left’s real epitaph of the Kavanaugh confirmation when she tweeted (and soon deleted)

As I said in the beginning…29 days until the election.

AJC: Ga. Republicans see Kavanaugh’s confirmation as rallying force

What took you so long?

That was the sentiment broadcast by many metro Atlanta Republicans on Saturday as the Senate prepared to cast a final vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination.

At a pair of county GOP meetings in Atlanta’s northern suburbs, the party faithful cheered the news that the D.C. circuit court judge appeared on the cusp of confirmation, and they vowed to use that hard-fought win to galvanize Republican voters ahead of a midterm election that’s viewed as favorable to Democrats.

Democrats have “lost another battle, but that is not getting them down and out,” said Jason Shepherd, chairman of the Cobb County GOP. “Which means we have to fight double hard in order to get out the vote in 31 days.”

Shepherd was urging the more than 120 people assembled for a party breakfast in Marietta to get involved on behalf of a slate of Republican candidates assembled that morning, which included U.S. Rep. Karen Handel to lieutenant gov. nominee Geoff Duncan.

Roughly 30 miles to the Northeast, at a canvass launch for U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall in Cumming, Paul Stykitus didn’t need any help getting motivated.

“I think the Kavanaugh nonsense has just turned any fair-minded individual to say, ‘enough’s enough,’” said the 69-year-old sales director. “I think he should have been confirmed earlier.”

As dozens of protesters assembled in Atlanta’s Woodruff Park to voice their opposition to Kavanaugh’s confirmation, many local Republicans blamed Democrats for smearing the judge’s reputation even before California professor Christine Blasey Ford accused him of sexual assault.

“It’s just a witch hunt,” said Paul Frank, a Cumming retiree, adopting the refrain President Trump has used to describe the ongoing Russia investigation. “It’s another Democratic ploy to try and get their people in.”

Kelli Warren, president of the Republican Women of Forsyth County, said she was pleased about Kavanaugh’s nomination advancing.

“To me, the most important thing is the presumption of innocence,” she said. “With Dr. Ford, where were her witnesses? … And I say that being the mother of a daughter who recently, I found out, is a victim of domestic violence. I’m totally empathetic to that situation, but we can’t persecute or blame someone if we don’t have proof behind it.”

Local GOP officials expressed confidence that Kavanaugh’s confirmation would drive GOP voters to the polls in November.

Patrick Bell, chairman of the Forsyth County GOP, said many voters have come up to him upset with the “lack of decorum” surrounding the confirmation process, and especially the way anti-Kavanaugh protesters have swarmed Republican senators on Capitol Hill, at the airport and at a D.C. restaurant in the case of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. He predicted the tactics will “backfire” on Democrats in November.

Many GOP voters who had not been paying much attention to politics until recently, he said, “are fed up with everything, and I think that the mob rule is bringing them out,” Bell said. “They’re tired of it.”

Georgia’s U.S. Sen. David Perdue, who had a contentious run-in with protesters in a northern Virginia airport on Monday, similarly criticized such protesters in a fiery Senate floor speech on Wednesday in which he accused his Democratic colleagues of inciting overzealous activism.

“When the paid activists who support you attack my wife, you have gone too far,” the first-term Republican said. “You are inciting this disrespect of our law.”

Perdue and his Georgia GOP colleague Johnny Isakson both recently announced their intent to support Kavanaugh.

Democrats similarly vowed to use Kavanaugh’s promotion to drive their voters to the polls next month.

“We are going to get so damn engaged in the political process in this country they’re not going to know what hit them,” state Sen. Nan Orrock, D-Atlanta, said at the Woodruff Park rally. “We will win.”

Staff writer Meris Lutz contributed to this article. 


NYT: After a Primary on the Fringe, Georgia Republican Tacks Toward the Center

By Richard Fausset

Sept. 2, 2018

ATLANTA — Brian Kemp, the Republican running for Georgia governor, won his party’s nomination with the help of a TV ad that explicitly arguedthat he is not a moderate guy. Titled “So Conservative,” it portrayed Mr. Kemp as a gun-toting, “politically incorrect conservative” who would personally round up “criminal illegals” in his pickup truck.

But that was then. In his latest TV ad, playing now in the Atlanta Metro market for the November general election, Mr. Kemp, in a check-print, button-down shirt, speaks to the camera in a kindly, drawly baritone about “growing jobs, not government,” investing in education (of the locally controlled variety), and “rewarding legal — not illegal — behavior.”

In many Republican primaries, it seemed impossible to be too far right as long as the candidate succeeded in getting President Trump’s endorsement, as Mr. Kemp did. But now, locked in a competitive general election race against the Democrat Stacey Abrams, Mr. Kemp has been trying to gravitate to the center, attempting at least one strategy for surfing the volatile, polarizing energy that permeates the 2018 election season.

So ConservativeCreditCreditVideo by Kemp for Governor

That energy was on display last week in neighboring Florida, where Republican voters chose their own “so conservative” nominee for governor (the Trump acolyte Ron DeSantis), while Democrats opted for a “so liberal” choice (the Bernie Sanders-endorsed Andrew Gillum). It is too early to know, in that race, how, or whether, those candidates might seek to pivot to the center.

Mr. Kemp’s pivot has been both stylistic and substantive, and it comes as Ms. Abrams, 44, a Yale Law School graduate and former state house minority leader, has been campaigning around Georgia arguing, with wonkish delight, that her progressive policy ideas — including robust investment in public education, gun control and the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare — amount to mainstream common sense. Her campaign calls it an “opportunity” agenda, and believes it will resonate more widely than the hot-button conservative agenda that Mr. Kemp is still known for that focuses on issues like illegal immigration and the Second Amendment.

Ms. Abrams is also hoping to appeal to moderate voters, placing decidedly more emphasis on her plans to create jobs and invest in education than her criticism of some Confederate memorials, which she has modulated recently.

On policy, Mr. Kemp, 54, Georgia’s secretary of state, recently made a small but important tweak to his longstanding promise to sign a state version of a federal religious freedom law, a possibility that frightens many in the Atlanta business community who fear that it could prompt harmful boycotts and backlash from liberals who believe such a law would be used to discriminate against the lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender community.

Various iterations of a similar state law have been promoted by Georgia conservatives in recent years as a way to protect people of faith from being forced to engage in practices they deem contrary to their beliefs. In 2016, Nathan Deal, the current governor and a Republican, vetoed a religious freedom bill that did not exactly mirror the federal law, pleasing some of Georgia’s most powerful corporations.

Mr. Kemp ran as a far-right conservative during the Republican runoff and was endorsed by President Trump.CreditJessica McGowan/Getty Images

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mr. Kemp told a hospitality industry group Tuesday that he would veto any religious freedom bill that went beyond the federal law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was passed with bipartisan support and signed into law in 1993 by then-President Bill Clinton, a Democrat.

It was an example of how Mr. Kemp must simultaneously placate the social conservatives and rural Georgians who responded to his primary messages, as well as white suburbanites and the powerful Atlanta corporate community, whose sensitivities have been heightened by the fact that metro Atlanta is among those cities trying to attract a second Amazon headquarters.

Such sensitivities are well known to Ms. Abrams, who opposes such legislation not only on moral terms but on economic ones, arguing that it sends a message that could scare off investment and potentially harm Georgia’s burgeoning film and television industry.

Mr. Kemp will have to walk a fine line from here on out, said Charles Bullock, a professor of political science at the University of Georgia.

“If Kemp moves too far to the center he risks alienating some of his strong supporters from the primary,” he said. “They may feel they’ve been betrayed, or lied to, once again.”

But others say Mr. Kemp’s excesses in the primary were more in terms of atmospherics than positions he might have to walk back, and that he faces few risks of losing rural white conservatives in a race against an African-American liberal woman from Atlanta.


Chairman’s Corner: A bit of political potpourri – Randolph County, National Debt, and Socialist Democrat Economics.

Chairman’s Corner
by Jason Shepherd
A bit of political potpourri.
First off, there has been a development in Randolph County.
Apparently the weeks of lobbying by the Democratic Party of Georgia, Stacey Abrams’s campaign, and a whole host of left-leaning groups has paid off…dare I say…BIGLY! The Democratic controlled Randolph County Board of Elections has voted NOT to consolidate their precincts.
I would like to congratulate GA Democrats for winning their crusade against the Randolph County Democrats who were trying to close the few Republican precincts in Randolph County…OH WAIT, that’s right, the precincts destined for the chopping block were precincts the GOP typically won.
From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU Democrats…because of your efforts, the minority of Republican voters in Randolph County will continue to have easier access to the polls to vote on election day.
Secondly, I want to take a moment to talk about the debt and the deficit…yeah, I know, I’ve now lost all but about three people on our email list, but hopefully you’re one of those three and are sticking with me!
I’m sure you’ve heard the Democrats state that we need to repeal the Trump tax cuts because they are blowing a TRILLION DOLLAR hole in the deficit and will add trillions more to the national debt.
According to the Democrats, even if Stacey Abrams PAID all of her back taxes to the IRS instead of giving it to her own campaign for governor, it would do nothing to fix the new deficit created by the Trump Tax Cut.
Time to raise taxes again (of course Democrats don’t care if taxes go up, they don’t pay them anyway…right Stacey?)!
However, actual numbers (things that scare the naysayers on the left) tell a completely different story.
YTD June 2017, the federal government had collected $1,199,238,000,000 in individual income taxes and had a total tax collection of $2,507,820,000,000.
YTD June 2018, after the massive Trump Tax Cut, the federal government has collected $1,305,490,000,000 in individual income taxes and had a total tax collection or $2,540,804,000,000, an increase of $32.984 billion.
That means the federal government brought in $1,045.70 MORE every second of every hour of every day than they did last year.
Still, somehow, all we hear is how the debt is increasing because of the Trump tax cuts.

Investors Business Daily hit th at issue in April, ” The CBO claims that the  economy  will experience only 1.9% annual growth for the next decade. (This is up a smidgeon from its 1.8% prediction at the start of the Trump presidency.) To be fair, CBO’s growth estimate is in line with most of the blue-chip forecasters’ estimates.  But that prediction makes no sense. GDP growth averaged 1.95 % annually under Obama – and nearly everything he did on the economy was anti-growth.”

But with the wealth of economic prowess that can be found in today’s Democratic Congressional leadership, including their new rising star, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (did you know she has a bachelor’s degree in economics? If not, wait, she will remind you), it’s no wonder that they would on one hand call the Trump Tax Cut “crumbs” and then accuse these very same “crumbs” of threatening the entire financial health of the United States.
Some more of that economic prowess can be found in the video below.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Economic Genius
Finally, we are excited to announce that the 2018 Cobb Republican Victory Center will be open starting next Saturday, September 1 at Cobb GOP Headquarters!
We will have staff on hand so you can come make phone calls for all of our GOP Candidate, get door-to-door materials, yard signs, and more!
Stay tuned to your email and the Cobb GOP Facebook page for more information, including about specific days and times to volunteer for specific candidates.
Yours always in freedom,
Jason Shepherd
Chairman, Cobb County Republican Party

East Cobb News: Cobb, Georgia elected and party officials react to Sen. John McCain’s death

State and local officials in Georgia and Cobb have offered condolences and issued statements regarding Arizona U.S. Sen. John McCains’s death on Saturday.

From U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, an East Cobb Republican who served with McCain on the Senate Armed Services Committee since 2005:

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, Sen. John McCain death
U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson

“John McCain has left an example for all of us of what it takes to be an American patriot. His willingness to reach out to all to do what is right inspires us to work to find common ground. His life and work have left their indelible mark on history, and we all owe John a lot. May God bless John and his family.”

From David Perdue, a Republican from Warner Robins and Georgia’s junior senator:

“American patriot is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of John McCain. He dedicated his life to serving the country he loved so much & for that we will be eternally grateful.

“John’s wit, wisdom, and leadership will be missed in the United States Senate – especially on the Armed Services Committee.”

U.S. Congressman John Lewis, a Democrat from Atlanta:

“We have lost a great warrior who defended this nation’s honor in times of war and peace. He risked his life for America as a soldier, guarded our integrity as a prisoner of war, and dedicated his entire life to public service.  Only a few will ever be remembered for standing on the courage of their convictions.

“Sen. John McCain was one of those rare people who was never afraid to do what he believed was right. Our nation is forever indebted to men and women of  conscience who struggle—in their own way, according to the dictates of their own hearts—to act on the ideals of democracy and work to build a more perfect union. I send my deepest condolences to his family. They are in my thoughts and prayers.”

Jason Shepherd, Cobb GOP

Jason Shepherd, chairman of the Cobb County Republican Party:

“For more than a century, his family has served our nation. His grandfather entered the Navy in 1906 and died an Admiral 4 days after witnessing with his son the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay on September 4. He, along with his father and grandfather before him, has left his mark on American history. 
“His passing at 81 means an era in American politics is over. While each of us had our opinion of the man who lived a very public life, privately, he was still also a husband, a father, a grandfather, a brother, and a son.”

U.S. Sen Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, wants to rename the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington after McCain. Richard Russell was a longtime senator from Georgia, serving from 1933 to 1971.

Chairman’s Corner: Rascally Republicans

Chairman’s Corner
by Jason Shepherd
You may have heard us rascally Republicans are at it again, this time in Randolph County where we Republicans, and especially our nominee for Governor, Brian Kemp, are eliminating voting locations.
Voting rights activists are descending on Randolph County demanding answers, Democratic candidate for Governor Stacey Abrams and Democratic Party of Georgia Chairman Dubose Porter are releasing statements attacking Kemp and the GOP for this outrage.
However, even the Democrats have to admit the decision was made by the Randolph County Board of Elections. In Randolph County, the Board of Election members are all appointed by the County Commission.
Obviously, the Republican Board of Commissioners and their minions on the Board of Elections are behind this outrage and are working under the direction of Brian Kemp.
So let’s meet the Randolph County Board of Commissioners:
Of course there is Republican Jimmy Bradley and Republican Lamar White. Then there is Republican Wesley Williams…oh wait, he’s a Democrat. So are Commissioners  Stephen Jackson and  Jimmy Allen.
I may only be a lawyer, but doesn’t three Democrats to two Republicans means the Board of Commissioners is Democratic controlled?
Why isn’t this fact not in the news?
Well, maybe it’s just a fluke the Democrats control the County Commission, except that in Randolph County, in addition to the Board of Commissioners, the Tax Commissioner, Sheriff, and Clerk of the Superior Court are all Democrats!
The Democrats and their allies in the press seem to be forgetting this tiny fact. What’s more, the best tie they can make between the decision of the DEMOCRAT BOARD OF ELECTIONS appointed by the DEMOCRAT CONTROLLED Board of Commissioners is that a consultant who made a contribution to Brian Kemp’s campaign made a recommendation that Randolph County certainly didn’t have to take.
Even the AJC is reporting Brian Kemp has said he has no role in the decision and has not recommended to the DEMOCRAT CONTROLLED Randolph County that they eliminate half of their voting locations.
When Democrats and the press attack Republicans for decisions made by Democrats and hide the fact that the decision was solely in the hands of Democrats, that’s what is truly OUTRAGEOUS! 
Yours in freedom,
Jason Shepherd
Chairman, Cobb County Republican Party