In Georgia, the subterranean movement to dump Donald Trump as a presidential candidate at the Republican National Convention will begin this Saturday, when county GOP conventions are held across the state.
Even before Tuesday’s winner-take-all contests in Florida and Ohio, GOP operatives have quietly conceded that one of two scenarios is now likely to face Republicans in Cleveland this July: Either Trump will have the delegates he needs to be the nominee, or he won’t — and 2,472 delegates present will do the job after a first ballot.
“Everybody is locked into their first vote. Following that, it’s the wild, wild West. There’ll be a lot of action that occurs for the subsequent vote,” said Scott Johnson, former chairman of the Cobb County GOP and a grass-roots co-chairman for the Ted Cruz effort in Georgia.
Which means that, as Trump delegates from here and other states are selected, their secondary loyalties become very, very important. Call it the hunt for double agents, or at least covert sympathizers. Nominating slates are being drawn up this week, Johnson said.
Bloomberg has a lengthy piece this morning about the shadowy efforts — particularly by the Cruz campaign — to find unbound delegates for Trump who might be willing to leave him at the altar. A taste:
At Cruz’s Houston headquarters, a six-person team overseen by political operatives, lawyers, and data analysts is effectively re-enacting the primary calendar, often with the aim of placing double agents in Trump slates. The ability to pick up new adherents during the state-convention phase invites Trump’s rivals to look anew at the map of his victories, based on the rules governing individual states. The 36 delegates Trump won in Alabama will be bound to him throughout the nominating process, but the 40 he won in Georgia are free to vote for whomever they choose after the first ballot. Georgia holds its county conventions on Saturday to select delegates for district conventions a month later—the week’s most important stop on the shadow-campaign trail. “We’re making resource allocations based upon stopping Donald Trump,” says Roe. “There’s several scenarios where he doesn’t make 1,237.”
On Saturday, conventions will pick delegates to congressional district conventions to be held April 16, and the state convention in Augusta on June 3 and 4. Both matter.
The fights over campus carry and religious liberty that have raged at the state Legislature aren’t the only debates getting widespread attention.
The Guardian and other international outlets took notice of legislation approved last week that would allow up to $2 million in state funding for crisis pregnancy centers dubbed “fake abortion clinics” by some critics. From the Guardian’s story:
The bill, which specifies that abortion care should not be mentioned when discussing healthcare options for pregnant women, will now go before Governor Nathan Deal for his signature.
Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) are non-medical facilities that seek to counsel women out of having abortions. Many of these clinics have confusing names and advertising that suggest they provide abortion services, and others provide misleading medical information to discourage women from having abortions.
Often, counselors will tell women that condoms are ineffective, that they will be unable to get pregnant again if they have an abortion, and that abortion and birth control cause cancer. There are more than 4,000 CPCs in the US and at least 12 states fund CPCs directly.
Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill has received an unusual endorsement in his re-election bid for sheriff that features four primary challengers. From our AJC colleague Tammy Joyner:
Gwenevere McCord, the woman Hill accidentally shot last year, threw her support behind the sheriff in a 12-second robocall to county voters late last week.
“Hi! This is Gwenevere McCord and on May 24 I will be voting for Sheriff Victor Hill because he’s the most effective sheriff this county has ever had. Please join my family and I and vote Sheriff Victor Hill,” the Jonesboro resident said in the recording.
It is believed to be the first time McCord, who was critically injured in the shooting, has publicly made any statement about Hill, who is seeking a third term as sheriff.
So will business attire do, or is something more formal required? Nydia Tisdale, the citizen-journalist arrested at a public GOP gathering of candidates in North Georgia after she failed to stop her video camera, has issued this invitation on her Facebook page:
You are cordially invited to attend the Arraignment of Nydia Tisdale before Honorable Judge Bonnie C. Oliver
Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.
Dawson County Superior Court
25 Justice Way, Dawsonville, Georgia 30534
There she will be arraigned on charges of criminal trespass and obstructing a law enforcement officer. If you don’t recall the 2014 incident, here’s a refresher. It all happened in front of Gov. Nathan Deal.
And it has particular relevance today, given Donald Trump’s tendency to declare his events to be private affairs – in order to better control who is allowed in and who can be escorted out. Forcefully or otherwise.
In a post last week, we told you about the email eruption that happened between former Mayor Shirley Franklin and the Rev. Joe Beasley over a protest at Franklin’s home by parents upset by Atlanta Public Schools’ “turnaround” plan.
We also mentioned the speech from the well of the state Senate by Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, condemning the protest. Fort is often mentioned as a potential candidate for mayor in 2017.
So we’re obliged to also point you to the Facebook page of Cathy Woolard, an announced candidate for mayor. She likewise came down on Franklin’s side:
I have been involved in protests and political strategy for, let’s say a very long time, and this protest at former Mayor Shirley Franklin’s home misses on both counts.
As political strategy, you make change by finding the lever that can get you the change you want and attempt to push or pull that lever. In this case, the focus of any strategy to change the decision on how to manage schools that aren’t turning the corner fast enough rests with the Superintendent and School Board. Not the Board Chair of an organization that has demonstrated it can turn schools around and has no vote in the matter.
And to protest on the private property of someone puts both the protesters and the homeowner in harms way. Our town wrote the book on effective protest and this action dishonors both the tradition and the former Mayor.
I grant the angry parents that the plan could have been rolled out in a more thoughtful manner. But it’s not too late to continue to listen, share information and address concerns and misinformation about big and hopefully positive changes to come. We owe each other that. But we also owe Shirley Franklin the respect she has earned many times over as a servant leader and a change agent for good for longer than the protesters are able to remember.