The runoff for chairmanship of the Cobb County Commission just got a little more interesting. Republican incumbent Tim Lee says increases in property tax assessments have caused him to recommend a decreased millage rate. From the Marietta Daily Journal:
As a result of that growth, Lee [said] Tuesday he is set to propose a general fund millage rate of 6.82 mills — down from the current 7.12 mills — while the fire service rate and debt service rate would each go down by 0.1 mill to 2.96 and 0.23 mills, respectively.
Three public hearings are required before commissioners can approve the millage at their meeting on July 26 — being held the night of the runoff between Lee and retired Col. Mike Boyce for the county chairman seat; Boyce advanced from the May 24 primary with 49.1 percent of the vote to Lee’s 40.4 percent, with retired businessman Larry Savage taking 10.5 percent.
Lee says his recommendation has nothing to do with the election calendar. Boyce, his rival, is expressing some skepticism.
At least we know something happened. On Monday, Buzzfeed had a dispatch about a rather foggy incident that happened while Republican presidential presumptive Donald Trump was at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta:
A Georgia Republican Party official was thrown out of a Donald Trump event last week, according to two sources.
Michael McNeely, the first vice chair of the Georgia Republicans, was escorted out of Atlanta’s Fox Theatre by Secret Service after being told there was “no more room for you” by Trump campaign state director Brandon Phillips, according to a party official briefed on the incident. The official requested anonymity said they were not authorized to speak on behalf of the party.
This morning, McNeely sent us the following statement:
Last week, an event staffer and I had a discussion about room access. Security surrounding a Presidential candidate being what it is, he couldn’t relent from protocol and I left the building.
There were no ill feelings. We’re looking forward to defeating Hillary Clinton and working together to elect Donald Trump as the next president of the United States. Efforts made by the media to question our unity is nonsense and has no basis in fact.
Here’s why the incident is worth noting: The Trump event at the Fox specifically emphasized an appeal to black voters in Georgia and elsewhere. As first vice president, McNeely is the ranking African-American in the Georgia GOP hierarchy.
At a New York City meeting with Christian evangelicals on Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump won a standing ovation after he promised to end a ban on church politicking, enforced through the granting of tax-exempt status. From the Washington Post:
“I think maybe that will be my greatest contribution to Christianity — and other religions — is to allow you, when you talk religious liberty, to go and speak openly, and if you like somebody or want somebody to represent you, you should have the right to do it,” Trump said. A ban was put in place by President Lyndon Johnson on tax-exempt groups making explicit political endorsements. Religious leaders in America today, Trump said, “are petrified.”
They may not be going as delegates, but most of Georgia’s Republican elite are headed to Cleveland next month to witness Donald Trump’s coronation. Or a palace revolt. Whichever happens.
Gov. Nathan Deal, who until this week was undecided about making the trip, said Tuesday he is headed to the convention and will lead a panel on his criminal justice initiatives.
He was the last remaining top Republican in Georgia who hadn’t committed to the convention. While Attorney General Sam Olens and Public Service Commissioner Bubba McDonald are the only statewide elected officials Georgia is sending to Cleveland as part of its contingent of 76 delegates, other top leaders are attending as guests.
That includes House Speaker David Ralston, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Secretary of State Brian Kemp and U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Johnny Isakson.
Speaking of the governor, he went after your humble Insider correspondents – and the Georgia GOP – with gusto on Tuesday. “I’ll send you a dictionary so you can learn how to spell valedictorian,” he told us – and it wasn’t because of a typo. Read more about why here.
The political arm of the conservative Club for Growth announced a six-figure ad buy in favor of State Sen. Mike Crane’s runoff bid for the open Third District congressional seat.
The 30-second television and digital ad, entitled “Real Deal” (perhaps a jab at Gov. Nathan Deal, with whom Crane has feuded?), began airing yesterday across the district and highlights Crane’s day job as a construction company owner and vote against tax increases in the legislature. The group endorsed Crane back in April. Watch here:
Crane is tangling with dentist and former West Point mayor Drew Ferguson in next month’s GOP runoff for the seat, and the race for endorsements has heated up in recent weeks. The Ferguson campaign on Monday announced the support of seven local sheriffs after Crane drew criticism from law enforcement over his remarks regarding ‘no-knock’ warrants.
We told you yesterday that Sandy Springs-based UPS had bowed out of any sponsorship of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland (and the Democratic one in Philadelphia, too). But after Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus’ endorsement of Donald Trump earlier this month, his former company has found itself the object of a boycott effort — and is likewise declaring itself Switzerland. From Dolia Estevez with Forbes magazine:
The Home Depot took the unusual step of disassociating the company from its cofounder’s endorsement of Trump. “Bernie Marcus retired from the company 14 years ago, so he is not speaking on behalf of The Home Depot. The company does not endorse Presidential candidates,” Stephen Holmes, Director of Corporate Communications at The Home Depot, told me.
Bernie Sanders, still a Democratic candidate for president, has gotten some formal pushback on his proposal to do away with his party’s system of superdelegates, who are free to back any presidential candidate they like. And who aren’t supporting him. From Salon:
“The Democratic Members of the Congressional Black Caucus recently voted unanimously to oppose any suggestion or idea to eliminate the category of Unpledged Delegate to the Democratic National Convention (aka Super Delegates) and the creation of uniform open primaries in all states,” a letter sent to the Sanders campaign, Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz over the weekend read.
Our AJC colleague David Wickert has a piece today on a surge in Latino voter registration in Georgia. But at least for the immediate future, statewide races will have to be awfully close to count these new voters as swing ballots:
Some 16,254 Latinos joined the state’s roll of active voters from October to April, an increase of nearly 20 percent, according to records maintained by the Secretary of State’s Office.
According to Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office, the number of registered Latino voters jumped by about 20 percent in recent months; Asian Americans grew by 16 percent. However, the two voting blocs combined are still less than 5 percent of the state’s electorate.
Right now, Latinos account for just 2.1 percent of the Georgia’s 4.9 million active voters, but Gonzalez expects the pace of registration to pick up as the November election approaches.