Author Topic: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race  (Read 11873 times)

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #105 on: August 12, 2019, 06:44:31 pm »
Monday, 12th August 2019
Can Stacey Abrams Save American Democracy?
by Alexis Okeowo

IT'S AN INTOXICATINGLY HOT June afternoon in Atlanta, and scores of attendees at the African American Leadership Council Summit are watching Stacey Abrams, in a simple black-and-white shift dress, take the stage.

The air, under twinkling hotel chandeliers, is crackling:

Congresswoman Maxine Waters has just declared to the crowd that she is ready to impeach emperor puppetine (to wild applause).

Now it’s Abrams’s turn.

“I have an announcement to make,” she says, and the room is hushed, expectant. “We won.” The audience erupts into cheers, and Abrams takes a moment before adding, “I realize I’m not the governor of Georgia.”

“Yes, you are!” several people shout back.

“I’m not taking the oath of office. I’m not moving into the mansion.”

“OK, OK,” says a woman in the audience.

“They’re saying that because I didn’t get all the numbers I needed, that somehow we failed in our mission. We didn’t fail. In the state of Georgia, we transformed our electorate.”

There is more cheering, and an air of reverence in the room.

Abrams’s run for governor in 2018 ended in a loss of just 54,723 votes—a stunning, public blow.

And yet she emerged from it as a kind of bellwether Democrat, a vision of her party’s future.

She tripled Latino, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander voter turnout and doubled youth participation in her state.

She inspired 1.2 million black Democrats in Georgia to vote for her (more than the total number of Democratic gubernatorial voters in 2014).

And she gained the highest percentage of the state’s white Democratic voters in a generation.

All of this despite widespread reports of voter suppression and a Republican opponent, Brian Kemp—Georgia’s then secretary of state—who oversaw the purging of about 670,000 registered voters in 2017 alone.

Some 53,000 voter registrations were still pending a month ahead of the election.

Abrams refused to concede at first.

“I sat shiva for 10 days,” she tells me.

“Then I started plotting.” Many thought her next move would be a run for the Senate (there was the idea that Joe Biden was courting her as a vice presidential pick, rumors she has dismissed).

But Abrams says her attention shifted to something more vitally important:

saving American democracy itself.

To this end, Abrams set up two nonprofits:

Fair Count, devoted to making sure minority and poor communities are counted in Georgia during the census, and Fair Fight Action, an organization that aims to register new voters in her state and ensure that their votes are included.

Fair Fight Action sued the Georgia board of elections and secretary of state over charges of voter suppression in Abrams’s 2018 race.

The state has unsuccessfully filed a motion to dismiss.

Since then, Abrams has been traveling around the country to give speeches on her new life’s cause.

Abrams’s plain talk on voting rights has become so popular these days that it shows up in the stump speeches of many of the Democratic presidential candidates, including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Beto O’Rourke.

(Warren has called for a constitutional amendment protecting the right to vote.)

Abrams’s fans also include celebrities. Oprah Winfrey, Will Ferrell, and John Legend were among those who came to Georgia to help get out the vote in 2018, and as the leadership summit in Atlanta winds down, I see Alyssa Milano outside the hotel, nearly unrecognizable in a backpack and glasses as she checks her phone.

Abrams’s body woman, Chelsey Hall, greets and hugs her, and then tells her boss in the car that she saw the actress.

“Oh, I was supposed to text her,” Abrams says.

We’re headed to Krog Street Market, an upscale food hall in a renovated warehouse.

Hall is ostensibly taking Abrams to one of her favorite places for dumplings, but it is also a chance for Abrams to show off her appeal.

As soon as she enters the market, people of all ages and races begin approaching her with grins and their phones.

At a soul-food stall, cashiers and cooks surround her.

“Are you a fan of chicken? Are you vegan?” one asks.

Abrams stops.

“Are you asking if I like chicken? I’m a black woman from Mississippi; it’s like my religion,” she says.

The group laughs.

As Abrams makes her way to the exit, a pair of women block her way.

One is so excited, her hands are shaking.

“You gonna run for president?” she asks after they take a photo.

Abrams smiles.

“I’m gonna run for something.”

ABRAMS, 45, GREW UP with five brothers and sisters in Gulfport, Mississippi, a small lick of a city on the Gulf Coast.

Her mother was a librarian at William Carey University, a private Christian college, and her father worked in a shipyard; they were also preachers and ran a restaurant for Abrams’s great-aunt.

She calls her family “working poor”—they supported themselves but were also not strangers to having the power cut off.

When Abrams was 10 or 11, the family attended a church across town, passing a more wealthy neighborhood on the way, and she and her siblings liked to imagine which house they would live in if they won the lottery.

But Abrams’s parents made sure she read, (fiction, mythology, the dictionary, encyclopedias) and watched public television (the news, ballroom dancing, Sesame Street) and did theater.

“They expected us to want more,” Abrams says.

She was a good student, though she didn’t enjoy school, preferring to write on her own—everything from poems to Christian pop and country songs.

She composed her first novel at 12, about her “tortured thoughts of being an outsider,” called The Diary of Angst.

Her youngest sister, Jeanine Abrams McLean, remembers Abrams getting her to pretend to be from a foreign country whenever the two were in public:

“So you had these two black girls in an elevator speaking in a French accent,” McLean says, laughing.

“She was the kind of sibling you could call for anything — I could talk to her about boy problems, career advice, Star Trek.”

After graduating as valedictorian, Abrams ended up at Atlanta’s Spelman College—despite not wanting to go to college in the South (where she’d spent her whole life) or to an all-women’s and all-black school (since she’d never been allowed to date and grew up largely around white kids).

But she went, trusting her mother’s urging, with the intention of becoming a physicist or a writer.

Spelman was a cultural reckoning for her.

“The notion of identity and the way I situated myself as a young person, as a black person, as a Southerner, as a woman—they were all challenged,” Abrams says.

She felt a kind of freedom, dating and exploring new social scenes and running for student office.

“I could experiment and fail in ways that were larger than my family but that weren’t going to ruin my life,” she says.

She learned to take cultural clashes in stride.

At the end of freshman year, her friends put together a slang guide for her because she “had no idea what they were talking about.”

Abrams has always had an outsider perspective—never quite feeling at home at school in Mississippi or at Spelman or at Yale Law School, which she would attend after earning her master’s in public policy at the University of Texas.

She learned how to navigate each environment through close study.

Eliza Leighton, who met Abrams during college, remembers her as having a keen sense of self:

Abrams was “a listener, an observer, and a person making connections,” she says.

As fellow undergraduate Truman Scholars, they stayed up late having detailed conversations about how exactly they would change the world.

In her third year at Yale, often an overwhelming time for most law students, Abrams wrote her first romance novel, the first of eight she would go on to publish under the pen name Selena Montgomery, all with suggestive titles like Hidden Sins, Deception, and Reckless.

She initially wanted to try the spy genre, having loved James Bond movies, but found that publishers didn’t seem interested in such stories with black heroines. Last year, she published her first book under her own name, a blend of memoir and leadership advice titled Lead From the Outside:

How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change. The passages of self-help expectedly veer into the cliché, but the personal narrative about her family (her youngest brother is an addict and in prison), her spiral into debt, and her self-doubt are blunt and engaging. She wonders at one point:

“I was really good at being a black woman, when compared to other black women. But could I be more than that?”

The idea of running for governor came to her 17 years ago: As a young tax lawyer in Atlanta, she sought advice from the only black female partner at the firm. Abrams said she’d been thinking about running for mayor, but the partner encouraged her to think bigger.

So Abrams considered the posts of insurance commissioner and secretary of state, carefully reading the state constitutional descriptions of each (“I am deeply nerdy,” she says).

Eventually, after working on the 2002 campaign of Shirley Franklin, the first black woman to become mayor of Atlanta, Abrams considered the governorship.

“That’s when I realized we can do this,” she recalls.

We are in the living room of her slate-blue Atlanta town house, neutrally decorated and filled with books (among them Ulysses, Michelle Obama’s Becoming, and the cookbook Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat).

It’s the home of a woman who likes to be at home. A sand-colored couch faces a pale fireplace, decorated with family photos, a picture of Abrams with President Obama, and a statuette of Lady Justice.

A tray of chocolate candies has been set on a stand near the dining-room table.

The story Abrams wants to tell about Georgia is about how the state is no longer a foregone political conclusion.

It, and the rest of the Deep South, is changing, she argues.

Whites now make up just over half of the population in Georgia and are expected to be the minority by the end of the next decade. Abrams has worked to reach rural communities of color, and to register folks who have never been part of the political process.

In 2013, as a member of the state legislature, she created a voter-registration nonprofit called the New Georgia Project, which completed 86,000 new voter applications.

That is what began her troubles with Kemp, whom Abrams calls a “cartoon villain” and who alleged that Abrams’s group must have committed misconduct in registering so many voters so quickly.

Although Abrams’s organization was cleared of those charges, Kemp’s office illegally canceled nearly 35,000 voter registrations from 2013 to 2015. Abrams describes more insidious forms of suppression—like the extremely long lines at polling stations in black neighborhoods.

“Voting rights is the foundational issue in American politics and American society,” says Heather McGhee, a political analyst and fellow with the progressive think tank Demos.
“Simply put, if we don’t all have an equal say, how can we expect to have an equal chance?”

ABRAMS IS AN AVOWED INTROVERT who has taken more personality tests than she can remember—but she also has a certain swagger.

While talking with an aide about being recognized in public, she recalls,

“Someone at the airport came up to me and said, ‘Has anyone ever told you that you look like Stacey Abrams?’

And I said, ‘Yeah, my mom.’ ”

She delivers the last line with a confident shrug.

She knows her political influence depends on her going out and spending time with ordinary voters—

“I try to be as committed to those moments as I can be,” Abrams says—but she’s happiest alone. She loves to cook and watches, as she puts it, “an inordinate amount of television”—

from Chopped to the Canadian sci-fi series Travelers and episodes of the cult sitcom Community. She just finished Genki Kawamura’s international bestseller If Cats Disappeared From the World. Abrams wants to write more, too:

a teenage superhero novel that is halfway done, an almost-ready legal thriller, and the last in the trilogy of romance novels.

“I get these plaintive tweets and emails asking if I’ll ever get it done,” she says. “But some of them come from my sisters, so. . . .”

Much of her favorite music remains pre-1999 country:

Travis Tritt, Garth Brooks, Patsy Cline.

Abrams is still surprised at how much people like her. “There’s something about the commonness of my story that resonates, and the averageness of some of my aspect”—she laughs—“and not in a bad way, but people can see themselves in me.”

She tells me she is single and is “terrible” at dating.

“I’m very poor at reading romantic cues,” she says, “and I have had conversations with men that I liked who were like, ‘I liked you, but you didn’t seem interested!’ I had no idea! I thought you were asking me all those questions because you wanted to know what I thought.”

Her romance novels, she tells me, are a form of “self-tutelage,” and she thinks she can get better at dating with practice but has “lived a life that has made practice harder.”

I get around to asking the question so many have asked:

Will she run for president in 2020?

“For me, the calculus is ‘Am I the right person, and is this the necessary time?’ ” Abrams says.

She has been meditating on what she can bring to what she considers an already “solid field of candidates.” The day of the conference, she held meetings with O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg, and she spoke with both of them about the same thing.

“First, I expect candidates to talk about voter suppression,” Abrams says.

“The second is that the South has to be part of any strategy for victory. My mission is to ensure that Georgia is seen as a competitive state for the general election.”

To many Americans, Abrams’s wider platform has been eclipsed by her focus on voter suppression. But if she does decide to run, she says, her policy priorities will remain the same:

expanding Medicaid, raising the minimum wage, enacting criminal justice reform, ensuring reproductive rights.

Abrams is no Democratic Socialist and is content to talk about her values within a traditional capitalist framework.

Her values were made in Georgia, she says. “I think we spend a lot of time figuring out which shade of blue we are on the spectrum, and it depends on where you live, it depends on what’s possible, it depends on how evolved your economy is,” she tells me.

“I’m fighting for getting a state minimum wage above $5.15 an hour. There has to be a recognition that, on the spectrum, progress looks different because of where you are. But that doesn’t mean you don’t dream of more.”

Abrams’s next mission is saving jobs in her state; after Georgia’s passage of one of the most extreme anti-choice bills in the country this past spring, banning abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy, several Hollywood productions have threatened a boycott.

The entertainment industry hires nearly 100,000 people in Georgia and generates $9.5 billion locally.

Abrams doesn’t think a boycott ahead of an election year will sway state legislators, many of whom have staked their platforms on banning abortion.

She is advocating that the only long-term solution is to change the composition of the legislature itself, and as I leave her home, she is getting ready to fly to Los Angeles to meet with studio executives to convince them of the need to invest in voting-rights reform and Democratic campaigns.

Just days earlier, Governor Kemp canceled his own scheduled meeting with the industry. Abrams is not the leader of a state or country yet, but she is already acting like it.

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #106 on: August 14, 2019, 05:50:18 am »

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #107 on: August 15, 2019, 02:10:43 pm »
Thursday, 15th August 2019
Georgia must scrap old voting machines after 2019
by Kate Brumback

(ATLANTA, Ga) — A federal judge overseeing a challenge to Georgia’s outdated voting system said that after years of inaction in the face of warnings about vulnerabilities, state officials have finally taken a solid step in the right direction.

But she foreshadowed a looming fight over the state’s new system, writing that “it may be ‘like ‘déjà vu all over again.’”

U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg’s order on Thursday prohibits the state from using its antiquated paperless touchscreen machines and election management system beyond this year.

She also said the state must be ready to use hand-marked paper ballots if its new system isn’t in place for the March 24 presidential primary election.

“Georgia’s current voting equipment, software, election and voter databases, are antiquated, seriously flawed, and vulnerable to failure, breach, contamination, and attack,” she wrote.

Totenberg also said the plaintiffs would likely win at trial, citing “the mountain of voter testimony showing that these vulnerabilities have a tangible impact on these voters’ attempts to exercise their fundamental right to cast a ballot and have their vote counted.”

Election integrity advocates and individual voters sued Georgia election officials in 2017 alleging that the touchscreen voting machines the state has used since 2002 are unsecure and vulnerable to hacking.

They had asked Totenberg to order an immediate switch to hand-marked paper ballots.

Totenberg had declined a similar request last year ahead of last November’s gubernatorial election, and she again held back from ordering an immediate switch on Thursday, citing concerns about the state’s capacity to make an interim switch to hand-marked paper ballots for special and municipal elections this fall while also working to implement a new system.

This ruling applies only to Georgia, but at least parts of eight other states still use paperless balloting.

Using voter registration and turnout data, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law estimated in a report this week that as many as 12% of voters, or around 16 million people, will vote on paperless equipment in November 2020.

Georgia’s new system , following specifications approved by the Republican-led state legislature, was certified last week by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who said it will be in place for the primaries.

The state’s $106 million contract with Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems includes new touchscreen voting machines that print a paper record with a code that’s read by a scanner.

The plaintiffs in this lawsuit have said the new machines have many of the same vulnerabilities as the old ones.

They also object to the fact that the portion of the printed record that’s read by the scanner is a QR code, not human-verifiable text, meaning voters have to trust that the code accurately reflects their selections.

Totenberg praised the legislation providing for a new system as “an essential step forward out of the quagmire, even if just to terminate use of an antiquated vulnerable voting system.”

“The wisdom or legal conformity of the Secretary of State’s selection of a new vendor’s particular ballot system though is not the question now before the Court,” she wrote, adding in a footnote that a report last year from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends the use of paper ballots because of the vulnerabilities of electronic systems.

Perhaps alluding to the fact that the plaintiffs have said they plan to challenge the new system in court, Totenberg quoted baseball legend Yogi Berra, writing:

“The past may here be prologue anew — it may be ‘like déjà vu all over again.’”

The state, she wrote, has “previously minimized, erased, or dodged the issues underlying this case.”

For that reason, she wrote, she devoted space in her 153-page order to meticulously recounting the history of the case and related actions, or inaction, by the state “to ensure transparency for the future.”

Both sides in the case saw victory in Totenberg’s order.

″(W)e are pleased the Court endorsed the policy decisions of the state’s elected officials to move to a new paper ballot voting system in time for the 2020 elections while not disrupting the 2019 elections,” Raffensperger said in an emailed statement.

“These activist plaintiffs continue fruitlessly attempting to force their preferred policy outcomes on Georgia voters without success.”

Marilyn Marks, executive director of the Coalition for Good Governance, one of the plaintiffs in the case, wrote in an email that it was important that Totenberg “recognized Plaintiffs concerns about the State’s plan to move to another form of electronic voting — electronic ballot marking devices.”

The voters’ right to accountable elections requires hand-marked paper ballots counted by optical scanners with thorough audits, she wrote.

David Cross, a lawyer representing several Georgia voters in the case, called the ruling a “big win for all Georgia voters and those working across the country to secure elections and protect the right to vote.”

The plaintiffs had asked Totenberg to order the state to immediately stop using the current voting machines for special and municipal elections.

They also said they feared that the timeline for the implementation of the new machines is too tight , which could result in the old machines being used for 2020 elections.

Totenberg’s order made it clear she shares that fear, noting that the state had already scaled back a planned pilot program and postponed deadlines for the implementation of the new system.

She ordered election officials to develop a contingency plan in case the new system isn’t in place.

It includes using hand-marked paper ballots in coordination with scanners and other equipment available through the state’s contract with Dominion.

She ordered a pilot of that contingency plan during elections this November.

She also ordered state officials to develop a plan by Jan. 3 to address errors and discrepancies in the state’s voter registration database.

And election officials are instructed to provide each precinct with a paper backup of its voter registration list.

The integrity of Georgia’s voting system was heavily scrutinized during last year’s midterm election, in which Republican Brian Kemp, the state’s top election official at the time, narrowly defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams to become governor.

Totenberg noted that Harri Hursti, a leading voting security expert, discovered flaws in 2006 in the electronic voting machines used in Georgia that forced the manufacturer to create a security patch, but she said there’s no evidence Georgia ever implemented that patch, or made any upgrades to protect the integrity of its machines.

Hursti told The Associated Press that Thursday’s ruling should raise awareness:

He said the vulnerabilities of the machines Totenberg ordered scrapped extend as well to the electronic ballot-marking devices being bought to replace them.

He said “the only viable option” is hand-marked paper ballots that are optically scanned with vigorous audits of the voter’s original marks.

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #108 on: August 26, 2019, 09:21:20 am »
Monday, 26th August 2019
Duffy Ain't Bluffing!
by Michael Leischner

(WASHINGTON, DC) - US Representative Sean Duffy has announced he will be resigning from his position next month due to complications stemming from his wife's pregnancy.

"After eight and a half years, the time has come for me to focus more on the reason we fight these battles – family," said Duffy in a statement on Monday.

Duffy didn't specify what the complications were but did hint that they involved the child's heart.

"It is the right decision for my family, which is my first love and responsibility," he added.

Duffy's wife Rachel is pregnant with the family's 9th child, the couple announced back in May.

Both Sean and Rachel acknowledged back then that they were "on the other side of the bell curve for doing this," but said it felt right because they had high hopes for America's future, adding

"God's not done with our family yet."

Since Duffy's announcement support for his family has been coming in from across the state.

Wisconsin State Senator Tom Tiffany released a statement Monday morning saying he is proud to call Sean a friend, and that he will be greatly missed.

"I would like to thank Congressman Sean Duffy for his service to the people of Northern Wisconsin. I wish Sean, Rachel, and their family the very best with their future plans," he added.

Governor Tony Evers will have to call a special election to fill the vacancy.

It's unclear when that will happen.

Wisconsin's 7th Congressional district has been a Republican stronghold since Duffy first won the seat back in 2010.

During the 2018 election, he defeated Democratic challenger and political newcomer Margaret Engerbretson 60% to 38.5%.

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #109 on: August 28, 2019, 06:56:30 pm »
Wednesday, 28th August 2019
Isakson Will Be Gone!
by James Arkin

Democrats' path to a Senate majority after the 2020 elections got a little wider on Wednesday.

Sen. Johnny Isakson's (R-Ga.) announcement that he will resign later this year due to health problems puts Republicans on defense, with another competitive seat on the ballot in an emerging swing state.

Democrats need to flip three states to win back the Senate if they also capture the White House.
Only two Republicans are up in states the acting-president lost in 2016 — Colorado and Maine — meaning Democrats will have to win in red states to control the chamber.

Republicans now have to defend two seats in Georgia — which is also likely to be competitive in the presidential race — increasing the attention and money required to hold their grip on the rapidly shifting state.

Democrats haven't won a Senate race in Georgia in two decades, and the party had already struggled to recruit top-tier talent to the race after Stacey Abrams passed on running earlier this year.

Abrams said Wednesday she won’t run in a special election, either.

But new Democrats could consider jumping in to run in the special election, and if the party is able to put the state in play, it gives them a two-for-one opportunity.

Nikema Williams, the chair of the state Democratic party, said it has “never been clearer that the path for Democratic victory runs through Georgia.

“We are the battleground state, and Georgia Democrats are ready to fight and deliver both the Senate and the presidency for Democrats across the country in 2020,” Williams said.

Republicans are confident they will be able to hold Isakson’s seat, alongside that of Sen. David Perdue, who is running for a second term.

They point out that Abrams lost the 2018 gubernatorial race in a high-turnout contest — and that Democrats have not attracted top recruits to the first race, let alone to a second.

“Dems were having a hard enough time figuring out who they were going to get behind” against Perdue, said John Watson, a former state gop chairman.

“Now they have the double problem of figuring out two races.”

The developments in Georgia came alongside other significant shifts in Senate contests in recent weeks. National Democrats recruited former Colorado Gov.

John Hickenlooper to drop out of the presidential contest and enter the crowded race to face GOP Sen. Cory Gardner, which Democrats say increased their chances in a must-win state.

But the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's endorsement of Hickenlooper has infuriated progressives and led to vocal backlash from the other candidates.

Meanwhile, in Arizona, appointed Republican Sen. Martha McSally got a primary challenge Wednesday from a wealthy businessman, which could complicate her path against Democrat Mark Kelly, another top party recruit.

Republicans acknowledge that the pending Georgia vacancy is an unwelcome development, but they argue that it was a state they were already confident they could hold.

Some found a silver lining in the effect it would have on the rest of the map.

Dan Eberhart, a major Republican donor, said he thinks the special election strengthens Perdue's reelection bid and makes the state that much more expensive for Democrats in a contest that was already an uphill battle.

“This will ultimately reduce the resources Democrats have in Arizona, Maine, North Carolina and Colorado down the stretch as they strive for two slightly-out-of-reach Senate seats in Georgia,” Eberhart said.

A Republican strategist working on Senate races, however, acknowledged that a second race in Georgia would likely drain the GOP's coffers, as well.

“It’s just another line item in the budget, frankly. That’s the main concern,” the strategist said.

Zac McCrary, a veteran Democratic pollster who works on Senate races, said winning an open seat is easier than ousting an incumbent, and said the race would immediately be among the top half-dozen party targets.

“I think it expands the playing field that has been relatively thin so far,” McCrary said.

“This gives Democrats a wider path to retaking the majority.”

It’s unclear who will ultimately be in the race on either side.

Several Republicans are considered candidates for the appointment after Isakson departs at the end of the year:

Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan; state Attorney General Chris Carr; and Reps. Doug Collins and Tom Graves.

On the Democratic side, operatives listed several potential contenders, including Michelle Nunn, who lost to Perdue in 2014; Jason Carter, who lost the race for governor that year; and Rep. Lucy McBath, who flipped a suburban House district last year.

Asked Wednesday if he would consider running for Senate, Carter, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, said,

"I think anybody would think about it."

Three candidates are already running for Senate against Perdue:

former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry and businesswoman Sarah Riggs Amico, who lost the race for lieutenant governor last year and announced her campaign earlier this week.

All three confirmed they plan on staying in the race against Perdue.

One other potential candidate is Jon Ossoff, who lost an expensive and closely watched special election for Congress in the Atlanta suburbs in 2017.

Ossof is leaning towards running, according to a person who has spoken with him and was granted anonymity to share private conversations.

This week’s developments did not change his timeline but did open up the question of which seat he would run for.

Ossoff has already spoken with potential campaign managers and has had discussions with veteran pollster Fred Yang about working for his potential campaign, according to multiple Democrats familiar with the conversations.

Yang did not return an email requesting comment.

Democrats uniformly considered the vacancy a positive for their chances to win back the chamber, pointing to changing political winds in Georgia.

While Republicans swept the statewide races in 2018, their winning margins over Democrats were narrow.

And Democrats won the Atlanta-area House seat where Ossoff had come up short the year before, another sign of puppetine-era gop weakness in the suburbs.

“This is yet another seat Republicans will need to defend next year in an increasingly competitive battleground where the president’s approval has plunged by double digits since taking office,” said Stewart Boss, a spokesperson for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Republicans cautioned against handicapping the special election until Gov. Brian Kemp appoints Isakson's replacement early next year, and most Republicans kept their comments focused on Isakson's career Wednesday.

Perdue in a statement praised Isakson as a “true statesman,” a sentiment other Republican officials echoed.

Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.), the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, called Isakson a “steadfast conservative leader” for the state.

“He will be missed, but we look forward to the men and women of Georgia electing another strong Republican leader in 2020 alongside David Perdue,” Young said.

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #110 on: August 29, 2019, 04:10:33 am »
Thursday, 29th August 2019
Regina Romero wins Democratic primary in Tucson, could be city's first woman, Latina mayor
by Stephen Nuño-Pérez and Suzanne Gamboa

Regina Romero, a councilwoman in Tucson, Arizona, beat back two Democratic challengers to become the party's mayoral candidate and be in position to potentially become the first Latina and the first woman to serve as the city's mayor.

Romero, 44, who was also the first Latina elected to the city council, will face an independent candidate in the Nov. 5 election.

On Tuesday, she won almost 49.5 percent of the votes, while her main challenger Steve Farley got 37.7 percent and Randi Dorman finished with 12 percent.

While Arizona has historically been dominated by Republicans, Tucson is known as a relatively safe Democratic stronghold.

No Republican ran in the primary, and Libertarian and Green Party candidates received only a few dozen votes each.

Romero is a favorite to win in November 2019.

Tucson has had a Latino mayor before — in 1875.

Mexican American businessman Estevan Ochoa was elected mayor of the city when Arizona was still a territory.

Romero, according to her city of Tucson biography, is the youngest of six children and the first in her family to vote.

She is the daughter of immigrants from Mexico and is an Arizona native.

She most recently has been working as the director of Latino engagement at the Tucson-based Center of Biological Diversity, an environmental and wildlife conservation organization.

On her campaign site, she states that she is running because "we all deserve a safe, clean, just, and sustainable city that provides economic opportunity to all working families."

A political action committee connected to CHISPA, a Tucson environmental justice group focused on Latinos and a program of the League of Conservation Voters, had worked during the primaries to educate Latino voters on the disproportionate impact climate change has on them.

CHISPA's Vianey Olivarria said the group's PAC backed Romero's mayoral bid and worked on her behalf to improve her name recognition and spread word about her experience in community service and her work on the city council.

"We support a candidate that puts community and environment first," the PAC said in a July endorsement.

The group called her a "bold environmentalist" in a Fakebook post after she won the primary Tuesday.

Tucson was not the only city with an election. Phoenix held a widely anticipated special election to determine the fate of its light rail.

Proposition 105 was viewed by activists and Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego as an attempt by corporate and outside interests to kill public transportation; the proposition called for prohibiting spending on light rail expansion.

The proposition lost by an almost 2-to-1 margin, with 62 percent of voters striking down the measure, and just under 38 percent supporting it.

Latino precincts in Phoenix do not appear to have been a big factor in the special election.

Conservatives have sought to end light rail expansion, largely framing the project as economically unviable and one that would serve few people.

Those arguments have often been viewed by activists as opposition to investment in minority and poor communities.

With higher voter turnout and voter participation in Tucson and Phoenix, experts are wondering if these results portend a higher voter interest in Arizona politics.

Tucson and Phoenix make up a third of Arizona's population and Phoenix has traditionally served as a weather vane for Arizona politics.

Last year, Krysten Sinema, who is a Democrat, won the U.S. Senate election and Democrats took several statewide offices, including treasurer, secretary of state and the superintendent of public education.

Arizona's federal delegation in Washington is majority Democratic, with five out of nine in the U.S. House being Democrats, along with Senator Sinema.

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #111 on: August 30, 2019, 10:03:46 pm »
Saturday, 31st August 2019
Path To Exile
by Christal Hayes

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – While all eyes are on who could be the future occupant of the Executive Mansion, the battle over control in both chambers of Congress is also heating up, especially as more than a dozen lawmakers have announced their retirement.

The retirements, most of which were announced by Republicans, open up a series of key races ahead of the 2020 elections as Republicans try to fend off Democrats aiming to take control of the Senate and maintain, or perhaps grow, their majority in the House.

Here is the list of lawmakers who have announced they aren't running to keep their seats in 2020.


So far, 13 members of the House have announced they won't be running in 2020, including 11 Republicans and two Democrats.
Many of the retirements were announced over the last several weeks, including by four Republicans in Texas.

Among those leaving Congress are two of House Republicans' 13 women, including the female lawmaker that was tasked with recruiting more conservative women and minorities to the body.

John Shimkus: Republican representing Illinois' 15th District

Rep. John Shimkus announced Friday that he would not run for re-election in 2020. He announced his decision on KMOX radio in St. Louis.

He said in a statement that he was looking forward to his "next chapter of life."

Shimkus, who has represented the district since 2003, won about 70 percent of the vote in 2018 in a solidly red district, which puppetine won in 2016.

Kenny Marchant: Republican representing Texas' 24th District

Rep. Kenny Marchant, an eight-term veteran, announced he wouldn't run for re-election on Aug. 5. Marchant, 68, was re-elected by a 3 percentage-point margin last year from his suburban district between Dallas and Fort Worth.

He'd won by 17 percentage points in 2016 and by 33 percentage points in 2014.

"I am looking forward to finishing out my term and then returning to Texas to start a new chapter," Marchant said in a statement.

Will Hurd Republican representing Texas' 23rd District

Rep. Will Hurd, the lone Black Republican in the House and a strong critic of President Donald Trump, announced Aug. 1 that he will not seek re-election.

In 2018, Hurd won a very slim victory — less than 1,000 votes — in his western Texas district.

"I have made the decision to not seek reelection for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas in order to pursue opportunities outside the halls of Congress to solve problems at the nexus between technology and national security," Hurd wrote on Twitter.

Mike Conaway Republican representing Texas' 11th District

Rep. Michael Conaway announced July 31 that he won’t seek a ninth term representing a sprawling West Texas congressional district.

Conaway announced his decision at a news conference in Midland.

In a statement, he said that while serving in the House, he had asked his family "to make innumerable sacrifices."

He said the time had come for him to put his family first.

Martha Roby Republican representing Alabama's 2nd District

Rep. Martha Roby, who has represented much of Montgomery and southeast Alabama in the House of Representatives since 2011, said July 26 that she will not run for re-election.

Roby did not specify a reason for her departure from Congress in a statement emailed and posted on Twitter, saying that she and her family "will be forever grateful to the people of AL-02 for giving us the tremendous privilege & honor of serving our state & country."

Pete Olson Republican representing Texas' 22nd District

Rep. Pete Olson said July 25 he won’t seek re-election in 2020, giving up his House seat that Democrats were already targeting for next year.

Olson said he’ll retire after his sixth term to “be a more consistent presence” with family.

He narrowly won re-election in 2018 in his suburban Houston district.

Paul Mitchell Republican representing Michigan's 10th District

Rep. Paul Mitchell, a wealthy businessman who spent millions of his own money to win a seat in Congress, said July 24 that he will step down after just two terms.

Mitchell, who replaced former Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, in 2017, after she stepped down, represents a safely Republican district, which includes parts of Macomb County and the Thumb.

Susan Brooks Republican representing Indiana's 5th District

Rep. Susan Brooks, one of only 13 Republican women in the House as well as the head of gop recruitment for 2020, announced she would not run for re-election in an exclusive interview with USA TODAY on June 14.

“While it may not be time for the party, it’s time for me personally,” Brooks, 58, said.

Democrats have been eyeing her district, which includes the wealthy northern Indianapolis suburban areas, as potentially flippable as Republican support has eroded in some suburban areas under puppetine.

Rob Woodall Republican representing Georgia's 7th District

Rep. Rob Woodall, who barely escaped defeat last year in a suburban Atlanta seat once considered safe for gop candidates, announced Feb. 7 that he won’t seek re-election in 2020.

Woodall’s district was one of two Georgia congressional seats targeted in the 2018 midterms by Democrats.

He won his fifth term by fewer than 450 votes.

"I have realized over this past year of change—both in politics and in my family—that the time has come for me to pass the baton and move to the next chapter," Woodall said in a statement.

Rob Bishop Republican representing Utah's 1st District

Rep. Rob Bishop announced back in Aug. 2017 that he planned to retire and not run again in 2020.

First elected in 2002 to the heavily red Utah district, Bishop plans to retire at the end of his current term, when his service in committee leadership expires under gop rules.

He has served as chairman of the powerful House Natural Resources Committee, and is now its ranking member.


Five members of the Senate have announced they won't run for re-election in 2020, including four Republicans.

Democrats are hoping to take control of the chamber as they did with the House in 2018.

In the midterms, though, Senate Republicans were not only able to fend off Democrats, they also picked up two seats.

But the 2020 election will differ from the midterms as the acting-president will be on the ballot.

Voter sentiment about puppetine is likely to play a bigger role in determining who turns out at the polls and which party they support.
In 2020, Democrats need to gain four seats, only three if they take the Executive Mansion.

Twelve Democrats and 22 Republicans are up for re-election in 2020.

Many of the gop seats are in red states that previously voted for puppetine but the retirement announcements could help in a number of key races.

Mike Enzi Republican representing Wyoming

Sen. Mike Enzi announced on May 4 that he would not run for a fifth term in 2020.

Enzi, 75, announced his pending retirement in his hometown of Gillette, where he owned a shoe store and “never intended to get into politics.”

With Enzi’s retirement, Wyoming will have its first open Senate seat in more than a decade, though it’s expected to remain in Republican hands.

Tom Udall Democrat representing New Mexico

Sen. Tom Udall announced March 25 that he would not seek re-election in 2020, though the seat is favored to remain in Democratic control.
Udall said he believes he could win another term “but the worst thing anyone in public office can do is believe that the office belongs to them, rather than to the people they represent."

Pat Roberts Republican representing Kansas

Sen. Pat Roberts, the longest-serving member of Congress in Kansas history, announced on Jan. 4 that he won’t run again in 2020, setting up a scramble to replace him in a gop-leaning state where Democrats are energized by key victories in last year’s midterm elections.

The 82-year-old, four-term senator was likely to have faced grueling primary and general election contests next year.

Lamar Alexander Republican representing Tennessee

After roughly a quarter-century in elected office, Sen. Lamar Alexander will retire in 2020.

The former Republican governor, who has served in the Senate since first being elected in 2002, announced in December 2018 that he will not seek a fourth term in the upper chamber.

Alexander is chairman of the key Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, which handles everything from education policy to issues with the Affordable Care Act.

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #112 on: September 04, 2019, 07:43:50 am »
Wednesday, 4th September 2019
No More Flores!
by Rashaan Ayesh

Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) of 17th district announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election in 2020, becoming the fifth Texas Republican — and the 15th Republican overall — to retire from the House this term.

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #113 on: September 05, 2019, 08:17:32 am »
Thursday, 5th September 2019
Sensenbrenner Is Not A Winner!

Rep. jim sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin) is retiring after more than 40 years in Congress.

The 76-year-old Republican, who is the second-most senior member of the House, announced Wednesday that he will not be seeking reelection in 2020.

He will serve out the rest of his 21st term in Congress, which ends in January 2021.

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #114 on: September 06, 2019, 01:17:09 pm »
Friday, 6th September 2019
Howard Ducks!
by Aine Cain

Howard Schultz, the former Starbucks CEO, is officially calling off his run on the Executive Mansion.

The billionaire announced his decision in a letter posted to his website Friday.

Schultz wrote that "extreme voices currently dominate the national dialogue, often with a vitriol that crowds out and discourages thoughtful discussions," while the "exhausted majority" has "largely tuned out" of the process.

Schultz has been an outspoken critic of puppetine, as well as more left-leaning Democrats.

He has consistently expressed an extremely centrist ideology, decrying the vilification of capitalism and labeling the word "billionaire" an insult.

In his letter, Schultz cited "vitriol," the lack of support for independent candidates in the race against puppetine, and election rules as motivating factors in his decision to drop out.

Democrats, and even fellow billionaire Warren Buffett, expressed worries that an independent bid by Schultz would siphon votes away from a Democratic presidential candidate.

Business Insider's Kate Taylor previously reported in February that polls weren't showing Schultz much love, either.

An Insider survey found that, of 1,093 respondents, a majority of people said they were "not at all familiar" with the presidential candidate.

But the former Starbucks CEO's announcement is far from a surprise.

He was previously reported to have slowed down his presidential bid thanks to centrist Democratic candidate Joe Biden's involvement in the race.

Schultz previously halted his campaigning after a back injury sustained in April that required three surgeries, which he also cited in his announcement.

"I implore my fellow Americans not to become hopeless or complacent," Schultz wrote.

"We each have a responsibility, and a chance, to help our country reform its politics and live up to its ideals. How we do so is a journey we all must take. To everyone who has joined my journey, especially my family, my gratitude is limitless."

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #115 on: September 30, 2019, 08:28:41 am »
Monday, 30th September 2019
Mac Thornberry In A Hurry!!!
by Patrick Svitek

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Clarendon, announced Monday that he will not seek reelection in 2020, making him the sixth GOP congressman from Texas to say he's retiring in recent weeks.

"It has been a great honor for me to represent the people of the 13th District of Texas for the last 25 years," he said in a statement.

“We are reminded, however, that 'for everything there is a season,' and I believe that the time has come for a change.

Therefore, I will not be a candidate for reelection in the 2020 election."

Thornberry joins five other Texas Republicans in Congress who are not running for reelection — U.S. Reps. Kenny Marchant, Pete Olson, Mike Conaway, Will Hurd and Bill Flores.

But Thornberry's exit is somewhat different from other Republicans' shocking retirements over the summer.

The last remaining Texan from the class of 1994 and the dean of the GOP delegation, Thornberry was expected by many to retire soon.

He will turn over his post leading the Republican side of the House Armed Services Committee in January 2021, thanks to Republican term limits for committee chairmanships.

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #116 on: September 30, 2019, 05:50:14 pm »
Monday, 30th September 2019
Collins Has Fallen!!!
by Deirdre Walsh

New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins is resigning, according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office.

Collins is expected to appear in court tomorrow and multiple news organizations have reported he is expected to plead guilty to charges involving insider trading.

Collins was the first House Republican to endorse Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

His resignation will not take effect until the House meets in a pro forma session on Tuesday.

The Western New York Republican was arrested in August 2018 after a federal grand jury accused him of sharing material, non public information about Innate, an Australian biotech company.

Collins was on the company's board of directors and passed along information about the results of drug trials — that information allowed them to make timely stock trades and avoid over $768,000 in losses, according to court documents.

He was charged with multiple counts, including securities fraud, wire fraud, and making false statements.

Collins was indicted along with his son, Cameron, and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron's fiancée.

An entry on the docket for Collins' case on Monday noted:

"Change of Plea Hearing scheduled for 10/1/2019 at 03:00 PM."

Collins' son and Zarsky are scheduled to appear on court on Thursday.

The move to change his plea comes more than a year after the Buffalo News reported Collins turned down a plea deal.

The newspaper also reported the Collins submitted his resignation effective immediately to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

"We are in receipt of a letter of resignation," Drew Hammill, Pelosi's deputy chief of staff, told NPR.

"It will be laid down on the House Floor tomorrow during pro forma. Resignation will be effective at that time."

Collins' office declined to comment and referred questions to his attorney, who did not respond to NPR.

Initially after his indictment, Collins said he would withdraw from his reelection campaign in 2018, but he changed his mind and narrowly won his race over Nate McMurray, a Democratic town supervisor.
The acting-president won the district by 25 points in 2016.

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #117 on: October 19, 2019, 11:48:25 am »
Saturday, 19th October 2019

Senator Bernie Sanders in New York City with Representative Ocasio-Cortez

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders held a rally in New York City.

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #118 on: October 19, 2019, 01:08:30 pm »
Saturday, 19th October 2019
Rooney Goes Off Duty!!!
by Laurie Kellman

(WASHINGTON, DC) — Florida Rep. Francis Rooney, one of the few Republicans openly weighing whether to impeach the acting-president, said Saturday he will not run for re-election.

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #119 on: October 28, 2019, 04:03:15 am »
Monday, 28th October 2019
Tyler Perry Studios to Host Next Democratic Debate
by Karu F. Daniels

Tyler Perry is playing for keeps.

Not only did the former chitlin circuit czar-turned-millionaire movie mogul make the good old white boy Hollywood system gag with the star-studded opening of his very own historic (and gargantuan) Atlanta-based studio, he’s about to make a splash within the political arena.

Tyler Perry Studios will host the November 20 Democratic presidential debate, CBS46 first reported.

Situated on what was once the Fort McPherson Army base — where southern soldiers who defiantly fought to keep black people enslaved during the Civil War were trained and housed — the 330-acre lot will be the place to be next month when presidential hopefuls Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, and Tom Seyer have their next showdown.

Other Atlanta sites reportedly considered for the fifth Democratic presidential debate were North of Buckhead and the Gateway Center Arena.

But according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the city’s mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms played a hand in having it at Perry’s studios — which ironically has a replica of The Executive Mansion on its grounds.

On Saturday night, former Georgia governor candidate Stacey Abrams confirmed on Twitter that the $250 million studio will be the official site for the debate.

Last Wednesday, MSNBC announced that Ashley Parker, Kristen Welker, Rachel Maddow and Andrea Mitchell would serve as the all-women panel of moderators of the debate, which is scheduled to air from 9 to 11 p.m. E.T.

Wouldn’t it be really fun and exciting to get a certain pistol packing, racket-running grandma — who Perry has played in a series of hit movies and stage-plays — to be a part of the high wattage festivities?

After all, the location can be considered The House That Madea Built.

Certainly more eyeballs would be tuned in for what is expected to be more of the same.

I know: wishful thinking.
But like with all things Tyler Perry, possibilities are limitless.

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