Election Night: What I’m Watching

Today’s Courier Herald Column:

Today’s the day.  This chapter in the never ending campaign cycle is over at 7pm.  We then count the votes, which hopefully will be mercifully decisive by the wee hours of the morning.  I don’t believe the country is in much of a mood to tolerate a recount of Bush-Gore proportions.

If I had to hazard a guess, I still believe we’re looking at the Presidential race coming down to Ohio.  If Mitt Romney loses Virginia or Florida, the race is over.  If President Obama loses Pennsylvania, the race is over.  If there’s a wild card in the mix, it’s Wisconsin.  Its 10 electoral votes are just enough to give Romney a narrow path to victory should Ohio not end up in his column tonight.

Despite the proper focus paid to the presidential race, however, there are quite a few things here in Georgia that are worth watching.  Expect the word “supermajority” to be used a lot during local election coverage.  Republicans need 5 House members and 2 Senate seats to have a 2/3 majority in both chambers.  The significance of this is that it would allow Republicans to pass constitutional amendments through the legislature strictly along party lines.

Many observers believe Republican supermajorities would provide what is needed to change the constitutional limit of 159 counties and allow for the reformation of Milton County from much of North Fulton.  Rural Republicans are reluctant to support Milton’s breakaway as there is a perception that it would allow a large and powerful block of Georgia’s citizens to retreat further into the suburban Atlanta mindset which doesn’t have to deal directly with the issues facing rural or urban Georgia.  As a result, the effect of creating a supermajority to obtain Milton County is often overstated.

One of those Senate seats Republicans hope to pick up is the seat currently held by Doug Stoner of Cobb County. Hunter Hill of Buckhead is challenging Stoner for the Republicans. Even if Republicans fall short of achieving their supermajority, a victory by Hill is still significant for ending Fulton County as we know it.  Hill would help provide Republicans with either equal or majority footing in the Fulton delegation with respect to local legislation.

It appears the near term strategy for those who wish to re-create Milton County will first submit legislation to reorganize Fulton County and put many of the county government’s functions into that of municipalities.  Very little of Fulton remains unincorporated and passing off most government functions to the cities within the county would, in effect, push the elections for those that control the taxes and spending for most functions to a more local level than what is currently possible county wide.  It’s a solution that solves many of the goals a breakaway Milton county would solve without as high of a legislative hurdle to implement.

Of course, I’ll also be looking at the constitutional amendments.  I fully expect Amendment 2 to pass though I am voting against it.  Amendment 1 which would allow for the State Charter School Commission will have political implications well beyond this election.  The last minute decision by Atlanta Tea Party Patriots leader Debbie Dooley to lead the charge against the measure will remain in the memory of elected officials for some time to come.

The Public Service Commission races will provide a bit of topics for the inside baseball crowd.  The positions are not as high profile as many races, so it will be interesting to see if there is much of a vote difference between the two Republican incumbents.  If most people vote party lines, then both Stan Wise and Chuck Eaton should win comfortably.

Wise, however, has generally been used as the poster candidate for closeness with insiders and a general refusal to campaign for his six year, six figure state job.  As Wise has no Democratic opponent, David Staples of the Libertarian party is likely to set a new high water mark for his party’s statewide candidates.

That’s the overview. Let’s get to the counting.


  1. Charter Schools Amendment looks a whole lot more like Trauma Care 1.2 than it does TSPLOST 2.0, but I can’t call the outcome. I don’t think either side is over 50% yet. That contest is tighter than teeth, as they say.

  2. debbie0040 says:

    I have not led the charge against the charter amendment. If I really wanted to defeat the charter amendment, I would have not waited until the last minute and I would have waged a campaign against it like T-SPLOST. Even in the email that was sent out, I never once told people to vote no and I stated my reasons why I could not support it. I never attacked elected officials nor anyone else for supporting the charter amendment.

    If these elected officials have a problem with me not ignoring my principles of local control and limited government and not following their lead like a robot, then so be it. It works both ways….

    • Bob Loblaw says:

      If TEA Party activists don’t have a problem with their Leaders lining up behind the Educratic liberals that are failing our students, then so be it. If you think they have any desire for limited government, then it’s time for you to hang up your cleats. They are stiff-arming the parents of kids stuck in underachieving schools and aren’t even trying to work with them. That’s local control? It’s big government out of control.

      I like how you’re already backpedaling with your “If I really wanted to defeat the Charter Amendment” talk.

      • KD_fiscal conservative says:

        Sorry to say Debbie, regardless where I stand the charter amendment issue, or on any of “your candidates” its very clear that any “power” you thought you had in the past, is all dried up. You can hold as many press conferences or send as many emails as you want to make yourself feel important, but your not going to be able influence elections any more than that 1 vote we are all entitled to. There is a whole list of examples from this cycle of how people just don’t care what you think(in many of those case I was on your side, but that’s beyond the point).

      • debbie0040 says:

        Bob, another question is how conservatives
        Will respond to some elected officials campaigning. On
        Behalf in the largest tax increase in Georgia history
        With T SPLOST and also raising money for the campaign

        • Bob Loblaw says:

          Boy. That was coherent.

          T-SPLOST is over. Where’s your lawsuit?

          You’re like Uncle Rico. Livin’ in the past.

      • John Konop says:

        I have been one of the loudest voices in the state against No Child Left Behind and the current system. With that said, I voted no on this amendments via lack of controls. As far as Debbie, she has done a very good job researching and informing voters about this issue. I give Debbie credit for taking a hard stance on a controversial issue. Agree or not it took guts!

    • mlowry says:

      “The last minute decision by Atlanta Tea Party Patriots leader Debbie Dooley to lead the charge against the measure will remain in the memory of elected officials for some time to come.”

      I would be more concerned that TSPLOST and Amendment 1 remain in the memory of voters for some time to come. They work for us, not the other way around.

  3. John Konop says:

    If Obama wins it will come down to three issues.

    1) The lack of support for a Dream Act and harsh overtones ie Latino vote in the west
    2) Auto bailout letter in NYT from Romney ie Midwest…..
    3) Harsh insensitive views on woman ie rape and birth control…………. Not only did this help Obama but it will cost the GOP the senate.

    The sad part is the above three issues drowned out real debate on entitlement reform, role of military, education………………………This is an election Romney should of won by more than 2 points………………Unless the GOP changes their harsh stance on birth control, rape and immigration it will be tougher and tougher for them in the future.

    • Trey A. says:

      Yup, it’s called “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.” Romney the shapeshifter had to run too far right for too long. Santorum and Newt hurt him. He’s come back to the middle now, but he should have long ago found the “shelf space” to paint himself as a moderate and a reformer at least in terms of immigration.

    • Bob Loblaw says:


      39% of women say abortion is their #1 issue. In 2012. Not 1973.

      Anti-abortion groups forcing state legislatures to the right are having an effect. Women are getting sick of it. 2nd to abortion, at 19%, is jobs. 20% more are worried about pregnancy than getting a job.

      Advantage, Dems.

      Add to #1, above, by Konop and you’ve got Latinos and Women voting to keep things from beign taken from them. Advantage, Dems.

      TEA Party to the right + Social Cons off the edge on the right = swell of voter turnout in the middle to left to simply push back the GOP.

      Play to the base, boys. You’re creating a new generation of Democrats.

    • KD_fiscal conservative says:

      I agree completely. I’ve commented on this for a while….ever since the resurgence of the far-right in 2009-2010. An Obama win, considering the economic numbers(including consumer confidence, joblessness) and approval ratings, would be unprecedented.

      The only ones to blame would be the right wing wackjobs that turned the GOP primary into a freakshow.

    • Daddy Got A Gun says:

      Is the opposite true? If Romney wins, would it be for the following reasons?

      1) Tough enforcement of our immigration laws
      2) Lawful restructuring of businesses, not bailouts of unions and the expense of the rule of law and bondholders/pensioners.
      3) Protection of human life

      I doubt either 3 will have any bearing on the results. This is the first time, we have a vision of America so diametrically different. Usually we have a choice of a Democrat pushing for bigger government and a Republican pushing for bigger government, just not as big. This time our choice is much different. Romney is running on self-reliance, pro-economic freedom, and much smaller government.

      If Romney wins, if the Senate goes Republican, and if the Republican Senators stop being patsies and start fighting for Conservative positions, this election will end up being one of the most important in our history. Lots of “ifs” and it is unlikely Chambliss and Issakson will fight for smaller government at the expense of their cronies.

      • Bob Loblaw says:

        Ain’t happening. Sorry. 39% of the women that think Abortion is the #1 issue are not voting for Republicans that have a platform including forcing them to carry a baby after they are impregnated by a rapist. Forcing a victim into that position is not, as you call it, “protection of human life”.

        Nobody is running to the polls to vote Republican for “tougher enforcement of immigration laws,” either. Obama Administration has deported more than folks are even aware of. GOP owns the anti-immigrant issue, for sure, but its base is small in terms of numbers of voters.

        I do agree, after watching millions of dollars worth of Koch Bros. ads, that pro-big business Republican voters are likely motivated to go vote to reign in regulation of energy.

        • John Konop says:

          I will add that being an unwedded mother is a ticket to poverty on a macro . The anti birth control stance and war on Planned Parenthood………I have news for some people kids cost a lot of money………Part of our budget problem………….

            • John Konop says:

              The issue is should an employer deny birth control on the healthcare plan that with co-pays most employees pay about 50% of the cost now. It is not a cost issue for the employer, because it actually lowers the expense ie birth control cheaper than babies…… Most studies show access to birth control substantially lowers unwedded mothers. I do think Romney would have would be for birth control being in plans as demonstrated in his Romney care………………but part of the GOP base……….

              …..Free birth control cuts abortion rate dramatically, study finds..


              • mpierce says:

                should an employer deny birth control on the healthcare plan

                If the employer is providing the health plan why shouldn’t they be able to decide what’s in it? Why should the President by dictating that?

                It is not a cost issue for the employer, because it actually lowers the expense ie birth control cheaper than babies

                If providing free birth control cut health costs why wouldn’t the greedy insurance companies with their outrageous 4% profit margin be pushing it?

                Most studies show access to birth control substantially lowers unwedded mothers.

                Then perhaps it’s worth debating whether the government should be paying for it.

                I do think Romney would have would be for birth control being in plans

                Maybe it should be in plans, but the issue is who should be paying for it and whether or not that payment is voluntary. Employers and insurance companies should not be forced to pay for it.

                • John Konop says:


                  Insurance companies do not charge more for birth control coverage. Second we tax payers foot the bill for the kids who parents cannot afford the kids. Third if you are pro-life it does cut down on abortion. Finally you would have an argument about choice if we tax payers were not left with the bill for the kids………..

                  ………Study: Free birth control leads to way fewer abortions

                  Free birth control led to dramatically lower rates of abortions and teen births, a large study concluded Thursday. The findings were eagerly anticipated and come as a bitterly contested Obama administration policy is poised to offer similar coverage.
                  The project tracked more than 9,000 women in St. Louis, many of them poor or uninsured. They were given their choice of a range of contraceptive methods at no cost — from birth control pills to goof-proof options like the IUD or a matchstick-sized implant.
                  When price wasn’t an issue, women flocked to the most effective contraceptives — the implanted options, which typically cost hundreds of dollars up-front to insert. These women experienced far fewer unintended pregnancies as a result, reported Dr. Jeffrey Peipert of Washington University in St. Louis in a study published Thursday.
                  The effect on teen pregnancy was striking: There were 6.3 births per 1,000 teenagers in the study. Compare that to a national rate of 34 births per 1,000 teens in 2010.
                  There also were substantially lower rates of abortion, when compared with women in the metro area and nationally: 4.4 to 7.5 abortions per 1,000 women in the study, compared with 13.4 to 17 abortions per 1,000 women overall in the St. Louis region, Peipert calculated. That’s lower than the national rate, too, which is almost 20 abortions per 1,000 women………….

                  ……..Contraceptives can help families plan pregnancies, the report states. A national survey found that an estimated 49% of all pregnancies in the United States were unintended in 2001.
                  And women who have unintended pregnancies are more likely to have little or no prenatal care, and engage in risky behaviors such as smoking, drinking or experience domestic violence.
                  Birth control can also help women space time between births. Short periods between pregnancies have been associated with increased risk of higher mortality for children under age 5, low birth weight, preterm births, stillbirths, miscarriages, and maternal death

                  ……..The direct medical cost of unintended pregnancy in the United States was estimated to be nearly $5 billion in 2002. The cost savings due to contraceptive use in that same year was estimated to be $19.3 billion, according to a study cited in the IOM’s report………


          • SallyForth says:

            +100, John. Kids do cost a lot of money – and not just to their parent(s), which as you say, is a ticket to poverty for unwed mothers. The last statistic I saw showed that raising one child to age 18 costs parents over $300,000, and it is probably much more than that by now.

            Beyond the direct costs to parents, just think about the huge number of public dollars that are spent on kids via healthcare, food stamps, publicly-funded sports activities, welfare checks, etc. out the wazoo – and the big mutha of all, the education industry, on which the lion’s share of Georgia’s annual budget is spent. I’m sure there are other costs to taxpayers I can’t think of, but you get the point.

            • Calypso says:

              I saved bunches of money when my kids were younger by sending them over to the neighbor’s house at supper time. I told them to tell the neighbors they were hungry and their parents were nowhere to be found. Also to ask if they had any outgrown childrens’ shoes they could have.

                • Calypso says:

                  aww man, what an idea! That never occured to me. But come to think, that might have been a little much. I wouldn’t want them to be a burden or anything.

                  • SallyForth says:

                    Yeah, I guess feeding and shoeing your kids were probably enough to save you a big chunk of change.

  4. Max Power says:

    Do you know what I’ll be watching on election night? Probably reruns of Foyle’s War or Top Gear because sitting around waiting for votes to be counted in an election where you aren’t the candidate is a sign you need help. The results will be there when I get up in the morning (I hope).

    • benevolus says:

      No kidding!
      I’ll tell what I will NOT be watching: Wolf Blitzer. That guy gets himself all worked up. It stresses me out.

    • drjay says:

      of course i will be spending the first part of the evening at a much more important event as the pooler white takes on pooler green for the city’s 10 and under football crown!!! lets go green, go packers!!!

      • drjay says:

        and hooray, pooler white won an amazing game 21-20 in ot (extra points are not foregone conclusions in 10 and under football) and my favorite ten year old was in the backfield all night from his post as a defensive end. he recovered two fumbles and caused another one and and after the game, the opposing coach told tanner that he was running out of people to try block him!!!

    • Calypso says:

      I was under the distinct impression that drinking (heavily) was the de facto standard while watching election returns, because..well, they’re elections, and politicians and such other things which are difficult to deal with in a sober state.

  5. David1502 says:

    Charlie, correction, Hunter Hill does not live in Buckhead, but rather in the unincorporated area outside of 285 with a Smyrna address. While he went to The Westminster School and is a member of Church of the Apostles, giving him obvious Buckhead connections, he can claim Smyrna as his home which definitely helps as Smyrna is more of the “Swing” part of the district. Driving down West Paces Ferry and the western part of Buckhead, there are lots of Hill yard signs and hardly any Stoner signs. I think this means that Stoner has to get a really strong showing in Smyrna in order to overcome the strong Republican base in the West Paces Ferry/Northside Drive area. This is definitely an interesting race to watch, however, based on yard signs, I think that Hunter Hill has the edge. Something else to keep in mind is that for the last 10 years, Smyrna has been thrown in the 5th and the 12th Congressional Districts which meant that Smyrna’s votes didn’t count. Now, that Republicans controlled the redistricting in 2010, Smyrna’s Republican nature can be seen as it has been placed in Phil Gingrey’s Congressional District and the 6th State Senate District was reconfigured adding the Republican areas of Buckhead and south Sandy Springs. For years, Smyrna has elected a Republican, Rich Golick, to represent us in the State House, now we in Smyrna will have full Republican representation.

    • Trey A. says:

      I like seeing veterans like Hunter Hill running for office. He’d of had my vote if I lived a little bit further north. Instead I have Horceana Tate, who is also respectable in that she actually grew up in this community, got a world class education at Georgia colleges and stayed home to serve. She’ll win re-election until she gets tired of running.

  6. SallyForth says:

    I’m thinking to drag out “Swing Vote” and watch it one more time, while waiting for results to start coming in. Sage Kevin Costner got it right in closing comments: “If we’re the richest country in the world, how come so many of us can barely afford to live here?”

  7. Rick Day says:

    *sigh* I had a (sic) choice for POTUS, and the two constitutional amendments. The rest were unopposed cronies.

    In and out in 5 minutes. Good grief….

Comments are closed.