Georgia editorial roundup
Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:
The Savannah Morning News on the possibility of a David Perdue-Stacey Abrams Senate race:
Stacey Abrams spent five years registering voters and will devote the next couple years pushing the state to improve the elections system, one lawsuit at a time.
The elected official who should best keep an eye on Abrams between now and 2020, though, is a United States senator, not the Georgia governor or secretary of state.
Abrams’ political aspirations were never limited to the governor’s mansion. Losing to Brian Kemp with the second most votes for governor in the state’s history at a time when Republicans held an advantage will encourage Abrams.
She will carry her voters’ passion for her campaign, their displeasure with the system, and angst with President Donald Trump into the 2020 election. The Senate seat up for vote is held by Georgia’s junior senator, first-termer David Perdue. He won his post running as a business-minded outsider, much like Trump, and has allied himself closely with the president.
He’s known to be among those Republican lawmakers included among what passes for a circle of trust within the Trump White House, consulting and advising the president behind the scenes.
This allegiance could make Perdue vulnerable if the election is a referendum on Trump’s performance. Perdue lacks the track record and independent streak of Georgia’s senior senator, Johnny Isakson, whose current term stretches to 2022.
Abrams and Georgia’s Democratic party recognize this confluence of factors.
Her announcing her Senate run is a matter of when, not if — and whether she will face a primary opponent. Teresa Tomlinson, the popular and highly regarded mayor of Columbus, passed on a gubernatorial run to concentrate on finishing out her mayoral term.
She has stated publicly her intention of mounting a Senate campaign.
Will Tomlinson find support to challenge Abrams is the question. Abrams’ benefited from having a primary foil in her gubernatorial run. Her race with Stacey Evans boosted Abrams’ public profile and helped her hone her message.
Unlike a year ago, though, Abrams today is a party star without need of introduction. Her chances at a Senate victory may improve should her sole focus be defeating a Republican opponent.
A bruising primary fight against a more moderate Democrat such as Tomlinson would accentuate Abrams’ progressive liberal views. The perception that Abrams is a far-left candidate energized conservatives to turn out and vote against her this year — and could do so again in 2020.
David Perdue won’t shrink from the challenge.
He remains committed to his 2014 campaign pledge: That he’ll seek a second term and, if re-elected, leave the Senate after 12 years.
As a member of four Senate committees, Perdue is in a position of influence. He serves on the Armed Services, Banking, Budget and Agricultural committees, and is a leading voice on a subcommittee tasked with budget process reform. Just last month, the group revealed a new bill that calls for both Republicans and Democrats to agree on all federal spending, not just discretionary expenditures. Currently, discretionary funds constitute less than one-third of all spending.
With Republicans expanding their Senate majority in the midterms, Perdue has an opportunity to score legislative wins at a time when Abrams is limited to making speeches and frequenting federal courthouses.
The midterm results should tamp down speculation that Perdue will leave the Senate for a post within the Trump administration. As a Trump confidant, Perdue is often rumored to be on the president’s shortlist when a cabinet post or ambassadorship opens. Perdue’s cousin, former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, is the secretary of agriculture and another Trump favorite.
But with the Senate still in Republican hands, Perdue’s clout on Capitol Hill stands to grow, not diminish. Instead of being marginalized, which may have prompted him to look to other areas where he could make a potential impact, Perdue can leverage his relationship with Trump to rise up the leadership ranks.
Perdue is more roadblock than speed bump to Abrams’ political ambitions. Her gubernatorial run was difficult. The competition for the Senate seat promises to be even stiffer.
The Brunswick News on runoff elections:
When the Nov. 6 midterm election came and went, there was no doubt a major sigh of relief from a lot of people around the state. The relief wasn’t necessarily that their candidate won, it’s that the election cycle was finally over.
No matter how passionate you are about politics, the unrelenting grind of negative campaign ads takes a toll on the most patriotic of voters. By the time the whole experience is done, some are just happy to be done with the whole process for another two years.
Of course, the 2018 elections in Georgia aren’t technically over yet. There are still two runoffs slated for state positions: Republican Brad Raffensperger and Democrat John Barrow for Secretary of State, and Incumbent Republican Chuck Eaton and Democratic challenger Lindy Miller for Public Service Commissioner District 3.
Both of these races were incredibly close during the general election. Raffensperger garnered 1,906,588 votes, 49.09 percent, to Barrow’s 1,890,310 votes, 48.67. Libertarian Smythe Duval won 2.23 percent of the vote but will not be on the ballot this time.
The Public Service Commission seat was closer to being made official on Election Day. Eaton received 1,917,656 votes, 49.70 percent, to Miller’s 1,838,020 votes, 47.63 percent. Libertarian Ryan Graham got 102,878 votes, 2.67 percent but, like Duval, will not be on the ballot this time.
The runoff is slated for Dec. 4 with polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ...
We know this has been a long and volatile election season, but we owe it to the state to make sure we finish it. If you are registered to vote and voted back in November, make plans for a return trip to the polls. If you are registered to vote but didn’t the first time around, you have another chance to let your voice be heard.
Our democracy only works if eligible voters cast their ballots. Don’t let apathy overtake your responsibilities to vote in the runoff elections.
Valdosta Daily Times on transporting Christmas trees:
What says Christmas time more than a fresh cut tree?
Getting that evergreen home, however, can lead to problems.
According to a AAA auto club survey, an estimated 20 million Americans who purchase a real Christmas tree do not properly secure it to their vehicle, risking serious vehicle damage, dangerous road debris and in some cases even being pulled over by the police because the driver’s view is obstructed.
Christmas trees that are not properly secured can be a safety hazard for other motorists, the auto club said in a statement out. We join AAA in urging our readers to transport their Christmas trees safely by doing just a little advance planning.
“Not transporting a Christmas tree correctly can be dangerous,” said Montrae Waiters, AAA spokeswoman, The Auto Club Group. “It can be a driving distraction, putting your safety and others at risk.”
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, road debris - which could include objects such as improperly secured Christmas trees that fly off cars, landing on the road or on other cars - was responsible for more than 200,000 crashes that resulted in 39,000 injuries and 500 deaths in recent years.
About two-thirds of debris-related crashes are the result of improperly secured items falling from a vehicle.
So, here are a few tips from the foundation:
— Use the right vehicle. It’s best to transport a Christmas tree on top of a vehicle equipped with a roof rack. However, if you do not have a roof rack, use the bed of a pickup truck, or an SUV, van or minivan that can fit the tree inside with all doors closed.
— Use quality tie downs. Bring strong rope or nylon ratchet straps to secure the tree to your vehicle’s roof rack. Avoid the lightweight twine offered by many tree lots.
— Protect the tree. Have the tree wrapped in netting before loading it. If netting is unavailable, secure loose branches with rope or twine.
— Protect your vehicle. Use an old blanket to prevent paint scratches and protect the vehicle finish.
— Point the trunk towards the front. Always place the tree on a roof rack or in a pickup bed with the bottom of the trunk facing the front of the vehicle.
Motorists can face some pretty hefty fines if an unsecured tree falls off the vehicle. AAA said every state, including Georgia, has laws making it illegal for items to fall from a vehicle while on the road. Drivers can prevent injuries and avoid penalties by properly securing their loads to prevent items from falling off the vehicle just by following the simple steps outlined above.
Have a safe and happy holiday season.