Georgia

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Originally founded as an English debtor's colony by General James Oglethorpe, a wealthy Member of Parliament, Georgia was the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The first European colonists to the colony named for King George II began arriving in 1733. In time their descendants and other settlers would displace the indigenous Cherokee and Creek owners in a series of "offer they can't refuse" massive land sales.

Georgia became the fourth state in the Union on January 2, 1788, a fact that would be impressive if state leaders hadn't seceded from the Union in 1860. As was true elsewhere in the South secession in Georgia was motivated by a desire to continue the horrific institution of African slavery. African-Americans in Georgia as elsewhere in the United States have never been compensated for their ancestor's lifetimes of forced and brutal servitude. Unsurpisingly, race and the class issues it often disguises remain the open sore of Georgia politics.

Today the 'Peach State' is one of fifty State Governments. Atlanta is the state's capital and largest city. The article Georgia: Running for Office has information for candidates and voters.

Contents

Current Political Landscape

Republican Governor Sonny Perdue, who was elected in 2002 (the first Republican governor since Reconstruction) had a very good 2004 legislative session. He managed to push a number of wedge issues in the legislature, like SR595 (an amendment which will ban any benefits for same-sex couples), that the Democrats in the House spent months fighting each other over before passing. This will bring out many, many new votes for Republicans in November. Due to these factors, Perdue has managed to convince a half-dozen or more house Dems to switch parties (several Democrats even appeared at a fundraiser for Bush earlier this year). Democrats lost control of the state senate in late 2002 after 4 Democrats switched parties (ironically, due to retirement and primary defeats, only 2 of those senators currently hold office). If Democrats manage to keep the House after this year, it will be by the narrowest of margins.

Perdue barely cracks 50-55% in approval ratings, but benefits from a faltering opposition party and an ability to hold the various moderate and fundamentalist factions of the state GOP together. Whether that will last through 2006 is anyone's guess.

Georgia's former senator, Zell Miller, was a popular and strong 2-term governor who has since become a disgrace, a laughingstock to the national and state party. He's retiring in November, but he has moved so far to the right since being appointed to the seat in 2000 that any one of the Republicans likely to take his place will not be any more conservative than he is. Miller spends much of his time being derided on national talk shows, and gave an extremely controversial keynote address at the Republican National Convention on September 1, 2004, followed by even more controversial appearances on CNN and MSNBC.

Georgia's House delegation ranges from civil rights heroes (John Lewis) to Bush yes-men (Jack "John Kerry is Ted Kennedy on the South Beach diet" Kingston). The most controversial rep, indeed the most controversial politician in the state for some time, was Cynthia McKinney, who was thrown out in 2002 due to furor over perceived anti-Semitism, but she won re-election in 2004 (the woman who beat her, Denise Majette, is retiring to run for the Senate).

Aside from a few oases like Savannah, Atlanta is the Democratic stronghold of Georgia. At times Atlanta and Georgia seem to be 2 different states, both engaged in a mutual contempt society. Atlanta's mayor, pro-business Democrat Shirley Franklin, is well-respected statewide, but declined to run for the Senate. The only other statewide Democrats with some clout are Lieutenant Governor Mark Taylor, and Secretary of State Cathy Cox who will likely face off for the right to face Governor Perdue in 2006.

I don't know very much about the judicial branch (please add your own views if you have any!), but it is relatively progressive compared to the rest of the state (they threw out sodomy laws in '97). Perdue and the Christian Coalition (the most powerful lobbying group in GA now) spent several months and over a million dollars targeting "liberal" judges, Leah Sears (a Zell appointee who voted against the laws and who has made some pro-gay comments) being their #1 target. Franklin and others rallied to Sears' side, and she won with nearly 65% of the vote. She will be in line to be the first black, female chief justice in the history of the state. Every other "liberal" judge was reelected, and Johnny Isakson (hated by Christian activists) won his Republican Senate primary outright, thus giving Perdue and his favorite pressure group a reminder that they still do not set the tone for the state's voters.

Demographics

  • Total Population (2000): 8,186,453 (Up 26.4% since 1990); Ranked 10th
  • 62.6% White, 28.5% Black
  • 71.7% Urban, 28.3% Rural

Other Facts

  • Georgia's 159 Counties is the 2nd largest number of counties in the country behind Texas.
  • Georgia Corporations include Coca-Cola, Delta, UPS, BellSouth, & CNN
  • Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Int'l Airport is the world's busiest airport.

Fun Facts

  • Georgia is one of only two states with a statutory exeption from seatbelt use laws for pickup trucks. Indiana is the other.

Georgia Congressional Delegation

State Government

  • Limiting the political options of Georgians is achieved by several mechanisms:
    • Election laws that make it almost impossible for independents and third party candidates to get on the ballot in all but presidential election races.
    • Large numbers of uncontested races in state legislative elections, often approaching half of all races.
    • There are no mechanisms for citizen initiatives or referenda on statues passed by the state legislature.

Local Government

Georgia Elections

Other

Political Blogs

Political News


See also

v·e·d

Georgia


President: 2004, 2008


Congress: GA-Sen, GA-01, GA-02, GA-03, GA-04, GA-05, GA-06, GA-07, GA-08, GA-092, GA-10, GA-11, GA-12, GA-13


State: GA-Gov, Georgia Senate, Georgia House, Georgia elections, 2008, Georgia election results


Counties: Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Baker, Baldwin, Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Ben Hill, Berrien, Bibb, Bleckley, Brantley, Brooks, Bryan, Bulloch, Burke, Butts, Calhoun, Camden, Candler, Carroll, Catoosa, Charlton, Chatham, Chattahoochee, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clarke, Clay, Clayton, Clinch, Cobb, Coffee, Colquitt, Columbia, Cook, Coweta, Crawford, Crisp, Dade, Dawson, Decatur, DeKalb, Dodge, Dooly, Dougherty, Douglas, Early, Echols, Effingham, Elbert, Emanuel, Evans, Fannin, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Franklin, Fulton, Gilmer, Glascock, Glynn, Gordon, Grady, Greene, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Hancock, Haralson, Harris, Hart, Heard, Henry, Houston, Irwin, Jackson, Jasper, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Jones, Lamar, Lanier, Laurens, Lee, Liberty, Lincoln, Long, Lowndes, Lumpkin, Macon, Madison, Marion, McDuffie, McIntosh, Meriwether, Miller, Mitchell, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Murray, Muscogee, Newton, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Paulding, Peach, Pickens, Pierce, Pike, Polk, Pulaski, Putnam, Quitman, Rabun, Randolph, Richmond, Rockdale, Schley, Screven, Seminole, Spalding, Stephens, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Taliaferro, Tattnall, Taylor, Telfair, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Toombs, Towns, Treutlen, Troup, Turner, Twiggs, Union, Upson, Walker, Walton, Ware, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Wheeler, White, Whitfield, Wilcox, Wilkes, Wilkinson, Worth

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