Political Notes — Hunter Hill says he’ll run for governor

[private]State Sen. Hunter Hill (R-Atlanta) made official Tuesday what had long been rumored: he’ll run for governor in the Republican primary next year.

“Now – more than ever – is the time to launch a bold, new vision for Georgia’s future,” Hill said in a statement. “I have been thinking and praying about this decision for some time, and we are ready.”

Hill is in the middle of his third term in the state Senate, first being elected in 2012.

“We need a more efficient and effective state government, and in the coming months, we are going to take our message directly to Georgians,” Hill said.

He will join a primary field that includes Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.

Another federal lawsuit attacks House redistricting

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, an advocacy group that filed a federal lawsuit against Secretary of State Brian Kemp last week over the state’s voter registration deadlines, is back this week with another federal lawsuit against Kemp.

This litigation challenges the 2015 modifications of state House districts represented by Rep. Joyce Chandler (R-Grayson) and Rep. Brian Strickland (R-McDonough).

The lawsuit alleges that the boundaries of those two districts were redrawn to add more white voters to guarantee the election of the two white incumbents, which would be a violation of the Voting Rights Act.

“Lawmakers firmly placed their thumb on the scale by redrawing district boundaries in ways that would preserve their incumbency and freeze the status quo in place,” said Kristen Clarke, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee. “They seek to disregard the demographic changes occurring across Georgia by putting pen to paper mid-decade.”

The redrawing of the districts was successful, from the Republican Party’s standpoint. While Chandler and Strickland represent two districts in areas that have been trending Democratic, they were reelected by narrow margins in 2016: Chandler with 50.45 percent of the vote and Strickland with 51.69 percent of the vote.

Legislation was introduced in the House this year — HB 515 — that would have redrawn Strickland’s district yet again, along with the district of Rep. Rick Golick (R-Smyrna), who also lives in a fast-changing area.

The bill stirred up public protests over the attempted mid-decade gerrymander, however, and was tabled in the Senate after passing the House.

Another SOS candidate

Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle is the latest to announce he’ll run in the Republican primary for secretary of state next year.

“Without question, the first priority of the secretary of state is voter security,” Belle Isle said. “I will work to initiate the very latest in physical and logical cyber security. Backup reporting, closed circuit data storage, and collaborative training for our county election boards are also priorities.

He is jumping into a primary election that already includes state Reps. Buzz Brockway and Brad Raffensperger.

Deal will sign fishing license bill

Gov. Nathan Deal plans to sign legislation Tuesday (HB 208) that will increase the fees charged for hunting and fishing licenses, along with boat registrations.

The signing ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. at the Department of Natural Resources’ coastal resources headquarters in Brunswick.

Echols appointment

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) has appointed Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols as vice-chair of the nuclear issues-waste disposal subcommittee. He succeeds PSC member Lauren “Bubba” McDonald as vice-chair of the subcommittee.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: David Belle Isle , Hunter Hill , Nathan Deal , redistricting , Tim Echols