Political Notes — Early voting starts today in 6th District runoff

[private]Residents of the 6th Congressional District are finally on a glide path to the June 20 runoff as the early voting period officially started on Tuesday.

Voters who live within the district’s boundaries in Cobb, Fulton, and DeKalb counties can now start casting their ballots for Democrat Jon Ossoff or Republican Karen Handel.

While the time period between the first round of voting and the runoff election is nine weeks long, it feels like forever for voters who’ve been pounded by the ceaseless waves of TV commercials and the endless outreach efforts by the candidates.

“Now more than ever, voters need to get engaged, do their research on the candidates, and head to the polls to take part in this important contest,” said Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a Handel supporter and fundraiser. “The right to vote for our public officials should never be taken for granted.”

It is now three weeks to runoff day and the total spent on this most expensive of congressional races ever has crept past the $36 million level, according to some estimates. A $40 million spend now seems like an eminently achievable goal.

Can Asian-Americans decide it?

Johnny Kauffman at WABE speculates that the 6th District runoff could well be decided by Asian-American voters who have been somewhat ignored in past elections:

In the 2016 election, Asian-Americans cast about 9 percent of all ballots in the 6th District.

That’s a number big enough to swing the result in the special election runoff on June 20, [Long] Tran said.

“We’re not just foreigners; we’re Americans with a voice,” he said.

Nationally, more and more Asian-Americans identify as Democrats.

In Georgia, Tran said, President Donald Trump’s talk about immigration and Muslims has further increased that trend.

Project Vote closes down

Project Vote, a non-profit organization that has promoted voting rights issues and worked to increase turnout for elections, announced over the weekend it will cease operations as of Wednesday.

“The funding environment for voting rights and civic engagement work has never been easy, and it has grown increasingly challenging over the past few years as foundations have cut back on their giving in this area, the civic engagement environment has been restructured, and competition for limited funding has increased,” the organization said in an email.

“For a single-issue nonprofit like Project Vote — without a diverse portfolio of work to fundraise on — we were ultimately forced to admit that our current model had become unsustainable.”

Jeffares running for lieutenant governor

State Sen. Rick Jeffares (R-McDonough) filed the paperwork last Thursday to register a campaign committee for the lieutenant governor’s race.

Jeffares, a four-term legislator from Henry County, is the chairman of the Regulated Industries & Utilities Committee and has been heavily involved in trying to pass legislation to regulate pipelines.

He has been a low-profile member of the Senate who hasn’t earned a lot of media attention since taking office in 2011, and he now joins a Republican primary race that includes Sen. David Shafer (R-Duluth) and state Rep. Geoff Duncan (R-Cumming).

Jeffares earlier served as city manager for Locust Grove from 2001-2008 and was a member of the Henry County Commission during 2008-2010.

Switch locates in Douglas County

Switch, a technology infrastructure company originally founded in Las Vegas, will spend $2.5 billion to build a data center in Douglas County that could employ up to 65 people.

The 1-million-square-foot metro Atlanta campus, named “The Keep,” will become the fourth Switch campus located in the U.S.

“Switch is extremely excited to bring the highest rated data center to the greater Atlanta metro to serve as a hub for the Southeastern United States,” said Adam Kramer, the company’s executive vice president of strategy.

Executive appointments

The governor’s office announced the following appointments to state boards and commissions —

Aviation Hall of Fame Board:  Ron Prox of Roswell, a flight instructor and examiner for Delta Global Services.

Board of the Superior Court Clerks’ Retirement Fund of Georgia: Christine Butcher Hayes of Atlanta, the director of governmental affairs for the State Bar of Georgia.

Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council: Rick Story of Clayton, the vice president of economic development at North Georgia Technical College.

REACH Foundation Board: Troy Bland of St. Simons, the chief operating officer of Bland Farms in Glennville.

Personnel notes

Matt Cardoza, who’s handled communications for the state Department of Education for the past 12 years, is moving on to a new job at the the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education. Meghan Frick replaces him at DOE.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: 6th Congressional District runoff , Jon Ossoff , karen handel , Project Vote , Rick Jeffares , Switch data center