Political Notes — Some endorsements in race for governor, lt. governor

[private]In an otherwise slow holiday week, some political endorsements are leaking out in the state’s top two races for next year.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who’s running in the GOP primary for governor, picked up the endorsement of Gainesville businessman Philip Wilheit Sr., a longtime supporter and bankroller of Gov. Nathan Deal.

“I have taken a lot of time studying this and have come to the firm conclusion that Lt. Governor Casey Cagle is the very best person to continue making Georgia the number one state in the Union to live, play, work and raise a family,” Wilheit said in his endorsement letter.

“Casey has stood by Governor Deal in all of the programs I mentioned above,” wrote Wilheit, who was appointed to the Board of Regents by Deal. “There will be no ‘learning curve’ when Casey steps into office in 2019.”

Cagle is contending with Secretary of State Brian Kemp and state Sens. Hunter Hill and Michael Williams for the Republican nomination.

In the race to replace Cagle as lieutenant governor, state Sen. Rick Jeffares (R-McDonough) picked up the endorsement of U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-West Point).

“Rick is by far the best choice to be Georgia’s Lt. Governor,” said Ferguson, who reps the 3rd Congressional District. “He’s smart, works hard and has a vision for making government smaller and more relevant to our communities. He’s as frustrated with state government as I am with Washington and he has great ideas for making it better.”

Stewart to run in House District 50

Republican Keli Stewart announced she will run for the House District 50 seat that state Rep. Brad Raffensperger (R-Johns Creek) is giving up to run for secretary of state.

Stewart, a former member of the Johns Creek City Council, ran for this seat two years ago in a special election and lost to Raffensperger.

Trump names controversial voting figure

Former Georgian Hans von Spakovsky, one of the most controversial figures in the voting rights community, has been named by Donald Trump to head up the administration’s search for evidence that there could have been voting fraud in the 2016 presidential election.

As reported in the Washington Post:

For more than a decade, von Spakovsky has been a polarizing figure in voting rights circles, with conservatives championing his efforts to tighten regulations and shore up voter roll inconsistencies. His critics point to a career in which decisions have led to disenfranchisement among poor and minority groups.

“I think there are number of people who have been active in promoting false and exaggerated claims of voter fraud and using that as a pretext to argue for stricter voting and registration rules,” said Rick Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California at Irvine. “And von Spakovsky’s at the top of the list.”

After von Spakovsky’s appointment was announced, Hasen wrote on his blog that it was “a big middle finger” from Trump to people “serious about fixing problems with our elections.” . . .

The appointment is the second opportunity for von Spakovsky to take part in shaping election and voting policy from the executive branch. Congressional Democrats blocked his nomination to the Federal Election Commission in 2008 following accusations of partisanship and voter rights suppression in his role at the Justice Department from 2002 to 2005, where he was counsel to the assistant attorney general for civil rights.

Von Spakovsky’s nomination at the FEC stretched for two years as Democrats painted a picture of an official who steamrolled the recommendations of career Justice lawyers. He overruled colleagues to approve a Georgia law in 2005 requiring that people present photo identification to vote, which some of his colleagues said would disproportionately impact African American voters. He also led unsuccessful suits to purge voter rolls in Missouri.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

[/private]

Tags: Casey Cagle , Hans von Spakovsky , Keli Stewart , Rick Jeffares , Voting rights