Ups, Downs and In-betweens

Susan PercyNew State GOP Chair: Former State Sen. Josh McKoon bested two other candidates to become chair of Georgian’s Republican Party, succeeding David Shafer, who led the party for a tumultuous four years. McKoon defeated Rebecca Yardley, chair of the Ninth District GOP, and Moultrie businessman Dennis Futch.

No Fulton Election Fraud: The State Election Board found that allegations of malfeasance made against the Fulton County Department of Registration and Elections and two election workers were false and unsubstantiated.

The now-discredited allegations, made by supporters of former President Donald Trump, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani, focused on ballot containers used during the November 2020 ballot-counting at State Farm Arena and specifically on the actions of Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss, both of whom were subject to intense harassment by some Trump backers.

Georgia Politics Voting Vote Here Sign in front of BuildingThe investigation involved personnel from the Secretary of State’s office and special agents from the GBI and the FBI, who, according to a press release from the Secretary of State, “reviewed the entire unedited video footage of the events in question” and reviewed social media posts found to be created by a third party who “admitted he created a fake account and confirmed the content that was posted on the account was fake.”

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said he is glad the elections board has finally put the issue to rest. “False claims and knowingly false allegations made against these election workers have done tremendous harm,” he said. “Election workers deserve our praise for being on the front lines.”

In a separate complaint, the elections board found no evidence of any counterfeit or “pristine” ballots that complainants said were the cause of rampant fraud.

Georgia’s 2020 election procedures and results, arguably the most reviewed in presidential election history, have been consistently found to be above reproach.

Special Election Results: Tyrone Democrat Derrick Jackson, who formerly represented District 64 in the Georgia statehouse, now represents District 68, having won a special runoff election in June by some 15 votes. His opponent was former City of South Fulton Council Member Mark Baker.

The District 68 seat was previously held by the late Rep. Tish Naghise, a Fayetteville Democrat who died in March while serving her first term. The district includes South Fulton and portions of Fayette County.

Back To School: Defeated Republican senatorial candidate Herschel Walker, who lost to Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in a December 2022 runoff, is taking summer courses at the University of Georgia, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution report, confirmed by the university. Walker was a star on the 1980 National Championship team at UGA and won the Heisman Trophy in 1982.

Kemp’s Budget Chief to Private Sector: Gov. Brian Kemp’s long-time budget director and Georgia’s chief financial officer Kelly Farr has left state government and gone to work for ReFrame Solutions as the company’s chief strategy officer. Farr also worked with Kemp when the governor was Georgia’s secretary of state.

In a press release, ReFrame says it provides “technology products that enhance customer engagement, public housing, enterprise software solutions, and critical infrastructure modernization.”

New CDC Head

Mandy Cohen Georgia Trend AnnouncementMandy Cohen, M.D., an internal medicine specialist and former secretary of North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services, is the new head of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She was appointed by President Joe Biden to succeed Rochelle Walensky, who stepped down at the end of June.

Cohen led North Carolina’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and oversaw changes in the state’s Medicaid program. She was previously COO and chief of staff at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and has worked in the private sector.

Cohen takes over leadership of the CDC at a time when the agency is still dealing with criticism for aspects of its handling of the COVID crisis.

Biden has said of her, “Dr. Cohen has been recognized by leaders of both parties for her ability to find common ground. I look forward to working with Dr. Cohen as she leads our nation’s finest scientists and public health experts with integrity and transparency.”

Categories: Political Notes, Up Front