Governor Nathan Deal won a second term in office Tuesday with a victory over Democratic challenger Jason Carter and Libertarian Andrew Hunt and led a republican sweep of all constitutional offices. Deal garnered 52.8 percent of the over 2.5 million votes cast to Carter’s 44.8 and Andrew Hunt’s 2.3. Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle defeated Democratic challenger and GSU alumni Connie Stokes 58 percent to 42 percent to secure another term.
Republican Richard Woods defeated Democrat Valerie Wilson 55 to 45 percent to become the state’s new school superintendent. Attorney General Sam Olens defeated former state legislator Greg Hecht. Secretary of State Brian Kemp defeated Doreen Carter. Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black defeated the Chris Irvin, the grandson of Former Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin. Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler defeated former legislator Robin Shipp.
David Perdue captured a majority win for Georgia’s open Senate seat, keeping it in Republican hands and helping his party gain control of the U.S. Senate. Perdue got 53 percent of the votes to Democrat Michelle Nunn’s 45 percent. The Libertarian nominee, Amanda Swafford received less than 2 percent. In other Congressional races, Republican Rick Allen defeated longtime incumbent Democrat John Barrow for the U.S. Representative District 12 seat. Former State Senator Buddy Carter defeated Brian Reese for the open seat in the 1st Congressional District and Jody Hice defeated Kenneth Dious for the open seat in the 10th Congressional District. Incumbent Congressmen Sanford Bishop, Tom Price, Rob Woodall and Doug Collins all held off the competition in their respectful races. Congressman John Lewis ran unopposed as did Lynn Westmoreland, Hank Johnson, Austin Scott, David Scott, Tom Graves. Barry Loudermilk, after winning a tough primary, ran unopposed for the District 11 seat.
Georgia’s State Senate will see many new faces as ten of the fifty six members are newly elected. New members replace years of knowledge and experience with the losses of Senate Majority Whip Cecil Staton (R-Macon) who retired to take a position with the Board of Regents, Steve Thompson (D-Marietta) who was defeated in the primary after 34 years in the legislature and Buddy Carter (R-Pooler) who retired to run for Congress. The House of Representative’s maintained the majority and incumbents Gerald Greene (R-Cuthbert), Harry Geisinger (R-Roswell), Brian Strickland (R-McDonough), Joyce Chandler (R-Grayson) and Mike Cheokas (R-Americus) prevailed in highly contested races. The House of Representative’s will meet November 10 to elect its leadership, the Senate will do the same on November 17.
New to the GSU Delegation
Marty Harbin (R-Tyrone) will represent Senate District 16 in Fayette, Lamar, Pike, and Spalding Counties. He received his BBA degree from GSU in 1977. Marty is a business owner in Fayetteville, GA. He replaces current Senate Majority Leader and GSU alumni Ronnie Chance who did not seek re-election.
GSU Experts address Study Committees
Over the interim many House and Senate Study Committee’s have been meeting and will report their recommendations back to the General Assembly . Georgia State faculty and administrators were asked to testify on specific issues through out the summer and fall.
Dr. Nancy Kropf, Director of the Georgia State University School of Social Work addressed the Senate Child Protection Study Committee. This committee was formed to look at the safety and welfare of Georgia’s children.
Dr. Yaniv Heled with the Georgia State University College of Law provided information on liability laws to the House Study Committee on Autonomous Vehicle Technology.
Mr. Jeff Patterson, Director of the Georgia State University Small Business Development Center spoke to the Senate Entrepreneur in Residence Study Committee. He informed the committee of what our universities are doing to provide consulting and training to Georgia’s small businesses.
Dr. Caitlin Dooley with Georgia State University College of Education provided testimony about her research in Early Childhood Education to the House Study Committee on the role of Federal Government in Education.
Statewide Constitutional Amendments & Referendum
Statewide, there were two proposed constitutional amendments and one proposed referendum.
Amendment A – “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to prohibit the General Assembly from increasing the maximum state income tax rate?” PASSED
Amendment B – “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow additional reckless driving penalties or fees to be added to the Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund to pay for care and rehabilitative services for Georgia citizens who have survived neurotrauma with head or spinal cord injuries?” PASSED
Referendum – “Shall property owned by the University System of Georgia and utilized by providers of college and university student housing and other facilities continue to be exempt from taxation to keep costs affordable?” PASSED
Information on legislative activities including bills and resolutions as well as webcast of daily sessions in both Chambers and committee meeting are available via the General Assembly website at www.legis.ga.gov
January 12, 2015 – 1st Day of Legislative Session
February 4, 2015 – GSU Day at the Capitol