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National Govt & Politics
Flipping more GOP seats, Democrats keep adding to House majority
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Flipping more GOP seats, Democrats keep adding to House majority

Flipping more GOP seats, Democrats keep adding to House majority
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

Flipping more GOP seats, Democrats keep adding to House majority

With new victories in GOP House seats in the last 24 hours in New Mexico, Washington, and Georgia, and the possibility of others in New Jersey and California, House Democrats are slowly adding extra seats to their thin majority in the next Congress, as vote counting continues to play out in a number of states in the wake of Tuesday's mid-term elections.

The latest seat to flip from Republican to Democrat came on Thursday in the suburbs to the east of Seattle and Tacoma in Washington State, as Democrat Kim Schrier won an open seat long held by Republicans, which was vacated by the retiring Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA).

A few hours earlier in the suburbs of Atlanta, Rep. Karen Handel (R-GA) - who only won the seat in an expensive special election in 2017 - conceded defeat to Democrat Lucy McBath, giving Democrats another new seat in the U.S. House.

"After carefully reviewing all of the election results, it is clear that I came up a bit short on Tuesday," Handel said in a statement.

Those races left the makeup of new House set to take office in January at 225 Democrats and 197 Republicans, leaving 13 races still undecided - Democrats lead in 5 of the remaining races, GOP candidates in the other eight.

Jamie Dupree
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Jamie Dupree

Democrats are also still hoping for a late miracle next door to Handel in Georgia's 7th Congressional District, where the lead of Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA) has shrunk to 890 votes.

Here's the 13 U.S. House races where the winner is not yet official - all of them are seats currently held by Republicans:

Georgia 7 - Republican Rob Woodall had not run a campaign ad in eight years, but he did in the final days of this year's campaign. Final absentees and provisional ballots are still to be counted in this suburban Atlanta GOP district. Woodall's opponent says she wants all the votes to be counted.

Maine 2 - Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) leads by 888 votes. But under a new Maine law, since Poliquin did not get over 50 percent, there will be a new count under what's known as the "ranked-choice voting" process, where you 'rank' your choices. And now, the over 22,000 votes that went to two Independent candidates will be reallocated either to Poliquin, or his Democratic opponent Jared Golden. That new vote tally should come on Friday.

New York 22 - With 100 percent of the vote in, Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) is losing by 1,422 votes to Democrat Anthony Brindisi. Unlike a lot of other states, New York waits to count absentee ballots - over 13,000 of those ballots have been returned and must be counted. That count won't start until next week.

New York 27 - With 100 percent reporting, Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), who was indicted for insider trading earlier this year, leads Democrat Nate McMurray by just under 3,000 votes. But there are about 10,000 absentee ballots still in play in this western New York district, which will delay a final official tally.

New Jersey 3 - Democrat Andy Kim leads Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) by about 2600 votes in this central New Jersey district, but as in other states, there are still provisional and absentee ballots to be counted. Kim declared victory on Wednesday evening, after a big chunk of ballots were counted, vaulting him into the lead. This one may also take some time to finish.

California 25 - Democrats should win this seat as Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA) has already conceded defeat to Democrat Katie Hill, who leads by over 4,100 votes in a Republican district that stretches to the north of Los Angeles. News organizations have held off on an official call because so many extra ballots come in late in California.

California 10 - Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) leads by just under 1,300 votes in this district, which is to the east of San Jose and San Francisco. Like other California districts in this list, it could take some time for the votes to come in - those late votes often tend to favor Democrats, and some wonder if Denham could be in trouble.

California 39 - This result was a rare bright spot for Republicans in what many thought was a suburban seat that would flip to the Democrats. Republican Young Kim, who would be the Korean-American member of Congress, leads by just under 4,000 votes. Republicans hope that will be enough to withstand any late rush of Democratic mail-in ballots.

California 45 - This is another Orange County district, as Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA) leads 51.7-to-48.3 percent, a margin of about 6,200 votes. There are still 419,000 ballots left to count in Orange County, according to elections officials, which could impact both this district, and the California 39 race.

California 48 - Democrats are hoping they can win this race, as Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) trails by over 2,600 votes to Democrat Harley Rouda. This could also take a few days as officials go through mail-in ballots, provisionals and more.

North Carolina 9 - While this is listed as an undecided race, Democrat Dan McCready conceded defeat on Wednesday night, as he trails Republican Mark Harris by around 1,900 votes. Expect this one to go the GOP column unless elections officials discover a counting error along the way.

Utah 4 - Even as President Trump was ridiculing her on Wednesday from the White House, Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) was waiting for more votes to be counted in her district. She trails Democrat Ben McAdams by just over 5,000 votes with 70 percent of precincts reporting in a district that stretches into the Salt Lake City suburbs.

Texas 23 - Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) had been declared the winner on Election Night, when more votes came in and suddenly pushed him into second place. But extra ballots have given Hurd an edge of around 1,150 votes over Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones, who may request a recount. The final tally won't happen for several weeks as officials in various counties work through provisional ballots and more mail-in votes. For now, Hurd is ahead.

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Local News

  • ABC News correspondent and UGA alumna Deborah Roberts will give the University of Georgia’s spring undergraduate Commencement address May 10 at 7 p.m. in Sanford Stadium. Loch Johnson, Regents Professor of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia, will deliver the spring graduate address on the same day at 9:30 a.m. at Stegeman Coliseum. Tickets are not required for either ceremony. Since graduating from UGA in 1982 with a degree in broadcast news from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, Roberts has risen through the ranks of television news, received numerous awards and been a regular reporter and contributor for programs such as “Dateline NBC,” “20/20,” “Nightline,” and “Good Morning America” to name a few. Born in the small town of Perry, Georgia, Roberts was one of nine children. She began her post-college career at WTVM-TV in Columbus, Georgia, and subsequently worked at WBIR-TV in Knoxville, Tennessee, where she gained notice for her coverage of the state legislature. Roberts further honed her reporting skills as bureau chief of WFTV-TV, the ABC affiliate in Orlando, from February 1987 to May 1990, where she also served as the station’s field anchor at the Kennedy Space Center and co-anchor of the weekend news. In 1990, Roberts began her network career with NBC News as a general assignment correspondent. She covered stories in the Southeast from the Atlanta and Miami bureaus and was dispatched to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait reporting on the lead up to the Persian Gulf War. Roberts was later named a magazine correspondent for “Dateline NBC” and reported from Barcelona during the 1992 Summer Olympic games, earning an Emmy nomination for this coverage. In 1992, she received a University of Georgia Distinguished Alumnus Award, presented annually to recent graduates who have excelled rapidly in their professions. Roberts joined ABC 20/20 in 1995. Since then her curiosity has taken her around the world, from Bangladesh to report on women’s maternal health to Africa where she has traveled extensively, telling stories about the HIV/AIDS crisis and an Emmy-winning report on a woman who discovered her long lost mother in an African village. Roberts has won numerous awards for her work including a Clarion award for coverage of abuse within the Amish community. In 2006, Roberts delivered UGA’s Holmes-Hunter lecture, and in 2016 she presented an Alumni Seminar. Earlier this year, she participated in a panel discussion entitled “Grady Greats: A Conversation on the Enduring Values and Power of Journalism.” Johnson, who also holds the title of Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, is an accomplished scholar in political science, with numerous awards for his teaching prowess and research. During his career at UGA, Johnson authored more than 30 books and over 200 articles on intelligence agencies, foreign policy and national security. He served as editor of the journal Intelligence and National Security and as a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Intelligence History, International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence,  Intelligence and National Security and The Oxford Handbook of National Security Intelligence, among many others. His latest book is entitled Spy Watching: Intelligence Accountability in the United States (Oxford, 2018). Johnson was a driving force in the creation of the School of Public and International Affairs in 2001. In 2012, the fourteen universities that comprise the Southeast Conference selected him as the inaugural recipient of its now annual prize: “The SEC Professor of the Year.” After receiving his doctorate in political science from the University of California at Riverside in 1969, he taught at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, California State University (San Francisco) and Ohio University, where he was tenured in 1974. From 1975 on, Johnson also served as a political consultant and congressional staff member, pushing for increased oversight of intelligence agencies. He was Special Assistant to the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which investigated the nation’s spy agencies and led to the establishment of oversight committees in the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives to monitor intelligence activities. Additionally, Johnson served on the staff of the Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations, as staff director of the House Subcommittee on Intelligence Oversight and on the staff of the House Subcommittee on Trade and International Economic Policy. He became a member of the UGA faculty in the Department of Political Science in 1979, becoming a full professor in 1985. He took a year’s leave from the university in 1995 to work on the Aspin-Brown Commission on Intelligence. He has also taught at Yale University and Oxford University as a Distinguished Visiting Professor, and he has presented addresses on national security and foreign policy topics at over 150 colleges and universities in North America, Europe, and New Zealand. During his time at UGA, Johnson has been involved in both local and national politics, including writing Friend of the Court petitions in intelligence-related court cases, serving as a member of the Georgia State Board of Elections and leading the SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) campaign to finance a new Cedar Shoals High School and renovate public schools throughout Athens-Clarke County. Johnson will retire at the end of the spring semester after more than 40 years at UGA.
  • There is a Saturday session for the citizens committee that is looking at the SPLOST project list: the panel meets at 9 tomorrow morning at the Sandy Creek Nature Center. Athens-Clarke County voters decide the fate of the penny-on-the-dollar sales tax referendum in November.  Saturday is a trail work day at the Sandy Creek Nature Center: Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services says volunteers will gather at 9 o’clock tomorrow morning at the Nature Center on Old Commerce Road. Leisure Services says it’s a clean-up day.  The Green Life Expo and Awards ceremony is set for Saturday at the Library on Baxter Street, underway at 10 o’clock tomorrow morning. The Green Life Awards recognize sustainability leaders in schools, businesses, community organizations, and government in Athens. |
  • The University of Georgia was ranked No. 2 by OpenStax on a list of top 10 schools that have saved their students the most money through adoption of OpenStax free college textbooks in the 2017-18 school year. These textbooks helped 42,245 UGA students, according to data from Rice University-based publisher OpenStax. Savings from these textbooks saved students around $3.9 million, according to UGA data. UGA, as well as the University System of Georgia, has made a concerted effort to move toward free online textbooks, especially for large-enrollment courses, to save students money and improve teaching. “At UGA, we are growing a culture of Open Educational Resources thanks to dedicated advocacy for affordable textbook alternatives by our students, faculty, staff and administrators,” said Megan L. Mittelstadt, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning. “The majority of these savings are a result of the adoption of OpenStax texts—the high-quality, peer-reviewed OpenStax books are popular among our faculty seeking to implement open education resources in service of equity and student academic success. These not only lower the cost for students, but data from a small sample of UGA courses using OpenStax books also shows improved end-of-course grades, especially for Pell recipients, part-time students and student populations historically underserved by higher education.” UGA was an early adopter of these free textbooks and pioneered ways large institutions can focus their implementation on a bigger scale and improve learning outcomes. Peggy Brickman, a professor of plant biology, and her colleagues teach general education biology courses taken by nearly 2,000 students a year. When she adopted an OpenStax textbook in 2013, CTL used a grant to fund a graduate assistant who worked with Brickman to redesign her course. It was an opportunity for Brickman to rethink how to best teach the course, and students have been thanking her ever since. “It has saved hundreds of thousands of dollars for students,” Brickman said, “and the course is much better after we redesigned it.”
  • The Hart County Sheriff’s Office is heading up the investigation into the shooting that wounded an Elberton man: the shooting apparently happened at the dam on Lake Hartwell. The victim, who was shot in the leg, tells investigators it happened during a robbery. A White County man begins his life sentence: Frederick Sauder is 30 years old, from Cleveland. He was sentenced after his conviction for his role in the armed robbery and murder of 66 year-old Wayne Alexander, who was killed in August of 2016. A Hall County man is behind bars, charged with a long list of drug and driving charges: the Hall County Sheriff’s Office says 39 year-old was arrested after a traffic stop.    From the Hall Co Sheriff’s Office... On February 20, 2019, Deputies with the Hall County Sheriff’s Office arrested Donald Jason Passmore, 39, of Gainesville (pictured above), at a location in the 3300 block of Baker Road, during the course of an investigation.   Four Superior Court Probation warrants had been previously issued for Mr. Passmore’s arrest in July 2018.    His original charges included: manufacturing methamphetamine near a child, possession of methamphetamine 3cts. DUI, possession of drug related objects, theft by taking and obstruction.   On February 20, 2019, Passmore attempted to break into a storage building located at a residence in the 3700 block of Baker Road by prying the lock with a crow bar.   He also attempted to enter the primary residence but fled the scene in his car when confronted by the homeowner/victim in this case.   Deputies responded.    When deputies attempted to arrest Mr. Passmore, he accelerated his vehicle, driving towards the Deputy, causing the deputy to jump out of the vehicle’s path to avoid being struck.   Passmore was ultimately arrested without further incident and charged with:    1) Aggravated Assault on a Peace Officer 2) Felony Obstruction 3) Failure to Maintain Lane of Travel 4) Suspended License 5) Reckless Driving 6) Fleeing/Eluding 7) Criminal Trespass of Property 8) Possession of Tools of a Crime (of Burglary) 9) Superior Court Probation Warrant (issued 7/13/18) 10) Superior Court Probation Warrant (issued 7/13/18) 11) Superior Court Probation Warrant (issued 7/24/18) 12) Superior Court Probation Warrant (issued 7/24/18)   Passmore was booked in at the Hall County Jail.  
  • The University of Georgia’s Black History Month Awards and Dinner is set for this evening in Athens: it gets underway at 5:30 at the Georgia Museum of Art. From the University of Georgia master calendar… This dinner and awards ceremony features the presentation of the Larry D. and Brenda A Thompson Award. Visit bit.ly/gmoa-bhma19 to sponsor and receive guaranteed tickets. Individual tickets will be available Jan. 4 for members and Feb. 1 for nonmembers. Call 706-542-4199 with additional ticket inquiries. Friday, February 22 at 5:30pm to 9:00pm Georgia Museum of Art 90 Carlton Street, Athens, GA 30602

Bulldog News

  • Georgia and Ole Miss played an exciting, down-to-the-wire SEC basketball game Saturday, but it was what took part before the game that sent a ripple across the nation. Six of the Rebels basketball players kneeled during the national anthem before the game on Saturday in Oxford.   Several Players from @OleMissMBB kneeling for the national anthem. pic.twitter.com/3fLNXoiFm1 — NewsWatch Ole Miss (@NewsWatch_UM) February 23, 2019   The Mississippi Clarion Ledger reported that as the Ole Miss players were preparing for the game, “almost 100 pro-Confederate supporters gathered in town to protest the University of Mississippi’s past actions to remove Confederate emblems and songs, as well as the discontinuation of mascot Colonel Reb.”   The march has begun with a “God Bless Dixie” chant pic.twitter.com/nmu2gq3qv1 — Nick Suss (@nicksuss) February 23, 2019   The Rebels beat the Bulldogs, 72-71, when UGA guard Tyree Crump missed a last-second shot attempt.     The post WATCH: Ole Miss basketball players kneeled during national anthem appeared first on DawgNation.
  • It was another gut-wrenching loss for what’s become a gritty Georgia basketball team on Saturday at Ole Miss, a 72-71 defeat. The Bulldogs (10-17, 1-13) had a chance to win in the final seconds in a game that saw 10 lead changes, but Tyree Crump’s 3-point attempt as time expired was off the mark. The Rebels (19-8, 9-5 SEC) held off a furious UGA rally after leading by as many as 13 points, protecting their NCAA Tournament resume. Ole Miss led 69-62 with 2:53 left when Georgia made its final run, fueled by 7 consecutive Jordan Harris points, including a pair of free throws with 1:36 left that tied the game. Harris scored a career-high 15 points on 5-of-5 shooting from the floor and 5-of-5 from the free-throw line along with five assists. The Rebels answered Harris’ run with a Devontae Shuler 3-pointer to go up 72-69, before a Nicolas Claxton jumper closed the gap to 72-71. Ole Miss star Breein Tyree missed the front end of a one-and-one situation at the free-throw line with 10.9 seconds left, and Georgia had the ball with a chance to win on the final possession. Coach Tom Crean called for a timeout with just under 6 seconds left and designed the inbounds pass to go to Claxton, who in turn dished the ball out to Crump for the ill-fated shot attempt. “They didn’t get a great look, but they got it to the best player, Claxton, and he didn’t panic when he got double teamed, and he found the open player,” SEC Network analyst Dane Bradshaw said. “It looked like it was going in off the glass.” Georgia was down 10 at halftime but opened the second half on an 8-0 run, cutting the Ole Miss lead to 39-37. The Rebels halftime lead came on the strength of a 13-0 run midway through the first half that made it 28-18.. The Rebels pressure created Georgia through the first 20 minutes, leading to 12 first-half UGA turnovers that sparked Ole Miss to 11 points in transition. Georgia returns to action at 9 p.m. on Wednesday at home against Auburn (TV: ESPNU). The post Georgia basketball misses last-second shot at Ole Miss, falls 72-71 appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm doesn’t expect Georgia’s offense to change much under the direction of first-year offensive coordinator James Coley. But the 2019 Heisman Trophy candidate indicated it could evolve. When one considers the returning personnel, it’s not hard to understand why and how. The Bulldogs ranked 18th in the nation in total offense last season and return a veteran offensive line, a 1,000-yard back and a third-year starter in Fromm. RELATED: Kirby Smart makes his pick on offense “There’s just going to be more added to it,” Fromm, who ranked fifth in the nation in passing efficiency last season, told WSB. “We’re super excited in what we have going on.” Receiver Tyler Simmons, who played part of last season limited by a shoulder brace, told WSB-2 he’s expecting a different feeling in the huddles. “A little bit more energetic,” Simmons said. “Coley brings a lot of energy to the offense, we we’re all excited.” Simmons suggested the Georgia pass attack won’t drop off despite the Bulldogs losing four of their top five receivers last season in Riley Ridley, Mecole Hardman, Isaac Nauta and Terry Godwin. “We may have the ball in the air a little more,” Simmons said. “A little bit more passing, a little bit more balance offensively.” That may be true, but it won’t come at the expense of a dominant run game, if Coach Kirby Smart stays true to form. “We’ve got a set of plays, our core belief that we always have which is balance, being powerful, being able to run the ball at our will, not somebody else breaking our will,” Smart said last fall. “That’s always going to be the identity we have.” Further, Smart’s philosophy on building an offense is that the talent will dictate the play calls. “The building of the package is really based on what we have,” Smart said last fall. “What are our strengths? Are we stronger at receiver than running back or are our backs going to be as good and explosive as they were last year?” Georgia is expected to start spring football practice on March 18, with the G-Day spring football game scheduled for April 20. The post Georgia football QB Jake Fromm predicts offensive expansion under James Coley appeared first on DawgNation.
  • UGA stars help celebrate Ric Flair’s 70th birthday You know you’re “big-time” when you get invited with a bunch of A-listers to the surprise 70th birthday party of wrestling legend Ric Flair. The event was Friday night in the Atlanta suburb of Duluth. Who repped UGA at the star-studded event? The first was former Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley, who plays running back for NFL’s Los Angeles Ram. No surprise here, as Gurley is one of the top 10 most recognizable players in pro football. The other UGA attendee? None other the UGA kicker Rodriqo Blankenship. Never underestimate the popularity of Blankenship, who often gets the loudest cheers from the fans when the Bulldogs are introduced before games. The A-listers? Charles Barkley, Dennis Rodman, and Evander Holyfield, along with a host of wrestling stars that include Triple H and Chris Jericho. Maybe “Hot Rod” and Gurley are A-listers, too? What’s the connection between Ric Flair and UGA football? Flair lives in Atlanta, and he’s one of the team’s celebrity fans. He’s attends games, and he even taped a pep talk for the Bulldogs before they played Alabama  in last year’s national championship game. Flair, who evidentially has a daughter-in-law on UGA’s track team, has been known to get on the field to hype up the crowd. The post UGA football stars help celebrate Ric Flair’s 70th birthday appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — The unintended consequences on the Georgia football 2020 schedule have yet to shake out, as it relates to the pending Auburn-Tennessee October-November flip. But the fact Alabama rotates on Bulldogs regular-season schedule in 2020 has some UGA fans losing sleep. Could the Bulldogs play the Tide and Tigers in back-to-back weeks? Extremely unlikely, to the point it would be shocking, and a deeper dive explains why. About the flip On the surface, Georgia’s Auburn-Tennessee schedule flip provides mutual benefits for UGA and the Tigers, to the extent Kirby Smart obviously believes it’s in the best interest of his program. RELATED: Vince Dooley says schedule change benefits Auburn Smart said last May at the SEC Spring Meetings that he was open to changing things up so UGA wasn’t playing road games at Georgia Tech and Auburn in November. WATCH: What Kirby Smart said about Auburn schedule twist But surely, Smart and athletic director Greg McGarity played out the scenario and have some assurances from the SEC office that the Auburn and Alabama games in 2020 won’t occur in back-to-back weeks. “I’d just make the statement that if there are any issues that our staff has, we’d voice that,” UGA athletic director  Greg McGarity told DawgNation. “But I think Kirby will be very comfortable with the schedule that you’ll see in 2020.” Historic trend Still, the relatively limited series history between Georgia and Alabama has led some alarmists to speculate the Bulldogs could be in another scheduling bind. The past two meetings between the Bulldogs and the Tide have been in Atlanta, with the SEC Championship on the line last December, and the national championship at stake in January of 2018. But prior to that, the teams most recent regular season meetings were Oct. 3,   2015 (Athens) and then a 2007-2008 home-and-home in Tuscaloosa (Sept. 27) and Athens (Sept. 27). The good news for Georgia fans is the Bulldogs already have a contracted home game with Louisiana-Monroe for the last Saturday in September, the 26th. More good news is DawgNation sources said earlier this week the 2020 Auburn game will be in October — not September. Circle Sept. 19 The educated guess here is that the 2020 Georgia-Alabama game will be played on Sept. 19 — a week before the contracted non-conference game with Louisiana-Monroe — with the Auburn game played on Oct. 3. It’s worth noting Alabama plays Georgia State on Sept. 12, 2020 and Kent State Sept. 26, 2020 — leaving that Sept. 19 date a prime target for a marquee early-season SEC showdown in Tuscaloosa. But until the schedule comes out, more will speculate and wonder when Georgia will play Alabama in 2020. Regardless of where or when the game is played, the most noteworthy trend that must be reversed is the outcome. The Tide has won five straight against Georgia to snap what had been a three-game Bulldogs win streak in the series dating back to the Bulldogs’ 26-23 overtime win in Tuscaloosa in 2007.     The post Evaluating Georgia football possibility of playing Auburn-Alabama in consecutive 2020 weeks appeared first on DawgNation.