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National Govt & Politics
LIVE UPDATES - The fight for control of Congress
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LIVE UPDATES - The fight for control of Congress

LIVE UPDATES - The fight for control of Congress
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

LIVE UPDATES - The fight for control of Congress

One of the biggest prizes in this year's mid-term elections is control of the U.S. House and Senate, as President Donald Trump and Democrats have battled for months, with all 435 seats in the House at stake, and 35 of 100 seats in the U.S. Senate.

Political experts in recent weeks have predicted a possible split decision in the 2018 mid-term elections, as Republicans are favored to keep control of the Senate, while Democrats are expected to add seats again in the House - the only question is will they get the net gain of 23 seats they need to take over the House.

Make sure to check my 'Viewer's guide' for tonight's election results, which give you a rundown of the key races nationally in the fight for Congress.

Check back here through the night as we chronicle how the votes go in both the House and Senate:

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8:10 am - Even before his news conference, the President is lashing out at Democrats, and the possibility that they will use the oversight power of the House to investigate him, and his administration.

7:40 am - President Trump will be weighing in from the White House later in the morning. It will be only his second solo news conference at the White House since taking office.

7:15 am - If you are just getting up, the Democrats have taken back the House, while the Republicans have expanded their Senate majority. 23 House races are not yet final, with 4 undetermined in the Senate.

5:15 am - With some races still not final from the election results, 21 House incumbents – all Republicans – were defeated on Tuesday. And there could still be a few more. That would mean over 80 lawmakers in the House will be new in January, a turnover of almost 19 percent. That’s a little more turnover than in 2012 (78), but less than the 94 new members after the 2010 Tea Party election. Four Senators were defeated on Tuesday, with two more hanging in the balance as the votes continue to be counted (and recounted).

4:30 am - Rep. Dana Rohrabacher R-CA is the latest GOP lawmaker to seem like he is heading for defeat, as with 99 percent reporting, Rohrabacher is down by 2800 votes to Democrat Harley Rouda. There are several very close races in California which are still on the board.

4:15 am - If you are just tuning in, Democrats have won back the House, but their majority is going to be very small. Republicans have expanded their majority in the Senate by at least two seats - that could grow to four if they end up winning in Florida and Montana.

4:00 am - I've decided to have some ice cream at 4 am, and it was a good choice.

3:40 am - Remember how I said every vote counts earlier this morning? Well, the absentees which weren't counted earlier in GA6 have now put Democrat Lucy McBath ahead of Rep. Karen Handel R-GA by about 900 votes.

2:55 am - Democrats get a little consolation prize in the Senate, as they seemingly win one Senate seat back in Nevada - (AP) -- Republican Dean Heller concedes Nevada U.S. Senate race to Democrat Jacky Rosen.

2:45 am - Sometimes news organizations make mistakes on calling an election, and that seems to have happened in Texas 23, where Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) had been declared the winner, but now he's dropped into second place, as Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones leads by 282 votes. One would assume there will be a recount.

2:25 am - EVERY VOTE COUNTS: 100% reporting in GA6 and Rep Karen Handel R-GA leads by just 57 votes out of over 302,000 cast. Think about that for a minute.

2:20 am - A story line we've heard before tonight. A female Democrat has defeated a GOP candidate, as the AP calls MI11 for the Democrats - Haley Stevens wins a GOP seat in the west Detroit suburbs for the Dems.

2:10 am - Democrats pick up a seat in South Carolina of all places. AP declares Democrat Joe Cunningham the winner in SC1, as Democrats win the seat of Rep Mark Sanford R-SC, who was defeated in the GOP primary, and then refused to endorse the Republican winner.

2:00 am - President Trump is still up at this hour - and he's very happy with the Senate results.

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Jamie Dupree

1:30 am - New York did it four years ago, so it should be a surprise that in NY27, indicted GOP Rep Chris Collins looks to be a winner, as he leads by 3100 votes with 99% reporting.

1:00 am - The Republicans have a chance to make very big gains in the U.S. Senate, if two races fall their way in coming hours.

12:40 am - President Trump has called some of the Republicans who won key victories on Tuesday.

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Jamie Dupree

12:35 am - Indictments don't seem to matter - at this point, two Republican lawmakers who were indicted on federal charges this fall are winning their re-election bids. Both Rep. Chris Collins R-NY and Rep. Duncan Hunter R-CA are ahead, though the results are not final.

12:20 am - Democrats are at the point now where every win they can get will add more breathing room to a narrow majority in the House. They've just picked up a second seat in Texas, flipping a suburban seat in Houston.

12:10 am - With more seats heading to Democrats in New York and other states, the AP has declared that Democrats will take control of the U.S. House in 2019: WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democrats have picked up 23 House seats, putting them on track to reach the 218 needed to seize control from GOP

12:00 am - The split decision in the Congress isn't bothering President Trump, as he declares victory.

11:55 pm

11:45 pm - A number of young women have won seats in the House for Democrats. A big change.

11:35 pm - A real surprise in Oklahoma, as Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) seems to have lost, as he trails by 3300 votes with all precincts reporting.

11:25 pm - Republicans definitely keeping the Senate. Democrats inching closer to winning the House.

11:10 pm - It looks like Democrats have pulled off a stunner and won three seats from the GOP in Virginia, as Elaine Luria was declared the winner over Rep. Scott Taylor R-VA in the Virginia Beach area, and now Abigail Spanberger has claimed victory over Rep. Dave Brat R-VA. Brat trails by 1900 votes with one precinct to report.

11:00 pm - At 11 pm, the fight for the Senate is over, though there are still some very important races for Senate that have to be tallied. In the House, Democrats are certainly making progress to net the 23 seats they need to win back the House, but it's not official as yet.

10:40 pm - Sen. Ted Cruz's victory in Texas means Democrats cannot win back the Senate in 2018.

10:35 pm - Three Republicans in Pennsylvania are behind at this hour, Rep Brian Fitzpatrick, Rep. Scott Perry and Rep. Mike Kelly. I don't want to go all crazy on this, but if the Democrats can win those three, they would take a giant step forward in their quest to get the House. If the Republicans hold all three, that would be huge for them.

10:30 pm - Democrats in the House are slowly chipping away at the GOP majority, but it's going to take several hours to figure out if they can do it. They have won 3 seats already in Pennsylvania. They have defeated Rep. Mike Coffman in Colorado. One seat in New Jersey has been lost by the GOP, along with one seat in Kansas.

10:10 pm - Pretty much the nail in the coffin for the U.S. Senate, as Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) wins easily in Tennessee. Add to that a GOP win in Indiana, and Democrats have run out of room to win back the Senate in 2018. The Blackburn win was much larger than expected.

9:55 pm - You don't think every vote counts? In Virginia, Democratic challenger Elaine Luria leads Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA) by 44 votes with 94 percent of precincts reporting.

9:50 pm - Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has survived a challenge led by President Trump. But with a victory in Indiana, this still seems like a Republican edge in the U.S. Senate.

9:25 pm - While the Senate still looks to be in the favor of the GOP, there are ominous signs in more races for Republicans. In Kansas, two GOP seats are at risk at this hour. Several Republicans trail in Illinois. And there could be a shocking upset in Texas and Oklahoma of sitting GOP lawmakers.

9:10 pm - The number of GOP seats in the House at risk continues to grow as more states start reporting returns. Along with slight leads in two key races in Virginia, Democrats have the edge in a series of races in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. As for the Senate, it looks like Republicans will hold the Senate - but there is a long way to go.

9:00 pm - Suddenly there is a late surge for Democrats in Virginia, as their candidates have gone ahead of two GOP incumbents with close to 90 percent of the vote in, as Rep. Scott Taylor R-VA and Rep. Dave Brat R-VA are both trailing by narrow margins. Every vote counts. That would be huge for Democrats.

8:50 pm - At this point, Republicans seem to be doing well in the Senate. They are leading Democratic incumbents in both Indiana and Florida. But there are some troubling signs for the GOP in the House. There isn't a huge 'blue wave,' but Democrats are making progress toward the 23 seats needed to win back the House.

8:40 pm - The first bad news of the night for Republicans comes from Illinois, where three GOP lawmakers are all trailing Democratic challengers in the early vote. Democrats are going to win the race for Governor there, which will certainly help boost turnout for their candidates. Something to watch.

8:35 pm - The first early returns from New Jersey show three Democrats ahead in GOP seats. The numbers from New Jersey and Pennsylvania will start to show us soon whether Democrats can win the House or not.

8:25 pm - Outside of two seats around Miami, GOP candidates for Congress seem to be holding GOP seats that were in play. Good news for Republicans.

8:20 pm - Early vote totals from Texas show that GOP candidates for Congress there could have a tough night in the suburbs of Houston and Dallas, as Democrats really got their vote out. Whether that holds when the Election Day totals are added in, we don't know that answer right now.

8:15 pm - Democrats make their first official pick up in Virginia, as Rep. Comstock loses in Virginia. Democrats are also leading narrowly in two South Florida districts. But GOP candidates are holding the line for the time being. In other words, there isn't a blowout happening right now in returns from states on the East Coast.

7:45 pm - In VA10, Jennifer Wexton (D) is leading big over Rep Barbara Comstock R-VA, 58-42%. This may be the first seat to flip for Democrats tonight as they try to win back the House. The Democrats are also leading in KY6, with half of precincts reporting.

7:40 pm - One of the biggest races to watch tonight is for Governor in Georgia. Most people don't realize it, but Georgia has a rule that if you don't get a majority in the general election, there is a runoff. The question in Georgia is simple - will the race be so close that the Libertarian candidate causes a runoff.

7:30 pm - In Florida, Democrats won the early vote in the major cities like Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Miami, Tampa, and around Orlando. But there is a long way to go in both the Senate and Governor's races in the Sunshine State.

7:20 pm - The same themes are being shown in Florida, where it's all about how well Democrats can do in urban areas, versus how well the Republicans can do in rural areas. Remember, President Trump was able to offset big advantages for Democrats by churning out extra votes in smaller, more Republican counties. So far, we are seeing a repeat of that theme tonight in the Sunshine State.

7:10 pm - In the Indiana U.S. Senate race, Sen. Joe Donnelly D-IN continues to run better than other Democrats, while Mike Braun (R) is under-performing other statewide Republicans. But Braun is churning out more votes than past elections. Donnelly's future will depend on how many votes he can churn out from suburban areas around Indianapolis and other urban areas like Gary, Fort Wayne, and others larger cities.

7:00 pm - A statement from the White House at this hour from Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders: "This in from Sarah Sanders:

“As President, Donald J. Trump has headlined an unprecedented 50 rallies — 30 in the last two months alone — and he has campaigned for dozens of candidates at all levels of government. The President has energized a staggering number of Americans at packed arenas and in overflow crowds at rallies across the country. Under President Trump’s leadership, the Republican National Committee has raised more than a quarter billion dollars, fueling an extraordinary ground game geared toward defying midterm history and protecting the GOP’s majorities. He has made the choice clear to the American people: Tonight, we can continue down the path of American prosperity and security or we can go backwards. The President and First Lady look forward to watching the results come in with friends and family in the White House residence.”

6:55 pm - With 2 percent of the vote in from Kentucky's 6th district, Rep. Andy Barr R-KY leads by 12 votes.

6:50 pm - The pace of the night will really pick up over the next hour. The polls close at 7 pm ET in the Eastern Time Zone counties of Florida, all of Georgia, all of Virginia, and the rest of Indiana and Kentucky. Virginia and Florida will give Democrats their first big opportunity to win some seats in the Congress. We'll see whether they're up to the task tonight, or not.

6:40 pm - I don't know if this will mean anything, but in the Indiana U.S. Senate race, the Republican candidate is getting fewer votes than other Republicans who are running statewide, for Secretary of State, Auditor, Treasurer, and more - while Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly is doing better than the Democrats in those races. Also, the Libertarian is getting about 1.5% more in votes for Senate, than the Libertarians in those other statewide races. Just something to think about.

6:35 pm - The formula for success is a familiar one tonight in statewide races for U.S. Senate, as Republicans will see a lot of Red in more rural, Republican-leaning counties, while Democrats will try to run up big margins in the cities, and pick off more GOP voters in suburban areas. In 2016, President Trump was able to motivate enough people to the polls in those less populated areas to offset the Democratic strength in cities. That will be an important measurement tonight as well.

6:25 pm - The counties reporting so far in Indiana are mainly rural, Republican areas, which are giving Braun a healthy lead over Sen. Donnelly. That calculus should change once larger cities start reporting their vote totals, as Democrats should do well in the Indianapolis area, and up in the northwest corner of the state.

6:17 pm - And we get our first batch of votes from Kentucky as well, from the Sixth Congressional district, where Rep. Andy Barr R-KY is trying to hold on against Democrat Amy McGrath. This is not a 'must-win' for Democrats, but GOP loss here would not be a good way to start for Republicans. Again, this is very early vote results.

Jamie Dupree
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Jamie Dupree

6:15 pm - The first votes have come trickling in from Indiana - it must have been early votes from a GOP enclave, because it gave a health advantage to Republican Mike Braun, who is running against Sen. Joe Donnelly D-IN. One notable thing about this batch of 4,800 votes is that the Libertarian candidate received 5 percent. If that 5 percent happens when Braun is on the losing side in larger counties, that could be a big problem. It's very early.

6:10 pm - As we wait for the first votes, what counties now often total up first are the early votes, along with any absentee ballots that have already been cast. That's a big change from many years ago, when the absentees were an afterthought. But now, so many votes are cast early in a number of states, that the first numbers you see are from those early votes. Any absentees or mail-in ballots which arrive later, will be counted at the end of the process, along with provisional ballots.

6:00 pm - The polls are now closed in the Eastern Time Zone portions of Indiana and Kentucky. This means we will start getting actual returns soon on the U.S. Senate race in Indiana, and the Sixth Congressional District in Kentucky. Those are the first two races to pay attention to this evening.

5:45 pm - Republicans were managing expectations a bit today, with the national Republican chair declaring that if Democrats don't match the Tea Party 'wave' election of 2010, then whatever Democrats gain tonight in the House will be small potatoes. Historically, that 63 seat net gain in 2010 by the GOP was the largest since Democrats had won 75 seats in the 1948 elections (that was the infamous "Dewey Beats Truman" election).

5:30 pm - No matter what happens today, there will be a lot of change within the Congress. So far, 58 House members won't be back in January, which is already more than the entire turnover associated with the 2016 election. Only eight House members lost on election night two years ago - it seems like more may get booted out this time around, but you never know what the voters will decide. Read my story about this year's turnover, and check the statistics for what's happened in elections going back to 2006, as there has been double digit percentage change in the House for seven straight elections. That's a lot of new faces. And depending on what happens tonight, there could be many more.

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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.