August 30, 2022


Wade Herring and Earl “Buddy” Carter

Follow the money

It’s a tale of two candidates: one an incumbent largely reliant upon political action committees and out-of-state donors, the other a first-time challenger financed almost exclusively by individuals in his district. Both are vying for Georgia’s vote in the First Congressional District.

The difference could offer insight into where the politicians’ priorities lie — with their constituents or with outside lobbyists — but campaign finance experts say the numbers aren’t as cut and dried as first glance might suggestThe Current’s Nick Sullivan writes. 

Just under half of Republican incumbent Earl L. “Buddy” Carter’s $1.5 million in contributions comes from political action committees or PACs, which are groups created to raise money for candidates. Many PACs represent a particular business, industry or value. 

In contrast, nearly 90% of Democratic challenger Wade Herring’s $885,000 comes directly from individuals, a fact he owns with pride. But Herring’s grass-roots effort — he has just one PAC donation — is a virtue of necessity, according to University of Georgia political science professor Charles Bullock. 

“A political action committee or director of a PAC looks at it and says, ‘Gee, I’m not terribly happy with the incumbent. No need for me to antagonize him by giving money to a challenger if a challenger has virtually no shot of winning,’ ” Bullock said.


Savannah-Chatham County Public School System Superintendent Ann Levett speaks at an NAACP meeting held at Tremont Temple on Aug. 28, 2022.

Drone aviation in, dinosaur catching out

Superintendent Ann Levett set the record straight on several changes impacting the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System this year.

“We’re planning for the future. We’re not teaching dinosaur catching ‘cause that’s not what we do,” Levett said at a public meeting hosted by the NAACP on Sunday.

The system boasts a new drone aviation program and is charging forward with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math. STEM certification is underway in “almost all” SCCPSS elementary schools, Levett said, as one school enters its first full year as the region’s only STEAM-certified elementary school.

Meanwhile, Congress opted not to renew the nutrition waivers that for two years supplied Georgia’s public school students with free lunches. Now, free and reduced lunches require an application, but not all eligible families are aware of the change. A student’s previous eligibility status will continue for the first 30 days of the school year, but the clock is ticking, and applications should be submitted sooner than later. Breakfast remains free to all SCCPSS students.

Levett also addressed Georgia’s recently passed “divisive concepts” laws, a hot-button issue that gives parents more control over how topics such as racism are taught to their children. The new laws have yet to cause problems in the classroom, she said.

“I think there’s a manufactured crisis around this area,” Levett said. “We’re expecting our teachers to teach the curriculum … and that means factual information.”

Finally, with safety a top-of-mind concern, SCCPSS Chief of Police Terry Enoch said schools have invested in additional safety measures such as door access control, camera installations and screening at events. Further, Enoch said his officers are “trained to run to gunfire, not away from it.”


Notable

Kemp must testify: After an effort to resist a subpoena, Gov. Brian Kemp must testify to a grand jury investigating interference in the 2020 presidential election, a judge ruled on Monday. However, he does not have to testify until after November’s election, Capitol Beat reported. Kemp is not a target of the investigation, but he did have conversations with former President Donald Trump in the wake of the results.

Convention Recap: Big-ticket politicians drew Democrats from across the state to the Georgia Democratic Party Convention in Columbus on Saturday. Sen. Raphael Warnock spoke early in the day on Democrats’ accomplishments thus far, and gubernatorial hopeful Stacey Abrams closed out the day’s events by contrasting her vision for Georgia with Kemp’s. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution provides a full rundown of the day’s speakers and takeaways.

Free film: County Citizens Defending Freedom is sponsoring a screening of “[S]election Code” at the Westin Harbor on Hutchinson Island on Friday, Sept. 2, at 6 p.m. Admission to the screening is free, according to an announcement passed to The Current by Brittany Brown, chairperson of the South East Georgia Republican Assembly, and Sara Lain-Moneymaker. The featured guest at the screening is conservative media celebrity Lara Logan.

Remember to register: Visit The Current’s landing page for all things pertaining to the 2022 general election. We’ve compiled resources and voting news in one place to help you make informed decisions come Nov. 8.

And a note: Soundings will take a holiday next week. Back soon!


Experts: Campaign finances tell more complex story than voters might think

The candidates in Georgia’s First Congressional District race have vastly different sources of campaign contributions.

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Without free school meals for all, many fear lunch debt will return ‘with a vengeance’

The issue of school lunch debt rose to prominence in the years leading up to the pandemic. Three-quarters of school districts reported students had unpaid school meal debt by the end of 2017-18 school year, according to a survey of 800 districts conducted by the School Nutrition Association, a national nonprofit representing school food workers. That stacked up to nearly […]

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Schools open, challenges over ‘divisive concepts’ loom

School districts work to set process for complaints without tying up teachers and while working with parents.

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Fulton judge orders Kemp to testify in probe of Trump’s election interference

McBurney ruled that sovereign immunity does not apply in this case because it doesn’t involve a lawsuit against the state and because the special grand jury is not conducting a civil investigation.

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FAQ: What to know about voter registration in Georgia

First-time and returning voters alike should know how to register and update their information before Georgia’s Nov. 8 midterms. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions.

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Kemp, Abrams stake out health care, Medicaid expansion as wedge issues

Sharp disagreement over whether to expand Medicaid in Georgia – a state with one of the highest uninsured rates in the country – was one of the defining issues in the governor’s race in 2018. Four years later, the long-simmering debate over whether the state should expand the public insurance program is still sizzling.

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