Municipal Election Day — Nov. 7, 2023
Where does mayor candidate reside?
Savannah’s mayoral race has been tense from the start, with the top two candidates slinging negative ads and criticisms against each other. On the eve of Tuesday’s election, The Current has discovered that the third candidate in the race, Tyrisha Davis, does not live at the address listed on her official candidacy registration form.
Reporters Jake Shore and Margaret Coker went to the address listed on the affidavit that every candidate must have notarized to stand for the municipal elections. What they found was a vacant house with a “for rent” sign, a broken window, and neighbors who said no one has been living there for at least three weeks. Furthermore, the property manager said she did not recall a person named Tyrisha Davis ever renting the property. Davis’ own voting status in Georgia is also unclear. Secretary of State voting records show that she registered to vote in August but that she did not list an address, which is mandatory.
Why is this important? Because mayoral candidates in Savannah must be legal resident of the city for one year prior to the election. And offering inaccurate facts on an official document is not a good look for someone who wants to lead Georgia’s sixth-largest city.
On Monday, The Current asked Davis to confirm her address in Savannah and her voting precinct. Davis declined to comment. Read more about our reporting here.
Getting out to vote
If you live in a municipality in Coastal Georgia, you may be prepping to vote on today. Precincts are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and absentee ballots can be dropped off up until 7 p.m.
So far, early voting has been sparse in some areas but fairly busy in places such as Liberty County, where four towns are voting.
In Chatham County, five cities are voting: Tybee, Savannah, Pooler, Port Wentworth, and Garden City.
Bryan County and McIntosh counties have countywide votes on special purpose sales taxes plus votes in Richmond Hill, Pembroke, and Darien. Elections were canceled in Woodbine (Camden County) and Gum Branch (Liberty County) when all offices had only one qualifying candidate.
Selected election-related stories from The Current:
- “Savannah candidates’ records: From speeding to bounced checks” (Nov. 1, 2023), Part 1 and Part 2
- “Savannah’s mayoral campaign gets nasty” (Oct, 30, 2023)
- “Looking to boost voter turnout, Savannah mayor turns to party stars in reelection bid” (Oct. 23, 2023)
- “Is Van Johnson’s re-election a slam dunk?” (Sept. 25, 2023)
- “Savannah’s powerful rally behind Mayor Johnson’s reelection bid” (July 10, 2023)
As residents in Darien go to the polls today, the biggest question won’t be whether to extend a 1% sales tax to support local schools, important though it is.
Instead, it’s “Which Bubba?”
The mayoral race in this Coastal Georgia town of some 1,460 people pits two Bubbas against each other: Hugh Bubba Hodge is seeking a fourth term as mayor but he’s facing a stiff challenge from another Bubba — longtime city councilman Augustus Bubba Skeen.
Hodge and Skeen said they aren’t concerned that the presence of two Bubbas on the ballot will confuse voters deciding who should get job and the $788-a-month salary that goes with it.
“There’s no way. It’s a small town, and in a small town, they know me, and they know the other. I’m not at all worried,” Skeen told The Current’s Craig Nelson.
His opponent in the Battle of the Bubbas isn’t taking the small-town familiarity for granted.
“Now I tell people when they say, ‘There’s two Bubbas on the ballot,’ I tell ‘em, ‘Remember Hodge.’ If you don’t do that, remember the incumbent. Let’s keep him in office.”
With just a few days to go before the election, Hodge, the incumbent, seems on his back foot, fighting for his political life and hinting at conspiracies involving Skeen, whom he doesn’t refer to by name, apparently befitting small town mores. (“I’m not calling any names.”)
“Everybody that’s run against me have done a clean race. Now this one, this guy, this man wants to pour more mud on me than he wants to tell people what he’s gonna do,” he said.
The mayor hinted that moneyed interests in Darien and surrounding McIntosh County have lined up behind Skeen to push their development schemes at the expense of the town’s tourist-attracting historic sites and the county’s less affluent residents. Here’s Nelson’s story on the race in Darien.
- “Senator Reverend Warnock Urges Inclusion of Bipartisan Provisions Benefiting Georgia Servicemembers, Military Families in Final Defense Bill” (Office of Sen. Raphael Warnock, Nov. 3, 2023) “Senator Warnock’s Love Lives On provision would expand benefits for surviving spouses of fallen service members, restoring their access to military bases, commissaries, and retail stores for those who lost access due to remarriage — a vital privilege that surviving spouses deserve and that helps ensure they can retain their connection to the military community of which they have long been a part.”
- “Carter secures water, conservation wins for first district” (Office of Earl L. “Buddy” Carter, Nov. 3, 2023) “The bill included $1.75 million for Springfield, GA’s Sewer Force Main Construction project, $1 million for Darien, GA’s Wastewater Treatment Plant Expansion Project, and $305.54 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund for the National Park State Assistance Programs.”
- “U.S. House GOP in spending bills takes aim at federal LGBTQ, racial equity policies” (Georgia Recorder, Nov. 3, 2023) “U.S. House Republicans are continuing to use government spending bills to engage in culture war battles, with legislation debated during the past week that would ban pride flags on some federal buildings, strip funding from a new museum for Latino history and target certain LGBTQ and racial equity policies and programs.”
- “Finding ways to tap into tourism revenue stream” (Coastal Courier, Nov. 2, 2023) “Tourism is one of the biggest industries in Georgia, and the rest of Coastal Georgia is looking for ways to tap into the surging revenue stream.”
The Environmental Defense Fund’s Climate Vulnerability Index ranked the states and looked at the county and census tract levels as well, weighing factors beyond extreme events like fires and hurricanes.
Utility describes as Georgia’s “extraordinary” economic growth as catalyst for seeking additional generating capacity less than a year and a half after the state Public Service Commission approved its last Integrated Resource Plan.
Court files detail lawsuits, traffic offenses, other charges for Savannah mayoral, council District 2 candidates. (Part 2 of 2)
Representatives of the entertainment and sports industries argue the bill would benefit secondary ticket sellers that resell tickets at marked-up prices at the expense of musical artists and sports teams.
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