November 1, 2022

Glynn County community organizers at Saturday’s Get Out the Vote event.

‘Better for us all’

Booming music, a bouncy castle and barbecue. Well before the first whistle of the big UGA game Saturday, another party was kicking off on Gloucester Street in Brunswick for all the folks who came to vote early at Glynn County’s Board of Election headquarters.

The celebration was part of the statewide Get Out the Vote campaign organized by local community activists such as A Better Glynn, writes Margaret Coker, The Current’s editor in chief.

Voting advocates from political parties, along with nonpartisan organizations, are hoping to extend Georgia’s record-breaking election turnout numbers with the simple philosophy: The more Americans who participate in our democratic process, the better for us all.

That election enthusiasm has meant that more than 20% of registered voters in each of Coastal Georgia’s counties have taken advantage of early voting days to cast their ballot, a trend mimicked statewide.

Another trend in Georgia’s First Congressional District: More and more first-time voters are coming to the polls. In Bryan County, for example, more than 26% of voters did not vote in the 2018 general election, the last time we voted for governor. In Camden County, 24.4% of early voters didn’t vote in 2018; in Chatham County, that number is 23%.

There are no exit polls for early voting, so it’s unclear what is animating these early voters — issues like abortion or the economy, or perhaps the uncertainty of how election precincts will function on Election Day Nov. 8. What’s clear from the data, however, is the vast majority of early voters are over the age of 60.

Both Republicans and Democrats want to see high turnout. If you are registered to vote, you can vote early until the end of the day Friday — if you miss that window, then come out Tuesday, Nov. 8. The Current is running updated data from now until Election Day from the Secretary of State’s office on our website so you can see how your county voter turnout is rising — and how it compares to Georgia’s other 158 counties.

St. Phillips AME Voters Rally
In Savannah, last week’s Get Out the Vote efforts kicked off with a rally St. Phillips AME on Tuesday. Credit: Jeffery Glover/The Current GA Credit: Jeffery M. Glover/ The Current GA

Final stretch

Crime, inflation, abortion, democracy: Candidates for local, statewide, and federal offices are crisscrossing Coastal Georgia, going on social media, and throwing it down one last time on the debate stage in last-minute efforts to get their supporters out to vote. Following are notable pitches from candidates in the region’s most contested races:

“Two years ago, when there was civil unrest, your state government, your governor, your General Assembly that supports law enforcement was keeping our capital city from Atlanta being burned down — we are coming to Savannah during protests and helping keep in this city from being burned down. When you have local leaders that wouldn’t turn their law enforcement loose on bad actors — most of them that didn’t even live here that were burning police cars, damaging buildings, and looting stores. We’re not going to put up with that in Georgia when I’m your governor. — Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, The Landings, ­Oct. 26

“And yet he defended Herschel Walker, saying that he didn’t want to be involved. …. But he doesn’t mind being involved in the personal lives and the personal medical choices of the women in Georgia. What’s the difference? Well, I would say the equipment.” — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, televised debate with Republican opponent Brian Kemp, accusing her Republican opponent of refusing to defend women, Oct. 30

“I’m also going to tell you I’m going to win this election, and tell you the reason why, because as I stand here today you can see that I don’t look like a politician, do I? I don’t sound like a politician, do I? Because I’m not a politician. I am that warrior for God that he’s prepared me for this moment right now.” — Herschel Walker, Anderson’s General Store, Statesboro, Oct. 28

“I’m asking you to join with me and leave it all on the field because the future of our children and the future of the planet and the future of democracy are at stake. — Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock, rally with Sen. John Ossoff and congressional candidate Wade Herring, Democratic Party field headquarters, Chatham County, Oct. 25

“I don’t want to talk too much about Sen. Warnock’s opponent. But I was at the University of Georgia from 1980 to 1983, and he was a good football player. But that’s it. And in February of 1983 — I’ll never forget this — it was a cold, gray day in north Georgia and we found out that a man from New Jersey has been messing with Herschel Walker. He’s been messing with him ever since.” — Wade Herring, rally with Senators John Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, Democratic Party field headquarters, Chatham County, Oct. 25­

“There’s more tricks than treats this Halloween! How big of a bite is #Bidenflation taking out of your kid’s candy bag? Bidenflation is haunting Americans.” — Republican congressional candidate and incumbent Buddy Carter, tweeting yesterday

Earl L. “Buddy” Carter

Carter and opioids

For years Rep. Buddy Carter has been dogged by accusations that as a longtime pharmacist in Pooler, he and his company amassed a fortune from the sale of prescription opioids. Less than two weeks before Election Day, the issue threatens to disrupt his hard-fought re-election campaign, The Current’s Craig Nelson writes.

In 2017, Carter, a licensed pharmacist, emerged as a leading advocate of efforts to curtail the opioid epidemic, helping introduce legislation that would require federal agencies to produce materials to better educate pharmacists on when they are allowed by law to decline to fill a prescription for a controlled substance.

But Carter was also the owner of a pharmacy business that received the fourth-highest number of opioids in Chatham County from 2006 to 2014, according to federal government records. It also spotlights his campaign finance ties to the McKesson Corp., his former opioid distributor.

Carter’s campaign fund and leadership PAC have received $108,000 in contributions from McKesson and its affiliates, and its employees’ political action committee.

From 2006 to 2012, McKesson was the largest distributor of prescription opioids in the country. From 2006 to 2014, it was also the main supplier of prescription pain pills to Carter Pharmacy, Inc., according to data collected by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.


Here they come! Herschel Walker’s campaign says the candidate (and campaign bus) will be in Richmond Hill tomorrow at 11 a.m. at the Goodwill at 9701 Ford Avenue. Stacey Abrams is rumored to be swinging through Liberty County later this week for a campaign rally at historic Dorchester House. Stay tuned.

Money, money, money: Gov. Brian Kemp is said to have raised more than $200,000 at his fundraiser at The Landings last week.

Election 2022: Daily Georgia early vote updates

See data map updated daily through last day of voting.

Miss a 2022 debate? Watch them here.

Links to debate recordings for local and statewide races.

Savannah opioid lawsuit renews attention on Rep. Buddy Carter

As a Georgia congressman, Rep. Buddy Carter has pushed to regulate opioids. As a pharmacist his businesses were a major supplier of these drugs in Chatham County.

DNR sends 19 state employees to funeral of commissioner’s mother-in-law

Deputy Director Walter Rabon spoke with division directors and asked them each to designate up to five employees to attend the service.

Abrams, Kemp clash in final gubernatorial debate

Abortion and guns took up much of the time Sunday night in the second and final debate of the fall campaign between Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams.

In Georgia, Warnock’s climate activism contrasts sharply with Walker’s deep skepticism

Vying for a seat that could determine control of the Senate, Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock has a 100 percent score from the League of Conservation Voters, while GOP challenger Herschel Walker frames climate change as a liberal hoax.

Republicans say crime is on the rise – what is the crime rate and what does it mean?

With political rhetoric saying crime is rising, it’s important to define what U.S. crime rates actually are, specify what crimes politicians are referring to, and verify how accurate those numbers are.

Election 2022: Georgia voters to decide 4 ballot questions

Yes or No questions contain two constitutional amendments, two referenda.

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Craig Nelson is a former international correspondent for The Associated Press, the Sydney (Australia) Morning-Herald, Cox Newspapers and The Wall Street Journal. He also served as foreign editor for The...