State Sen. Bill Cowsert called on Oconee County Republicans to turn out to vote in the Nov. 3 election to make sure that Houston Gaines and Marcus Wiedower, who represent the county in the Georgia House, are sent back to Atlanta to protect the party during redistricting.
Cowsert, who, like Gaines and Wiedower, has Democratic opposition on the November ballot, was dismissive of the possibility that he might be defeated, but he said the districts Gaines and Wiedower represent are “close, very close” and “if we don’t get out and vote for them” they can be defeated.
Gaines is being challenged by Democrat Mokah Jasmine Johnson, an Athens educator and community activist, in the 117th House District, which includes the East Oconee, Bogart and Marswood Hall precincts in Oconee County as well as parts of Clarke, Jackson and Barrow counties.
Wiedower has opposition from Democrat Jonathan Wallace, a software developer who represented the 119th House district in 2017 but lost to Wiedower in 2018. The 119th includes the remaining nine Oconee County precincts and is about evenly split between Oconee and Clarke counties.
Cowsert was joined at the late August meeting of the Oconee County Republicans by John King, Georgia Insurance and Fire Safety Commissioner, and Annette Davis Jackson, one of six Republicans running in the non-primaried special election on Nov. 3 for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Kelly Loeffler.
King and Jackson joined Cowsert in attacking Democrats and presenting a bleak picture of what will happen if Republicans are not successful in the November election, with particular focus on civil unrest and policing.
Republican and Democratic candidates for the Oconee County Board of Education are meeting at 8 p.m. on Thursday in a virtual candidate forum. Details on how to register for the forum are listed in the right-hand column of this blog.
“We are so nice. Republicans are so polite and proper and cordial and civil,” Cowsert told those gathered at the Oconee County Chamber of Commerce in Watkinsville. “They (Democrats) are not.
“And what is so unfortunate is that they are showing that their aggressive tactics, their confrontational tactics, will get the press whipped into a frenzy that will spread that message,” Cowsert said.
“They’re accomplishing their purpose,” he added. “We’ve got to toughen up.”
Cowsert was responding to a question from Oconee County resident Julie Mauck, who said she had received critical comments on social media and in person because of her conservative views.
Cowsert had begun his comments, which ran for 30 minutes, by lamenting the strong partisan divide in the country.
“I’m nervous about this election. I’m nervous about our country,” Cowsert said. “And I’ve never seen it so divided.”
“I am just blown away when I see the different world view from the left than my world view from the right or at least right of center,” Cowsert said. “They look at the world different from we do.”
Areas Of Difference
Cowsert cited funding of police and COVID-19 as examples of the differences, using us versus them language.
“They’re talking about defunding police,” Cowsert said. “They’re throwing rocks and bricks at the fire truck trying to put out that fire at the Wendy’s in Atlanta. They are attacking the police headquarters in Seattle.
“Defunding police everywhere, while we are trying to pass a bill to protect police officers from these types of threats and actions and intimidation that keep them from protecting all of us,” he said.
“I’m just concerned about how COVID became political, ever,” Cowsert said. “Why? When a disease that is a common enemy for all of us that we are all working against suddenly gets so politicized, and it scares me to think that that team might take over.
“And I do think it is going to be closer than any of us want it to be,” Cowsert said. “I’m wondering,” he said, “is the momentum on that side?
Cowsert said his concern is “that they hate Trump so bad that all these people who are wining and crying and fusing and screaming and protesting will come out and vote.”
Cowsert said that “Every speaker at the Democratic Convention said something about make sure you plan to vote, you’ve got to vote, get your friends to vote. They are pushing their people to come vote because turnout is going to be key.
“They’re scared,” Cowsert said. “They know they are on the ropes. They know they better increase their turnout.”
Support For Gaines, Wiedower
Cowsert said he sees some reasons to be optimistic.
“I think our silent majority is growing–fast,” he said. “I think people are fed up with some of these positions that the socialist left is taking that are so stunning that we’ve got people saying enough is enough. We better get our butts out in that election voting booth and stop it before we lose it.
“And so you’ve got to do that,” Cowsert said. “And you’ve got to get your friends and your mama and your daddy and your sister and your co-workers to get off the couch and go vote. It is that important. Now is the time.”
Cowsert has Democratic opposition in Zachary David Perry, a University of Georgia Law School student. Senate District 46, which Cowsert represents, includes parts of Clarke and Walton counties and all of Oconee County.
Cowsert, an Athens attorney, said he doesn’t expect to carry his part of Clarke County, but he said he also does not feel he is in jeopardy.
Gaines and Wiedower, Cowsert said, are in more vulnerable districts, and the Democratic Party is targeting these two incumbents in the hopes of winning the House, Cowsert said.
“If we don’t get out and vote for them, it can happen,” Cowsert said. “They are close, very close districts. You all can’t let that happen.
“Because if we were to lose the House, we’re to have a special session later this year (2021) to redistrict for the next decade. And if a Democratic speaker is over there they are not going to pass a bill that gives us a fair chance in the House and they may block the Senate bill.”
King On Insurance
Cowsert was preceded by King, who was sworn in as Insurance and Fire Safety Commissioner in July of last year.
King was appointed to replace Jim Beck, who has been accused of embezzling more than $2 million from the Georgia Underwriting Association. He was elected insurance commissioner in November 2018 as a Republican. Beck has pleaded not guilty.
King had been police chief of Doraville in DeKalb County and an Atlanta police officer. He also is a major general in the Georgia National Guard.
“It has been quite fascinating getting this agency back on its tracks,” King told the Oconee County Republicans.
“I am the consumer advocate,” King said. “My job is to protect all Georgians from unfair practices from insurance companies, but at the same time I can’t wreck the industry.
“So it is that very careful balance as an insurance commissioner,” he said. “How to protect the public without wrecking the industry.”
King On Defunding Police
“I have been absolutely shocked about how other parts of our country are dealing with the whole issue of defunding the police,” King said. “There is a special contract between society and those who serve our society that if you put yourself at risk, that we’ve got your back.
“And I’ll tell you this latest discussion out there, that contract is being broken,” he said.
“The people who will be hurt the most with the defunding the police is going to be our neighborhoods where need the police the most,” King said.
“So I ask you, please keep that in mind,” he said. “When you hear all this noise, what does our party stand for? And what does the opposition stand for?
“They’re breaking a solemn--if you break a contract with the police, you’re also probably willing to break the contract with the service members that fight overseas,” King said. “Because it is only a very small, a very slippery road down that road.”
King spoke for about 25 minutes
Jackson On Money
Jackson, a former tennis and golf coach at Spelman College, bounced around from topic to topic as she spoke, walked around the front of room, clapped a lot to emphasize her points, and asked the audience to clap along with her.
One central theme of her 25-minute long talk was her call for the country to return to the gold standard and her criticism of the banking industry.
“How is it that everybody in the world makes money off our signature and our social security number?” she asked. “This is the government. I love the United States of America. But what I don’t love is how people are manipulating the American system.
“That’s why I’m running for the United States Senate,” she said. “And nobody’s telling the truth. Go look it up. The United States of American is bankrupt,” she continued. “Wall Street is making the money.”
Jackson, who lives in Gwinnett County, is one of 21 candidates who have qualified for the special election to fill the term of former Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Republican who stepped down in December for health reasons.
Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Loeffler to the seat pending a special election.
Loeffler has qualified as a Republican and is joined by five others, including Jackson, who have chosen that party label for the special election.
Jackson On Black Lives Matter
“Georgia has such a rich heritage,” Jackson said. “And we need to honor that heritage.”
“Black Lives Matter. I want to go back to that,” Jackson said. “They are hijacking the Black Lives movement,” she said. “What have they done for anybody?
“It is hard for me being an African-American woman,” she said, “and, to be honest, I don’t even know if I’m an African-American woman, to be honest. I’ve got a rich Indian heritage.”
“I don’t know. I have no idea who I am,” she said. “But guess what I do know? I do know that I live in a free country. I do know that I’m a free woman.”
At that point, Jackson started clapping, as she had several times before, and she asked the audience to join her, which it did.
“I have to be able to get the sound bite out that Black Lives Matter,” she said. “No, you’re a covert organization.”
“How many Blacks to you see working for that organization?” she asked. “You don’t.”
“I’m not for anything that they do,” she said.
“I’m a Christian,” Jackson said. “You need somebody in the United States Senate who is a prayer warrior. I get on my knees every day regarding America. Not just my family. It is everybody.”Video
I did not attend the Aug. 24 meeting of the Oconee County Republican Party, but Sarah Bell did attend and recorded the video below.
King began his comments at 4:34 in the video.
Cowsert began speaking at 32:27 in the video.
Jackson began speaking at 1:12:32 in the video.