Salleigh…why didn’t you?

Last week, qualifying came and went with hardly a hiccup, except in Catoosa County where the GRA is using the volunteer officers of the Catoosa GOP to take the GOP nomination process out of the hands of Republican voters and place it squarely in the hands of anyone Alex Johnson and Nathaniel Darnell can exercise control over because, let’s face it, in a democratic-republic such as ours, the voters can’t be trusted to be as enlightened as the leadership of the GRA.

In Cobb County, things were mostly uneventful as well, except no one was sure which version of the County Commission District map was supposed to be used for qualifying.

The whole issue stems back to October 2022 when, just prior to the election for County Commission Districts 1 and 3, both held by Republicans, the Democratic majority on the Cobb County Board of Commissioners passed a new map overruling the map that had been passed by the Georgia General Assembly. The Democrats on the County Commission justified the new map on the general “Home Rule” powers that counties have to govern according to the Georgia Constitution.

Critics (and attorneys) have argued both before the County Commission and in several court cases that Home Rule powers do not extend to redistricting, a power reserved exclusively by the General Assembly.

On January 8, 2024, Cobb Superior Court Judge Ann Harris issued her ruling in Floam v. Cobb County, Civil Action File No. 23-1-02428-56 holding that the Home Rule map was, indeed, “unconstitutional.”

Cobb County immediately appealed the case to the Georgia Supreme Court, which has scheduled oral arguments for April 17, six weeks after qualifying ended, and barely a month before the May 21 primary.

With the Home Rule map declared “unconstitutional” one would would have been safe to assume that prudence would have dictated that the Legislative map would be the one used for qualifying. However, it’s 2024 and prudence is not in order for political decisions, so one would have been indeed wrong to make that assumption as the Democrat majority on the Cobb County Board of Elections and Registration (BOER) announced that candidates were to qualify using the Home Rule map. You can read their statement on why they decided to use the Home Rule Map on the Cobb BOER website. While the BOER says it asked the Court for clarity and received none, there is no indication that the BOER, as a non-party, asked a question rather than filed for its own review that could have received a ruling.

Georgia law issues an automatic stay keeping the Home Rule map in place while Judge Harris’s ruling is appealed, and the Supreme Court declined lift the stay. While the Court did not give any explanation, given the situation of the plaintiffs’ specific case, there was not an emergency issue the Floams are facing. The Floams are in an area that is disputed between the two maps, but will not face an election until 2026.

As the Marietta Daily Journal reported, “On Saturday [March 2], state Sen. Ed Setzler, R-Acworth, threatened the Board of Elections with litigation, sending a letter demanding the elections office use the state’s map for qualifying.”

By the time qualifying ended at noon on March 8, the only litigation filed was a complaint by Larry Savage, a former candidate for Chairman of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners, which was not heard before qualifying ended. The likelihood that Savage’s filing will speed up the process is slim. Although Savage does face a more immediate injury as the Home Rule map moved him from District 3 (which had its last election in 2022) under the Legislative map to District 2 of the Home Rule map, which is up for election this year, there were still better potential plaintiffs who would have been more likely to force the Court to determine one map over the other. Such a party would need to face immediate harm based on the confusion regarding which map was to be used, and be in a situation so dire that the court would have to immediately made a call…such a party that would have met that criteria could have been the Cobb County Republican Party…which did nothing.

The Cobb County Republican Party is tasked with qualifying candidates for the County Commission and, as such, needs to know the boundaries of the District to determine residency. Without firm guidance from the Court, the County may qualify a candidate that lives within the boundaries of map that is later declared invalid leaving the Party without a candidate. There is no guarantee that the Courts would provide a remedy in such a case. Rather than taking the step of filing suit, on the week before qualifying, Chairwoman Salleigh Grubbs focused her attention on trying to oust State Board of Elections member Edward Lindsey. Through posting on X, in chat groups, and on social media, Salleigh Grubbs focused her attention on purifying the Party of more Republicans who disagree with her ludicrous crusade to replace the state’s voting system with hand-marked paper ballots or holding events focused on claims the 2020 election was stolen.

Another potential plaintiff who would have needed emergency relief would have been a candidate denied the right to qualify because they lived in District 2 based on the Legislative map, but not the Home Rule map. In fact, two candidates were turned away from qualifying because they lived in the Legislative map District 2, but not in the Home Rule map District 2. The problems was, they were both Democrats.

As the Marietta Daily Journal reported on Tuesday, March 5, “Two candidates who sought to qualify to run for District 2 Cobb County commissioner were turned away Monday due to the ongoing confusion over which county commission map is in effect.

The candidates — Don Barth and Reggie Copeland — sought to qualify with the Cobb Democratic Committee in the race to succeed Commissioner Jerica Richardson. Following instructions from the Cobb Board of Elections, the local party told Barth and Copeland they were ineligible to qualify under Cobb County’s “home rule” map, said Essence Johnson, acting chair of the Cobb Democrats.”

While Copeland told the MDJ, “I am running for District 2, but they are violating my constitutional right to run. All of this is so wrong. I, too, like Dr. King believes ‘that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ … This is definitely a form of voter suppression, and this issue should have been resolved before qualifying. To be honest, yesterday was one of the worst days of my life. I was turned down and denied to qualify for a race that I am qualified to run in,” neither Copeland nor Don Barth asked the courts to enforce thei rights to run for office under the Legislative map.

As of Tuesday, Grubbs also told the MDJ that Republican candidates had been denied the opportunity to qualify, but did not mention any names of candidates. However, by the time qualifying had closed on Friday, two Republicans had qualified for District 2, Alicia Adams who lives in the District based on the Legislative map, but not the Home Rule map, and Pamela Reardon, who lives in the District based on the Home Rule map, but not the Legislative map. Once again, by qualifying two candidates, one of whom will not live in the District pending the Court’s decision, an opportunity was once again wasted where the Cobb County Republican Party could have had an individual who needed immediate and emergency injunctive relief from the court because they were denied their right to qualify for office.

Salleigh Grubbs had a golden opportunity through the Cobb County Republican Party as a petitioner either coupled with or without a potential candidate the GOP had to deny the opportunity to qualify and potentially set, with a court’s order, the Legislative map as the map for the 2024 election. However instead, she did nothing. Which is why the question has to be asked…

Salleigh…why didn’t you?

One Reply to “Salleigh…why didn’t you?”

  1. Jason, you are right on point with this one. Keep this up and Debra and I might have to get you to Ball Ground, our little world of heaven!!

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