Rep. Morgan’s challenger disqualified over residency
by Kim Isaza
July 18, 2012 10:31 AM | 3786 views | 9 9 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A primary challenger to Democratic state Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan of Austell has been disqualified because redistricting put her outside of District 39. Anne Taylor, 51, a real estate broker who lives in Mableton and signed up to challenge Morgan in the July 31 Democratic primary for the seat, was disqualified by an administrative law judge on Monday. Her name will be removed from the July 31 ballot, and votes already cast for her in early voting will be discarded.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp challenged Taylor’s candidacy. During a hearing Friday before administrative law judge Kimberly W. Schroer, Taylor represented herself and sought to be allowed to qualify in District 40, the district she now lives in, though the judge found no precedence for reopening qualifying for that race.

Morgan has no other opposition and will now likely win a new two-year term. She has been in the Legislature for a decade.

Taylor said she was not aware her district had been changed until she received a yellow postcard in late June from Cobb Elections.

“I was aware they had proposed redistricting. … I’m just surprised the information was released after qualifying,” Taylor said. “It’s just unfortunate.”

Janine Eveler, director of Cobb Elections, said Tuesday that her office had not yet received direction from the state about the disqualification. “Typically we are instructed to put a notice into each of the Absentee Ballot mailing envelopes and to put up notices in the polling places for in-person voters, both advance and election day,” Eveler said.

“The notice will tell voters that votes cast for the disqualified candidate will not be counted.” Morgan said she was surprised Taylor did not live in the district. “Typically checking your residency is one of the first things you do as a candidate, and considering that the maps were passed last August and approved by the Justice Department early in the year,” Morgan said. “With a new precinct in my district, and an opponent, I had to run a full campaign. I appreciated the opportunity to get in front of voters and earn their vote.”

Her top issues are education and quality of life and redevelopment of the Six Flags area, Morgan said. “ Another thing I appreciate about having an opponent is being able to talk about … my significant track record in trying to improve education and the work we’re doing to redevelop and work with families,” Morgan said. “When we have stronger families, we have stronger communities.”

According to Morgan’s June 30 amended campaign finance report, she took in more than $20,000 in donations in the last quarter, and has $13,000 on hand.

Her contributors included the Automobile Retail Dealers of Georgia ($250.12); Pedro Cherry, a Georgia Power vice president, ($200); Coca-Cola ($250); Ga. Association of Convenience Stores ($200); Ga. Association of Realtors ($600); Georgia Dental Association political action committee ($500); Friends of Stacey Evans ($150); Friends of Tommie Williams ($500); Shyam Kumar, executive director of Teach for America metro Atlanta ($250); Barbara Lee, of Massachusetts, whom Morgan described as a major donor for Democratic women across the country, ($1,000); McKenna Long and Aldridge LLP state political action committee ($500); Outdoor Advertising Association of Ga.

($500); PAs for health care Access ($250); The Barnes Law Group LLC ($1,000); Ga. Medical political action committee ($500); and Vote Choice ($500).

Her expenses included the $570 qualifying fee for her husband, David, who is seeking re-election to the Cobb school board in post 3.

Taylor reported contributions totaling nearly $4,000 in the last quarter.

Her donations came from the Atlanta Federation of Teachers ($1,000); the Committee to Reelect Earnest Williams ($1,500); and Alex Taylor, a Maryland pharmacist ($300).

Taylor said the lack of services in southwest Cobb had prompted her to run for office, and that she would seriously consider moving into District 39 before the 2014 elections.

She now lives in District 40, which includes Smyrna. Legislative candidates must live in a district for a year prior to the election.

“The impetus for getting in the race is the condition of southwest Cobb, and the more I learned, the more uncomfortable I became and said ‘someone needs to run,’” Taylor said. “The drive and passion is extremely strong for southwest Cobb. We have some exciting things happening here. I know this area can blossom.”

Comments
(9)
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anonymous
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July 20, 2012
Republicans:take note that "Friends of Tommie Williams" sent Morgan $500.00

Tommie Williams is a GOP senior state Senator who has been president pro tem on the Ga Senate. Donations to S. Ga.GOP Senator Tommie Williams are ending up helping to keep a radical Democrat in office from Cobb. Follow the money. Nice huh?
Follow the Money
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July 19, 2012
It certainly seems that Teach for America is giving the Morgans money via Mrs. Morgan's campaign fund. TFA first gives Mrs. Morgan money for her campaign, then she pays for her husband's expenses (including even his filing fee!) out of those funds. At about the same time, Mr. Morgan pushes TFA from his position on the Board. Can someone please explain the ethics of this arrangement?

MDJ, it's time to do a front page article exposing the details of this financial arrangement.
I Say
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July 18, 2012
I was pondering the same questions as I read the article. Sounds fishey to me.....
Interesting Info...
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July 18, 2012
Did anyone else notice two things about this article that might be a little unsettling...

First: "Shyam Kumar, executive director of Teach for America metro Atlanta ($250)." She received money from this organization while CCSD is deciding to use it or not...with her husband on the CCSD!!!

Second: "Her expenses included the $570 qualifying fee for her husband, David, who is seeking re-election to the Cobb school board in post 3."

This could be read as TFA money being used to pay the qualifying fee for David Morgan to seek re-election. Does anyone else find this unsettling?
Miss Scarlett
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July 18, 2012
And, how can money contributed to her campaign be given to her husband?
What is Happening!
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July 18, 2012
Someone, please explain. Yes, how can you take campaign donations and use them on someone else's campaign. But, I believe campaigns give money to other campaigns all the time; so I guess this is legal. But it's very unsettling that she gave the money to her husband's campaign. Does this happen with all those duel couples in government the MDJ wrote about a few weeks ago -- such as the Gollicks. And, apparently, School Board member Morgan can't raise money on his own. Right?
Lose the tinfoil hat
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July 18, 2012
Or it could be read as Shyam Kumar giving money. Is he not allowed to spend his own money on candidates he supports?
Ethics Investigation
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July 19, 2012
How is such an arrangement ethical, and have they violated any ethics rules or campaign finance laws? Perhaps an ethics or election law investigation is needed here.
Interesting Info...
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July 19, 2012
@Lose the tinfoil hat...

I am certainly not a conspiracy theorist or paranoid. I just think that, given all the attention given the TFA debate, this is $250 Mrs. Morgan could have refused.

I am all for an individual voter exercising their rights of free speech and contributing money to a candidate...especially in this instance since Mr. Kumar does not appear to be a constituient who can vote for her in the election. However, that does not mean Rep. Morgan had to recieve the funds. It wasn't a large sum that could make or break her campaign. She could have simply said, "Thanks, but this may appear like a conflict of interest involving my husband's re-election bid." and that would be the end of it.

Instead, people now are left to wonder if something inappropriate may have happened here. No tin foil needed to reach this conclusion.
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