On Thursday, July 10, Brian Reese, a Democratic candidate for Georgia's First Congressional District, commented about continuing efforts by Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act and encouraged Democrats to turn out for the July 22 runoff.
Reese will face run-off opponent Amy Tavio and whoever prevails will face the Republican run-off winner. It will be either State Sen. Buddy Carter or Bob Johnson in November.
Reese has continued to talk to constituents throughout southeast Georgia since the May 20 primary, including Savannah and has obtained endorsements from various inidividuals and organizations.
One endorsement in particular is from Otis Johnson, the former two-term Savannah mayor who served from 2003 to 2011.
Mayor Johnson had stated that he has been watching the race and had the opportunity to meet with Brian several weeks ago and liked what he saw. Brian convinced him he was the best candidate with a desire to serve our community with a goal of bridging generations as a servant-leader.
He demonstrated his willingness to listen to the needs of the people and bring compromise for the best interest of our district. He brings a refreshing and new prospective to building government for the people. His concerns span from youth, to women and health issues. I am looking forward to working with him towards a successful campaign now and in November.
Before becoming mayor, Johnson worked for the Economic Opportunity Authority, Model Cities Program, and Savannah State University. From 1983 until 1988, he served as the City Council Representative from the second district of Savannah. He then became the Executive Director of the Chatham Savannah Youth Futures Authority.
Reese has also received an endorsement from some of the local unions in Savannah.
Calvin Kennedy, President of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1324 presented a check for $1,500 to Reese in support of his candidacy.
Kennedy stated "public transportation is essential to our residents and federal support is necessary to meet this growing need for better modes of transportation locally and regionally in Georgia's First District. Brian has a keen sense of the need to build our transportation infrastructure, therefore we believe he's the best candidate to represent our interest and those of the citizens as the Democratic nominee".
The largest population center of the First Congressional District is Chatham County and Georgia's fourth largest city, Savannah.
Savannah and Chatham County represents approximately one-half of all registred voters in the First Congressional District and will play a large role in the July 22 and November elections.
For most of Jack Kingston's two decades in Congress, the conservative Republican benefited via redistricting with a divided Chatham, but things have changed since the last Census and now all of Chatham County rests in the First Congressional District.
Reese had briefly talked about the efforts of the Republicans and Speaker of the House John Boehner and his efforts to sue President Barack Obama over use of his exceutive powers and the health care law.
If the Republicans are able to increase their control of the U.S. Congress, then it is likely more legislative obstruction will continue and there are hints that the pending lawsuit may lead to impeachment investigations coming from the House of Represnataives led by John Boehner.
Every vote counts in July and November
One of Reese's biggest challenges is to turn Chatham and Liberty counties more 'blue'. In past years, lower turnout in predominately Democratic precincts in Chatham had provided conservatives an easier avenue to win in congressional elections.
In 2012, President Barack Obama won Chatham with nearly 57 percent of the vote, However, among the eighty Chatham precincts, the lowest participation rates had come from majority Democratic, majority black precincts.
Republicans are hoping to see the trend of lower turnout manifest itself in 2014, but Reese and his campaign can do something in the coming months to reverse this and encourage people to come out and vote in this mid-term election.
The average voter participation rate in Georgia for November 2012 was 72 percent. The following are just a few of the precincts--according to the Secretary of State-- that had among the lowest participation in Savannah.
The following are some of the Savannah-based precincts that will have an impact in the July 22 Democratic runoff.
3-01 Old Courthouse
3-02 Rose of Sharon
3-03 Savannah High School
3-04 First African Baptist
3-05 Aldersgate Youth Cent
3-08 Jenkins High School
3-09 Cokesbury Methodist
3-10* Bible Baptist Church
3-11 Southside Bapt Church
3-12 Thunderbolt Muni. Complex
3-13* New Cov 7 Day Church
3-14* Riverview Health
3-15 Eli Whitney Complex
8-01 Civic Center
8-02 Bull Street Baptist
8-03 Silk Hope Bapt Ch
8-05 W Broad St YMCA
8-06 Tompkins Rec Ctr
8-08 Resur Of Our Lord Ch
8-09 Moses Jackson Ctr
8-10 Carver Heights Com
8-11 Butler Elem School
8-12 Beach High School
8-13 Savannah Christ. Sch
8-15 Garden City Rec Ctr
Reese, 42, is a managing partner with UPS and has also been a minister for 20 years—currently serving at Family Nation Church in Savannah. Reese graduated from H.V. Jenkins High School and Savannah State University with a major in Political Science.
Majority-minority cities such as Folkston, Brunswick, Darien, Waycross and other coastal cities such as Kingsland and St. Marys will play an important role in whether a Democrat will be representing southeast Georgia for the first time in decades.