16 May 2024

Newton County BOC 5: The Choice Is Clear - LeAnne Long

 Howdy, Folks, and welcome back. 

As we find ourselves at the end of early voting - and in preparation of Voting Day, Tuesday May 21st - TPC, and its Editor MB McCart, would like to relay the following: 

While this publication has previously written about why "William" Keith Ellis is NOT the one to lead the 5th district of the Newton County Board of Commissioners into 2025 & beyond, we did want to state why LeAnne Long is the right person for this all-too-important position. 

But first. The key reason why her opponent needs not be elected: 

William Thomas "Tommy" Craig, Esq

And yes, while I know that Keith has publicly stated more than once that he will not attempt to bring Tommy back as the home county's attorney, one should be sure to carefully analyze his words. Maybe not Tommy, per se, but what about his firm? What of his son? 

Those are the questions, in my opinion, that need to be asked. 

And, while it may seem to stretch any reasonable imagination or possibility, there does seem to be a belief by some that somehow the Bear Creek Reservoir could possibly be resurrected if Keith were to win. 

Look at the usual suspects. E.g. those that signed off on Keith's mailer last week

* * * * * 

LeAnne Long - The Right Candidate at The Right Time

I've known LeAnne for right at 25 years. 

I've always appreciated her for who she is & have always admired her willingness to always tell it how it is, as well as her tenacity, grit & work ethic. 

She's legit. 

She's experienced; she's previously served in elected office back in the late 90s. 

And she's an advocate. As many know, she has been on the front lines of the battle against irresponsible development time & time again over the years. 

Again, my friends, in my sincere estimation, she is the Clear Choice for BOC 5

This election is so very important. Truly hope things will turn out as they should & I believe they will. 

For the home county, 

- MBM 

07 May 2024

Newton County REAL Politick: Democratic Primary - A Battle of Coalitions? #OneNewton vs The Tommy Craig Camp?

 (Covington, GA | Tuesday 5/7/24)

Welcome back, Dear Readers, and hope all is well out there. 

So we're exactly two weeks from voting day & now on our 9th day of early voting (we had both Saturday & Sunday early voting this past weekend; we will also have this upcoming Saturday for a total of 18 days of early voting including two Saturdays & a Sunday. Such a shame that Georgia has enacted such egregious voter suppression laws, ammaright?) 

As many have commented, there definitely seems to be two camps on the Team Blue side this election cycle. You can really tell by sign locations. Typically you'll see the same signs of the same candidates together, then you'll see the names of the other side together at another location. This is occurring all over the home county. 

Let's look at the dynamics of these races & try to break it down. 

For the purposes of this analysis, we'll go w/ the following names for the two camps/coalitions/sides: 

#OneNewton (Marcello Banes/Stephanie Lindsey crew) vs The Craig Camp (Tommy Craig/JC Machine/Reservoir People/Old Guard)

Now, for some of these races, we don't  have direct evidence for all candidates that their allegiance is necessarily to one side or the other. On some, we definitely do. For others, it is inferred based on conversations w/ sources & other political watchers & - again - based on those sign placements. 

At the top of ticket we'll draw our attention to the BOC Chair race between incumbent Marcello Banes & current Tax Commish - Marcus Jordan, and this one is very clear. We know Jordan has been utilizing Craig for legal counsel, so we know he's on that side.

And, I know for a fact, that Banes is diametrically opposed to both Craig as well as BOC 4 Rep JC Henderson

The next two are county constitutional offices & again this is simply my opinion & analysis based on the aforementioned criteria. 

Clerk of Superior Court 

John Bryant: either #OneNewton (Marcello/Stephanie) or unaffiliated w/ either faction. Definitely NOT Team Craig. 

Stephanie Finnie: possibly Team Tommy, per word on the street. 

Tax Commissioner 

Brent Bennett: either #OneNewton (Marcello/Stephanie) or unaffiliated w/ either faction. Definitely NOT Team Craig. 

Avis Williams: I know a good number of folks who are friendly w/ & like Avis. I believe she is Jordan's pick & based on what I'm hearing she would continue utilizing Tommy Craig for legal counsel for that office if she won. 

By the way, I believe this is the one Democratic primary that I will give an endorsement for. By all accounts, Brent Bennett is very impressive. Definitely qualified. And just seems like a really great guy. If you're pulling a blue ballot (which is what is being recommended for anyone regardless of political affiliation residing in BOC districts 1,2,3 & 4, I'd recommend giving this guy a look


Similar to Chair, we 100% know about this one. Obviously Stephanie Lindsey is a part of her own coalition. Further, we also know that incumbent Alana Sanders is in league w/ JC & a part of the other side. 


We're not covering Sheriff since Ezell is running uncontested in the primary. We've recently discussed Ezell's knack for paying Tommy Craig lots of money & we'll definitely be covering his general election race vs Justin Hipps moving forward. 

Conversations about BOC 1 & Coroner will also come later after we get into the general.

And I recently wrote about one of the candidates for BOC 5 & will cover that one again before May 21st. 

Okay for now, 

- MBM 

30 April 2024

"William" Keith Ellis - A Closer Look

Hello, friends, and welcome back to TPC. 

So our old pal William Keith Ellis is running in the GOP primary for BOC 5 in this current election cycle (early voting started yesterday, by the way). 

Right off the bat, many have been pointing out that he's really been pushing his first name in this race rather than his middle name that he's always used in a presumed attempt to run from his political past. After his unceremonious single term as BOC Chair in which the home county embarked on a true jubilation when he, as an absolute persona non grata, announced he would not be running again, most thought we'd seen the end of his political career. 

But, not the case. 

So, since he is running, it seemed incumbent upon me to do this post. 

Here are some of TPC's "greatest hits" regarding the old feller: 

One of my personal favorites happened late in Keith's disastrous tenure, when he bizarrely claimed that two of the BOC Commissioners at the time were trying to blackmail him. 

Here's a guest post about Ellis that was penned by Samuel Hay III (back when we were still friendly) that really hit the nail on the head, I thought. 

One that was particularly galling to me had to do w/ one of the mitigation properties the county had previously bought for the was-never-gonna-happen Bear Creek Reservoir that had both Keith's as well WTC's fingerprints all over it. 

Presiding over a six seven hour BOC meeting when he'd developed a reputation for regularly presiding over three, four & five hour meetings (the People's time was way too valuable for that)

And also for your reading pleasure are some of Keith's "greatest hits" from other news outlets: 

Yeah, a no confidence vote is always a bad sign.

And the the infamous "loan" to JC was particularly ill received by many at the time. 

More than anything, during Keith's entire tenure of January 2013 - January 2017, it just seemed as if everything was chaos. Everything was bad. 


In my honest & heartfelt opinion, the last thing we need in the home county is a return of "William" Keith Ellis in any elected position. Been there, done that. 

***Also - in my opinion, a vote for William Keith Ellis is a vote to bring back William Thomas "Tommy" Craig, Esq. as county attorney*** 

Again, been there, done that. 

Until next time, 


19 April 2024

Tommy Craig Continues Ridin' the Newton Taxpayer Gravy Train, Compliments of Ezell & Marcus Jordan

*cross-posted at MB's Word on the Street 

 Friends, I remember it vividly, as I know many of you do as well.

That glorious moment in November of 2015 when the unthinkable happened. An event that many said would never happen: the home county finally ridded itself of its caustic county attorney, the one & only William Thomas “Tommy” Craig.

Hard to believe that’s been 8 & 1/2 years ago.

Unfortunately, before too long, the Newton County Sheriff - Ezell Brown - started to help his old friend out.

When Craig was the county atty making usually right around a cool million dollars per year, Brown was utilizing Craig as attorney for the Sheriff’s department, but was only paying him on average around $50K per annum.

But soon after Tommy got the boot from the county, Ezell’s payments to Craig exploded!

For several years those numbers grew. I reported on this a couple of times over the years over at TPC but wanted to give some current numbers for those interested.

Here it is:

For FY 2023, the most recent year for which full numbers exist, the Sheriff’s department paid Wm Thomas Craig, Esq. $315,447. It’s my understanding that a Sheriff of the size of Newton Co should NOT be paying anywhere near this sum.

It certainly ain’t chump change.

3/4 of the way through FY 2024 Ezell has already paid him $252,944 so it’s looking as if the ole fella will end up getting about the same amount here in a couple of months when we end the fiscal year at the end of June.

Ezell Brown has paid Tommy Craig upwards of $2 million over the last several years.

But he’s not the only one cutting checks to Craig.

Marcus Jordan, current Tax Commissioner for the home county, has also been utilizing Craig as legal counsel for his constitutional office. Has been for several years. His numbers haven’t been anywhere near the Sheriff’s, but is fairly considerable.

Tax Commish Payments to WTC:

FY2023: $29,825
FY2024 (through nine months): $21,925

So basically Tommy Craig has been making approx $350K per year just from Ezell & Jordan. Definitely not like the old days for him, but not too shabby. Probably was key to him fixing up the old place on College Ave a while back after it’d fallen into a pretty bad state of disrepair.

My, my, my…

A final thought.

As many know, it’s looking as if this current election cycle is a clear delineation of sides. The pro-Tommy Craig crew vs. the Anti-Craig slate. BOC 5, BOC 3, Clerk of Court, Tax Commish & the Chairman race. I believe they all have that same dynamic involved.

Stay tuned for the breakdown of all of those races.


’til next time,


09 November 2023

2023 #COV Municipal Election In The Books: A Look Back

 Howdy, pals, and hope everything is going everybody's way out there. 

Well, another Covington election in the rearview mirror. Time just marches on, doesn't it? 

So let's break it down. 

I was very happy to see that both of the candidates I endorsed & publicly supported won their respective East Ward city council races. 

Congrats to good friend Travis Moore in Post 2, as well as Jared Rutberg for Post 3. Both of these fine gentlemen will be a great addition to the home city's voting body. 

Let's start w/ Post 3

As predicted, Jared won this one easily. 65% of the votes cast vs Dania's 35%. Honestly, for a municipal race, that's really a whooping. But again, not surprising. Having moved here only a year ago & being a relatively unknown quantity, it was expected for Bernard.

Again, congrats to Jared Rutberg. He's a good guy & he'll do a good job, I think. And if he doesn't - I'll let him know about it & will let you guys know as well. 

I will commend Dania Bernard for running a clean campaign apparently devoid of any lies or dirty politics. 

On the other hand, Post 2 played out much differently except for the final tally. 

Travis Moore won bigly, getting 64% of the final vote, basically winning 2-to-1 over Carla Ferry. 

But as mentioned, this one was different. It was NOT a clean campaign. It DID have dirty politics. 

I know for a fact that Travis was planning on & was wanting to run a campaign solely on the issues but Ms Ferry saw to it that that wouldn't happen. 

It started w/ the event at Corrydale early on which is when the wheels really first started coming off her campaign. Making it abundantly clear that basically her entire campaign would be focused on lies & half truths directed at Mr Moore, her campaign never really had a chance for getting traction. 

After that early performance, the writing was already on the wall. 

She turned it up to 11 a while later when she sent out a direct-mail hit piece against Travis, again completely NOT rooted in facts & full of non & half truths, and really showing a lack of any fundamental understanding of how the planning commission, or really simply government in general, works. 

After that, it was Newton's Third Law time. 

The Moore campaign hit back - and they hit back HARD - as well he should've. 

Once the other side plays that game -- all bets are off. 

And I'm hoping folks now will finally appreciate the old adage of -- "Signs Don't Vote" 

There's no substitute for canvassing & "REAL Politick." And obviously likability & credibility are key as well. 

Well done, Travis Moore! Congrats & looking forward to your contributions. 


In the semi-surprise of the night, Fleeta Baggett won the Mayoral race WITHOUT a runoff. W/ five candidates running it seemed as if a second round would be a foregone conclusion; however, as the race wore on, and as Fleeta got after it (by all accounts she ran one helluva campaign) while her opponents floundered, the word on the street leading up to election day was that she was going to take care of it Tuesday night. And by golly that she did! 

Congrats to my old frenemy. It was kind of weird voting for you. We expect big things & we'll be keeping an eye on you, Madam Mayor. Remember: "Do the right things & do things right." 

And to cap off a pretty darn good night for the home city & county, the referendum for senior citizens relief on the BOE tax passed easily. 

Alright, gang, until next time. 

- MBM 

06 November 2023

TPC REAL Politick: #COV Municipal Election Time - Welcome to the Fun House!

 Greetings, Fearless Readers, and we sure hope it's all lovely out there. 

So it's that time. Covington election time! And we're all real excited about it! 

Time's a wastin' so let's get right down to it. 


So my good friend Travis Moore seems to be in the driver's seat for this race & for good reason -- he is definitely the most qualified. Plus, he's a great guy. I've known him for years, as have many of you. He's legit! Good people. 

It's my understanding that his opponent's campaign started to see the tea leaves a few weeks ago so that's when she first decided to go negative w/ a direct mail piece. 

Probably a bad idea there... 

What's the old saying about bringing a knife to a gun fight? 

Or, to reference the popular meme - (do something) & then "find out." 

I've really gotten a kick here lately how her surrogates have been pushing this same line about - "hey...just look at her campaign page - she hasn't been going after him" 

No, here lately, she's been doing that w/ direct messages that she's been sending out to numerous Covington voters, many of whom are supporting Travis, and many of whom have been taking screen shots. In other words - there are receipts. 

The flailing death rattle of a flailing - and pointless - campaign, in this writer's estimation. 

"bUt wHaT aBoUt aLl hEr SiGnS," I can hear some of you saying. 

She had more signs two years ago & lost by 14 points to Susie Keck, a semi-unknown quantity at the time. 

That's the thing.

Travis is C-Town
. Born & bred. Multi-generational. 

People know him. They know that he's been fighting against apartments ever since he was first appointed to the Planning Commission. 

Straight up lies are simply straight up lies. 

There's only one set of facts, people, and the facts are the facts. 


Dania Bernard apparently moved to Covington approx a year ago. She's seemingly moved all over a lot of places most of her adult life. Purportedly she's an investor w/ Archer Aviation - the outfit that clearcut that beautiful land just east of Oxford. And supposedly she's worked as a flight attendant some as well. 

Who knows? 

Also, basically, she's running as a Democrat in a non-partisan race. All one has to do to confirm that is to see where her signs are throughout town, as well as what she's been telling folks all throughout town. 

I'm voting for Jared Rutberg in this one. 


Don't ask, don't tell...? 

I'm still not exactly sure who I'm going to vote for in this one, or if I'm even going to vote in this one. 

I like the Preacherman. I really do. But not so sure about him being Mayor. 

I like Felton. Not so sure about him being Mayor, though. 

I like Eric. [see above

Definitely not voting for Kenny. 

So, there's a fifth candidate running. At least a few of you know who she is. 

I'll just say this: she might be okay as Mayor, but I'm just not entirely so sure. 

Planning to make my mind up tomorrow morning when I vote... 


Remember: ELECTION DAY tomorrow. 

And remember: voting will be at regular polling precincts (NOT at City Hall) due to the countywide referendum happening. 

- MBM 

19 October 2023

Covington Municipal Election Ballot Catastrophe

 Apparently way worse than originally thought...

Multiple West Ward Electors voting for East Ward candidates; multiple East Ward Electors voting for West Ward candidates.
Again - DO NOT VOTE until this gets fixed.
Apparently it's going to be on the WSB TV news tonight.
This is nothing short of gross incompetence on behalf of the Newton County Board of Elections (though they're purportedly blaming the GA Sec of State. Regardless, they have a duty to confirm & verify, obviously).
Stay tuned in this space & at The Piedmont Chronicles & MB's Word on the Street for follow ups.