Tag: atlanta

The Battle for Free-Markets: Interview with Ryan Graham

By John Keller | UNITED STATES

Ryan Graham is a libertarian living in Atlanta, Georgia. He is currently seeking office in the Georgia Public Service Commission. He enjoys a career in software development and is passionate about economics. He believes it is time for a change.

Keller: You are running as a Libertarian. In your own words, what is Libertarianism all about?

Graham: The easiest way to describe libertarianism is, “Don’t hit people, and don’t take their stuff.” Everything else can be derived from that. Personal freedom for all people is all important. 

Keller: What inspired you to seek office with the Georgia Public Service Commission?

Graham: We have an issue here in Georgia surrounding the construction of two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle. Electric companies in Georgia are granted monopolies in their area or are all municipal owned, still in monopolistic fashion. Georgia Power is being granted the right to profit off of the construction of the nuclear reactors and consumers don’t have a choice. It’s blatant cronyism and I see that as a major problem.

In a libertarian world, there’d be no Public Service Commission granting favors to the companies they are meant to regulate. There’d be no monopoly because decisions like this one would generate competition as people became fed up with these types of decisions. That’s the world I’d like to see. I want to see the people empowered to make these decisions for themselves.

Keller: The duopoly has dominated the political scene for over one hundred years. Why should voters choose a Libertarian this election cycle?

Graham: I think most of America can look at the current “political scene” and see a lot that isn’t working. Americans were presented with a choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016. Many of them held their noses and pulled the lever for one or the other. Many more stayed home. Americans need to take a chance on another party. As I mentioned before, I’d like to see a world with real competition. That goes for the market of ideas as well.

Keller: The Public Service Commission, in many ways, is an institution of economic protectionism. As a Libertarian, how will you reform this institution to provide more freedom to consumers?

Graham: The easiest way to do that is to use the post as a bully pulpit to speak about deregulation of electricity and an expansion of the deregulation on gas. Deregulation stops the cronyism inherent in a system that has five officials overseeing regulated monopolies. They currently rubber stamp anything from Georgia Power that comes across the desk. It should be obvious to anyone watching that this system doesn’t work.

While taking that fight to our state legislators, as a commissioner, I can make decisions that at least attempt to mirror the free market. While not nearly as good, it’s the system we’re in and it’s the system we have to work with.

For example, in the Plant Vogtle case mentioned above, I would support a plan that didn’t include charging ratepayers. Georgia Power is investor owned and those investors should be the ones taking on the risks involved in a capital project. Customers shouldn’t be forced to bear that burden. Taking on risk in the hope of reward is literally the job of an investor.

Keller: What priorities do you have for this office? In essence, what three things are most important to you that you want to see completed while part of the Georgia Public Service Commission?

Graham: My top three priorities in office are deregulation of electricity, consumer advocacy, and increased transparency in the office.

I’ve talked a lot about deregulation above. The benefits of opening up the market would directly empower Georgians to make decisions on their utility use. Is renewable energy important to you? You should be able to go to a company that serves 100% renewable energy. Is price more important to you? Then you should be able to shop around for the lowest price. You’d have everything in between and Georgians would be able to make decisions that are right for them and their families.

While we have a system that is weighted towards monopolistic power the Public Service Commission MUST be the voice of the people. We have a broken system that basically allows companies to get away with much more than if they were held accountable to their customers. The Public Service Commission has to work to ensure that accountability.

One of the most striking things I’ve noticed as I’ve been campaigning is how many Georgians have no idea the Public Service Commission even exists, let alone what they do. Decisions they make impact each Georgian every single month when they pay their electric and gas bills. That has to change, and I think the commissioners themselves can do a lot to change it. A video stream of proceedings, more advanced notice of hearings, a larger social media presence, these are all things that commissioners could provide that would help connect them with the people they represent. Stan Wise quipped during the Plant Vogtle hearings, “These meetings are made available as a courtesy to the public.” That’s a terrible attitude. You are serving at the behest of the public. 

Keller: The Georgia Public Service Commission’s mission statement is as follows: “The mission of the Georgia Public Service Commission is to exercise its authority and influence to ensure that consumers receive safe, reliable and reasonably priced telecommunications, electric and natural gas services from financially viable and technically competent companies.” Libertarians tend to believe in less government intervention in the markets. How can you provide free markets to the citizens of Georgia without undoing the mission statement and the very essence of the institution?

Graham: That’s an easy one, free markets are the best at ensuring safe, reliable, and reasonably priced products. They also ensure the services come from financially viable and technically competent companies. If a company produces an unsafe product the people will purchase it from another provider. If a company has unreliable service the people will switch services to someone more reliable. If a company charges too much money the people will switch to another who finds a way to charge less. Free markets, while in no way are perfect, are the most efficient way to ensure the public is getting all of the items listed in the mission statement.

Keller: If someone was interested, how can they get involved in your campaign?

Graham: The easiest way is to head on over to Graham4GA.com. There is a place there to sign up as a volunteer and to let me know how you can best help out. If time is an issue and you’d just like to help out financially you can always go to Graham4GA.com/donate. You can also get me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all under the username Graham4GA.

Keller: Do you have any final remarks to the readers and the people of Georgia?

Graham: We’ve been doing things the same way for years, electing “free market” Republicans to fill these positions, and all we have to answer for it is cronyism. The current commissioners graciously accept dinners, convention travel, even Christmas hams(I didn’t realize how expensive those were until I looked it up), as trade for rubber stamping their proposals as they enter the commission. I want to take office and abdicate the power back to the people. Individuals are the best at making the decisions that are best for them, and they should be empowered to do so.

I would like to thank Ryan Graham for conducting this interview with 71Republic. Be sure to get involved with his campaign by visiting his website Graham4GA.com and follow him on social media:

Facebook: /Graham4GA

Twitter: @Graham4GA

Instagram: @Graham4GA

Image from Utah Citizen network.


Election Night 2017: The Results


Welcome to Election Night 2017! On this page, we will be updating you with live coverage and results of the following Elections:

  • Virginia Gubernatorial Election (Called for Ralph Northam)
  • New Jersey Gubernatorial Election (Called for Phil Murphy)
  • New York City Mayoral Election (Called for Bill de Blasio)
  • Atlanta Mayoral Election (Runoff Election on Dec. 5th: Kiesha Bottoms vs. Mary Norwood)
  • Seattle Mayoral Election (Jenny Durkan)
  • Utah Congressional Special Election (Called for John Curtis)
  • Virginia Lt. Governor Election (Called for Justin Fairfax)
  • Virgina Attorney General Election (Called for Mark Herring)

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11:45 PM EST – Atlanta – As we are wrapping up our live coverage, the Atlanta mayoral election is too far away to be called. We will follow up on November 8th with the results of the election. Return to 71 Republic to get your results ASAP! -James Sweet III

11:30 PM EST – Seattle – 71 Republic will be calling the Seattle Election for Jenny Durkan as the preliminary results give her far beyond 50% of the vote. With the Durkan campaign spending twice as much money as the Cary camp, this win exemplifies financial influence in our democracy. – Gavin Sky

11:25 PM EST – With preliminary results in, Jenny Durkan takes the lead with 60.9% of the vote. – Gavin Sky

11:20 PM EST – Seattle – Turnout is looking lower than expected with only an estimated 43% of of voters getting out to the polls today. – Gavin Sky

11:15 PM EST – Atlanta – Mary Norwood is catching up, now having 21.21% of the vote. Keisha L. Bottoms has 28.33% of the vote. 21% of precincts are reporting in.-James Sweet

11:05 PM EST – Atlanta – Keisha L. Bottoms is slowly losing percentage points. She currently has 32.91% of the vote, while Mary Norwood has 18.74% of this vote. With this increase in support of Mary Norwood and a decrease in support for Keisha Bottoms, there is a chance that this election will become closer and more heated as precincts report in. 17% of precincts are reporting in. Due to the slow release of results, as well as low amount of reports from precincts, we are not able to call the election at this time. – James Sweet

11:05 PM EST – Seattle – Turnout is looking lower than expected with only an estimated 43% of of voters getting out to the polls today. – Gavin Sky

11:00 PM EST – Seattle – Polls have closed, and preliminary results can be expected very shortly! The rest can be expected over a more extended period of time.  – Gavin Ganey

10:40 PM EST – Utah – After nearly 50% of the vote being counted, Republican John Curtis has 59% of the vote, compared to Democrat Kathie Allen’s 25%, and United Utah Party candidate Jim Bennett’s 9%.  This only reassures our earlier prediction that John Curtis and the GOP will take a sweeping victory in the ruby red state of Utah. Meanwhile Libertarian Joe Buchman has won just 2.2% of the vote. – Ryan Andrew.

10:28 PM EST – Atlanta – Keisha L. Bottoms has 11,785 votes, giving her 35% of the vote. Mary Norwood has 5,422 votes, giving her 16% of the current vote. There are only two precincts reporting. – James Sweet

10:11 PM EST – Atlanta: Results have barely changed. Keisha L. Bottoms has 8,887 votes while Mary Norwood has 4,662. -James Sweet

10:00 PM EST – Utah: Polls in Utah have officially closed. 71 Republic has called Utah’s 3rd Congressional District for Republican John Curtis. – Ryan Andrew

9:56 PM EST – New Jersey: Although the New Jersey election is already decided, with 71 Republic already calling the race for Democrat Phil Murphy who has 55% percent of the vote compared to Republican Kim Guadagno who is sitting at 43%.  The Libertarian candidate for this election, former Marine Peter Rohrman has failed to reach 1% of the vote, with 63% of the vote in he has just over 5,000 votes. – Ryan Andrew

9:40 PM EST – New York City – Aaron Commey, the Libertarian candidate for NYC Mayor, has no chance of winning. He was polling at 0.2%, and all major news sources (including 71 Republic) have called the race for Incumbent Bill de Blasio – Jake Melkun

9:35 PM EST – Atlanta – Results are coming in now. Keisha L. Bottoms is in the lead with 32.54% of the vote. Mary Norwood has 16.91%. This is with 4.08% of the votes counted. -James Sweet

9:31 PM EST – New York City – 71 Republic is calling the New York City Mayoral Race for Incumbent Mayor Bill de Blasio – Jake Melkun

9:25 PM EST – Atlanta – A poll taken on November 1st shows that Keisha Lance Bottoms was in the lead with 25.4%. Mary Norwood had 23.4%. The margin of error for this poll was 3.6%. – James Sweet

9:24 PM EST – New York City
– At 46% reporting, there is little to no changes in percentages. – Jake Melkun

9:18 PM EST – New York City – At 12% reporting in New York City, de Blasio is holding 65.9% of the vote, with Malliotakis at 28.4%. Staten Island is the only borough to go red, which is also Malliotakis’ borough. – Jake Melkun

9:05 PM EST – Utah – With just under an hour until polls close for Utah’s 3rd Congressional District which was left vacant when Jason Chaffetz stepped down to become a Fox News commentator.  The Republican candidate, Provo Mayor John Curtis is largely considered the frontrunner. One poll puts him up by 30 points over Democratic candidate Kathie Allen. This is no surprise, as Utah as a whole is an extremely conservative state, to begin with. Additionally, any chances United Utah Party candidate, Jim Bennett had at winning were significantly diminished when he failed to qualify in the October 18th debate. This should be another strong win for the GOP. – Ryan Andrew

9:00 PM EST – New York – Polls are now closed in New York. – Jake Melkun

8:58 PM EST – New York City – The polls in New York are about to close, and precincts are about to begin reporting on the results of the NYC Mayoral Race, State Assembly, and the Constitutional Convention referendum. -Jake Melkun

8:55 PM EST Seattle – With the release of results among Seattle voters coming out in just a few hours, Washington will see the change that they’re asking for. With Durkan coming in with a lead over Moon, the amount of spending is truly apparent in this election. Durkan has spent over double what Moon has in this campaign, truly boasting huge funding numbers. When this fact is seen, Durkan’s lead makes definite sense as we waltz into this election night. – Gavin Ganey

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8:50 PM EST – Atlanta – No precincts have reported to this point, fifty minutes after the polls closed. With the recent statements by Mary Norwood, it is expected for her to still be in second place. Keisha Bottoms will most likely be in first place, due to the fact that she is strong on African-American culture in Atlanta, as well as her less controversial statements. – James Sweet

8:40 PM EST – Virginia – Currently Libertarian Candidate for Virginia Governor, Cliff Hyra has a 1.2% polling rate from the 72% of reporting precincts. This number is very small compared to Chuck Northam and Ed Gillespie, who both have 52.5% and 46.3%, respectively. Hyra has virtually no chance of winning. – Jake Melkun

8:39 PM EST – Virginia – Despite early competitiveness, over 75% of the precincts can’t lie. There are not enough remaining precincts for Jill Vogel to take back the lead. Fairfax is currently winning by 2% and that lead should grow to 3 or 4% by the end of the night. 71 Republic is calling the Virginia Lieutenant Governor race in favor of Justin Fairfax. – Andrew Zirkle

8:29 PM EST – Virginia – With over ⅔ of precincts reporting, incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring has a currently insurmountable 3 point lead over John Adams (R). The yet to report Northern precincts will only grow his lead. 71 Republic is calling the Virginia Attorney General race in favor of Mark Herring. – Andrew Zirkle

8:00 PM EST – New Jersey – Phil Murphy will win the New Jersey Governor’s race. This election will essentially become a referendum on how much the Christie era has affected the Republicans in Jersey, who have controlled the state for the last 8 years. – Ryan Andrew

8:00 PM EST – Atlanta –  The polls in the City of Atlanta are now closing in a close mayoral race that can possibly end a historical trend of black mayors in the city. If a candidate does not win a majority in this election, there will be a runoff on December the 5th. – James Sweet

8:00 PM EST – Virginia – With 891 precincts reporting, the Democrats are holding strong, 51% to 47%. While this lead may not appear overwhelming, in a Republican win, Gillespie should expect to be leading. As the urban turnout continues to overwhelm the rural, Northam can expect a sizable win, well past a 5 point lead. This win will undoubtedly be a referendum on the Trump presidency, and shows the gubernatorial power of the grassroots Democrats. 71 Republic is now calling Virginia for Ralph Northam. – Gavin Ganey

7:45 PM EST – New York City– In New York City, there is a very high-stakes election for the NYC Mayor’s office. The Democratic Incumbent, Mayor Bill de Blasio is up against Republican Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis for the office. de Blasio is favored to win, but if Malliotakis wins she would become the first female mayor of NYC.  – Jake Melkun

7:45 PM EST – New Jersey – Hey, I’m Ryan Andrew, and I’ll be bringing you the results for the New Jersey Governor’s race between Lt. Kim Guadagno (R) and former German Ambassador Phil Murphy (D).  Polls for this race close at 8pm (EST) and results will follow soon after. – Ryan Andrew

7:34 PM EST – Virginia – Early reporting is showing that across the board, Ralph Northam is outperforming Hillary Clinton’s 2016 numbers. The Eastern Shore and Northern Virginia are showing the greatest blue shift so far, however, the South Eastern precincts are also showing early improvement for Northam over Clinton. This could be an early indication of a strong performance by Northam. – Andrew Zirkle

7:30 EST PM – New Jersey – Hey, I’m Ryan Andrew, and I’ll be bringing you the results of the New Jersey Governor elections between Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno (R) and Former German Ambassador Phil Murphy. – Ryan Andrew

7:15 PM – Washington State – Hey, I’m Gavin Ganey, and I’ll be reporting on the upcoming elections throughout Washington State. Both the mayoral election of Seattle and a State Senate seat being contested tonight. Being that Washington is one of the rare states that doesn’t have an absolute partisan majority, this state representative will be very important. Going into Seattle’s election, we have 2 democrats that are technically “unaffiliated” due to Washington election laws. Cary Moon and Jenny Durkan are the 2 contenders in that race and have made it extraordinarily competitive. Rolling into election night, Durkan has a definite lead, with polls giving her anywhere from 36% to 51% of the vote. The undecided voters will almost undoubtedly decide Seattle’s election tonight. – Gavin Ganey

7:00 PM – Virginia – Hi! I’m Chad Leo, the HR guy here at 71R, and I will be covering the ever important Virginia gubernatorial election tonight! The polls have closed. – Chad Leo

6:30 PM – Welcome to Election Night 2017! On this page, we will be updating you with live coverage and results of the following Elections:

    • Virginia Gubernatorial Election (Called for Ralph Northam)
    • New Jersey Gubernatorial Election (Called for Phil Murphy)
    • New York City Mayoral Election (Called for Bill de Blasio)
    • Atlanta Mayoral Election (Runoff Election on Dec. 5th: Kiesha Bottoms vs. Mary Norwood)
    • Seattle Mayoral Election (Jenny Durkan)
    • Utah Congressional Special Election (Called for John Curtis)
    • Virginia Lt. Governor Election (Called for Justin Fairfax)
    • Virgina Attorney General Election (Called for Mark Herring)


Note: This page does not automatically update, you must refresh it in order to view updates.

(Matthew Geiger)

Why the Atlanta Mayoral Election Matters

By James Sweet | GEORGIA

Today, elections are being held across the country ranging from offices as small as mayor to positions as large as governor. Many eyes are set on the Virginia gubernatorial election due to mainstream media’s coverage of it, as well as the heat and closeness of the election. However, one election can have more of an impact than one would think. That is the Atlanta mayoral election, and it can have a greater effect on cultural and social issues than you think.

In 1971, Ebony magazine called Atlanta the “Black Mecca of the South”. In 1973, Maynard Jackson was elected the first black Mayor of Atlanta. Before being elected, the Mayor of Atlanta was Sam Massell, a Jewish white male. After being elected, Maynard Jackson’s mission was to help the city of Atlanta, a major location for the Civil Rights Movement that recently succeeded. Following Maynard Jackson’s election, every Mayor of Atlanta has been black. In 2000, the United States Census Bureau found that only 54% of the population of Atlanta was “black or African American”. This is different from the demographics of Atlanta from the 1990’s, where 67% was “black or African American”. Sources like Politico have stated that this decline is still occurring and that it is believed the black population has fallen below half of the overall population. The current mayoral election shows this clearly.

A poll taken on November 1st shows that Keisha Lance Bottoms, a black female on the Atlanta City Council, is in the lead with 25.4% of the vote. Mary Northwood, a white female also on the Atlanta City Council, is following closely behind with 23.4%. The margin of error of this poll was 3.6%. With this margin of error, it is entirely possible for Mary Northwood to come out on top. Now, if no candidate receives a majority of the votes, there will be a runoff election on December 5th. If Mary Northwood either stays as the second most popular candidate or comes out on top, she will be seen in the runoff election. For a city with historically black influence in these elections, it is quite unusual to see a white candidate close to winning.

This election can either continue the historical trend of a black Mayor of Atlanta or can change the way that Atlanta runs while breaking this trend. At a public forum held recently, candidates for mayor were asked many different questions. A question that Northwood garnered attention for was the following: “Do you believe that police target or racially profile black and brown males in the community?” At this public forum, the candidates were to merely respond by holding up a sign with “yes” or “no” on them. Mary Northwood, however, didn’t do so. Without raising her sign, she asked, “Atlanta or the country?” Northwood then received a scolding for disrupting the process of the forum. She then proceeded to indirectly answer the question. At a time where issues with law enforcement are high, it is shocking for Northwood to still be in second place in a city like Atlanta.

If Mary Northwood becomes Mayor, it is entirely possible for groups like Black Lives Matter to come out in disagreement with the city’s choice, and protests can be expected among the Southern black community.  The United States has cultural divides, and these divides have been visible throughout all of 2017. If the historical trend of a black Mecca in Atlanta is ended by this election, the salt will merely be poured into the cultural wounds the United States is facing today. The election of the next mayor of Atlanta may just represent the influence of blacks in the South.

Note: 71 Republic will be reporting on the results of the Atlanta mayoral election, along with other elections, tonight. 

Election Day 2017: The Races to Watch

By Jake Melkun | USA

This Tuesday, November 7th, 2017, it is Election Day all across America. While it is an odd year, there are still some crucial elections that should be in your spotlight.

Congressional Races


Jason Chaffetz’s old House of Representatives seat is now up for a special election, as he resigned to start working for Fox News. The Utah Republican’s 3rd District has John Curtis running under the GOP ticket, Democrat Kathie Allen, and Libertarian Joe Buchman. There is also someone from the new United Utah Party, Jim Bennett running for the seat.

Gubernatorial Races:

New Jersey:

One of the most unpopular and controversial governors in recent history, Chris Christie, is not able to run for Governor again due to consecutive term limits, but the Republican Lt. Governor, Kim Guadagno, and Democrat Phil Murphy are polling pretty close in the race. Libertarian Nominee Peter Rohrman is also running, but not likely to win.


This race is one of the most coveted as it is very close. As many outlets are saying that this is a referendum on Trump, it still can be crucial for both sides to win this governor’s seat left open by Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe. The Lt. Governor of Virginia, Ralph S. Northam will be running against Republican Ed Gillespie. Cliff Hyra is the Libertarian Nominee, but he is currently polling at only 2% so there is little chance that he will win.



In the largest city in Georgia, there are nearly a dozen candidates for mayor. The current Mayor, Kasim Reed, has reached his term-limit and is now has to hand over the reigns to someone else. Keisha Lance Bottoms is leading the polls to gain the majority, but as there are twelve candidates running, it may end up in a runoff between the highest two if no-one reaches 50%. The candidate polling in second is also a woman by the name of Mary Norwood. Atlanta is a has a non-partisan government, so all twelve candidates do not have a political affiliation.

New York City:

Incumbent Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio is favored to win his office back against Republican Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis in the NYC Mayoral office. The race should end up being an easy stronghold for the NY Democrats. There is not a Libertarian Nominee, but Bo Dietl is running as an independent and Reform Party candidate Sal Albanese (which was the party that Donald Trump ran for President under in 2000), but they are both polling at 3% and 2%, respectively.


The two front-runners for the Seattle Mayoral race are both Democratic (officially Nonpartisan) women Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon. While there are 21 candidates, the Republican and Libertarian candidates have virtually no chance of winning.

While today isn’t really going to be an exciting day like Election Day last year, it still will be interesting to see all of the election results unfold.

71 Republic will be doing a live blog on all of the major races today, where we will be showing the polling, preliminary results, and more! Results from each race will be updated throughout 7pm-11pm in that respective time-zone.