Axios Atlanta

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Hello, Monday. Show us what you've got.

🌞 Today's weather: Sunshine to spare. High 76.

🗳 Situational awareness: So far, more than 178,000 Georgians have voted in the primary. Are you one of them?

Today's newsletter is 897 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: The GOP race for secretary of state

Brad Raffensperger in profile at a podium full of microphones
Raffensperger addresses ongoing ballot counting in 2020. Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty

Former President Trump’s narrative about the “stolen 2020 election” has touched most Georgia races this year, but none more than the Republican primary for secretary of state.

Driving the news: After becoming the main target of Trump's frustration about 2020 and misinformation about voter fraud, incumbent Brad Raffensperger has spent his primary campaign trying to convince Republicans that the election was not stolen.

What he’s saying: Raffensperger tells Axios he tries to be “calm and respectful with my answers."

  • “I’ve traveled around the state, and I’ve talked to people and explained point by point. I don't duck questions. I answer everyone's questions. I just give them facts.”

A scene from the trail: Axios watched this strategy in action at the Gainesville Kiwanis Club last month. Raffensperger told the group he’s “grateful to have this opportunity to set the record straight.”

  • “People ask me what happened in 2020…the short answer is 28,000 Georgians skipped the presidential race, and yet they voted down ballot. The Republican congressmen, they got 33,000 more votes than presidential. And that’s why President Trump came up short,” he said.

Raffensperger listed some of the false allegations of voter fraud and took questions from the crowd about ballot harvesting and stuffing (which there has been no evidence of).

  • “People said that there were 10,350 dead people," he said. "There was a total of four.”

Meanwhile, Congress member Jody Hice, Raffensperger’s leading opponent, endorsed by Trump, has structured his campaign around unsubstantiated claims of a stolen election, blaming Raffensperger for the 2020 loss.

  • “The big lie in all of this is that there were no problems in this past election. This last election was filled with problems,” Hice said during the Atlanta Press Club debate last week.

State of play: Recent independent polling from the AJC, The Hill/Emerson University and Survey USA show Raffensperger narrowly leading Hice, but well within runoff territory.

Read the full story.

2. Midtown parents say “no” to school rezoning plan

The former Inman Middle School. Photo: Kristal Dixon/Axios

Parents in Midtown are pushing back against Atlanta Public Schools’ plans to rezone their children to attend a new elementary school.

The district wants to use the former Inman Middle School in Virginia-Highland as a new elementary school for students who would eventually attend Midtown High School.

More than 800 students would be affected by the recommendation put forth by Superintendent Lisa Herring.

  • The Atlanta Board of Education voted 5-4 last Monday to approve the first reading of Herring’s recommendation.
  • School board members are slated to give a final vote on Herring’s recommendation later in the summer. If approved, it’ll go into effect in 2023.

How would this affect your kid? Herring’s proposal calls for moving about 200 Morningside Elementary students and 493 Springdale Park Elementary students into the new boundary.

  • It would also redistrict 171 students from Mary Lin Elementary to Springdale Park’s attendance zone and nine students from Springdale to Morningside’s boundary.
  • The recommendation notes the changes would reduce overcapacity at Mary Lin, Morningside and Springdale Park elementary schools.

What they’re saying: Amy Harward, who has children enrolled at Springdale Park who would attend the new school, said she and other parents don’t understand the district’s reasoning behind the boundary changes.

  • She also said the plan does not address overcrowding at Midtown High School, which Harward said has been a long-standing issue.

The other side: Board member Cynthia Briscoe Brown, who voted in favor of the recommendation, said during last week’s meeting that schools in the Midtown cluster will need extra support and planning over the next year to make any option work.

Read the full story.

3. Georgians' health, by county

Data: County Health Rankings; Map: Thomas Oide and Jared Whalen/Axios

Oconee County is Georgia's top county for residents' future length and quality of life or "health factors." Meanwhile, Hancock County —about an hour south — ranks 159th.

  • That's according to new county health rankings released by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, using data collected between 2014 and 2021.
  • Factors include access to health care, tobacco use, diet and exercise, education, employment, income, air and water quality, transit, housing and more.

Zoom out: The institute also ranked counties in terms of "health outcomes," or the length and quality of life in a county right now. Hancock remains at the bottom. Oconee sits in second place behind Forsyth.

The bottom line: The report notes that higher wages would go a long way in improving health care access and result in better health outcomes.

  • "Living wages cover basic needs and are essential to live a healthy life," the researchers wrote.

Of note: According to the Census, Hancock County's median household income is about $33,000. Nearly a third of the population lives in poverty.

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4. It's a beautiful day to love Atlanta

A photo of the Atlanta skyline from a hilltop at dusk
You pretty city, you. Photo: Thomas Wheatley/Axios

👋 Hiya, Thomas here!

We're expecting a beautiful day. I'm spending the daylight hours after work taking a walk — maybe even biking! — on the Beltline's Westside Trail.

  • What are you doing this evening?

5. Five-ish Points: Another "Jeopardy!" winner

Illustration of a neon sign on a metal tower reading 5ish Points.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🏛️ The trial of the man accused of killing a south Georgia teacher starts today. (AJC)

🙌🏻 A metro Atlanta woman's correct answer to a question about Atlanta's airport led her to victory on "Jeopardy!" (WSB-TV)

🤳 Fulton County Schools are cracking down on student cell phone use. (Fox 5 Atlanta)

🚧 Construction has started on the Atlanta BeltLine trail segment north of Piedmont Park. (Urbanize Atlanta)

💰 Increased rents around metro Atlanta affect tenants and landlords. (WABE)

👀 New evidence has been uncovered in the case of a couple whose bodies were discovered in Lake Oconee eight years ago. (11 Alive)

🎨 Emma stumbled upon the Decatur Arts Festival on Saturday. 10/10 would recommend!

😂 Kristal may have to start renting a unit to store some furniture so she can have more space for houseplants.

☺️ Thomas is feeling grateful after spending a weekend in Woodstock, New York, with his girlfriend and buds.