Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for May 6, 2013

6
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for May 6, 2013

We’re coming to you from Savannah, where State Senator Buddy Carter (R-Pooler) has announced his campaign for Congress in Jack Kingston’s 1st Congressional District.

Sen. Carter made the announcement on the radio show hosted by Bill Edwards and Laura Anderson on News Radio 1290AM/97.7 FM.

“I’m running because we need major change to our tax code to cut taxes. As our new Congressman I’ll support leading tax relief proposals like The Fair Tax Plan and the 20% Flat Tax to greatly reduce or eliminate income tax,” said Carter.

“As our Congressman I’ll give 100% support to protecting the military installations across our district. It is the height of irresponsibility for President Obama to put our sons and daughters in harm’s way while decimating our military.”

Carter also announced his new campaign website, www.BuddyCarterForCongress.com

Buddy Carter is a former Mayor of his hometown of Pooler, GA and is in his third term as State Senator. He has been a pharmacist for more than 30 years and successfully runs a small business, Carter’s Pharmacies, Inc., with locations in Pooler, Rincon and Garden City.

The weather has a pretty good chance of forcing the event indoors as it’s rained all weekend in Savannah, setting a record on Sunday.

Sunday’s rainfall totaled 1.82 inches, besting the previous May 5 record of 1.21 set in 2005, said Emily Timte, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston, S.C.

SSI Pelican CoverNo problems at St Simon’s Island. Sunny and 75.

#GAGOP Chair Debate

No fireworks at this week’s debate among the candidates for Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party.

Chatham GOP Chair DebateWhat I have found surprising, however, is the level of discontent among all the candidates against our Republican elected officials. There’s a lot of talk of holding them accountable for conservative principles, and voting out those who don’t vote as “we” wish them too. Pro-tip for the candidate: criticizing our party’s elected officials, even generically, will not put them in much of a mood to help out come fundraising season. I’ll post the video when I get back to Atlanta.

Jack Kingston Debuts Statewide

Walter Jones of Morris News Service has written a lengthy article on the geopolitics of a Jack Kingston bid for statewide office, and as usual, it’s cogent, incisive and worth reading in its entirety. Here’s a taste.

For generations, Georgia voters routinely rejected “Atlanta candidates” in favor of those from other parts of the state, but recent elections that have tilted toward North Georgia hopefuls may provide a new dynamic that will challenge Jack Kingston.

Kingston says he’s confident of his ties to voter-rich North Georgia.“I’m an Athens boy,” he said in an interview with Morris News, adding that he had insurance clients in Atlanta two decades ago.

But since 2002, all of the statewide offices have been won by residents north of the gnat line as metro Atlanta continues to grow faster than the rest of the state. The one exception is Public Service Commissioner Doug Everett whose district requires a resident of South Georgia.

His congressional district that stretches along the coast and inland has four bases – Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Camden County; Fort Stewart at Hinesville; Moody Air Force Base near Valdosta and Hunter Army Airfield outside Savannah.

But his announcement Thursday that he will seek the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate seat held by retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., has some people wondering how bases in his congressional district and the state will be affected if and when the Base Closure and Realignment Commission meets in 2015.

“There’s always reason to be nervous,” said Tony Wege, professor of political science at College of Coastal Georgia.

President Barack Obama has included a so-called BRAC in 2015 in his proposed budget for fiscal 2014, which begins Oct. 1 and runs through Sept. 30, 2014. He had proposed one in his current budget, but it was shot down by Congress.

In Augusta last week, Kingston addressed the issue of the seniority drain in Georgia’s Congressional delegation being caused by the retirement of Senator Saxby Chambliss and the decisions of at least three members of Congress to seek his seat.

Kingston said he’s not troubled that their departure from the House means that at least those three seats on the Georgia delegation will be occupied by freshmen.

“We will work closely with the new congressional delegation,” he said.

Either missing from Kingston’s Atlanta discussions or missed by the Atlanta media was an emphasis on agriculture in his Savannah announcement.

“I can work on military issues, on agriculture issues. Six in 10 jobs in Georgia are still agriculture-related. No one has that experience I have. I want to get America working again.”

Kingston also addressed the geo-politics of the race

Kingston, who grew up in Athens and attended the University of Georgia before moving to Savannah to begin his professional career, said he wasn’t daunted by the prospect of being a south Georgia candidate against counterparts from more populous north Georgia.

He pointed to Chambliss, from Moultrie, Glynn County’s Mack Mattingly and Perry’s Sam Nunn as examples of candidates not from north Georgia winning a Senate race.

“Georgia has had a tradition of a metro Atlanta and a south Georgia senator,” he said. “What I have found is the people in north Georgia have the same concerns as the ones in south Georgia — jobs, balancing the budget, national security. I think that message is going to resonate in north Georgia.”

Before his announcement, Kingston had gone on a speaking tour of the state and extolled his own knowledge of the state from his years working in insurance and in politics.

“We’ve learned the challenges of those whose office might be a John Deere tractor or a corporate boardroom on the 40th floor of an office building in Atlanta,” he said. “There’s so much in common, raising kids in this sometimes crazy and morally decaying world, the worries of financial stability, high taxes, terrorist threats and high gas prices. We need to end crony capitalism, where insiders get the leg up. We need common-sense government. We need strong government policy, not laugh lines for Jay Leno. We need new leadership in the United States Senate, and that’s why I’m running.”

I didn’t realize that State Rep. Ben Watson is related to Kingston:

Dr. Ben Watson, Kingston’s brother-in-law and a member of the state House of Representatives, cheered the 11-term congressman’s entry into the Senate race.
“I’m so happy this moment has come,” Watson said. “These United States and our great state of Georgia need somebody like Jack Kingston. He’s a straight shooter, he’s honest, he’s full of integrity.”

The Atlanta Journal Constitution Editorial Board writes that the presence of Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey in the Senate race will likely draw Kingston to the right.

Kingston told the AJC’s Greg Bluestein that he “will yield no ground to any of my opponents as to who is the most conservative” in the Republican primary.

Somewhere, a Democratic strategist read those words, smiled and went back to work, encouraged that better days were coming for his party. And somewhere, Karl Rove shook his head in despair.

If Kingston intends to keep his word — and if he hopes to win the primary, he may have no choice — he’s going to have his work cut out for him. U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, the first to announce for the Senate seat, makes a strong claim as the most conservative person in the race. Broun has called President Barack Obama a Marxist and has described the president as a potential Hitler, although he later apologized for both remarks. He will do and say things that Kingston cannot duplicate.

A second Republican opponent, U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey of Marietta, was listed by the National Journal as one of 10 congressmen tied for the title as the most conservative member of the U.S. House. Again, Kingston doesn’t appear anywhere in the top 25.

Think about that for a minute. In a recent poll, only 23 percent of Americans said they thought the Republican Party is in touch with their concerns. Among moderates, only 20 percent described the GOP as in touch. Polls also indicate that if the Republican Party is considered extreme, its most extreme element is the House Republican caucus.

So in Georgia Republican politics, the key to electoral success is to define yourself as on the furthest extreme of an extreme caucus in a party viewed as extreme by a majority of American voters.

Frankly, I think the number one point illustrated by the above excerpt is how out-of-touch with Georgia the AJC Editorial Board is, and how far they will go to define mainstream Georgia Republicans as out-of-touch. So much for my subscribing to their new fancy online rag.

Meanwhile, the Savannah Morning News opines that Governor Nathan Deal is “doing pretty well.”

Other Candidate Not Seeking Election to the United States Senate

Marietta Mayor Steve “Thunder” Tumlin is running for reelection, according the the Marietta Daily Journal and their amusing story of how he delivered the news to them via a speech that he hasn’t actually delivered anywhere.

Printing press operator Charles Levinson of southeast Marietta is the only other announced candidate to emerge thus far.

Tumlin, a tax attorney, was first elected in 2009 after having served previously in the state Legislature. The race is officially nonpartisan, although Tumlin ran as a Republican for Legislature and Levinson is a Democrat.

CITY BEAT: Michelle Cooper Kelly of Marietta announced Friday she will run for the eastside Ward 6 seat on the Marietta City Council long held by Councilman Jim King.
Kelly said she called King to let him know she was running before announcing. She said King told her he was running also. King has been on the council since 2002.Kelly, a senior resident environmental, health, safety and security manager for Anheuser-Busch in Cartersville, has volunteered on several city committees over the years, including the Citizens Advisory Committee for Marietta Parks in 2009-10.She was appointed to the Marietta Housing Authority board by Mayor Tumlin and also served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. She has three children in Marietta city schools.
As Macon-Bibb prepare for the first elections in the consolidated city-county government, so many incumbents are running for something, that it’s more noteworth when they don’t.

Most of the 21 elected officials of Macon and Bibb County have joined the scramble for the 10-member Macon-Bibb County consolidated government, due to take office in January 2014.

But one-third of the current city and county officeholders have opted not to run for the new jobs, for a variety of reasons.

Dr. John Barge, Republican State School Superintendent, went to Cobb County and discussed Common Core with the county GOP breakfast Saturday. Here are some interesting tidbits.

“How can we grab our Republican legislators, how can we grab our Republican governor by the lapel and say, ‘hey, stand up for us. We need you guys at least this one time to stand up for us,’” Gamblin asked.

Barge replied, “I think you guys are doing a pretty good job of that.”

The backlash over Common Core is not limited to Georgia, the superintendent said.

“It’s happening pretty heavily right now in Tennessee and Ohio as well,” he said. “I think just keep talking.”

But keep in mind, Barge said, that Georgia’s school curriculum is adopted by the Georgia Board of Education, not the state Legislature.

“So that’s probably a good place to talk with folks.”

Another audience member, Michael Altman, chairman and CEO of Flying Doctors of America, said he appreciated that Barge was visiting classrooms across the state. Altman said it was also interesting to learn that 90 percent of the Georgia Performance Standards were the same as Common Core.“Then why do it?” Altman asked. “The reality is, as much as we all talk about this, it’s going to take the leadership of you and the governor to say, ‘Let’s throw this out and let’s do something different. Maybe do some best practices and do something called the ‘Uncommon Core’ to make it better than everybody else and just throw it out.”Altman asked the audience to raise their hands if they wanted to get rid of Common Core. The hands of just about everyone in the packed room rose.Barge turned to state school board member and former Cobb GOP Chairman Scott Johnson of east Cobb.“Scott, are you taking note over there,” Barge asked him.Johnson told the Journal after the meeting that he’s only been on the state board since January.

“This crowd seems to be no fan of the Common Core,” Johnson said. “There is cause for concern particularly anytime you get federal mandates that are tied to funding. I’m not a fan of that, whether it’s education or any other subject. Bottom-line is it looks like the state board of education may see some action in the future.”

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