Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for May 15, 2013

Perdue headed toward Senate race, what will Karen Handel do?

DavidPerdueCampaignCroppedDavid Perdue, a former Fortune 500 CEO and cousin to former Governor Sonny Perdue unveiled an Exploratory Committee for US Senate yesterday. I must not be on their email list, but apparently a message sent by the campaign Exploratory Committee included kind words from Gov. Perdue.

Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue stumped on Tuesday for a cousin considering a run for the U.S. Senate.

“David (Perdue) is strongly considering a run for U.S. Senate,” Sonny Perdue wrote Tuesday in a email sent to supporters. “I believe he is exactly what our state and our nation needs — someone that can take his expertise to Washington, fix some big problems, and then return home. Isn’t that what the Founders intended?”

The governor noted in the email that David Perdue is his first cousin and former CEO of Dollar General.

This begs the question of what a David Perdue campaign does to Karen Handel’s decision-making. Handel served in Governor Perdue’s administration and while he declined to endorse a candidate in the 2010 Gubernatorial Primary, his behind-the-scenes support, organization, and rolodex would surely have been coveted by anyone considering a statewide run.

The web domain for the Perdue Exploratory Committee is registered to Ryan Cassin, a Georgia-based partner in Connect Strategic Communications.

Dale Jackson: GAGOP should go to caucuses instead of Primary elections

In a Guest Post over at the GaPundit website, newly-elected Third District Georgia Republican Party Chair Dale Jackson makes a case for changing to caucuses to nominate Republican candidates instead of primary elections.

As I traveled the 3rd district, campaigning for district chair, everyone wanted to know what I wanted to do to grow the party and involve the grassroots in that process. Now that all the focus is on the state GOP chair and that campaign, everyone is now asking them, how they are going to grow the party and include the grassroots in that process. The answer to both of those questions is the same, a nominating convention!

First, let’s answer the obvious question. What would that look like? What that would mean, is that EVERY elected official who has a (R) beside their name, would have to be nominated, not in a primary, but rather at their local county, district, or state convention. This would include all of the following: city mayor, city council, commissioners, state house and senate members, U.S. house and senate members, and the governor.

First the negative, and frankly this is the only negative that has been brought to my attention as I have traveled the 3rd district and even most of the state, talking about this.

This will appear to the average voter as exclusive, rather than inclusive.

Yes, that is a fair assessment, but that is simple PR, and if we can’t overcome that, then the leadership of the Republican Party needs to just pack it up and go home for good.
Now for the positives, and, in listing these, I will also address the one negative.

A nominating convention would actually grow the Republican Party exponentially.

Let’s face it folks, most people outside the party don’t want to be involved because they see it as nothing more than “a party” or a “social club.” By having a nominating convention, we would actually put true meaning behind being a part of the party. Every county party would probably have to find a new meeting place, because their current location would be far too small to accommodate everyone. No longer would we have to beg our local elected officials to come to our meetings. I’m pretty sure that every one of them would make it a priority to be there EVERY month if their re-election depended on the party, not simply because they were the “incumbent.”

I am told that there is a movement afoot to send a resolution to the floor of the Convention about going to caucus nominations. If a resolution that does anything more than call for or create a study group about doing it, I will vote against it on the general principle that I don’t vote for things I don’t know enough about.

I don’t believe in monkeying with the election system, especially in any way that eliminates primary elections or primary runoff elections. But I’m more than happy for us to have a debate about it and am open to having my mind changed.

Head on over to the website to view Dale’s points in favor of nominating Republican candidates by caucus and hit the comments to let us know how you feel. If you’re so moved to write at length, either for or against, email me and we’ll be happy to discuss a Guest Post on the topic.

Why I don’t give money to political organizations over the phone

RollCall report that an Arizona-based political call center is dialing for dollars and keeping the vast majority of the money raised.

During the 2012 elections and the first three months of 2013, [Political Call Center LLC, a phone and mail communication firm based in Mesa, Ariz] were paid $8.5 million by three conservative political action committees. Most of the budgets of these groups went for the phone solicitations.

Life & Liberty PAC paid them $3 million, or 83 percent of all their spending.

RightMarch.com PAC paid them $1.6 million, or 71 percent of their spending.

Republican Majority Campaign paid them $4.3 million, or 69 percent of their spending.

RightMarch.com PAC is run by Dr. William Greene and states it is a conservative organization seeking to mobilize grass-roots support and be a collective voice in the political process. Life & Liberty PAC states it is dedicated to electing pro-life candidates. The Republican Majority Campaign is a federal PAC advocating Republican principles and its goal is to elect a Republican majority.

The three groups did not spend much on candidates. RightMarch.com PAC gave $600.

Bill Greene appears to now live in North Carolina, but has for years been active in the Georgia Republican Party. RightMarch.com PAC is registered to an address in Braselton, Ga, the town where Bill Greene lived and ran an unsuccessful 2009 City Council Campaign.

Here’s how the money breaks down. If the $1.6 million paid to the call center was 71% of the proceeds to RightMarch.com PAC, the total raised was approximately $2.25 million, which means roughly $650,000 went to RightMarch.com PAC. Subtracting the $600 given to candidates leaves a net in the range of $649,400. I wonder where that money went.

This is not the first time William Greene and RightMarch.com have been called on allegations of dubious fundraising and expenditures. A 2013 Proposed Final Audit by the FEC alleged “Misstatement of Financial Activity.”

And in 2011, RollCall reported that an even larger percentage of RightMarch.com contributions went to telephone solicitations by the same Arizona-based call center and paid more than $93,000 in fees to a company owned by Greene. From the same article at RollCall.com

A 501(c)(4) nonprofit associated with RightMarch.com PAC paid Greene $76,000 in 2006 for advertising and promotion work. Tax forms list a director for the nonprofit, William Smiley, and a secretary treasurer, Ronald Smedley. Neither could be reached for comment.

Is that a classic telemarketing scam with a right-wing political gloss? I can’t say. But I can say that this is why I only give to political organizations whose leadership I know personally, and almost always in conjunction with an actual event somewhere. If I get a telephone solicitation from RightMarch.com or any affiliated organization, I’ll hang up the phone.

Towery on South Carolina Special Election for Congress

Matt Towery, CEO of InsiderAdvantage (one of our corporate overlords employers) wrote about Mark Sanford’s win in the South Carolina Special Election for Congress and what it means for Georgia.

Most experts would presume that Georgia’s status as a “safe” Republican state would guarantee victory for a GOP nominee in a state where Democrats over the past decade have not fared so well. But recent polling suggests that Georgia, like many other GOP-leaning states, has shifted from being one in which most voters view themselves as both fiscally and socially conservative, to one where many have, as they do every so often, tired a bit of social issues.

This makes the Republican primary in Georgia next year a tricky one indeed. The players include Rep. Phil Gingrey of Marietta, Jack Kingston of coastal Georgia including Savannah, and Paul Broun of the university town of Athens. Waiting in the wings may be former Secretary of State Karen Handel.

All of the potential candidates would likely make it on an “all-star” team of conservative elected or former elected officials. But one name stands out in the minds of political pundits and so-called experts — Broun.

The conventional wisdom is that Broun will have the support of the most extreme of conservative voters in Georgia and that the other candidates will follow his lead on virtually every issue, so that, as Kingston suggested, no one will outflank anyone else on the conservative side of issues.

So the pundits, particularly those who were catching the rise of Colbert in South Carolina, view the Georgia race as one in which Broun, whose past comments might fly in a primary but be a Todd (of the “legitimate rape” statement) Akin-like problem against a conservative Democrat in the general election.

I agree with much of the boss’s analysis but disagree over the existence of anything that might be called “a conservative Democrat.”

Cooter Unwelcome

Former Georgia Democratic Congressman Ben Jones was disinvited from playing music before the start of a DC fundraiser for Congressman Ed Markey (D-Taxachusetts).

Jones served two terms in Congress from 1989 to 1993, representing a Georgia district and sitting in the same Democratic caucus as Markey.

His position on the flag made national news during his 2002 campaign against US Representative Eric Cantor, now the House majority leader. Jones occasionally rode during parades in the Dodge Charger from “Dukes of Hazzard,” ­Confederate flag and all, drawing a rebuke from Wilder, the first African-American elected governor in the United States.

Jones told the Globe he had received a call Tuesday from a Markey staff member “insulting me, my beliefs, my politics, my heritage, and everything else, and I guess my musicianship.”

“I basically told the guy to fold it four ways and put it where the sun don’t shine,” Jones said in a phone interview.

Jones said he had been shot at and jailed during his civil rights activism and questioned why his unapologetic support for what he called an artifact of regional history should prompt a political backlash.

“The fact that this is regarded as a political liability means that they think it’s going to be a close race,” he said. Still, he said, he would vote for Markey if he lived in Massachusetts.

Jones’s recent defense of the Confederate flag includes a letter posted on his website ­denouncing NASCAR last year for preventing the car featured in “Dukes of Hazzard” from appear­ing at a track event.

I’m guessing they wouldn’t want former University of Georgia golfer turned pro Bubba Watson either, since Bubba owns and drives an original General Lee from the show, especially since it was Watson’s General Lee that was uninvited from a NASCAR opening parade.

when Watson was invited by the Phoenix International Raceway to be one of the parade of cars prior to a NASCAR race, NASCAR hastily withdrew the invitation when the organizers learned that Watson’s car was identical to the original, complete with the Confederate battle flag painted on the top.

Video of the Gainesville Debate for GAGOP Chair

The White County High School AV squad Television Station did an excellent job with the video of the Debate held in Gainesville. Click here to watch the individual candidate profiles and the entire debate.

State Convention Survival Guide and Buzzword Bingo

We’ve had some great suggestions for both our State Convention Survival Guide and the State Convention Buzzword Bingo.

Suggested additions to the Bingo card:

Reagan
RINO
Me
100-day plan
Liberty or Libertarian
Tea Party

Conservative

Constitution
Clark County
IRS
Benghazi
Cover up
Vetting candidates
Senate Seat
Suggested additions to the Survival Kit:
mini bottles or a flask
juice
breath mints
valium
taser
tinfoil
crackers
Coca-Cola
map of your escape route
aspirin
bourbon
Click either of the links above to head over to the website and leave your suggestions in the comments. One of the squares on every bingo card will be “I commented on the Survival Checklist or Buzzword Bingo post at GaPundit.com”. That’s a freebie, so leave a comment and you’ll be ahead when you get your bingo card. Remember, we’ll be giving away actual prizes for the winners.

Hall County Elections Reprimanded

The State Elections Board voted to send a letter of instruction to the Hall County Board of Elections after allegations that included allowing the wife of Hall County Commissioner Craig Lutz to vote twice.

I met Craig at the Gainesville Debate for GAGOP Chairman sponsored by the Hall County, White County and Ninth District Republican Parties and based on the fact that he was able to recommend a barbecue restaurant in Flowery Branch without a moment’s hesitation, I’d allow dual votes for him. If I lived there, I’d probably vote for him twice.

ProEnglish goes after Lindsey Graham – is a Georgia Senator next?

ProEnglish has launched a radio campaign in South Carolina calling attention to what it considers lies about an immigration bill by sponsor Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). We’ve heard Georgia airwaves may be next if Senators Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss don’t declare their opposition to Graham’s bill.

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Porsche Shakes Up Management, Hybrid Car Market

Porsche continues to refine their 887 horsepower gas-electric hybrid 918. With only 918 units to be built for the world market, the car itself is unlikely to make a dent in Prius or Chevy Volt sales, but the lessons learned will undoubtedly show up in future road cars.

Atlanta (Sandy Springs) based Porsche Cars North America will see a new Chief Operating Officer as part of their global restructuring of senior management.

Joe Lawrence (44), currently Managing Director at Porsche Canada, will be appointed as Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Porsche Cars North America, making him responsible for the largest single market for the sports car manufacturer with over 35,000 of more than 141,000 shipped vehicles at last count. His successor at Porsche Canada will be announced soon.

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