About Todd Rehm

Todd Rehm is a Republican political campaign consultant and pollster based in Atlanta and editor of GaPundit.com, the most-read political newsletter in Georgia, which focuses on Republican politics, state and local government, and elections. He is a graduate of Emory University and veteran of 20 years of political campaigns. He also wrote for PeachPundit.com, a blog about Georgia politics. Todd's writing has appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Gainesville (GA) Times, Macon Telegraph, Marietta Daily Journal, and other local periodicals. His photography has appeared in the United Methodist Reporter. He has been quoted about Georgia politics in the L.A. Times, The Washington Times, and U.S. News & World Report.

Georgia’s jobless rate falls to 7.0 percent in March | www.ajc.com

eorgia’s unemployment rate declined to 7.0 percent in March from 7.1 percent in February to hit the lowest level since September 2008, the state labor department said Thursday.

“This is the ninth month in a row that Georgia’s unemployment rate has dropped,” state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement. “It’s down because we continue to see employers creating more jobs and laying off fewer workers. We added 27,400 jobs, which is the most February-to-March job growth we’ve seen in 10 years.”

The number of jobs increased to 4,064,200 in March, up 0.7 percent from February.

Most of the job gains came in leisure and hospitality — 8,400 new jobs; professional and business services — 6,600; trade, transportation and warehousing — 6,100; manufacturing — 2,400; education and health services — 1,300; government — 900; and construction — 700.

Over the past year, the number of jobs increased by 69,000, or 1.7 percent, from March 2013. A year ago, the jobless rate was 8.4 percent.

via Georgia’s jobless rate falls to 7.0 percent in March | www.ajc.com.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 17, 2014

The Trustees of the Georgia colony learned on April 17, 1737 that Spain had 4000 soliders and two warships in Havana, Cuba and was planning on invading Georgia or South Carolina. Thus began the rivalry between then-Spanish occupied Florida and Georgia. Floridians would have to wait until after the 1873 invention of blue jeans by Levi Strauss to develop their modern uniform of jean shorts.

On April 17, 1944, a fifteen-year old Martin Luther King, Jr., a junior at Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, traveled to Dublin, Georgia to give a speech in a contest sponsored by the local black Elks club. During the bus ride to Dublin, King and his teacher had to give up their seats to white riders and stand for much of the ride. King won the contest, delivering his oration, “The Negro and the Constitution.”

On April 17, 1950, the United States Supreme Court dismissed South v. Peters, a complaint against Georgia’s County Unit System of elections.

Each county is allotted a number of unit votes, ranging from six for the eight most populous counties, to two for most of the counties. The candidate who receives the highest popular vote in the county is awarded the appropriate number of unit votes. Appellants, residents of the most populous county in the State, contend that their votes and those of all other voters in that county have on the average but one-tenth the weight of those in the other counties. Urging that this amounts to an unconstitutional discrimination against them, appellants brought this suit to restrain adherence to the statute in the forthcoming Democratic Party primary for United States Senator, Governor and other state offices. The court below dismissed appellants’ petition. We affirm.

On April 17, 1964, the Ford Mustang debuted at the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York. The world has been a better, if somewhat louder, place ever since. To honor fifty years of the quintessential American car, Ford cut up a 2015 Mustang and reassembled it at the top of the Empire State Building.

Modern Georgia Politics

Jack Kingston drops new ad this morning

Transcript:

“On Georgia roads like this, I drove thousands of miles selling business insurance.  I helped grow a small company into one that employed over 500 people. 

“Hard work built our economy but today too many choose a hand out rather than a hand up. 

“That’s why my plan requires able-bodied adults on welfare and food stamps to work for their benefits.  It’s good for them and for taxpayers. 

“I’m Jack Kingston and I approve this message.”

Pennington becomes cautionary tale

Four pro-tips arise from the disastrous press conference held by now further-marginalized candidate for Governor David Pennington.
You can watch video of the exchange here. I would embed it, but WSB videos start playing automatically when the page loads, and that’s annoying.

Jim Galloway sets the stage, describing the announcement:

Former Dalton Mayor David Pennington’s “major announcement” turned into one of the most bizarre events of the campaign season. It featured a hand-lettered sign, a few rather confused reporters, snickering Gov. Nathan Deal staffers and a made-for-TV interruption from the governor’s attorney.

Deal attorney Randy Evans actually spoke longer than Pennington (and that hand-drawn sign challenging Deal to a debate was at his side for part of it.) Here’s how it unfolded.

Pennington, surrounded by a gaggle of reporters and TV camera crews, stood just outside Deal’s second-floor statehouse office to challenge Deal to meet him for a debate or drop out of the race. He said Deal is so “poisoning the well” for state Republicans that Democrat Jason Carter could pull out a victory.

One reporter asked the tea party candidate what, exactly, his major announcement was. Pennington said he would leave a formal invitation to Deal to attend the upcoming debates and urged the governor to pack it in if he didn’t.

Evans, standing on the sidelines, jumped in to challenge Pennington to unseal federal court records related to a potential bankruptcy of a company he once ran. And he asked the former mayor whether he would release tax returns, which prompted Pennington to eventually agree to disclose five years’ worth.

The attorney then took the podium after reporters exhausted their questions for Pennington.

First is a lesson learned by General Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg – it is much more difficult to attack the other side on their own territory, especially if you are out-gunned.

ohn Buford and his few hundred Union cavalry men arrived early and secured the high ground at Gettysburg.  Through the advantage of their elevated position, they were able to successfully hold off superior forces.

When you go against a sitting Governor using the Capitol as a venue, you have ceded the high ground. When Randy Evans shows up for the other side, you are almost certainly out-gunned.

Second, plan your work and work your plan without getting distracted by the other side. Pennington loses control of the press conference the moment he recognizes Randy Evans. If it’s your event, there’s no reason to give up control or allow your opponent to take the podium.

Third, 24 hours notice gives the other side time to plan a counter and execute it.

Fourth, visual aids can help or hurt the point you’re trying to make. There is a time and place for hand-lettered signs, and that’s usually in the crowd showing organic grassroots support. This should be encouraged. But as visual aids in a press conference, they can look amateur. The same information, profesionally printed, mounted, and on a stand might have helped make your point visually.

Fifth, the super-secret, high-profile press conference for a challenger in the single digits might work one time, but it won’t work again. Without the spectacle of a lawyer challenging the press conference, this might have been productive – next time you try this, the only reason any press might show up is in hope of a repeat of the confrontation; otherwise they’ll have a hard time taking it seriously.

Meanwhile, Governor Deal was in Macon, congratulating the Mercer Bears basketball team on their performance in the NCAA tournament.

Deal’s campaign has also released a new ad called “One” and put a million dollars worth of television time behind it.

It’s a good commercial for this time, setting a positive tone and discussing economic development and job creation. But how much more awesome would it have been with this background music?

State Senator Buddy Carter has also released a new ad in his bid for First Congressional District.

Events Calendar


Sen. Mike Dugan Campaign Kick-off

April 17, 2014, 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Sam and Rosco’s, 7450 Douglas Blvd, Douglasville, GA 30135

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Senator Mike Dugan Campaign Kick-off Please help support State Senator Mike Dugan!

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The Cherokee County Black Republican Council: Inaugural Meeting

April 17, 2014, 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM

Clubhouse of the Village at Town Lake, 310 Gray Shingle Lane, Woodstock, GA 31059

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You’re invited to the Inaugural Meeting of The Cherokee County Black Republican Council 5:30 pm Business Meeting 6:00 pm Black Conservatives Roundtable: “Race in American Politics, Will It Ever End?” Live Broadcast/Taping of “the black & white of it” Internet Talk Show Meeting Is Free and Open to All Who Believe and Support African-American Participation in the Republican Party and Conservative Movement. Mr. Conrad Quagilaroli, Chairman, Cherokee County Tea Party.

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Sen. Jack Murphy: Campaign Reception

April 17, 2014, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Danny Reid’s Barn, 6844 Majors Road, Cumming, GA 30040

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  Reception honoring  Senator Jack Murphy - Chair-Regulated Industries & Utilities Host $1,000 | Sponsor $500 | Patron $250 | Guest $50 RSVP to Denise Deal at 678-617-1625

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Dekalb Candidates Meet & Greet at The Grove!

April 17, 2014, 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM

The Grove, 2761 LaVista Rd, Decatur, GA 30033

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Dekalb candidates for School Board, State Superintendent, and House and Senate districts will be at The Grove this Thursday for a Happy Hour Meet & Greet! Please make plans to attend and meet the folks running to represent you from Dekalb County! Candidates appearing include: John Oselette for DeKalb Board of Education Don McChesney for Dekalb BOE Stan Jester for Dekalb BOE Jim Duffie for GA House 81 Greg Williams for GA Senate 42

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Lee County GOP: Meeting

April 17, 2014 5:45 PM @ 5:45 PM – 7:00 PM

Meatslangers Bar-B-Que, 1346 U.S. 19, Leesburg, GA 31763

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Lee County Republican Party April Meeting  Attendees may purchas food, but are advised to come early and make their order prior to the meeting, also meetings will now be limited to one hour. .Please inform your family and friends about our meetings and invite them to come along. Contact: [email protected] for more information.

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Oconee County GOP: Local Candidate Forum

April 17, 2014, 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM

City Hall, 191 VFW Dr, Watkinsville, GA 30677

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Oconee GOP Local Candidate Forum  Fitz Johnson, Candidate for State School Superintendent Post 2 Candidates  BOC Post 3 Candidates Contact: 706-202-7690 or [email protected] for more information.

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Franklin County GOP: Meeting with Rep. Doug Collins, Rep. Alan Powell, & Nancy Jester

April 17, 2014, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

El Parian Mexican Restaurant, 9595 Lavonia Road, Carnesville, GA 30521

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Franklin County GOP Meeting US Rep. Doug Collins  State Representative Alan Powell – Legislative Update Nancy Jester, Candidate for State School Superintendent Local Candidates for Board of Education Adam Sheridan, Paul Broun for Senate Campaign  Contact: 706-244-0402 or [email protected] for more information.

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Coweta County GOP: PSC Candidates Forum

April 17, 2014, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

Golden Corral, 605 Bullsboro Dr, Newnan, GA 30263

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Coweta County GOP – PSC Candidates Forum  Confirmed Candidates: Douglas Kidd, Craig Lutz, Bubba McDonald Details: Forum for candidates for Public Service Commission District 4 – Northern. The Forum will run from 6:30 to 8:00PM, admission is free, to reserve your seats, contact Coweta GOP Chairman Brant Frost V. at: [email protected] or 678-326-9705 to reserve seats or for more information.

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Forsyth County GOP: GA House District 26 Debate

April 17, 2014, @ 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Forsyth County Recreation Center, 2300 Keith Bridge Rd, Cumming, GA 30040

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Debate – Georgia House District 26 (Geoff Duncan, Tom Knox)

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Cobb GOP Women: Candidate Forum – House Districts 34 & 44, Cobb Superior Court Judge, & Cobb Solicitor General

April 17, 2014, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Cobb County Commission Meeting Room , 100 Cherokee Street, Marietta, GA 30090

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Cobb County Republican Women’s Club Campaign Forums Candidates for State Representative for House Districts 34 and 44, Candidates for Cobb Superior Court Judge, and Candidates for Cobb Solicitor General Televised Live on Channel 23

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Gwinnett County GOP: State School Superintendent Forum

April 17, 2014, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Gwinnett Justice & Administration Center, 75 Langley Drive , Lawrenceville, GA 30046

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Senator Jim Tysinger Saturday Morning Breakfast Forum

April 19, 2014, 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM

Panera Bread, 2100 Henderson Mill Rd NE, Atlanta , GA 30345

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Senator Jim Tysinger Saturday Morning Breakfast Forum A non-partisan breakfast administered by long time Republicans and moderated by Bob Dallas, the Senator Jim Tysinger Saturday Morning Breakfast Forum has been one of the longest serving and best political breakfast forums in the state. A fixture in North Atlanta and DeKalb County for more than 30 years. Everyone is welcome, free to attend, a voluntary $3 donation is requested, not mandatory. Contact: [email protected] for more information. Tweet

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FREE

Bulloch County GOP: Gov. Nathan Deal Meet & Greet

April 19, 2014, 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM

RJ’s Seafood and Steaks, 434 S Main St, Statesboro, GA 30458

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The Bulloch County Republican Party would like to extend an invitation to you to attend a Meet and Greet with Governor Nathan Deal Gov. Deal Meet and Greet RJ’s Seafood and Steaks Saturday, April 19 8:30 – 10 a.m. Tweet

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GA GOP: US Senate Primary Debate / Augusta

April 19, 2014, 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM

Columbia County Exhibition Center, 212 Partnership Drive, Grovetown, GA 30813

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The Georgia Republican Party has partnered with District and County GOP organizations to host a series of U.S. Senate debates across Georgia. The debate in Augusta will be held at the Columbia County Exhibition Center. Tickets are free, but will be required to guarantee admission. Get your tickets at the Eventbrite link below: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/gagop-us-senate-debate-augusta-tickets-11037434263 Doors will open at 11:00am – Seating is first-come, first-serve There will be food and gift vendors available prior to the debate. There will be a…

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Easter

April 20, 2014

Christ the Lord is Risen Today  - Hallelujah!

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SOS Brian Kemp: 21 April Voter Registration Deadline for 20 May Primary Election

April 21, 2014
Georgia

Secretary of State Kemp Reminds Georgians of April 21 Voter Registration Deadline for the May 20th Primary Election Atlanta – Secretary of State Brian Kemp wants to remind Georgians they must be registered to vote by April 21stin order to participate in the May 20th Primary Election. “Every Georgian should have the opportunity to vote in the May 20th Primary Election,” said Kemp.  “The good news is that it is easier than ever to get registered to vote or to change your registration information.” Georgians…

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Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 17, 2014

VeteransK9Solutions

I can think of few missions more worthy of supporting today than Veterans K9 Solutions, which adopts dogs from shelter death rows, trains them as service dogs, and places them in home of veterans free of charge.

The founder’s van, which is equipped to safely transport the dogs, lost its transmission, and without repair will negatively impact the group’s mission. Normally a $2200 repair, local mechanics are donating their time and skills, but they’re asking for help to pay for roughly $500 in parts needed for the repair work.

Instead of that 48-shot super-espresso frappalatte, your donation of $25, $10, $5 or even $2 is a two-fer. You can save the lives of dogs, and also those of wounded veterans who need service dogs. If you’ve been saving money from whatever you gave up for Lent but havent’s decided where it will go, here’s your chance to help dogs and veterans in need.

Please click here to donate today!

Note that donation link is for the account of Dog Networking Agents, another rescue group that has volunteered to act as online processors for Veterans K9 Solutions. Please put “van” in the memo/content section so your donation gets to the right place.

You may also mail a check written to Veterans K9 Solutions to:

Taylor Bryant

1873 Engle Road

Augusta GA 30906

Any funds donated above and beyond the required parts cost will be given to the Veterans K9 Solutions group for their expenses in providing the gift of a trained service dog to our veterans in need.
Lexi

Lexi is a ten-year old female Dachshund who weighs ten pounds. She is sweet, mellow and affectionate and is in need of a new home. Lexi is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Shelter in Monroe, Georgia.

DaisyDaisy (above) and Minnie (below) are sweet 2-month old Miniature Pinscher mix puppies. Each weighs about six pounds. They are available for adoption singly or as a matched pair from Walton County Animal Shelter in Monroe, Ga.

Minnie

Teachers, state workers force more changes in Georgia’s $3… | www.myajc.com

The state announced another round of major changes to the health care plan for 650,000 teachers, state employees, retirees and their dependents Tuesday, a little more than a month before the May 20 primaries that the group promised to influence.

The Department of Community Health said it will increase the number of companies managing the $3 billion State Health Benefits Plan and offer more coverage options, including HMOs, starting next year.

The announcement came in response to months of protests by teachers, state workers and retirees over plan changes made this year that limited their coverage options and dramatically increased out-of-pocket costs.

“We are encouraged that the Department of Community Health has responded positively to the outpouring of complaints regarding our 2014 health care options, and it appears as though our efforts will help bring back choice to the State Health Benefit Plan,” said Ashley Cline, the wife of a Cherokee County science teacher and founder of the 15,000-member Teachers Rally Against Georgia Insurance Changes, or TRAGIC.

“Offering teachers, retirees, state employees and their families more coverage and provider options in 2015 is a step in the right direction,” Cline said. “However, it is imperative that this is a trend that continues in 2015 and beyond — not just during an election year.”

Some members of TRAGIC said better coverage, not more companies providing the coverage, is what’s needed.

via Teachers, state workers force more changes in Georgia’s $3… | www.myajc.com.

Governor may veto private probation bill | www.myajc.com

Gov. Nathan Deal has suggested that he might veto a bill that would allow private probation companies, contracted by cities and counties across the state, to keep secret from the public details such as how many people they supervise and how much they collect in fines.

The private probation industry has grown into a $40 million a year business in the years since the 2001 Legislature shifted the responsibility for overseeing low-level offenders from the state to local courts. Many counties and cities hired private companies to supervise people sentenced for offenses such as driving without a license, public drunkenness or possession of small amounts of marijuana. Almost all those placed on probation couldn’t pay the fines levied as part of their sentences. Those who can pay are deemed to have fulfilled their sentences.

Last year, 14 former probationers sued Sentinel Offender Services, the largest of the 34 private probation companies operating in Georgia. According to the suits, Sentinel charged them fees for electronic monitoring and drug testing that the courts didn’t order. The lawsuits, which are being treated as one case, also said probationers — all poor — were threatened with jail if they didn’t pay.

The lawsuits recounted how the former probationers were taken to jail, sometimes years after they thought they had completed their sentences, and held until they paid their debts to Sentinel.

A Richmond County Superior Court judge ruled last September private probation companies had no legal authority to provide electronic monitoring.

via Governor may veto private probation bill | www.myajc.com.

Paul Broun Campaigns for Senate in Georgia versus Handel, Gingrey

It’s interesting to see a Washington, DC based reporter come down to Georgia to see Paul Broun in the field. I think that Broun’s charisma and his skill in talking with voters one-on-one doesn’t always come through if you don’t see him out there among the voters.

MARIETTA, Ga. — If one knew of Rep. Paul Broun only from a 90-minute Senate candidate forum Tuesday, it wouldn’t be obvious he is the cause of so much heartburn among Republican strategists from Capitol Hill to Atlanta — all hoping to hold the party’s most vulnerable open seat.

Broun, known widely for his controversial comments on evolution and other topics, sat stoic and expressionless on the dais as four other Georgia Republican hopefuls professed their conservative credentials. Each time the moderator called on him, Broun took a slow, deep breath before calmly — though sometimes haltingly — laying out his views and record on a range of issues.

That included his bill to prohibit “amnesty” in any comprehensive immigration overhaul, his bills to repeal the Affordable Care Act and his staunch support of the Second Amendment. All are firmly conservative positions, but his answers lacked any hint of the rhetoric that has some party insiders concerned his nomination would put in jeopardy a seat the party must hold for any hope of winning the Senate majority.

Broun, tall, silver-haired and turning 68 less than a week before the May 20 primary, lags in both polling and money. With a month to go, former Dollar General CEO David Perdue and Rep. Jack Kingston — neither of which attended the forum — are considered the frontrunners in an unpredictable race to the July 22 runoff.

In an interview after the Tuesday night forum hosted by the Cobb County Republican Women, Broun was far looser than on stage. He expressed confidence he would win both the runoff and general election, and offered his assessment of why some view him as a flawed statewide candidate.

“They don’t want me there, because I want to take the power away from them,” said Broun, a three-term member. “I want to send the power back to ‘we the people.’ Establishment Republicans like a big government.”

In the interview, Broun was confident he would have the resources necessary to win. But in a conversation with a supporter just after the event, Broun laid out the challenge he faces over the next month.

“I’m going to need your help talking to people … because I don’t have the money that Kingston and Perdue have,” Broun said. “We need to develop an army of ‘we the people’ to make sure that people come to the polls.”

via Paul Broun Campaigns for Senate in Georgia versus Handel, Gingrey.

Big G.O.P. Donors Stir Senate Runs – NYTimes.com

Democrats in races that will help determine control of the Senate are rapidly burning through their campaign cash, whittling away their financial advantage over Republican opponents as they fend off attacks from conservative groups, according to figures released through Friday.

The spending on both sides underscores the critical role that outside conservative groups are playing as Republicans try to retake the Senate. In state after state, organizations like Americans for Prosperity, the nonprofit linked to the conservative billionaires David H. and Charles G. Koch, have kept Democrats on the defensive with a barrage of negative ads while establishment-backed Republican candidates raise money and navigate their way through primaries.

In Republican-leaning Georgia, which has an open Senate seat, the Democratic candidate, Michelle Nunn, posted consistently strong fund-raising numbers during the second half of last year.

And some Republican candidates are floundering in the hunt for cash.

via Big G.O.P. Donors Stir Senate Runs – NYTimes.com.

Georgia has the fastest-growing solar industry | savannahnow.com

ATLANTA — Georgia’s 225-percent increase in jobs related to the solar-energy industry is the highest in the nation as it plays catch-up to other states.

The jump comes largely from a combination of prices and Georgia Power’s program to add solar-generating capacity, according to Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association. Continue reading

Petrea leads in Sullivan in funds in Ga. 166 race as primary nears | savannahnow.com

Martin Sullivan raised thousands more dollars in early 2014 than his opponent in the upcoming Republican primary for the Georgia House of Representatives District 166 seat, but he remains far behind Jesse Petrea in both total funds raised and cash on hand as the election nears.

Sullivan reported raising $10,351 in the first quarter of 2014; Petrea reported $7,450 raised.

District 166, which spans most of the islands in eastern Chatham County and the easternmost portions of Bryan County, is the only contested election among Chatham seats in the May 20 primary. Sullivan and Petrea, both political newcomers, are vying for the seat being vacated by state Rep. Ben Watson, who is running unopposed for the state’s 1st District senate seat.

Overall, campaign contribution disclosure reports released in early April, show Petrea has raised a total of $87,601 and currently has more than $51,000 in his coffers.

Sullivan, meanwhile, has raised $31,858 and has about $24,000 on hand.

The late surge in fundraising, Sullivan said, shows momentum in his favor.

“We’re feeling really good,” Sullivan said. “I’m really happy with where we are. I think people want to know their representative, so I’m getting out and talking to the people. I’ve knocked on 3,000 doors and our volunteers are making phone calls.

“Money, alone, isn’t going to win this election.”

via Petrea leads in Sullivan in funds in Ga. 166 race as primary nears | savannahnow.com.

Michelle Nunn raises $2.4 million in first quarter | WashingtonPost.com

Georgia Democrat Michelle Nunn had another strong fundraising quarter, bringing in $2.4 million during the first three months of 2014. It’s the most money she has raised in a quarter since launching her U.S. Senate campaign.

Nunn’s campaign announced Nunn’s total Monday, saying 20,000 donors have given to the campaign since Nunn kicked it off last year. The campaign did not say how much money Nunn had in her campaign account at the end of March. At the end of 2013, she had early $2.5 million.

Nunn has been the fundraising standout of the Georgia race. Republican Rep. Jack Kingston raised $1.1 million, while Reps. Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey were each reportedly under $500,000 for the quarter.

via Michelle Nunn raises $2.4 million in first quarter.