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.

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for June 17, 2014


Lilly is a sweet 4 month old pup who makes me think of a Vizsla, and  who came into the shelter underweight and riddled with fleas and worms. The vet has treated her, but she is still recovering from her ordeal and would love to do so with a rescue or foster. She is very sweet and as you can see from her bow in this picture, really wants to play despite everything she’s been though. Lilly is available for adoption or foster from DeKalb County Animal Shelter in Decatur, GA. A shelter is a very unhealthy place for a puppy.

To rescue: rescue@dekalbanimalservices.com

To foster: volunteer@dekalbanimalservices.com


Hunter (above and below) is a sweet, young Lab/Pointer mix who is in urgent need; if he is not saved by 4 PM today, he will be euthanized tomorrow morning. Hunter needs your help and is available for adoption from Barrow County Animal Shelter.

Barrow County Animal Control Shelter
616 Barrow Park Drive Winder, GA 30680
Department Contacts:
(770) 307-3012 Phone (they will not return long distance calls)
(770) 867-1660 Fax
Email Kimberly Perez – [email protected]

Four Urgents Gwinnett

The four dogs above are urgently in need of a savior by noon today or they will be euthanized – to save one of them, please be at the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter no later than 11 AM, when they open. Adoption cost is $30 and includes spay/neuter, microchipping, and shots. You may 770-339-3200 OPTION 4 OR email: [email protected]. You can also save one of them if you adopt another large dog before noon today, as that will free a kennel space.

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

John Wesley, founder of Methodism, was born on June 17, 1703 in Epworth, England. As it happens, yesterday, I photographed a 1951 Plymouth and 1950 Dodge Coronet that were parked next to Epworth United Methodist Church in Atlanta. I’ve started a new website to document cars photographed on the street (as opposed to at car shows). If you’re into cars, I hope you’ll check it out.

On June 17, 1759, Sir Francis Drake claimed California for England.

On June 17, 1775, British forces under General William Howe engaged American colonists at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

On June 17, some 2,200 British forces under the command of Major General William Howe (1729-1814) and Brigadier General Robert Pigot (1720-96) landed on the Charlestown Peninsula then marched to Breed’s Hill. As the British advanced in columns against the Americans, Prescott, in an effort to conserve the Americans’ limited supply of ammunition, reportedly told his men, “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!” When the Redcoats were within several dozen yards, the Americans let loose with a lethal barrage of musket fire, throwing the British into retreat.

After re-forming their lines, the British attacked again, with much the same result. Prescott’s men were now low on ammunition, though, and when the Redcoats went up the hill for a third time, they reached the redoubts and engaged the Americans in hand-to-hand combat. The outnumbered Americans were forced to retreat. However, by the end of the engagement, the Patriots’ gunfire had cut down some 1,000 enemy troops, with more than 200 killed and more than 800 wounded. More than 100 Americans perished, while more than 300 others were wounded.

President Andrew Johnson appointed John Johnson (no relation) provisional Governor of Georgia after the Civil War on June 17, 1865; John Johnson had opposed secession.

France announced its intention to surrender to Germany on June 17, 1940.

Five men were arrested for burglary of the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate office and apartment complex in Washington, DC on June 17, 1972.

The affair began with the arrest of five men for breaking and entering into the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate complex on June 17, 1972. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) connected cash found on the burglars to a slush fund used by the Committee for the Re-Election of the President, the official organization of Nixon’s campaign.

In July 1973, as evidence mounted against the president’s staff, including testimony provided by former staff members in an investigation conducted by the Senate Watergate Committee, it was revealed that President Nixon had a tape-recording system in his offices and he had recorded many conversations.

After a protracted series of bitter court battles, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the president had to hand over the tapes to government investigators; he ultimately complied.

Recordings from these tapes implicated the president, revealing he had attempted to cover up the questionable goings-on that had taken place after the break-in.

Facing near-certain impeachment in the House of Representatives and equally certain conviction by the Senate, Nixon resigned the presidency on August 9, 1974. His successor, Gerald Ford, then issued a pardon to him on September 8, 1974.

Newton Leroy Gingrich was born on June 17, 1943 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Gingrich graduated from college at Emory University, where he founded the Emory College Republicans. Gingrich’s congressional papers are collected in the the Georgia’s Political Heritage Program at West Georgia College, where he taught before being elected to Congress. Also at West Georgia are the papers of former Congressmen Bob Barr, Mac Collins, and Pat Swindall, along with a near-perfect replica of Georgia Speaker Tom Murphy’s office.


Shafer Amendment

Walter Jones of Morris News has written about the “Shafer Amendment” on the November ballot, which would permanently cap the state income tax rate at its current level.

The campaign to win voter support for capping the state income tax has begun with the endorsement of 17 economists last week.

Voters will decide on their general election ballot whether to prohibit the legislature from ever raising the tax rate beyond the current 6 percent. Grassroots support for the limit has been slowly building since the General Assembly passed the amendment with a two-thirds majority of the House and Senate.

Generally, economists see lowering expenses for businesses and individuals as freeing up money for investment and job creation. They also agree with the amendment’s sponsor, Senate President Pro Tempore David Shafer, R-Duluth, who prefers eventually shifting more of the tax burden to sales taxes.

He notes that even though the rate has remained the same for decades, the overall state budget has grown faster than the inflation rate and population, meaning the amendment won’t crimp government services. Other taxes and fees can still be hiked.

“If you’re attracting new business and see existing businesses expand, that in itself will give you new revenue,” Shafer said.

So why ask voters to limit the rate if it hasn’t changed in years?

To provide certainty to businesses, for one thing. All neighboring states have lower tax rates, but none of them have a constitutional maximum.

Asked if the amendment might boost the turnout of conservative voters, Shafer said his sole motive was to cap the income tax rate.

In the legislature, once the Senate had given it a super-majority, House Democrats took a unified stand against it. When the House passed a modified version anyway, Senate Democrats showed less enthusiasm for it.

For instance, Sen. Jason Carter of Atlanta, the Democratic nominee for governor, voted for the amendment the first time around but somehow missed the second vote.

Shafer said Friday he’s backing the formation of a committee to raise funds and campaign for the amendment.

In the meantime, Republican groups have begun to offer their own endorsements while DuBose Porter, chairman of the Democratic Party of Georgia, offered his condemnation.

This weekend, the Coweta County Republican Party went on the record supporting passage of the Tax Cap Amendment.

Coweta County Tax Cap Amendment Resolution

Eugene Sanchell wins national weightlifting title | savannahnow.com

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Eugene Sanchell won his first national title in the 13 and Under/50kg Division at the 2014 Youth National Weightlifting Championships.

A member of Coastal Empire Weightlifting, Sanchell lifting 50kg in the snatch and 65 in the clean and jerk for 115 total.

via Eugene Sanchell wins national weightlifting title | savannahnow.com.

Are Republicans Serious about Courting Blacks? | BlackPressUSA

The biggest complaints I get from Black journalists when it comes to Republican officeholders and Party leaders is that they can’t get their calls returned. I used to think this was because of the reporters’ race or that some represented small, Black media outlets.

Over the years, I have spent many hours reflecting on this dilemma and have concluded two things. First, the problem has nothing to do with race or racism; it has more to do with the lack of relationships with Black journalists. People return calls of people they know or have a relationship with first; then and only then will they return calls of those they don’t know.

Second, there is no bridge between Republican members of Congress and other party leaders to the Black media. Over the years, I have tried to bridge that gap, so to speak, but with limited success.

Continuing on that path, I organized a meeting two weeks ago between Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the vice presidential running mate with Mitt Romney, and five Black journalists whose politics ranged from conservative to liberal.

One thing I like about Congressman Ryan is that he will listen to reasoned arguments, even if he disagrees. And my experience has been that when you make a persuasive argument that requires a change in his thinking, he is not hesitant to make the necessary change. I wish more Republicans were equally as open.

To his credit, he undertook a listening tour in underserved communities with Bob Woodson, a Black Republican and founder the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise. Ryan discovered what Bob and I had learned years ago – major civil rights organizations do not reflect the thinking of all Blacks. But that’s something he had to hear for himself. And it didn’t hurt that he went into the Black community with someone who had longstanding relationships and credibility. Ryan found that he had more in common with people he met on his tour than he had thought.

To other Republicans on the Hill in leadership, Paul Ryan has given you a blueprint for engagement with the Black community and Black media. The question is: Are you going to continue ignoring the Black community and the Black media? Or, will you surround yourself with staffers, as Congressman Ryan has done, who are willing to take a fresh approach in courting Black voters?

The modern Republican Party has tried other approaches and they haven’t worked. With Whites becoming a minority in less than 50 years, do we still want to be seen as exclusively the party of old, bitter, White men stuck in the 1930s? That’s a recipe for certain defeat.

via Are Republicans Serious about Courting Blacks? | BlackPressUSA.

Poll: Bill Clinton Most Admired President of Past 25 Years – Washington Wire – WSJ

Bill Clinton is by far the most admired president of the past quarter century, a new poll shows, underscoring how much he has done to burnish his profile since leaving the White House in 2000.

Asked which president of the past 25 years they admired most, some 42% of respondents named Mr. Clinton in the new Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Annenberg Survey. That was more than twice the share that named any other president.

The other three presidents of the quarter century all polled about the same: 18% said they most admired President Barack Obama; 17% named George W. Bush; and 16% named his father, George H. W. Bush.

The survey is one in a series of polls done by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News in collaboration with the Annenberg Public Policy Center, a research center at the University of Pennsylvania.

via Poll: Bill Clinton Most Admired President of Past 25 Years – Washington Wire – WSJ.

Nathan Deal to state school boards: Governance matters | Get Schooled | www.ajc.com

Both candidates for Georgia governor, Republican Gov. Nathan Deal and Democratic state Sen. Jason Carter, were scheduled to speak to the Georgia School Boards Association at its Savannah conference this weekend. Carter delivered his remarks Friday, and I am waiting for a transcript to share here.

Weather prevented Deal from getting there, but here is the speech he would have given:

By Nathan Deal

Doubtless many of you enjoy your jobs and see a sense of purpose in them, as I do with mine. And much like my own, you get your greatest publicity in your communities when something is perceived as having gone wrong. In those moments, you have concerned parents and invasive news outlets on your doorsteps wanting to know every detail.

Unfortunately, the past several years were difficult on all of us, and our local school boards were not exempt. During the Great Recession, state revenues dropped 19 percent, leaving each of us with fewer dollars to distribute. Yet despite difficulties, we have continued to spend around half of our state budget on education each year. To this purpose, we picked the low-hanging fruit early, increased efficiencies, consolidated agencies and made difficult cuts, all while doing our absolute best to hold the line on K-12 education spending.

But there’s good news. Forty-four out of the past 47 months have experienced year-over-year revenue growth, which over time has allowed us to devote more funds to the essential functions of state government, with education foremost among them. In fact, this trend let us increase K-12 funding this year by over half a billion dollars—the largest such increase in seven years!

When we announced the additional funding, we noted that it should as much as possible be used on eliminating furlough days, restoring instructional days and increasing teacher salaries. Well, I have a document that tells me exactly what each district has done with their allotments, and I want to commend the many here who have used this opportunity to get students and teachers back into the classroom where they belong, earning a salary that they deserve.

I hope that you have had parents and media knocking on your doors thanking you for that!

Now, as we see revenue coming back, I want to encourage you to resist falling back into old patterns and to be willing to embrace the innovations that will carry Georgia classrooms into the 21st century.

In partnership with the Georgia Department of Education, the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement and the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, we have allotted up to $39 million in grant money for our “Connections for Classrooms” initiative. We hope through this process to make high speed internet and digital learning available to every public school classroom in the state. Faster internet will require appropriate infrastructure to receive, and I encourage all of you to apply by the August deadline. With the capabilities of today’s technology, certainly we must bring our students up to speed!

via Nathan Deal to state school boards: Governance matters | Get Schooled | www.ajc.com.

Obama’s day: Taking a Tumblr | wstp.com

President Obama, having held Twitter town halls in the past, hits social media again Tuesday by appearing on Tumblr to talk about student loans.

During the afternoon session hosted by Tumblr Founder and CEO David Karp, Obama is answering questions from social media users “on the importance of education, college affordability, and reducing student loan debt,” says the White House schedule.

via Obama’s day: Taking a Tumblr.

Gas prices drop slightly in metro Savannah | savannahnow.com

Average retail gasoline prices in Savannah have fallen 2.5 cents a gallon in the past week to $3.54 a gallon on Sunday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 262 gas outlets in Savannah. The national average has increased 1.8 cents a gallon in the last week to $3.65, according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com.

Prices Sunday were 12.7 cents a gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 6.6 cents a gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has increased 2.6 cents a gallon during the last month and stands 3.7 cents higher than a year ago.

via Gas prices drop slightly in metro Savannah | savannahnow.com.

Veterans give Savannah clinic mixed reviews | savannahnow.com

Whitemarsh Island resident James Livingston is perplexed.

A proud combat veteran, he served his country as a gunner aboard a B-24 Liberator bomber during World War II.

Today, the 91-year-old is disillusioned and more than a little befuddled at how the greatest country in the world has allowed its veterans’ health care system to fall into such chaos.

“I never thought I’d live to see something like this mess,” he said.

“It’s very disappointing.”

Some four years ago, Livingston went to the VA Clinic in Savannah with stomach pain.

“The doctor there thought it might be my gall bladder, so they did some tests and sent the results to the hospital in Charleston,” he said. “It took a while, but the VA doctors in Charleston said they didn’t see anything.”

A few days later, Livingston said, he was on the operating table in Savannah where a civilian surgeon removed his gall bladder and treated the gangrene that had begun to set in.

“They just dropped the ball,” he said.

These days, Livingston goes to the VA Clinic in Savannah once a year to get a checkup and refills on his medications. If he’s sick, he spends his Social Security money to go to a doctor in Savannah.

via Veterans give Savannah clinic mixed reviews | savannahnow.com.