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.

http://youtu.be/91MZxexIydU

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

Yet another poll shows Kingston leading

A poll released by Human Events and Gravis Marketing shows Jack Kingston leading David Perdue in the runoff by 49-38.

“Kingston has a strong lead and it looks like it is his race to lose,” said Doug Kaplan, the president of Gravis Marketing, the Florida-based polling company that conducted the poll, which carries a 3 percent margin of error.

Kaplan said part of his confidence in the poll is that number of likely voters. “Seventy-nine percent of the respondents reported being very likely to vote, in addition to another 16 percent told us they are likely to vote.”

Derrick Dickey, the press secretary for the Perdue campaign, said he is confident the voters will choose the former CEO of Reebok.

“Georgians understand that you can’t trust the same politicians to fix the problems that they created,” he said. “On Election Day, we believe they will give a conservative outsider with the right experience a chance.”

Professor Charles S. Bullock III, the Richard B. Russell professor of political science at the University of Georgia, said he sees voters moving to Kingston after the initial primary vote.

“The 11-point Kingston advantage that your poll reports is right in line with 2 other recent surveys,” he said.

“Each of these surveys has Kingston right around 50 percent, meaning that he has doubled the support that he received on May 20. A reasonable interpretation is that supporters of candidates eliminated in the first round of voting are more likely to rally to Kingston than Perdue,” he said.

“Four months ago, Perdue was completely unknown,” he said. “He surged to the top of the crowded primary field with extensive TV advertising.”

Bullock said Perdue raised his name recognition, but one commercial backfired against him.

“His most heavily used ad showed his four leading opponents as crying babies,” he said.

“It was a tactical mistake to lump them together since that reduced the likelihood that supporters of the three candidates no longer in the hunt will turn to Perdue,” he said. “It was a rookie mistake – not thinking that if you make it into the runoff you will then hope to attract supporters of the eliminated candidates.”

“The outcome will be settled in metro Atlanta and Kingston did poorly there in May.  He needs to make inroads among those who backed Handel and Gingrich and those two have endorsed him,” he said.

Kingston also needs to energize his base, he said.

“He also needs to have strong turnout in the southern Georgia counties he has represented in his 22 years in Congress,” he said. “He ran exceptionally well there in May. Georgia’s Coastal Empire, as it likes to call itself, does not often have one of its own in the Senate so those voters have an added incentive to return to the polls in July.”

Why Georgia Matters

Julia Cannon with BusinessInsider.com has a follow-up piece that explains part of why Georgia is so important in the fight for control of the United States Senate.

Democrats are excited about Nunn’s chances, said Rashad Taylor, who served as a Democrat in Georgia’s House of Representatives from 2009 until last year and is founder of Five Eleven, LLC, an Atlanta-based public affairs, political consulting, and government relations firm.

“Michelle Nunn is in a great position to win. She has put together a top notch campaign operation,” Taylor said. “She is the type of person who has proven that she can raise the money to compete and who can attract the common sense voter from either party [...] who are just sick of gridlock in Washington.”

Taylor also pointed to Nunn’s father and other Georgia Democrats as evidence the state isn’t as conservative as it’s reputed to be.

However, perhaps the main reason Democrats see an opportunity to steal a Senate seat from the Republicans in Georgia is the brutal GOP primary underway in the state. No candidate received the required 50% of the vote necessary to lock down the Republican nomination in last month’s primary, which triggered a runoff between the top two finishers, Jack Kingston and David Perdue. The runoff is scheduled to take place July 22.

“The issue now is that people voting in midterm elections are voting not only for a candidate, but for a party to control the Senate. So Republicans are seeing a vote for Michelle Nunn as a vote for Harry Reid,” said Alan Abramowitz, a political scientist at Emory University in Atlanta who specializes in the political effects of demographic shifts.

Nunn has a secret weapon as she confronts these challenges. Operation “Bannock Street,” a Democratic Party plan to apply algorithmic technology to identify political leanings of potential voters and ideal methods of convincing them to vote, has allocated a large portion of its resources to the race in Georgia. According to an article written last Tuesday by The Guardian, “The push involves the recruitment of 4,000 paid staff and will cost $60m, and is being orchestrated from Washington by Guy Cecil,” the executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

However, even with high-tech tools at her disposal in a state where the electorate seems to be growing less and less red, Nunn may be facing an uphill battle. Abramowitz argued the “odds are against” Nunn because the demographic changes occurring in Georgia are happening slower than Democrats might like.

“We know, based on what the Census tells us, that the demographic makeup is changing in Georgia. Politically, this means that there is a gradually changing electorate [towards a more liberal balance,] but it is lagging a few years behind the general voting population,” Abramowitz said.

MDJ:Candidate in CD-11 weak on women’s issues

An editorial in the Marietta Daily Journal suggests that this Saturday’s debate between Bob Barr and Barry Loudermilk in the 11th Congressional District runoff indicates that Republicans may have an issue… with womens’ issues.

There’s not much difference between the two runoff candidates, issue-wise. But they both proved less than fully fluent when given the chance to talk about “women’s issues.” As a couple of Republican U.S. Senate candidates proved two years ago, it’s a potential minefield.
Evans asked the two to “talk to us about the issues that are important to women, who are at least 50 percent of the voters. What is the message you have for them?”
Loudermilk began by noting that his wife and daughters say that “if there’s a ‘war on women,’ it’s coming from the left, not the right.” But he went on to say that he doesn’t “segregate the issues because we hear the same things over and over again from men and women.” He then listed the top such issues as Obamacare, overspending and overregulation.
Barr began his answer by referencing recently released Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and the six soldiers killed while trying to recover the apparent deserter and talked about how the mothers of those six must have felt. He then went on to talk about how Obama’s policies are “destroying our future.”

Dissatisfied with the answers, Evans tried again with a follow-up question. He said that well-known pollster Frank Luntz has noted that when asked, 70 percent of men judge the success of their lives by how their career went. On the other hand, 70 percent of women answer the question by saying they judge the success of their own lives by those of their children. That is, are their children able to find jobs, have good homes and find someone to love?
“So what, specifically, would you do to jump start the economy and help people find jobs and otherwise help those women understand that their children will have better lives than we did?” Evans asked.

As one politico was overheard telling Evans after the event was over, “I think your questions were better than their answers.”

Fluency in “women’s issues” may not be that important in winning a Republican Primary, but women who are unaffiliated with either party will certainly be at the center of the General Election races for United States Senate and Governor.

This presents a conundrum for Republicans: many think that a female candidate would be a better messenger on women’s issues, but we don’t often see women emerge from a GOP Primary at the statewide or local level. Maybe some communications coaching is in order?

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 16, 2014

The Magna Carta was sealed by King John on June 15, 1215.

The charter consisted of a preamble and 63 clauses and dealt mainly with feudal concerns that had little impact outside 13th century England. However, the document was remarkable in that it implied there were laws the king was bound to observe, thus precluding any future claim to absolutism by the English monarch. Of greatest interest to later generations was clause 39, which stated that “no free man shall be arrested or imprisoned or disseised [dispossessed] or outlawed or exiled or in any way victimised…except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.” This clause has been celebrated as an early guarantee of trial by jury and of habeas corpus and inspired England’s Petition of Right (1628) and the Habeas Corpus Act (1679).

On June 14, 1736, James Oglethorpe ordered plans to be drawn for a new city to be called Augusta.

George Washington accepted the assignment of leading the Continental Army on June 15, 1775.

The Oregon Treaty was signed on June 15, 1815 between England and the United States, establishing the border between the U.S. and Canada.

On June 16, 1858, Abraham Lincoln addressed the Illiniois Republican Convention as a candidate for U.S. Senate and warned that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”

The Atlanta Constitution was first published on June 16, 1868.

Campaigns and Elections

Former President George H.W. Bush has had an eventful week. Last week, he signed a letter raising funds to elects a Republican to the United States Senate from Georgia.

Mr. Bush’s letter, sent out on behalf of the Senate Battleground Fund, a joint fundraising committee of the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is significant because Ms. Nunn has worked for seven years as chief executive of the Points of Light Foundation Inc., a charity promoting volunteerism that was founded by Mr. Bush. Ms. Nunn, who is on leave from the charity while running for the senate, has used photographs of her together with the 41st president in her commercials and has mentioned him repeatedly while campaigning.

Mr. Bush, who just turned 90 years old, endorsed neither Republican and never mentioned Ms. Nunn by name in his letter, simply referring to “the Democratic nominee.” But he writes that “nothing could be more important for America’s future” than the Republicans taking control of the U.S. Senate.

“I have been disappointed by the current Senate leadership,” he wrote. “To bring genuine, positive change to the Senate and to America, we must put Georgia in the GOP column come Election Night 2014.”

On Thursday former President George H.W. Bush jumped out of a perfectly functional helicopter with a parachute to celebrate his 90th birthday. The same day in College Station, Texas, the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum held a “crazy socks” party to celebrate the milestone. I was in Savannah on Saturday and was pleased to see several Young Republicans at their State Convention honoring the 41st President by wearing crazy socks.

Former President George H.W. Bush can no longer walk because of complications from Parkinson’s disease, but that didn’t stop him from taking to the air for a tandem skydiving jump on the morning of his 90th birthday today in Maine, just before 11 a.m.
Outfitted in a red, white and blue parachute, Bush fulfilled a promise he made on his 85th birthday in 2009, when he made his last jump.

In all, Bush has made eight skydiving jumps, including jumps on his 75th and 80th birthdays.

The supercarrier George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) has been ordered into the Persian Gulf in light of the recent turmoil in Iraq.

If you enjoy trivia lists, the Houston Chronicle has you covered with 11 facts about President Bush (41).

While we’re on the subject of veterans and the military, the Georgia Republican Party Veterans Committee and GAGOP Second Vice Chair Ron Johnson presented SFC Carl Morgan with a sports wheelchair.

Ron Johnson GAGOP Veterans

11th Congressional District Debate

Bob Barr and Barry Loudermilk took to the stage at Kennesaw State University Saturday night in a Primary Runoff debate in the 11th Congressional District. From the AJC:

A former congressman, Barr said he would support a U.S. military strike on the Sunni extremist militants who have captured large portions of northern Iraq and are advancing toward Baghdad.

“I would advise [President Obama] to use the air strike capacity that we have — both man and drone capability — in this situation,” Barr told the audience at Kennesaw State University.

“The targets are clear. There is very little danger — with these folks marching down the highway — of collateral damage as they say — killing innocent civilians. [The militants] provide a perfect target. We have the weapons to do it for surgical airstrikes and drone strikes.”

Loudermilk, a former state lawmaker, expressed caution.

“If there is a clear and present danger that Iraq poses, we must intervene on behalf of the safety and security of the United States,” he said, noting his son serves in the U.S. military and could be deployed. “But if it does not, then we should not be engaged. I can’t answer that question right now.”

Loudermilk also bemoaned the state of Afghanistan.

“We should have learned our lesson from the Soviets,” he said. “That is a war that I think we are not going to win. We never had a clear objective… I do think without a clear objective, it is time to pull our troops back out of Afghanistan. There are much more hostile enemies we are facing today.”

Barr and Loudermilk also said they support inquiring into whether Obama should be impeached, though Loudermilk predicted nothing would come of it with Democrats controlling the Senate.

“The problem is if [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid is still in control of the Senate, it will be a wasted exercise,” Loudermilk said. “The threats to this nation are real and we have to prioritize what we are going to do. Yes, we should proceed with impeachment hearings. But we have to look down the road. Are we going to waste our time when the Senate is just going to kick it back?”

Moments later, Barr responded: “Despite Barry worrying about whether the Senate would go along with an inquiry of impeachment, the time has come to try to do everything we can to hold this president and his administration accountable…”

The Marietta Daily Journal contributed Editorial Page Editor and columnist Joe Kirby as a moderator and also provided coverage of the debate.

Kirby’s first question mentioned the stunning loss by U.S. Rep Eric Cantor (R-Va.) earlier in the week to professor Dave Brat. He asked if the shake-up in the U.S. House of Representatives meant a freshman or a veteran was better prepared to lead in the future.

Loudermilk began by alluding to Barr’s years in Congress from 1995 to 2003.

“My worthy opponent doesn’t hesitate to let everyone know that he’s been to Congress and I haven’t. And that’s true. I’m not a Washington insider,” Loudermilk said. “There is an adage in the House of Representatives — and in the State Senate — that if you want to get anything done, give it to a freshman.”

Loudermilk continued by saying freshmen in Congress have not been taught what they can’t do and haven’t been “corrupted by the system.”

Barr responded in kind.

“I’ve been called a lot of things, but I’ve never been called a Washington insider,” said the 2008 Libertarian Party presidential candidate. “Maybe I misheard what Barry just said. If you face a very serious problem in Washington, one that goes to the heart of our nation’s defense, which involves a very complex process … that the adage in Washington is ‘Give it to somebody that doesn’t have any idea what they’re doing and has just gotten here,’ that’s a new one on me. I hate to tell y’all, but that ain’t going to work.”

Barr said the Obama administration “hides” unwanted cuts deep in legislation and it takes experience to know where to look. He said as an eight-year veteran of Congress he is running on his track record.

 

[Moderator and Georgia's Republican National Committeeman Randy] Evans asked the candidates what they thought the single biggest issue facing the 11th District is.

Barr answered, saying the biggest issue is saving Lockheed-Martin’s Marietta plant and preventing the closure of Dobbins Air Reserve Base through the base realignment and closure program. He said his experience is crucial toward doing so.

“We cannot afford a rookie in that seat in the next two years,” Barr said.

Loudermilk agreed about Lockheed’s importance, touting his experience in the Air Force and in the Georgia General Assembly.

“Lockheed is of extreme importance,” Loudermilk said. “We must keep Dobbins operating and open.”

Speaking of Lockheed and Dobbins, Cobb County Businesswoman Kim Gresh mentioned their imporantance in her endorsement of Barr.

BARR’S CAMPAIGN got a welcome surge of good news late this week with the announcement by Kim Gresh that she is endorsing Barr. Gresh served as campaign chair for 11th District congressional hopeful Tricia Pridemore, who narrowly missed the runoff.

“As a small business owner and a taxpayer, I know Cobb County and our district need Bob Barr,” said Gresh, who was chosen as the 2012 Cobb County Citizen of the Year by the MDJ and is widely known for her civic activism. “Bob has the skills, proven experience and the seniority to get to work immediately to reduce the burden on local job creators so they can create more jobs for taxpayers here in our community.”

“The single largest employer in our district is Lockheed — and only Bob Barr has a proven track record of not only protecting but expanding Lockheed jobs,” she added. “More than this, there are hundreds, if not thousands of businesses that exist only because the presence of Lockheed and Dobbins. Marietta and Cobb County need Bob Barr protecting our Lockheed jobs.”

 

FORMER Marietta Mayor Bill Dunaway and veteran Councilman Philip Goldstein rarely agreed on much during Dunaway’s tenure, but they both now agree Barr is the best candidate for the 11th. Dunaway endorsed Barr early this month and Goldstein did so this week, saying, “The seniority Bob will retain is extremely valuable to Marietta and Cobb County. When a local government or small business runs into federal bureaucrats who want to red-tape us to death, Marietta knows, because he has proven it to us, that he will get to work for Marietta and achieve results.”

Current Mayor Steve Tumlin endorsed Loudermilk earlier this month.

[Disclaimer: I've done some paid work for the Barr campaign.]

More Cantor and Georgia

Jody Hice has jumped on Eric Cantor’s defeat in his race for Tenth Congressional District against Mike Collins.

“The outcome was like an earthquake, sending shockwaves through the political establishment,” Hice said. “Why did it happen? What does it have to do with the Republican primary here in Georgia’s 10th congressional district? Cantor lost because he was on the wrong side of two key issues: the debt ceiling and illegal immigration. Cantor had repeatedly voted to raise the national debt ceiling. Cantor was perceived as waffling on the issue of amnesty for illegal aliens.”

In the release, Hice said his competitor Collins supports raising the debt ceiling, while he is against it. He also compares himself to David Brat, who defeated Cantor, in his strong position against amnesty.

“By voting for me, Georgia voters will send a true conservative to Congress and send a message to the Washington political establishment: Quit wasting money. Quit piling up debt. No amnesty for illegal aliens. No more business as usual in Washington,” Hice said.

Tom Price out of leadership race

Congressman Tom Price has declared himself out of the hunt for a leadership position in the wake of Cantor’s loss.

“The encouragement I’ve received from colleagues over these past couple of days has been humbling,” he said. “My position has always been that I’m ready to serve in whatever capacity might best help unify our team, promote our conservative principles and, above all, pursue positive solutions on behalf of our constituents. To that end, at this time, my focus is on the opportunity to serve as the next chairman of the House Budget Committee.”

Don’t take this job if it’s offered to you

The Cherokee County Board of Education will appoint a new member to fill the seat vacated by former member Kelly Marlow.

School district spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby said the board will select the interim member by a majority vote Thursday, and the new board member will be sworn in before the start of the July 23 meeting.

“That person will serve from when he or she is sworn in until the person who wins the November special election is sworn in,” Jacoby said.

Former District 1 board member Kelly Marlow Trim resigned her seat in April after her felony conviction, leaving a vacancy on the board for nearly two months.

Since more than half of the convicted school board member’s four-year term remained when she resigned, local law required the district hold a special election to fill the vacancy.
The special election will be held at the same time as the general election Nov. 4, and the board will appoint an interim board member to hold the position until the elected member can be sworn in.

Three people applied to the district by the June 5 deadline to be considered for the interim position, including: Kyla Cromer, James “Jim” Nicholson and William “Bill” Wuth.

 

Cromer, who ran against Marlow in the 2012 election — and lost by 24 votes — said in May she planned to apply for the interim position and to run in the special election.

Best political line of the weekend award

Second District Georgia Republican Party Chair Joseph Brannan wins the award for “best political line of the weekend” in his interview with the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.

You are active in the state Republican Party, Have you always been interested in politics?

Yes, even though my family was never as directly involved in the party as I am now, my parents and grandparents took an interest in politics. They were active in the process, they consistently voted and were informed on the candidates. They made sure I followed along, too — some of my earliest memories include President Reagan in one way or another. One time, my grandmother checked me out of school to see Phil Gramm give his presidential campaign announcement in front of Wynnton School — the atmosphere was exciting and that sealed my interest.

Are you content with being a political operative or do you ever see a point where you seek elected office?

I joke with my friends and co-workers that “the only thing I’m running is radio stations.” It’s the perfect politician’s non-answer of course, but I do enjoy serving in the background on the party side. I have great respect for our elected officials, both Republican and Democratic, because they do put themselves out there to be judged by citizens and the media for every decision they make. I don’t know that I have thick enough skin or the capacity to do what they do. Being involved in the party is a great middle ground for a political junkie like me.

 

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 13, 2014

A “Liberty Tree” was planted in Savannah on June 13, 1775 to symbolize support for independence. The first liberty tree was an elm in Boston that became a meeting spot for patriots, but Savannah’s was actually a Liberty Pole. In 2006, a seedling grown from the last of the original Liberty Trees on the campus of St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland was planted in Dalton, Georgia. This year, the Dalton Liberty Tree BBQ and Music Festival is held on October 25th.

The Marquis de Lafayette arrived in South Carolina to assist General George Washington on June 13, 1775.

On June 13, 1966, the United States Supreme Court released its decision in Miranda v. Arizona. In Miranda, the Court held that a confession obtained by police without informing the suspect of his rights against self-incrimination (Fifth Amendment) and to the service of a lawyer (Sixth Amendment) was inadmissible.

Thurgood Marshall was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Lyndon B. Johnson on June 13, 1967.

As the NAACP’s chief counsel from 1938 to 1961, he argued 32 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, successfully challenging racial segregation, most notably in public education. He won 29 of these cases, including a groundbreaking victory in 1954′s Brown v. Board of Education, in which the Supreme Court ruled that segregation violated the 14th Amendment to the Constitution and was thus illegal. The decision served as a great impetus for the African American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s and ultimately led to the abolishment of segregation in all public facilities and accommodations.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed Marshall to the U.S. Court of Appeals, but his nomination was opposed by many Southern senators, and he was not confirmed until the next year. In June 1967, President Johnson nominated him to the Supreme Court, and in late August he was confirmed. During his 24 years on the high court, Associate Justice Marshall consistently challenged discrimination based on race or sex, opposed the death penalty, and supported the rights of criminal defendants. He also defended affirmative action and women’s right to abortion. As appointments by a largely Republican White House changed the politics of the Court, Marshall found his liberal opinions increasingly in the minority. He retired in 1991, and two years later passed away.

The New York Times began publishing excerpts from the “Pentagon Papers” on June 13, 1971.

After failing to persuade the Times to voluntarily cease publication on June 14, Attorney General John N. Mitchell and Nixon obtained a federal court injunction forcing the Times to cease publication after three articles.Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger said:

Newspapers, as our editorial said this morning, we’re really a part of history that should have been made available, considerably longer ago. I just didn’t feel there was any breach of national security, in the sense that we were giving secrets to the enemy.[23]

The newspaper appealed the injunction, and the case New York Times Co. v. United States (403 U.S. 713) quickly rose through the U.S. legal system to the Supreme Court.

On June 18, 1971, The Washington Post began publishing its own series of articles based upon the Pentagon Papers;[8] Ellsberg gave portions to editor Ben Bradlee. That day, Assistant U.S. Attorney General William Rehnquist asked the Post to cease publication. After the paper refused, Rehnquist sought an injunction in U.S. district court. Judge Murray Gurfein declined to issue such an injunction, writing that “[t]he security of the Nation is not at the ramparts alone. Security also lies in the value of our free institutions. A cantankerous press, an obstinate press, a ubiquitous press must be suffered by those in authority in order to preserve the even greater values of freedom of expression and the right of the people to know.” The government appealed that decision, and on June 26 the Supreme Court agreed to hear it jointly with the New York Times case.Fifteen other newspapers received copies of the study and began publishing it.

On June 30, 1971, the Supreme Court decided, 6–3, that the government failed to meet the heavy burden of proof required for prior restraint injunction. The nine justices wrote nine opinions disagreeing on significant, substantive matters.

Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell.

—Justice Black

Pole Position

After earning the first and second slots at Le Mans in early qualifying, Porsche lost the top spot to Toyota, and holds the 2d and 4th positions in the starting grid. Porsche also took the third starting slot in both GTE-Pro and GTE-Am with the 911 RSR.

P14_0408_a4_rgb P14_0409_a4_rgb

A special edition 911 will be available with the historic Martini livery, under which Porsche has won Le Mans.

The Martini Racing Edition 911s will come in black or white, and will be powered by a 400-horsepower 3.8-liter flat 6 that can produce a 4.1-second zero-to-62-mile-per-hour time.

Poll Position

A poll by SurveyUSA for 11Alive showed Jack Kingston with an 11-point lead over David Perdue in the Republican Primary Runoff Election for United States Senate.

The SurveyUSA poll of 419 likely GOP runoff voters has Kingston with 52 percent of the vote. Perdue has 41 percent. 7 percent are undecided. The poll was conducted by phone June 3-5. The poll has a margin of error of 3.2 percent.

The same poll shows Republican Gov. Nathan Deal leading Democratic Sen. Jason Carter 44-38 percent. Libertarian Andrew Hunt got 7 percent. 11 percent of respondents said they were undecided.

The poll shows either Republican, Perdue or Kingston, would beat Democrat Michelle Nunn in November. Kingston would win 43-37; Perdue would win 43-38.

An automated poll by Magellan Strategies for the National Mining Association shows a generic matchup in which “the Republican nominee” takes 47% against Michelle Nunn, the Democrat, with 44%. The NMA poll also showed 53% of Georgia voters are likely to oppose a candidate who supports the Obama Administration’s new carbon emission regulations. Note that the survey included several questions criticizing the carbon emission regs before asking that question.

Yesterday, InsiderAdvantage (for whom I work part-time on their website) released a poll showing Kingston with an 11-point lead over Perdue headed toward a runoff that’s still weeks away.

InsiderAdvantage/Fox5 Political Analyst Matt Towery says: “Kingston has a comfortable lead at present but it has the potential to become a precarious lead. Key demographic groups such as female voters and voters age 65 and over are much more evenly split. Also, contrary to some earlier surveys, our poll suggests that there is a larger undecided vote.

“We conducted this survey before and after the defeat of Rep. Eric Cantor in Virginia– and the undecided vote started to increase after Cantor suffered his loss. Whether the Cantor loss will somehow impact the Georgia race remains to be seen. The July 22 primary race has many more weeks to go, so the numbers could change substantially as we get closer to the actual vote.”

Walter Jones of Morris News, writes about the InsiderAdvantage poll in the Savannah Morning News:

The poll represents a big swing in support since the primary when Perdue’s total was about 4 percentage points more than Kingston’s. Perdue, the former CEO of Dollar General and Reebok, benefited then from an expensive television ad campaign with crying babies that was so effective that even his opponents copied it. A new volley of ads from him could swing the support back in his favor.

The poll shows 19 percent of the likely runoff voters questioned still haven’t made up their minds.

After being weighted for age, race and gender to reflect the turnout in past runoffs, the poll shows Kingston with 46 percent and Perdue with 35, given a 4.9 percent margin of error.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 12, 2014

The first Georgia-Florida war game weekend began on June 12, 1740, as Georgia founder James Oglethorpe led 400 soldiers landing opposite the Spanish fort at St. Augustine.

The Virginia Convention adopted George Mason’s “Declaration of Rights” on June 12, 1776. From Wikipedia:

The Declaration was adopted unanimously by the Fifth Virginia Convention at Williamsburg, Virginia on June 12, 1776 as a separate document from theConstitution of Virginia which was later adopted on June 29, 1776.[2] In 1830, the Declaration of Rights was incorporated within the Virginia State Constitution as Article I, but even before that Virginia’s Declaration of Rights stated that it was ‘”the basis and foundation of government” in Virginia.[3] A slightly updated version may still be seen in Virginia’s Constitution, making it legally in effect to this day.

It was initially drafted by George Mason circa May 20, 1776; James Madison assisted him with the section on religious freedom.

The Virginia Declaration of Rights heavily influenced later documents. Thomas Jefferson is thought to have drawn on it when he drafted the United States Declaration of Independence in the same month (June 1776). James Madison was also influenced by the Declaration while drafting the Bill of Rights (introduced September 1789, ratified 1791), as was the Marquis de Lafayette in voting the French Revolution‘s Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789).

The importance of the Virginia Declaration of Rights is that it was the first constitutional protection of individual rights, rather than protecting only members of Parliament or consisting of simple laws that can be changed as easily as passed.

That means Liberty, y’all.

Delta Airlines began passenger service from Monroe, Louisiana to Atlanta on June 12, 1930.

On June 12, 1961, Ben E. King hit #1 on the R&B chart and #4 on the pop chart with “Standy By Me.”

On June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan spoke in then-divided Berlin and challenged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”

[If that excerpt is not enough for you, here's a link to the entire speech.]

Kennesaw State College became Kennesaw State University on June 12, 1996.

Carol Hunstein, appointed by Governor Zell Miller to the Georgia Supreme Court, was elected Chief Justice by her peers on June 12, 2009.

Happy Birthday to former President George H.W. Bush, who turns 90 today.

#TBT to 1995

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Today, Jack Kingston is locked in a Runoff for the Senate seat currently held by then-Rep. Saxby Chambliss. John Linder has retired to Mississippi, though he made several endorsements in this year’s GOP Primaries. Newt Gingrich is on the new “Crossfire” after an unsuccessful run for President in 2012; Gingrich has endorsed Kingston for the Senate. Bob Barr is making a comeback bid in the 11th District. Mac Collins is frequently seen on the campaign trail supporting his son Mike Collins, in the Primary Runoff for CD-10. Paul Coverdell and Charlie Norwood passed away.

More on the Cantor loss and Georgia

InsiderAdvantage CEO (and sometimes my boss) Matt Towery writes for Creators Syndicate that the real culprits in Eric Cantor’s Primary loss were the out-of-touch consultants, pollsters, and political staffers who led his campaign and his Congressional office.

The Washington D.C. political class of arrogant aides, out-of-touch consultants and dim-witted pollsters has been slowly destroying the Republican Party in America for years. This cottage industry of self-important slicksters is finally being stripped bare and left without its blue smoke and mirrors. And inside their small echo chamber, where the slicksters talk only to one another and believe citizens in “the rest of the country” are easily understood — and easily fooled — the money and the high-five compliments are endless.

Maybe the embarrassing butt-kicking that Cantor received will trigger a second thought in the minds of those politicians who treat the words of their own advisors, consultants and pollsters as divine dispensation.

This collection of political “experts” and high-and-mighty staffers needs to consider the consequences of their gross underestimation of the mood of their constituents, and of the manner in which they have been trying to reach out to them.

The real problem was that Cantor and what is described by many as a very haughty staff (imagine that in D.C.) began to believe that they truly were “national.” You know, big deals that really did folks back home a favor by letting them be graced with the Majority Leader’s (occasional) presence in their district.

The truth be known, Cantor and his advisers were caught up in their obsession game of cat-and-mouse in whether or not to stage a coup to topple Speaker John Boehner. Alternatively, they wrestled with how to help preserve Boehner’s position, lest another member leapfrog over Cantor and become Speaker. As a result of all this, they really couldn’t be too bothered with the folks back home and some local college professor opponent.

Yes the “tea party” movement is not dead in the GOP. But even with half the national tea party leaders taking credit for an upset defeat in which they played no part whatsoever, the real message from Eric Cantor’s defeat can be found in how the candidate and his advisors lost touch with their voters.

Business Insider has a story questioning whether the Cantor loss provides a model for David Perdue in the Georgia Senate runoff.

One race where a similar dynamic could play out is Georgia’s hotly-contested U.S. Senate primary runoff between Republican Rep. Jack Kingston and businessman David Perdue.  Like [Dave] Brat, Perdue has run a campaign branding himself as an “outsider” and attempting to appeal to the conservative grassroots while running against an incumbent congressman.

Perdue is clearly eager to capture some of Brat’s mojo for himself. In an email to supporters Wednesday, he referenced Cantor’s shocking loss.

“As we saw last night in Virginia, our outsider message is powerful. The Majority Leader of the House of Representatives was defeated in the primary by a conservative outsider who won with the simple message that 14 years in Washington was enough,” said Perdue. “I believe the improbable victory was a clear rejection on the establishment and career politicians. The same anti-establishment sentiment is being felt all across the country, and on July 22nd we have an opportunity in Georgia to say 22 years in Washington is enough for my opponent Congressman Kingston.”

Tharon Johnson, a Democratic strategist who was National Southern Regional Director for the campaign of President Barack Obama in 2012, told Business Insider Wednesday Perdue could be the next Brat.

“Perdue is appealing to people who voted against Cantor, who are just tired of career politicians in Congress. If I’m Perdue, I look at the results last night, and I see that there’s hope there for me to emulate what happened in Cantor’s district here in Georgia, label Jack Kingston as the establishment candidate,” Johnson said.

My opinion differs:

Georgia-based Republican political consultant Todd Rehm disagrees. Rehm told Business Insider he sees little to no potential in Perdue’s future even after Cantor’s loss.

“One lesson from Cantor’s loss is that politicians who lose touch with the voters are more susceptible to attack. Perdue is running, I would argue, the most-detached campaign I’ve ever seen. It’s all TV with little actual voter contact,” Rehm said. “Contrast that with Kingston, who has quickly developed a reputation as being at all the party events, and whose CD-1 constituents thought highly enough of his time in office that they voted for him for Senate at a level of roughly 75%.”

Rehm also pointed out many voters in last month’s Republican primary voted for candidate’s who previously held elected office.

“Perdue’s ‘outsider’ schtick was obviously enough to get him into the runoff, but more than 66% of GOP Primary voters chose one of the ‘typical political insider’ candidates,” Rehm explained.

Maybe Lindsey Graham’s cruise to victory in the South Carolina Primary last night is a better model for the Peach State runoff. Graham, first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994 and elevated to the Senate in 2002 was targeted by Tea Party activists for being too moderate.

Back to Matt Towery’s column for a word on Lindsey Graham:

Graham never swallowed the story that he is bigger than the people who elect him. He has remained approachable to his constituents and has never come to believe that people from his state were simply “the masses” to somehow be placated on his road to power.

That sounds more like Jack Kingston’s approach to the voters than Perdue’s. Kingston has earned the reputation as an indefatigable campaigner, and some days, I’ve seen him at more local GOP events than I’ve seen Perdue at all year.

Kyle Wingfield on the Shafer Amendment

AJC conservative columnist Kyle Wingfield writes about the “Shafer Amendment,” which will prohibit the Georgia legislature from raising the top income tax rate.

A number of people, particularly those who want to see tax rates fall, have questioned whether the amendment is worthwhile or just a fig leaf for legislative inaction. I agree it would be better if we not only capped the rate constitutionally but lowered it. So did the economists, representing 10 of of our state’s colleges and universities in all, who signed Shafer’s statement.

But they also agreed that, in the meantime, the amendment “provides a large and important measure of long-run certainty in Georgia’s business environment.” Why?

“I think we know for sure that … increased risk assessment really holds down investment activity, especially when you’re going state to state,” says Christine Ries, professor of economics at Georgia Tech. “One of the risk assessment problems is political risk.

“Companies do this all the time, (judging) whether a particular political climate is inherent in a state or is going to change over time. Right now, Georgia is seen as a fiscally conservative state, and I don’t think most analysts are looking at it and saying Georgia might turn around and change tomorrow. … But anything that makes the public policy more reliable is going to lower the risk assessment and increase investment in the state or country.”

“Interestingly,” says Jeffrey Dorfman, professor of agricultural and applied economics at UGA, “I had done some research on how communities can attract jobs. And we found that sticking to your plans is pretty much the best thing you can do.

“It’s the credibility thing: If businesses feel like they can trust you, then they’re more likely to create jobs in your community. So this cap signals to businesses, we promise we’re not going to become New York or California or Illinois. We’re going to stay a good place to do business.”

Dodge County: where the voters, like the past, are never dead

William Faulkner wrote in Requiem for a Nun, that The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” I mentioned earlier this week that Dodge County might be the most-haunted county in Georgia, if the number of votes cast by dead people is any indication.

Five years ago, a number of Dodge County locals pled guilty to vote fraud that included zombie votes.

More than two dozen people including several county officials either were convicted or pleaded guilty to charges that included vote buying and that people voted under the names of the dead.

This is just the 2004 election,” said Greg Harvey, agent in charge of the GBI office in Eastman. “We’’re still investigating the 2008 election.”

Earlier this week, the State Elections Board heard allegations about 2008.

The Georgia State Election board wants state prosecutors to look at seven names in 2008 Dodge County voter fraud allegations, despite a plea deal that may have closed the case when it sent two of the people to prison.

State allegations vary among the seven people, including unlawful possession of ballots and vote buying in the 2008 general primary.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 11, 2014

On June 11, 1776, the Continental Congress appointed Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut and Robert R. Livingston of New York to draft a declaration of independence from Britain. Language in the original draft that condemned the introduction of the slave trade in the colonies did not make the final draft.

Abraham Baldwin, founder of the University of Georgia, arrived in Philadelphia on June 11, 1787 to attend the Constitutional Convention. Baldwin was joined by three other delegates, William Few Jr., William Houston, and William Pierce; Baldwin and Few would sign the Constitution on behalf of Georgia.

On June 11, 1963, President John F. Kennedy issued proclamation 3542 ordering Governor George Wallace of Alabama to allow two African-American students to register at the University of Alabama, as ordered by a federal court.

On the morning of June 11, the day the students were expected to register, Wallace stood in front of the University of Alabama campus auditorium flanked by Alabama state troopers while cameras flashed and recorders from the press corps whirred. Kennedy, at the White House, and Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, in Tuscaloosa, kept in touch by phone.

When Wallace refused to let the students enter for registration, Katzenbach phoned Kennedy. Kennedy upped the pressure on Wallace, immediately issuing Presidential Proclamation 3542, which ordered the governor to comply, and authorizing the secretary of defense to call up the Alabama National Guard with Executive Order 11111.

That afternoon, Katzenbach returned with the students and asked Wallace to step aside. Wallace, knowing he was beaten, relented, having saved face with his hard-line, anti-segregation constituency.

On June 11, 1986, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was released.

[T]he most memorable performer may have been an automobile: the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California, a custom-built car revered by auto collectors.

According to Motor Trend, the first Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California—colloquially known as the “Cal Spyder”—was produced in 1957 and the last was built in early 1963. In addition to the long-wheelbase (LWB) Spyder, Ferrari also produced a sportier, short-wheelbase (SWB) model. Though estimates vary as to exactly how many were made—Cameron says “less than a hundred” in the film—approximately 46 LWB and between 50 and 57 SWB Spyders were produced in all. For “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” the filmmakers used a modified MGB roadster with a fiberglass body as a stand-in for the Ferrari. The filmmakers reportedly received angry letters from car enthusiasts who believed that a real Ferrari had been damaged.

One 1961 250 GT SWB Spyder California, with chassis number GT 2377GT, belonged to the actor James Coburn (“The Magnificent Seven”), who died in 2002. On May 18, 2008, at the second annual Ferrari Leggenda e Passione event at Maranello, Italy, the British deejay Chris Evans bought that car at auction for 6.4 million Euros, or $10,894,400 (including fees), the highest price ever paid for an automobile at auction.

ferrari-california-t-side-view-red-960x540_IAFKIG

Today’s Ferrari California T is a convertible with a retractable hardtop that stickers for just under $200,000 before you start optioning it. But here’s a pro-tip: if you’re in the market, you’ll save a bundle with a pre-owned at Ferrari Maserati of Atlanta – almost any Ferrari you’ll see for sale is going to be low-mileage, and you’ll want it to visit a dealer before purchase as repair costs are a little pricy.

Eric Cantor loses: what it means for Georgia

Eric Cantor (R-VA) lost his reelection bid in a Republican Primary last night to Dave Brat, an obscure Economics Professor at Randolph-Macon College.

“This is one of the most stunning upsets in modern American political history,” said Larry Sabato, head of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “This is the base rebelling against the GOP leadership in Washington as represented by Eric Cantor.”

“I’m as stunned as anybody,” Sabato said. “I’ve yet to find one person nationally or in the state outside the Brat circle who thought Cantor would be beaten.”

Brat addressed jubilant supporters at a victory celebration in western Henrico County.

“The reason we won this campaign is dollars don’t vote — you do,” Brat said.

Brat, dwarfed by Cantor in spending, drummed home the immigration issue, accusing the incumbent of favoring “amnesty” for illegal immigrants. Cantor denied the charge, saying only that children of illegal immigrants should not suffer because their parents brought them into the country.

“Everybody agrees that if immigration reform was on life support before, they’re pulling out the plugs,” because no other Republican wants to lose as Cantor did, Sabato said.

The 7th District long has been reliably Republican, but Brat tapped into tea party and Libertarian discontent with Cantor on issues such as the debt ceiling and immigration.

On May 10, Republicans in the 7th District narrowly defeated Cantor’s handpicked party committee chairman. Linwood Cobb’s loss to Fred Gruber was the latest and freshest measure of discontent with the establishment among party activists from across the entire district.

Different spins on why the House Republican Majority Leader lost in his own district are competing. One spin is that the Tea Party and anti-immigration reform activists toppled the most visible symbol of the establishment.

Immigration reform is dead

Cantor was accused by tea party challenger Brat of supporting “amnesty,” though the congressman denied it.

Supporters of reform are quick to note that Sen. Lindsey Graham easily won his primary and avoided a runoff in conservative South Carolina despite his support for the controversial Senate bill.

But GOP members who are vulnerable to a primary challenge will be very hard pressed vote for such a bill post-Cantor.

The tea party is alive and well.

Cantor’s loss, the first time this has ever happened to a House majority leader, comes just one week after conservative state Sen. Chris McDaniel forced a June 24 runoff against Sen. Thad Cochran in Mississippi.

Tuesday was the symbolic halfway point of primary season. The “establishment strikes back” narrative that has dominated since Sen. John Cornyrn crushed Steve Stockman in the Texas GOP Senate primary this March needs to be readjusted.

This may embolden activists in states where incumbents had looked safe. Milton Wolf, running for Senate in Kansas, put out a statement saying: “On August 5th, it’s Pat Roberts’ turn,” referring to the third-term Republican senator.

Democrats, meanwhile, noted that Cantor has been one of leading obstructionists of the Obama agenda and cited his defeat as proof that the tea party has taken over the GOP.

From Georgia’s own Jenny Beth Martin:

The immigration issue drove Brat’s victory, said Jenny Beth Martin, Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund chairman.

“Dave Brat won tonight in Virginia because he effectively harnessed the outrage at Washington over the policies that have not been representative of the people including the prospect of amnesty for illegal immigrants,” she said.

Another spin emanating from Democratic quarters is that this marks the Tea Party extremist takeover of the Republican Party.

“Eric Cantor has long been the face of House Republicans’ extreme policies, debilitating dysfunction and manufactured crises,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California. “Tonight is a major victory for the tea party as they yet again pull the Republican Party further to the radical right.”

And in Virginia:

Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones, chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, said in a statement:

“If ever there was any doubt, tonight’s results prove that extremists have taken over the Virginia Republican Party. Eric Cantor tried to cater to hard-core conservatives, but he failed.”

Cantor’s loss follows last year’s defeats of Republicans for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. Democrats also hold both U.S. Senate seats.

In other news from the Commonwealth, this week, Republicans took over the Virginia Senate, marking the second time in history that Republicans have controlled the legislatures in all 11 former Confederate states, according to HuffingtonPost.

It’s part of an effort to block Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s (D) plan to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act to cover some 400,000 low-income Virginians, but it also has a broader, symbolic consequence: The unexpected flip means that the Republican Party has gained complete legislative control of all 11 Confederate states for the first second time since the early 1870s, or the post-Civil War era known as Reconstruction.

From the end of Reconstruction in 1877, Democrats maintained unrivaled control in the Southern legislatures, a period known as the “Solid South” that spanned through the Jim Crow era and into the 1960s.

Republicans started picking up majority support in presidential elections in Southern states as white voters there punished Democrats for their support of civil rights legislation. But Democrats didn’t start losing power over Confederate state legislatures until the mid-1990s — most notably, the elections of 1994, when the GOP won over both the U.S. House and the Senate.

In the 2010 election cycle, Republicans made historic legislative gains, picking up more state seats than the party had held since Reconstruction. Alabama’s 2010 majority turnover paralleled the broader political shift, and two years later Arkansas and North Carolina followed suit with 2012 legislative flips that also marked a first since the 1870s.

Finally, there’s what might be called the establishment spin, which is that Cantor neglected the voters back home.

“[It's a] serious wake up call to all incumbents,” said Scott Reed, the top political strategist for the establishment-friendly Chamber of Commerce. “Time for candidates to run like they are running for sheriff… not prime minister.”

Cantor wasn’t exactly caught sleeping. He spent $1 million in the weeks leading up to the primary on television ads calling Brat a “liberal college professor,” and sent out mailers boasting he’d blocked “amnesty” on Capitol Hill. Polling, what little there was of it, showed Cantor way ahead, though he was booed at a May meeting of Republican activists in his district, according to the Washington Post. Some observers cautioned against drawing sweeping conclusions about immigration, and when the dust settles, it may prove that Cantor’s problem was less ideology and more a sense that he stood more for his own ambition than for any definable policies. He frequently reinvented himself with splashy policy speeches, and toured the country raising money and gathering chits for an eventual run for House Speaker.

“Was immigration an issue? Yes. Was it the deciding factor to the tune of 11%? Not no, hell no. It’s a fairy tale,” Virginia Democratic strategist Dave “Mudcat” Saunders said. “People talk. And they talk about Eric Cantor. ‘Where is he?’ His constituent services suck. He was never in the district. And when he was in the district and he went out, he had a [security] entourage with him. He was out gallivanting all over the country being a big deal and this is a lesson.”

Again from local activists in Virginia:

“That’s what you get when you get lackadaisical,” Warren said. “People are so disenchanted with politicians making laws for everybody but themselves. Dave is right with what the people want, and Eric Cantor has lost his way.”

So, who’s right? They all are, and they’re all wrong. It’s more likely that a combination of factors that included immigration reform, Tea Party activism, and benign neglect of the home front contributed to Cantor’s loss.

Within the state of Georgia, the biggest beneficiary of the Cantor loss is probably not the Tea Party, but Congressman Tom Price, who might be in a position to move up, either into Cantor’s leadership role, or into another opening as the dominos start to fall in Washington.

With Cantor gone from the leadership suites, David Wasserman, an editor at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, predicted “a free-for-all” when House Republicans assemble after the November elections to pick their new leaders. At the very least, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the No. 3 Republican, will seek to move up to majority leader, but he could also challenge Boehner.

More broadly, Cantor’s defeat will embolden conservatives like Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., who has openly complained that the leadership positions are occupied by Democratic or swing-state Republicans. The push will be for “red state” leadership.

Candidates could include Price, Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, and brash newcomers like Rep. Tom Graves of Georgia, Wasserman said. The message is that the House must be run by more conservative leaders.

If you want some fresh insight on what this means for Washington, this weekend’s Fulton County Republican Party breakfast will feature Rep. Price. Doors open at St. Ives Country Club at 8:15 AM on Saturday, while the program begins at 9 AM.

Nice internal poll, Jack, but check this out

Yesterday, Jack Kingston’s campaign released an “internal poll” that showed him with a strong margin over David Perdue.

According to the poll, Kingston led Perdue, 49 percent to 35 percent, with 16 percent of voters undecided.

That result is close to the SurveyUSA automated poll released last week that found Kingston ahead, 52 percent to 41 percent.

The internal poll was conducted for the Kingston campaign by Republican polling firm McLaughlin & Associates. It surveyed 500 likely runoff voters from May 27-29, using live telephone interviewers to both land line and cellphone users. It had a 4.5-point margin of error.

But here’s the problem: just last week, Eric Cantor released a poll by the same firm showing a strong margin over Dave Brat.

A poll conducted late last month for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) shows him with a wide lead over challenger David Brat heading toward next Tuesday’s Republican primary election.

The poll, shared with Post Politics, shows Cantor with a 62 percent to 28 percent lead over Brat, an economics professor running to Cantor’s right. Eleven percent say they are undecided.

The internal survey of 400 likely Republican primary voters was conducted May 27 and 28 by John McLaughlin of McLaughlin & Associates. It carries a margin of error of +/-4.9 percentage points.

Speaking of college economists

Roll Call has a neat piece titled Dave Brat: 11 things to know that sheds some light on this particular college economist’s philosophy:

1. Brat is the chairman of the Department of Economics and Business at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va. He has been a professor there since 1996, teaching courses including Macroeconomics, Economic Development and Economic Justice.

5. Many of Brat’s academic publications focus on the intersection of religion and economics. For example, in 2011, he published, “God and Advanced Mammon – Can Theological Types Handle Usury and Capitalism?” according to his official CV. He runs a program called “The Moral Foundation of Capitalism” at Randolph-Macon College.

6. Brat wants a balanced budget amendment and either a flat or fair tax, he wrote in an op-ed Sunday.

11. He co-wrote a paper called “An Analysis of the Moral Foundations in Ayn Rand,” also according to his CV.

Yesterday, seventeen prominent Georgia economists released a statement supporting the “Shafer Amendment,” which, if passed by voters in November, will cap the top marginal state income tax rate.

“We endorse Sen. David Shafer’s Senate Resolution 415 amending the State Constitution to prevent any increase in the maximum state income tax rate.”

“Sen. Shafer’s constitutional amendment gives Georgia a competitive advantage in attracting new jobs and businesses and in persuading existing businesses to expand, as it provides a large and important measure of long-run certainty in Georgia’s business environment.”

“We also endorse future tax reforms that would lower Georgia’s income tax rate in order to be more competitive with our neighboring states and reduce the tax burden paid by Georgia’s citizens.”

 

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 9, 2014

Georgia’s colonial charter, signed by King George II was witnessed on June 9, 1732.

Cream was formed on June 9, 1966 by Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, and Jack Bruce.

On June 9, 1973, Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown, the first to win all three of the Triple Crown races since 1948. Secretariat was bred by Christopher Chenery, a graduate of Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, whose jockeys wore blue-and-white silks in honor of Chenery’s alma mater.

On June 9, 1976, Jimmy Carter’s opponents in the Democratic Primary for President, George Wallace, Henry Jackson, and Chicago mayor Richard Daley, released their delegates and endorsed Carter, assuring the Georgian of the nomination.

Last week, Bill Nigut at Georgia Public Broadcasting wrote about the 70th Anniversary of D-Day and he began with the headlines from the Atlanta Journal and Constitution.

Reading the reports of the invasion as journalism rather than history makes even clearer the extraordinary courage and dedication of the soldiers who stormed the beaches, fighting for freedom and the preservation of Western democracies. Nothing can ever diminish the sacrifices made by young men – many of them no doubt Georgians – far from home on the beaches of Normandy on that historic day.

How ironic then, that the front page of the June 7, 1944, Atlanta Journal also carries another important story just under news of the invasion: “State Group Bans Negros in Primary. Subcommittee Holds Only White Electors Eligible to Vote.” The story reports that a subcommittee of the Georgia Democratic Party had adopted a resolution reaffirming the rule of the party that only whites could participate in the July 4 primary election. (Yes, another irony – the election would be held on Independence Day.) Georgia Democratic officials had found it necessary to reaffirm the rule in response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision handed down in April, 1944, which declared that Texas could not block black voters from casting ballots in primary elections. Georgia Democrats insisted the ruling had no impact here.

The history that we share as Georgians is so complex, so difficult to try to reconcile. It’s soul-piercing and almost unfathomable in today’s world to acknowledge that the heroism of Georgia soldiers liberating Europe stood in such stark contrast to the disenfranchisement of blacks at home. Freedom for the French began on that June day in 1944. It would be two decades later before blacks here won the right to the vote with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

From reader feedback, I know that the short history segments are very popular and entertaining. I hope they’re educational, because many of the historic struggles of Georgia from the colonial period, when Georgia was reticent about joining the Independence movement and considered particularly unfriendly to taxes, through the civil rights movement, still resonate today.

The structure of our elections, which include runoffs, originate in the days in which African-Americans were being forcibly excluded from civic life under the one-party rule of white Democrats. Recently, the issue of reparations for African-Americans has been resurrected as a topic of national conversation.

The better we understand our history, the better-prepared we are for the future.

Georgia Campaigns and Elections

Jack Kingston, in his bid for United States Senate, received the endorsement of Congressman Rob Woodall (R-7) last week.

U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall on Friday morning announced that he would pledge support for Kingston, the Savannah congressman running against businessman David Perdue for the U.S. Senate seat to replace the retiring Saxby Chambliss. The Senate GOP primary runoff will be July 22. In-person early voting begins on June 30.

“In my three years in Congress, I have come to know Jack Kingston as one of the most conservative members in the House,” Woodall said in a statement released by the organization “Friends of Jack Kingston.” “But more importantly, I have come to know him as one of the most effective members of the House.”

In the May primary election, Perdue received nearly 31 percent of the vote, while Kingston collected nearly 26 percent.<

“Jack has been an outspoken supporter of the FairTax, a committed advocate for our men and women in uniform, and a tireless budget hawk, serving on a committee that has reduced federal spending by more than a trillion dollars in just the three years that I have served in Congress,” Woodall said. “Jack Kingston is a family man of character who never forgets that he works for the people. He will make Georgia very proud in the United States Senate. Jack Kingston has my enthusiastic vote and full support.”

Jack Kingston was also recently endorsed by Congressman Tom Price,

“Jack Kingston has always been a steadfast leader in the fight for conservative principles,” said Price.  “On a broad range of issues, he’s built a proven record of cutting wasteful spending and holding Washington accountable. He doesn’t shy away from making the tough but important decisions.”

“He’s tested, proven and won’t wilt in the face of pressure. The folks of Atlanta will be able to count on Jack Kingston when it comes to the issues we care the most about – expanding economic growth, reining in the power and reach of government, and replacing ObamaCare with patient-centered solutions. Simply put, he’ll be there for us. Jack’s a trusted ally and friend, and has a quality of character that will make him a strong voice in the U.S. Senate on behalf of Georgia families.”

Tom Crawford writes that endorsements from primary opponents might not be that helpful.

If you look at voter turnout figures in recent election cycles, it’s clear a large percentage of primary voters don’t bother to return for the runoff. The number of ballots cast in a primary election usually declines by 40 percent or more in the runoff – sometimes by more than 60 percent.

It’s a matter of human nature. Voters whose candidate was eliminated in the primary have much less incentive to turn out for a runoff election than those who voted for a successful candidate. They simply stay home on the day of the runoff. Setting aside the question of how many supporters will bother to vote in the runoff, there is the issue of how credible an endorsement can be when the candidate was so harshly critical of the person she is endorsing.

Most of the ink used in analyzing the results of the May 20 Republican Primary has been devoted to the question of Tea Party influence versus the Establishment, but it’s worth noting that some 66% of Georgia Republican Primary voters cast their ballots for an incumbent Congressman to take Saxby Chambliss’ seat in the Senate.

Cheryl Hill, widow of the late State Rep. Calvin Hill, has endorsed Wes Cantrell in the runoff election for the seat formerly occupied by her husband.

“I am honored that Wes looks to my husband as a guiding light for his actions while serving us. I know Calvin always had the best interests of this district at heart, and I feel confident in supporting Wes because I know he will lead the same way.”

“The main reason I decided to run for this office is because of the legacy of Calvin Hill. I became very concerned after the special election that Representative Hill’s legacy was not being fulfilled,” said Cantrell. “I want to lead in the same way that Calvin Hill led – as a representative that people respect and enjoy working with to find solutions to the issues facing Georgia. That’s why it is extremely gratifying and humbling to have the endorsement of Calvin’s widow Cheryl, and of his children Matt and Amanda.”

The endorsement from the Hill family comes on the heels of Cantrell garnering the most votes in the primary on May 20, despite campaigning for a quarter of the time his two opponents did. Hill’s support follows the endorsements of Representatives Michael Caldwell and Scot Turner, and State Senator Bruce Thompson – all representatives of Cherokee County in the state legislature.

Some of the best endorsements are when your campaign finance staff stamp “For Deposit Only” on the backs of checks, but what level of scrutiny should candidates give their donors before depositing their money?

Luckily, we have enterprising reporters who are ready to check out the history of political donors. Chris Joyner of the AJC writes about a small number of Kingston donors.

In late 2013, Kingston, an 11-term Republican congressman from Savannah, took in $80,052 in contributions from employees, their family members, consultants and contractors of two virtually unknown Gwinnett County companies: Confirmatrix Laboratories, a 2-year-old firm that performs urine and drug testing, and Nue Medical Consulting, a medical billing company founded last September.

Both companies are linked to Khalid A. Satary, a Palestinian also known as DJ Rock, who served more than three years in federal prison for running a large-scale counterfeit CD operation in the metro Atlanta area. Satary was released from prison in 2008 and federal officials have been trying to send him to out of the country ever since.

The AJC asked Kingston about the donations, a related fundraising event, and Satary’s criminal past on Wednesday. On Friday, the campaign announced Kingston would return the contributions.

“After reviewing this matter, we believe we are in full compliance with the law and federal elections regulations,” Kingston spokesman Chris Crawford said. “Out of an abundance of caution, however, we are returning contributions associated with this event due to external factors brought to our attention by members of the media.”

My thoughts? I think that crooks and criminals are likely to be sneaky when they make contributions to politicians, and it’s hard to expect politicians to run a full criminal background search on donor. But a quick Google search on major donors or bundlers is not too much to expect today. And, as in the case of the NBA forcing Donald Sterling to sell the LA Clippers for $2 billion dollars, are we better served when people whose actions we disapprove of have more money?

Returning the questionable donations is a good move, and about all you can expect.

Governor Deal appointed former State Senator Greg Goggans to the Georgia Board of Dentistry, a good choice in my humble opinion. As both a practicing hand-in-mouth professional, and a former state legislator, there are few better qualified to help the state agency move forward.

That said, service in the General Assembly does appear to have some career advancement rewards:

Of 34 Republican state senators in 2009, about 60 percent — 20 — have left the chamber (and at least three more are leaving at the end of this year). About two-thirds of those are back involved in state government, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis.

Recently, the University System hired state Sen. Cecil Staton, R-Macon, to a newly created $165,000 a year administrative job. Also recently, former Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers was fired from his $150,000 a year job with Georgia Public Broadcasting, a hiring that brought Deal political grief when it was announced in late 2012.

The Senate Republican class of 2009-10 now gone from the chamber includes several other highly paid Deal appointees, a judge appointed by the governor, the state’s insurance commissioner, a couple of state House members, a Department of Transportation board member and some lobbyists.

Cam McWhirter profiles Jason Carter’s campaign for Governor in the Wall Street Journal:

[T]he contest between the 38-year-old Mr. Carter and Mr. Deal, 71, could be surprisingly competitive. A poll released May 26 by Rasmussen Reports showed Mr. Carter with a 48% to 41% lead. But other polls have found Mr. Deal ahead by several percentage points. RealClearPolitics, a news and polling aggregator, calls the race a tossup.

“For a long time you know, a lot of folks have not found a Democrat that they could vote for,” Mr. Carter said at a recent Kiwanis Club lunch here a city of 17,000 in rural South Georgia. “But we are now in a place that is changing.”

Recently Mr. Deal spoke at a state film industry meeting held at Manuel’s Tavern, a bar on Atlanta’s east side that was owned for years by a Democratic politician and where Jimmy Carter announced his plans to run for governor in 1970. Mr. Deal plans to lead a business mission this month to Israel, a not-so-subtle effort to highlight Jimmy Carter’s criticism of Israeli government policies toward Palestinians. That criticism angered many Jewish Americans.

The Deal campaign has raised more than $8 million so far, while the Carter campaign has raised $1.9 million, according to recent campaign filings.

Chip Lake, a Republican strategist, is heading the Georgia Victory Fund, a super PAC with a goal of raising $1.5 million to $2 million from national donors to criticize Mr. Carter in commercials. “He’s now walking on the stage that he has never been on before, and it’s our job to turn the lights on and make them very bright,” Mr. Lake said.

To win, Mr. Carter, a state senator who has never run for statewide office, would need blacks and Hispanic voters, whose numbers have been growing rapidly in the state, as well as liberals and independents. He also has to win more rural white voters—who for years have voted mainly for Republicans.

Scott Buchanan, a Southern politics expert at the Citadel in Charleston, S.C., said shifting demographics will make Georgia a political battleground “in the next election cycle or two,” but it is unclear if changes will lead to Democratic wins this fall.

“Shafer Amendment” boosted

While it hasn’t yet received much attention from the press, Senate Resolution 415 by Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer is receiving positive attention by grassroots Republican activists.

SR 415 places on the November ballot a Constitutional Amendment for the voters.

( ) YES
( ) NO

Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to prohibit the General Assembly from increasing the maximum state income tax rate?”</blockquote>

Upon the passage of  SR 415, Shafer discussed the rationale for the Amendment.

“If approved by voters this November, Georgia will be the only Southeastern state that constitutionally prohibits income tax increases,” said Sen. Shafer.  “This measure will help Georgia compete, attracting business and encouraging job formation.”

This weekend, the Jackson County Republican Party and the Teen Republicans State Convention both endorsed the Shafer Tax Cap Amendment.

 

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 6, 2014

On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia introduced a resolution before the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia calling for American independence from Great Britain.

Lee’s resolution declared: “That these United Colonies are, and of right out to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; that measures should be immediately taken for procuring the assistance of foreign powers, and a Confederation be formed to bind the colonies more closely together.”

Four weeks later, Georgia’s members of the Continental Congress – Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, and George Walton — voted for a version written by Thomas Jefferson of Virginia and called the Declaration of Independence.

The expulsion of the Cherokee from Georgia began on June 6, 1838 as 800 members left by riverboat.

The first successful ascent of Mt. McKinley, also called Denali, in Alaska, the highest mountain in North America, was completed on June 7, 1913.

On June 7, 1942, Japanese troops occupied American territory in the Aleutian Islands off Alaska.

On June 6, 1944, seventy years ago, Allied forces under the command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower began the invasion of France, called D-Day.

On the morning of June 5, 1944, U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe gave the go-ahead for Operation Overlord, the largest amphibious military operation in history. On his orders, 6,000 landing craft, ships and other vessels carrying 176,000 troops began to leave England for the trip to France. That night, 822 aircraft filled with parachutists headed for drop zones in Normandy. An additional 13,000 aircraft were mobilized to provide air cover and support for the invasion.

By dawn on June 6, 18,000 parachutists were already on the ground; the land invasions began at 6:30 a.m. The British and Canadians overcame light opposition to capture Gold, Juno and Sword beaches; so did the Americans at Utah. The task was much tougher at Omaha beach, however, where 2,000 troops were lost and it was only through the tenacity and quick-wittedness of troops on the ground that the objective was achieved. By day’s end, 155,000 Allied troops–Americans, British and Canadians–had successfully stormed Normandy’s beaches.

The first Porsche automobile was completed on June 8, 1948.

On June 6, 1949, George Orwell published 1984. On July 10, 2014, Veronica Roth, author of young adult dystopian fiction Divergent will be at Agnes Scott College in Decatur.

Ronald Reagan became the Republican nominee for Governor of California on June 7, 1966.

On June 8, 2004, Georgia hosted the G-8 summit meeting of the world’s major industrial democracies, which included representatives from the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, and the United Kingdom, plus a representative from the European Union. The 30th meeting of the G-8 was held at Sea Island at the Cloister.

Dennis O’Hayer of WABE has an extended interview with the AJC’s Jim Galloway about the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

Chester Nez, the last surviving Navajo Codetalker from World War 2 has died.

Nez, among the first recruited, helped to develop code based on the Navajo’s unwritten language. The code thwarted the Japanese trying to intercept American communications in the Pacific during World War II.

“The passing of Chester Nez, one of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers, sadly marks the end of an era in our country’s and Marine Corps’ history,” Col. David Lapan, director of the Office of U.S. Marine Corps Communication, said in a statement. ”We mourn his passing but honor and celebrate the indomitable spirit and dedication of those Marines who became known as the Navajo Code Talkers.”

In his memoirs, Nez said he knew he made the right decision to join the fight.

“I reminded myself that my Navajo people had always been warriors, protectors,” he said. “In that there was honor. I would concentrate on being a warrior, on protecting my homeland. Within hours, whether in harmony or not, I knew I would join my fellow Marines in the fight.”

The Marietta Daily Journal profiles a local D-Day survivor:

The 70th anniversary of D-Day today reminds the world of World War II, but Boykin Dunaway, a 99-year-old veteran, said he doesn’t need a special day to remember.
Today, Boykin Dunaway shares his war stories with his well-known Marietta family.

Boykin Dunaway, who has lived in Marietta since 1953 and was a medic during World War II, remembers landing on Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day. He dodged bullets and bomb shells as he carried wounded men off the shore toward hospital ships.
“Thank God they missed me,” Boykin Dunaway said.
What he saw on the beach that day was frightening: Germans hiding in deep trenches, bombs falling from the sky and men fighting on the shore.
“I have a lot of memories of saving people’s lives one way or another — taking the wounded to a safe place where they could be evacuated, to a ship or someplace where they could take care of them better than we could on the beach,” Boykin Dunaway said.

2014 Election of Georgia Governor

Martha Dalton with WABE asks whether groups like “Republicans for Jason Carter” have any effect on elections.

Paul Bridges is the former mayor of Uvalda, south of Vidalia. He started Republicans for Jason Carter. He voted for Deal in 2010, but is unhappy with some of his decisions. That includes House Bill 87, the state’s tough immigration law Deal signed in 2011.

However, Deal campaign spokesperson Jen Talaber says the governor has bi-partisan support from a statewide coalition of elected officials.

“He’s got endorsements from more than 125 mayors representing 65 counties, 160+ county commissioners, law enforcement, community and business leaders,” she says. “So, I think while Mr. Bridges works on his Facebook group, we’ll continue to build these bi-partisan coalitions statewide.”

But if the candidates are still neck-and-neck in November, will either be able to take enough votes from the other to tip the scale in his favor?

InsiderAdvantage CEO and pollster Matt Towery says probably not.

“The ‘Republicans for Carter,’ just like any Democrats for Deal, they’re going to be relatively negligible in terms of having a real effect in the vote,” Towery says. “They’re there more for perception.”

“I still stay, right now, advantage Deal, but it’s a slim one,” he says. “And that runoff potential could really cause a big mess.”

No knock warrants knocked

The tragic injury of 19-month old “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh by a flash-bang grenade used in the serving of a no-knock warrant in Habersham County has galvanized a movement to rein-in the use of no-knock warrants in Georgia.

The debate over “no-knock” warrants is not new. There was a bipartisan effort by lawmakers in 2007 to tighten rules for such warrants, which are intended to protect officers from dangerous suspects while preventing evidence tampering. The effort, which failed, was prompted by a 2006 case in which an elderly Atlanta woman was killed in a shootout with police while they were executing a “no-knock” warrant at her home.

“It would be one of those things that I would be open to if there is sufficient evidence to indicate that it needs to be revisited and more appropriate standards and requirements put in place,” Deal said, adding he would want to make sure the law enforcement community was involved in any discussion on the issue.

Deal also said it might be something he refers to his Criminal Justice Reform Council for review, but cautioned he wants to hear the results of an investigation into the May 28 police raid in which 19-month-old Bounkham Phonesavanh was severely injured by a flash grenade that landed in his playpen at home in Cornelia. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into the case, and the boy’s family has asked for a federal probe.

“Sometimes legislative bodies react too quickly without looking at the broader consequences of what legislative action might be,” Deal said. “But on the same token, if the standards and the requirements are not appropriate then they should be adjusted accordingly.”

Georgia Libertarian Party activists and others will hold a rally Saturday in Habersham County to protest the use of no-knock warrants.

Doug Craig, Libertarian Party of Georgia chairman, said the harming of an innocent child and the terrorization of his parents is just one example of how the so called “War on Drugs” has become more dangerous than drugs itself.

“The War on Drugs has become a war on the citizens of the state of Georgia”, said Doug Craig. Prohibition has made our communities less safe, it has created an environment where law enforcement think they can perpetrate these atrocities on our citizens as long as they do it in the name of the War on Drugs. We must learn from the lessons of alcohol prohibition and realize law enforcement cannot solve public health issues with military force.”

State Rep. Sam Moore, who won a special election runoff in February and lost his reelection campaign has written on Facebook, “I sponsored a bill last Session that would have ended no-knock warrants, but the State House ignored it.”

What Moore leaves out of that statement is that his proposed measure attempted to end no-knock warrants by making it legal to shoot law enforcement officers executing warrants without knocking. The Canton Patch covered Moore’s bill earlier this year:

“The intent behind this bill is to stop the practice of no-knock warrants,” he said. “The reason for that is no-knock warrants present a danger to both police and civilians.”

“It is perfectly legal to use deadly force if someone is breaking into your house and you have reason to believe that they are not supposed to do that,” Moore said. “With a no-knock warrant, police officers that come in have not identified themselves, and therefore, the homeowner or person in the residence has no way to discern that it is not a robber or rapist. That person, realistically, would be expected to defend themselves with deadly force if they thought they needed to.”

[Cherokee County Sheriff Roger] Garrison said no-knock warrants are used to protect law enforcement officers and, again, said he did not understand Moore’s logic.

“There already is due process in place for us to seek when we secure a no-knock search warrant and that is a very valuable tool in law enforcement when we are going to execute high-risk search warrants for drugs or murders,” he said.  “We have to present probable cause to a judge to secure those and those safeguards are in place.”

I am also concerned that such a bill would actually have the converse effect of making the serving of warrants more militarized and the use of force more overwhelming and increase the use of “shock and awe” tactics to serve otherwise routine warrants.

Jim Galloway writes that State Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville) has already opened a conversation with law enforcement leaders on whether and how no-knock warrants can be limited.

Back in 2007, a bipartisan team of lawmakers, led by state Sens. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, and Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, tried to write into law the rules for no-knock warrants. The effort was spurred by a 2006 police raid of a southwest Atlanta home that left a 92-year-old woman dead.

The no-knock measure easily passed the Senate but died in the House — opposed by many of the state’s sheriffs and prosecutors.

Tanner, who lives two counties over from Habersham, is no Monday morning quarterback. He says he has been looking into the topic for more than a year.

For 18 years, Tanner was a Dawson County sheriff’s deputy. Much of that time was spent on a drug task force. He’s executed more than 100 search warrants, including “several dozen” of the no-knock variety.

“I understand what it’s like to go through a door and not know what’s on the other side,” he said. ”I do think there are ways to tighten the process down to ensure that it’s done properly and safely — as safe as you possibly can.”

Tanner says he is involved in “treetop-level” discussions with Georgia sheriffs and prosecutors, and he expects to produce a first draft of legislation within two or three months.

The Dawsonville lawmaker is wondering whether police agencies should be required to have written policies on the service of no-knock warrants. And whether supervisors should be required to be on the scene.

I agree that it appears that no-knock warrants are being used in ways that may not be appropriate, but it’s not clear whether there’s a systematic problem, or if it’s that isolated disasters like the Habersham County case merely create that perception. I look forward to hearing actual facts about how these warrants are used, and how important a tool they are for law enforcement.

Congratulations to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Mayor Reed has a new daughter with wife Sarah-Elizabeth Reed. Welcome to Atlanta to Maria Kristan Reed, born yesterday.

“Today, Sarah-Elizabeth Reed and I are blessed to announce the birth of our first child, Maria Kristan Reed,” the mayor said in a statement. “I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support we have received from our family and friends. This is truly the happiest moment of my life. As we celebrate our daughter’s birth, we ask that you continue to respect the privacy of our growing family.”

We don’t know what time the newest member of the Reed family was born, but perhaps the issue was on his mind when he said yesterday that he’s not the Atlanta City Council’s parent.

Reed said regulating council spending is a legislative issue, not an executive one.

“I’m not a parent, and I’m not going to speak to other adults about how they should conduct and comport themselves,” the mayor said Wednesday at an unrelated press conference.

“If they believe they need more oversight, everybody in the Atlanta City Council can introduce a bill,” he said. “And so I don’t think that’s the way for me to go.”

City auditor Leslie Ward said last week her suggestions from 2009 to reform spending practices and provide certain checks have so far been ignored by the council.

 

A new Bald Eagle takes flight

Bill Cameron Fledgling Bald Eagle

Georgia’s newest (celebrity) Bald Eagle, called B3 and based on the Berry College campus in Rome, Georgia, has taken flight for the first time this week. Photo courtesy of Bill Cameron.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 4, 2014

On June 4, 1785, James Oglethorpe, founder of Georgia, met with John Adams, the first ambassador from the new United States to Great Britain.

On June 4, 1919, Congress passed the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote. In August 1920, enough states had ratified the 19th Amendment that it took effect.

The Battle of Midway began on June 4, 1942. During the battle, four Japanese aircraft carriers that had participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor and one cruiser were sunk at the cost of one American carrier and one destroyer.

Today is the 25th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in Beijing, China.

Jim Galloway was in Beijing during the protests and crackdown and writes about it at the AJC Political Insider Blog.

Mississippi Runoff

In Mississippi, Tea Party favorite Chris McDaniel forced 36-year incumbent Senator Thad Cochran into a runoff election three weeks from yesterday.

Mr. McDaniel held 49.6 percent of the vote after a stupendous hometown turnout, which surged far ahead of the turnout for the 2012 Republican presidential primary and gave him a lead over Mr. Cochran, who is at 48.9 percent with 99 percent of precincts reporting.

The contest is expected to be decided in a runoff election on June 24, assuming that the final votes, mainly in Rankin County, a suburb of Jackson, don’t break decidedly and unexpected toward Mr. McDaniel.

My question is why Mississippi wasn’t forced into a 45-day or more runoff like Georgia was as the result of a federal lawsuit.

Mississippi is currently in talks with the federal government about remedying the issue, but it’s beyond me why the United States Department of Justice sued Georgia more than two years before taking action in Mississippi. Did they fail to use Google to find out which states have runoffs? In an article dated March 18, 2014:

The [Mississippi] Secretary of State’s Office has been notified by the U.S. Department of Justice that current state law conflicts with federal military and overseas voting laws.

Recent changes to the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) require states to send absentee ballots to military and overseas voters who request them at least 45 days before an election for federal office. State law provides only 21 days between a primary election and a primary run-off election.

“Rather than be sued by the federal government for failing to comply with federal law, the State Board of Election Commissioners have decided to provide military voters with both their primary and primary run-off ballot when electronically transmitting overseas absentee ballots,” said Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. “Mississippi is a leading state in allowing electronic voting for the military, and I intend to keep it that way.”

Military and overseas voters will rank the candidates of their choice for the primary run-off ballot, in a so-called “ranked choice” ballot. When the primary run-off ballot is returned to the Circuit Clerk’s Office with the primary election ballot, it will be placed in a separate absentee ballot envelope in the event there is a primary run-off election.

Mississippi has a number of electronic methods for overseas military and civilian voters, including via email on election day.

Mississippi also uses ranked choice ballots for the Primary election to allow voters to cast one ballot that covers both primary and primary runoff choices. Four other states, including neighboring Alabama, use this type of ballot for overseas voters.

I hope the Georgia General Assembly will consider other options like this during the next Session.

Campaigns and Elections

When Jeff Northway signed up to run for Mayor of Springfield, Georgia, he had to indicate on the form that he’d never been convicted and sentenced for a felony involving moral turpitude. The problem is that Northway had two 1983 convictions in Texas on felonies involving moral turpitude. In July 2012, Northway resigned, and now he’s been indicted for false swearing and perjury. That’ll ratchet the felony count up to four if he’s convicted or pleads guilty.

Jack Kingston will be endorsed by Congressman Phil Gingrey, who finished out of the money in the Senate race last month.

Kingston’s campaign is trying to parlay a unique accord between establishment forces, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and outsider elements on the GOP’s right flank. He has picked up the blessing of former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, who finished in third place with the help of tea party support, as well as the backing of most of Georgia’s congressional delegation.

Kingston’s campaign declined to comment but said it would hold a “major political announcement” on Wednesday morning. Gingrey, who has represented a northwest Atlanta district for more than a decade, could help Kingston make inroads to vote-rich metro Atlanta. Gingrey won four counties in northwest Georgia, and he and Handel helped dampen Perdue’s lead across the northern part of the state.

For Perdue’s camp, getting spurned by elected officials could play into his message of being an outsider set on shaking up the Washington status quo. He’s long run on his business credentials and his campaign has argued that rank-and-file Republicans will make up their minds on who to support on their own.

In addition to former Secretary of State Karen Handel, Congressman Lynn Westmoreland has endorsed Jack Kingston in the runoff.

“Jack Kingston and I have been friends for 20 years, during which I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know him and his wonderful family,” Westmoreland said according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “For the last ten of those years, we’ve been colleagues and I have seen firsthand how Jack commits whole-heartedly to his work. Jack is one of the most gracious, humble, and hard-working men I know. His honesty and dedication to serving Georgians can¹t be matched.”

Westmoreland mentioned Kingston’s work on the Savannah port, commitment to conservative values, and attention to issues facing the military, veterans and farmers as some of the values that make him the right pick for the U.S. Senate. Kingston represents Georgia’s first congressional district.

In State House District 112, outgoing State Rep. Doug Holt has endorsed Dave Belton in the runoff election.

Holt announced his endorsement of Belton Tuesday after several people asked who he believed would do the best job.
“I believe it is time for me to state openly and publicly that ‘Dave Belton is that person,’” Holt said in a press release. “Over the last 10 years, I have come to know Dave very well on both a personal and professional level. His commitment to our country and to public service is without equal.”
Holt said Belton’s military career includes 23 years of service as a pilot in the Navy and Air Force, involving countless missions flown during the Persian Gulf War and in four other conflicts around the world.
“Just weeks ago, he donated his time once again as a volunteer pilot to bring more than 100 of our service men and women from Kyrgyzstan back home. As always, he responded to the call of service,” Holt said. “It is this call to service that I believe has led him to run for the House District 112 seat.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 2, 2014

Benjamin Franklin became Georgia’s agent in England on June 1, 1768, making him also Georgia’s first lobbyist.

On June 2, 1774, Britain’s Parliament passed the Quartering Act, the last of the Coercive Acts, meant to punish the American colonies and reassert British control. Eventually, the Third Amendment to the United States Constitution would prohibit the forcible quartering of soldiers in private homes.

On June 1, 1775, Georgia patriots sent a care package to their brethren in Massachusetts comprising 63 barrels of rice and £122 after the battles at Lexington and Concord.

Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, commanding forces west of the Mississippi, surrendered on June 2, 1865, and this date is generally considered the end of the Civil War.

Queen Elizabeth II was crowned on June 2, 1953.

On June 2, 1962, Georgia-born Ray Charles hit #1 on the charts with “I Can’t Stop Loving You.”

On May 31, 1971, Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter appeared on the cover of Time magazine as part of a story on changing Southern politics.

Carter Time 1971

How much do you want to bet that either Jason Carter, Michelle Nunn, or both will be on the cover of Time before the end of 2014?

On June 2, 1976, a Lou Harris poll showed Jimmy Carter leading nationally for the Democratic nomination for President.

CNN launched on June 2, 1980. From the video below of CNN’s first broadcast, it is obvious they weren’t using teleprompters that day.

This Day in Georgia History launched on June 2, 1997.

Five Lessons about Georgia Politics

Last week, I gave two presentations on Georgia politics, one to a private group, the second to the Hall County Republican Women. Some of these are pro-tips, some are observations, some are applicable outside Georgia or outside politics, and one is simply a fact about November’s elections. I started by talking about dogs to illustrate my first point.

First, be known for something other than politics. If you are known within your church, community, or larger organization for something other than politics, it allows you to build common ground with others and enhances your moral authority. Example one of this is GaPundit.com, where I have become known primarily to many people as someone who advocates and works for dog rescue, responsible pet ownership, and adoption. On Friday, I got two separate emails from readers who said, “I subscribed to read about the dogs, but have started reading the politics.”

Another excellent example of this Ron Johnson, Second Vice Chair of the Georgia Republican Party, and the GAGOP Veterans Committee. They recently raised funds to purchase a custom sports wheelchair for a disabled veteran and gave it to him so he can play tennis.

GAGOP Veterans

Not only was this a great thing to do, a gift that can change this veteran’s life, but it will make the GAGOP Veterans Committee a powerful voice among our military community and enhance our reputation. It’s one thing to talk to a group and say Republicans care about veterans, and here’s what we have to say about the VA scandal. It’s much more powerful to walk in as a recognized supporter of veterans who puts their money behind their principles. If you choose to follow this tip, find an area of genuine interest and put your shoulder to the wheel.

Another way we can put this into operation is by supporting the GAGOP Community Service Commission’s competition among county party organizations to raise the most money for the Bowen Story Fund.

The Bowen Story Fund will be dedicated to enhancing the lives of other pediatric cancer families by providing help, care and support during emergency hospitalizations and long-term stays. The fund will be used to offer meals, gas cards, and temporary lodging assistance to families who are receiving treatment more than 50 miles away from their home, primarily concentrating on families at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

The competition runs through June 15, 2014, and it’s easy to be part of the efforts to support families fighting pediatric cancer.

Participating county parties will be placed into one of four categories based on county population (under 80,000, 80,000-200,000, 200,001-300,000, over 300,000). The winning county party in each category will receive recognition from the State Party.  The individual winner in each category will receive two tickets to the Fall Victory Dinner and the private reception beforehand, photos with elected officials and special recognition both in the dinner program and at the dinner.

The gift cards should be in the amounts of $10-$25 and from vendors in the area of Children’s Healthcare in Atlanta.  Examples include restaurants like Chili’s, McDonalds, Zaxby’s, Subway, etc; drugstores such as Walgreens and CVS; grocery stores, including Publix and Kroger; big box stores such as Wal-Mart and Target; and gas stations including Shell, RaceTrac and Quick Trip.

For more information, contact Michael McNeely, 1st Vice-Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party and Chairman of the Community Service Committee, [email protected]

Second, in Georgia, the GOP Civil War is not between the Tea Party and the Establishment so much as between “Liberty Republicans” and “regular Republicans.” It’s not necessary that it take the tone of a “war” and we all benefit if the discussion is civil. I personally agree with the libertarian movement within our party on a number of issues, but many times, what could be a fun political discussion becomes a conflict. There are those within the Liberty movement whom I know, like, and trust, and with whom a civil conversation can be had.

The party belongs to all of us, and we need to be more welcoming to those who don’t have years in the trenches. That doesn’t mean they should expect to be elevated quickly to positions of responsibility, but that we should let new members take on small jobs, and as they prove themselves, give them more.

State Representatives Scot Turner, John Pezold, and Michael Caldwell can, I think, be fairly described as having small-l libertarian philosophical leanings. Where they differ is that their willingness to be reasonable and socialize as members of the party makes them effective voices for their philosophy. Seek out those with differing opinions of what it means to be conservative and find those who can make a meaningful contribution. It wasn’t so long ago that the Christian Conservatives who now dominate much of the political conversation in Georgia Republican politics were the newcomers who weren’t welcomed.

Third, there are two main ways to lose a Republican Primary reelection for an incumbent. One way to lose is to do something illegal, morally wrong, or something that is very unpopoular regardless of its rightness. Senator Don Balfour’s failure to make a runoff in his Senate race along with the losses by State Rep. Charles Gregory and State Rep. Sam Moore are primarily this type of shortcoming.

The other way  is to not care enough about campaigning, which can give voters the impression you don’t care enough about representing them. I suspect the loss by State Rep. Willie Talton to newcomer Heath Clark can be ascribed to this. Certainly Talton’s campaign fundraising gives the impression of a lackadaisical approach to his reelection. Senator Jack Murphy’s apparent indecisiveness the week of qualifying could make some wonder if he has the fire to campaign and to represent the voters of his districts; I suspect we’ll learn more about that in his runoff.

If an incumbent’s lack of drive to win reelection means that he has come to understand that other things are more important to him than holding office, it can be the beginning of a new and better life.

Fourth, this year’s voter turnout is a problem and we need to consider whether to keep the current election schedule. The date change came about by a federal court first requiring a date change to allow sufficient time between the federal primary and runoff to allow ballots to be sent to overseas voters at least 45 days before the runoff, but some within the GAGOP thought moving the Primary to May would enhance the ability of mainstream Republicans to vote when it’s convenient for them.

But a significant drop in voter turnout does not signal success. As a party it means our candidates are competing for a narrower cross-section of voters, and that fewer Georgians will be invested in the success of our candidates in November. I hope the state party and the powers that be under the Gold Dome will give careful consideration to primary dates going forward.

Fifth, November ballots will have two amendments to the Georgia Constitution on them for all voters. The first, I call the Shafer Amendment, after its author and primary sponsor, Senate President Pro Tem. Senate Resolution 415 places on the ballot the following question:

( ) YES
( ) NO

 

Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to prohibit the General Assembly from increasing the maximum state income tax rate?”

It’s a simple amendment that prevents the legislature from increasing the state income tax rate unless a majority of voters agree in a statewide referendum to reverse the Amendment.

The Shafer Amendment passed the Senate with a two-thirds majority, with Democratic Minority Leader Steve Henson opposing it and Senator (now Democratic Gubernatorial nominee) Jason Carter fleeing the chamber so as not to have to go on record.

In the House, the bill was carried by State Rep. Matt Ramsey, Republican Whip, and garnered unanimous support for Republicans; House Speaker David Ralston cast a rare floor vote in favor of the bill to provide the two-thirds majority required for passage of an Amendment. Governor Nathan Deal signed the bill.

Not only does this Amendment put the GAGOP on the record as supporting limited taxes and limited government, it also puts the Democratic Party on the record supporting the ability of legislators to raise taxes and puts Democratic nominee for Governor Jason Carter on the record as unwilling to vote on issues that a majority of Georgians favor.

It also enhances Georgia’s competitive position for new job creation. While some other states have lower income tax rates, even zero, Georgia’s current low rate is locked in by the State Constitution and cannot be easily raised. This will make Georgia even more competitive for new jobs.

The second amendment on November’s ballot, by State Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville), allows the imposition of a surcharge on fines for reckless driving to be imposed and paid to the Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund Commission.

The Commission was created by a 1998 Constitutional Amendment that received 73% support among voters statewide and currently receives funding from a surcharge on fines for DUI. As DUI fines and collections have waned, so has funding for Georgians who suffered brain and/or spinal injuries. From the Commission’s website:

Georgians with traumatic brain and spinal injuries deserve lives of independence and inclusion, lives rich with vision and possibilities. Trust Fund awards assist individuals with injuries in reaching these goals. (For more information on Trust Fund awards, see How the Trust Fund Fills the Gaps.)

Collected revenue is distributed in the form of grants to eligible individuals for the post-acute care and rehabilitation of Georgians that have been injured and sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or spinal cord injury (SCI). Eligible Georgians fill out either a paper or electronic application for funding to the Commission.

Fulton GOP launches new website

FultonGOPLaunch

“Fulton is the epicenter for Keeping Georgia Red,” said Roger Bonds, Chairman of the Fulton GOP. “As such, we must use every tool in our arsenal, including a strong web presence, to connect with voters and communicate our strong message of greater opportunity and freedom, less intrusive and more effective government, and personal responsibility. As people grow tired of incompetent County government and failed Obama policies, we’re here to serve voters with an alternative. Furthermore, re-electing Governor Deal and winning the open U.S. Senate seat will increasingly hinge on strong Republican turnout in North Fulton”

The launch will serve as a catalyst for efforts to reach more voters in Fulton, conduct voter registration, and operate a robust get-out-the-vote effort. The stronger online presence will also enable the Fulton GOP to recruit more members and volunteers, gain more contributions, and better serve its membership with improved services.

“Our goal is to be a click away from those who want to know more about the Republican Party in Fulton County or join our team. President Obama and his team in Georgia are targeting Fulton, and we are ready to take the fight for our values and future to the voters. Fulton County deserves better, and this website is one of many important steps toward victory in November.” Bonds said.

The new site will maintain the same address as the previous, www.FultonGOP.org. Event information and registration, voter resources, and opportunities to join, contribute, and volunteer are available.

Online fundraising and campaign coordination is an area in which Republicans need to catch up to the Democrats. Let’s hope the #FultonGOPLaunch moves the ball down the field for the good guys.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 30, 2014

Lincoln Memorial Exterior
On May 30, 1922, Chief Justice of the United States William H. Taft dedicated the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

Inside the memorial is a seated statue of Lincoln by Daniel Chester French carved from 175 tons of Georgia white marble.
Lincoln Memorial Statue

French also created the statue of Jame Oglethorpe that stands in Chippewa Square in Savannah and a seated statue of Samuel Spencer considered to be a prototype of the Lincoln carving. Samuel Spencer was the first President of Southern Railway and was originally located at the rail station in downtown Atlanta before moving to the Southern Railway passenger station in Buckhead in the 1970s and is currently at 1200 Peachtree Street in front of Norfolk Southern.

No Campus Carry for you

Attorney General Sam Olens has opined that the alleged backdoor legalization of guns on school campuses is an incorrect interpretation of Georgia law.

Olens released a set of frequently asked questions on two gun bills lawmakers passed this year, in response to what he called “numerous inquiries from state agencies” about the new laws. He also cited “conflicts” between the two measures, House Bill 60 and House Bill 826.

Lawmakers struck language in HB 826 that said licensed gun owners were exempt from the law when picking up or dropping off a student. The gun advocacy group GeorgiaCarry.org said that effectively meant permit holders could carry on a campus at any time.

Governor Nathan Deal signed HB 826 on April 22 and signed HB 60 on the following day.

Olens argued in his FAQs that because Deal signed HB 60 after HB 826, the language in that bill prevails:

“House Bill 60 was signed by the Governor after House Bill 826 and is the later enactment, so the provisions of House Bill 60 control. Therefore, there is a general prohibition against carrying weapons in a school safety zone (which includes the real property or buildings of public or private elementary schools, secondary schools, technical schools, vocational schools, colleges or universities); however, a person who possesses a weapons carry license may have a weapon when carrying or picking up a student and may have a weapon in a vehicle that is in transit or parked within a school safety zone.”

Georgia Carry has said it plans to fight for its interpretation of the law(s).

Recounts and the Runoff in House District 54

Beth Beskin came within three votes of topping 50% and avoiding a runoff in the May 20 Republican Primary for House District 54 and emailed her supporters that they need to vote for her in the July 22 Runoff.

After every vote was counted, including the provisional ballots, I finished 3 votes shy of winning this election outright.

Many of you know that my runoff opponent, John McCloskey, publicly announced yesterday that he is suspending his campaign, and he will support me in the runoff. I am very grateful to him and believe that his actions will spare our district and the Republican party what could have been a bruising runoff and will benefit us all.

Please note, though, that my opponent did not withdraw from or concede this race; his name will still appear on the July 22 ballot.

I am in a runoff and I need everyone’s vote and support on July 22nd.

Early voting starts June 30th.

In Henry County, the 2-vote margin for challenger Brian Prince over incumbent County Commissioner Reid Bowman stands after a recount. According to Elections Supervisor Janet Shelnutt, the six voters who cast ballots in the wrong district can pound sand,

“Yes, we had six people that voted in the third (district) on a paper ballot that should have voted in District Four, but those people, and I don’t mean to be ugly, at some point you need to be responsible for themselves and check out where you’re supposed to be voting and not wait until 10 (minutes) to 7 p.m,” she said.

When Secretary of State Brian Kemp certified election returns for the Primary elections, Fulton County Chairman John Eaves retained his seat over challenger Robb Pitts by a 303-vote margin of more than 45,000 ballots.

In a Douglas County Commission race, we do not yet know the results of a recount between incumbent District 4 Commissioner Ann Jones Guider and J.R. McCoy, whom original vote totals showed 23 votes shy.

In McDuffie County, votes are being recounted in the District 3 Board of Education race as James Taylor requested the recount after coming in third by a three-vote margin behind second-place finisher Richard Downs. Jarvis McNair will be in the runoff, having come in substanially higher than the second and third-place finishers.

Polls, Polling, Pollsters

Nate Cohn writes in the New York Times about the question of whether robopolling can provide accurate results:

In contrast with most polls conducted by news media organizations, which collect random samples of adults and then weight to census demographic targets, most automated firms call from lists of registered voters and therefore do not collect a random sample of adults. As a result, they do not weight to census targets for adults, and instead weight to estimates for the likely composition of the November electorate.

That approach can be effective if the pollster can accurately model the electorate, as the Obama campaign did in 2012. But low-cost automated polling firms often operate with only a few staff members, who seem to have less capability to accurately estimate the composition of the electorate.

Remember when the Atlanta Journal Constitution, less than two weeks before the Republican Primary wrote that they were unable to poll the Senate Primary election?

The AJC did not poll the Republican or Democratic primary races because low turnout and primaries not confined to party registrants would have made the polling results, in its view, too unreliable.

While I agree with Cohn that there are issues with some automated pollsters, there is also a major problem with the “random digit dialing” method if it doesn’t allow you to poll a race at all. Good automated pollsters will acknowledge the shortcoming of their methodology and discuss how they account for it.

I’ve written more about the issue of randomness in “random” digit dialing versus automated polls over at InsiderAdvantage, and on Monday will present some analysis of the state of polling in Georgia’s primary elections. But for now, I will leave you with this: I contend that the state of the art in political polling is in the private polls conducted by campaigns, which are sensitive to accuracy, price, and timeliness. But most of those polls never see the light of day, and it may not be appropriate to judge all polling or all pollsters based on the public releases of those who don’t have the kind of skin in the game that political pollsters working for private clients do.

Dr. Charles Bullock on the Senate Race

Dr. Charles Bullock of the University of Georgia, and a widely acclaimed expert on Georgia elections has written some analysis of how “outsider businessmen” have fared in Georgia elections over at InsiderAdvantage. Here’s an excerpt from that:

The most common stepping stone to the Senate is service either as a governor or a member of the U.S. House. Those who make the transition from the governorship to the Senate have the advantage of having already won election by the same constituency that determines their fate in the Senate campaign. House members, except in tiny states with a single representative, have name recognition with only a fraction of the state’s electorate. But based on their House service, they can speak knowledgably about many of the policy options before Congress.

A more challenging path to the Senate extends from success in something other than politics. John Glenn went from astronaut to senator and Jim Bunning moved from the pitchers’ mound to the Senate. S. I. Hayakawa traded in his academic robes as president of San Francisco State University to become a senator while Herb Kohl owned the Milwaukee Bucks before and during his tenure in the Senate.

Candidates with a business background often tell voters that the talents that paid them handsome dividends can be used to make government more efficient. And while these entrepreneurs would refuse to hire a newly-minted MBA as their firm’s chief financial officer, they try to make their lack of a political pedigree an asset by arguing that it gives them a unique perspective.

Unlike in some other states, the Georgia electorate has not welcomed individuals who try to translate business success into political success. During the last generation, multiple candidates in both parties have discovered that the talents that enabled them to make money did not make the voters like them.