Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 24, 2014

The Library of Congress was founded on April 24, 18000 and is the largest library in the world today.

Jack Kingston was born on April 24, 1955. He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1984 and served four terms and in 1992 was elected to the United States Congress.

“Georgia On My Mind” became the official state song on April 24, 1979, when Governor George Busbee signed legislation designating it.

IBM introduced the Personal Computer Model 5150 on April 24, 1981, though some authorities date the introduction to April 12. It sported an Intel 8088 processor at 4.77 Mhz, a whopping 16k of RAM, which was expandable to 256k, and a clicky keyboard. The initial price tag was $1565, equivalent to more than $4000 today.

Gov. Deal signs legislation

Governor Nathan Deal continues to sign legislation for the next several days. Click here for a comprehensive list of bills he has signed so far this year.

Yesterday, Gov. Deal signed House Bill 60, often referred to simply as “the gun bill.”

“We as Georgians believe in the right of people to defend themselves, therefore we believe in the Second Amendment….  Thomas Jefferson told the world, in the Declaration of Independence, that we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights. He believed in the right to bear arms. He said, and I quote, ‘”The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.’”

That Jefferson quote appears to be spurious, though the sentiment is accurate.

The bill has received coverage nationally. CNN wrote,

House Bill 60, or the Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014 — which opponents have nicknamed the “guns everywhere bill” — specifies where Georgia residents can carry weapons. Included are provisions that allow residents who have concealed carry permits to take guns into some bars, churches, school zones, government buildings and certain parts of airports.

GeorgiaCarry, which lobbied for the bill, calls it “meaningful pro-gun legislation,” despite it being watered down from the group’s perspective. Still, the group has lauded the legislation, which will go into effect July 1. Americans for Responsible Solutions opposed the bill, calling it “extremism in action.”

Calling it “a great day to reaffirm our liberties,” Deal said the law allows residents to protect their families and expands the list of places where they can legally carry firearms, while allowing certain property owners, namely churches and bars, to make judgments on whether they want worshippers and patrons carrying guns.

“The Second Amendment should never be an afterthought. It should be at the forefront of our minds,” Deal said while touting his NRA endorsement for governor and “A” rating during his 17 years in Congress.

The governor said the law “will protect the constitutional rights of Georgians who have gone through a background check to legally obtain a Georgia Weapons Carry License.

Americans for Responsible Solutions opposed the original bill that GeorgiaCarry pushed for, and while the group is pleased that the version Deal signed Wednesday doesn’t allow guns on college campuses or in churches, except in certain cases, it feels the legislation “takes Georgia out of the mainstream.”

“Among its many extreme provisions, it allows guns in TSA lines at the country’s busiest airport, forces community school boards into bitter, divisive debates about whether they should allow guns in their children’s classrooms, and broadens the conceal carry eligibility to people who have previously committed crimes with guns,” said Pia Carusone, the group’s senior adviser.

Time magazine called it “radical.”

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law Wednesday radical new gun legislation that will allow licensed owners to carry firearms into more public places than at any time in the past century, including government buildings, bars, and a wide variety of public places.

The law, called the “Safe Carry Protection Act,” allows churches to “opt-in” to permit weapons, school districts to appoint staff carrying firearms, and requires bars to opt out if they wish to ban firearms, NBC reports. Gun owners caught at airport security checkpoints can pick up their weapons and leave with no criminal penalty.

Critics have called the new legislation the “Guns Everywhere Bill,” and gun control groups including Americans for Responsible Solutions and Mayors Against Illegal Guns have strongly criticized the bill, as has the executive director of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, Frank Rotondo. “Police officers do not want more people carrying guns on the street,” said Rotondo, “particularly police officers in inner city areas.”

Predictably, FoxNews took a different tone.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal on Wednesday signed legislation significantly expanding gun rights in the state.

The bill, described by the National Rifle Association’s lobbying arm as “the most comprehensive pro-gun reform legislation introduced in recent state history,” expands the scope of public places where licensed owners are allowed to carry firearms.

Associated Press had the money quote:

House Speaker David Ralston offered a thinly veiled critique of those who might oppose the bill while describing the people of his district.

“This is the apple capital of Georgia. And, yes, it’s a community where we cling to our religion and our guns,” Ralston said, drawing big applause in referencing a past comment made by President Barack Obama.

Via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, here’s a link to the Senate Research Office report on the bill.

The Washington Post has a good rundown on what HB 60 actually does.

One aspect of the bill is that it now allows the use of suppressors for hunting, a change lauded by the American Silencer Association and a local manufacturer.

Bibb County Sheriff David Davis says the bill will present some challenges for local law enforcement.

Nunn 2014 a roadmap for Hilary 2016?

Yesterday, I wrote at that a Michelle Nunn victory in Georgia changes the electoral map dramatically for 2016 in two important ways. That is behind the paywall, but I have republished it on for free. Following is an excerpt.


The Deep South states of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana were solid red in 2008 and 2012, but Democratic progress in Georgia could remake the electoral college map in 2016. Forty-eight electoral votes are in play in those states, but Georgia’s 16 makes it the biggest target, especially if Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp gets his wish of an “SEC Presidential Primary.”


A Michelle Nunn victory this November means that even in less-promising circumstances than 2016, demographic changes will have moved Georgia into the purple category. And it would give the eventual Democratic nominee a much-needed Peach State ally.

Beyond that, however, it changes the dynamic in the Democratic Presidential nomination race by allowing Hilary Clinton to argue that a woman can put in play states otherwise considered at least likely Republican.

Campaigns and Elections

I generally don’t comment on polling done by InsiderAdvantage, because I work on their website, but an article at zpolitics requires a rebuttal with better information rather than hand-picked polls chosen to undermine IA’s reputation. Here’s what zpolitics wrote:

The race for the Republican nomination to fill retiring Saxby Chambliss’s U.S. Senate seat has besieged Georgians with a myriad of polls.

But how accurate are these polls and how much credibility should they command?

In seeking answers to these questions, we looked back  to the last time there was a wide open, statewide GOP Primary in Georgia: the 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

With the benefit of hindsight, it seems implausible that then-Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine led the race for the majority of the primary. But that’s precisely what happened. In fact, Oxendine set the pace until late summer, or at least according to the polling at the time:

  • On May 30th, Insider Advantage had Oxendine in the lead at 23%, with Deal in second at 15%, followed by Karen Handel at 14%.
  • On July 5th – just two weeks out from election day – Insider Advantage again had Oxendine in the lead, tied with Karen Handel at 18%. Deal was a distant 3rd at 12%.

As we all know, Oxendine failed miserably, finishing a distant 4th on Election Day, with Karen Handel and Nathan Deal heading into a runoff.

So what can we learn from these polling blunders? We’re just four weeks away from Election Day and, if we attempt to foretell the primary victor based upon surveys produced by some of Georgia’s pollsters, there’s a chance we may all end up with egg on our faces on May 21st.

To be fair, it was an InsiderAdvantage poll that first showed Karen Handel moving into a statistical dead heat with Oxendine. Here’s what my predecessor Dick Pettys wrote on July 5, 2010:

A new InsiderAdvantage poll conducted this week for WSB-TV shows the Republican gubernatorial race in Georgia is now neck-and-neck between Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, for months the unquestioned king of the polling hill in this campaign, and former Secretary of State Karen Handel.

For the next two weeks, four polls showed the lead swapping between Oxendine and Handel, and only beginning July 13, 2010 did polls settle on Handel in first place. IA’s last poll of the Primary showed Handel and Deal in first and second.

As it turns out, a more accurate measure than any single was the average. That’s why, rather than relying on any single poll, I prefer to use a weighted average I call the GaPundit Polling Index.

While we’re discussing zpolitics, I was on with Martha Zoller and Tim Bryant earlier this week, discussing the Senate race.

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In the Senate race, Congressman Phil Gingrey has a new television ad up:

From the press release:

The ad features the story of Patti Saylor, who turned to Rep. Gingrey for help when seeking answers from the Department of Defense that she – and the Saylor family – deserved after her son, U.S. Army Sergeant Paul Saylor, was tragically killed while on duty serving in Iraq.

In the First Congressional District race, Dr. Bob Johnson has his first ad up.

Rick W. Allen dropped his first ad in the 12th Congressional District race to meet incumbent Democratic Congressman John Barrow in November.

Governor Nathan Deal is asking for campaign volunteers to help at the campaign headquarters on Saturday.

Tractor Pull in 12th Congressional District?

Yesterday, we received competing announcements. State Rep. Delvis Dutton announced the “Farmers for Delvis Coalition,” in his campaign for 12th District GOP nomination.

Kyle Durrence, a Reidsville pecan farmer, said, “I’m enthusiastically supporting Delvis because he understands the importance of farming not only for South Georgia, but for the entire country. The agriculture community has no better friend than Delvis Dutton –  he’s one of us.” Delvis has been a strong advocate for the agriculture community while in Atlanta and will continue to look out for the best interests of Georgia farmers.

Meanwhile Rick Allen announced the Chair of “Farmers for Rick,”

Rick Allen Announces H.G. Yeomans as Farmers For Rick Coalition Chair.

Yeomans, of Swainsboro, endorsed Rick by saying, “I support Rick Allen because he understands the importance of a strong farming and agricultural economy. I believe Rick Allen’s conservative ideas will help lead our country back to the principles we believe in.”

At the risk of invoking the spectre of Lee Anderson, I can say there’s only one way to settle the battle of the “Farmers for” groups: tractor pull.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 23, 2014

William Shakespeare was born April 23, 1564 and died April 23, 1616.

Lucius D. Clay was born on April 23, 1898, the son of Georgia U.S. Senator Alexander Stephens Clay, who served in the Senate from 1896 until his death in 1910. Clay graduated West Point in 1915 and eventually rose to serve as Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Deputy for Military Government. During the Berlin Airlift, Clay helped keep Allied-occupied West Berlin supplied with food for almost a year after Soviet forces blockaded all land routes into the city.

Hank Aaron his his first home run in major league baseball on April 23, 1954, playing for the Milwaukee Braves against the St. Louis Cardinals.

New Coke was announced on April 23, 1985.

Lawrenceville’s Mountain View High School held a second prom to allow a student who was in the hospital for the original prom to attend.

A dual enrollment student, Abbie Williamson was on her way to afternoon classes at Georgia Gwinnett College, but instead was transported to Gwinnett Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.

The collision left Williamson with a broken pelvis in two places, which has since healed, and a diffuse axonal injury, a type of traumatic brain injury. In the beginning, her prognosis was questionable. When she walked for the first time in six weeks, her mother, Mary Beth, called it a joyous day and a time to celebrate.

The next time to celebrate was Friday when about 80 people from the Mountain View community, Williamson family friends and Shepherd staff attended a prom specifically for Williamson to make up for the prom she missed.

“I thought it was a great idea because Abbie’s missed so much of the activites at school and she’s been so involved,” Mary Beth said. “This would be a nice way to re-introduce her back to her friends, because she’s doing so well and we’re so grateful to the whole Mountain View – Lawrenceville community. The prom is just a part of what the whole community has done in standing behind us and supporting Abbie.”

Eight weeks after her family didn’t know if she’d be able to talk, walk or laugh, she participated in a daddy-daughter dance at the prom. An Atlanta disc jockey, “Johnny D,” donated his services, and a tapas bar restaurant provided catered food for the event.

Georgia Politics

A new poll was released yesterday, not on a political race, but the “State of the State” Poll by Georgia College and State University’s Department of Government and Sociology in Milledgeville. It’s kind of a Rorschach test for readers of surveys.

The Savannah Morning News story on the poll highlighted support for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project.

The majority of Georgians, according to the poll, support the deepening of the Savannah Port (56 percent) and oppose public funding for professional stadiums (76 percent).

“Key highlights from respondents include that Georgians are optimistic about the direction of the state,” said Costas Spirou, Georgia College professor and chair of the Department of Government and Sociology. “We also found that jobs, education and health care are the three most important issues facing the state.”

Other sources mentioned opposition to Obamacare and support for education spending.

Most Georgians would be willing to pay higher taxes to improve education, but don’t want to spend public money on a new stadium for a pro sports team.

The Peach State generally opposes President Obama’s health-care law — although most blacks and Hispanics support “Obamacare” and most whites oppose it.

And nearly 60 percent of Georgians disagree with the state’s decision not to expand Medicaid under the health care law.

Cameron McWhirter, writing for the Wall Street Journal noted this from the Political section of the survey results:

The GOP dominates Georgia politics, but a new poll may give its leaders reason to worry.

When asked which party they trusted most to lead the state in the next four years, 40.2% chose the Democratic Party while 36.9% chose the GOP. More than 15% chose other parties and 7.6% didn’t give an answer.

“You could read that as a response to a party that has been dominating and maybe we are getting close to shifting,” said Costas Spirou, who is chairman of the college’s Department of Government and Sociology.

About 51% of whites polled said they trusted the Republican Party, and only 24.6% of whites trusted the Democratic Party. But 77.9% of blacks supported the Democrats, and only 9.3% of blacks backed the GOP. Hispanic voters, a fast-growing part of the Georgia electorate, were split, with 30.4% backing the GOP and 29.9% backing the Democratic Party. Almost 40% of Hispanics polled supported third parties.

Even though the Democratic Party polled well, individual Democratic candidates still have hurdles, according to the poll. The poll did not ask about individual political races but it did ask about perceptions of some leading politicians. For example, 8.2% of those polled listed gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter as the most trusted Democrat, while 16.7% declared Gov. Nathan Deal, the incumbent, the most trusted Republican.

The survey of 500 adults between Feb. 5 and Feb. 18 has a 4.4 percentage point margin of error.

We’ll be discussing the poll and its results at length in coming days. But for now, here’s your glimmer of hope for Republicans, if only we don’t squander it.

Glimmer of hope

While the GOP is likely to hang onto to everything this year on the strength of white voting in a non-Presidential year, here’s a glimpse at the reality going forward, courtesy of the Washington Post.

The math isn’t complicated.  Winning 27 percent of the Hispanic vote and six percent of the African American vote -- as Romney did in 2012 — makes it hard to win a majority of the overall vote when those groups represent 10 percent and 13 percent of the electorate, respectively. If Hispanics grow to 20 percent of the electorate by 2024 or 2028 and the Republican presidential nominee performs roughly equivalent to Romney’s 2012 showing, it will be impossible — or damn close to impossible — for that GOP nominee to win a national majority.

The concentration of young minority population in the Southwest and South means that states like Texas and Arizona as well as Georgia and South Carolina — all of which have been conservative redoubts at the presidential level for decades could be in real jeopardy for the party in the medium and long term.

Republicans have a demographic problem. And it is going to get way, way worse unless they find a way to improve their numbers among Hispanics.

The problem, in my opinion, with GOP outreach to Hispanic voters is that we tend to treat them the way we treat touring Europe – to make ourselves understood, we simply speak more loudly. Perhaps we should begin listening more, talking less.

Georgia Senate 2014 really about 2016

This morning, I wrote at that a Michelle Nunn win this year has a far greater impact than one Senate seat or even partisan control of the United States Senate. It could show a path for Hilary Clinton as the Democratic nominee and eventual winner of the Presidency in 2016. Read it and panic.  If you’re not an InsiderAdvantage subscriber, I’ll be posting the entire article on in a day or two.

But consider this also in the light of what I just wrote: Atlanta has been asked by the Democratic National Committee to prepare a bid for the 2016 Democratic National Convention. If Georgia’s in play for the next Presidential election, our electoral math gets tougher. We’ll watch that process as sort of a canary in the coal mine.

That said, the New York Times prognistication machines predicts a 73% chance of Georgia electing a Republican to the Senate this year.

Sean Sullivan, writing in the Washington Post’s “The Fix” blog calls the Georgia Senate race a “SuperPAC arms race.” As what could be considered a political campaign arms merchant, I like the sound of that.

The Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Georgia has caught the attention of super PACs — but not the usual heavy hitters that typically muscle into primaries with tea party-vs.-establishment battle lines. Instead, obscurer cousins like Ending Spending Action Fund and Citizens for a Working America have populated the air space. In a crowded race most watchers predict will head to a top-two runoff on May 20, that dynamic is mostly good news for Republicans hoping to nominate an electable contender. It’s especially good news for businessman David Perdue, who has not taken any blows on the air from a third-party group yet.

If the election were held today, most observers feel that Perdue and Kingston would be best-positioned to make an all-but-certain runoff. If no candidate receives a majority of the May 20 vote — and no candidate is polling anywhere near 50 percent right now — the top two would face off in July.

If the runoff ends up being Kingston vs. Perdue, Republicans with an eye on the majority will be breathing a little easier.

Campaigns on Facebook


What do you do when you send me a campaign photo and I don’t include it in the morning news email? Stephanie Coop from Valdosta got it right: rather than criticizing what was an honest oversight, she addressed it with a sense of humor and a photo of the world’s largest Chihuahua with a yardsign.

Personally, I support Governor Nathan Deal and intend to vote for him as many times as I can. But, I also support Georgians who care enough about our government to get off the couch and go get involved in the political process.


Jason Lovett Campaign

And the most interesting campaign photo award for today goes to Jason Lovett, a Republican candidate for State House District 130, currently held by incumbent Republican David Knight. That’s a funny looking dog.

Brookhaven gets more interesting

Last night, City Council member Jim Eyre resigned his seat effective immediately during a meeting of the Brookhaven City Council.

Open seat! Special Election!

On news that Brookhaven’s 30319 is the fastest-growing zip code in Metro Atlanta, the City Council becomes more important as it is clear that the planning and zoning horizon is getting closer. While the diversity (especially among restaurants) of the Buford Highway corridor is a great asset to the City, dilapidated apartments lining the roadside are likely candidates for upgrade or redevelopment as inspections begin actually happening. How much the Brookhaven of 2024 will look like the Brookhaven of 2014 will likely be determined in planning meetings and city council.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for Tuesday, April 22, 2014

On April 22, 1891, Asa Cander bought the recipe for Coca-Cola for $2300 and eventually turned its marketing from a “brain tonic” into a plain old tasty beverage.

Adolf Hitler admitted defeat in World War II on April 22, 1945.

The Atlanta Braves won their first home game in Atlanta Stadium on April 22, 1966. The Braves beat the New York Mets 8-4. It’s interesting to look back at how the Braves landed in Atlanta.

During his 1961 campaign for mayor of Atlanta, Ivan Allen, Jr. promised to build a sports facility to attract a Major League Baseball team. After winning office, Allen chose a 47-acre plot in the Washington–Rawson neighborhood for the building site, citing its proximity to the Georgia State Capitol, downtown businesses and major highways. Allen, along with Atlanta Journal sports editor Furman Bisher, attempted to persuade Charlie Finley, owner of the Kansas City Athletics, to move his team to Atlanta. Finley was receptive and began discussing stadium design plans with Allen. The deal, however, ended in July 1963 when the American League did not approve the move.

In 1964, Mayor Allen announced that an unidentified team had given him a verbal commitment to move to Atlanta, provided a stadium was in place by 1966. Soon afterward, the prospective team was revealed to be the Milwaukee Braves, who announced in October that they intended to move to Atlanta for the 1965 season. However, court battles kept the Braves in Milwaukee for one last season.

A verbal commitment by an unnamed team brought the Braves here.

The Blues Brothers made their worldwide debut on Saturday Night Live on April 22, 1978. Two prominent Georgia musicians, Ray Charles (born Albany) and James Brown (died Atlanta) would co-star in The Blues Brothers movie.

[Language warning for this last clip.]

Former President Richard Nixon died on April 22, 1994.

Yesterday, Meb Keflezighi, a naturalized American citizen, became the first American to win the Boston Marathon since 1983 to win the race, at 39. Meb’s personal story of how he and his family came to the United States is moving and uniquely American.

Born in 1975, Mebrahtom (his full name means “let there be light”) grew up in an Eritrean village with no electricity and no running water. Besides poverty, Meb’s parents, Russom and Awetash, feared for their family’s safety because of Russom’s involvement with the Eritrean Liberation Movement and because of the ongoing war with Ethiopia. Meb’s father decided to flee. “He walked all the way”—60 miles—to Sudan, Meb says. Russom eventually made his way to Milan, Italy, where he worked to raise the money to bring his family out of East Africa.

On Oct. 21, 1987, a date that rolls off Meb’s tongue, the family immigrated to San Diego as refugees with the help of the Red Cross and the sponsorship of Meb’s half-sister, Ruth. “Dad used to wake up at 4 a.m. so we could learn English,” Meb says. “He worked as a taxi driver and worked in restaurants to be able to feed the family.”

Meb adds, “You start on the bottom, work hard, and your dreams will come true—and that’s what happened. We have a very successful family because my parents always emphasized using the opportunity you have to the maximum: ‘There are a lot of people that don’t have this opportunity, so make sure you use it.’ That stuck in our head.”

At 12, he ran his first mile. He clocked in at five minutes and 20 seconds—with no training. Dick Lord, the PE teacher at Roosevelt Junior High, called up the high school coach on the spot: “Hey, we got an Olympian here.”

If Meb sounds old school, that’s because he is. His message for young people is simple: “Life is precious. Do something that is optimistic—that is good for society. Don’t sit on the couch.” His heroes, other than the list of American long-distance runners he rattles off (Jim Ryun, Steve Prefontaine, Steve Scott, Eamonn Coghlan, Paul Tergat), are Jackie Robinson and his parents. About himself, he says: “My God-given talent was discovering when I could run 5:20. Not everyone can run 5:20 . . . I was definitely gifted, but I have to work hard.”

Also finishing the race, for the last time ever after 30 Boston marathons, was the father-son Team Hoyt.

Dick Hoyt pushed his son, Rick, who has cerebral palsy, in a wheelchair for their first race in 1977. It was a five-miler, but soon the duo went on to compete in 1,100 athletic events, including more than 30 Boston Marathons. But now that Dick Hoyt is 74 and Rick is 52, they believe it’s time to slow down.

“When Rick was born, they said, ‘Forget him. Put him away. Put him in an institution. He’s going to be nothing but a vegetable for the rest of his life,’” Dick Hoyt told ABC News. “And here he is. He’s 52 years old and we haven’t figured out what kind of vegetable he is yet.”

Rick Hoyt graduated from high school and college, and Team Hoyt has inspired people all over the world, Dick Hoyt said.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Delvis Dutton’s campaign for Congress from the 12th District, currently held by Democratic incumbent John Barrow, wins special mention for this beautiful photo tweeted from the campaign trail yesterday.

My normal guidelines for good campaign photos from the trail include including people, as that’s the number one correlate to re-tweeting, but a close second is that the candidate’s name should appear, usually in the form of a bumper sticker, t-shirt on a volunteer, or yardsign in the frame.

But the beautiful saturated colors, the prominent yardsign, and the local color from South Georgia make this a sure winner. Bonus points are awarded for the farm equipment being Case IH. My grandfather spent his entire career with International Harvester and when my father was young, he was made to avert his eyes when they saw other manufacturers’ blue or green equipment in the fields.

As of yesterday, it is now Vidalia onion packing season under Georgia state agriculture regulations. The state regulation is not without its challenges, as Georgia onion farmers have sued the state Commissioner of Agriculture over the rules.

The judge denied a request by farmer Delbert Bland to stop the commissioner from enforcing a new rule prohibiting Vidalia onions from being packed for shipping before April 21. The rule was struck down last month, but Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black says it’s still in effect while state attorneys file an appeal.

Vidalia onions are a sweet variety of onion that is a source of local pride and $150 million a year in sales. Only certified onions grown in a specific 20-county area of Georgia can use the name Vidalia.

Here is a list of places you can buy Vidalia onions, though I’m sure they’ll be in supermarkets everywhere soon. Although I’m pretty sure they’re even sweeter when bought from a roadside stand or directly from a farmer. If you’re in Gwinnett County, I highly suggest getting a big sack of Vidalia onions from the Lawrenceville Lions Club in their annual fundraiser.

The 2014 Vidalia Onion Festival opens Thursday and runs through Sunday.

And if you need recipes for your Vidalia onions, here are a couple ideas, from, of all places, The New York Times.

Cut a cone from the top of a whole, peeled onion and fill the little cavity with butter. Add some salt and pepper, wrap it in foil and roast it at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. People get fancy and tuck in a bouillon cube or add a few drops of Worcestershire to create something that tastes like a distant cousin to French onion soup. Others wrap a couple of pieces of bacon around the buttered onion and cook it on a grill, a twist that developed a fan base after the country singer Trisha Yearwood put it in a cookbook in 2008.

Columbus held a Mayoral debate last night between Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and challenger Colin Martin. You can click here to watch online. It was televised! What a novel idea, televising a debate! Alternatively, you can check out Senator Josh McKoon’s play-by-play on Facebook or on Twitter.

The Walter Jones effect

Walter Jones, writing for Morris News, suggested that a high number of undecided voters in current polling might suggest lower turnout in the 2014 Primary Election on May 20th.

Morris News and Fox5 of Atlanta released a poll Thursday conducted by InsiderAdvantage on April 13-15.

The poll’s relatively high number of undecided voters 10 days before the start of early voting — 33 percent — reflects low voter intensity. If there were a populist revolt brewing, people would have already fallen in line behind the candidate leading it.

The high undecided figure in the governor’s race, 28 percent, also shows little interest in overthrowing the establishment incumbent Deal, who commands 61 percent in the survey.

The undecided numbers from the two races combine to burst another early prediction about turnout. When a federal judge ordered the primary moved earlier in the year to allow time for overseas military ballots to be counted in runoffs, most political operatives expected a May election date would result in greater turnout than the traditional July date when school holidays left many voters on vacation.

If one of the two races had a much lower undecided rate than now, it would mean voters would show up for that race and then make a last-minute decision on the other one, which usually benefits an outsider. With high undecided numbers in both, the folks who are noncommittal usually just stay home, leaving the decision to the older, establishment diehards.

The first question is whether 33 percent undecided in the Senate race and 28 percent undecided in the Governor’s race represents a higher than usual number of undecided voters.

Matt Towery, CEO of InsiderAdvantage (where I work occasionally writing for the website, but have nothing to do with the polling) told WABE that IA polls typically have a higher undecided rate than other pollsters.

Luckily, the closest historical comparison is another InsiderAdvantage poll, from the 2010 Governor’s race conducted July 1, about three weeks out. The current IA poll is four weeks out, but it’s a pretty good comparison.

In July 2010, during a heavily contested race for Governor on the Republican Primary, IA showed 34% of poll respondents undecided on that race. So the closest apples-to-apples comparison we have show a 2010 multi-candidate GOP Primary statewide with a one-point higher undecided than this year’s poll by the same pollster. And while IA was clearly an outlier at that time, with a higher undecided than most other contemporary polls, that probably shows a “house effect” related to the polling firm more than anything. But we can’t conclude on the basis of this poll that the undecided is higher this year.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at comparing other polls to see if this holds true.

Eleventh District Poll released

While we’re discussing polling, here’s another video shot with Tharon Johnson and Eric Tanenblatt. I hope this will become a regular feature. In this short video, the two national-level stragegists talk about what they first thing they look at in a new poll is. It may surprise you.

Yesterday, Landmark Communications and RosettaStone Communications released a joint poll in the 11th District Republican Primary election. The firms released the following numbers:

Loudermilk ……25%
Barr ……………..23%
Pridemore …….11%
Lindsey …………8%

It’s worth noting that about three weeks ago, we were treated to the same-day release of two different sets of purported polling numbers in this same race.

Here’s what I wrote in the March 27th Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections morning email:

First in my mailbox was an email breathlessly announcing, “Poll Shows Loudermilk Tied for Lead in CD-11”. In a 600 sample survey fielded March 20-24, the ballot question in the Loudermilk poll looked like this:

Loudermilk   12.3
Lindsey  2.7
Barr  12.2
Pridemore 3.7
Mrozinski .3
Levene .3
Unsure 65.5
Refused 3

Fast forward a couple of hours and another email containing poll results landed in my inbox, this time from Ed Lindsey. The subject line read “Poll: Ed Lindsey Leap Frogs Competition, Momentum Building” and the poll was conducted March 10-11.

Undecided 41
Barr 25
Lindsey 15
Loudermilk 13
Pridemore 4
Other 2

Clearly it is impossible to believe both polls. Further, I would say that I find it hard to believe that more than 65% of the electorate is undecided for the May 20 Primary. What is clear from both polls, is that Bob Barr is almost certainly headed into a runoff. The other name on the runoff ballot, coincidentally, is the name of the candidate who sponsored the poll. More than that I cannot say.

Two things are clear to me: first, neither of the March polls is consistent with the one released today. I cannot believe that the Undecided vote went from 65.5 (Loudermilk poll) to 33 or less in three weeks in the absence of serious spending by any of the campaigns. To my knowledge, no one in the 11th District is up on television. Going from 41 (Lindsey poll) to 33 is possible but I doubt the Lindsey numbers in the candidate’s own poll.

Second, I’d say that I think the current Landmark/RosettaStone polls paints the same picture as the others: Bob Barr is clearly one of the top two candidates, in fact, the only one to show in first or second in every publicly released poll.

Mark Rountree, one of the pollsters and for eight years my boss, was kind enough to email me the crosstabs, reproduced below:

Cong 11 Poll Crosstabs

Two things I would note, both of them in the County crosstabs, the second table.

First is that the number of respondents for both Bartow and Fulton Counties are low, in accordance with their relative proportion in the district. But a county sample size of 64 in Bartow means a +/- 12 point margin of error when you’re looking only at that county’s numbers. Thirty-six respondents in Fulton gives you a +/- 16 point margin of error when looking only at Fulton County.

In any case, I find it difficult to believe that Barry Loudermilk is taking 58% in Bartow County, which would mean he is outperforming Governor Nathan Deal.

Secondly, I would mention that Mark told me that they weighted by County, and that could mean that the actual number of respondents in Bartow or Fulton could be even lower, though I don’t know that for a fact.

I don’t raise these criticisms specifically toward this poll or the polling firms that produced it, but to illustrate one issue that arises in polling – when you break the sample into smaller segments, the margin of error in any group less than the entire sample is higher, sometimes, when you have a particularly low sample size – such as 64 respondents in Bartow County and 36 in Fulton, weighting can magnify the already sizable sampling error.

So, in the end, my take on this poll is that it’s fundamentally sound, and I think it accurately represents the big picture, though when you get into details, especially crosstabs, the small number of some segments raises the error rate to the point where I would say that the county-specific numbers for Bartow and Fulton are meaningless. Again, this is no reflection on the pollsters, but on the realities of sample size and margin of error.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 21, 2014

On April 21, 1732, King George II signed the royal charter creating the colony of Georgia. The King’s signature did not make the charter effective as several additional steps were required.

On April 21, 1789, John Adams was sworn in as the first Vice President of the United States.

On April 21, 1904, Ty Cobb made his debut in professional baseball for the Augusta (Georgia) Tourists in the South Atlantic League in center field; Cobb hit an inside-the-field home run and a double.

Manfred von Richthofen, known as “The Red Baron,” was killed in action on April 21, 1918, shot by either an Australian gunner or a Canadian. At the time of his death, Richthofen has shot down 80 aircraft in aerial combat.

Former President Jimmy Carter was appointed Distinguished Professor at Emory University on April 21, 1982. Carter holds an annual Town Hall in which he takes questions from students.

The Charleston Riverdogs minor league baseball club debuted new Seersucker Sunday uniforms this year. I debuted my Seersucker Sunday uniform yesterday.

Georgia Politics and Campaigns

Continuing with the baseball theme, the new Cobb County Stadium for the Atlanta Braves will now cost taxpayers an additional $18 million. How much more will the taxpayer tab grow?

Cobb County political leaders last fall assured taxpayers that their financial commitment toward a new Atlanta Braves stadium would be capped at $300 million to build the stadium and another $35 million for 30 years of capital maintenance.

But an Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation has found the county will borrow an additional $18.2 million when it issues bonds to pay for the project. The new costs are needed to cover $15.1 million for the first year of interest on the debt, along with another $3.1 million to pay the county’s bond attorney and other issuance costs.

That brings the amount borrowed to $386 million, not the $368 million told to the public and outlined in a preliminary agreement with the Braves that was approved by the county commission in November.

The previously undisclosed costs raise the specter of other unknown expenses that may await taxpayers….

If you’ve ever built a house, you’ll understand that delays in construction projects are commonplace. The timing of the new stadium opening is tight, and delays could cause problems for the Braves 2016 season.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed says the Braves could stay longer at Turner Field should construction fall behind on the team’s new stadium in Cobb County. The catch is that the team must commit to five years.

The Braves are scheduled to leave Turner Field after the team’s 2016 season. The team has in its contract a five-year option to stay at the site, reports Atlanta Business Chronicle broadcast partner WXIA-TV.

Reed doesn’t seem inclined to cut the team any slack on the time frame.

“They gotta take it all,” Reed said smiling. “Can’t take a piece. You gotta take all five years.”

Nancy Jester Bill of Rights

Apparently, teaching the Bill of Rights is a controversial issue among the education establishment. Nancy Jester has made teaching the Bill of Rights – all of it – part of her platform in her campaign for State School Superintendent and AJC education writer Maureen Downey doesn’t like it. Here’s what Downey says:

I understand this T-shirt’s theme could appeal to some voters, but it also has the potential to run off others who may question why bearing arms is being referenced in any form in a race for state school chief.

Perhaps the better question is why the entire Bill of Rights is not taught under Common Core standards. Here’s what Nancy Jester says should be taught.

My experience as a parent of three elementary school children has proved to me their formal learning about history is deficient when it comes to understanding the Constitution and Bill of Rights. This is not a deficiency in the teachers. Some teachers bolster their lessons on this topic but our state leaders in education have let us down by not fully investing in teaching our children about their own history and rights. It should be noted that this deficiency exists with Georgia’s current standards for learning and the Common Core does not appear to fix this. My own opinion is that our elementary schools should have far more focus on the philosophical origins of our nation and the documents that bind us to them. By the end of 5th grade, our children should be able to enumerate their rights, with full understanding as to their meaning. If our children are not fully educated about the origins of our Republic, we should all worry about the continuity of their rights and freedom in the future. I want our children to inherit a world where they are secure in their rights and freedom.

Does teaching the foundational document of our country really cause unease in the minds of voters? Here are some more of Nancy Jester’s thoughts on the inadequacies of Georgia’s curriculum.

Why are our children not taught of the signers of the Declaration of Independence?  Why are they not taught about the signers of the Constitution?  Should there not be a mention of The Federalist Papers?  The role of economic freedom is not fully expanded in the curriculum while icons of liberal social philosophy are given special attention.  The K-5 curriculum of Georgia certainly does not instill the values of liberty and self-reliance.  It perpetuates a social agenda of guilt, judgment and entitlement based on an ambiguous and incorrect assessment of history.

Finally, here is Nancy Jester’s complete response to the AJC/educratic establishment’s fear of American democracy.

David Perdue’s vaunted business background has now provide more than a throwaway line for his television ads – it’s also providing full employment for researchers digging for dirt in his career. Benjy Sarlin of provides the first shot across the frontrunner’s bow.

David Perdue, a Republican candidate for Senate in Georgia’s competitive primary, has boasted in ads, interviews and debates that he ran corporations that created thousands of jobs in America. He’s also claimed that he learned the intricacies of international affairs from managing business operations abroad. Both of these claims are true, just not always at the same time.

When Perdue arrived at Haggar Clothing Co. in 1994, the historic menswear company was struggling. Revenues were down, old reliable products like suits were in decline, and competitors like Levi’s were muscling in on their department store sales.

As senior vice president, Perdue was in charge of international operations at Haggar and later domestic operations as well. Under his watch, the company did what so many clothing manufacturers did at the time: closed down factory lines in America and outsourced production overseas where labor was cheap and regulations were less restrictive.

That meant cutting hundreds of jobs at South Texas facilities in Weslaco, Edinburg, and Brownsville and producing clothes in countries like Mexico, where the average manufacturing employee earned about $1.50 an hour in wages and benefits.

In SEC filings, Haggar reported employing 4,300 workers in America in 1996. That number dropped to just 2,600 in 1997 while the company maintained 1,700 workers overseas in both years. By 1998, 1,667 laid off Haggar employees had been certified for NAFTA retraining programs for workers who lost their jobs to outsourcing or foreign imports – the most of any company in Texas, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Outsourcing has been a contentious issue in politics in recent years. Democrats pilloried Mitt Romney in 2012 for his role investing in companies that engaged in the practice. In 2010, Carly Fiorina was assailed for outsourcing jobs while CEO of Hewlett-Packard during her unsuccessful campaign for Senate.

According to Perdue, anti-outsourcing attacks against politicians often ignore the challenge that companies face balancing the interests of customers, employees, shareholders, and investors.

“To politicians who have never been in a free enterprise system this sounds really easy,” Perdue said. “It is anything but easy. It’s very messy.”

Perdue said Haggar’s shift to factories abroad was the unavoidable result of several factors, including declining sales for some of the company’s American-made products, increasingly cheap clothing from rivals who had outsourced production earlier, and the 1994 ratification of NAFTA, which reduced duties on Mexican-imported goods.

“We fundamentally restructured a company for survival,” Perdue said. “Another way to look at this is we saved a couple thousand jobs.”

Next comes a revelation that a company whose Board of Directors David Perdue served on received stimulus funds in 2009.

Georgia Senate candidate David Perdue (R), whose campaign has focused on the need to cut federal spending, is on the board of a company that received millions of dollars from the federal stimulus program.
Perdue has been on the Alliant Energy Corporation’s board of directors since 2001. Since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed in 2009, the company received $3.4 million in stimulus funding.

That includes a $3.2 million grant to one of its subsidiaries, Wisconsin Power, for smart grid investment.

“David believes that overall, like most spending by Washington politicians, the stimulus was a waste of taxpayer money that missed its mark while piling on even more debt,” Perdue spokesman Derrick Dickey told The Hill.
Perdue’s campaign says he was aware of the stimulus grant to Wisconsin Power, but wasn’t involved in seeking the funds or in the company’s day-to-day management.
“A board of directors at a company that size is not involved in granular level operational decision making,” Dickey said in an email. “Of course the board has a general awareness of the company’s activities, most of which are highlighted in annual and quarterly public reports; however, it does not direct the day-to-day operational decisions.”

A Georgia company has licensed the Haleigh’s Hope strain of cannabis bred to have higher levels of medicinal CBD and very low rates of the intoxicant THC.

ICYMI: two political strategists on the Georgia Senate race

Last week I talked with Tharon Johnson, Southeast National Political Director of the 2012 Obama reelection campaign, and Eric Tanenblatt, a National Co-Chair of the Romney 2012 campaign about Media, Momentum, and the 2014 Senate race in Georgia. It’s well worth watching.

AV Club: at the Augusta Senate Debate

Rep. Phil Gingrey at the Augusta Senate Debate

Rep. Paul Broun at the Augusta Senate Debate

Rep. Jack Kingston at the Augusta Senate Debate

Karen Handel at the Augusta Senate Debate’s At the races blog describes Saturday’s Augusta Senate race as “a brawl.”

With so many candidates running for the state’s open Senate seat, none are expected to win a majority of the vote in the May 20 primary. They’re fighting to finish in the top two and advance to the July 22 runoff, when all bets are off.

The name of Michelle Nunn, the likely Democratic nominee, wasn’t mentioned until the final three minutes of the 90-minute debate — symbolic of where the GOP’s focus still is in the race to replace retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga. Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel first uttered the Nunn name in her closing remarks, as she portrayed herself as the most electable conservative on the stage.

“I would just love to see Michelle Nunn try to drop the ‘war on women’ on me,” Handel said.

Handel is the only woman in the field of candidates, of which five have at least an outside shot at making the runoff. Former Reebok and Dollar General CEO David Perdue, the cousin of former Gov. Sonny Perdue, continually pitches himself as the outsider with the business background, grouping Handel in with the three members of Congress as the “career politicians.”

Rep. Jack Kingston, who has been among the top two in recent polls, along with Perdue, said Republicans in the House have “shut down” Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and that he intends to take the fight to the Senate against Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. He sought to stand out from his House colleagues, Reps. Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun, but also pushed back against the Perdue’s outsider mantra.

“I’m not going to apologize for being a long-term soldier fighting for the conservative cause,” Kingston said.

RollCall also visited the 27th annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Cookout in Tattnall County for a taste of the Senate race’s local flavor.

Southeast Georgia is Kingston country. His campaign has been working for months to broaden his brand beyond this area and into vote-rich Atlanta ahead of the competitive May 20 primary. But on this day, the congressman was sewing up his base.

“While it’s good to come down here doing a little politicking — nothing wrong with that — I’m glad to be here because I like Tattnall County, and I’m going to keep coming no matter what happens,” Kingston said on stage in very brief remarks to the crowd.

Also at the cookout were Gov. Nathan Deal, Attorney General Sam Olens, Secretary of State Brian Kemp and the state commissioners of Insurance and Agriculture — who are all up for re-election this year and used their 15 seconds of stage time.

Running in a separate article about the event is a photo of Democratic Congressman John Barrow with the Georgia Sweet Onion Queen.

Tweets from the Trail










Loudermilk Benita Tweet


Nancy Jester State School Superintendent

Event Calendar

Forsyth County GOP: Debates – School Board District 1 & Solicitor General

April 21, 2014, 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Forsyth County Administration Building, 110 East Main Street, Cumming, GA 30040
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6:30 to 7:45 pm - School Board District 1 (Ann Crow, Amanda Nixon, Mark Weiss); 7:50 to 9:05 pm - Solicitor General (Susan Zereini, Bill Finch)

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Putnam County GOP: Annual General Assembly Recap

April 21, 2014, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Harmony Community Association, 1081 Greensboro Road, Eatonton, GA 31024
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Putnam GOP – PCRP Annual General Assembly Recap  The PCRP will host its annual “General Assembly Recap”  Beginning at 7:30, State Senator Burt Jones and Representatives Mickey Channell and Rusty Kidd will offer their insights about what happened and didn’t happen in this year’s legislature, followed by Q & A. Contact: 706-816-8897 or [email protected] for more information.

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Barrow County GOP: Meeting with Nancy Jester, David Perdue, & Stephen Simpson

April 21, 2014, 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Winder Woman’s Club, 15 West Midland Ave, Winder, GA 30680
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Barrow County GOP Guest Speakers – David Perdue, candidate for U.S. Senate, Stephen Simpson, candidate for 10th U.S. District, and Nancy Jester, candidate for State School Supt.

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Nancy Jester: Meet & Greet

April 22, 2014, @ 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Olde Blind Dog Irish Pub,

705 Town Blvd, Atlanta , GA 30319

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Please join Nancy Jester for Georgia State School Superintendent on Tuesday, April 22 at the Olde Blind Dog Irish Pub in Brookhaven for a Meet & Greet/Fundraiser from 5:30-8:30 pm. There is no charge to attend the event, any contributions to Nancy’s campaign will go immediately to Voter Contact efforts as we hit the last 30 days until the Primary on May 20… You can find out more about Nancy’s campaign at

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Cagle’s Family farm: Candidate Forum – GA 11 Candidates, Statewide Candidates, Local Cherokee County Candidates

April 22, 2014, 6:00 PM – 9:30 PM
Cagle’s Family Farm, 362 Stringer Rd, Canton, GA 30115
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Candidate Forum All local, state and national candidates are invited. RSVP by April 19th to: 770-479-1481 or [email protected]

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Morehouse CR: Meeting with Herman Cain

April 22, 2014, 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Morehouse College – MLK International Chapel, 830 Westview Dr SW, Atlanta, GA 30314+ Google Map

Herman Cain will be visiting his Alma mater. Morehouse College! This event is sponsored by the Morehouse College Republicans. Come spend the evening as we hear from a great author, radio host, business executive and servant leader! Follow the link for more details!

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Georgia Politics, Campaign, and Elections for April 18, 2014

On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere and William Dawes mounted up on horseback to warn of British troops on their way to confiscate American arms and to warn patriots Samuel Adams and John Hancock, who the British sought to capture.

By 1775, tensions between the American colonies and the British government had approached the breaking point, especially in Massachusetts, where Patriot leaders formed a shadow revolutionary government and trained militias to prepare for armed conflict with the British troops occupying Boston. In the spring of 1775, General Thomas Gage, the British governor of Massachusetts, received instructions from Great Britain to seize all stores of weapons and gunpowder accessible to the American insurgents. On April 18, he ordered British troops to march against Concord and Lexington.

The Boston Patriots had been preparing for such a British military action for some time, and, upon learning of the British plan, Revere and Dawes set off across the Massachusetts countryside. They took separate routes in case one of them was captured….

About 5 a.m. on April 19, 700 British troops under Major John Pitcairn arrived at the town to find a 77-man-strong colonial militia under Captain John Parker waiting for them on Lexington’s common green. Pitcairn ordered the outnumbered Patriots to disperse, and after a moment’s hesitation, the Americans began to drift off the green. Suddenly, the “shot heard around the world” was fired from an undetermined gun, and a cloud of musket smoke soon covered the green. When the brief Battle of Lexington ended, eight Americans lay dead and 10 others were wounded; only one British soldier was injured. The American Revolution had begun.

President William H. Taft learned on April 18, 1912 of the death of his military aide, Major Archibald Butts of Augusta, Georgia on RMS Titanic.

The honeybee was recognized as the official state insect of Georgia on April 18, 1975.

On April 18, 2006, Governor Sonny Perdue signed legislation establishing February 6 of each year as “Ronald Reagan Day” in Georgia and celebrating the date of President Reagan’s birth.

Georgia Politics

Yesterday, InsiderAdvantage released a poll for Fox 5 Atlanta and Morris News on the United States Senate race and the Gubernatorial contest. As a disclaimer, I work for InsiderAdvantage, writing for the website, but am not involved in their polling.

The race for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate shows political newcomer David Perdue leading 3 congressmen and a former Georgia Secretary of State.

David Perdue: 19%
Jack Kingston: 15%
Karen Handel: 13%
Paul Broun: 11%
Phil Gingrey: 9%
Other: 1%
Undecided: 32%

In the race for the GOP nomination for Governor of Georgia, incumbent Nathan Deal has an overwhelming lead over his two opponents. The results are:

Nathan Deal: 61%
David Pennington: 7%
John Barge: 4%
Undecided: 28%

Matt Towery of InsiderAdvantage was quoted:

“Handel shows the most momentum at the moment,” he said. “Kingston has solidified second place with his more recent ‘Obamacare’ ad featuring images of Barack Obama engaged in leaving a faux voicemail for Kingston. But his first round of ads featuring an old station wagon clearly hurt him with female voters who tend to dominate the metro-Atlanta electorate.”

Handel’s campaign manager, Corry Bliss, stressed that she has spent little on advertising while Perdue and Kingston have each invested more than $1 million on television.

“We feel confident that as we spread Karen’s message of achieving conservative results, we will continue to grow our momentum,” he said.

Within an hour of the poll’s release, the Handel campaign sent an email to supporters stating, “a new poll released this afternoon has Karen Handel surging,” and soliciting contributions to help “keep the momentum going.”

Yesterday afternoon, I spoke to Eric Tanenblatt and Tharon Johnson, both from the McKenna Long law firm here in Atlanta. In 1992, Eric Tanenblatt was Political Director for Paul Coverdell’s Senate campaign, and I interned there. Since then, Eric has become a nationally-recognized Republican political strategist and served as a political advisor and National Finance Co-Chair for Governor Mitt Romney’s 2012 Presidential campaign as well as Georgia’s State Chairman for President George W. Bush’s campaign in 2000. Tharon Johnson managed Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s first winning campaign in 2009 and National Southern Regional Director for the 2012 Obama For America campaign, leading the presidential re-election campaign efforts for 11 southern states, including two key battleground states, Florida and North Carolina.

Here’s the take on yesterday’s poll and what it means for the Republican nomination for United States Senate from two of the top political operatives in the country.

It was an honor to talk to these gentlemen and be allowed to pick their brains on polling and politics nationally and in Georgia. I learned more in an hour there than in anything else I’ve done in recent years.

Hopefully, we’ll be talking more in the future.

As it happens, I had met Tharon the night before on the set of Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “On the Story.” It was a pleasure to be with hosts Bill Nigut and Bobbie Battista, as well as fellow panelists Jim Galloway of the AJC, Jackie Cushman, and of course, Tharon. Here’s a clip.

Handel also announced earlier this week that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is endorsing her campaign for Senate.

Yesterday, Congressman Jack Kingston received the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in his bid for United States Senate. Here is Jim Galloway’s analysis of what it means:

solidifying [Kingston's] position as the choice of the business establishment and representing a blow to businessman David Perdue, who is fighting in the same space of the Republican primary electorate.

The Chamber can back up its endorsement with independent spending, though political director Rob Engstrom would not reveal any plans for a buy. The group has already spent $500,000 each backing Sens. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Thad Cochran, R-Miss., in their primaries against tea party insurgents.

Word is Perdue had a testy interview with the Chamber, but Kingston also mostly votes with the Chamber’s wishes: He got 75 percent on the group’s scorecard last year, compared with 67 percent for Rep. Phil Gingrey and 46 percent for Rep. Paul Broun.

I think that it also hurts Kingston in some quarters, Tea Party-type conservative activists who are suspicious of anyone who appears too close to the Chamber of Commerce may distance themselves from his campaign at this point. But to the extent that Kingston wishes to discuss economic development, and fostering both the Port of Savannah and agriculture, Georgia’s largest industry, it enhances his ability to discuss business development and job growth.

Speaking of job growth, yesterday saw the announcement that Georgia’s unemployment rate dipped again, for the ninth consecutive month. This marks the lowest unemployment rate since September 2008, and the lowest since Governor Nathan Deal took office. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Deal campaign is talking to their media strategists about adding that point to the currently-running TV ad.

We’ll wrap up this morning’s news with a look at John McCallum’s newest commercial featuring his wife Heather, who just happened to have been the first deaf person selected as Miss America, winning in 1995. Heather has an impeccable Republican pedigree herself, having spoken at the 1996 and 2000 Republican National Conventions.


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

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

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

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

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

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

Modern Georgia Politics

Jack Kingston drops new ad this morning


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

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

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

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

Pennington becomes cautionary tale

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

Jim Galloway sets the stage, describing the announcement:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Events Calendar

Sen. Mike Dugan Campaign Kick-off

April 17, 2014, 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM

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

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

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The Cherokee County Black Republican Council: Inaugural Meeting

April 17, 2014, 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM

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

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

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Sen. Jack Murphy: Campaign Reception

April 17, 2014, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

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

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

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Dekalb Candidates Meet & Greet at The Grove!

April 17, 2014, 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM

The Grove, 2761 LaVista Rd, Decatur, GA 30033

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

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Lee County GOP: Meeting

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

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

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

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Oconee County GOP: Local Candidate Forum

April 17, 2014, 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM

City Hall, 191 VFW Dr, Watkinsville, GA 30677

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

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

April 17, 2014, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

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

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

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Coweta County GOP: PSC Candidates Forum

April 17, 2014, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

Golden Corral, 605 Bullsboro Dr, Newnan, GA 30263

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

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Forsyth County GOP: GA House District 26 Debate

April 17, 2014, @ 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

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

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

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

April 17, 2014, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

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

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

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Gwinnett County GOP: State School Superintendent Forum

April 17, 2014, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

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

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Senator Jim Tysinger Saturday Morning Breakfast Forum

April 19, 2014, 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM

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

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

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Bulloch County GOP: Gov. Nathan Deal Meet & Greet

April 19, 2014, 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM

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

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

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GA GOP: US Senate Primary Debate / Augusta

April 19, 2014, 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM

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

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

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April 20, 2014

Christ the Lord is Risen Today  - Hallelujah!

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

April 21, 2014

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

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

April is the national month set aside to recognize Autism Awareness, Sexual Assault Awareness, and National Pecan Month. We are in the middle of National Library Week. April 16th is National Healthcare Decisions Day.

George Washington, recently elected President, left his Mount Vernon home on April 16, 1789 for his inauguration in New York.

“I bade adieu to Mount Vernon, to private life, and to domestic felicity; and with a mind oppressed with more anxious and painful sensations than I have words to express.”

On April 16, 1865, Columbus, Georgia fell to Union forces. The Battle of Columbus is widely considered to be the last battle of the Civil War. Though it is not unanimously held to be, a 1935 Act of the Georgia General Assembly declared it the war’s last battle. Continue reading

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 15, 2014

On April 15, 1741, the Georgia colony was divided into two counties – Savannah County and Frederica County.


Map courtesy of Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

On April 15, 1776, the Georgia Provincial Congress issued “Rules and Regulations,” which would serve as an interim state Constitution until the Constitution of 1777 was adopted.

On April 15, 1783, the United States Congress ratified a preliminary peace treaty with Great Britain, which was signed in November 1782.

President Abraham Lincoln died on April 15, 1865 of a gunshot suffered the previous evening.

The Atlanta Ladies Memorial Association was formed on April 15, 1966 to assist and honor Confederate veterans. One of its most well-known projects was the “Lion of the Confederacy” memorial in Oakland Cemetery.

Photo: J. Glover (AUTiger)

Photo: J. Glover (AUTiger)

RMS Titanic sunk at 2:20 AM on April 15,1912.

Jackie Robinson, born in Cairo, Georgia, became the first African-American professional baseball player in the Major Leagues on April 15, 1947, playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers against the Boston Braves. Robinson scored the winning run in that game.

On April 15, 1989, Chinese students and intellectuals in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, mourned the death of Communist Party General Secretary Hu Yaoban, considered a liberal reformer.

DeForest Kelley, born in Atlanta and known for playing Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy on the original Star Trek series, was inducted into the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame on April 15, 1992.

One year ago today, two bombs exploded near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon killing three people and wounding more than 260 others.

Georgia Campaigns & Elections

Track City

As a candidate, you know you’re legitimate when another campaign or a party organization assigns a tracker to follow and video you. Daniel Malloy of the AJC writes about the now-ubiquitous practice.

As candidates for governor, U.S. Senate and U.S. House traverse Georgia in this blockbuster election year, their every utterance is being recorded and filed away in the hope of finding embarrassment, extremism or flip-floppery.

Multiple Georgia U.S. Senate candidates have had controversial comments publicized by trackers, via the news media. U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston faced scrutiny in December after a tracker caught him saying children could pay a small fee or “sweep the floor in the cafeteria” in exchange for free school lunches.

In 2012 U.S. Rep. Paul Broun told a crowd at a church in Hartwell that evolution, embryology and the Big Bang Theory are “lies from the pit of hell,” in video posted on the church website and distributed widely by a Democrat-allied super PAC.

Trackers hired to follow foes are as much a staple of the modern political campaign in statewide and national races as a Facebook page. In addition, anyone with a smartphone and a YouTube account can publish an off-message moment. It has made political research more dynamic and made candidates that much more cautious about everything they say.

Bobby Kahn, a Democratic political consultant and former state party chairman, said tracking cameras first started popping up in Georgia in 1990 – but then you had to hire an entire crew.

By 1998, they were becoming more common but still not quite accepted.

Former Secretary of State and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Karen Handel was the guest of honor at a recent GOP breakfast in a downtown Carrollton restaurant. As soon as she began speaking, a young man standing in the back wearing a Kingston sticker whipped out a handheld video camera to film her remarks. No one paid him any mind.

When Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn showed up in Washington on Thursday, apparently for a fundraiser, she was greeted by two trackers as she exited her car. One asked “Why are you in Washington, D.C., raising money from lobbyists this morning?” Nunn did not respond, carrying on a conversation with a companion instead.

In Georgia, individual campaigns are doing some tracking, but state Democratic and Republican parties, and Washington-based outside groups have broader footprints.

The infamous remarks by then-Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., about “legitimate rape” – which killed his chances at a U.S. Senate seat – came in a local TV interview that might have been overlooked if American Bridge had not fed it to the national media. American Bridge did the same with Broun’s “lies from the pit of hell” video.

America Rising has 20 trackers throughout the country and in Georgia is following Nunn and U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta, who faces a tough re-election. The Georgia GOP is following Nunn and Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Jason Carter.

Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight looked at whether candid camera moments are likely to change the dynamic in an election by looking back at three well-know instances; he found that they can be important when they motivate a candidate’s or party’s base.

the Republican PAC America Rising released a video of [Democrat Bruce] Braley, who represents the 1st Congressional District, referring to Iowa’s other senator, Chuck Grassley, as a “farmer from Iowa who never went to law school.” The comment might seem ill-considered in a state that generates the fourth-highest income per capita from crop production. It has sparked plenty of attention in the local news media; the Des Moines Register, Iowa’s newspaper of record, has published at least 14 pieces on Braley’s comment.

Is Braley’s remark another thing for Democrats to worry about — or is it the latest example of a purported “game changer” that will prove to have little effect?

Gaffes often resonate more with the news media than with voters. A reasonably large body of political science research has found their impact is usually overstated by those who cover campaigns.

Races for the Senate differ [from Presidential campaigns] in some important ways.

First, the candidates are usually less well-known to voters. Braley has strong name recognition in the northeastern quadrant of Iowa, which he represents in Congress. But statewide, 46 percent of Iowans hadn’t known enough about him to form an opinion, according to a Quinnipiac University poll conducted before the release of the “farmer” video. For some of them, the “farmer” comment will represent their first impression of the candidate.

The second difference is that the presidential race is never a sideshow. By contrast, senatorial campaigns compete against one another for scarce resources, such as funds from campaign committees, and attention from activists and the national press.

Braley’s remark might not matter much unto itself. But it’s plausible that it could spur activists and the news media into evaluating the Iowa race differently.

Got (Ground) Game?

Walter Jones of Morris News writes about modern campaigns and how to look at them for clues about strategy.

What aren’t visible in this phase of campaigns are efforts being made for the coming ground war critical to boosting turnout. Because so many voters who hate politics can’t avoid news about the president, they tend to only vote in presidential elections. Getting them to vote and to choose a particular candidate in an off year like 2014 requires considerable effort.

The Barack Obama campaigns of 2008 and 2012 developed stunningly effective techniques to reach these reluctant voters, largely through social media, email and precisely targeted canvasing. By their nature, these techniques are only obvious to the receiver rather than to outside observers like political reporters and rival campaigns, which is why Republicans were caught off guard by them both years Obama ran.

Staking yard signs on busy roads is a clear tipoff of a campaign’s activity. Blasting thousands of text messages to individual voters isn’t.

The question of get-out-the-vote tactics is also a mystery to pollsters because they don’t know how to adjust the raw results to match expected turnout. If the tactics are successful, there may be more young voters or women or blacks than in a typical off year, rendering a poll inaccurate if it is adjusted to account for the demographic mix of past elections in non-presidential years.

While political junkies can only speculate about what campaign is using which turnout techniques, they do have a front-row seat for watching the air war played out on their television screens. They’ll be making particular note of who has a coherent message and who switches to attack mode and whether the attacked candidates respond in a way that furthers their own message or that strays from it. There should be scorecards printed up for tracking the hits, strikeouts and errors.

For amateur scorekeepers, the first step is to isolate the core message from the trappings. Consider who the target is, such as a candidate talking about taxes or national defense is usually going after men while one talking about education or abortion rights is after younger voters and women.

Then, analyze future messages to see how closely they stick to that original message. It can actually make watching political ads fun, and it’s why diehard politicos are glad their wait is over for this visible phase to finally arrive.

Stuart Rothenberg writes today in about how to assess ground tactics.

In an era of micro-targeting and sophisticated get-out-the-vote operations, how can a handicapper know exactly how an election outcome will be affected by a strong ground game?

For me, the answer has always been pretty obvious: I can’t.

It’s not that I dismiss or undervalue the importance of a campaign’s “field operation” or denigrate the impact of registration efforts or voter turnout strategies by one or both parties. It’s that I have never found a way to measure the impact of “ground game” operations during an election.

Earlier this year, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee disclosed that through its Bannock Street project, it would spend $60 million to put 4,000 paid staffers on the ground in its attempt to retain control of the Senate.

Could Democrats register enough voters or turn out people who previously didn’t vote during midterms to flip a couple of House and Senate contests? Maybe. It certainly seems possible.

“According to Sasha Issenberg, the author of ‘The Victory Lab,’ a good ground operation can add a point or two to the vote,” reported veteran National Public Radio correspondent Mara Liasson in late March. (“Democrats Count On the Fine Art of Field Operations.”)

[W]hen evaluating a candidate’s chances of winning an election — or a party’s prospects across the country — the only way I know of including the results of field operations into my handicapping is through survey data showing enthusiasm and intensity of vote intention. And that certainly won’t show up now or, in all likelihood, for the next few months.When I asked one pollster about the best way to evaluate the impact of a party’s ground game, he told me to “wait until they count the votes.” At that point, it’s possible to compare election results to previous cycles and to consider what changes in turnout took place and how they may have been related to field operations.

Politics365 covers campaigns and elections from the perspective of communities of color. Much has been made of changing demographics in the Peach State, but the question for 2014 is how that will effect the composition of the electorate. Here’s the takeaway from political professional Kirk Clay from a social media conference discussion of Georgia politics from Politics365.

This conference was the launch of a plan to untie and mobilize large numbers of white progressive and “voters of color” (VOC) through the use of “predictive modeling” to strategically micro-target supporters. What’s even more impressive? You could see #GA123’s impact with 200 tweets being reproduced 66 times — a high ratio and strong online activity for a conference of this size.  What’s more, many in the audience were media personalities and local “influencers” with large followings so #GA123 could’ve potentially touched over 120,000 people.

The concept is simple, mobilize progressive voters to take three important steps: 1) Vote in the primary election, 2) early vote in the general election, and 3) get a friend to vote on November 4th.

mpact on Election 2014: “Republican candidates running for Georgia U.S. Senate want low turnout to win. Their support comes from precincts with plenty of older white male voters.” Therefore, the only hope progressives have of holding on the U.S. Senate is with the help of a “Voters of Color Fire Wall.” This wall can be built in “States of Influence” – places like Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, and North Carolina that are not necessarily majority minority but have enough diversity to effect the election. The question is how to ignite the “Rising Electorate” in a midterm.

Case: Georgia is undergoing a remarkable demographic transformation and will soon be an electoral swing state. For these reasons Georgia is at the center of the political universe as it relates to the “Rising Electorate.” As witnessed at the state level in 2012, this rising electorate helped give President Obama 46% (1,773,827) of the Georgia’s vote – only a point off his 2008 performance. More importantly, the VOC vote share grew from 32% in 2008 to 37% for the first time ever. As a result, we now know that a Democrat can successfully win a bid for U.S. Senator with support from 35% of the progressive white vote.

Read that last paragraph again, where it says, “the VOC vote share grew from 32% in 2008 to 37% for the first time ever. As a result, we now know that a Democrat can successfully win a bid for U.S. Senator with support from 35% of the progressive white vote.”

Turnout key in 2014

If turnout, especially among voters of color, will be determinative in 2014, how will parties and campaigns attempt to deal with this to their advantage? Sean Sullivan, writing for the Washington Post, asserts that it’s no accident that Democrats are talking about race and politics lately.

So what to make of Democrats’ rhetoric? Regardless of motivation, they’ve elevated the question of whether strains of racism exist within the GOP and that is far from a risk-free proposition, strategists in both parties say.

“Very risky to accuse the GOP of outright, overt racism,” said one Democratic strategist who was granted anonymity to speak candidly. “Midterms are about motivating your base, so perhaps that is what’s going on. I think more Democrats should take their cues from President Obama, who to my knowledge has never accused his opponents of being racially motivated.”

Saying outright that elements of the Republican Party are racist could potentially spur minorities — who vote overwhelmingly Democratic — to turn out in larger numbers and give them something to rally against. But it could also have the opposite effect: Energizing the Republican base to voice their disagreement at the polls with what Democrats are saying about their party.

Midterm voters “don’t turn out to vote for something, they turn out to vote against something,” said Republican pollster Glen Bolger. “Republicans have their motivation, but the Democratic leadership is casting about for ways to get their base to the polls. Maybe it’s one of their blind data tests; Harry Reid is crying about the Koch Brothers, while the House side has been assigned ‘Republican racism’ as their meme. It’s a pretty thin gruel the Democrats are trying to serve to their voters.”

Democrats are working every day to to get as many African Americans and Hispanics as they can to vote this year. Battleground elections that could decide control of the Senate are happening in states like Louisiana, Arkansas and North Carolina and Georgia, where the minority population — especially African Americans — is very substantial. Democrats’ success or failure there lies heavily in how successful they are in boosting turnout among minority groups.

Closer to home, Georgia Democrats are actively seeking to turnout young voters in hopes of bolstering their chances in November.

The Young Democrats of Georgia [held] their annual conference … April 11-13 in Columbus….
Jason Carter is the 38-year-old Democratic gubernatorial campaign, and he will be headlining a special awards dinner at the conference. Organizers say the weekend events are geared toward whipping up excitement among the party’s youth, in the hopes they will campaign for the candidates and come out and vote in November.

Non-presidential elections rarely galvanize younger voters, said Mark Rountree, a pollster and a political strategist who often works with Republicans.
“Off-year elections do generally become older,” he said. “You don’t see the turnout of young people that you see in presidential elections. I think you will see a reduced number who are voting.”
That could favor Republicans like Governor Nathan Deal, who is 71. He belongs to the largest block of registered voters in Georgia, those age 65 and up. With more than 890,000 people, the group is nearly double the size of the next largest block, 18-24-year-olds, who number about 500,000.
But it may not be that simple. Notably, Rountree says a recent poll conducted by his firm, Landmark Communications, in conjunction with WSB shows Deal doing well with youth voters. And that could be a problem for him.
“In our survey, Gov. Deal was actually winning among young people so low turnout could be a help to Sen. Carter,” Rountree said.
But while Deal may be having success courting younger people, Carter is simply young himself. At 48, so is Nunn. And party officials are banking that will pay off in connecting to voters.
“For folks in Jason’s age bracket, it is fresh on their minds trying to pay off student loans, trying to find a good-paying job, all of that,” said Michael Smith, a spokesman with the Democratic Party of Georgia. “It’s all fresh on Jason’s mind. Plus he has a young family and a lot of young Democrats have young families.”

Recently, lawyers and “community activists” gathered in Atlanta to discuss voting rights and turnout. From National Public Radio,

Laughlin McDonald, director of the ACLU Voting Rights Project, has watched elections in Georgia since not long after Congress passed the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Last year, a divided Supreme Court gutted part of that law, throwing into chaos a system that had required Georgia and eight other states to ask for federal permission before making any election changes.

“We know that in Georgia it is having a negative impact in some of the jurisdictions, and one of them is Augusta-Richmond County,” McDonald said.

Before the Supreme Court ruled, the county planned to move up its elections from November to July. But the Justice Department objected to that plan, arguing it would depress black turnout. After the Supreme Court ruling, the county no longer had to ask for permission, so the change was made.

Already, the Atlanta Journal Constitution has found African-Americans are underrepresented in local governments across the state.

Not everyone at the training believes there’s reason for alarm in Georgia. Bryan Tyson, a young Atlanta lawyer, said the Supreme Court majority was right last year when it called out Congress for failing to update decades-old triggers in the Voting Rights Act.

“I haven’t really seen any sort of massive resurgence of problems as a result of that,” Tyson said. “Not really any major issues that I’ve seen as a result.”

Ann Brumbaugh is a lawyer who’s represented the state elections board and worked on a bipartisan rewrite of Georgia’s elections code. She sees more cause for concern.

“It makes some people more willing to do reckless things, and it makes other people less willing to do necessary things,” Brumbaugh said, explaining that not many eyes are focused on what small counties and towns are doing.

County Connections

Governor Nathan Deal spoke to the Association of County Commissioners in Savannah. From the Savannah Morning News:

Gov. Nathan Deal said Monday jobs have been the focus of his administration and county commissioners have been his partners in that process.

“With your cooperation, we have achieved the designation as the No. 1 state in the nation in which to do business,” Deal said. “And we’re working hard to keep it.

“With your help in the last three-plus years, we have seen more than 235,000 private-sector jobs created in Georgia.”

Then Deal, speaking to the crowd of 1,000-plus members of the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center, offered more good news: State revenues for March were 12.3 percent higher than a year earlier.

“Folks, we’re coming out of this thing,” Deal said, adding that the state is almost at 5.5 percent growth in fiscal year to date.

“But we recognize that we have things we need to do to help your communities prosper and keep our state growing,” Deal said.

High on that list is job training.

Deal’s campaign rolled out 145 local elected officials who have endorsed the Governor’s reelection bid.

Deal Commissioners

“Along with the municipal leaders they partner with, Georgia’s county commissioners know the needs and challenges of their communities better than anyone else,” Deal said. “I am honored and humbled by their endorsements and support. In conjunction with our mayors coalition and county chairs in all 159 counties, Commissioners for Deal adds to our unrivaled grassroots organization in every corner of the state. I pledge my continued partnership with each of these county commissioners to guarantee Georgia remains the No. 1 state in the nation to do business.”

Commissioners for Deal Co-Chair Charlotte Nash (Gwinnett) said, “Gov. Deal is a strong partner for our counties and local communities as we have joined together to make Georgia the No. 1 state in the nation to do business. I’m proud to stand alongside these elected officials from every corner of our state and offer the governor our support.  His vision and strong leadership are crucial to ensuring Georgia’s continued economic success.”

Commissioners for Deal co-chairs include:
Co-Chair: Chairman Bob Blackburn-Coweta County
Co-Chair: Chairman Charlotte Nash-Gwinnett County
Co-Chair: Chairman Kevin Little-Walton County
Co-Chair: Commissioner Carvel Lewis-Quitman County

For a complete list of Commissioners for Deal endorsements, click here.


Muscogee Lunch April 15 2014

The Greater Fayette Republican Women’s Club will hold our Thursday, April 17th evening meeting beginning at 6:30pm at Fayette County Republican Party Event Center, 174 Glynn Street North, Fayetteville. The guest speaker will be U.S. Representative Phil Gingrey M.D., candidate for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate. Also speaking will be Richard Woods, candidate for the Republican nomination for State School Superintendent. Local candidates who are vying for seats on the Board of Education and the County Board of Commissioners will be introduced and offered the opportunity to speak for a few minutes on relevant issues. A light supper will be provided by GFRWC. For more information, please contact Debby Dickinson, 404-376-4132 or [email protected]

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 14, 2014

The first American society advocating for abolition of slavery was founded on April 14, 1775, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Benjamin Franklin would later serve as President of the organization.

On April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth shot President Abraham Lincoln as the President attended a showing of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater, seven blocks from the White House.

RMS Titanic hit an iceberg just before midnight on April 14, 1912. Among those losing their lives was Major Archibald Butt of Augusta, Georgia, who had served as a military aide to Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.

“Captain Smith and Major Archibald Butt, military aide to the President of the United States, were among the coolest men on board. A number of steerage passengers were yelling and screaming and fighting to get to the boats. Officers drew guns and told them that if they moved towards the boats they would be shot dead. Major Butt had a gun in his hand and covered the men who tried to get to the boats. The following story of his bravery was told by Mrs. Henry B. Harris, wife of the theatrical manager: ‘The world should rise in praise of Major Butt. That man’s conduct will remain in my memory forever. The American army is honored by him and the way he taught some of the other men how to behave when women and children were suffering that awful mental fear of death. Major Butt was near me and I noticed everything that he did.”

“When the order to man the boats came, the captain whispered something to Major Butt. The two of them had become friends. The major immediately became as one in supreme command. You would have thought he was at a White House reception. A dozen or more women became hysterical all at once, as something connected with a life-boat went wrong. Major Butt stepped over to them and said: ‘Really, you must not act like that; we are all going to see you through this thing.’”

“He helped the sailors rearrange the rope or chain that had gone wrong and lifted some of the women in with a touch of gallantry. Not only was there a complete lack of any fear in his manner, but there was the action of an aristocrat. ‘When the time came he was a man to be feared. In one of the earlier boats fifty women, it seemed, were about to be lowered, when a man, suddenly panic-stricken, ran to the stern of it. Major Butt shot one arm out, caught him by the back of the neck and jerked him backward like a pillow. His head cracked against a rail and he was stunned. ‘Sorry,’ said Major Butt, ‘women will be attended to first or I’ll break every damned bone in your body.’”

“The boats were lowered one by one, and as I stood by, my husband said to me, ‘Thank God, for Archie Butt.’ Perhaps Major Butt heard it, for he turned his face towards us for a second and smiled.”

Kennesaw Junior College became a senior college on April 14, 1976 by vote of the Georgia Board of Regents.

By this time, enrollment had tripled from an initial student count of 1,014 in the fall of 1966 to 3,098 in the fall of 1975. Numerous local leaders were involved in the fight for four-year status, but the two politicians playing the most pivotal roles were state Representatives Joe Mack Wilson and Al Burruss of Marietta. In time the memories of both would be honored by having buildings named for them on the Kennesaw campus

A U.S. Postage stamp bearing Georgia’s state bird and state flower was issued as part of a series including all 50 states on April 14, 1982, with first day ceremonies held in Washington and each state.

On April 14, 2010, a signature by Button Gwinnett, one of Georgia’s three signers of the Declaration of Independence sold at auction for $722,500 at an auction by Sotheby’s. About 50 examples of his signature are known to exist and six have been auctioned since 1974.

Happy birthday to former Atlanta Braves David Justice and Greg Madden, who were both born on this date in 1966.

Congratulations to former University of Georgia golfer Bubba Watson, who won the Masters on Sunday, his second green jacket in three years. Bubba’s son, Caleb, stole the show at the end of the round, as he toddled out to meet his dad after the last hole.

On the Campaign Trail

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

For a continuously-updated list of bills signed by Governor Nathan Deal, check out his official state webpage listing of 2014 Bills Signed. This weekend, Gov. Deal signed Senate Bill 365, the third set of recommendations from the Criminal Justice Reform Council.

“Building on the success of the landmark criminal justice reforms passed in the 2012 and 2013 sessions, the General Assembly and the Criminal Justice Reform Council worked with me to revolutionize Georgia’s criminal justice standards and strengthen our state’s economy,” Deal said. “The incentives and re-entry programs included in this legislation are cost-effective strategies that will increase the number of former offenders returning to the workforce and supporting their families.”

The new law requires the Board of Corrections to create and implement a program and treatment completion certificate to assist adult offenders with re-entry into society upon release from prison. In order to earn the certificate, the offender must complete any required treatment plan and vocational training while in prison and comply with any re-entry plan while on probation or parole. This bill states that employers demonstrate due care when hiring ex-offenders that earn this certificate, providing them a certain level of immunity from negligent hiring liability that often drives hiring decisions.

This legislation also provides judges with the discretion to deviate from the automatic license suspension for minor drug offenses. This discretion is only available when the drug offense was not directly related to the operation of the motor vehicle and is contingent upon the offender’s completion of any and all treatment programs.

“It is counterproductive to devote the state’s resources to rehabilitating nonviolent offenders and then deny them the ability to independently travel to their place of work,” Deal said. “This legislation strikes the proper balance between opportunity and accountability. Along with the previous two phases of my criminal justice reform, this law will pay dividends to taxpayers and improve the quality of life for all Georgians.”

The Cobb County court system has been busy implementing “accountability courts” in accordance with earlier parts of the earlier criminal justice reform.

Cobb’s Superior Court will start another avenue for military veterans in line with recent “smart on crime” reforms to criminal justice systems around the country and in Georgia.

Cobb’s Senior Assistant District Attorney Grady Moore said the Cobb veteran court will join nearly 3,000 similar veteran courts nationwide, with 120,000 to 150,000 Americans participating in the programs.

Most cases involving felony offenses by veterans are due to a drug addiction, Moore said. Although there is a high likelihood of relapse and multiple arrests, the goal is to intervene to “break the revolving door cycle,” he said.

The veterans court is an alternative to prosecution, and the new program will be modeled on the 12-year-old Cobb drug court, focused on treatment and accountability instead of incarceration.

“We try to get away from the adversarial structure of most courtroom proceedings,” Moore said.

Questions have been raised about whether unsuccessful candidates can roll leftover funds forward to a new campaign for the same office.

Former state Rep. Bill Hembree’s exit from the political stage in 2012 was unexpected. He served the west Georgia area in the House for nearly 20 years and was the favorite to win an open state Senate seat in District 30, which covers almost all of Carroll County and western Douglas and southern Paulding counties.

But political newcomer Mike Dugan (R-Carrollton) stunned Hembree, beating him by 11 points in a Dec. 2012 runoff election.

The sting from that untimely departure from the Legislature may be why Hembree continues to defy the head of the state ethics commission by carrying over nearly $35,000 in unspent contributions from that race two years ago for a May 20 Republican primary rematch with Dugan.

Hembree, of Winston, has loaned his campaign $35,000, according to his latest Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report. And Hembree said he’s still planning to carry over $34,985.25 from his 2012 campaign despite warnings from Holly LaBerge, who heads the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, formerly the state ethics commission, that doing so is illegal.Hembree says he has consulted attorneys and feels that it is legal and appropriate.

LaBerge told the Sentinel last month it is against the law for Hembree to transfer campaign funds from one campaign cycle to the next. She said Hembree could face penalties if a citizen files an ethics complaint against him.

LaBerge said Hembree and other candidates who are out of office must also file a new Declaration of Intent (DOI), which allows candidates to begin fundraising. Hembree hasn’t filed a new DOI and said he doesn’t plan to.

After the initial story ran in the Sentinel on March 16, Hembree teed off on LaBerge, saying she “does not get to make up the rules as she goes.”

Hembree’s attorney, Stefan Passantino, who heads the political law team at McKenna Long and Aldridge, told the Sentinel last month that because Hembree is “running for the same office with the same body of electors” that he doesn’t need to go through the steps LaBerge said are required.

Months after both chambers of the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation seeking to make medicinal Cannabis oil available to some parents whose children suffer from intractable seizures, voters in Waleska, Georgia, will go to the polls on the question of whether to allow Sunday sales of alcohol by the drink and in package sales.

City Manager Aimee Abernathy said the referendum up for a vote later this year is a “big deal,” and, if approved, could allow for the sale of beer and wine, and the sale of beer, wine and distilled spirits by the drink, on Sundays.

“There will be two different referendums,” Abernathy explained. “One will be for beer and wine package sale on Sundays; one will be for beer, wine and distilled spirits pouring on Sundays.”

If approved by voters, the Sunday sale of alcohol would be allowed beginning at 12:30 p.m.

In a separate vote, the council decided to move forward with writing an ordinance to allow the sale of distilled spirits by the drink, which would go back to the council for final approval at a future meeting.


Events Calendar

Tea Party Patriot Alliance: Tax Day Rally

April 14, 2014,  5:30 PM – 8:00 PM

Forsyth County Courthouse, 100 Courthouse Square, Cumming, GA 30040

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 Tax Day Rally  LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD !  SPEAKERS: U.S. Representative Tom Price     Gubernatorial Candidate David Pennington     Former State Representative Tom Knox      U.S. Senate Candidate Derrick Grayson  BRING SIGNS, VOICES AND MAKE A STATEMENT! For information, CONTACT TRILBY LEECH 770 886 1616

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Rep. Paul Broun: Baldwin County Town Hall

April 14, 2014, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Allen’s Market, 101 E. McIntosh Street, Milledgeville, GA 31061

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Baldwin County Town Hall Who:  U.S. Representative Paul Broun and Baldwin Area Residents

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Rep. Lynn Westmoreland: Hosts Veterans Workshop

April 15, 2014, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Asa M. Powell Expo Center, 197 Temple Ave, Newnan, GA 30265

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Westmoreland Hosts Veterans Workshop  There will be representatives from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Georgia Department of Veterans Service to discuss the opportunities and services they provide, as well as an opportunity to speak about your case with them and with Congressman Westmoreland’s staff. “I want to thank the Veterans of Georgia’s Third District for their service to our nation,” stated Westmoreland. “I’d also like to thank the speakers and representatives from the local Veteran’s affairs offices for giving their time…

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Cherokee YR: Happy Hour

April 15, 2014, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Sixes Tavern, 3568 Sixes Road, Canton, GA 30114

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Happy Hour!

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Cobb GOP Women: Campaign Forum – U.S. Senate

April 15, 2014, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

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

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Cobb County Republican Women’s Club Campaign Forums Candidates for U.S. Senate Televised Live on Channel 23

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Rep. Paul Broun: Coffee with Your Congressman in Walton County

April 16, 2014, 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM

Potluck Café , 117 N Midland Ave, Monroe, GA 30655

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“Coffee with Your Congressman” in Walton Join Congressman Broun for a Free Cup of Coffee!

Sen. Mike Dugan Campaign Kick-off

April 17, 2014, 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM

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

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

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The Cherokee County Black Republican Council: Inaugural Meeting

April 17, 2014, 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM

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

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You’re invited to the Inaugural Meeting of The Cherokee County Black Republican Council 5:30 pm Business Meeting 6:00 pm Black Conservatives Roundtable: “Race in American Politics, Will It Ever End?” Live Broadcast/Taping of “the black & white of it” Internet Talk Show Meeting Is Free and Open to All Who Believe and Support African-American Participation in the Republican Party and Conservative Movement. Mr. Conrad Quagilaroli, Chairman, Cherokee County Tea Party The Honorable Ashley Bell, Commissioner Hall County, Georgia (2008 – 2012) The…

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April 17, 2014, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

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

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

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Forsyth County GOP: GA House District 26 Debate

April 17, 2014, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

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

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

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

April 17, 2014, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

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

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

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Gwinnett County GOP: State School Superintendent Forum

April 17, 2014, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

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

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Bulloch County GOP: Gov. Nathan Deal Meet & Greet

April 19, 2014, 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM

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

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

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GA GOP: US Senate Primary Debate / Augusta

April 19, 2014, 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM

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

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

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April 20, 2014 12:00 AM

Christ the Lord is Risen Today  - Hallelujah!

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

Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743 in what is now Albemarle County, Virginia. Jefferson served as Governor of Virginia, United States Secretary of State, delegate to the Second Continental Congress, and Third President of the United States. Jefferson is credited with writing the first draft of the Declaration of Independence

On April 11, 1768, Benjamin Franklin was named Georgia’s agent “to represent, solicit, and transact the affairs of this province in Great Britain.” Arguably, this makes Benjamin Franklin the first American lobbyist.

Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France, was exiled to Elba Island in the Mediterranean, on April 11, 1814

On April 11, 1853, John Archibald Campbell was appointed Justice of the United States Supreme Court by President Franklin Pierce. After graduating from the University of Georgia at 14, he attended West Point, where his fellow cadets included Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee. After the beginning of the Civil War, Campbell resigned from the Court and was appointed Assistant Secretary of War for the Confederacy by Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

On April 12, 1861, Confederates in Charleston, SC opened fire on Federal-held Fort Sumter opening the Civil War.

During the next 34 hours, 50 Confederate guns and mortars launched more than 4,000 rounds at the poorly supplied fort. On April 13, U.S. Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort. Two days later, U.S. President Abraham Lincolnissued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteer soldiers to quell the Southern “insurrection.”

“The General” Locomotive was hijacked at Big Shanty (now Kennesaw), Georgia on April 12, 1862, leading to “The Great Locomotive Chase.” The locomotive is now housed in the Southern Museum in Kennesaw.

The American Third Army liberated Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany on April 11, 1945. Among the survivors of Buchenwald was Elie Wiesel; in 1986, Wiesel won the Nobel Peace Prize.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945 in Warm Springs, Georgia.

On April 12, 1961, Russian Commienaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human being to go to outer space and the first to orbit earth.

The triumph of the Soviet space program in putting the first man into space was a great blow to the United States, which had scheduled its first space flight for May 1961. Moreover, Gagarin had orbited Earth, a feat that eluded the U.S. space program until February 1962, when astronaut John Glenn made three orbits in Friendship 7.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested in Birmingham, Alabama on April 12, 1963; while there he would write his famed, “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

The Braves played their first home game in Atlanta on April 12, 1966.

Apollo 13 was launched on April 11, 1970.

The craft was launched on April 11, 1970, at 13:13 CST from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, but the lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days later, crippling the Service Module (SM) upon which the Command Module (CM) depended. Despite great hardship caused by limited power, loss of cabin heat, shortage of potable water, and the critical need tojury-rig the carbon dioxide removal system, the crew returned safely to Earth on April 17.

The Space Shuttle Columbia became the first reusable orbital vehicle when it launched on April 12, 1981.

The Vidalia Sweet Onion was named Georgia’s official state vegetable when Gov. Joe Frank Harris signed legislation designating it such on April 11, 1990.

Congratulations to the following winners of the Masters Tournament who donned the green jacket on April 11: Seve Ballesteros (2d – 1983), Jack Nicklaus (2d in 1965; 3d in 1966), Ray Floyd (1976), Nick Faldo (1996), Jose Maria Olazabal (2d – 1999), Phil Mickelson (1st -2004; 3d – 2010), and Claude Harmon (1948), the first Georgian to win the Masters.

The Augusta Chronicle wrote a great “day in the life” piece in 1967 about Jack Nicklaus’s attempt to take a third straight green jacket.

It is almost like a 1960s-era TV sitcom, with golf-playing Jack trying to get ready for the big tournament while wife Barbara and kids tag along. The family even drops him off at the Augusta National Clubhouse for his round.

To me, one of the funniest parts is of the then-27-year-old Golden Bear enjoying his breakfast of Masters champions, described as “an attack on half of a melon, ‘lots of bacon,’ … two eggs and some rye toast.”

Campaigns & Elections

What do Phil Gingrey, Jack Kingston, and Paul Broun have in common other than four-letter first names? They all voted against the Paul Ryan Budget.

This is the first year Kingston has voted against the House Republican budget since the party gained control in 2011. Broun voted for the 2011 Ryan budget but did not vote one way or another on a similar budget in 2012 and voted against the budget last year. Gingrey had supported the Ryan budgets in 2011 and 2012, but voted against it last year as well.

Despite the 12 Republican defections Thursday, the budget passed the House, 219 to 205.

The Hill looked at the other nine Republicans who voted against the Ryan Budget and found this:

Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) also voted against the budget despite backing previous Ryan budgets.

Other “no” votes include Republicans facing primaries who voted against the bill from the right and others in swing districts who may have opposed it from the left. Democrats often use the Ryan budget plan’s changes to Medicare to attack GOP candidates.

Despite a starring role in Democrat Michelle Nunn’s first commercial, former President George H.W. Bush (41) said that he will endorse the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, whomever that may be.

Likely Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn, a former executive at the Bush-inspired Points of Light Foundation, uses images of the former president in her first campaign ads that try to paint her as a bipartisan leader.

“While leading President Bush’s Points of Light Foundation, we grew it into the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service,” Nunn says in the ad.

Hoping to head off confusion, Bush spokesman Jim McGrath on Thursday tweeted that “TV ads notwithstanding, @GeorgeHWBush looking forward to endorsing GOP nominee in #gasenate race.” He added that it is “critical that @GOP retake the Senate.”

Republicans are in the middle of a seven-way primary race in Georgia, with no clear front-runner emerging as voters start paying attention ahead of the May 20 primary.

Republican Reps. Paul Broun, Jack Kingston and Phil Gingrey are facing former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel and attorney Art Gardner. Conservative activist Derrick Grayson and businessman David Perdue are also in the race to replace Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who is retiring.


Nonprofit Quarterly has an unique take on the possibility of a Karen Handel v. Michelle Nunn matchup in November.

On the Democratic side of the ledger competing for the Senate in Georgia is Points of Light CEO Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former Democratic Senator Sam Nunn. Although on leave as CEO of the nonprofit, Nunn is using her Points of Lights home base to project an image of bipartisan reasonableness in the otherwise red state, including running her first television ad with George H.W. Bush, the forty-first president and the founder of Points of Light, highlighted. (George W. Bush’s brother Neil is actually the current chairman of the Points of Light board of directors.)

Nunn appears to be the candidate of choice for Democrats, but Republicans have a big slate of choices, one of whom is former Susan G. Komen for the Cure executive Karen Handel, who generated plenty of press headlines for her role in trying to separate Komen from a funding relationship with Planned Parenthood. Having some difficulties in raising money compared to better-known GOP opponents in the upcoming primary, Handel’s campaign was languishing until this past week’s endorsement by the American Future Fund, one of the big-money conservative groups that puts big money behind favored candidates. AFF’s endorsement may be more of a positive jolt to Handel’s campaign than the recent campaign swing she did in the company of endorser Sarah Palin.

Although Nunn is no liberal, a campaign between her and Handel would reflect somewhat different wings of the nonprofit world. The brief discussion of “issues” on Handel’s campaign website touches on nearly every hard-right policy position she might support….

Nunn is just about assured the Democratic nomination, while Handel is running well behind her primary opponents at the moment. It would be interesting, however, to see the two of them face off, particularly to watch how much Nunn tries to avoid sounding too Democratic and pro-Obama and how Handel tempers (or doesn’t) her beyond-the-pale right-wing positions.

If you really think Karen Handel’s positions are “beyond-the-pale right-wing,” you might want to consider leaving your ivory tower once in a while and experiencing “the real world.”

Speaking of Karen Handel, she wins the college debate with “Bless his heart.”

Governor Nathan Deal spoke yesterday in a press conference about two paths to allowing the use of medicinal CDB oil for Georgia patients suffering from intractable seizures.

Deal has consulted with the federal Food and Drug Administration on how the state can begin legal clinical trials with cannabis oil products at Georgia Regents University Augusta.

“So far we have identified two tracks worthy of pursuit,” Deal said. “Our most promising solution involves pairing GRU with a private pharmaceutical company that has developed a purified liquid cannabinoid currently in the FDA testing phase. The product contains no THC, which is the component in marijuana that intoxicates a user. The university would create a well-designed trial for children with epileptic disorders, and in order to serve as many children as we can, we would like to pursue a statewide investigational new drug program through a multicenter study that would allow GRU to partner with other research facilities across the state. We have talked with the pharmaceutical company to gauge interest, and the company is willing to continue those initial talks.

“Georgia will also possibly pursue a second clinical trial at GRU that would use cannabidiol oil obtained from cannabis product grown by the National Institute on Drug Abuse at its farm located at the University of Mississippi. This road would perhaps take more time because it would require GRU to work through an approval process with NIDA and the FDA.

“We do not see these options as mutually exclusive, and we’re looking to move forward on both options at this time.

“The General Assembly this year gave serious consideration to legislation that would pave the way for patients in need of cannabis to receive it safely and legally. An issue that could have triggered controversy instead yielded teamwork and a commitment to see this through, as legislators – and I as well – learned the stories of these brave families who are desperately seeking relief for their children’s debilitating conditions. The legislation earned significant levels of support in both houses and in both parties but didn’t make into any bills that reached my desk.

“Even if the legislation had passed, we still would need to take these steps, so we haven’t lost any time. As we progress, we’ll determine if the General Assembly needs to take additional action next year.”

Georgia Regents University expressed its excitement about the clinical trials.

“As the state’s academic health center encompassing a 154-bed children’s hospital, we have a responsibility to address the needs of families whose children are suffering,” said Georgia Regents University President Ricardo Azziz. “We are appreciative of Gov. Nathan Deal for this vote of confidence and look forward to working with the state to establish clinical trials to research the benefits of treating epilepsy and other neurological conditions with cannabidiol oil.”

The realities of clinical trials are that it is likely to be years before patients are actually receiving CBD oil as therapy in a trial, and that numbers of patients will likely be severely restricted once trial begin. The Augusta Chronicle has more on how this would work at GRU.

The news release doesn’t name the company but GW Pharmaceuticals is testing a drug called Epidiolex that is a purified cannabidiol oil. GRU has already submitted information about its patient population and its center to the company and is waiting to hear back from them, said Dr. Yong Park, who heads the pediatric epilepsy program.

“Hopefully they will select our center to participate in this study,” he said. “That’s the first step.”

The first study would be limited to children with Dravet syndrome who suffer from difficult to control seizures. Even if GRU gets the nod, it could take a while, Park said.

“Hopefully they go fast track but you have to have a contract with the pharmaceutical company” and the university, he said. “Contract issues, usually in my experience, take about three to four months, sometimes six months to get the contract.”

The other route Deal mentioned would be to get the oil from the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s marijuana farm at the University of Mississippi, which would probably take longer because it would mean going through that agency and the FDA for approval, Deal said in a news release.

You can keep up with the progress of Haleigh, the namesake of the Haleigh’s Hope legislation this year on Facebook.

Neighboring South Carolina will have a ballot question in the Democratic Primary election asking about legalizing marijuana for medicinal uses.

[South Carolina State] House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford said Wednesday he wanted it on the ballot so the Legislature’s Republican leaders could see what voters think of the issue.
He has proposed legislation allowing patients certified by a doctor as suffering a debilitating illness to use marijuana. Last week, the House rejected his effort to attach it to a bill allowing patients with severe epilepsy to legally possess nonpsychoactive cannabidiol, known as CBD oil, which is derived from marijuana.

That limited bill, sponsored by Republicans, passed the chamber 90-24, a week after the Senate passed a similar – but even more restrictive – version.

While the House defeated Rutherford’s amendment, legislators of both parties encouraged him to re-introduce his measure next year. Patients it would allow to use marijuana include those suffering from cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and chronic pain.

“I don’t know how we can continue to deprive families of what many consider miracle medicine,” said Rutherford, D-Columbia. Let’s “put patients in the hands of a doctor, not the Legislature.”

Republicans in South Carolina will see different ballot questions:

Question 1: Should Article I, Section 3, of the S.C. Constitution be amended to include the following language? The privileges and immunities of citizens of South Carolina and the United States shall not be abridged, so that no person shall be deprived of life without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws. These rights shall extend to both born and pre-born persons beginning at conception.

Question 2: Should S.C. law be amended to replace the state income tax imposed on individuals, estates, trusts and others by reducing the rate of taxation by 1.4 percentage points each year until the state income tax rate for all brackets is zero percent?

Former State Senator Miriam Paris (D) opened her campaign office in the rematch against Senator David Lucas, who defeated her in 2012.

Paris says she’s learned a lot from that loss, and hopes to use that to win the election this year.
“You learn a tremendous amount of knowledge when you lose,” said Paris. “I really learned a lot. You know how hindsight is 20/20. But it was amazing. It was a great thing. I think I grew a lot. I really realize and understand the importance of really staying in touch with the constituency.”
Paris hopes to be aggressive at the grassroots level with voters.

The FBI arrested five in Augusta in a sting targeting prostitution and sex trafficking around a major sporting event.

Former President Jimmy Carter is also speaking against sex trafficking,

89-year-old Carter rattled off statistics about employment discrimination, sexual assault, human trafficking, sex-selective abortion, and female genital mutilation everywhere from Atlanta, Georgia to Egypt to China, calling violence against women “the worst human rights violation on Earth.”

Since founding the Carter Center in 1982, a global human rights organization, Carter said he’d traveled around the world and seen “an almost unbelievable prejudice and persecution of women and girls.”

Serious question: why is abortion for gender selection any worse than any other abortion? Why is it worst than abortion for convenience? Why is there no discussion of the role of pressure by men and other women in abortion decisions made by women?

Selected Events this Weekend

The Georgia Conservative Summit

April 11, 2014, 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM

GA State Capitol, 206 Washington Street, S.W., Atlanta, 30334

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Real people. Real Leaders. Real Answers. Come and hear and exchange with business and government experts that can and do impact your every day lives. Click Link To Register

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Jack Kingston Senate: Event With Vince Dooley

April 11, 2014, 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

Home of Barbara & Vince Dooley, 755 Milledge Circle, Athens , GA 30606

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Jack Kingston Senate – Event With Vince Dooley

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DeKalb County GOP: Breakfast with Todd Rehm – oh, also Jack Kingston & Karen Handel

April 12, 2014, 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM

DeKalb County GOP, 532 Dunwoody Village Parkway , Atlanta , 30338

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We are looking forward to continuing our series of “Meet the Candidates” with US Senate candidates Jack and Karen. Todd Rehm from the GaPundit will emcee the morning activities and we will look forward to hearing all of the latest news from two of the most exciting senate candidates.  Come ready to ask questions. RSVP Required – Click here We look forward to seeing you Saturday. Sincerely, Linda Kelley Smith DeKalb Republican [email protected] 404-287-4412

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Cherokee County GOP: Breakfast with Gov. Nathan Deal, Rep. Phil Gingrey, & Bob Barr

April 12, 2014, 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Winchester Woodfire Grille, 110 Mountain Vista Blvd, Canton, GA 30114

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Governor Nathan Deal, Phil Gingrey and Bob Barr will be joining us to talk about their respective campaigns for Georgia’s Governorship, US Senate and US Congress Brandon Beach will be our sponsor for this month’s Breakfast.

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Jody Hice Congress: Coffee and Doughnuts

April 12, 2014, 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Jasper County High School, 14477 Hwy. 11 North, Monticello, GA 31064

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The Jasper County GOP will be hosting a debate this Saturday Come to the high school an hour before the debate to start your morning off right with coffee and doughnuts provided by Jody Hice for Congress. We hope to see you there!

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Hall County GOP: Conservative Forum with Mark Rountree

April 12, 2014, 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Fairfield Inn & Suites, 1755 Browns Bridge Road,, Gainesville , GA 30501

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April Conservative Forum Theme: Campaign Training Speaker: Mark Rountree, Landmark Communications

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GA GOP District 10: Congressional Debate

April 12, 2014, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Jasper County High School, 14477 Ga Highway 11 N, Monticello, GA 31064

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David Perdue Senate: Alpharetta Meet & Greet

April 12, 2014, Noon - 1:00 PM

das Gallery, 2225 Old Milton Pkwy, Alpharetta, GA 30009

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I hope you will join me and my campaign as we meet with voters in Alpharetta to discuss the important issues facing our state and nation today. I hope to see you there

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Lanier Tea Party Patriots: Tax Day Rally

April 12, 2014, 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Poultry Park, 444 Jesse Jewell Parkway, SW , Gainesville , GA 30501

The Lanier Tea Party Patriots will host the 3rd Annual Tax Day Rally Patriots from Hall and the surrounding counties are encouraged to join the Lanier Tea Party Patriots as they rally to stop IRS targeting, increase awareness of local, state and federal taxes, and inform the public our our constitutional rights.  Attendees are encouraged to bring their own chairs and/or blanket to sit out on the lawn.  This is a family event, so children and grand children are encouraged to…

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AFP – GA: Hosts Day of Action To Combat Government Spending

April 12, 2014, @ 2:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Marietta / Savannah

AFP Hosts Day of Action To Combat Government Spending “Activists in GA compete against others nationwide in Freedom Phone Marathon sessions”   Americans For Prosperity Georgia (AFP), the state’s premiere grassroots organization for economic freedom, is launching a Day of Action this Saturday in response to Tax Day. The events, part of AFP’s Freedom Phone Marathon, are a series of phone bank parties going on around the State. AFP Georgia activists at the Atlanta headquarters will compete against activists in…

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