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

John Wesley left Savannah on December 2, 1737.

John Wesley’s strict discipline as rector of Christ Church in Savannah irritated his parishioners. More trouble followed when he fell in love with Sophia Hopkey, the niece of Georgia’s chief magistrate. When she married another man, Wesley banned her from Holy Communion, damaging her reputation in the community.

His successful romantic rival sued him; but Wesley refused to recognize the authority of the court, and the man who would eventually found a major Protestant denomination in America left Georgia in disgrace on December 2, 1737

Touro Synagogue, the oldest existing synagogue in the United States, was dedicated on December 2, 1763 in Newport, Rhode Island.

The Skirmish at Rocky Creek Church took place near Waynesboro, Georgia on December 2, 1864.

Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former State Senator Bob Guhl has died and his memorial service will be at First Baptist Church in Monroe on Saturday, December. 6 at 10:00 AM.  Visitation/reception following in fellowship hall.  Private interment with full military honors at Georgia National Cemetery in Canton at a later date.

Senator Guhl was first elected from District 45 (Walton County and parts of Barrow, Newton and Rockdale Counties) in a special election in the spring of 1993 and served until he was placed in a district with fellow Republican Mike Crotts in 2002.

Guhl was the first Republican elected to the DeKalb County Commission, serving from 1969-1972 and served as Chairman and CEO of the County from 1973-1976.

Guhl’s campaigns against DeKalb Democrat and bar owner Manuel Maloof were legendary:

Richard Nixon’s victory over George McGovern in 1972 seemed a foregone conclusion, and no DeKalb Democrat would risk running on the party ticket for a commissioner post that was up that year. Mr. Maloof talked to “about 150 people,” he estimated, trying to get them to enter the race. Minutes before filing deadline, Mr. Maloof himself became a candidate.

During the campaign, he and incumbent A.C. “Bob” Guhl, DeKalb’s first Republican commissioner and the man whose face Mr. Maloof slapped on a tavern toilet seat, swapped insults.

Retired Bibb County Superior Court Judge George B. Culpepper, III has also died and his funeral is today at 11 AM at Fort Valley United Methodist Church.

Today is election day in parts of DeKalb County, Columbia County, and the City of McRae-Helena. Polls are open from 7 AM to 7 PM.

Somehow, yesterday, I neglected to mention that Dodge County is holding a runoff election today for Probate Judge.

Al McCranie and Jody Batts will face off in the Tuesday, December 2 runoff election, as they received the two highest vote totals.
With all precincts reporting, but unofficial totals, Al McCranie received 2554 votes (or 49.43 percent), Jody Batts received 1372 votes (or 26.55 percent) and Blake Roland received 1232 votes (or 23.84 percent).

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp has called a Special Election in State House District 120, where incumbent Mickey Channell (R) has announced he will retire for health reasons.

Notice is hereby given that a special election shall be held in Greene, Oglethorpe, Putnam, Taliaferro and Wilkes Counties to fill the vacancy in District 120 of the State House of Representatives on January 6, 2015. A run-off election, if needed, shall be held on February 3, 2015.

Qualifying for the special election shall be held in the Elections Division of the Office of Secretary of State, 802 West Tower, 2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SE, Atlanta, Georgia 30334. The dates and hours of qualifying will be Monday, December 8, 2014 beginning at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 5:00 p.m.; Tuesday, December 9, 2014 beginning at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 5:00 p.m.; and Wednesday, December 10, 2014 beginning at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 12 o’clock noon. The qualifying fee shall be $400 for the office.

Oglethorpe County businessman Jesse Johnson is the first announced candidate in the special election for HD 120.

Oglethorpe County Businessman, Jesse Johnson, owner of Southern Land Exchange and Southern Timberland Consultants announced that he is a Republican candidate for State House in Georgia’s 120th District.

He issued this statement:”My heart and my roots are in Georgia’s 120th District.  I care about the families, businesses, and farms of this district and their futures.  I am committed to getting this region’s economy growing again.  Unrestrained spending, overburdensome regulation, and high levels of unemployment cannot be the new norm.  We must reduce taxes, support the businesses that drive the economy in this part of the state, and pass state funded school choice.”

As a member of the Georgia Forestry Association and the Greene/Morgan Forest Landowners Association, I have met with and done business with people across this district.  From the sportsmen and the farmers, to the boaters and the business owners, the people of this district want the government out of their pockets and off their backs.  I am a conservative businessman who will keep the state government in its proper place, and I will fight to get the federal government out of our way.

Jesse Johnson is a member of the Oglethorpe County Farm Bureau, Athens Area Association of Realtors, Oglethorpe County Rotary Club, and is a former board member of The Sparrow’s Nest, an Athens based charity.  He attends Athens Church where he serves visiting guest.

The sentencing of former DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer on federal charges of official corruption has been delayed, likely until February.

The State House DeKalb County Cityhood Subcommittee will meet on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 from 1-2:30 PM in Room 506 of the State Capitol.

At this meeting the committee will hear testimony from representatives from the Tucker and LaVista Hills cityhood organizations. Following the testimony, the committee will take public comment.

The panel was created after LaVista Hills and Tucker were unable to come up with boundary lines by a Nov. 15 deadline.

Also Wednesday, at 1 PM, the Study Committee on Prescription Medical Cannabis for Serious Medical Conditions will meet in Room 341 of the State Capitol.

Finally, on Thursday, December 4, the Film & Post Production Study Committee will meet in Savannah at SCAD, Poetter Hall/May Poetter Gallery on the 2d floor.

Georgia Medicaid Director Jerry Dubberly will leave his job effective January 2, 2015, according to Georgia Health News.

As Medicaid chief, Dubberly oversees the services for about 1.9 million Georgians in Medicaid and PeachCare, with a state budget of more than $2.5 billion.

The Department of Community Health said in an email statement to GHN that Commissioner Clyde Reese is working on filling the vacancy.

As Medicaid chief, Dubberly oversees the services for about 1.9 million Georgians in Medicaid and PeachCare, with a state budget of more than $2.5 billion. – See more at: http://www.georgiahealthnews.com/2014/12/state-medicaid-chief-stepping/#sthash.UVUyXrau.dpuf

As Medicaid chief, Dubberly oversees the services for about 1.9 million Georgians in Medicaid and PeachCare, with a state budget of more than $2.5 billion.

Dubberly could not be reached for comment.

The Department of Community Health said in an email statement to GHN that Commissioner Clyde Reese is working on filling the vacancy.

It’s difficult to find someone to do the job well, experts say.

The Medicaid chief must deal with various sectors of health care, including hospitals, physicians and nursing homes, as well as consumers and their advocates and state lawmakers. The directors also must deal with pressure on spending.

- See more at: http://www.georgiahealthnews.com/2014/12/state-medicaid-chief-stepping/#sthash.UVUyXrau.dpuf

As Medicaid chief, Dubberly oversees the services for about 1.9 million Georgians in Medicaid and PeachCare, with a state budget of more than $2.5 billion.

Dubberly could not be reached for comment.

The Department of Community Health said in an email statement to GHN that Commissioner Clyde Reese is working on filling the vacancy.

It’s difficult to find someone to do the job well, experts say.

The Medicaid chief must deal with various sectors of health care, including hospitals, physicians and nursing homes, as well as consumers and their advocates and state lawmakers. The directors also must deal with pressure on spending.

- See more at: http://www.georgiahealthnews.com/2014/12/state-medicaid-chief-stepping/#sthash.UVUyXrau.dpuf

Inaugural Details Released

IMG_4070.JPG

Yesterday, Governor Deal’s Inaugural Committee released details of the weekend-long festivities.

We will be kicking off the commemoration with the statewide day of service. In 2011, First Lady Sandra Deal launched “With A Servant’s Heart” as a part of the Governor’s first inaugural. The Deals’ have continued to lead this tradition each year. Giving back to the community is a priority to their family, and Governor Deal and The First Lady encourage you to participate alongside them at this year’s event.
The inaugural agenda will also include a prayer service, the swearing-in ceremony, and a gala with special musical guests.

Schedule of Events

With a Servant’s Heart – Jan. 10, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
City of Refuge, 1300 Joseph E. Boone Blvd NW, Atlanta, GA 30314
Open to the public (multiple statewide locations to be announced)

Prayer Service – January 12 at 9 a.m.
Mt. Paran Church, 2055 Mt. Paran Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30327
Open to the public

Swearing-in ceremony – January 12 at 2 p.m.
Liberty Plaza, Capitol Ave SW, Atlanta, GA 30334
Open to the public

Inaugural Gala
More details to come

For more information, you can visit the Inaugural website.

How Pollster John McLaughlin predicted the Governor’s race

Today, a piece I wrote about how Governor Deal’s pollster, John McLaughlin, correctly predicted the election results more than a week out appears in TownHall.com. More than just how he made the prediction, I wrote about the role of the campaign pollster and how it differs from that of media pollsters. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read it.

During the active phase of the campaign, McLaughlin was polling more frequently and more deeply than media pollsters.

“We’re asking many more questions than you see in media polls – well beyond who’s winning and demographics, we’re asking what ads they’re seeing, what issues are important. We’re looking at the level of polarization in the electorate, and over time, as the undecided numbers dwindle, how the undecideds are breaking for one candidate or another, as well as what the early voters are doing,” said McLaughlin.

“In our last survey, a week before the election and following a period of weekly four-days-a-week tracking, our sample was 64% white 29% African-American. Fifty-one percent of undecided voters were white and 41% were African-American, and Governor Deal was still below 50%” said McLaughlin.

“But, among whites who had decided, Governor Deal received 71% and he was getting 10 percent among African-Americans. When we factored in those ratios to the undecided voters, we came to a 52-44 prediction.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 7, 2014

Georgia and American History

Georgia Governor Joseph Brown addressed the Georgia legislature calling on them to consider Georgia’s future on November 7, 1860, the day after Abraham Lincoln’s election as President.

Jeanette Rankin was elected to Congress, the first female Member, on November 7, 1916 from Montana. After leaving Congress, Rankin moved to Watkinsville, Georgia in 1925. The Jeanette Rankin Scholarship Foundation, based in Athens, Georgia provides college scholarships and support for low-income women 35 and older.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected to a record fourth term on November 7, 1944.

Democrat Sam Nunn was reelected to the United States Senate on November 7, 1978.

On November 7, 1989, David Dinkins was elected the first African-American Mayor of New York and Douglas Wilder was elected the first African-American Governor of Virginia.

On November 7, 2006, Georgia reelected its first Republican Governor since Reconstruction, Sonny Perdue, and elected its first GOP Lieutenant Governor, Casey Cagle.

Georgia Politics – Seven Things You Should Know

1. Welcome to the 2016 and 2018 election cycles. Several months ago, when I first started saying that the 2014 Georgia elections were partly about jockeying for position in the 2016 Presidential race, it was a novel idea. But after campaign visits by Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Chris Christie (2x), and Rand Paul, it is clear that Georgia will play an important role in the Presidential election. (more…)

Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for January 30, 2014

Today’s historical moments below combine to show some of the major influences on Georgia politics and governance since her founding, and how the same conflicts have played out across the world, from Northern Ireland to India, to stages of rock and roll shows.

On January 30, 1788, the Georgia legislature passed a resolution calling for a state Constitutional Convention in Augusta to adopt a state Constitution that conformed to the new Constitution of the United States.

On January 30, 1862, the United States launced its first ironclad warship, USS Monitor.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born on January 30, 1882 in Hyde Park, New York. In 1942, Roosevelt ordered Japanese-Americans on the west coast of the United States into concentration camps, leaving German and Italian Americans free.

On January 30, 1935, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. protested segregated elevators at the Fulton County Courthouse. If you’re stuck at home, maybe you’d like to take a moment to read one of the best essays I’ve ever seen on the true impact that Rev. King had.

On January 30, 1948, Mohandas K. Gandhi was assassinated.

1920 Georgia Flag

On January 30, 1956, six members of the Georgia State House of Representatives introduced House Bill 98 to replace the red and white stripes on Georgia’s flag (above) with a Confederate battle flag (below). That same day, a bomb was thrown at the Birmingham, AL home of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

1956 Georgia Flag

January 30, 1972 is remembered as Bloody Sunday in commemoration of the shooting of 26 civilians by British troops in Northern Ireland.

On January 30, 2001, the Georgia State Senate passed a house bill changing the state flag from the 1956 version to one that aggregated the State Seal and five former state flags, pictured below.

2001GeorgiaFlag

#AtlantaSnow aka #Clusterflake

Twitter Snow Jam2

That is the best graphic depiction of what happened in Atlanta on Tuesday. If I knew who originally posted the graphic, I would credit them.

Two points I’d like to make from this. First, this shows how a graphic can convey information better than words in some cases; if Facebook and other social media are part of your business, political campaign, or activism, understand the power of graphics and do more of them and fewer words. Second, this indicates to me that the problem was not that we didn’t have enough equipment, salt, sand, etc., but that the fast-pace dumping of hundreds of thousands of commuters onto the Atlanta roads.

From the whole mess and the blamestorming that are following, here are two truths about Atlanta that I have been reminded of.

1. Our weakness is our reliance on government. This is true across the United States, but demonstrated nowhere more memorably than Atlanta’s road beginning Tuesday afternoon.

2. Our strength is our community and the willingness of our friends, family, neighbors, churches, business owners, and ourselves to lend a hand to someone in need without having to be told, asked or paid to do so.

Going forward in Georgia government, let us pray that these lessons don’t get forgotten yet again.

Governor Deal writes “Six things you need to know” about recovery efforts.

1. Please stay off the roads. We are still in a State of Emergency and we need to keep the roads as clear as possible. This is for your safety and the safety of others.

2. School children across the Metro-Atlanta area are safe and in good hands. Georgia State Patrol Troopers have been assigned to assist schools where children needed to spend the night. I’d like to thank teachers, parents, school faculty, and all those involved for their hard work and dedication to our children’s safety.

3. Yesterday, I instructed the National Guard to send military Humvees to our interstates to assist school buses and get food and water to stranded residents. All school buses and children have been responded to and are safe. Stranded citizens have access to emergency services throughout the Metro-Atlanta area. We are still in the process of clearing roads and assisting those in need. Again, please stay off the roads so we can continue this process.

Speaker Ralston and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle issued a joint statement and suspended legislative business today.

Availability of propane is becoming an issue for poultry farmers in this weather. From GrowingGeorgia.com, your best resource for learning about Georgia’s largest industry.

“We have been monitoring the situation for the past two weeks,” said Mike Giles, the president of the Georgia Poultry Federation. So far, members have been able to find the propane they need, but they have felt the pinch of the shortage, he said.

Facing a shortage of fuel across much of the country, the National Propane Gas Association successfully lobbied the U.S. Department of Transportation to allow more free transport of fuel for the Southern, Midwestern and Eastern regions. The rare order applies to eight Southern states including Georgia, 10 Midwest states and 14 Eastern states. A total of 30 states so far have individually issued Hours of Service relief.

The National Propane Gas Association also is working with officials within the pipeline, rail, and truck transport industries and asking for propane shipments to be prioritized within their industry.

Farming groups and state governments have done what they can to support the propane industry in its efforts to get fuel to the producers who need it.

“The National Chicken Council (NCC) which represents companies that produce, process, and market over 95 percent of the chicken in the United States is working with the appropriate federal agencies, organizations, and stakeholders to help alleviate the spot shortages being experienced with the very tight supply of propane in at least 31 states, many of which have important production of chicken,” said Mike Brown, the president of the National Chicken Council.

On Monday, Governor Deal issued an executive order to prohibit price-gouging in propane sales.

With inclement weather headed toward Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal today in coordination with Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black signed an executive order prohibiting price gouging for propane. Georgia’s continued period of cold weather has increased the demand for propane, causing a substantial prices increase in recent days.

“Our families, farmers and small business are worried about getting the heat they need during times of frigid weather,” Deal said. “They shouldn’t have to worry about price gouging, and we aim to prevent that.”

“Due to the much colder than normal weather this winter, we have seen a higher demand for propane gas resulting in shortages and escalating prices in Georgia and across the nation,” said Black. “Livestock and poultry farmers, along with food processors, depend on propane to continue business. We are doing everything possible to work with the propane suppliers and agribusinesses to meet the challenges we are currently facing.”

InsiderAdvantage last night warned of the spectre of fuel shortages in Metro Atlanta following #AtlantaSnow.

Already many gasoline outlets are dry after a rush on fuel Tuesday afternoon, and gridlocked roads are preventing tanker trucks from replenishing them.

Worse, the demand is likely to pick up in a big way over the next two or three days, as motorists reclaim their cars on the sides of roads and try again to drive them home.

 GaPunditPro now available in the AppStore

GaPunditPro Power Tool

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Please send us feature requests, and let us know what we can do to make GaPunditPro better.

U.S. House passes Farm Bill, sends to Senate

The United States House of Representatives passed the Farm Bill and sent it to the Senate. From the New York Times:

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill authorizing nearly $1 trillion in spending on farm subsidies and nutrition programs, setting the stage for final passage of a new five-year farm bill that has been stalled for more than two years.

Negotiators from the House and Senate spent several weeks working out their differences on issues in the legislation, including cuts to food stamps, income caps on farm subsidies and a price support program for dairy farmers. The bill is expected to save about $16.6 billion over the next 10 years.

The bill passed the House by a vote of 251 to 166. The Senate is expected to take up the bill later this week.

Compared with earlier, more contentious votes on the farm bill, Wednesday’s vote was largely bipartisan. Many Democrats who had opposed it because of cuts to the food stamp program supported it on Wednesday. A number of Republicans, including many who wanted deeper cuts to the food stamps, also voted for passage.

The House speaker, John A. Boehner of Ohio, and the majority leader, Eric Cantor, Republican of Virginia, had endorsed the bill and urged Republicans to support it, even though they said they would have liked to see more changes.

Congressman Austin Scott (R-GA) praised the Farm Bill’s passage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Og7lUMDUw1Q

Campaigns & Elections

Public Policy Polling continues to release curious polling results. The biggest issue I have with their polling is in how they weight the responses to arrive at a sample that reflects what they think Georgia’s electorate will look like in 2014.

The biggest red flag to me is that they consistently show party identification as being evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. Except when they don’t. Now they’ve released two polls within the past week that directly contradict each other on the partisan makeup of Georgia’s electorate.

I’ve written about this at length, but here’s the big question. Why did a different PPP Poll last week show Republican with a 43-38 lead over Democrats in party identification, while this poll shows an even split at 38-38?

I think there’s a 3-8 point lead in the electorate for self-identified Republicans over Democrats, and last week PPP agreed: this week they think it’s evenly split. From Jim Galloway’s Political Insider blog at the AJC.

WASHINGTON — Democrat Michelle Nunn is neck-and-neck with four top-tier Republican U.S. Senate candidates in hypothetical matchups by Public Policy Polling.

The full results of the poll commissioned by liberal group Americans United for Change are here and put Nunn in the lead, but around the 3.9 percent margin for error. She leads Rep. Paul Broun, 42-41, Rep. Phil Gingrey, 45-41, former Secretary of State Karen Handel, 44-40, and Rep. Jack Kingston, 44-42.

The results are a small bump for Nunn from what PPP found in August, when Nunn was either tied or slightly ahead of the GOP field. The automated poll of 640 Georgians recorded an even split of Republicans and Democrats at 38 percent each, with 24 percent classifying themselves as Independent or other. Notably, the sample was 53 percent female.

Partisan Democrats respond that PPP was shown to be one of the most accurate pollsters in 2012. I note that those rankings were based on the last polls before the 2012 General Election, when pollsters knew they would be judged against the final results.

Others note that the predictive ability of polling six months or more out from a general election is suspect at best. So why bother? I would say that these early polls are by-and-large designed to demonstrate that the Democratic candidates have a shot at winning in November and are commissioned solely to produce polling results that can be used in fundraising for those Democratic candidates and allied organizations.

Damningly, polling super-analyst Nate Silver has called out PPP for making decisions that appear to reflect their partisanship over the results they got.

VERY bad and unscientific practice for @ppppolls to suppress a polling result they didn’t believe/didn’t like.

 

I’m especially skeptical when a pollster puts its finger on the scale in a way that matches its partisan views.

We’ll be discussing this some more after we aggregate some polling data.

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How do you know Vernon Jones is serious about running for Sheriff? Cowboy boots and hat. And this pull-quote from his new website.

“To all law breakers and potential law breakers, you have until sundown on May 20, 2014 to get out of DeKalb County!”

-Vernon Jones

State Representative Mike Jacobs (R-Brookhaven) responded:

Jacobs Twitter Vernon

Republican Rick Allen, running for Congress against incumbent Democrat John Barrow, has received the endorsement of the family of late Congressman Charlie Norwood.

The family of Congressman Charlie Norwood today endorsed Rick Allen to follow in the late Congressman’s footsteps in the race for Georgia’s 12th-District seat. The endorsement includes Rep. Norwood’s widow, Gloria, and his sons, Charles III and Carlton.

“One of a Congressman’s most-important responsibilities is to help folks in his district to navigate the confounding maze of government agencies. In many important cases, our Congressman is the last source of help for citizens in crisis. As government regulation continues to grow, it is critical that we elect a Congressman who will fight for his constituents in the daily affairs of the district. (Military benefits, Social Security matters, relations with the Department of Agriculture, etc.)”

“Rick will fight for what is right when his constituent is meeting difficulty with our government. His decades of business success prove that he has the heart and determination to do what ‘needs doin’. If the Norwood family were at odds with a governmental agency, we’d want Rick beside us in the foxhole. And, we know he would be.”

In Augusta, we have a campaign announcement and a pre-announcement. Former Solicitor General Harold V. Jones will run for the State Senate District 22 seat that Senator Hardie Davis is vacating in order to run for Mayor of Augusta.

Jones became Augusta’s first black solicitor general when he was elected in November 2004 with more than 59 percent of the votes. He ran unopposed in 2008, but resigned the next year to compete with Davis for the Senate seat, left open at the resignation of Ed Tarver, now a U.S. attorney.

Two other attempts – an unsuccessful House run in 2002 and a 2012 loss to Marion Williams to represent Super District 9 on the Augusta Commission – left the Augusta lawyer undaunted.

Besides Johnson, Augusta real estate agent Elmyria Chivers is running for the Senate seat.

With no announced Republican candidates, the election likely will be decided in the general primary May 20, when Augusta also will pick a mayor and vote on the latest sales tax referendum.

And recently-ousted Augusta City Administrator Fred Russell is said to be preparing a bid for Mayor.

Former Augusta City Ad­min­istrator Fred Russell is running for mayor, his campaign chairman, Duncan Johnson, said Tuesday.

“He is running,” Johnson said. “His announcement will be coming shortly.”

A former Richmond, Va., po­lice chief, Russell joined Augusta’s government in 2002 as a deputy city administrator. He was promoted to administrator in 2004 and held the job for nearly 10 years.

On Dec. 9, the Augusta Com­mission, citing a need to move in “a different direction,” voted 9-0 to fire him and begin a nationwide search for his replacement.

Also seeking the mayor’s post are Augusta Commission member Alvin Mason; state Sen. Hardie Davis, D-Augusta; entrepreneur Helen Blocker-Adams; and businessman Charles Cum­mings.

#SOTU part two

Congressman Phil Gingrey responds specifically to President Obama’s stated willingness to use Executive Orders to bypass Congress.

Congressman Jack Kingston

“While the President attempts to shift from the core issues that cripple our economy and threaten our security, we must bring attention to the solutions for these problems passed by the House but awaiting action in the Senate,” said Kingston. “With millions of Americans working only part time or out of the work force entirely, we cannot afford to wait.  There are a number of projects we can begin now that will create jobs and strengthen our economy, namely the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project and the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.”

“We need the kind of growth that comes from stopping overregulation and supporting opportunities in the private sector.  Instead of increasing the cost of health care, we need to encourage companies to hire full time employees instead of more part-time workers,”

Congressman Lynn Westmoreland

It might not seem like it but Groundhog Day is actually next week. This week, President Barack Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union address to Congress.  Unfortunately, it was just a lot more of the same old, same old.

At a time when more than 60 percent of Americans think the nation is headed in the wrong direction and 70 percent are dissatisfied with the economy, President Obama took this opportunity to continue to promote his same “no jobs” economy: more federal spending, more federal bureaucracy, and higher taxes.  As it’s been for the first five years of his presidency, this is nothing more than a recipe for economic disaster.

This president has shown time and again that he has little respect for the American people and no respect for the US Constitution.  Tonight’s speech was just one more example of his disdain.

Americans for Prosperity Georgia

President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union Address resembled a man speaking to himself more than anyone else in the room, a desperate effort to convince himself of his own relevance at a time when his approval ratings are in the toilet. 51% disapprove of the job Obama is doing as president while 43% approve. 63% of Americans have some/no confidence in Obama to make the right decisions for the country’s future and 49% say Obama is not honest or trustworthy. Despite President Obama’s soaring rhetoric, this is his fifth State of the Union Address; Americans have heard these promises before. It is time for the President to take ownership of his record and be held accountable for the results.

The President said he is leading by example on raising the minimum wage for all future federal contractors through executive privilege and called on private sector businesses to do the same. This ignores the reality that businesses forced to artificially raise their minimum wage must factor in the rising business costs and often must lay off low level workers. These are the very workers that, in theory, would benefit from the living wage increase.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for January 22, 2014

Medical Marijuana moving up

Medicinal use of marijuana is finding some supporters I would at one time (last week) have considered highly unlikely. From WSB-TV,

Channel 2 Action News has learned state lawmakers supporting medical marijuana could have a bill ready to go as early as this week that would make medical marijuana legal in Georgia.

Channel 2′s Lori Geary began reporting the issue weeks ago and talked to an unlikely co-sponsor of the bill, state Rep. Micah Gravley, a Republican from Paulding County.

He says when he was first asked about the issue he flat out refused, telling supporters of the issue he’s a conservative, Christian Republican.

Then he says the parents of 10-year-old Caden Clark reached out to him, “I have had a 180-degree change because I’ve seen how it can impact these kids and how it can impact these families who are now separated because one’s here in Georgia, the other one’s in Colorado.”

Tuesday, Gov. Nathan Deal said he’s not taking a stance on the issue but said, “I think there’s a strong case being presented by some of the families in some serious situations involving their children.”

till, the Christian Coalition remains firmly against any state law on medical marijuana.

The president of the group, Jerry [Luquire], told Geary that marijuana, in any form, is considered a Class 1 substance by the federal government, one of the most dangerous drugs. He says federal law trumps state law. He accuses the lawmakers supporting the bill of a conspiracy to break federal law.

Winston Jones at the (Carrollton) Times-Georgian spoke to their local legislators.

Sen. Mike Dugan, R-Carrollton, said Monday that he’s not in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational use, as in Colorado, and he also is against a sweeping medical marijuana law. However, he did indicate he is open to looking at derivatives that might be medically useful.

“From what I understand, with the oil, the intoxicants have been removed,” Dugan said. “I’m willing to listen to that. I want some medical professionals to come forward and tell me what benefits it would have, and I’ll make a determination from that.”

He said states that have passed medical marijuana bills have suffered widespread abuse, and he feels Georgia doesn’t need that.

Sen. Mike Crane, R-Newnan, said so far, he’s seen only anecdotal evidence from personal stories, and he’s looking forward to hearing medical presentations.

“If the stories prove true, and we see remarkable results with certain candidates, this sounds like one more tool in the doctor’s cache of things that could relieve untold suffering for many,” Crane said. “There’s more discussions to be had, and I think we’re going to see that. It’s something I’m very concerned about, but very cautious. As we move forward, I’m going to take extreme caution on this issue.”

Rep. Randy Nix, R-LaGrange, said he wonders if there’s any other drugs that can do the same thing as the medical marijuana.

“If the answer is ‘no,’ then I’m willing to listen to the debate,” Nix said. “I would want it to be something in a pill or oil form, and legislation that would have a narrow scope of what was allowed. I won’t support legislation if it looks like people want to use it to get their foot in the door to support recreational marijuana. That’s my concern.”

Nix said if the drug works for children with seizures, maybe that’s the only thing for which it should be prescribed.

“I’m not heartless,” he said. “If that’s the only thing that will help these children, let’s figure out a way to do it, but let’s not use it as that door opener to fully legalize marijuana.”

Peachtree NORML and Georgia NORML, both pro-marijuana legalization groups, released a poll by Public Policy Polling (PPP) on several ways of loosening Georgia’s marijuana laws. Here are some quotes from the release:

A new statewide poll shows that 62% of Georgia voters endorse eliminating criminal penalties for possession by adults of less than one ounce of pot, and replace it with a $100 civil fine, without the possibility of jail time. Further, more than half of all Georgia voters now support regulating the legal consumption and retail sale of marijuana for those age 21 and over.

In 2010, some 32,500 Georgians were arrested for violating marijuana laws, according to the FBI. That is the sixth highest total of any state in America.

Fifty -seven percent of voters supported legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. State
lawmakers have indicated interest in studying this legal option.

Here’s a question that will specifically interest some politicians.

Q5 If a candidate supported marijuana law reform, would that make you more or less likely to vote for that candidate in the next election, or would it not make a difference?

More likely……………29%
Less likely……………34%
Wouldn’t make a difference……………29%
Not sure…………….8%

A couple of things to note. First, if that question on reelecting a candidate who supports changing marijuana laws is accurate, it doesn’t tell the story most incumbents are likely interested in – the effect of a vote on their party’s primary voters. There are likely differences between Republicans and Democrats, and geographic differences between, say, a Metro Atlanta suburban or in-town district, and a strongly conservative rural district.

The second point I’d like to make, and one that has implications for polling beyond the issue of marijuana is that in this poll, Public Policy Polling found the partisan self-identification as follows:

Q8 If you are a Democrat, press 1. If a Republican, press 2. If you are an independent or identify with another party, press 3.
Democrat……………37%
Republican………….43%
Independent/Other……20%

I think that a 6-point lead for self-identified Republicans over Democrats is about correct. But that’s at odds with an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll that showed Democrats with a slight lead in party identification. A poll by InsiderAdvantage, where I have a part-time job sweeping floors and editing their website, put the differential at Republican +3 points.

A poll by PPP conducted in August showed Republicans +1, which I raised as an issue that caused me to question their head-to-head ballot questions that showed Michelle Nunn ahead of or tied with all of the major GOP candidates for United States Senate.

An October poll by PPP that showed Jason Carter at 40% versus Governor Deal at 44% also reflected an electorate evenly split between self-identified Democrats and Republicans - a scenario I refer to as “dreamland for Democrats.”

Part of what a pollster does, and what a discerning consumer of polling should do is to not place all your faith in any given poll, but to add the results of each poll into the mix as part of the context. And then compare that with your experiences in Georgia politics.

In 2010, competitive statewide race results ranged from Republican +9.3 to Republican +12.8, with Governor Deal beating Democratic former Governor Roy Barnes by 10 points. [In this instance I am discounting the 2010 races for U.S. Senate, SOS, Commissioner of Agriculture and Labor Commissioner, which were GOP blowouts.]

In 2012, Mitt Romney outpolled President Obama by nearly eight points and Public Service Commissioner Chuck Eaton beat Democrat Steve Oppenheimer by just under nine points.

So I feel safe in the following prediction: in 2014, the Republican electoral advantage in closely-contested statewide election will be in the range of Republican +6 to Republican +10. That’s after campaigning, but for now, any poll I see that doesn’t show a lead in GOP self-identification in the +3 to +6 range warrants a look at the crosstabs to see what’s going on.

Gold Dome Today

Today will be Georgia Right to Life’s “March for Life” at the Georgia State Capitol from 11:15 AM to 2 PM. Speakers will include Governor Nathan Deal, keynote speaker Pam Stenzel, and special guest speaker Dr. Robert White! Note that GRTL has directions for parking on their website too. Georgia Right to Life PAC has endorsed Meagan Biello in the runoff election for State Representative in House District 22, making her the only endorsed candidate in that race.


Legislative Calendar

Senate Rules – TBA, 450 CAP

10:00 AM Floor Session

1:00 pm
Senate Regulated Industries & Utilities Committee
Wed, January 22, 1pm – 2pm, 307 CLOB
Senate State & Local Governmental Operations Committee
Wed, January 22, 1pm – 2pm, 310 CLOB
House Appropriations
Wed, January 22, 1pm – 2pm or upon adjournment, 341 CAP
House Rules Committee
Wed, January 22, 2pm-3pm, 341 CAP

2:00 pm

Senate Health & Human Services Committee

Wed, January 22, 2pm – 3pm, 450 CAP

Senate Transportation Committee
Wed, January 22, 2pm – 3pm, MEZZ

3:00 pm

Senate Judiciary Non-Civil Committee
Wed, January 22, 3pm – 4pm, 307 CLOB

Kingston Collection

Since we mentioned the Limited Edition “Cotton Boll” logo t-shirt we saw from one of Jack Kingston’s past Congressional campaigns, we have been sent photos of some other Limited Edition Kingston swag. Here is the “Children of the Corn” logo.

Kingston Corn logo

And Ball One:

Kingston Baseball logoSm


Open Judicial seats in Gwinnett, Cobb

Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Michael Clark has announced that he will retire February 28, 2014 to join a law firm. As his term is not expiring, Governor Nathan Deal will appoint a successor. If history is any pattern, the leading candidates to be named are either incumbent state legislators, or lower court judges, which open up an additional seat for appointment or election.

Cobb County Superior Court Judge James Bodiford also announced he will retire at the end of his term this year. The election to replace him is likely to be held May 20, 2014.


Probation Lifted for DeKalb Public Schools

The accreditation for DeKalb County Public Schools, previously placed on probation by SACS, has been upgraded to a status of “accredited warned.”

“The threat of the loss of accreditation is no longer imminent,” said Mark Elgart, whose agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, precipitated a crisis in December 2012 that led to the governor’s intervention. SACS placed DeKalb on probation and threatened to strip accreditation altogether if the school board and superintendent failed to address management concerns.

Gov. Nathan Deal replaced six of the nine school board members, just after the old board replaced the superintendent. DeKalb’s new leadership has made remarkable progress addressing the issues, Elgart said, but he said the work is far from done and that the elections May 20 for the nonpartisan school board are a major concern.

“The election is critical,” said Elgart, who is the president and chief executive officer of SACS’ parent company AdvancED. The agency’s opinions about accreditation influence a school district’s reputation, and by extension its graduates’ chances for college admissions and scholarships. That, in turn, affects the local economy, since public education is a key factor businesses consider when choosing where to locate.

“This community needs to pay close attention to whom they elect,” Elgart said. “Politics is one of the reasons the system got itself to this point.”

The school board fiasco has already become a launching pad for one deposed member, Nancy Jester, who is now seeking the state superintendent’s job. And the upcoming school board elections, which could feature comeback bids by one or more of the ousted board members, may inject another dose of politics.

 

Nancy Jester, Republican candidate for Georgia State School Superintendent, released a statement:

I am pleased to hear the DeKalb school system’s accreditation status has been upgraded from “probation” to “warned”.

I worked diligently to shine light on the poor fiscal management of DeKalb.  Some of my work was even cited in the SACS report from 2012.

Clearly DeKalb still has a long way to go.

Academic achievement and growth in many schools is unacceptable.  DeKalb’s graduation rate, at 58.9%, is far too low.

Of the 25 high schools in DeKalb, 8 have graduation rates below 50%, while only 4 have rates above 75%.  All four of these schools are specialty or magnet schools.

I appreciate that SACS finally recognized that DeKalb needed some sort of intervention.

The entire episode exposes the structural weaknesses in our state’s accountability model.  While SACS can provide a useful and supplemental service via their third party accreditation products, Georgia must not continue to abdicate it’s role in holding districts accountable for their results and financial management.

Jester also released in the last several days a map that shows per-pupil spending and graduation rates in Georgia and neighboring states. It’s worth taking a moment to look at.

JesterGradRatesPerPupilSpendingMap copy

Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for January 21, 2014

Legislative Calendar for January 21, 2014

Blue highlighted committee names are linked to the meeting agenda.

TBD
Senate Rules Committee- TO BE ANNOUNCED – 450 CAP

1:00pm – 2:00pm
House Juvenile Justice Committee – 506 CLOB
Senate Science & Technology Committee – 307 CLOB

2:00pm – 3:00pm
Senate Public Safety Committee – MEZZ
House Education Committee – 506 CLOB
House Intragovernmental Coordination Committee – 406 CLOB
House Resource Sub of Natural Resources & Environment Committee – 606 CLOB
Senate Education & Youth Committee – 307 CLOB

2:00pm – 4:00pm
House Judiciary Civil Committee – 132 CAP

3:00pm – 4:00pm
Senate Judiciary Committee – 307 CLOB

4:00pm – 5:00pm
Senate Ethics Committee – 125 CAP
Senate GOVERNMENT OVERSIGHT – CANCELLED
Senate RETIREMENT – CANCELLED

 

 

Events Calendar


World Trade Center of Atlanta: Taste of United Kingdom (Featuring Beers From the UK )

January 21, 2014 from 5:30 – 8:00 PM
City Club of Buckhead, 3343 Peachtree Rd NE Atlanta , 30326+ Google Map

Following the World Affairs Council’s seminar on Transatlantic Innovation & Sustainability, the World Trade Center of Atlanta will host a “Taste of the UK” featuring beers from the UK and heavy hors d’oeuvres inspired by UK cuisine. The British Consul General, Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford will be our honored guest. Here, you will also learn more of our upcoming EU Series and our kick-off event on business opportunities from the impending Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Join us for this very unique…

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GA GOP Foundation: Breakfast with Governor Nathan Deal

January 21, 2014 from 8:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Marietta Country Club, 1400 Marietta Country Club Drive Kennesaw, GA 30152+ Google Map

Tuesday, January 21, 2014    Foundation Matters & Issues Marietta Breakfast   Special Guest Governor Nathan Deal

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World Affairs Council of Atlanta: TRANSATLANTIC INNOVATION & SUSTAINABILITY – The Power of Collaboration

January 21, 2014 form 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Metro Atlanta Chamber, 235 Andrew Young International Blvd NW Atlanta , GA 30303
+ Google Map

TRANSATLANTIC  INNOVATION & SUSTAINABILITY  - The Power of Collaboration In today’s business environment, innovation through  collaboration - both between university research institutions and business, and between businesses globally – is seen as a major source of competitive advantage. This forward-looking seminar will contribute to new thinking about government and private sector strategies to foster and strengthen EU-US collaboration and help drive future economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic. KEYNOTE SPEAKER JOHN F. BROCK Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Coca-Cola Enterprises

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Buckhead YR: Meeting with Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens

January 21, 2014 from 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Taco Mac, 573 Main Street Atlanta, GA 30324
+ Google Map

Join the Buckhead Young Republicans as we welcome Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens. Hudgens has been instrumental in fighting the draconian Obamacare regulations as Georgia residents have seen more than 400,000 insurance policies cancelled, a number that grows every day. We will also have US Senate candidate Art Gardner for U.S. Senate 2014

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Gwinnett Teen Republicans: Meeting

January 21, 2014 from 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Gwinnett GOP HQ, 46 South Clayton St Lawrenceville, 30045+ Google Map

Gwinnett Teen Republicans Meeting

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Georgia Right to Life: The Georgia March For Life

January 22, 2014 from 11:30 AM – 2:00 PM
Georgia State Capitol, 206 Washington St SW Atlanta, GA 30334 United States+ Google Map

Georgia Right to Life is proud to announce that our annual Together For Life memorial walk is being refocused and relaunched in 2014 as the Georgia March For Life! Mark your calendars for January 22, 2014 and join us at the State Capitol steps in Atlanta from 11:30am-2:00pm with keynote speaker Pam Stenzel and special guest speaker Dr. Robert White! At the Georgia March For Life, we will have music and prayer (starting at 11:30am), hear from the leading pro-life voices in Georgia…

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Atlanta YR: Meeting with Rep. Jack Kingston & Rep. Lynne Riley

January 22, 2014 from 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Five Seasons Brewing – Westside, 1000 Marietta Street Atlanta , GA 30318 United States+ Google Map

As we enter a new year, both Congress and Georgia’s General Assembly are kicking off new sessions. We are fortunate to have Congressman Jack Kingston, who is running for U.S. Senate, and Ga. Rep. Lynne Riley, who is Gov. Deal’s floor leader.

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Rep. Rob Woodall: Veterans Assistance Open House

January 23, 2014 from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center, 75 Langley Dr Lawrenceville , GA 30046
+ Google Map

Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce: Annual Meeting

January 23, 2014 from 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Northside Hospital – Cherokee Conference Center, 1130 Bluffs Parkway Canton , GA 30114
+ Google Map

Join us as we celebrate our 2013 accomplishments, welcome our 2014 Board of Directors, present our Volunteer of the Year & First Citizen! No refunds. Priority seating given to reserved tables as secured.

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2014 State of DeKalb County Business Lunch

January 23, 2014 from 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM
Emory Conference Center Lullwater Ballroom, 1615 Clifton Road Atlanta , 30322+ Google Map

2014 State of DeKalb County Business Lunch with Interim CEO Lee May

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World Trade Center Atlanta: Luncheon with the British Consul General on Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

January 23, 2014 from 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM
City Club of Buckhead, 3343 Peachtree Rd. NE Atlanta, GA 30326
+ Google Map

Join the Consul General Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford of the United Kingdom for a discussion on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Learn how you can prepare to take advantage of the business opportunities presented by TTIP upon its implementation. Consul General Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford will lead the discussion and will be joined by business executives who are currently conducting business in the UK and the US. They will share details on the business landscape in the UK, how it might change…

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Republican Women of Cherokee County: Meet and Greet with David Pennington

January 23, 2014 from 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Winchesters Wood Fire Grille, 110 Mountain Vista Blvd. Canton, GA 30115
+ Google Map

Meet and Greet Georgia Governor Candidate David Pennington. In addition, meet  Senate and Congressional  candidate spouses, Mrs. Nikkin Broun and Mrs. Danelle Mroinski.

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Rep. Rob Woodall: Gwinnett Town Hall Meeting

January 23, 2014 from 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Suwanee City Hall, 330 Town Center Avenue Suwanee, GA 30024 United States+ Google Map

Congressman Rob Woodall Gwinnett Town Hall Meeting

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Georgia Tea Party: Meeting with Kelly McCutchen on Tax Reform

January 23, 2014 from 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
900 Roswell St Marietta, GA 30060

+ Google Map

Our speaker on Thursday, January 23 will be Kelly McCutchen of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.  Mr McCutchen will speak on Tax Reform in Georgia.

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Bibb County GOP: Meeting with David Perdue

January 23, 2014 from 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
2720 Riverside Drive Macon, GA 31204+ Google Map

David Perdue will be our guest speaker and we will begin organizing for upcoming elections!!! Invite a friend and join us in our Keeping Georgia Red campaign!

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Georgia Municipal Association: Mayors’ Day

January 24, 2014
Hilton – Atlanta, 255 Courtland St NE Atlanta , GA 30303+ Google Map

Mayors’ Day Features U.S. Senate Candidates Forum Register online. Download paper registration and training/conference schedule (PDF, 1.46MB). City officials will have the opportunity to hear directly from candidates seeking to replace Saxby Chambliss in the U.S. Senate during GMA’s 2014 Mayors’ Day. Since Chambliss has decided not to seek reelection a number of individuals have already announced their intention to run for the seat. On Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, GMA will hold a U.S. Senate Candidates Forum. Candidates from both the Republican and…

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Columbia County GOP: Breakfast with Rep. Barry Fleming

January 25, 2014 from 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
The Garlic Clove Italian Eatery, 4523 Washington Road Evans , GA 30809 United States+ Google Map

Join the Columbia County Republican Party for our monthly breakfast meeting. We will have two speakers this month: State Representative Barry Fleming and Nancy Gay from the Columbia County Board of Elections. Breakfast is $8 Doors open at 8:45 Meeting begins at 9:00 No RSVP necessary

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Cobb Chamber of Commerce: Annual Dinner

January 25, 2014 from 6:30 PM – 11:00 PM
Cobb Galleria Centre, Two Galleria Parkway Atlanta, 30339+ Google Map

Cobb Chamber of Commerce: Annual Dinner Event Description: This black-tie dinner affair celebrates the many accomplishments of 2013 and sets the standard for a successful 2014! Attended by nearly 1,000 of Cobb County’s finest, this gala serves as an opportunity to honor those that have made significant contributions to enhance our quality of life, make Cobb a better place to live, improve our education, medical and public service communities. Tickets: $165 per individual ticket; $1,500 per Table of 10. For…

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11th Annual Taste of Dunwoody

January 25, 2014 from 7:30 PM – 10:30 PM
Crowne Plaza Ravinia, 4355 Ashford Dunwoody Rd Dunwoody , GA 30346+ Google Map

11th Annual Taste of Dunwoody Be a part of our annual Taste of Dunwoody and enjoy an evening of food and fun benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Featuring delicious fare from more than 25 Atlanta restaurants, a silent auction, a cash bar and live music performed by Yacht Rock Revue, the Taste of Dunwoody is always a sell-out event! With “spot on renditions” Yacht Rock Revue is possibly the best tribute to 70s light rock and always promise a good time. We…

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Republican Jewish Coalition of Atlanta: A Job Interview With The Candidates for Georgia U.S. Senate

January 26, 2014 from 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Hammond Glen Senior Community Center,
335 Hammond Drive Atlanta , GA 30328 United States

+ Google Map

The RJC Atlanta Chapter invites you to A Job Interview with the Candidates for Georgia U.S. Senate with invited guests: Congressman Jack Kingston, Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, Congressman Phil Gingrey, Former CEO of Dollar General and Reebok, David Perdue, and Congressman Paul Broun. During this job interview, the Republican Candidates campaigning to be next U.S. Senator from Georgia will one at a time make their case for why they are uniquely qualified for the job. Following each…

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Georgia Municipal Association: U.S. Senate Candidates Forum

January 27, 2014 from 9:15 AM – 10:15 AM
Hilton – Atlanta, 255 Courtland St NE Atlanta , GA 30303
+ Google Map

U.S. Senate Candidates forum will be held at 9:15 a.m., following the breakfast.

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Sen. Judson Hill & Rep. John Carson: Town Hall Meeting

January 27, 2014 from 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Mountain View Regional Library,
3320 Sandy Plains Rd. Marietta , 30066

+ Google Map

Town Hall Meeting with Sen. Judson Hill and Rep. John Carson

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for January 10, 2011

Top Stories

1. An important day in Georgia history
2. Poll: Deal leads Carter by 2-1 margin
3. Campaign announcements
4. Two events with Allen West

Announcing GaPunditPro

In the coming days, we’ll be releasing GaPunditPro, a tool for professionals and citizen-lobbyists at the Capitol that will include an electronic version of the White Book, as well as constantly updated information from both chambers and headlines from GaPundit.com.

As a preview, here’s the new State House of Representatives Committee Assignments and Chairmanships.

History

On January 10, 2011, Nathan Deal was sworn in as Governor of Georgia for his first term. The celebratory inauguration was cancelled because of snow and ice, but Deal took the oath of office before a joint session of the Georgia General Assembly. Deal became the second Republican Governor of Georgia during the modern era, taking over from Gov. Sonny Perdue.

Deal 2011 Inaugural Invite

Other Gubernatorial inaugurations

January 10, 1788 John Housetoun
January 10, 1933 Eugene Talmadge (more…)