The blog.

24
Dec

Two counties swear in commissioners | www.ajc.com

On Thursday, Forsyth County District 1 Commissioner R.J. “Pete” Amos took the oath of office for a second term, as did District 3 Commissioner Todd Levent. Both men were sworn in at the Forsyth County Administration Building. They were first elected to the group in 2010. Forsyth County Probate Judge Woody Jordan officiated.

In Cherokee County, Board of Commissioners Chairman L.B. “Buzz” Ahrens was sworn in for another term in office. Also, members K. Scott Gordon in District 4, and Steve West in District 1 took the oath of office, replacing retiring commissioners Jason Nelms and Harry Johnston respectively. Johnston was first elected to the commission in 2000 to fill an unexpired term. Nelms was elected in 2010. The ceremony took place Wednesday at the Cherokee County Administration Building.

via Two counties swear in commissioners | www.ajc.com.

24
Dec

By the Numbers: Half of the Senators Who Voted for Obamacare Will be Gone in 2015 – Bloomberg Politics

Louisiana Republican Bill Cassidy’s double-digit ousting of Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu on Saturday was, in the words of the senator-elect, an “exclamation mark” on a 2014 election that saw the Republicans win control of the Senate. With Landrieu’s departure, only half of the Senators who voted to pass the Affordable Care Act will still be in office in 2015, when the new members are sworn in.

via By the Numbers: Half of the Senators Who Voted for Obamacare Will be Gone in 2015 – Bloomberg Politics.

24
Dec

The power of mobile for civic engagement | Campaigns & Elections

The accelerating penetration of mobile devices across demographics is a huge opportunity for civic engagement, as advocates now can use their phones to take social action to support a candidate or policy in just a few taps.

In July, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released the findings of a study on mobile worldwide penetration. The study found that as of last December, the United States, along with Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, and South Korea had greater than 100 percent wireless penetration. This means these countries have more iPhones, Androids, and tablets than people.

It probably comes as little surprise to most Americans. Last January, Pew Research reported that 90 percent of all Americans have a mobile phone (when you consider tablets and other wireless devices, it’s easy to see how quickly we surpass 100 percent). In another study, the group found that two thirds of these cellphone owners use their mobile phones to go online, with people of color—74 percent for African-Americans and 68 percent for Hispanics—leading the way.

There are several ways advocates and campaigns can take advantage of the increase mobile penetration. A few quick case studies from the past cycle:

During the 2014 legislative season, the Georgia Charter Schools Association provided the means for hundreds of constituents to engage with their officials to support a fast-moving legislative measure in education. The advocates not only took action to support the effort, but they also did it quickly, showing the state Legislature that they were ready to mobilize when needed.

How can this help inform your campaign? Here are a few tips for making your social advocacy campaigns mobile-ready:

Ensure your website and communications are fully accessible on smartphones and tablets. Having beautiful, engaging content isn’t enough if it’s not accessible on mobile.

Use text messaging as part of your engagement strategy to ensure you reach your supporters. Not everyone has email, but almost everyone has a phone with text-message access.

Don’t stop with emailing your supporters. People today use their mobile devices for much more than emailing, so send your communications in every way possible: email, text messaging, and through social media. Triangulation is important. Make sure your civic engagement platform facilitates this.

Allow advocates to engage in as many ways as possible, not just via email. People have preferences and providing them with multiple options for taking action can boost engagement.

Use multiple strategies to push your message to elected officials. They’re not only checking emails and voicemails, but they’re often active on social media. So meet them “where they are” and be sure to keep your message simple and consistent across all channels.

Lastly, keep an eye on the trends. Mobile advocacy is just starting and every day we learn something new about the power of mobile for civic engagement.

via The power of mobile for civic engagement | Campaigns & Elections.

24
Dec

Dems’ final insult: Landrieu crushed – James Hohmann – POLITICO

In the final insult of a devastating 2014 election for Democrats, Sen. Mary Landrieu, the party’s last remaining statewide officeholder from the Deep South, was trounced Saturday in the head-to-head Louisiana Senate runoff election.

Republican Bill Cassidy’s resounding victory is the ninth Senate seat picked up by the GOP in this year’s elections, three more than the party needed to take control of the chamber. With nearly all the ballots counted, Cassidy led Landrieu by 14 points, 57 percent to 43 percent.

It was the final major race of a 2014 election cycle in which Republicans won nearly every battleground Senate election, gained three governorships and at least 246 House seats. Democrats’ efforts to localize many of these contests fell flat, and Republicans succeeded in making the election a referendum on the unpopular president.

The Louisiana governorship is opening up next year, as outgoing Gov. Bobby Jindal plots a presidential campaign. GOP Sen. David Vitter is the frontrunner to succeed him, which could create a vacancy when his seat is up for election again in 2016.

Republicans also held onto two Louisiana House seats in runoffs on Saturday in solidly GOP districts. Ralph Abraham won the seat currently held by GOP Rep. Vance McAllister, who finished fourth in last month’s primary following an adultery scandal. In the race for Cassidy’s House seat, Republican Garret Graves beat former Democratic Gov. Edwin Edwards, the colorful, 87-year-old seeking political redemption after felony convictions for corruption.

via Dems’ final insult: Landrieu crushed – James Hohmann – POLITICO.

24
Dec

Last Of Senate’s Deep South Democrats Defeated « CBS Houston

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy has denied Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana a fourth term, calling his Senate victory “the exclamation point” on midterm elections that put Republicans in charge on Capitol Hill for President Barack Obama’s last two years in office.

With nearly all votes counted, unofficial returns showed Cassidy with a commanding victory in Saturday’s runoff as he ousted the last of the Senate’s Deep South Democrats. In the South, Democrats will be left without a single U.S. senator or governor across nine states stretching from the Carolinas to Texas.

The Louisiana race mirrored contests in other states this election season, with Landrieu, 59, joining Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan and Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor in defeat. Democrats ceded seats in Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia after incumbents opted not to run again.

Like victorious Republicans in those races, Cassidy, a 57-year-old Illinois native, made his bid against Landrieu more about Obama than about his own vision for the job.

In a state where 73 percent of white voters on Nov. 4 told pollsters they “strongly disapproved” of the president, that was enough to prevent Landrieu from finding her footing as she tried several lines of attack.

via Last Of Senate’s Deep South Democrats Defeated « CBS Houston.

24
Dec

Telecoms bet on congressional rookies – Tony Romm – POLITICO

AT&T, Comcast and Verizon have donated heavily to incoming members of Congress, cultivating early relationships with the next generation of lawmakers and surpassing the efforts of Internet companies like Google and Facebook, which are just beginning to up their game in Washington.

With the help of their well-stocked political action committees, the three wireless and cable giants last election cycle cast a wide net, according to a POLITICO analysis of campaign finance data. They targeted many of the 65 newcomers to Capitol Hill along with scores of familiar incumbents as the industry prepares for new legislative battles in 2015 over net neutrality and other communications laws.

AT&T chipped in $5,000 to David Perdue, the newly elected Republican senator from Georgia, and $8,000 to Mike Rounds, the incoming GOP senator from South Dakota. Comcast gave $1,000 to Dave Brat, the Virginia Republican who unexpectedly bested former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a primary earlier this year. The cable giant also shelled out $10,000 in support to Debbie Dingell and $2,000 to Ruben Gallego, a new Democratic congressman from Arizona.

Verizon supported many of the same people. It even backed two candidates in the same race — Ernst and Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley, who duked it out for Iowa’s open Senate seat.

via Telecoms bet on congressional rookies – Tony Romm – POLITICO.

24
Dec

GOP now holds “Solid South” | Jamie Dupree – AJC

[T]he Deep South has now gone to the GOP – the “Solid South” of the Democrats has been transformed into a “Sold South” for the Republicans.

In 2015, only two states in the South will have a Democratic Senator – Virginia, where Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) barely won re-election, and in Florida, where Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) holds a seat.

That’s it.

Just as Republicans have dropped off the map in many areas of New England, so too have Democrats in the South.

Even more dramatic is what has happened at the state level, as Republicans in January will hold the Governor’s seat in almost every southern and border state, as the GOP also controls almost every southern state legislative body as well.

When I got my current job 26 years ago, the Georgia Congressional delegation in the U.S. House had 10 members – nine were Democrats and one Republican (Newt Gingrich). Both Senators were Democrats.

Georgia had a Democratic Governor. A Democratic state legislature.

Now in 2015, Republicans control the Georgia state government. Both Senators are from the GOP. The U.S. House delegation is 10-4 in favor of Republicans.

It’s the type of switch that has happened all over the south – especially the Deep South.

via GOP now holds “Solid South” | Jamie Dupree – AJC.

24
Dec

Democrats looking everywhere for solutions to their Southern problem | WTVR.com

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) — The 2014 elections seemed like the final reckoning for Southern Democrats, the culmination of a political metamorphosis that began in the Civil Rights era and concluded under the nation’s first black President.

Wiped out in governors’ races, clobbered in Senate contests, irrelevant in many House districts and boxed out of state legislatures, Democrats in the South today look like a rump party consigned to a lifetime of indignity.

“I can’t remember it being any gloomier for Democrats in the South than it is today,” said Curtis Wilkie, the longtime journalist and observer of Southern life who lectures at the University of Mississippi. “The party has been demonized by Republicans. It’s very bleak. I just don’t see anything good for them on the horizon.”

Democrats are looking everywhere for solutions to their Southern problem. They hope population changes will make states such as Georgia and North Carolina more hospitable. They want more financial help from the national party. Some are even clinging to the dim hope that Hillary Clinton might help make inroads with white working class voters in Arkansas in 2016.

Success here is crucial for the party. There’s virtually no way for Democrats to win back a majority in the Senate — much less the House — without finding a way to compete more effectively in the South. But the truth is there are no easy answers for a party so deep in the hole.

via Democrats looking everywhere for solutions to their Southern problem | WTVR.com.

24
Dec

1250 AM WTMA – GOP moves early to court conservative Christians [From CNN News]

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The first votes of the 2016 campaign won’t be cast for another year but there’s already a race well underway: The Christian primary.

Republicans are actively courting white evangelical and born again Christian voters, knowing they will be crucial in early-voting states such as Iowa and South Carolina.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is urging people to join him next month in Baton Rouge for a day of fasting, repentance and prayer focused on the future of the United States.

On the same day, another gathering will take place in Des Moines, where at least five potential GOP presidential candidates will address Iowa voters on “core principles” that include “social conservatism.”

In August, Marco Rubio spoke at South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan’s “Faith and Freedom” fundraiser. Jindal, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and Mike Huckabee addressed the Iowa Family Leader Summit in that same month. And in November, Ben Carson was the keynote speaker at the Family Leader’s annual fundraising dinner.

“It looks like we are going to have more social conservative candidates than we did the last time,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. “It is going to be very competitive.”

That’s great for social conservatives who are yearning for Republican presidential candidates to speak openly and forcefully about the issues they care about: abortion, religious liberty, and same sex marriage, among others. But a competitive primary could wind up hurting their cause if they aren’t able to unite behind one or two candidates.

The splintering of white evangelical and born again Christians may provide an opening for a more centrist candidate to win the Republican nomination — leaving social conservatives, once again, frustrated that a candidate of their political stripe failed to win.

via 1250 AM WTMA – GOP moves early to court conservative Christians [From CNN News].

24
Dec

Republicans hatch plan that could make Alabama a player in Presidential elections – Yellowhammer News

Political leaders in Alabama and other Southern states have grown frustrated with their states’ lack of influence in the presidential primaries and have hatched a plan that could have profound implications for the 2016 elections — especially for Republicans.

The plan, which would set up what has been dubbed the “SEC Primary,” has garnered early support from top Republicans across the region, including here in Alabama.

“If it’s limited to six or eight states, I think it would bring candidates to the Southern part of the United States,” said Alabama Secretary of State Jim Bennett.

This is not the first time Republicans have tried to maneuver Alabama into a place of relevance in the nominating process.

In most presidential election years through the 2004 cycle, Alabama held its presidential primaries in June, often long after voters in other states had essentially decided the outcome of the races. So lawmakers passed a bill that moved Alabama’s presidential primaries up to the first Tuesday in February.

But in an effort to condense the primary campaign calendar, both national party committees passed a rule cutting in half the number of delegates a state could send to the party convention if they held their primary before the first Tuesday in March.

So in 2011, the Republican-controlled Alabama Legislature passed a bill moving the presidential-year primaries to the second Tuesday in March alongside Mississippi. As a result, several candidates visited the state and the ALGOP was able to host a presidential forum featuring Rick Santorum — who eventually won the Alabama primary — and Newt Gingrich. However, the frontrunner, Mitt Romney, only dropped into the state to hold a high-dollar fundraiser and didn’t actively campaign, ceding Alabama to more conservative candidates without much concern because of its limited importance.

The SEC Primary plan would likely make Alabama and other Southern states much more influential in picking the party’s nominee.

via Republicans hatch plan that could make Alabama a player in Presidential elections – Yellowhammer News.