“I think there’s a very good possibility you could have one or both elections in a runoff,” says Tom Crawford, who writes the online political digest The Georgia Report.
He says the gubernatorial race is likelier to go to a runoff. And that’s partly because of Libertarian candidate, Andrew Hunt.
“I’ve seen him, talked to him, sized him up – actually a very impressive candidate,” Crawford said. “An attractive guy, speaks well, has a real grasp of the issues, and I think could draw an extra one or two percent of the vote away.”
He would pull those votes away from Gov. Deal.
Republicans vote for Libertarians more often than Democrats. Those votes would then revert to the Republican candidate most likely in the runoff. [emphasis added]
Sen. Burt Jones Named to UGA’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2014
Senator Burt Jones (R- Jackson) was recently named to the University of Georgia’s (UGA) 40 Under 40 Class of 2014 by the UGA Alumni Association.
“I am honored to be nominated for the 40 Under 40 Class of 2014 by my alma mater,” said Sen. Jones. “The University of Georgia not only provided me with a top-tier education, but also taught me countless lessons outside of the classroom that have made me who I am today. I am thankful to the alumni association and look forward to continuing (more…)
Economic impact of Georgia’s tourism industry hits record $53.6 billion, Deal says
Gov. Nathan Deal today recognized several of the state’s top tourism professionals at the 2014 Georgia Governor’s Tourism Conference in Augusta. Hosted by the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the Georgia Association of Convention & Visitors Bureau, the annual event gathered more than 500 of Georgia’s tourism industry professionals from Georgia’s convention and visitor bureaus, attractions, hotels and more.
“Tourism is a powerful job and economic development generator in our state,” said Deal. “With a record $53.6 billion in economic impact, this industry employs more than 410,000 Georgians. Our tourism professionals play an instrumental role in ensuring Georgia’s economic vitality, (more…)
ATLANTA (AP) — Tougher laws have led to a decline in boating accidents and incident-related fatalities for a second straight year in Georgia, but not all the numbers are promising.
Boating under the influence citations are up, and there’s been a significant uptick in drownings – 33 so far in 2014, up from 22 the year before.
Still, the overall trend lines are moving in the right direction. There have been only six boating incident-related fatalities in 2014, one-third the annual average of 18 since 1985. While the drownings have risen since 2013, the totals are still well below the average of 52 each of the past 15 years, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
The uptick in BUIs reflect new laws that lowered the blood-alcohol content threshold from .10 to .08, state law enforcement officials say, but the 158 citations issued is still a far cry from the annual average of 274 over the last two decades.
ATLANTA (AP) Secretary of State Brian Kemp is reminding the public to stay alert for those who may be collecting personal data during voter registration drives.
Kemp says his office this week has received reports of voter registration drives where such information is collected that could be used for identity theft. He says residents don’t have to provide an email address, phone number or full social security number in order to register to vote.
Kemp also says members of the public should never give personal information over the phone to anyone claiming to register voters.
After passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned racial discrimination in interstate commerce, the Heart of Atlanta’s owner sued the federal government, asserting that the Act was an overly broad interpretation of the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.
The resulting decision by the United States Supreme Court upheld the Act, finding that Congress was within its authority to ban racial discrimination in businesses affecting interstate commerce.
This is how a professional handles a Democratic tracker.
We’ve heard of other professional pols who incorporated introducing their trackers as part of their stump speech, and of trackers who grew to personally like the candidates they followed because they were treated warmly and with respect.
Of course, trackers first became news in 2006, when United States Senator George Allen referred to a tracker as “Macaca” and the resulting firestorm cost him both his Senate reelection and what was then a promising start to a possible 2008 Presidential bid. And then there was Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” moment.
The lesson I present this morning is that there is nothing a tracker can record of your standard stump speech that will do you as much harm as you will do yourself and the entire rest of your ticket if you confront them. Here’s a small sampling of what I’m seeing on Facebook:
Whatever damage the GOP suffers in November will be entirely self-inflicted.
Since no one is stepping up, I’ll go ahead an apologize to Ms. Tisdale:
Dear Nydia Tisdale,
I’m not a Republican party official, nor do I represent the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office, so I can’t apologize for them. But as a long-time Georgia Republican who believes our state is best served when conservative Republicans are elected, I would like to apologize for your treatment at the recent campaign event.
There’s no excuse for the behavior of one or two individuals, and many Republicans were shocked and offended by what happened, myself included.
I have long appreciated your work on behalf of Georgia voters in shedding light on local government, and sharing what you see at campaign events. Your video above showing Governor Nathan Deal greeting you and a professional tracker does more to show his personal graciousness and decency than anything I’ve seen in the mainstream media. I hope his treatment of people sets a good example for others and that you will be at least tolerated peacefully, if not warmly welcomed by most Georgia Republicans.
In defense of Georgia Republicans, I will note that the actions of a Deputy do not reflect those of the party, but the damage to our reputation is done.
There is a weird symbiosis between trackers and the campaigns they’re covering. Some trackers will actually develop an amiable relationship with the campaign staff. “It really depends on the candidate,” Farr said. “We’ve definitely had candidates that were very respectful and even created friendships with some of our trackers.”
“It’s a mix,” Miller said. “There are friendly staffers. I’m having trouble thinking of an example where it’s completely amicable.”
There are definitely stories to the contrary. In August, one of America Rising’s trackers caught heat for recording a public event for Alabama’s Democratic candidate for attorney general, Joe Hubbard. At the event, Hubbard accused the tracker of “dirty tricks” and retaliated by tweeting out photos of the tracker, his America Rising ID badge, and his LinkedIn profile. In June, two trackers employed by the Republican Party were caught using “spy glasses” to record a private fundraiser for Michigan’s Democratic candidate for governor.
Ideally for America Rising and American Bridge, though, the campaigns will eventually ignore the tracker altogether and let her do her work. In exchange, the tracker won’t hassle the campaign—until her video gets uploaded to YouTube later that night.
“In the vast majority of cases, we tell our trackers we want them to be a fly on the wall,” Miller said. “We want them to go stand in the back of the room, not be a problem, and get as much video as possible. This is not like the old days where you’d jump somebody out from behind a bush and try to create a news story. That’s not our objective.”
“I do think that the press people’s initial instinct is to be hostile,” Miller said. “It’s more trouble than it’s worth to be wasting a staffer’s time trying to kick out a tracker when they should be signing up volunteers.”
More about that poll
I’ll be discussing the recent statewide poll at the Walton County Republican Party meeting Monday night. I hope to see you there.
Governor of Georgia Ballot
United States Senate Ballot
State School Superintendent Ballot
Do you see the problem? Good. Now look at the previous story and read it again, remembering that the person removed from the GOP rally was female, and that two of the three Facebook comments were written by females.
“We’re using old weapon systems and old equipment, which requires higher maintenance costs,” Bishop said. “So we’re sort of rolling the dice, if you will, hoping for a better economy, hoping for more resources.”
Along with a majority of Congress which recently voted against BRAC, Bishop said now is not the time for base closures or sequestration, which are automatic budget cuts across the board on the federal government level.
“Sequestration is the worst thing that could happen to the country on the defense side and on the non-defense side,” Bishop said. “It has wrought havoc for our government, for our country and for our people, and we need to eliminate sequestration. We need to get past that and get to an orderly fiscal process.”
Given the global threat of the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq as well as the aggression of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Bishop said BRAC would send a dangerous message to the world. He also said being fiscally orderly can help strengthen the military.
“I prefer peace to war but, of course, in order to have peace, you have to be in a position of strength also,” Bishop said. “We can’t disarm ourselves and become impotent in terms of our military strength and hope to have an influence (and) a deterring effect on aggression.”
In Georgia, the Pentagon is recommending changes at Martin Army Community Hospital at Fort Benning. The Pentagon report says the hospital has 45 staffed beds and 24 inpatients per day. A Pentagon analysis recommends downsizing to a birthing center with holding beds and outpatient care. The Army disagreed.
The Pentagon also recommends changes at Winn Army Community Hospital at Fort Stewart. The report says the hospital has 45 staffed beds and 24 inpatients per day. The Pentagon recommends downsizing. The Army disagrees.
No changes were recommended at Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Fort Gordon. The hospital has 89 staffed beds and 58 inpatients per day.
Georgia Rep. John Barrow will be get the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at an event in his district Friday, a chamber official told CQ Roll Call and Barrow’s campaign confirmed.
Barrow is the fourth Democrat this cycle to receive the backing of the chamber, a pro-business group that spends millions in federal elections usually in support of Republicans. The others include Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., a top GOP target who was endorsed Wednesday, along with Reps. Henry Cuellar of Texas and Jim Costa of California.
Barrow is being challenged by construction company owner Rick Allen, who won a crowded and competitive GOP primary in May.
Elaine Boyer stood in front of a federal judge Wednesday afternoon and pleaded guilty to systematically bilking her DeKalb County constituents out of more than $90,000.
U.S. District Judge Orinda Evans told the former county commissioner that she could be sentenced to a maximum of 40 years in prison. However, Evans said, federal prosecutors had recommended that Boyer receive a lesser sentence, based on her guilty plea to mail fraud conspiracy and wire fraud and on other factors.
The judge also told Boyer she must pay restitution.
Boyer, who had represented north DeKalb as the panel’s only Republican, admitted to engineering a two-year kickback scheme involving a phony consultant, and using a county Visa card as if it were her personal debit card.
The federal charges say Boyer tapped taxpayers for more than $93,000. An investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, however, puts the figure at just over $100,000.
Carter, the Democratic challenger and a legislator from Decatur, hasn’t said how much he wants to boost education spending, but his campaign spokesman Bryan Thomas said Tuesday the goal is to close a gap of about $1 billion per year over the last eight years.
Carter says he expects to collect $2.5 billion in delinquent taxes, pointing to a January report by the Department of Audits & Accounts that includes an estimate from the Department of Revenue of $4.4 billion outstanding. Carter figures if he only collects half of what scofflaws owe, it will be a major boost to the $7 billion education budget.
“There’s no dispute there’s a huge amount of money that’s sitting there uncollected,” Thomas said, adding that improved collections is a matter of leadership. “You put the force of the governor’s office behind it.”
Carter’s plan to have deadbeats fund part of his education boost may face problems.
Deal already increased resources for the Revenue Department twice, resulting in 150 more auditors and other employees as well as technical equipment. That succeeded in squeezing some into ponying up, according to the Department of Audits; however, getting the rest of the outstanding taxes will be tougher, the department wrote.
Another snag in Carter’s plan is that even if he succeeded in collecting $2.5 billion, it would only pay for a one-year increase in the budget, said public-finance expert Thomas Lauth.
“Delinquent-tax collection is one-time funding (unless one assumes continuing delinquency), not recurring funding,” he wrote in an e-mail. “The more sensible ways to increase funding for public education are to (1) allocate a substantial portion of revenue growth (new money) to that purpose or (2) designate a tax increase for that purpose.”
That piece by Walter Jones for Morris News is an excellent piece of investigative journalism and worth reading in its entirety. It seems too infrequent that politicians campaign claims are assessed for whether they’ll work.
Michelle Nunn: just another liberal Washington retread
Shockingly, “New Democrat” Michelle Nunn has turned into just another liberal Washington retread. More than that, she’s a vehicle for national Democrats to try to slip one past the voters of Georgia and part of the setup for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
I’ve been predicting for some time that Hillary Clinton would find a visit to Georgia much too tempting to pass up. Maybe she’ll still come down here, but maybe Michelle Nunn’s campaign advisors have figured out how to tap into the liberal Clinton network without actually bringing Hillary to the Peach State. Their solution? Bill Clinton.
According to travel guidance provided by the White House, Obama’s day begins with an event with Education Secretary Arne Duncan at Booker T. Washington High School — where Martin Luther King Jr. attended before leaving early for Morehouse College. Obama will tour a college fair and then give a speech in the school gymnasium that promotes her “Reach Higher” initiative, pushing students to complete post-secondary education.
In the afternoon, Obama will attend a closed-press fundraiser for the Nunn campaign and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Then she will speak at a public “Voter Registration Rally.”
Republican Senate opponent David Perdue spokesperson Megan Whittemore said the fundraiser is no surprise.
“Clearly Michelle Nunn is trying to distance herself from President Obama and Washington democrats publicly, but she clearly has no problem raising money from them directly in order to deceive Georgians about her true allegiance to President Obama and Harry Reid’s failed agenda.”
Georgia State University political science lecturer and the former Executive director of the Georgia Democratic Party, Steve Anthony, said Nunn is teaming up with the former President because of his popularity.
“I think you want the biggest bang for the buck, and President Clinton has proven to not only be an agreeable fundraiser for Democratic candidates but a formidable fundraiser also. He’s still the star of the party.”
Anthony said the Nunn campaign also likely hopes Clinton will energize Democratic voters.
[UGA Political Science professor Charles Bullock] said Clinton’s visit shows how competitive the race between Nunn and Perdue is as Democrats try to hold onto the Senate and Republicans try to gain control. “The former President coming here underscores that this Georgia Senate contest is one of the most important 6, 7 and 8 in the nation, and here in Georgia, it’s been awhile since we’ve had contests that have been this high-profile,” said Bullock.
“We’re planning to participate in 3 debates, which should be ample opportunity for voters to make their decision,” [Perdue spokesperson Megan] Whittemore said. “Right now, David is taking his message directly to the people of Georgia, and unlike his opponent, he has been very clear on where he stands on the issues.”
The three ahead for Nunn and Perdue include Oct. 7 hosted by WMAZ-TV in Macon, Oct. 26 hosted by the Atlanta Press Club and broadcast statewide on Georgia Public Broadcasting and Nov. 2 hosted by WSB-TV in Atlanta.
Over the next six weeks, candidates across the country will begin meeting their opponents face-to-face under the hot klieg lights of a television studio or positioned on a stage before a live audience. While just a fraction of the voting population customarily tunes in to the confrontations, a glaring mistake or unbefitting appearance that attracts widespread attention in news accounts or social media can be devastating.
“I don’t believe debates can change the dynamic of a race dramatically without somebody really screwing up,” says Thomas Mills, a Democratic consultant in North Carolina who has coached candidates on debating tactics. “A debate has more potential to hurt you than to help you. A single misstep can redefine what people think of you.”
Timing is the most common problem candidates run into. Shaving down an answer to a complex question to fit the usual 90-second allotment is an art. Aides also carefully screen for nervous tics or gestures that could be distracting to voters.
“Debate prep is a big part of making sure your candidate can’t be thrown off. If something can get inside their head, you want that to happen in practice. They need to be ready for anything,” says Democratic consultant Adrianne Marsh, who successfully managed Sen. Claire McCaskill’s 2012 re-election in Missouri.
In the heat of a rapid-fire debate, candidates will be tossed all types of questions. The best debaters often find an astute way to acknowledge them before pivoting back to two or three central points they want to make.
“You don’t have to answer the question. You have to articulate what you want to get across,” says Mills.
If I’m correct, that’s a unanimous DeKalb County Republican legislative delegation behind a candidate who took nearly 40% of the DeKalb County vote in a nine-way race for State School Superintendent this summer.
According the the Dunwoody Crier, local attorney Bob Dallas said he won’t run for County Commission and former DeKalb GOP Chair and unsuccessful 2006 State Senate candidate Frank Auman has been mentioned as a potential candidate.
[Disclaimer: I worked for Nancy Jester's campaign for State School Superintendent this summer.]
Floyd County Superior Court Judge Tami Colston on Tuesday opted against participating in the viral campaign to raise money for ALS research. Colston stepped away from the ice bucket after the JQC contacted her that morning, warning she could violate the code of judicial conduct if she raised money for the charity.
According to Colston, the JQC contacted her after seeing a story about her challenge in the Rome News-Tribune. “I’m just very disappointed,” said the judge, whose father died of ALS. “It’s frustrating that we can’t do the things that everyone else can do.”
Colston in a release pointed to two parts of the judicial code that worried the JQC. The first portion states judges are prohibited from participating in charitable activities that would reflect negatively on their impartiality or hamper their duties. The second part states judges can’t solicit funds for a charitable organization or use their office for that purpose.
“I don’t understand why you cannot do something like this for charity when you could do something like this to raise money for your own political campaign,” Colston said. “But rules are rules.”
The state Judicial Qualifications Commission has barred judges and organizations of judges from injecting themselves into litigation by submitting or signing on to friend-of-the-court briefs.
The JQC’s Opinion 241, dated Tuesday, by implication brands as improper a brief submitted by the Council of State Court Judges in a high-profile case before the Supreme Court of Georgia.
Citing three of the state’s Canons of Judicial Ethics, the JQC held that filing friend-of-the-court briefs “by judges, councils or any other organization of judges in cases pending in any trial or appellate court would be improper and prohibited.”
Violations of state canons can result in disciplinary actions that range from private reprimands to a recommendation to the state high court that a judge be removed from the bench.
“Regarding the Fulton county sanctions decision, we disagree with the court’s decision. To have produced the memorandum in this case without a request covering its production would have, in our opinion, constituted malpractice. It is clear that this was a good faith discovery dispute that is very common in civil litigation. It should also be noted, that both in the plaintiff’s motion and in the judge’s order, AG Sam Olens is not mentioned. This was a decision by a career attorney in the department of law who was constitutionally and ethically bound to zealously represent his client. The department’s attorneys have no choice in picking their clients when it comes to state employees. Today’s ruling shows just how difficult at times that task can be.”
Jay Cook, State Bar President, 2007; Cook Noell Tolley & Bates, Founder and Managing Partner
Ben Easterlin, State Bar President, 1997; King & Spalding, Partner
Jimmy Franklin, State Bar President, 2002; Taulbee Rushing Snipes Marsh & Hodgin, LLC, Member
Robert Ingram, State Bar President, 2006; Moore Ingram Johnson & Steele, Partner
Charles “Buck” Ruffin, State Bar President, 2014; Baker Donelson, Shareholder
Dwight J. Davis, former Board of Governors of the State Bar of Georgia, 1995-2002; retired Partner, King & Spalding