Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Saturday endorsed Rep. Jack Kingston over businessman David Perdue in Georgia’s Republican Senate primary runoff later this month.
“I’ve known Jack since we were both involved in building the Republican Party in Georgia in the dark days of Democratic domination,” Gingrich, who served in the House from 1979 to 1999, said in a statement released by the Kingston campaign. “I helped convince him to run for Congress and to win a seat that hadn’t been held by a Republican since Reconstruction.
“As we built and implemented the ‘Contract With America,’ we knew we needed champions to communicate our vision of limited, constitutional government to the American people,” he added. “We needed people unafraid to shake up the status quo in pursuit of advancing principled, conservative leadership.
“Jack Kingston rose to the challenge with a relentless zeal for reform and boundless energy to help implement the platform.”
Kingston, a member of the House since 1993, faces Perdue in the July 22 runoff. The winner will square off against Democrat Michelle Nunn in the November general election to fill the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss.
Twelve years ago, Georgians sent Republican Saxby Chambliss to the U.S. Senate. His decision not to seek re-election to a third term brought out a number of Republican contenders in this year’s election cycle, a field that has been whittled down to two people: longtime U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston and former Dollar General CEO David Perdue, one of whom will face Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn in the November general election.
Given the fact that whoever wins the Senate seat likely will be representing Georgia for a significant number of years — senators are elected to six-year terms, and incumbency is a powerful advantage in electoral politics — the Athens Banner-Herald is moving away from its policy of not endorsing candidates, and is recommending that voters in the July 22 Republican primary cast their ballots for Kingston.
In considering Kingston’s qualifications for the Senate, it’s also important to note that his 22 years of service in the U.S. House of Representatives, Kingston handily won re-election. During that run, he never faced any serious opposition, and in a couple of instances, ran unopposed for the seat. There can be no better indication that Kingston is an effective legislator, and he has unquestionably earned the right to exercise that effectiveness in the U.S. Senate.
UGA grad played role in year’s biggest political upset, Eric Cantor ousted by Tea Party’s David Brat | Online Athens
A 2008 University of Georgia graduate played a role in what may have been the biggest political upset of the year, at least so far — economics professor David Brat’s defeat of House Minority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District Republican Primary.
UGA journalism and political science graduate Josh Jones’ media consulting company, Red Clay Communications, helped Brat shape the anti-immigration, anti-establishment message that helped oust the seven-term incumbent, Cantor.
“We provided some initial consultation on messaging, as well as developing the message, to make sure the anti-Cantor message was properly put together,” Jones said.
“We started on focusing the message around simply that Eric Cantor had a history of having working relationships that embraced the politics of both Obama and (House Minority Leader Nancy) Pelosi,” said Jones.
Brat, backed by Tea Party groups and notable conservatives such as Ann Coulter, soundly trounced Brat in the June 10 Republican primary with 56 percent of the vote.
But Jones, 29, doesn’t claim a lot of credit for ousting Cantor, who had been one of Washington’s most powerful politicians.
Jones and a partner conducted a poll after the primary election, and had their suspicions confirmed — many voters were voting more against Cantor than for Brat, an economics professor at little Randolph-Macon College.
BRUNSWICK | The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is seeking the public’s help in counting the number of bats living in the state, a population that has been in decline in recent years.
Katrina Morris, a biologist with the DNR’s Nongame Conservation Section, said some caves in North Georgia have seen an estimated 36 percent reduction in population.
She expects similar declines are happening in areas including coastal Georgia.
As bat numbers decline, humans could lose valuable pest deterrents. Bats eat insects like mosquitoes and help control populations of crop pests in Georgia’s agricultural regions.
ATLANTA | Most people agree a college degree provides valuable benefits, even if not everyone can afford one, but experts say there are ways to make it attainable to more people.
On Tuesday, a survey from Georgia Credit Union Affiliates showed that 70 percent of credit union members believe a college degree is worth the financial investment.
Kristi Arrington, vice president of information development for the credit union cooperative, said the value of a degree will also only increase over time.
“There is a clear, life-long value of getting a post-secondary (degree),” said Claire Suggs, senior education policy analyst for the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute, an Atlanta-based advocacy group. “Here in Georgia, we know it is estimated that by 2020 at least 60 percent of all jobs will require at least some post-secondary training.”
According to a study by the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute, a college graduate makes $7 more per hour than a non-college graduate.
The unemployment rate for Georgia’s graduates, ages 21 to 24, is also 10 percent lower than the unemployment rate of all workers ages 16 to 25.
However, these benefits are not seen by all graduates in this job market, said Heidi Shierholz, an economist for the Economic Policy Institute.
“On average, yes, it’s still the case that you will make more money (with a college degree) … but that word, average, masks a lot of variation amongst outcomes of people with a college degree,” she said.
Some college graduates receive the same or lower wages than non-college graduates or remain in jobs which do not require their degree. Once the economy improves and employment rises, Shierholz said college graduates will see better wages. But at this time, students are facing increased tuition and debt alongside a lower incentive for attending college.
“(College) doesn’t pay off for everyone,” she said. “We’re certainly reducing the incentive of going to college by not having the benefits of going to college expanding quickly, but having the (cost of tuition) expanding.”
HAHIRA — Hahira City Council voted Thursday to draft a firearm ordinance barring firearms at council meetings, after conferring with Valdosta and Lowndes County as to their firearm policies.
Georgia law requires a trained officer or individual to perform firearm screenings; there is also a metal detector in the Hahira courthouse the officer or individual could use.
Comparatively, Valdosta City Council does not use a metal detector; Lowndes County uses a metal detector for people entering the judicial side of the county complex but not the administrative side where Lowndes County Commission meetings are held.
VALDOSTA — Advanced voting continues this week for the runoff election from the May 20 primary.
Combining mailed ballots and visitors to the Lowndes County Board of Elections, 1,391 registered voters cast ballots during the first two weeks of advanced voting.
Registered voters are deciding races where no candidate attained the necessary 50 percent plus one vote needed in the primary race.
Beaudreau signs tax reform pledge; Insurance Commissioner endorses P.K. Martin | Gwinnett Daily Post
Closing in on one week to go in the campaign to be Gwinnett’s newest state senator, Mike Beaudreau has announced a tax reform pledge, while P.K. Martin has received an endorsement from a state official.
Beaudreau announed on Friday that he has signed a pledge from the organization Americans for Tax Reform that will he will not vote to raise taxes. Americans for Tax Reform is a taxpayer advocacy group that Beaudreau said is dedicated to changing the structure of taxation in America.
“Georgia’s taxpayers are burdened with too many taxes,” Beaudreau said in a press release. “I’m glad to have the chance to go on the record and tell my friends and neighbors in Senate District 9 that I will fight tax increases any way I can.”
Also last week, Martin announced that Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner, Ralph Hudgens, endorsed him.
“I am supporting P.K. Martin because with the challenges we face and the continued threat of Obamacare, we need a trusted conservative leader who has the ability to confront these challenges,” Hudgens said in a press release. “P.K. is a good man, a solid conservative and is the right leader for the job. I trust him and encourage you to join me in supporting him.”
LAWRENCEVILLE — Candidates for both congressional and state political offices are making last-minute stops in Gwinnett County just ahead of the July 22 runoff election.
Former Dollar General CEO David Perdue, who is running for U.S. Senate against Congressman Jack Kingston in the Republican runoff, attended the Gwinnett County Republican Party’s monthly breakfast Saturday, alongside state school superintendent candidate Mike Buck and Secretary of State Brian Kemp.
“They know they cannot win without the votes in Gwinnett County,” said Rachel Little, chairman of the Gwinnett GOP.
Kingston, an 11-term congressman from Savannah, is expected to hold a rally Friday at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.
“Both candidates (Perdue and Kingston) recognize that this is an important place,” Little said of the county.
Gwinnett Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash says there is still some disagreement between commissioners as a vote approaches on the 2014 millage rate Tuesday at 2 p.m.
Commissioners will hold the final of three public hearings Monday at 6:30 p.m. on the proposed rate of 13.75 mills. That number is the same as 2013 but could increase tax bills for some residents, if their property values have increased. Gwinnett’s tax digest is up for the first time since 2008.
“At this time, I believe that there is still some differences of opinion among the commissioners,” Nash said Friday. “So I am not going to speculate about the final rate that will be adopted on Tuesday. However, I can say with certainty that there will be no increase in the rate from the 2013 rate.”
The 13.75 rate is essentially the cap that commissioners approved to advertise to the public, meeting requirements in the state Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which requires county’s to follow the requirements of a tax increase even when the millage rate stays the same. The rate could be lower in the end, should the commission vote that way.