Congressman Kingston Blocks Back-Door Amnesty

Washington – Congressman Kingston (R-GA) joined conservatives in stopping an effort by House Democrats to change the immigration laws of the United States today, saying, “​This amendment would have codified a back door amnesty policy slipped through last August by an executive order. It’s the typical way this administration does business when ​the American people do not agree with him. Conservatives today said ‘No’ to the President’s desire to expand amnesty through a vague and subjective executive order.” (more…)

Rep. Price eyed as possible Cantor successor

ATLANTA – Tom Price had already helped lead Georgia’s Republican party to majority status in the state Senate when he ran for Congress and won 10 years ago. In so doing, he gained a lot of home state admirers.

[Chuck] Clay says Price is well suited to potentially become the successor to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the Virginia Republican who lost his seat Tuesday.

Price is already a member of the powerful tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, and is vice chairman of the Budget Committee. He’s also in the House prayer caucus and tea party caucus — and was a vocal backer of last year’s government shut down.

“In Tom Price’s case, his conservative bona fides run as deep as anybody. So he would come in (as majority leader) with a lot of credibility one, with the more conservative members of the caucus. But also having a track record particularly with health care,” Clay said.

via Rep. Price eyed as possible Cantor successor.

Silicon Valley-based Tesla Motors expands in Atlanta with second store – Atlanta Business Chronicle

Silicon Valley-based Tesla Motors Inc. is accelerating its Atlanta expansion.

The automaker, which makes the all-electric Model S sedan, will put its first in-town store and service center at a former Isuzu dealership, 1580 Church St.

It will be Tesla’s second store in metro Atlanta and is expected to open in the fourth quarter.

Tesla, which has leased the 18,000 square foot store, is expected to invest about $1 million in resurfacing the parking lot and “reskinning” the 1980s-era building, a source said.

Metro Atlanta is a growth market for Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA). The automaker is said to have sold more than 500 of its sedans (that, fully loaded, top $120,000) from its Marietta store.

“We open sales and service centers in areas where there is a high density of Model S and where we believe there will continue to be a strong market for our vehicles,” Tesla spokeswoman Alexis Georgeson said Monday.

The strong demand is not surprising.

Atlanta ranks No.2 in electric vehicle registrations among major U.S. metropolitan areas, according to data from researcher IHS Automotive. Georgia offers a generous $5,000 tax credit for zero-emission vehicles, on top of a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Even as Tesla builds out its Decatur store, the automaker is eyeing Buckhead for a third site. The company is said to have considered Lenox Square and the planned Buckhead Atlanta shopping center.

Tesla sells its vehicles direct to consumers, avoiding the franchised dealer model. As a result, Tesla has run into a buzzsaw of opposition in several states from franchised dealers, who view the direct-sale model as a threat to their business model.

via Silicon Valley-based Tesla Motors expands in Atlanta with second store – Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Eric Cantor’s Pollster Tries to Explain Why His Survey Showed Cantor Up 34 Points – NationalJournal.com

Eric Cantor’s pollster whiffed.

Less than a week before voters dumped the House majority leader, an internal poll for Cantor’s campaign, trumpeted to the Washington Post, showed Cantor cruising to a 34-point victory in his primary. Instead, Cantor got crushed, losing by 10 percentage points.

How did Cantor’s pollster, veteran Republican survey-taker John McLaughlin, get the historic race so terribly wrong?

It was supposed to have had a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points. The error, of course, was far larger. Statistically, polls are expected to fall outside that margin of error on 1 in 20 surveys. But in the end, it undercounted Brat’s support by about 27 percentage points and overestimated Cantor’s by 17 points. The poll was widely mocked on Twitter.

In an email to National Journal, McLaughlin, whose firm has been paid nearly $75,000 by Cantor’s campaign since 2013, offered several explanations: unexpectedly high turnout, last-minute Democratic meddling, and stinging late attacks on amnesty and immigration.

“Primary turnout was 45,000 2 years ago,” McLaughlin wrote. “This time 65,000. This was an almost 50% increase in turnout.”

Translation: McLaughlin’s estimate of who was a “likely Republican” voter was way, way off the mark. But Cantor’s total number of votes still shrunk, even as the total number of primary voters went up dramatically in 2014. He secured 37,369 primary votes in 2012 and less than 29,000 this year, with 100 percent of precincts reporting.

Meanwhile, McLaughin wrote that “attacks on immigration and amnesty charges from the right in last week hurt.”

Then McLaughlin cited the “Cooter” factor – the fact that former Rep. Ben Jones, a Georgia Democrat who played Cooter in The Dukes of Hazzard, had written an open letter urging Democrats to vote for Brat to help beat Cantor.

“Over the weekend Democrats like Ben Jones and liberal media were driving their Democratic voters on the internet into the open primary,” McLaughlin wrote. “Eric got hit from right and left. In our polls two weeks out Eric was stronger with Republicans at 70% of the vote, but running under 50% among non Republicans.”

via Eric Cantor’s Pollster Tries to Explain Why His Survey Showed Cantor Up 34 Points – NationalJournal.com.

Lawmakers Defer to Voters on Tax, Budget Issues | Stateline.org

When the Georgia General Assembly wanted to enshrine an income tax cap into its constitution – to make sure that future legislatures couldn’t undo it easily — they mustered a two-thirds majority to send the issue to the voters.

Republicans backed it, and a nuanced argument by Democrats that the cap might create future fiscal problems for Georgia fell short.

That “looking-into-the-future” argument is unlikely to sway voters either, according to one of the Democrats who made it. Instead, House Majority Leader Stacey Abrams predicts the income tax cap will pass handily. “It’s been simplified to a question of ‘Do you wish to vote to not raise your income tax?’ It’s hard to go against that,” she said.

Proponents, led by Senate President Pro Tempore David Shafer, a Republican, tout the measure as a way to cement Georgia’s status as a low-tax state. The actual wording: “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to prohibit the General Assembly from increasing the maximum state income tax rate?”

via Lawmakers Defer to Voters on Tax, Budget Issues.

Internal Poll: Kingston Leads Perdue in Georgia Senate Runoff | At the Races

An internal poll of the Georgia Senate Republican primary runoff conducted for Rep. Jack Kingston found him with a double-digit lead over his opponent, businessman David Perdue.

According to the poll, Kingston led Perdue, 49 percent to 35 percent, with 16 percent of voters undecided.

That result is close to the SurveyUSA automated poll released last week that found Kingston ahead, 52 percent to 41 percent.

The internal poll was conducted for the Kingston campaign by Republican polling firm McLaughlin & Associates. It surveyed 500 likely runoff voters from May 27-29, using live telephone interviewers to both land line and cellphone users. It had a 4.5-point margin of error.

via Internal Poll: Kingston Leads Perdue in Georgia Senate Runoff | At the Races.

The Eric Cantor Upset: What Happened? | FiveThirtyEight

In a shocker, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has lost the Republican primary in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District to a relatively unknown college professor, David Brat. Brat spent little money in the race; Cantor spent over a million dollars. The political media will spend days trying to figure out what happened, but here are a few quick thoughts.

First, this race had a heavy insider vs. outsider dynamic, and the tea party is definitely not dead. As my colleague Nate Silver pointed out previously, it was probably too early to call for the tea party’s demise. Cantor’s loss puts an exclamation point on that.

One last thought: This race is another example of why you shouldn’t trust the internal polls put out by candidates. Just a few weeks ago, Cantor released a survey showing himself up 34 percentage points. A public poll had the race much closer, with a 13 point lead for Cantor. I’ve written about the bias of internal surveys released to the public. We should assume that internal polls are biased and misleading — unless we have a good reason to think otherwise.

In this case, we knew what we were getting with Cantor’s polling firm, McLaughlin & Associates. As demonstrated by Daily Kos Elections, McLaughlin has gotten many races wrong in the past two years. In Virginia, it had Mitt Romney and U.S. Senate hopeful George Allen winning their 2012 races easily. Both Republicans lost by a significant margin.

Despite Cantor’s McLaughlin poll, it was clear in the final weeks that he thought he was in trouble. He spent a lot of money on negative advertising against a little-known opponent. Compared with the polling he put out, he knew something we didn’t. Sometimes it’s better to follow the money and watch what the campaigns are doing than to listen to what their pollsters say.

via The Eric Cantor Upset: What Happened? | FiveThirtyEight.

Cantor internal poll claims 34-point lead over primary opponent Brat

A poll conducted late last month for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) shows him with a wide lead over challenger David Brat heading toward next Tuesday’s Republican primary election.

The poll, shared with Post Politics, shows Cantor with a 62 percent to 28 percent lead over Brat, an economics professor running to Cantor’s right. Eleven percent say they are undecided.

The internal survey of 400 likely Republican primary voters was conducted May 27 and 28 by John McLaughlin of McLaughlin & Associates. It carries a margin of error of +/-4.9 percentage points.

via Cantor internal poll claims 34-point lead over primary opponent Brat.

David Brat stuns House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in GOP primary – Latest News – TimesDispatch.com

“This is one of the most stunning upsets in modern American political history,” said Larry Sabato, head of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “This is the base rebelling against the GOP leadership in Washington as represented by Eric Cantor.”

“I’m as stunned as anybody,” Sabato said. “I’ve yet to find one person nationally or in the state outside the Brat circle who thought Cantor would be beaten.”

The 7th District long has been reliably Republican, but Brat tapped into tea party and Libertarian discontent with Cantor on issues such as the debt ceiling and immigration.

On May 10, Republicans in the 7th District narrowly defeated Cantor’s handpicked party committee chairman. Linwood Cobb’s loss to Fred Gruber was the latest and freshest measure of discontent with the establishment among party activists from across the entire district.

via David Brat stuns House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in GOP primary – Latest News – TimesDispatch.com.

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

On June 11, 1776, the Continental Congress appointed Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut and Robert R. Livingston of New York to draft a declaration of independence from Britain. Language in the original draft that condemned the introduction of the slave trade in the colonies did not make the final draft.

Abraham Baldwin, founder of the University of Georgia, arrived in Philadelphia on June 11, 1787 to attend the Constitutional Convention. Baldwin was joined by three other delegates, William Few Jr., William Houston, and William Pierce; Baldwin and Few would sign the Constitution on behalf of Georgia.

On June 11, 1963, President John F. Kennedy issued proclamation 3542 ordering Governor George Wallace of Alabama to allow two African-American students to register at the University of Alabama, as ordered by a federal court.

On the morning of June 11, the day the students were expected to register, Wallace stood in front of the University of Alabama campus auditorium flanked by Alabama state troopers while cameras flashed and recorders from the press corps whirred. Kennedy, at the White House, and Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, in Tuscaloosa, kept in touch by phone.

When Wallace refused to let the students enter for registration, Katzenbach phoned Kennedy. Kennedy upped the pressure on Wallace, immediately issuing Presidential Proclamation 3542, which ordered the governor to comply, and authorizing the secretary of defense to call up the Alabama National Guard with Executive Order 11111.

That afternoon, Katzenbach returned with the students and asked Wallace to step aside. Wallace, knowing he was beaten, relented, having saved face with his hard-line, anti-segregation constituency.

On June 11, 1986, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was released.

[T]he most memorable performer may have been an automobile: the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California, a custom-built car revered by auto collectors.

According to Motor Trend, the first Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California—colloquially known as the “Cal Spyder”—was produced in 1957 and the last was built in early 1963. In addition to the long-wheelbase (LWB) Spyder, Ferrari also produced a sportier, short-wheelbase (SWB) model. Though estimates vary as to exactly how many were made—Cameron says “less than a hundred” in the film—approximately 46 LWB and between 50 and 57 SWB Spyders were produced in all. For “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” the filmmakers used a modified MGB roadster with a fiberglass body as a stand-in for the Ferrari. The filmmakers reportedly received angry letters from car enthusiasts who believed that a real Ferrari had been damaged.

One 1961 250 GT SWB Spyder California, with chassis number GT 2377GT, belonged to the actor James Coburn (“The Magnificent Seven”), who died in 2002. On May 18, 2008, at the second annual Ferrari Leggenda e Passione event at Maranello, Italy, the British deejay Chris Evans bought that car at auction for 6.4 million Euros, or $10,894,400 (including fees), the highest price ever paid for an automobile at auction.

ferrari-california-t-side-view-red-960x540_IAFKIG

Today’s Ferrari California T is a convertible with a retractable hardtop that stickers for just under $200,000 before you start optioning it. But here’s a pro-tip: if you’re in the market, you’ll save a bundle with a pre-owned at Ferrari Maserati of Atlanta – almost any Ferrari you’ll see for sale is going to be low-mileage, and you’ll want it to visit a dealer before purchase as repair costs are a little pricy.

Eric Cantor loses: what it means for Georgia

Eric Cantor (R-VA) lost his reelection bid in a Republican Primary last night to Dave Brat, an obscure Economics Professor at Randolph-Macon College.

“This is one of the most stunning upsets in modern American political history,” said Larry Sabato, head of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “This is the base rebelling against the GOP leadership in Washington as represented by Eric Cantor.”

“I’m as stunned as anybody,” Sabato said. “I’ve yet to find one person nationally or in the state outside the Brat circle who thought Cantor would be beaten.”

Brat addressed jubilant supporters at a victory celebration in western Henrico County.

“The reason we won this campaign is dollars don’t vote — you do,” Brat said.

Brat, dwarfed by Cantor in spending, drummed home the immigration issue, accusing the incumbent of favoring “amnesty” for illegal immigrants. Cantor denied the charge, saying only that children of illegal immigrants should not suffer because their parents brought them into the country.

“Everybody agrees that if immigration reform was on life support before, they’re pulling out the plugs,” because no other Republican wants to lose as Cantor did, Sabato said.

The 7th District long has been reliably Republican, but Brat tapped into tea party and Libertarian discontent with Cantor on issues such as the debt ceiling and immigration.

On May 10, Republicans in the 7th District narrowly defeated Cantor’s handpicked party committee chairman. Linwood Cobb’s loss to Fred Gruber was the latest and freshest measure of discontent with the establishment among party activists from across the entire district.

Different spins on why the House Republican Majority Leader lost in his own district are competing. One spin is that the Tea Party and anti-immigration reform activists toppled the most visible symbol of the establishment.

Immigration reform is dead

Cantor was accused by tea party challenger Brat of supporting “amnesty,” though the congressman denied it.

Supporters of reform are quick to note that Sen. Lindsey Graham easily won his primary and avoided a runoff in conservative South Carolina despite his support for the controversial Senate bill.

But GOP members who are vulnerable to a primary challenge will be very hard pressed vote for such a bill post-Cantor.

The tea party is alive and well.

Cantor’s loss, the first time this has ever happened to a House majority leader, comes just one week after conservative state Sen. Chris McDaniel forced a June 24 runoff against Sen. Thad Cochran in Mississippi.

Tuesday was the symbolic halfway point of primary season. The “establishment strikes back” narrative that has dominated since Sen. John Cornyrn crushed Steve Stockman in the Texas GOP Senate primary this March needs to be readjusted.

This may embolden activists in states where incumbents had looked safe. Milton Wolf, running for Senate in Kansas, put out a statement saying: “On August 5th, it’s Pat Roberts’ turn,” referring to the third-term Republican senator.

Democrats, meanwhile, noted that Cantor has been one of leading obstructionists of the Obama agenda and cited his defeat as proof that the tea party has taken over the GOP.

From Georgia’s own Jenny Beth Martin:

The immigration issue drove Brat’s victory, said Jenny Beth Martin, Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund chairman.

“Dave Brat won tonight in Virginia because he effectively harnessed the outrage at Washington over the policies that have not been representative of the people including the prospect of amnesty for illegal immigrants,” she said.

Another spin emanating from Democratic quarters is that this marks the Tea Party extremist takeover of the Republican Party.

“Eric Cantor has long been the face of House Republicans’ extreme policies, debilitating dysfunction and manufactured crises,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California. “Tonight is a major victory for the tea party as they yet again pull the Republican Party further to the radical right.”

And in Virginia:

Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones, chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, said in a statement:

“If ever there was any doubt, tonight’s results prove that extremists have taken over the Virginia Republican Party. Eric Cantor tried to cater to hard-core conservatives, but he failed.”

Cantor’s loss follows last year’s defeats of Republicans for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. Democrats also hold both U.S. Senate seats.

In other news from the Commonwealth, this week, Republicans took over the Virginia Senate, marking the second time in history that Republicans have controlled the legislatures in all 11 former Confederate states, according to HuffingtonPost.

It’s part of an effort to block Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s (D) plan to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act to cover some 400,000 low-income Virginians, but it also has a broader, symbolic consequence: The unexpected flip means that the Republican Party has gained complete legislative control of all 11 Confederate states for the first second time since the early 1870s, or the post-Civil War era known as Reconstruction.

From the end of Reconstruction in 1877, Democrats maintained unrivaled control in the Southern legislatures, a period known as the “Solid South” that spanned through the Jim Crow era and into the 1960s.

Republicans started picking up majority support in presidential elections in Southern states as white voters there punished Democrats for their support of civil rights legislation. But Democrats didn’t start losing power over Confederate state legislatures until the mid-1990s — most notably, the elections of 1994, when the GOP won over both the U.S. House and the Senate.

In the 2010 election cycle, Republicans made historic legislative gains, picking up more state seats than the party had held since Reconstruction. Alabama’s 2010 majority turnover paralleled the broader political shift, and two years later Arkansas and North Carolina followed suit with 2012 legislative flips that also marked a first since the 1870s.

Finally, there’s what might be called the establishment spin, which is that Cantor neglected the voters back home.

“[It's a] serious wake up call to all incumbents,” said Scott Reed, the top political strategist for the establishment-friendly Chamber of Commerce. “Time for candidates to run like they are running for sheriff… not prime minister.”

Cantor wasn’t exactly caught sleeping. He spent $1 million in the weeks leading up to the primary on television ads calling Brat a “liberal college professor,” and sent out mailers boasting he’d blocked “amnesty” on Capitol Hill. Polling, what little there was of it, showed Cantor way ahead, though he was booed at a May meeting of Republican activists in his district, according to the Washington Post. Some observers cautioned against drawing sweeping conclusions about immigration, and when the dust settles, it may prove that Cantor’s problem was less ideology and more a sense that he stood more for his own ambition than for any definable policies. He frequently reinvented himself with splashy policy speeches, and toured the country raising money and gathering chits for an eventual run for House Speaker.

“Was immigration an issue? Yes. Was it the deciding factor to the tune of 11%? Not no, hell no. It’s a fairy tale,” Virginia Democratic strategist Dave “Mudcat” Saunders said. “People talk. And they talk about Eric Cantor. ‘Where is he?’ His constituent services suck. He was never in the district. And when he was in the district and he went out, he had a [security] entourage with him. He was out gallivanting all over the country being a big deal and this is a lesson.”

Again from local activists in Virginia:

“That’s what you get when you get lackadaisical,” Warren said. “People are so disenchanted with politicians making laws for everybody but themselves. Dave is right with what the people want, and Eric Cantor has lost his way.”

So, who’s right? They all are, and they’re all wrong. It’s more likely that a combination of factors that included immigration reform, Tea Party activism, and benign neglect of the home front contributed to Cantor’s loss.

Within the state of Georgia, the biggest beneficiary of the Cantor loss is probably not the Tea Party, but Congressman Tom Price, who might be in a position to move up, either into Cantor’s leadership role, or into another opening as the dominos start to fall in Washington.

With Cantor gone from the leadership suites, David Wasserman, an editor at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, predicted “a free-for-all” when House Republicans assemble after the November elections to pick their new leaders. At the very least, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the No. 3 Republican, will seek to move up to majority leader, but he could also challenge Boehner.

More broadly, Cantor’s defeat will embolden conservatives like Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., who has openly complained that the leadership positions are occupied by Democratic or swing-state Republicans. The push will be for “red state” leadership.

Candidates could include Price, Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, and brash newcomers like Rep. Tom Graves of Georgia, Wasserman said. The message is that the House must be run by more conservative leaders.

If you want some fresh insight on what this means for Washington, this weekend’s Fulton County Republican Party breakfast will feature Rep. Price. Doors open at St. Ives Country Club at 8:15 AM on Saturday, while the program begins at 9 AM.

Nice internal poll, Jack, but check this out

Yesterday, Jack Kingston’s campaign released an “internal poll” that showed him with a strong margin over David Perdue.

According to the poll, Kingston led Perdue, 49 percent to 35 percent, with 16 percent of voters undecided.

That result is close to the SurveyUSA automated poll released last week that found Kingston ahead, 52 percent to 41 percent.

The internal poll was conducted for the Kingston campaign by Republican polling firm McLaughlin & Associates. It surveyed 500 likely runoff voters from May 27-29, using live telephone interviewers to both land line and cellphone users. It had a 4.5-point margin of error.

But here’s the problem: just last week, Eric Cantor released a poll by the same firm showing a strong margin over Dave Brat.

A poll conducted late last month for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) shows him with a wide lead over challenger David Brat heading toward next Tuesday’s Republican primary election.

The poll, shared with Post Politics, shows Cantor with a 62 percent to 28 percent lead over Brat, an economics professor running to Cantor’s right. Eleven percent say they are undecided.

The internal survey of 400 likely Republican primary voters was conducted May 27 and 28 by John McLaughlin of McLaughlin & Associates. It carries a margin of error of +/-4.9 percentage points.

Speaking of college economists

Roll Call has a neat piece titled Dave Brat: 11 things to know that sheds some light on this particular college economist’s philosophy:

1. Brat is the chairman of the Department of Economics and Business at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va. He has been a professor there since 1996, teaching courses including Macroeconomics, Economic Development and Economic Justice.

5. Many of Brat’s academic publications focus on the intersection of religion and economics. For example, in 2011, he published, “God and Advanced Mammon – Can Theological Types Handle Usury and Capitalism?” according to his official CV. He runs a program called “The Moral Foundation of Capitalism” at Randolph-Macon College.

6. Brat wants a balanced budget amendment and either a flat or fair tax, he wrote in an op-ed Sunday.

11. He co-wrote a paper called “An Analysis of the Moral Foundations in Ayn Rand,” also according to his CV.

Yesterday, seventeen prominent Georgia economists released a statement supporting the “Shafer Amendment,” which, if passed by voters in November, will cap the top marginal state income tax rate.

“We endorse Sen. David Shafer’s Senate Resolution 415 amending the State Constitution to prevent any increase in the maximum state income tax rate.”

“Sen. Shafer’s constitutional amendment gives Georgia a competitive advantage in attracting new jobs and businesses and in persuading existing businesses to expand, as it provides a large and important measure of long-run certainty in Georgia’s business environment.”

“We also endorse future tax reforms that would lower Georgia’s income tax rate in order to be more competitive with our neighboring states and reduce the tax burden paid by Georgia’s citizens.”

 

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