Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for October 16, 2013


Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for October 16, 2013

Top Stories

1. Sue Everhart on Karen Handel, Jim Galloway
2. Money Matters, Senate Edition
3. PSC imposes Obamaphone fee
4. Oxford, Comma

Common sense in the Cobb DA’s Office

Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds appears to be suffering from an outbreak of common sense, a rare condition among some elected officials. Cody Chitwood, who forgot his fishing gear in his car and was found to have a filet knife on campus, will not serve time behind bars, as Reynolds offered the senior a slot in a diversion program that will not result in a felony conviction if it is completed successfully.

Reynolds also said he’s in discussions with state Senator Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta) to propose language to make the “zero tolerance” policy for weapons on school campuses less draconian. From the Marietta Daily Journal

“I’ve talked with Sen. Tippins and he’s asked me to help him come up with some language that would put common sense back into the law, and we’re in the process of doing that. We’re just trying to get a little horse sense back in the law.”

Besides Tippins in the Senate, Reps. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth) and Rich Golick (R-Smyrna) have also expressed interest in working with Reynolds to, as Setzler said, prevent “the death of common sense” in Georgia’s schools.

Reynolds said he will work with anyone in the General Assembly on this cause. He’s looked at other states’ laws with regard to weapons on school campuses and said Texas may offer some guidance.

“The state of Texas has some statutory language that we think will be a little more appropriate for our state,” he said. “Having been a former police officer myself you don’t check your common sense at the door when you get a badge and a gun; they want to be able to use theirs, but you can’t do it when you have a zero-tolerance law.”

Former GAGOP Chair Sue Everhart

If you know Sue Everhart, former three-term Chair of the Georgia Republican Party, you know she doesn’t often hold back what she thinks. She gave a whirlwind interview at the Marietta Daily Journal that started with her endorsement of Karen Handel and went on to discuss her perception of AJC Political Insider Jim Galloway. Among the most interesting parts of her chat are these:

Whoever wins the Republican primary next year should not under estimate Democrat Michelle Nunn, daughter of former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn.

“Michelle Nunn has not been in politics, but she’s been around politics all of her life, and she understands the political arena, and of course anybody under 30 doesn’t remember her father, but the people over 40 remember him well, and those are the people with the money, and those are some of the people that get out and vote, so he gets out his Rolodex and he will be a big help to her, so I think anybody that takes (Nunn) for granted is a fool,” Everhart said.

Everhart was less than pleased by Jim Galloway’s Political Insider column in the AJC suggesting her endorsement amounted to “female bonding” as well as a swipe at Deal and a “hometown rejection of Gingrey.”

“No. 1, women don’t sit around spending their days talking about a vendetta,” Everhart said, noting that she worked hard to elect Deal and believes he’s done a good job in office.

“I did not know Nathan Deal was running for the Senate,” Everhart said. “Maybe Mr. Galloway knows something that I don’t know.”

Democrats are quick to point out that Republicans have declared war on women, Everhart said.

“Well, I happen to believe that Jim Galloway is very liberal and apparently would swing to the left, so this sounds like a war on women, that women cannot make a decision unless it’s about a woman friend, and he didn’t ask me, and I’m assuming he didn’t ask Mrs. Handel as to why I gave her an endorsement. And I really think he needs to get his facts straight before he goes to print. It is nothing against Nathan Deal and it is not a slap in Phil Gingrey’s face. I still appreciate Phil and I’ve liked him and have known him for years, and I think that Mr. Galloway wants to have the war on women not the Republicans.”

Along the way, the MDJ got Kennesaw State University’s take on Handel’s chances in the Senate race:

“Karen Handel has a chance to win it, yes, but I don’t see her having any particular inside track,” Swint said. “The Everhart endorsement may be seen as part metro-Atlanta Republican women sticking together, and part anti-Nathan Deal sentiment. To some degree, Handel is competing with political newcomer David Perdue for the non-incumbent outsider label. But Handel doesn’t have Perdue’s financial resources.”

Swint said Gingrey and U.S. Rep. Paul Broun (R-Athens) are vying for the tea party/Libertarian activists, while U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Savannah) “is trying to portray himself as the adult in the room.”

Kingston, Gingrey and Perdue will spend untold millions trying to get into the inevitable runoff.

Who comes out on top is anyone’s guess at this point, Swint said.

I’ve been asked by a number of people lately whom I support for Senate, including a minion from the Handel campaign who was probably dialing through the Delegates and Alternates list of the last state convention. The exact phrasing by the Handel minion was “where you stand on the Senate race.” I told him I stand quietly and neutrally on the sidelines.

I think there are five candidates today who could win the nomination: Congressmen Jack Kingston, Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey, along with Karen Handel and David Perdue. We may end up with another serious contender once the Intercontinental Exchange closing on the New York Stock Exchange purchase is closed. While Handel has been less successful fundraising than most of her competitors, I wouldn’t count her out. She might be the most-gifted politician in the race, and her history of out-performing other candidates on a per-dollar basis can’t be discounted.

As for the point made last week by Rachel Dodsworth that the Atlanta media appear to be either trying to help Handel, or getting snookered by her campaign, I don’t hold that against the campaign: it’s a sign that they’re playing for keeps and as far as the media, doing a great job, even though they appear to have removed me from their distribution list.

Money Matters – Senate Edition

 Raised 3d QtrCash on hand
Paul Broun$280,000$450,000
Phil Gingrey$286,000$2,600,000
Karen Handel$286,000$310,000
Jack Kingston$800,000$2,900,000
David Perdue$1,810,000$1,340,000

PSC adopts ObamaPhone fee

The Georgia Public Service Commission voted 3-2 to impose a $5 monthly fee on federally-funded free Obamaphones.

The fee is designed to reduce fraud in the federally subsidized Lifeline program, state Public Service Commissioner Doug Everett said. Each household that qualifies gets 250 minutes per month of free air time.

Funding for the program, which was launched in 1985 to expand phone service for the poor, comes from the Universal Service Fee charged to land line and cell phone customers.

However, some telephone companies providing the free service are failing to adequately check household income and are not enforcing the one-per-household limit, Everett said.

He said the number of Lifeline customers in Georgia jumped from around 100,000 a decade ago to more than a million in 2011, but is now back down to around 740,000.

[A] lawsuit filed against Georgia by the cell phone industry association called CTIA, claims that by adding the $5 fee, the state is setting cell phone rates, which it does not have the legal power to do.

Doug Everett PSC GaPundit FB Banner

If you approve or disapprove of this attempt to prevent fraud in a federally-funded program, head over to Commissioner Doug Everett’s Facebook page, hit the “Like” button and let him know what you think.

Barr at Kennesaw Battlefield

Also giving a seminar on media relations was the Bob Barr campaign, who yesterday held a press conference at the main gates of Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield National Park. From John Gillooly with the Marietta Daily Journal:

Former Congressman Bob Barr of Smyrna attached a copy of the U.S. Constitution to the chained gate barring the entrance to the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park’s Visitor Center on Tuesday, surrounded by two dozen tea party members.

“This park does not belong to Mr. Obama,” Barr said, as the tea party members clapped and waved yellow flags with coiled snakes warning, “Don’t Tread on Me.”

“Mr. Obama, this park is not a pawn for you to use any more than the monuments in Washington including the World War II Memorial are pawns for you to use to control our veterans, so enough is enough,” Barr said.

“Mr. Obama, open this park,” Barr demanded. “Mr. Obama, open up America. Mr. Obama, open up the Constitution once again.”

Hopefully, Barr said, Obama will show leadership just as President Clinton did when he negotiated with the Republican majorities in the House and Senate.

“President Obama may not like it, but if he is going to call himself a leader then he needs to behave like one and he needs to sit down and negotiate,” Barr said.

Barr shared what he thought of U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s recent remark that the shutdown was “a dumb idea.”

“Perhaps he ought to remember Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment, not to speak ill of fellow Republicans,” Barr said. “That does nothing but give aid and comfort to our political adversaries, so I think it’s unfortunate when we have political leaders in Washington that aid the other party by criticizing their fellow Republicans.”

Cherokee School Board member indicted

The Canton Patch reports that a grand jury indicted Cherokee County School Board member Kelly Marlow, along with political consultant Robert Trim and Cherokee GOP Secretary Barbara Knowles.

The grand jury on Tuesday handed down the charges. Marlow has been indicted on four counts of making false statements.

Her partner and political advisor Robert Trim has been indicted on three counts of making false statements while Barbara Knowles, secretary of the Cherokee County Republican Party, has been indicted on one count of filing a false report and four counts of making false statements.

The indictments stem from allegations made by Knowles that Petruzielo tried to run them over as they crossed East Main Street after the June 13 school board meeting.

Have you seen Rashomon, one of the greatest films in history? That.

State Rep. Geoff Duncan announces reelection campaign


State Rep. Geoff Duncan has announced his intent to seek a second term to serve in his District 26 House seat.

“During our first campaign, we pledged to not just make this about winning an election but to create a conservative movement throughout Georgia,” he said in a statement. “Today, I am proud to report that we have answered that call and we are gaining momentum all across this great state.”

“I want Georgia to be in a position to attract the best and brightest companies and workers from around the globe as a means to create a thriving economy,” he said.

Macon-Bibb election results

Macon Mayor Robert Reichert trounced his runoff opponent C. Jack Ellis to win election as the first Mayor of a new consolidated Macon-Bibb County government. From the Macon Telegraph:

“I’ll tell you this: The real work starts now,” [Reichert] told several hundred cheering supporters at the Armory Ballroom in downtown. “We are turning the page, and Macon-Bibb County’s future starts tonight.”

Reichert triumphed over former Mayor C. Jack Ellis for the fourth time in two years, including wins in the 2011 Democratic Macon mayoral primary and a razor-thin victory in that year’s runoff.

With final vote tallies coming in just after 11 p.m., Reichert had won with 63 percent of the vote to Ellis’ 37 percent. Reichert received 25,899 votes to Ellis’ 15,182.

Commissioner-elect Al Tillman came in, followed by 2011 mayoral candidate Paul Bronson, former Macon-Bibb commission candidate Danny Glover and state Rep. Nikki Randall, D-Macon.

“The Repubs are here!” Tillman said, greeting Reichert with a joking reference to a scurrilous anonymous flier that circulated over the weekend. The flier painted Reichert and many fellow longtime Democrats as secret Republicans.

Yesterday, we received this report via email:

“A large truck just rode by me in Macon on Eisenhower Parkway with a ‘Vote for Ellis’ banner on the back and a guy on a loud PA speaker yelling, ‘THEY don’t want you to vote. THEY don’t think you’ll turn out.’ I wonder who THEY are in this scheme of race-baiting politics.”

In Commission District 2, Macon Councilman Larry Schlesinger won a slim apparent victory over fellow Councilman Henry Ficklin with a 1,710-1,683 vote total. Ficklin said he’ll ask for a recount.

In Commission District 4, Mallory Jones beat Beverly Olson, a sitting Macon Councilman who succeeded Erick Erickson on council. For the record, Mallory Jones is male and Beverly Olson is female. One of Jones’s ideas is banishing “career felons” from Macon-Bibb County. The neighboring counties are going to love that.

In Commission District 6, Macon City Councilman Ed Defore beat former city employee Adah Roberts. Defore has served on Macon City Council for 42 years.

In Commission District 8, another matchup between City Council members, Virgil Watkins Jr. beat Charles Jones.

New Oxford City Council Member

Sarah Davis will serve the remainder of the term of her late husband, who died earlier this month. The Oxford City Council voted to appoint her to the vacancy and she will serve through 2015. Jerry Roseberry serves as Mayor and the rest of the City Council members are Jim Windham, George Holt, Lyn Pace, Terry Smith, and David Eady.

Senator Renee Unterman Named “Legislator of the Year”

Senator Renee Unterman (R- Buford) was recognized by the American Academy of Pediatrics as its “Legislator of the Year.”

“I appreciate this recognition of my efforts to support Georgia children and families,” said Senator Unterman. “The Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics does great work to enhance the overall health and well-being of children. It is an honor to receive this award from such a respected organization.”

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