Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for December 2, 2013

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for December 2, 2013

Top Stories

1. Accusations fly in Senate District 14 Runoff Election
2. North Georgia key in Senate election
3. Jason Carter throws Nathan Deal into briar patch

Economic Disaster Day observed

December 2d shall henceforth be known as National Economic Disaster Day. On December 2, 1939, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was born in Searchlight, Nevada. On this date in 1970, the federal Environmental Protection Agency began operating. Five years ago today, then-newly elected President Barack Obama said he would act swiftly on an economic plan “to solve this crisis and to ease the burden on our states.” Americans still wait for action on that item. Also on this date in 2008, Senator Saxby Chambliss was re-elected in a runoff victory over Democrat Jim Martin.

The Georgia Pundit Telethon
MyHouseLogo

We here at Georgia Pundit believe that December is a great time of year to renew our commitment to serving God and His people. It’s also convenient that it falls in the time of year that typically has very little political activity. So this is our month of service, and for me, that means it’s a month of personally begging you to open your hearts and your wallets.

My House is a home for children whom the system and their families have failed. They provide a loving home, 24-hour medical care, and the highest quality of rehabilitiation for broken and discarded children. The children at My House are in DFCS custody, having been abandoned by, or taken from, their birth families. Generally speaking, the cause for most kids there currently is gross physical abuse.

The children who have the greatest medical needs are not well-served by a state system that can barely keep up with the healthy ones, let alone those who need hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of specialized care and 24-hour nursing assistance.

In my fourteen year association with My House, I have seen battered and neglected children given a second chance at the lives they deserve to live. And they need your help. It costs roughly $30,000 per month above and beyond the per diem they receive for each child they care for. Earlier this year, My House weathered a financial crisis and is steadier but still rebuilding their fundraising and volunteer base.

So the greatest gift you could give me this Christmas is to open your wallet, get out your credit or debit card, and make an online donation right now. If you’ve been blessed and can afford it, please consider signing up for a monthly recurring donation. Any amount will help, as a donor has generously agreed to pay all the credit card processing fees from online donations. That helps your five-dollar donation go further.

Peachtree Road Christmas

We are blessed to worship at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, which has for years been a strong supporter of My House. It’s a beautiful church, especially when decorated for Christmas, but the beauty of our sanctuary is secondary to our year-round mission.

While the public spaces are beautiful, far more impressive are the ground floor rooms that are filled with brand new winter coats and Christmas toys in preparation for Christmas Kindness, open from December 7th through the 11th.

Christmas Kindness is when we open a store for underprivileged members of our community to shop for gifts. Each client we serve is given a personal shopper who helps them choose gifts for each member of their family along with Christmas treats and the respect that every individual deserves. There is no better Christmas gift you can give yourself than helping someone else make a blessed Christmas for their children.

If you’re in Atlanta and have some free time and would like to help, email me and I’ll put you in touch.

Runoff Elections tomorrow

Tuesday, December 3d holds runoff elections in a couple of state legislative districts, and local races.

In the runoff for Senate District 14, Bruce Thompson is the adult in the race and we encourage everyone who is eligible to go vote for him tomorrow.

State Rep. Scot Turner (R-Cherokee) has endorsed and gone door-to-door with Bruce Thompson, supporting him in the runoff election.

Bruce Thompson Chuck Hufstetler

Bruce has also received support from State Senator Chuck Hufstetler, who joined him on the campaign trail, knocking on doors yesterday.

Bruce Thompson Signs

Also this weekend, we’ve seen credible reports that individuals supporting Thompson’s opponent, Matt Laughridge, were caught taking down Thompson signs from private property. And here’s the kicker, from a first-person report:

So today, Mr. Ahmadani and I traveled the district putting up signs in the service stations he controls. To my surprise we arrived at one location and observed my opponent’s team taking my signs down and putting their signs up.

We followed Garrett Able and his team to the next stop and confronted them only to have him plead that they were given permission by Mr. Ahmadani to do it. I replied, “Really…because let me introduce you to Mr. Ahmadani!!” You could have heard a pin drop!!!

Needless to say, the pictures we took in the back of their Cherokee are priceless…and evidence of the challenges we face on this campaign!

That’s not the only skirmish that has broken out between the two campaigns. From the Cherokee Tribune:

On Wednesday and Thursday, the campaign consulting firm working for Thompson took out a half-page ad in the Cherokee Tribune to bring attention to Laughridge’s Feb. 21 DUI arrest and to accuse him of trying to buy the election by personally loaning his campaign $100,000.

The Laughridge campaign swung back with a full-page ad in Thursday’s Cherokee Tribune, accusing Thompson’s campaign of stooping to a “new low” by running the ad, which showed the mug shot from Laughridge’s arrest and the Georgia State Patrol incident report.

Thompson said Wednesday he hadn’t seen the anti-Laughridge ad before it ran, but he wasn’t opposed to the content, because the information was factual. Laughridge, though, defended himself and noted he hadn’t been to court yet and he believed the DUI charge would be dropped.

And some folks online have dubbed Laughridge “Captain Underpants.”

Laughridge, for his part, has questioned Bruce Thompson’s standing as a Republican.

Thompson also takes offense to the claim his voting record doesn’t support his position as a Republican.

“To characterize me as not a Republican, are you kidding me?” he said Wednesday. “I’ve never voted as a Democrat, I’ve never voted as an Independent, I have always voted as a Republican.”

Bartow County elections records show Thompson has voted 11 times since 2002. Six of those votes have been as Republican, and the others show no party affiliation, as they were general or county elections, records show.

Laughridge said when the ad calling Thompson’s voting history into question was made, the campaign was confident in its statements.

Melanie Collier, spokeswoman for the Laughridge campaign, said Wednesday the source of the information was GOP Data Center, which she said is a reputable source.

But Thompson said the claim is simply not true, and he would rather the ads keep a firm footing in the reality and not leave out “truths.”

Two things about those claims I would like to address. First, GOP Data Center does not allow you access to individual voting records showing past years’ voting. For individual voter lookup in a hurry, I trust PoliticalDataSystems.com, run by former GAGOP Executive Director Brian Keahl. a quick check of that shows no Democratic voting history by Thompson, and regular GOP votes.

Second, I and about twenty of my colleagues spent one weekend a month with Bruce Thompson in different cities across Georgia as part of Republican Leadership for Georgia. I would personally stake my reputation on Bruce’s fidelity to God, his family, and the Republican Party.

And to say, as Laughridge did in defense of his public lies misstatements about Thompson that, “when the ad was made….the campaign was confident in its statements,” is like President Obama saying that when he said, “if you like your healthcare plan you can keep it,” he believed he meant it, despite all evidence to the contrary. Voters would be wise to vote against Matt Laughridge.

State House District 127, vacated by the death of State Rep. Quincy Murphy, will choose between Brian Price, who came in first in the special election in November and second-place finisher Diane Evans. +1 to Susan McCord of the Augusta Chronicle for correct usage of “whom” in the article about the runoff election.

In Adairsville, Kenneth “K.C.” Carson and Lee Castro made the runoff election for City Council, besting incumbent Connie Morrow. Canton will see runoff elections for two seats:

The four candidates vying in the runoff election for two open seats on the Canton City Council are hunkering down in the home stretch of their campaigns before voters hit the polls once again Tuesday.

Sandy McGrew and Clint Weatherby are facing off for the Ward 1 seat in the runoff, and John R. Rust and Farris Yawn are going for the Ward 3 seat, after none of the candidates could pull in more than half the votes in the city election Nov. 5.

Last week, a report we published by someone in Sandy Springs about the runoff election between Andy Bauman and John Stoj stated that Senator Judson Hill endorsed Stoj. Turns out that’s no longer correct. The Sandy Springs Reporter has a summary of the candidates and their positions.

Forest Park will host runoff elections for Ward 1 and Ward 2 on the City Council.

Ward 2 has been vacant since council members ousted Karen-Brandee Williams in July 2011. Ward 1 was filled in a special election in March after Councilwoman Sparkle Adams gave up the seat to make an unsuccessful bid for mayor in the same election.

However, the term ends in December so the winner, Tommy Smith, has to run a second time if he wants the seat for four more years.

Smith is facing challenger Kimberly James. Newcomer Luke Gawel faces Dabouze Antoine for Ward 2.

#GaSen

An article by the Associated Press notes that North Georgia’s 9th and 11th Districts combine for roughly 20% of the GOP Primary vote in next year’s Senate election, and with no announced candidates being from North Georgia, the area is in play.

The two districts spread across the northern part of the state. The 9th district is known for its poultry plants in Hall County and lakeside vacation and retirement communities, while the 14th district has a manufacturing core anchored by the carpet industry in Dalton. Both have a sizeable tea party contingent, are largely white and supported Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney with a much wider margin than the state as a whole.

All the top candidates have already made trips and are expected to keep visiting ahead of the May 20 primary. The voters are used to seeing their elected officials and are known for asking tough questions.

“They are a lot like Iowa caucus voters. They expect to see their candidates in the flesh,” said Lake, who recently left the Senate campaign of Rep. Phil Gingrey of Marietta, citing differences in opinion, and is no longer aligned with a candidate in the race.

[Doug]

Collins, a former state lawmaker who defeated a tea party-backed candidate in last year’s GOP primary in the 9th district and later claimed 76 percent of the vote over his Democratic opponent, said concerns about health care, the regulatory burden on businesses and government intrusion will be on his constituents’ minds as they weigh candidates.

“Up here in the 9th district, we have what I call the complete conservatism. They are socially conservative, and they are fiscally conservative,” Collins said.

As far as who might win, the former Baptist minister, said: “I pray for all of them, say God bless and go at it.”

Kingston talks Obamacare on Fox & Friends

Jason Carter: In the Loop but Out of Touch

State Senator Jason Carter visited Athens, the Berkeley, California of Georgia, complaining that Republicans didn’t spend enough money on education.

Carter devoted much of his stump speech to convincing the Democratic activists and donors in the room who’ve been beaten down by a decade of defeats that he has a legitimate chance to win. He cited a poll showing that only 36 percent of voters think Gov. Nathan Deal should be re-elected, as well as President Barack Obama’s performance in 2012. Obama won 46 percent of the vote without spending a dime here, making Georgia the second-least red state behind North Carolina.

“The thing I’ve heard the most is people are excited to have a real race,” he said.

Policy-wise, Carter focused mainly on education. Sixty thousand students have dropped out of the technical college system, 140 school districts hold class fewer than 180 days out of the year, there are 9,000 fewer teachers in the state than there were four years ago, and college enrollment is down for the first time in memory because HOPE reform has put higher education out of reach for some, he said.

Carter was the public face of Democrat’s opposition to HOPE cuts, which he called an “unbelievable catastrophe.” Even Deal has recognized that his reforms pushed thousands of students out of two-year schools and has moved to rectify the mistake.

At the same time that education is being cut and cut—incidentally, leading 39 cities and counties to raise property taxes, Carter said—he accused the Deal administration of trumpeting Site Selection magazine naming Georgia the No. 1 place to do business.

Accused Deal of being proud of Georgia being named Number One place to do business? Isn’t that what we elected Deal to do? Help bring jobs to Georgia?

And it’s working. Georgia reported lower unemployment during October.

Statewide, Georgia added 22,700 jobs during the month of October and 85,500 jobs over the entire past year.

The biggest job gains in the past year came in metro Atlanta, where employment [declined] by a strong 2.7 percent with the addition of 63,300 job over the past year.

Metropolitan Dalton, which shed nearly one of every five jobs during the recession and its aftermath, rebounded in the past year with the addition of 700 jobs, or 1.1 percent more employment, from October 2012 to last month.

Dinner with Ralph Hudgens

Tonight, the Barrow County Republican Party will host a holiday dinner with Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens. If they’re really lucky, the Commissioner’s wife, Suzanne, will attend. The dinner will be held at the Winder Woman’s Club, beginning at 7 PM.

Lamborghini and Batkid

Ferrari-360-Lamborghini-Avendador-2

The area around Lenox Square Mall and Phipps Plaza hosted an impromptu outdoor (and indoor at Phipps) supercar show this weekend. I saw two McLaren MP12-4C and the above matte black Lamborghini Aventador on Sunday alone.

Batkid Lamborghini

The first nomination for coolest person of 2013 (after Batkid himself) goes to the guy who heard about the young cancer patient’s wish to “be Batkid” and said, “I’ve got a black Lamborghini Aventador and a Batman costume…. let’s make this happen.”

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