Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for January 15, 2014


Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for January 15, 2014

James Carville quotes

Mrs. GaPundit and I went to the Atlanta History Center last night to see Mary Matalin and James Carville on the local stop of their book tour. Here are my favorite quotes from the night:

Matalin, discussing being in the White House on 9/11/2001 “Working in the White House may be your dream job, but you’ll never look worse in your life.”


Matalin on Zell Miller, “one of my favorite politicians is Zell Miller…he officiated at our wedding and got a standing ovation.”


Carville on the New Jersey bridge scandal, “The bridge scandal doesn’t matter, [Chris Christie] wasn’t ever going to be the Presidential candidate anyway. Ain’t nobody in the South voting for a global-warming loving, Obama-hugging Republican. Not happening.”


Carville on political candidates, “I like politicians. They do something few people are willing to do. They dare to fail publicly.”

That last bit is part of why I love working in politics. Especially the first-time candidates, or those who are just entering the big leagues from sandlot baseball.

Senate moves state election dates

We’ve been talking for some time about May 20th Primary elections, with the date being set for federal elections like U.S. Senate, by a federal judge. Yesterday, the Georgia Senate passed House Bill 310 by a 38-15 vote, setting the same date for state elections.

  • General Primary Qualifying Period: Begins at 9:00 a.m. on Monday of the 11th week prior to the General Primary and ends at 12:00 Noon on the Friday immediately following (March 3 – 7, 2014)
  • General Primary Election: Held on the 24th week preceding the November General Election (May 20, 2014)
  • General Primary Runoff: Held on the Tuesday of the 9th week following the General Primary (July 22, 2014)
  • General Election: Held on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November (November 4, 2014)
  • General Election Runoff: Held on the Tuesday of the 9th week following the General Election (January 6, 2015)

As of today, we are 125 days from the Primary Election.

That’s the driving reason for a short session – because state legislators and other elected officials can’t raise money during the session, but will be immediately into the campaign season when the session’s over, potentially affecting the traditional incumbent advantage in fundraising.

Will qualifying still be held in the Senate and House chambers as it has been in recent years? It’s unlikely, as the session will be continuing during the March 3-7 qualifying period.

More from the AJC:

HB 310 would also require all candidates to file a campaign finance report on March 31. That date, however, would appear mostly aimed at unelected challengers because incumbent state officials cannot raise money during the 40-day legislative session. With little or no fundraising to report, incumbents would have little to disclose by March 31.

The primary date change came about after U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones chastised Georgia officials last year for not giving military residents and other Georgians living overseas enough time to return absentee ballots by Election Day.

The primaries had originally been scheduled for July, but the U.S. Department of Justice sued the state over its practice of holding federal runoffs three weeks after an election.

The bill is expected to win quick passage in the House, which means Georgia voters would be casting their ballots before Memorial Day. Officials expect higher turnouts then than if they had held the primary in June — which Jones had originally ordered.

Candidate announcements

One of the challenger candidates who will be testing how it works with a short session and then going right into the election is Stacey Jackson, who is running for State House as a Republican against Democratic incumbent Debbie Buckner.

Successful Columbus criminal defense attorney Stacey Jackson confirmed Tuesday he will seek the Republican nomination for the Georgia House seat currently held by Democrat Debbie Buckner.

Jackson, who was raised in Harris County and still resides there, said the question is not why he should seek the District 137 seat, which covers Talbot County and parts of Harris, Meriwether, and Muscogee counties.

“The question is almost why not?” Jackson said Tuesday morning. “I grew up in Harris County. My father was an educator in Talbot County and the principal at Central-Talbotton in the 1980s before he move to Harris County-Carver Middle School. My mother is assistant principal at Harris County High School. I have relatives in Meriwether County and relatives in Columbus. It makes sense.”

It possibly sets up an interesting November race with Jackson, a black Republican, against Bucker, a white Democrat, in a district that is slightly majority black and heavily rural once you get out of the Midland area of Columbus.

Mary Helen Moses has announced that she will run for Superior Court in the Brunswick Judicial Circuit, which comprises Appling, Camden, Glynn, Jeff Davis and Wayne counties. We’re not sure if this is a challenge to a sitting judge, an open seat, or one that was newly-created. We’ve asked and will pass on that information when we are able.

On polling

InsiderAdvantage, for whom I work part-time, is releasing today new polling on issues in Georgia’s legislature. Several of the items will blow your mind, when they’re released, probably first via InsiderAdvantage email, then by Fox 5 Atlanta and Morris News. Stay tuned for more, but here’s the first piece. In a 2613-respondent sample (margin of error = +/-1.92) self-identified Republicans outnumber Democrats by a five-point margin.

I was on the radio yesterday with Martha Zoller and Tim Bryant, discussing this very question, and I said that I think there’s a 5-to-10 point Republican margin. The exact figures are 35.2% Republican, 34.16% Independent, and 30.42% Democratic.

Why does this matter? Because assumptions about the partisan ratio within the electorate underlie most political polls. And the AJC thinks there are more self-identified Democrats than Republicans. It appears that their poll released earlier this week was weighted in a way that created that Democratic advantage, which didn’t exist in their raw data, and which inflates Jason Carter’s numbers in the poll question about the Governor’s race. Advantage, Deal.

Governor Deal to give State of the State today at noon

state state 1

We’ll be there, live-tweeting the State of the State today, starting at noon. Click here for a Twitter list of Georgia State Reps and Senators – it’ll be a great place to keep track of the State of the State and the rest of the legislative session. And follow @GaPundit and my personal Twitter, @toddmr.

Click here to watch online. Last night, Gov. Deal’s web team dropped this Sneak Peek.

The bullet points in his Sneak Peek:

•  Improve Education
• Increase Public School Funding
• Expand HOPE Scholarship
•  Promote Job Creation
•  Business-Friendly Investments
• Expand the Port of Savannah
• Reform the Criminal Justice System

Senate Press Office “Senate in a Minute”

We love this new video feature from the Senate Press Office. The most-recent features Senator Judson Hill. This is must-watch video for political junkies. Thanks to Senate Press for bringing this to the citizens of Georgia.

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