Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for January 29, 2014


Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for January 29, 2014

On January 29, 1779, British forces captured Augusta, Georgia.

Walter F George Vienna Georgia

Walter F. George was born on January 29, 1878 in Preston, the county seat for Webster County, Georgia. Ron Daniels has a brief bio of the United States Senator who gave his name to a Law School, a courthouse, and a lake. The photo above is a bust in the town square of Vienna, Georgia, in Dooly County, where George made his home.

On January 29, 1998, a bomb exploded in a Birmingham, Alabama abortion clinic, killing a police officer. Eric Rudolph would later admit to setting that bomb, along with the Centennial Park bombing in 1996, and the bombing of a Sandy Springs abortion clinic and an Atlanta bar in 1997.

GaPunditPro released on iPhone

GaPunditPro on iPhone

Yesterday, we released GaPunditPro, an iPhone app designed for use by legislators and staff, lobbyists and citizens who want to keep up with the Georgia General Assembly.

It is free to all iPhone users and ready for download today, although we will be releasing v1.1 to allow phone calls to be placed to legislators from within the app. That should be pushed out as an update before the snow is gone.

The main functionality is the return of the “White Book,” the old legislative directory that includes photos of all legislators, contact information, Facebook links, and a way of looking up each member’s legislation.

We’re excited about the Twitter feed, which aggregates tweets from all the legislators we were able to find, plus a handful of third parties and news outlets. This provides the closest we’ve been able to come up with to a minute-by-minute account of what’s going on under the Gold Dome and automatically updates.

We hope you’ll consider downloading the app — it’s free — and let us know what needs to be fixed, upgraded, or added. We set out to create a “Power Tool for Georgia Politics.” Please let us know how we’ve done and how we can do a better job.

We’re currently working on an iPad version, though the iPhone app can be used on iPad, it just shows as a small iPhone-sized window. We’re considering adding an Android app or a cross-platform mobile-friendly website that can be used on more devices. If you’re interested in sponsorship and advertising opportunities on our new platform, email me directly.

Gold Dome Today

We have recently heard that the State Senate and State House have suspended all business today. Governor Deal announced last night that state government offices will be closed today unless they’re dealing with the storm issues.

Gov. Nathan Deal will hold a second media briefing on the state’s ongoing disaster response in his office today at 11:30 a.m. He has invited Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, and state and city agency heads to participate as well.

Tonight, Deal, Reed and agency heads discussed the state’s emergency response efforts thus far. The state DOT is continuing to treat roads and bring gas to stranded motorists. The State Patrol is clearing wrecks and sending troopers to schools where children remain. The National Guard is sending Humvees to move stranded school buses and to bring food and water to the students. The governor announced that the state government is closed tomorrow and he encouraged other governments and businesses to do the same so that road crews can do their work.

In the coming days, there will be plenty of blamestorming attempting to place fault. For now, we remember that Governor Deal, Mayor Reed, countless state and local government officials and employees, business owners and employess, and our neighbors and friends have worked all night and will continue working today to clear the roads and get everyone home. We are praying for all who need to leave their homes, and all who are stuck somewhere.

Yesterday’s storm gave me time to reflect upon our fair city of Atlanta. What I love about Atlanta: the outpouring of support, goodwill, and neighborliness as folks open their businesses and home to others in need or help someone get where they’re trying to go.

What I hate about Atlanta: traffic, a system that shuts down without cars, and an unwillingness to say, “work/school/whatever else is less important than staying home and being safe.”



We’re not going to rehash the President’s informercial for failed economic policies and class warfare. Instead, we offer some Georgia reactions to the State of the Union.

GA YR Logo

Georgia Young Republicans issued a quick statement last night:

After heavily recruiting voters ages 18-40 for his 2008 election and 2012 re-election, it was very clear that President Obama and the Democrats have abandoned our age demographic.  Under President Obama, 7 out of 10 college seniors graduate with student loan debt. As a nation, Americans now owe one trillion dollars in student loan debt. Yet in his speech, President Obama failed to address this ballooning debt facing America’s young people.

Making student loan payments would be bearable if jobs were available. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 18 to 34 year olds account for 46 percent of all unemployed Americans.  With 1 in 5 households on food stamps and millions of Americans without jobs, a strong economy and leaner, more efficient government should be the focus of the Obama Administration.

“President Obama should take a page from Governor Nathan Deal’s book when addressing the concerns of young people. Governor Deal implemented successful work-force development programs and helped bring thousands of jobs to Georgia. Meanwhile, the Obama Administration implemented more regulation and bureaucracy that continues to stifle economic growth and job creation,” said Meagan Hanson, Chairman of the Georgia Young Republicans.

On the up-side, President Obama’s speech elicited the first video responses we’ve seen from Georgia’s members of Congress.

Senator Johnny Isakson

Congressman Tom Graves

Congressman Austin Scott

Other members took to the proverbial pen and paper, issuing written responses.

Congressman Doug Collins

“Tonight, President Obama once again stood in the People’s House and placed his own interests above theirs.   The State of the Union is supposed to be a report on the condition of the country, not a forecast of the next wave of partisan political whims the president has in store.”

“President Obama’s track record of irresponsible executive power warrants a lot more explanation than what Americans heard tonight.  Concerns over negligent foreign policy, abuses at the highest level of government, and the continuing disaster that is Obamacare are as unresolved today as they were yesterday. President Obama’s tone and message tonight make clear that now more than ever, Members of Congress regardless of their political party need to reclaim the responsibilities outlined in Article I of the Constitution.”

Congressman Phil Gingrey

“President Obama has once again shown he is unwilling to accept responsibility for the problems the American people are facing due to his liberal policies,” said Phil Gingrey.

“Georgians want elected leaders to deliver results that will improve the lives of their families, not more meaningless rhetoric from this president and Washington liberals. That is why I have made the pledge to repeal Obamacare during my first term in the U.S. Senate, or I will go home. The people of Georgia deserve a Senator that will get the job done, or get out of the way.”

Congressman Tom Price

“Since President Obama took office, the average household income has dropped by $4,000. Our workforce has shrunk to the smallest it has been in generations. And, the vast majority of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck.

“Sadly, President Obama’s policies have most adversely affected America’s poor and working class families. Today, 1 in 6 Americans lives in poverty. This includes 20 percent of all children.”

“And now, thanks to Obamacare, Americans across the economic spectrum face increased health care costs, steep taxes and fines, dropped coverage, restricted access to care and the prospect of losing their doctors.”

“Real people are hurting, and instead of working cooperatively with those of us in Congress, President Obama is threatening to exercise even more executive power in pursuit of an extreme agenda. During a time of extraordinary challenge for our nation, the White House should seek to build relationships and work with Congress, not circumvent us at every turn.”


I am awarding +3 points each to Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul and Council member Gabriel Sterling for the constant flow of information via Facebook on the City’s efforts last night. From Gabriel this morning:

We have seen improvement in overall conditions. Sandy Springs and Metro roads have been cleared of yesterday’s traffic jams. However, driving within the metro area remains hazardous, and residents are being strongly encouraged to stay off the roads today.

We continue to have residents in the shelters opened last night. We are currently working on securing food and water for those at Hammond Park. Our other shelter sponsors have graciously offered supplies on hand to those staying at those locations. Sandy Springs Police have provided support at the locations and continue to assist stranded motorists as needed.

Fulton County Schools have buses at the ready to transport students who sheltered at the schools back to their homes. They will release their plans later this morning, after they are able to assess needed access roads. Once I know what they are planning, I’ll let you know.

and from Mayor Rusty Paul:

Some of our emergency shelters opened with great generosity, but little ability to prepare. If you are in SAFE WALKING distance and can deliver food, it would be appreciated. Holy Innocents in particular has asked for assistance. Check with the shelter before you show up, but anyone around Holy I who can SAFELY respond, it would be welcome.


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