Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 14, 2014


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 14, 2014

Happy Birthday to S. Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A, and to Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston.

The largest traffic accident in Georgia history occurred on March 14, 2001 on I-75 in Catoosa County, involving 125 cars, injuring 39 people and killing 5.

State Legislature

Senator Rick Jeffares discusses March 13th in the Senate

Governor Deal signed legislation by Sen. Lester Jackson (D-Savannah) to allow Sunday Sales in Savannah during the St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

“I am thankful my colleagues in the both the Senate and House for acting swiftly to pass this important piece of legislation,” said Sen. Jackson.  “I applaud Gov. Deal for his leadership on this issue and for understanding the significance of this bill.  Not only is it a time honored tradition but our St. Patrick’s Day celebration is a huge source of economic revenue for Savannah and the surrounding areas.  I look forward to this unique celebration continuing for years to come.”

The bill permits cities and counties that already allow the sale of adult beverages for consumption to adopt a resolution or ordinance allowing the sale of alcohol from 12:30 p.m. until 12:00 midnight on any Sunday on which St. Patrick’s Day falls.

Senator William Ligon on the Anti-Common Core SB 167

Senator Ed Harbison on Veterans’ Issues

AV Club

First Lady Sandra Deal on the Girl Scouts, importance of reading

Gov. Nathan Deal on FOX discussing Georgia’s film industry

Janea Cox, Haleigh’s Mom: After The Senate HHS Committee & HB 885 – The Cannabidiol Oil Bill

Rep Allen Peake: After The Senate HHS Committee & HB 885 – The Cannabidiol Oil Bill

Sen Renee Unterman: After The Senate HHS Committee & HB 885 – The Cannabidiol Oil Bill

Georgia Senate Race

I recently spoke to Lisa Mascaro with the Los Angeles Times about the Georgia Senate race. It gives a good perspective on the campaign that appears to have enthralled media-types across the country, and throws some cold water on Dems’ dreams.

Strategists say [Michelle Nunn’s] path to victory is tricky but not impossible. Republican consultant Todd Rehm, who edits the blog, said it would take “a perfect storm.”

To win, she needs almost all of the minority vote — estimated at about 40% — and will have to draw more of the white vote than Obama did in 2012. That will be hard in a state where many white voters are still reluctant to publicly admit they are Democrats. She’ll also need a lot of money in a race predicted to be among the costliest in the nation this year.

Professor Merle Black, an expert on Southern politics at Emory University, said Nunn’s balancing act would also be made more challenging by the racial divide over the nation’s new healthcare law, which is opposed by many of Georgia’s whites yet highly popular among its blacks. “The politics of Georgia is still the reaction to the healthcare act,” he said.

But Democrat Stacey Abrams, the state’s House minority leader, predicted that Georgia — where “moderation” is part of the state motto — is ready for a candidate like Nunn. “Michelle is an authentic moderate,” she said.

Professor Black, under whom I studied as an undergraduate, says very well what so many of us are thinking: the race is going to be about Obamacare.

The Economist has the money quote on the Senate race:

By contrast, all the retiring Republicans hold seats (in Georgia, Nebraska and Oklahoma) that their party can hold unless it does something stupid. That is not impossible. Republican primary voters sometimes pick candidates more for their ideological purity than their electability. One of the leading contenders for the open seat in Georgia, for example, is Paul Broun, who has called evolution and the Big Bang theory “lies straight from the pit of Hell”.

And contrary to what people outside Georgia think, I don’t believe Paul Broun is a weak candidate for Senate. In fact, the recent PPP poll, if it’s believable, shows Broun as the only GOP candidate who is tied with Nunn, and all the other major candidates trailing the Democrat. (Except David Perdue, where a head-to-head was omitted.)

Georgia Governor’s Race

Yesterday, InsiderAdvantage released a poll that purports to show Democrat Jason Carter ahead of Governor Nathan Deal in the gubernatorial election. I work for InsiderAdvantage, editing the state news website and the morning news email, though I did not have anything to do with this particular poll.

But allow me to place it in context. In 2012, I wrote about how to compare different polls and figure out what’s going on in the electorate. It’s good advice to return to:

[H]ere’s my recommendation for public consumers of polling data. Take the Olympic scoring approach, where you toss out the highest and lowest numbers, and average the rest based on the sample size. In statistical terms, you’re removing the outliers, and broadening the sample size. That’s not precisely correct, but it’s a pretty good back-of-the-envelope method that might help you make some sense out of competing polls.

And here’s a new piece of advice that I follow, but had not put into words before. When looking at polls, I don’t take any single poll as gospel. Like when I read Matthew, Mark, and John, seeing three sources giving the same information enhances my belief in what they’re saying. I don’t follow single polls, I follow trends.

So, how do you define a trend? A trend consists of at least three data points showing a similar direction and magnitude. So a single poll will not convince me that Jason Carter has pulled ahead of Governor Deal, despite more than a year’s worth of polls going back to February 2013.

What I have seen consistently is a race characterized by Governor Deal in the low-to-mid 40s, and Jason Carter in the high 30s. PPP showed 46-38 Deal lead more than a year ago, and everything I’ve seen since then is consistent with that.

No single data point convinces me the situation has changed without a dramatic event that would lift Carter above where he started. But it’s a data point, and I’ll consider over the coming days whether it appears to be indicative of a trend, or maybe it’s an outlier.

As for the bigger picture on the race for Governor, here’s some good analysis:

“It’s a real long shot for Carter in 2014,” said Dr. Charles Bullock, a longtime political science professor at the University of Georgia.  “The state is changing, but I don’t think it’s changed enough to make it likely  for Carter to win. Barring some huge scandal, Deal should be in good shape for reelection.”

Georgia Republicans say their own internal polling shows Deal well ahead of Carter, while history shows mid-term elections to be especially tough territory for Democrats in the state.  While nearly 4 million Georgians voted in the 2012 presidential election, just 2.5 million Georgians turned out in 2010 when Deal won his seat by 10 points.


Congressional Debate Tuesday in the Tenth District

The Walton County Republican Party will host a debate among the GOP candidates for Congress in the Tenth District on Tuesday, March 7th at 7 PM, in the Monroe Community Center. There is no admission and the public is welcome. You can email questions for the candidates to Dennis Coxwell, Chairman of the Debate Committee, and he may choose to use yours.

Obamacare Discussion at DeKalb GOP Tomorrow

Tomorrow morning, I’ll be joining Congressman Tom Price, Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, and Brad Carver for a discussion of Obamacare and how it effect Georgia at the DeKalb County Republican Party. Breakfast starts at 8:30 and the program will begin at 9 AM. Click here to register for the event and join us!

If you have a question you’d like me to ask the speakers, please email me directly.


Events Calendar

DeKalb County GOP: OBAMACARE in Georgia – What Does It Mean And What Are Our Options

March 15, 2014 8:30 AM @ 8:30 AM – 11:30 AM

Dunwoody High School, 5035 Vermack Road, Dunwoody , 30338+ Google Map

OBAMACARE in Georgia: What does it mean and what are our options. Hear the experts and ask questions Rep. Tom Price, MD, Ralph Hudgens, Georgia Insurance Commissioner & Brad Carver For more information and discount tickets go to:

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Paulding County GOP: Breakfast with Fitz Johnson & David Pennington

March 15, 2014, 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Chicken World, 4109 Jimmy Lee Smith Parkway, Hiram , GA 30141+ Google Map

March 2014 Monthly Meeting For the meeting, Chicken World will be serving Chicken biscuits with eggs, coffee, juice, and other drinks.  Our Guest Speakers will be Fitz Johnson (State School Superintendent) and David Pennington (Governor).

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Senator John Albers: Sandy Springs Town Hall

March 15, 2014, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Sandy Springs City Hall, 7840 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs, GA 30350+ Google Map

Senator John Albers: Sandy Springs Town Hall

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$52 online / $60 at door

Fulton County GOP: Legislative Lunch

March 17, 2014, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

103 West, 103 West Paces Ferry Rd NW, Atlanta , GA 30305+ Google Map

Keynote Speakers The Honorable Jan Jones, Speaker Pro Tem The Honorable David Shafer, Senate President Pro Tem Emcee Betty Price, M.D., Roswell City Council

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Barrow County GOP: Meeting with Derrick Grayson & Jody Hice – “Wear Green Night”

March 17, 2014, 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Winder Woman’s Club, 15 West Midland Ave, Winder, GA 30680
+ Google Map

Guest Speakers – Derrick Grayson, candidate for U.S. Senate, Jody Hice, candidate for 10th U.S. District. Probably a third speaker as well. It will be “Wear Green Night.” Special door prizes. Bring a friend!

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