Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 17, 2014


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 17, 2014

On March 15, 1733, the Trustees of Georgia recognized the first anniversary of the Charter of Georgia dues to misreading their earlier notes.

On March 16, 1861, delegates in Savannah unanimously ratified the Confederate Constitution and voted to have a new state constitution drafted.

On March 16, 1976, former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter won the Illinois Democratic Primary. His spiritual successor President Barack Obama, from Illinois, would visit Carter’s home state of Georgia on March 16, 2012.

On March 17, 1762, the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade was held in New York City by Irish serving in the British army; the date commemorates the death of St. Patrick in 461.

On March 17, 1866, Governor Charles Jones Jenkins signed legislation granting African-Americans the same rights as whites for contracts, suits, inheritance, property, and punishments for violation of the law.

On March 17, 1933, Governor Eugene Talmadge signed a joint resolution of the state legislature to place a plaque on the wall of the Georgia Capitol commemorating the 200th Anniversary of the founding of Georgia.

In Memory of Howard “Bo” Callaway

Howard Hollis “Bo” Callaway died on March 15, 2014 following a brain hemorrhage two years ago.

Throughout his career, Bo Callaway experienced triumphs and disappointments. They ranged from being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in a “Go with Bo” campaign to a controversial failed bid to become governor of Georgia, a potential stepping stone that could have led to even bigger things.

From that disappointment, he would rise to the post of Secretary of the Army under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. But that was followed by his resignation as Ford’s re-election campaign manager amid a congressional investigation into his operations at the Crested Butte ski resort his family purchased out of bankruptcy in Colorado in 1970.

“He was a great personification of that old thing — it doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down. It’s how many times you get up,” said longtime friend and former Columbus Mayor Bob Hydrick. “He had a lot of setbacks, but he never let any of them stop him. He kept on going. He kept on plugging.”

Hydrick, who served as Callaway’s press secretary during his successful congressional campaign in 1964, said the best way to describe the LaGrange, Ga., native is as a renaissance man because of his wide variety of interests and his persistent pursuit of them.

Callaway also developed a yearning for public service at an early age. It started with his entering the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., following two years of studies at Georgia Tech. His military service would include leading a platoon in Korea and instructing infantry troops at Fort Benning.

In 1953, however, he returned to the land where he grew up and took the helm of Callaway Gardens and its nonprofit parent organization, the Ida Cason Callaway Foundation, until 1970.

“Mother believed very strongly that we should not just take from our environment, but that we must take care of our environment,” Callaway said in a 2000 interview with the Ledger-Enquirer. “She understood that there was a delicate balance between man and nature and she respected that balance. … The whole idea behind Callaway Gardens was preserving the native plants of this area and providing a place where anyone could come and enjoy them.”

While the gardens was his love, politics was his passion, with Callaway launching his campaign for Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1964, the same year Arizona Republican Barry Goldwater ran for the presidency as an arch-conservative. Callaway, who was raised a Democrat, switched to the Republican Party and won easily, becoming the first GOP candidate elected to the U.S. House from Georgia since Reconstruction following the Civil War.

That victory set the stage for his bid for the Georgia governor’s seat, a race that would be filled with drama and segregationist and race-baiter Lester Maddox snatching the office away from Callaway with help from a Democrat-controlled Georgia General Assembly.

Callaway, who was 39 at the time, campaigned on a platform centered around “peace through strength and limited government and low taxes and individual initiative and personal responsibility,” said Hydrick.

Maddox, an Atlanta businessman, defeated Newnan native and former Georgia Gov. Ellis Arnall in a Democratic primary runoff. He then battled it out with Callaway in the General Election, with the younger man from Troup County receiving a plurality of votes, but not the majority needed to win. There were unproven allegations that Republican supporters of Callaway voted for the polarizing Maddox in the Democratic primary, thinking he would be easier to beat than the more mainstream Arnall.

The state’s constitution called for the General Assembly to decide the victor in that case. In a Legislature dominated by Democrats, Callaway had little chance and walked away defeated.

Retired Columbus attorney and state legislator Milton Jones, who served eight years in the General Assembly, called the episode a “terribly unfortunate thing” and was among a group of Democrats who supported Callaway. But the mostly Georgia Democratic lawmakers were not prepared to elect a Republican.

Still hungry for politics, he was offered and took the position of Republican National Committeeman from Georgia in 1968. That would lead to his appointment as U.S. Secretary of the Army under President Richard Nixon in 1973, a job that paid $42,500 a year. Hydrick believes that was Callaway’s proudest moment.

“He loved the Army and that experience,” the former mayor said. “The four years that he was at West Point shaped his life more than anything else I think could have shaped his life. It gave him the discipline, particularly self discipline. I’ve never known anybody as disciplined as Bo is.”

As the Army’s top civilian, Callaway was faced with transitioning the military branch from the much-maligned draft mandated during the Vietnam War to an all-volunteer force. He also dealt with the issue of race in the military and the burgeoning idea that women might be ready for combat.

Back in Georgia, Callaway spoke at the first session of the Coverdell Leadership Institute, which later would give rise to Republican Leadership for Georgia, and the Conservative Policy Leadership Institute. Callaway also served as General Chairman of GOPAC, the Republican Political Action Committee that played a large part in the rise of Newt Gingrich, eventually to Speaker of the House after the 1994 takeover of Congress.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has an article about Callaway’s impact on the Georgia Republican Party, written by Aaron Gould Sheinin.

Matt Towery was the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in 1990 and said Callaway was a constant presence on the campaign trail as the GOP’s first and only star.

“He, unfortunately, was forced to go to every campaign event a Republican had,” said Towery, who lost the general election to Democrat Pierre Howard. “He showed up all the time. He always had a consistent message and Bo never changed.”

Until the successful U.S. Senate campaigns of Mack Mattingly, in 1980, and Paul Coverdell, in 1992, Georgia Republicans had few big names to help recruit candidates or campaign for those already running. Callaway was always ready, Towery said.

“I’m telling you, in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, there was no superstar other than Bo Callaway,” Towery said, adding that many in the GOP “thought of him as our first Republican governor.”

Newt Gingrich, who also had a major role in growing the Georgia GOP as a congressman, eventual U.S. House speaker and candidate for president in 2012, said a Callaway victory would have changed everything.

“With a few thousand-vote difference, he would have been a candidate for president,” Gingrich said. “In ‘66, if he had won that race, he would have been a rising star and would have been a potential vice presidential candidate in ‘68, and the world would have been different.”

Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, was 12 in 1966. He remembers even then the impact Callaway had.

“I grew up in a family of Republicans and Bo Callaway was what we had been waiting for,” Ralston said. “I was in elementary school and I had my Blue Horse notebook and I had a ‘Go Bo’ sticker. And I remember being very proud.”

Callaway, Ralston said, wrote “the first chapter of the modern Republican Party in Georgia.”

Carolyn Meadows, who for years held one of Georgia’s seats on the Republican National Committee, recalled Callaway as a “great American.” His bid for the Governor’s Mansion in 1966 was “the beginning of the conservative movement in Georgia.”

In 1995, Bo Callaway spoke to the Georgia Publicy Policy Foundation Freedom Award Dinner.

The video is also worth watching for the introduction of Callaway by Tom Perdue.

Under the Gold Dome today

The Senate Rules Committee will meet at 10:30 AM in room 450 of the Capitol.

The House Rules Committee meets at 2 PM in room 341 of the Capitol; House Governmental Affairs Committee meets at 3:30 PM in room 606 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building.

We mentioned GOPAC earlier, and would be remiss if we didn’t note that state Senator Hunter Hill was selected for the 2014 Class of GOPAC’s Emerging Leaders. In 2013, state Senator Tyler Harper was selected. Georgia Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer, who joined Bo Callaway in speaking to the first Coverdell Leadership Institute class, serves on the Legislative Advisory Board for GOPAC.

Kudos to the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission

During qualifying, Paulding County Superior Court Judge James R. Osborne qualified for reelection, joined on the ballot on the last day by his daughter, Elizabeth Osborne Williams. Days later, Judge Osborne withdrew his candidacy, apparently leaving his daughter the only qualified candidate for his seat. Open-seat elections for judicial spots are relatively rare in Georgia and always produce a number of candidates vying to don the robe. Unless something like this happens.

But they didn’t count on the Judicial Qualifications Commission. From the Fulton Daily Report:

The Judicial Qualifications Commission has reached a verbal agreement with the daughter of a Paulding County judge in which she will withdraw as the sole candidate in the race for her father’s seat, the JQC’s vice chairman said Friday.

As part of the agreement, which is expected to be announced Monday, Paulding County Superior Court Judge James Osborne would not seek re-election or reappointment to the post he has held since 2005, said JQC vice chairman S. Lester Tate III.

In return, Tate said the judicial disciplinary agency has agreed not to pursue ethics charges against Osborne or his daughter, Dallas attorney Elizabeth Osborne Williams. It also will not seek to bar her from seeking another judicial post at some future date, he said.

The JQC has jurisdiction over the state’s judges and judicial candidates. It can remove a judge from the bench, with the approval of the state Supreme Court.

Georgia State University legal ethics professor Clark Cunningham told the Daily Report on Friday that Osborne and Williams likely violated the state Code of Judicial Ethics and that the JQC has the authority both to disqualify Williams for her conduct as a candidate and to remove Osborne from his judicial post.

“Elizabeth Williams should recognize that, at this point, she should not take judicial office,” he said. He also suggested that Osborne should step down, explaining that father and daughter have “undermined public confidence in their ability to act with integrity.”

“Either one of them could be disqualified for their conduct without having to prove that the conduct was actually improper and without having to prove that they intended to act improperly,” he said. “The test for the appearance of impropriety is whether the conduct would, in reasonable minds, create a perception that a judge’s ability to carry out his responsibilities with integrity is impaired.”

“The question is, ‘What is the perception that has been created by their conduct?’” he continued. “If the perception is that Elizabeth Williams has become a judge through trickery, then that undermines public confidence in the judiciary. Nobody has a right to be a judge. Being a judge is a privilege.”

While the rules of the Judicial Qualifications Commission often seem arcane and occasionally counter-intuitive to a layperson, in this case, they clearly served the people of Georgia well, instilling confidence in the Commission’s exercise of its watchdog role and protecting the reputation of our judiciary. Well done.

If you are running for judicial office in Georgia, you would be well-served to acquaint yourself with the JQC’s rules governing political campaigns. And unlike some other agencies, the JQC leadership has been very responsive and helpful with questions about the application of their rules.

Third District GAGOP Straw Poll Results

Straw polls often say more about the organization sponsoring them, or the people attending them, than they predict the future. Just ask Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens. That said, the Third District GAGOP held a straw poll this weekend. From GAGOP3 Chair Dale Jackson:

I’m pleased to report that our 3rd District GAGOP Committee meeting and fundraiser was a huge success! We had an overflowing crowd packed into the Fayette County GOP headquarters.

We had hoped for around 100 people for our fundraising dinner, but turns out, nearly 200 people showed up. We had over 20 candidates show up to represent races from the US Senate seat to county commission seats.

US Senate
Paul Broun…….…… 39%
Karen Handel…….. 36%
David Perdue……… 12%
Derrick Grayson…  9%
Jack Kingston…….. 2%
Phil Gingrey……….. 2%
Art Gardner……….. 0.5%

2016 Presidential Preference
Rand Paul………… 35%
Other………………… 15%
Mike Huckabee…  14%
Ted Cruz………….. 12%
Jeb Bush………….. 10%
Paul Ryan………… 8%
Chris Christie….… 6%
Marco Rubio….. 0.5%

David Pennington…. 60%
Nathan Deal………… 35%
John Barge……………. 5%

Two weeks ago we released poll results in the Tenth Congressional District that showed Governor Nathan Deal with 57% of likely Republican voters and in second place was Undecided with 31%; John Barge eked in just over 7% and David Pennington came in last with a touch over 4%.

However, looking only at those respondents who indicated they have a preference in the Gubernatorial primary, Governor Deal carried more than 83.5%. I ran a poll in another heavily-Republican Congressional District last night, and while we’re not able to release results at this time, I can say that the order of the candidates was the same, with very similar vote counts. Anyone who thinks that Governor Deal is not currently the prohibitive favorite in the Republican Primary is wrong.

Event Calendar

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

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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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Conservative Republican Women of North Atlanta: Nancy Jester & Ileana McCaigue

March 17, 2014, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Magnolia Café, 5175 South Old Peachtree Road, Norcross, GA 30092

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The Conservative Republican Women of North Atlanta Featured speakers are: Nancy Jester State School Board Candidate and Ileana McCaigue Gwinnett School District 2 School Board Candidate

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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

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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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GA GOP 10th District: Congressional Debate in Monroe

March 18, 2014,  7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Monroe Community Center, 602 East Church Street, Monroe , GA 30655

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Buckhead YR: Meeting “Candidate Showcase!”

March 18, 2014, 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Taco Mac Lindbergh Marta Station, 573 Main Street, Atlanta, GA 30324

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We are having several candidates stop by, with State Superintendent Candidate Richard Woods, Fulton County Commissioner Candidate Cory Ruth.Fulton County Commissioner Candidate Bernie Tokarz, HD 54 candidates Loretta Lepore and John McCloskey, and others TBA… Its a busy election season and we are trying to get as many candidates in front of our group as possible…

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Rally for Religious Freedom at State Capitol

March 19, 2014, 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

GA State Capitol, 206 Washington St SW, Atlanta, GA 30334

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Get the REAL facts on SB 377, the non-partisan legislation that was offered by Senator Josh McKoon that would have mirrored current federal law signed into law by President Clinton and passed almost unanimously by Congress…even co-sponsored by Ted Kennedy and Chuck Schumer. This bill does the opposite of discriminate. It protects your 1st Amendment liberties. Join us for a rally at 1 PM for those rights and a prayer time at noon for our legislature. This will be the…

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Hall County GOP: Sine Die at the State Capitol

March 20, 2014, 10:00 AM

Georgia State Capitol, 206 Washington St SW, Atlanta, GA 30334

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Sine Die at the State Capitol We have a room reserved for the Hall GOP at the Capitol with drinks provided. Transportation will be provided for the first 50 people who RSVP to The group will leave from the Downtown Center parking garage on Main Street at 10am, and group transportation will not return from Atlanta until after the gavel falls around midnight. Group travelers must be able to stay the entire day. Feel free to meet at the Capitol if you…

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Sine Die

March 20, 2014, 10:00 AM - 11:55 PM

Georgia State Capitol, 206 Washington St SW, Atlanta, GA 30334

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The last day of the legislative session is Sine Die. The term “Sine Die” comes from the Latin “without assigning a day for a further meeting or hearing.”  To declare Sine Die is to adjourn the legislative body for an indefinite period and signifies the end of the 40-day legislative session.

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Newton Conservative Liberty Alliance: GA 10 GOP Congress Candidate Forum

March 21, 2014, 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Peachtree Academy Private School, 14101 Hwy 278 E, Covington, GA 30014

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The second of three candidate forums that the Newton Conservative Liberty Alliance is co-hosting along with The Covington News This forum is for GA CD 10 which includes the eastern part of Newton Co. So far, five candidates have confirmed for this event including: Mike Collins for Congress,Gary Gerrard, Jody Hice, Stephen Simpson, and Mitchell Swan. Moderators for this event include Greg Williams, prominent Republican activist and radio host; Jason Pye – editor in chief of United Liberty and contributor atPeach Pundit; and a representative from The Covington…

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Floyd County GOP: Breakfast with Rep. Tom Graves

March 22, 2014,  9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Fuddruckers Restaurant, 595 Riverside Pkwy NE, Rome, GA 30161

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Join your Congressman Tom Graves as he addresses the Floyd County Republican Party

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DeKalb County GOP: Legislative Wrap-Up Meeting

March 22, 2014, 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
DeKalb GOP HQ, 1532 Dunwoody Village Parkway, Dunwoody, GA 30338+ Google Map

Join Senator Fran Millar and Representative Mike Jacobs for an update on all the legislation that has taken place this session to make DeKalb County a better place to live,work and play.

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Buckhead Freedom Coalition: Conservative Candidates Conference with Broun, Kingston, Gingrey, & Handel

March 22, 2014, 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
The Flying Biscuit, 3280 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta , GA 30305+ Google Map

The Buckhead Freedom Coalition is building a bigger and better Conservative Candidates Conference. We’re inviting Dr. Paul Broun, Mr. Jack Kingston, Dr. Phil Gingrey, and Mrs. Karen Handel based on rankings by Freedomworks from 2011 and past service in statewide office. If you plan to attend and you would like the candidates to answer a specific question, please submit your suggestions for consideration: two select questions from among those received will be asked, in addition to questions from the panel.…

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