Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 19, 2014


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 19, 2014

The Georgia Whig Party held its first convention on June 19, 1843 in Milledgeville and elected ten delegates to the 1844 National Convention.

The first Republican National Convention, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ended on June 19, 1856.

The Republicans, who called for the abolition of slavery in all U.S. territories, rapidly gained supporters in the North, and in 1856 their first presidential candidate, John Fremont, won 11 of the 16 Northern states. By 1860, the majority of Southern states were publicly threatening secession if a Republican won the presidency.

The Civil War firmly identified the Republican Party as the official party of the victorious North. After the war, the Republican-dominated Congress forced a radical Reconstruction policy on the South, which saw the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, abolishing slavery and granting voting rights to African American men in the South. By 1876, the Republican Party had lost control of the South, but it continued to dominate the presidency, with a few intermissions, until the ascendance of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933.

On June 19, 1864, Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston retreated from Pine Mountain and Lost Mountain toward Marietta. Click here to watch a two-minute video by Georgia Public Broadcasting and the Atlanta History Center about this week in Georgia in 1864.

On the same day, USS Kearsarge sank CSS Alabama off the coast of Cherbourg, France in one of the most-celebrated naval battles of the Civil War.

Under its captain, Raphael Semmes, the Alabama prowled the world for three years, capturing U.S. commercial ships. It sailed around the globe, usually working out of the West Indies, but taking prizes and bungling Union shipping in the Caribbean, off Newfoundland, and around the coast of South America. In January 1863, Semmes sunk a Union warship, the Hatteras, after luring it out of Galveston, Texas.

During its career, the Alabama captured 66 ships and was hunted by more than 20 Federal warships.

Jazz giant Horace Silver died yesterday. Here are two of my favorite performances.

Obama unpopular, no one shocked

In the discussions that precede taping of GPB’s “On the Story,” top Republican strategist Eric Tanenblatt brought to our attention a Wall Street Journal poll that showed President Obama with approval ratings in the cellar, tying his all-time low.

President Obama’s overall approval rating in the poll is at 41 percent, down three points from April. That’s tied for his all-time low in the survey.

And his favorable-unfavorable rating is upside down (41 percent-45 percent) after being right-side up two months ago (44 percent-41 percent).

Perhaps most troubling for the president, 54 percent think he is unable to lead the country and get the job done, compared with 42 percent who believe he can.

The issue for discussion was how this will affect the Senate race in Georgia, and I think that one look at the Republican Primary should sufficiently prepare Michelle Nunn for the reality that she will be portrayed as Obama’s biggest supporter. This presents a challenge for the first-time candidate who must distance herself sufficiently from his unpopular policies without alienating her own base in the Democratic party. Here’s the NBC take on how it affects the GOP nationally:

These numbers put the Democratic Party at a clear disadvantage heading into November’s midterm elections, when a president’s job rating can often be predictive of the general outcome.

But, the pollsters say, Republicans also have perception problems that could limit their potential gains.

According to the survey, 45 percent of registered voters prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress, versus 43 percent who want a GOP-held one.

Thirty-four percent say their vote will be a signal of opposition to Obama, and 24 percent say it will be a signal of support; 41 percent say it won’t signal anything about the president.

Yet while Obama is unpopular in the poll, he looks like the homecoming king compared with the Republican Party.

Just 29 percent of respondents have a favorable view of the GOP, versus 45 percent who have an unfavorable view. (By comparison, the Democratic Party’s fav/unfav rating is 38 percent positive, 40 percent negative.)

This morning, I heard a story on National Public Radio that links low approval ratings for President Obama to the elections in twelve competitive Senate races.

In the 12 states with competitive Senate races this fall, only 38 percent of likely voters said they approved of the way the president is handling his job. An index of all national polls shows the president’s approval rating about four percentage points higher nationwide.

But as NPR’s National Political Correspondent Mara Liasson notes, the slightly lower approval is not surprising, considering that eight of the 12 states voted for Mitt Romney over Obama in 2012.

Likely voters in these states strongly disapprove of how Democrats are running the Senate and Republicans are running the House.

As a side-note, the Republican on the bipartisan team that performed the poll for NPR is Whit Ayres, whose company was formerly headquartered in Georgia.

TV ad wars heat up

Yesterday saw the release of new TV ads in the Senate Primary Runoff. First, David Perdue.

Then Jack Kingston rolled out a new ad with the Obama impersonator, attempting to connect Perdue to Obama’s failed and unpopular policies.

Kingston’s campaign also offered a point-by-point refutation of Perdue’s attacks. Here’s an excerpt:

CHARGE: “Jack Kingston voted to raise the debt ceiling repeatedly….”
RESPONSE: Jack Kingston is the only candidate in this race who has actually cut the federal budget and has repeatedly voted against raising the debt ceiling.  The limited times he voted to raise it were to ensure Social Security and Medicare payments during the government shutdowns of the mid-1990s, to clear the way for the reforms that led to the first balanced budgets in a generation, and to ensure troops were cared for while in harm’s way.

CHARGE: “He spent our tax dollars on thousands of wasteful earmarks…”
RESPONSE: Jack Kingston led the charge to curtail earmarks.  He wrote the first earmark moratorium bill that was eventually adopted by the full Republican Conference and later all of Congress.

And on it goes. Give it a read if you’re interested in a healthy dose of truthiness.

I spoke to Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Jeanne Bonner about the Perdue ad yesterday.

Republican political strategist Todd Rehm says the spot’s softer tone reflects criticism that Perdue has been too negative.
“David Perdue learned a lesson from the primary that going unrelenting negative can have some downsides.”
However, Rehm says it’s difficult to make the case that Kingston is liberal.
“To call Jack Kingston not as conservative [as some might wish]  is one thing,” said Rehm. “But to call him a liberal when he had the highest rating from the American Conservative Union is bending the truth to the point of breaking.”

I actually have a story about Jack Kingston and his leadership to do away with earmarking in the federal budget. I’m writing it up for tomorrow’s InsiderAdvantage, but I’ll share it with y’all as well.

Governor Nathan Deal released later in the day a pair of 15-second ads that will presumably run as bookends.

Carter released a response ad:

And this one isn’t an ad (yet), but I wouldn’t be surprised if part of it doesn’t become one: Newt Gingrich offers an endorsement of Mike Collins in the Tenth Congressional District.

Ride the Lighting: Death penalty opposition no longer third rail for GOP

Yesterday, Jim Galloway wrote in his column at the AJC about conservative opposition to the death penalty, and one Georgian’s quest.

Marc Hyden, a 30-year-old confirmed conservative Republican from Marietta, hopped a plane for Washington D.C. Today, he will open a booth at the fifth annual gathering of Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition.
Hyden is a national coordinator for Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, a two-year-old, GOP-based group that carries tea party suspicion of government into a new but highly logical arena:
If you don’t trust your government to deliver a piece of mail to your doorstep, how can you trust it to competently decide who lives and who dies?
“This is the same government a lot of Republicans don’t trust with health care,” Hyden said.

Hyden is no ACLU member dressed in woolly conservatism. He comes with a pedigree.
He was a staffer for Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, when the latter was president pro tem of the state Senate. Hyden’s aunt is Julianne Thompson of Atlanta Tea Party Patriots. His uncle, Jason Thompson, is chairman of the 7th District GOP. And Hyden’s last job was as a grassroots organizer in Florida – for the National Rifle Association.

I wrote about my own opposition to the Death Penalty nearly three years ago, first publishing it on another website.

I oppose [the death penalty] because I believe in limited government and a government that can put its citizens to death is the antithesis of limited government.

On January 31, 2000, Illinois Governor George Ryan, a Republican who supported the death penalty, suspended all executions by the state government. At that time, the State of Illinois had executed 12 people following the state’s 1977 reinstatement of the death penalty. During the same period, 13 men who were duly convicted and sentenced to death were exonerated and released. The exoneration and release of Anthony Porter within 50 hours of scheduled execution prompted Ryan’s move.

Could Georgia shed 21,000 jobs?

Yesterday, the Georgia Restaurant Association released a study showing that increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 would eliminate 21,460 jobs in Georgia. Additionally, it would undoubtedly cause the rolls to swell for unemployment and other government benefits.

“As our state’s economy begins stabilizing and adding jobs, now is not the time to prevent hiring and squeeze business owners already razor-thin bottom lines,” said Karen Bremer, executive director of the Georgia Restaurant Association. “We should focus on commonsense solutions that create jobs and promote opportunities for workers of all experience levels. Across the board wage increases will hurt those who need help the most.”
The study, authored by Dr. David Macpherson of Trinity University, outlined the negative impact on employment and local budgets due to an increase in the minimum wage – specifically the high loss of employment and the unwanted cost to taxpayers.


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