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

17
Sep

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

Forty-one delegates signed the United States Constitution, including Abraham Baldwin and William Few representing Georgia, at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787 before adjourning sine die.

On September 17, 1796, George Washington began working on the final draft of his farewell address as the first President of the United States of America.

The Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee met the Army of the Potomac under General George McClellan at the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862.

The Battle of Antietam actually consisted of three battles. Beginning at dawn on September 17, Union General Joseph Hooker’s men stormed Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s troops around the Dunker Church, the West Woods, and David Miller’s cornfield. The Federals made repeated attacks, but furious Rebel counterattacks kept the Yankees in check. By early afternoon, the fighting moved south to the middle of the battlefield. Union troops under General Edwin Sumner inflicted devastating casualties on the Confederates along a sunken road that became known as “Bloody Lane,” before the Southerners retreated. McClellan refused to apply reserves to exploit the opening in the Confederate center because he believed Lee’s force to be much larger than it actually was. In the late afternoon, Union General Ambrose Burnside attacked General James Longstreet’s troops across a stone bridge that came to bear Burnside’s name. The Yankees crossed the creek, but a Confederate counterattack brought any further advance to a halt.

The fighting ended by early evening, and the two armies remained in place throughout the following day. After dark on September 18, Lee began pulling his troops out of their defenses for a retreat to Virginia. The losses for the one-day battle were staggering. Union casualties included 2,108 dead, 9,540 wounded, and 753 missing, while Confederate casualties numbered 1,546 dead, 7,752 wounded, and 1,108 missing.

On September 17, 1932, the Georgia Division of the Roosevelt Business and Professional League was created to work with the Georgia Democratic Party to support FDR’s Presidential campaign in the Peach State.

Jimmy Carter received the first ever endorsement of a national ticket by the National Education Association in his bid for President on September 17, 1976.

National Politics

The Hill has posted a brief interview with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who won the Georgia Republican Primary for President in 2008 with nearly 34% of the vote.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) is taking the necessary steps to run for president again in 2016, vowing he wouldn’t make the same mistakes he made last time, if he pulls the trigger.

Huckabee says he will make a decision early next year about another presidential run but noted he’s in a “different place than I was eight years ago,” due to a lucrative career as a Fox News and radio show host.

One thing he feels does make him uniquely qualified for the office, he said, is his 11 years as governor of Arkansas, where he said worked with a heavily Democratic legislature to get things done.

“I know how to govern,” he said. “It’s about developing relationships, building camaraderie, building trust,” Huckabee said. “I don’t think you’ll find a Republican who got 49 percent of the African-American vote, as I did, in my reelection as governor. That had high Hispanic support. Those are things I think could be valuable to the party.”

“I would love to talk about what we’re for, to bring a sense of hope and optimism to people, as opposed to just tell ‘em how bad everything is,” he said.

It’s the only way to win, he said.

“I don’t think you can make people fearful enough and mad enough to get elected.”

That last part is the most important in my mind. Republicans must develop ways of speaking about our policies that connect with the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of the voters if we wish to actually win an govern. In Georgia, part of the challenge for David Perdue in his campaign for Senate is to speak to the voters about why his experience in business will benefit them in their lives, and why business doing better is not just good for us, but a necessary precondition for making our hopes, dreams, and aspirations come true.

I’m not attached to Mike Huckabee as a candidate, but I think that his message contained in the last three paragraphs of that interview is absolutely essential for the candidates.

That yardsigns don’t vote is a truism that most campaigns have heard. But neither do facebook posts or tweets. But yardsigns can be important in campaigns, according to new research out of Vanderbilt University.

Mere name recognition can give candidates an important advantage in political races in which voters know little about any of the contenders, according to the study by political scientists Cindy Kam and Elizabeth Zechmeister.

“Our study offers fairly conclusive evidence that, in low-information races, a candidate’s name recognition alone positively affects voter support,” said Zechmeister, who co-authored the paper with Kam.

Although the media pays a lot of attention to high-profile races, in the majority of decisions that American voters make, they have very little information about the candidates. Sometimes partisanship is not even available, so voters need to rely on some shortcuts to make decisions. “These findings are important because low-information races are the rule, not the exception, in American politics,” said Kam.

The two researchers, both of whom are associate professors of political science at Vanderbilt University, found that individuals not only favor candidates with more familiar names, but also perceive candidates with more familiar names to be more viable. Name recognition matters in low-information races because people want to support likely winners.

“This issue is important for politicians and their campaign teams,” Kam said. “With limited resources, campaigns must decide how much to spend on yard signs, buttons, bumper stickers and other strategies that serve to increase the public’s familiarity with the candidate’s name. Our study suggests that such efforts can pay off.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections

While we haven’t yet seen a TV ad with Michelle Nunn shooting clays, much of the rest of this article about the national Democrats’ other female Southern candidate for Senate, Alison Lundergran Grimes in Kentucky, is apt criticism of Nunn.

I’m not Barack Obama. I disagree with him on guns, coal and the EPA.”

No. That sentence was not uttered by a right-wing, tea-party, Republican. It was uttered by a Democrat in Kentucky. Barack Obama is, apparently, so politically toxic that moderate Democrats are not content with merely distancing themselves from him; they are now actively campaigning against the Democrat who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Of course even if we assume that every word of Grime’s anti-Obama commercial was as true as the Gospel, it should be pointed out that the “D” in front of her name still means something. After all, party affiliation has a very real consequence in elections. At the end of election season, the Ds and Rs are tallied in an effort to determine which party will have control over each chamber of Congress… A vote for any Democrat is, in essence, a vote for Harry Reid’s continued reign of Senatorial inaction.

In the end, the Grimes-style of “conservative-Democrat” campaigning reeks of disingenuous politicking. After all, if she was serious about steering the DNC to a more pro-gun, pro-coal position, she would be working as a chairwoman, volunteer, or NRA canvasser. Instead, she’s willing to give the Dems one more seat in their gun/coal hating (EPA loving) coalition in the US Senate.

There are two lessons to be learned here: One is that party affiliation is almost as important as the candidate. The second lesson is that Democrats will say anything to keep their party in control. If we suspend disbelief for a minute, and assume that Saint Grimes is sincere in her comments, then there is no reason for her to put a “D” in front of her name… Unless, of course, she just loves Obamacare, federal regulation, Common Core, tax-and-spend Keynesian economics, crony capitalism, and Joe Biden too much to actively leave the political party that has dedicated itself to restricting gun rights, killing traditional energy, and expanding federal regulatory control.

Except for the mention of coal, you could replace Grime’s name with Michelle Nunn and it would sound like many of the critiques leveled at Georgia’s deceptive Democrat.

Democratic front organization Better Georgia has made a name of themselves with guerilla tactics, but too often they fail the truth test. Like this example, rated “Pants on Fire” by Politifact.

Better Georgia — a left-leaning political group — sent out its own email/fundraising message opposing conservative Georgia congressmen. That group said that the men, including Gingrey, want to be sure that women “know their place.”

PolitiFact Georgia  reviewed a video of Gingrey’s remarks several times. And we found that he  never used the phrase about women that they should “stay in their place” or “know their place.”

Lately, they wrote this on Facebook:

Gov. Deal’s corruption & ineffectiveness are dragging down his party’s ticket. Even fellow Republicans are decrying Deal’s record.

“Sometimes I think if he’d just admitted campaign-finance violations from 2010 and paid a big fine, then this would all be behind him.”–Ga. GOP strategist Todd Rehm

That quote is accurate, but there was nothing about Governor Deal’s record I was criticizing. I was criticizing the Georgia State Ethics Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission’s four years of mishandling of complaints against Governor Deal.

For the record, I also said this,

“It will take more than a few negative headlines to make a difference” for Carter, said Georgia Republican strategist Todd Rehm.

My point was that if the campaign had pled guilty to all charges – even the ones that were eventually dismissed for a complete lack of merit – there was no substance to the claims, primarily technical record-keeping violations. Absent actual substantive wrongdoing, or even credible claims of wrongdoing, these allegations should have been in the rear-view mirror three years ago.

But the rolling cluster that is the Commission’s staff so badly bungled their jobs that not only did they fail to dispose of record-keeping charges in a timely fashion, they also set aside all their other work to flail around at this monkey knife fight.

In three year as chief of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, LaBerge has administered an office in near constant chaos. Dismissed employees filed — and won — millions in whistleblower lawsuits, scores of ethics complaints went untouched for nearly a year, and the commission’s already dubious reputation as a watchdog for clean government fell farther and farther.

Last week on Georgia’s Morning News with Tim Bryant, former Ethics Commission Executive Secretary Rick Thompson – the last to leave without being fired or forced out – clarified that the Commission has overstepped its mission, attempting to transform itself from a record-keeping agency to an enforcement body.

But in Georgia, campaign finance violations are regulated by filings before the Commission – absent a filing or a working disclosure system and no filing – no violations may be pursued. And the Commission has consistently failed in job number one, keeping the disclosure system running and available for required disclosures. Corruption in office is addressed through criminal prosecution by the federal government or local district attorneys.

Expectations of action against corrupt officials are misplaced if they include the Commission, a misperception primarily the result of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s reporting.

DeKalb GOP Victory Dinner with Gov. Deal, Herman Cain

DeKalb Victory Dinner 2014

Click here for details and tickets.

Dunwoody Country Club
1600 Dunwoody Club Drive
Atlanta, GA 30350
Individual ticket $50

5pm to 6pm: Private Reception with Governor Deal(Additional Table Ticket Required)

6PM: General Reception and Dinner with Representative Tom Price

Newbites – state and local politics

Republican candidate for State School Superintendent Richard Woods toured Columbia County schools and spoke to students about their experiences – NewChannel 6 WJBF.

Investigations by Secretary of State Brian Kemp into voter fraud allegations against Democratic-linked New Georgia Project, Third Sector Development and State House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams have become national news – WashingtonPost.com.

Gwinnett County forwarded about 20 applications suspected to be the result of fraud to the Secretary of State for investigation – Gwinnett Daily Post.

A campaign spokesperson for Nunn’s opponent, David Perdue, was quick to seize upon those ties.

“The serious allegations of illegal activities and potential fraud from liberal voter registration groups are outrageous and should be investigated to the fullest extent of the law,” said Perdue Communications Director Megan Whittemore. “As outlined in Michelle Nunn’s well-documented campaign plan, since Democrats cannot win on the issues they are aggressively trying to expand the electorate by any means necessary. The fact that an organization led by a well-known Nunn supporter would attempt to illegally register voters is unacceptable and reminiscent of the Obama-political machine’s ACORN scandal. There is nothing more fundamental to our democratic process than maintaining the integrity of our elections and any attempt to tamper with them is deplorable.”

Georgia Republican Party Chairman John Padgett also weighed in on the controversy, issuing a statement earlier this week calling the complaints “alarming.”

“Georgia voters deserve secure, accessible and fair elections and any attempt to rig the system in favor of one party or one candidate should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Padgett said. “We cannot allow groups that mimic the activities of ACORN to compromise the faith that voters have in the democratic process. The future of this state and the direction of this country should be determined at the ballot box — not manipulated behind closed doors.”

Secretary of State Kemp also issued warnings to voters that they do not need to give email addresses, phone numbers or full social security numbers to register to vote – WTVY.com.

Democratic groups tied to State House Leader Abrams are not the only ones gathering voter registrations – Slate.com.

“In addition to the 85,000 we have collected as an organization directly,” says Abrams, “we have also supported the efforts of 12 organizations around the state. We know there are groups doing registration in the Latino community, in the Asian community, and in the youth community, and we wanted to support their efforts as well.” These groups, she says, have collected 20,000 to 25,000 applications, putting the New Georgia Project in striking distance of its goal two months before Election Day.

The Georgia State Election Board will meet today at 3 p.m. at the State Capitol in Atlanta, Room 341 to address the allegations of voter registration fraud by Democratic Party organizations – AJC.com.

The Georgia Election Board has called an emergency meeting Wednesday to give Secretary of State Brian Kemp a chance to lay out his case involving dozens of allegedly fraudulent voter registration applications submitted by a Democratic-backed group.

It’s the first time Kemp will address the scope of an investigation he launched last week, after receiving complaints about the New Georgia Project. Among problems he listed were applications with inaccurate or false information, applications completed or “forged” after telephone conversations between voters and representatives of the group, and voters being told they were legally required to re-register to vote.

The New Georgia Project ignored subpoenas to produce documents related to allegations of voter registration fraud – WGCL CBS 46 Atlanta.

A voter registration group will not turn over documents requested by the Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, by a deadline outlined in a subpoena they were given last week.

The New Georgia Project says it has signed up more than 85,000 new voters in the last six months.

The Secretary of State’s Office claims they have received some complaints that some of those were fraudulently done.

According to the Secretary of State’s Office, that’s what prompted the investigation.

Willie Sutton said he robbed banks “because that’s where the money is,” but does that explain why 7,000 of 30,000 possibly fraudulent voter registration applications came from Fulton County – Saporta Report.

NAACP leaders in Savannah are calling for the extension of Sunday voting – Savannah Morning News.

The effort will call for both registration, and education “so that we will vote the entire ballot.”

Read that last part – it is clear that Democratic attempts to register and turnout more votes will extend to encouraging voters to “vote the entire ballot.” On July 22, more than 85,000 Republicans went to the polls to vote in the Senate runoff but cast no vote in the State School Superintendent’s race – that number could lead to a 2-3% deficit for Richard Woods, the Republican candidate for State School Superintendent if we don’t emphasize voting the entire ballot on November 4, 2014. The state Department of Education spends more money than all the rest of the state government and we cannot afford to have it fall into Democratic hands.

The biggest thing to happen in Columbus, Georgia? A jet overhead broke the sound barrier – Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.

The 17th Petit Le Mans will be run October 1-4 at Road Atlanta in Braselton – Gainesville Times.

The 10-hour Road Atlanta event gets its name from the 24-hour sports car race hosted annually in the town of Le Mans, France. “Petit” is French for “small” or “little.”

The upcoming race was the main topic at a Tuesday meeting of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s South Hall Business Coalition.

Braselton resident Bryan Sellers, the 2013 Petit Le Mans GT Champion, has both inside and outside perspective of just how the event, and the Road Atlanta venue, affect the community.

“I’ve been able to watch the race grow over the years,” Sellers said. “I have to say the last five years have been significant growth from the outside looking in. I’ve been here to see the increase in the economy, to see the new hotels … that have gone up in the past few years because of the racetrack.”

Information in Road Atlanta’s presentation at the breakfast said more than 131,000 guests attended the 2013 Petit Le Mans. A 2005 economic impact study by the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce listed Road Atlanta as having the second-largest economic impact to the area, with Lake Lanier coming in first.

 

The Gwinnett County Commission will roll out a discount prescription program for county residents at no taxpayer expense – Gwinnett Daily Post.

All Gwinnett County residents will soon have access to a free program which provides discounts on prescription medications and other health services. On Tuesday, the Board of Commissioners approved an agreement with Coast2Coast RX to provide the program at no cost to taxpayers.

“The discount card will enable cardholders to receive discounts on prescription medications and other health services,” said Deputy County Administrator Phil Hoskins during the Sept. 16 commission work session.

County residents will be able to print the discount card from the county website or pick up a card in person at local government offices, senior centers, libraries and most participating pharmacies by mid-November. To receive discounts on prescription medications, residents simply have to present the card at participating pharmacies including CVS, Walmart, Rite-Aid, Walgreens and Target.

 

A poll showed 78 percent of Cobb County resident think voter should have a say on the Braves stadium deal – Marietta Daily Journal.

45 percent of respondents described themselves as Republicans and only 19 percent as Democrats (with 28 percent as independents and 8 percent as “other.”) And most of those answering see most of their ballgames on TV, not in person. All told, 66 percent of them said they had attended five or fewer Braves games in person in the past five years, and only 15 percent had been to more than 11 games;

Only 22 percent said public financing of a new ballpark was something most people in Cobb wanted;

Only 9 percent said Cobb’s economic success depends on the new ballpark; and

77 percent agreed the ballpark would create jobs for the community.

♦♦♦

THE SURVEY, which had a margin of error of 5 percent, also asked recipients whether they approved or disapproved of how Cobb’s commissioners were doing their jobs.

Only 26 percent approved of Chairman Tim Lee’s performance, with 32 percent disapproving, 20 percent undecided and 22 percent with no opinion.

Northwest Cobb Commissioner Helen Goreham also received a negative review, with only 20 percent approving and 21 percent disapproving.

Northeast Cobb’s JoAnn Birrell got a 22 percent approval rating and 17 percent disapproval.

Southeast Cobb’s Bob Ott got a 25 percent approval rating and 18 percent disapproval.

And Southwest Cobb’s Lisa Cupid got a 22 percent approval rating and 16 percent disapproval.

According to Braves executive Mike Plant, that 77 percent constitutes a “small minority” – Marietta Daily Journal.

“The small minority opposition, I can’t control what they’re going to do,” Plant said. “I mean, everyone in this country has the ability to vote on a path that best suits their purpose. We don’t see that being an obstacle. We see that being just another step in this process, but we’re focused on we’re going to open the stadium in April of 2017.”

State Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs), who is considered the matchmaker in the deal, having introduced county Chairman Tim Lee and Braves executives over a meal at the Marietta Country Club last summer, shares that sentiment.

“There’s always going to be a very small minority that like to criticize. You know that. I know that. I’ve spent 30 years in the political arena myself,” Ehrhart said. “But generally if you do what’s right and, you keep walking forward, it works out for you, and that’s what Chairman Lee has done.”

Among the 400 people who attended the ceremony was Bob Weatherford, Republican nominee for the seat being vacated by retiring Commissioner Helen Goreham. Weatherford believes critics of the project are in the minority based on what he hears on the campaign trail.

“I call them the CAVE people: ‘Come out Against Virtually Everything,’” Weatherford said. “And it doesn’t matter what it is, they’re against it. Instead of looking for the good, they always look for the bad. Sometimes you have to compromise, sometimes you have to work together, sometimes you have to make an investment, and investment takes a risk. That’s what this is.”

Cobb County Chamber of Commerce Chair added that the “minority” opposed to the Braves stadium deal is “bitter” – Marietta Daily Journal.

The reality is that a bitter minority who thrive on media attention to make personal attacks and claim Lee did something untoward have their own hidden agenda. They and their Atlanta Media allies, who are still furious “Cobb stole the Braves from downtown,” are disingenuous at best. It is time we called them out.

I hope Tim’s many friends and supporters will start standing up publicly for him in the face of these political demagogues and the Atlanta media’s blatant bias against Cobb and the surrounding suburbs.

Northwest Georgia Medical Center has a $1 billion plus economic impact on the surrounding community – Gainesville Times.

The U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board will meet in Augusta to discuss storage at the Savannah River Site – Augusta Chronicle.

Don’t swim in the Savannah River – an oily substance on the surface led to an order to stay out of the water – Augusta Chronicle.

A divided Augusta Commission will hire a new City Administrator – Augusta Chronicle.

Macon’s economy is growing, marking the first significant gains in a decade – Macon.com.

Those estimates show Metro Macon’s economy grew $374 million in 2013, marking the first sizable improvement in more than a decade, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis numbers show.

“That’s good news,” said Greg George, director of the Center for Economic Analysis at Middle Georgia State College. “It’s painting the picture for me that we’ve weathered the storm and are poised, hopefully, for sustained growth.”

When inflation is accounted for, Macon’s economy is still down about 9.4 percent from 2001, the earliest year available in the estimates. But metro Macon’s economy is up about 2.8 percent from the start of the recession, and nearly all of that improvement came in 2013.

“Everywhere else on the planet was growing from 2001 to 2007,” George said. “That’s the tough part for Macon, is we went into the recession on a downhill slide, and other people went into the recession after building up substantial growth prior to it.”

Count Congressman Doug Collins as a likely vote to authorize U.S. training and equipment of Syrian forces to fight ISIS – AccessNorthGa.com.

The CDC says Americans are growing bigger bellies than ever before – RN-T.com.

“Women prefer flab over abs” read the headlines about a poll, but that’s not exactly what it says – IronMill.com.

96% of women say they automatically assume a guy with a belly has a BETTER PERSONALITY than a guy with a great body.

91% say guys in perfect shape prioritize the gym over spending time together.

80% say guys with abs can’t relax and have any fun . . . they’re obsessed with what they eat, they won’t share dessert, and after a night out they’re only focused on going to the gym to work off what they did.

And 74% say that a guy with a great body makes them feel self-conscious about their OWN body.

The survey also found 82% of women say they never pressure their boyfriend or husband to lose weight or get in better shape . . . and only 6% say it bothers them if he puts on a few pounds.

Here is another take on what the poll said:

According to the results, 58 percent of women didn’t put men with six-pack abs as their first choice, 72 percent of females said they would rather go out with a chubby man so that they could freely order dessert, while 74 percent said they would be uncomfortable stripping off for someone like Greek god Adonis.

Four things to pay attention when you read a poll. First, if the pollster is described as a “sexpert,” the methodology is liley lacking, and the claims probably overblown. Second, read more than the headlines – poll results are often different than the ten-word descriptions designed to generate pageviews on websites. Third, sponsorship matters – this poll was paid for by an entertainment company to promote a film, not to scientifically gauge the results of donuts. Fourth, who was sampled? In this case, the poll was of “women in the North East and Northern Ireland,” and by “North East,” I think they meant England or Ireland, so the results may not apply in your life.

ecause that’s where the money is
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