Category: GAGOP

8
Jan

Georgia History, Politics, Campaigns and Elections for January 8, 2014

On January 8, 1783, Lyman Hall, a Georgia signer of the Declaration of Independence, was elected Governor.

Wedgwood Lyman Hall

Lyman Hall appears on one piece of a two-piece set by Wedgwood celebrating the Bicentennial of American Independence. In 1918, Hall County was named after Lyman Hall, and in 1848, a Signers Monument was built in Augusta, where the remains of Hall and fellow signer George Walton were interred.

On January 8, 1790, President George Washington gave his first State of the Union address to Congress in New York City. Click here to read Washington’s first State of the Union.

A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies.

The proper establishment of the troops which may be deemed indispensable will be entitled to mature consideration. In the arrangements which may be made respecting it it will be of importance to conciliate the comfortable support of the officers and soldiers with a due regard to economy.

There was reason to hope that the pacific measures adopted with regard to certain hostile tribes of Indians would have relieved the inhabitants of our southern and western frontiers from their depredations, but you will perceive from the information contained in the papers which I shall direct to be laid before you (comprehending a communication from the Commonwealth of Virginia) that we ought to be prepared to afford protection to those parts of the Union, and, if necessary, to punish aggressors.

Uniformity in the currency, weights, and measures of the United States is an object of great importance, and will, I am persuaded, be duly attended to.

The advancement of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures by all proper means will not, I trust, need recommendation; but I can not forbear intimating to you the expediency of giving effectual encouragement as well to the introduction of new and useful inventions from abroad as to the exertions of skill and genius in producing them at home, and of facilitating the intercourse between the distant parts of our country by a due attention to the post-office and post-roads.

The welfare of our country is the great object to which our cares and efforts ought to be directed, and I shall derive great satisfaction from a cooperation with you in the pleasing though arduous task of insuring to our fellow citizens the blessings which they have a right to expect from a free, efficient, and equal government.

On January 8, 1821, representatives of the United States and the Creek Indians signed a treaty in which the Creeks ceded the territory from the Flint to the Ocmulgee Rivers, marking the expansion of Georgia beyond the Ocmulgee.

On January 8, 1831, John Pemberton, inventor of Coca-Cola, was born in Knoxville, Ga.

On January 8, 2007, R.E.M. was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, in a class that included Van Halen, Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, Patti Smith, and the Ronettes. Five days later, they performed at the induction ceremony.

 

DeKalbGOPSaturdayElection Results

We will have runoff elections for State House Districts 2 and 22 after no candidates garnered the required 50% plus one vote last night.


House District 2

Neal Florence (R)  964 votes (34.31%)
Steve Tarvin (R) 1072 votes (38.15%)
Doug Woodruff (R) 774 votes (27.54%)


House District 22

Meagan Biello (R) 576 votes (23.67%)
Nate Cochran (R) 359 votes (14.76%)
Jeff Duncan (R) 574 votes (23.59%)
Sam Moore (R) 924 votes (37.98%)


Looking at his public statements, supporters, and contributors, it appears to me that Sam Moore is supported by a number of members of the burgeoning Liberty wing of the Republican Party. Make of it what you will.

The runoff elections between the top two vote getters in each race will be held on Tuesday, February 4, 2014.


Greg’s List – an Internet Radio Brogram

Yesterday, I was on Greg’s List Live, an internet radio show with Greg Williams, who writes the Greg’s List blog about Georgia politics. I still don’t understand how the internet works over a radio, but I wanted to share a couple of things we discussed. Here are a couple of my predictions:

1. Expect political grandstanding by candidates for higher office. This includes Ed Lindsey, who is now supporting HB 707, anti-Obamacare legislation while Ed runs for Congress from the 11th District, and Jason Carter, running on spending more of your money in various ways as a Democrat for Governor.

2. The session won’t be super-short. Every year people predict a short session, and this year is like that but more so. I’d guess the third week of March will see Sine Die.

3. The overwhelming theme will be “gimme some money,” as state employees, teacher’s group, and anyone else who receives a paycheck from the state sees rising revenues as a ticket to a raise. Many of our state employees have seen no raises for as long as seven years, while the cost of insurance has gone up, and this year the state benefits health plan actual benefits declined dramatically like something off of Healthcare.gov. The folks most likely to benefit from rising revenues are those with a political constituency beyond their own members. In Georgia, and I suspect most other states, this means teachers.

GAGOP Senate Debates

A great question Greg raised is what are the qualifications to be onstage at the GAGOP Senate debates – will all announced candidates be given a seat at the table, or will there be some measure of viability – financial or otherwise – used to winnow the field.

The problem is that an eight (or more) candidate debate will hardly be compelling watching, because it reduces the number of rounds and questions that can be asked, and by the time the last candidates answers, the audience will likely have forgotten the original question. On the other hand, it can be hard to say today who will be viable in May, and the State Party should’t be playing favorites.

I suggest we adopt the “Survivor” model, where each candidate is voted on by GAGOP members after the debate, and the lowest vote-getter is eliminated from the next debate. At 50 cents per call if we use the phone number voting method, it’d also be a great way to transfer money from the candidates’ backers to the state GOP. Obviously, the last debate will be ThunderDome style.


Gary Gerrard brings the TV to CD10

Gary Gerrard has announced that he will be the first on television with an ad running on Cable television. It’s above. That’s Mike Hassinger in the voiceover and on-screen with Gerrard.

Yesterday, Stuart Rothenberg wrote on his blog at Congressional Quarterly’s Roll Call about early television advertising and whether it’s effective in Congressional races. His take: not so much.

By mid-December, more than $17.5 million had been spent on TV ads in just four Senate contests: in North Carolina ($8.3 million), Kentucky ($3.5 million), Arkansas ($3.4 million) and Louisiana ($2.3 million), according to a recent piece by Roll Call’s Kyle Trygstad.

The numbers are interesting and newsworthy. But it’s important to understand the dirty little secret of early TV ads: At the end of the day, most of the ads, and most of the money spent on them, won’t make a dime’s worth of difference in the November results.

Strategists who advocate or justify TV ads 10 or 12 months before Election Day will tell you that it is important to get up on the air to “introduce” an opponent before he or she can introduce himself (Arkansas) or to dissuade a potential opponent from running (Kentucky). And in a few rare cases, that may work. But most of the time it doesn’t, especially if both sides have plenty of money.

It certainly is true that given the suffocating nature of the final weeks of a campaign, when every candidate for every office seems to be buying up whatever air time is still available, many strategists believe that the value of late advertising is dropping. And if late ads are ineffective, the idea of early TV ads sounds more appealing.

“Late ads don’t do much anymore, in part because there are so many ads, so the odds of getting through with a message are better early than late,” one pollster argued.

One difference between Gerrard’s race and the scenario by Rothenberg is that Gerrard’s contest is over after the Republican Primary and likely Runoff Election, so we’re not really 10-12 months out for him. More like 5 months and change from the first round of voting, so his conclusions don’t necessarily hold for this race.

Is Gerrard’s early television drop brilliant strategery or bad political consulting? Only time and election results will tell, but in what appears from the 2013 year-end and early 2014 special elections to be a very low-turnout electorate, it’s more important than ever for campaigns and strategists to Think Different(ly).


Another take on the upcoming Session

Winston Jones has written an outstanding piece in the (Carrollton) Times-Georgian getting local legislators’ takes on the upcoming Session. This time of year, it’s easy to find out what the Governor or Speaker think will be priorities, but not always to find out what’s important in other parts of the state or among more “rank-and-file” members of the legislature.

“Since the only constitutionally mandated requirement is that we pass a balanced budget, I expect the budget to be front and center,” said Rep. Randy Nix, R-LaGrange, who represents a portion of Carroll County.

State revenues are expected to be up this year, said Sen. Mike Dugan, R-Carrollton, but population has also increased, meaning that the budget situation is “revenue neutral.”

“New growth in business across the state, as we were selected as the best state in which to do business, will help, but we still have some areas of the budget where we won’t be able to allocate what we’d like,” Dugan said. “There’s some uncertainties from Obamacare that we’ll have to consider this year as well.”

Dugan said there’s been numerous individual projections on how much will be spent on medical cost, but until the system is up and running, nobody knows what the increases will total.

Sen. Mike Crane, R-Newnan, who represents a portion of Carroll County, also feels the budget will be at the top of the priorities.

“I haven’t seen the final numbers, but it’s going to be a pretty tight budget,” Crane said. “The cost increases have outpaced the revenue growth again, which will make for some challenging decisions.”

“Other significant topics I expect are education, health care and continued work on gun legislation that stalled on the last day of the 2013 session,” Nix said.

Nix said that while he hasn’t pre-filed any legislation, he has been engaged in listening sessions on education.

“I anticipate co-sponsoring legislation to address some of the issues we’ve heard around the state,” he said, “primarily to allow local school systems greater flexibility and more options as to how their systems can operate.”

“The General Assembly does have to pass a budget and a supplemental budget,” said Randy Evans, an attorney and political columnist. “After that, look for Republican leaders to rock and roll with a General Assembly session moving along as quickly as possible, with an early adjournment to leave plenty to time for campaigning, fundraising and re-election efforts.”

Blake Aued, writing for Flagpole magazine, brings us an Athens-centric view of the session.

“We don’t have, from all indications, a very aggressive agenda this session,” says Sen. Bill Cowsert (R-Athens).

University of Georgia President Jere Morehead has said he’ll push for raises for faculty and staff, who haven’t had one in five years.

State Rep. Spencer Frye (D-Athens) wants the state to use extra tax revenue to give teachers a raise. Or buy him another phone.

“Public school teachers haven’t had raises in forever,” says state Rep. Spencer Frye (D-Athens). “University folks haven’t had raises in forever. Hopefully, we’ll see we need to invest in that instead of big corporate tax breaks because we have extra money.”

Under Chancellor Hank Huckaby, a new era of austerity is coming for Georgia colleges and universities. With stagnant lottery revenue and declining state support, Huckaby has warned that the higher education system will have to do more with less, and the days of big building projects are all but over.

Guns: A bill that could allow people with concealed-carry permits to take their guns into churches and bars and on college campuses is still alive.

Transportation: Local officials in Athens-Clarke County and other cities want to hold referenda on sales tax hikes to fund transportation, similar to the failed T-SPLOST referendum in 2012 but on a county rather than regional level. In ACC, the money would go toward improving Athens Transit bus service and road projects.

But after watching their brainchild go down in flames a year-and-a-half ago, Republicans aren’t inclined to even give voters the option of taxing themselves. “No new taxes,” Cowsert says.

The Reporter Newspapers bring us the view from Buckhead:

Legislators representing Fulton County said the shorter legislative calendar means they will be working on a tight schedule. What that will mean for some high profile legislation, like bills calling for referendums to create new DeKalb County cities, isn’t clear, the legislators say.

State Rep. Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs, said he has been working on legislation reforming the state’s forfeiture laws and discovery of electronic records in civil cases that he’d like to get passed this year before the session wraps.

“We want to get everybody out of session as quickly as possible because it means we’ll be qualifying somewhere around March 15 to meet the deadlines,” Willard said. “I expect we’ll probably be out of session by March 20.”

State Sen. Judson Hill, R-Marietta, has part of Sandy Springs in his district. He said he thinks an election year is an ideal time to pass controversial legislation, like bills allowing for referendums on new cities.

“I’ve always been in favor of introducing and passing great legislation, no matter when it is,” Hill said. “The best time to pass really good bills is during an election year. If it’s not good in election year, in my view it’s not good.”

Hill said he’d like to pass legislation establishing charity care clinics and privatizing some of PeachCare, a service providing affordable health insurance to low-income children. He said new bills might be difficult to pass this year.

District 6 Sen. Hunter Hill (R-Smyrna), who represents a portion of Buckhead, said he plans to work on passage of legislation to streamline the process to create public-private partnerships for state projects. “This is about delivering mission-critical facilities,” he said.

Rep. Joe Wilkinson (R- Sandy Springs ) said he intended to work on economic development. “Georgia was named this past fall as the best place to do business,” he said. “I’ve been on the economic development and tourism committee from the time it was formed 11 years ago. … I see us trying to build on that connection. The companies we bring in, it brings jobs, it brings revenue.”

From the Dalton Daily Citizen, a Northwest Georgia take:

“The message that I’m hearing from everyone I talk to is ‘Let’s go ahead and get the people’s work done,’” said state Rep. Bruce Broadrick, R-Dalton. “Getting the work done early gives people confidence and predictability about where we are going.”

“My expectation is that everything will be moved to May 20,” said state Sen. Charlie Bethel, R-Dalton. “But until the ball starts rolling I can’t say for sure. I do think we will make that decision early. We will get that done quickly so that it isn’t an open question and so that people thinking about qualifying know when that will take place.”

“The amended budget will be more limited than usual,” said state Rep. Tom Dickson, R-Cohutta. “It will be just those things that have to be adjusted, such as changes in school enrollment or increased Medicaid costs.”

A dispatch from the Rockdale News:

Sen. Rick Jeffares (R-Locust Grove, a floor leader and chairman of the ethics commission, said a bill to change state and local elections is likely to be introduced the first day of the legislative session, Jan. 13.

Assuming the bill becomes law, any Georgian planning to run for federal, state or local office will need to qualify to run for office much earlier as well, between March 3 and March 7 (independent candidates must qualify before June 27 to participate in the general election).

Jeffares said Republican leaders are aiming to end the session March 16, a month or two before the session normally wraps up.

“The Republican caucus is meeting Monday to talk about all the things we need to do and to do it all quick,” he said Thursday.

Jeffares said he didn’t think the faster session would really affect business, because the General Assembly is in the second year of a two-year cycle and many bills are already pending from 2013. Jeffares said the first couple weeks of session generally start off slower, so the shortened session might prompt people to get up to full speed from day one.

In addition, any legislators trying to get a bill passed in 2014 can pre-file their bill before the session starts to give it a better chance of being heard early, he said.

State Rep. Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City) brings his voters’ priorities in The Citizen:

Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City, said the big chore as always will be to shore up the state’s budget expenses between the year-end supplemental budget and the coming fiscal year’s budget. But looming shortly in the distance is the prospect of politicking, specifically a much earlier qualification deadline in March to run for office.

Because of that deadline, Ramsey is predicting a fairly quick session that is hopefully not drawn out as many legislators are anxious to handle qualifying and segue into campaign mode, which is verboten during the session.

“I think the interest this year is having a very efficient session and to try and not get bogged down too much and hopefully get out in March sometime,” Ramsey said Monday.

7
Jan

Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for January 7, 2014

On January 7, 1789, Georgia voters cast their first ballots for President of the United States of America. Georgia’s electors met the next month in Augusta and cast Georgia’s electoral votes for George Washington.

On January 7, 1795, Governor George Matthews signed legislation passed by the Georgia General Assembly, that described itself thusly,

An Act supplementary to an Act entitled ‘An Act for appropriating a part of the unlocated territory of this state for the payment of the late state troops, and for other purposes therein mentioned, declaring the right of this State to the unappropriated territory thereof, for the protection and support of the frontiers of this State, and for other purposes.’

This was one of the first major economic development undertakings by the state government and would come to be known as the Great Yazoo Land Fraud. The bill, passed under the pressure of intense lobbying, was such an abomination that the next year’s General Assembly revoked the Act and ordered all copies of the legislation burned, igniting a tradition that continues to this day.

Wedgwood Yazoo

In 1933, the Transylvania Club of Sandersville, Georgia commissioned a set of commemorative plates by Wedgwood; Mr. C.D. Shelnutt, Mr. C.F. Irwin, and Mr. B.J. Tarbutton paid the required deposit to begin production of the plates. In 1974, then-Governor Jimmy Carter signed a resolution of the General Assembly naming the plates the official historical plates of Georgia, and they continue to be offered for sale in pink or blue.

People who had purchased land under the Act sued to prevent the state’s overturning its own conveyances, and the United States Supreme Court for the first time invalidated a state law as unconstitutional, in a case styled Fletcher v. Peck (1810).

On January 7, 1961, Hamilton E. Holmes drove from Atlanta to Athens to enroll in the University of Georgia, beginning the desegregatation of the institution.

On January 7, 1972, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., having previously turned down appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States, was sworn in as an Associate Justice, along with William Rehnquist, who would be elevated to Chief Justice by President Ronald Reagan. Powell earned his undergraduate and law degrees from Washington & Lee University and its School of Law.

On January 7, 1997, Georgia’s Newt Gingrich was reelected Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the first Republican reelected in 68 years; he would resign his Congressional seat less than a year later.

On January 7, 1998, former White House intern Monica Lewinsky signed an affidavit denying she’d had an affair with President Bill Clinton.

On January 7, 1999, the Senate impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton began. Chief Justice of the United States William Rehnquist presided and Georgia Congressman Bob Barr was one of thirteen house “managers,” responsible for prosecuting the case in the Senate.

Voting today

The polls will be open today from 7 AM to 7 PM for Special Elections in Georgia State House District 2 (Catoosa, Walker and Whitfield) and District 22 (Cherokee, Forsyth and Fulton Counties.

If you live in one of those counties and have questions about whether you’re eligible to vote tomorrow and where, please login to the Secretary of State’s My Voter Page. You may also check with your county Board of Elections.Continue Reading..

3
Jan

CQ Roll Call Candidate Spotlight: Dr. Bob Johnson

3
Jan

Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for January 3, 2014

Racetrack cover

In 137 days, the Primary Elections for federal offices will be held in Georgia, with the General Assembly likely to move state Primary Elections to the same date. It is also likely that the first ballots will be cast in a little over three months from today, as early voting will likely begin in April this year. Welcome to the starting line.

On January 3, 1766, the British crown sent its first taxation representative to Georgia to administer the Stamp Act, which required each piece of paper, including business and legal documents, to bear an embossed stamp to show that tax had been paid. Georgia’s royal Governor had to have the agent protected with armed troops and he left two weeks later. Georgia merchants agreed to pay the tax in order to allow ships to be unloaded (which required a written bill of lading, hence the tax requirement). Georgia was the only colony in which taxes were actually collected under the Stamp Act, earning the enmity of other states. Thus, our current disdain for taxation has an historical precendent.

On January 3, 1861, Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown ordered volunteer militia to seize Fort Pulaski, then controlled by the federal government, though Georgia then remained part of the United States. In spring 1862, the feds, with new rifled cannon, seized Pulaski back and cut off traffic on the Savannah River to the Port of Savannah.

On January 3, 1947 Helen Douglas Mankin ended her only term in Congress from Georgia. She is often cited as the first female member of Congress from Georgia, though Florence Gibbs actually holds that distinction. Mankin was elected in a 1945 Special Election and defeated for reelection in 1946.

On January 3, 1956, Iris Faircloth Blitch was sworn in to Congress from Georgia’s Eighth District, becoming the first woman elected in a regular election who would serve a full term in Congress from Georgia.

On January 3, 1973, Andrew Young became the first Black Member of Congress from Georgia since reconstruction, serving the Fifth District until his appointment in 1977 by fellow Georgian Jimmy Carter as Ambassador to the United Nations.

Saturday is the 53d birthday of Michale Stipe, born at Fort McPherson, Georgia in 1960.

On January 4, 1995, Georgia Congressman Newt Gingrich was elected Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, becoming the third Georgian to hold that office after Congressmen Charles Crisp (1892-1896) and Howell Cobb (1850-1851).

On January 4, 1999, Alvin T. “Al” Wong was sworn in as Judge of the DeKalb State Court, and took the bench as the first Asian-American judge in the Southeastern United States.

On January 5, 1868, General George Meade took command of the Third Military District, beginning the Reconstruction in Georgia.

On January 5, 1926, Hosea Williams was born in Attapulgus, Georgia.

In these three days, we see illustrated the sweep of Georgia’s history as a state. From the Colonial period, through the Civil War and Reconstruction, the movement of women into political leadership, followed by African-Americans, the ascendance of the Republican Party in Georgia and as the dominant Southern party, to the first steps of Asian-Americans and other minorities into roles of political leadership.

Speaking of Asian-Americans

First of all, I am one. My grandfather was Japanese. Also, two Asian-Americans were elected in Georgia in 2013, including Morrow City Councilwoman Hang Tran.

Five candidates may not sound like many, but previous election cycles typically saw just one or two, said Helen Ho, executive director of the Asian-American Legal Advocacy Center of Georgia.

“I kind of feel the snowball is finally getting bigger,” said Ho, whose organization is working to get Asian-Americans to vote. “There seems to be some momentum.”

Tran, who works as a chemist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the absence of Asian-Americans in local government motivated her to run. “I just thought there wasn’t enough representation,” she said.

This year, the name of Eugene Chin Yu, an Augusta businessman of Korean ancestry, will appear on the statewide ballot among candidates for Georgia’s open U.S. Senate seat.

Still, conversations with a half dozen Asian-Americans reveals a wide spectrum of political engagement — well short of a definitive groundswell. And even community leaders acknowledge the challenges of mobilizing a group that includes many disparate cultures and languages, as well as, among some immigrants, a fear of government instilled by repressive regimes in their countries of origin.

Daewon Hwang said his Korean church congregation in Cumming is a blank slate when it comes to political interest.

The reason? “The language problem,” the pastor said as he shopped in a Korean supermarket in Duluth, where 22 percent of residents are Asian-American.

Down the road in a Chinese supermarket, Yanfeng Li said he sees stirrings of engagement: websites that express political views, even some calls for candidates.

Edward Chu, an interpreter who lives in Lilburn, votes, but does not take an active interest in local politics. He’d like to see someone from the Chinese community elected to local office, but he would not support a candidate simply because of his or her heritage.

“I’d have to agree with them,” he said.

Behind the scenes, there’s a push under way to nudge Asian-Americans toward the voting booth.

Asian-American groups have canvassed door-to-door to register voters, made robo-calls before elections and brought in candidates for forums and dinners. For this year’s elections, they are targeting high-concentration areas such as Norcross, Clarkston, Duluth, Lawrenceville and John’s Creek.

Ho’s group has created a statewide database of Asian-Americans and other immigrants to track who is registered and who has voted. According to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, the number of Asian-Americans who are active voters grew by about 10,000 from 2008 to 2012 to stand at more than 72,000.

“We cannot just have other community members making important decisions,” said Travis Kim, who served as president for the past two years of the Korean American Association of Greater Atlanta. “We have to be involved.”

State Rep. B.J. Pak (R-Gwinnett) is the only Asian-American member of the Georgia General Assembly, and he wrote an op-ed in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution urging our fellow Asian-Americans to vote.

While Georgia’s AAPI voter rolls increased approximately 230 percent from 2004 to 2012, the actual turnout percentage has decreased. In Georgia, only 54.7 percent of Asian-Americans registered to vote voted in the 2012 presidential election.

In Gwinnett, where AAPIs comprise roughly 12 percent of the population — the highest percentage in the state — the turnout was even lower, at 51 percent. Despite having the highest percentage of those with college degrees among all groups, Asian-Americans had the lowest turnout percentage of all racial/ethnic groups.

AAPI statewide turnout percentage actually declined significantly during the last three presidential election cycles – from 65.7 percent in 2004 to 58 percent in 2008 and 54.7 percent in 2012. These percentages would shrink even more, if we were to include in the denominator the number of Asian-Americans who were eligible but not registered..

So, what might be causing lower turnout and perceived apathy? Based on my observations, some general themes emerge.

First, many first-generation AAPIs indicated they were unable to make it the polls on Election Day because they own and operate small businesses. Although several alternatives to in-person voting on Election Day exist, many of these voters simply were not familiar with the availability of early and absentee voting.

Second, the structure of government in the U.S. is complex. Many find it difficult to fully comprehend the functions of each political office for which they are voting. Many also find it intimidating to vote because they are not fluent in English. Ballots and instructions are in English.

Third, the AAPI population is diverse. Attitudes regarding civic involvement vary in light of their past experiences with their birth country. Some simply believe they cannot have a relationship with their elected officials, that their votes would not matter, or that they cannot make a difference in government.

Lastly, when AAPI parents do not vote, their children are less likely to be involved civically.

How do we reverse the trend? At the very least, it requires combined efforts by government officials, candidates for office, and community leaders.

Perhaps some folks would like to help Rep. Pak get his op-ed translated and published in some of the Asian-language newspapers and newsletters that appear in our communities. Sounds like a great way for the Georgia Republican Party to start outreach to groups of voters some of whom are likely to be sympathetic to conservative ideology if we reach out to them.

Helen Kim Ho, who is mentioned in the first article above, makes such a point in another Op-ed in the AJC.

Any political party interested in expanding its base in Georgia must engage immigrant voters or those who have come to this country recently and become naturalized citizens.

Take Gwinnett County, with 4.5 percent Asian, 4.8 percent Latino and 25 percent African-American active voters. While voter turnout as a whole went down between the last two presidential elections at both state and county levels, voter turnout in Gwinnett increased among immigrants.

In the 2012 Duluth House district race, state Rep. Pedro Marin — the Democratic incumbent who was redistricted to a majority Republican district running through New Koreatown — won in large part due to Asian-American voters. He also won by a larger margin there than in his former majority-Democratic district.

What can be deduced from Marin’s race is that while many Asian-Americans identify as Republican — slightly more than 50 percent, based on an exit poll we conducted in 2010 — they vote ultimately on issues. A voter survey we conducted this year of hundreds of voters in Gwinnett found 20 percent saying they voted based on party loyalty.

The percentage of white voters in Georgia is on the decline. Georgia is growing more urban and less rural. Counting on the vote of avowed Democrats in the state won’t win or influence larger elections. And token, last-minute pleas to immigrant voters with top-down messaging don’t work.

That’s where knowledge of what issues catalyze immigrant civic participation can help win votes. Our 2013 Voter Survey, which included a majority of Asian respondents, asked respondents to select their top priorities from a list of 11 issues. The top three issues were public education, economic equity/small business and access to health care. Immigration was also important, but as a secondary issue alongside transportation and public safety.

Georgia Republicans now have a challenge squarely in front of us. Who’s willing to work on this project? I very rarely say nice things about the AJC, though their reporting on APS cheating scandals was world-class, but I want to thank them for paying attention to this issue.

Allen West calls out Georgia Democrats for opposing a Georgia Democrat

Allen West has called out some Georgia Democrats who are opposing the nomination of DeKalb County State Court Judge Eleanor Ross to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

Civil rights leaders are showing their “true colors” again in my home state of Georgia over judicial appointments.

According to Politico,

President Barack Obama has upset Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and other civil rights leaders by ignoring their input in picking four nominees to fill vacancies on the federal bench in Georgia’s Northern District.

Lewis and fellow Presidential Medal of Freedom winners Joseph Lowery and C.T. Vivian are expected to ask Obama to withdraw his nominees — a demand that is unlikely to be met — amid concerns about the judges’ records and convictions on matters of importance to African-Americans.

The three appointments in question are:

Mark Cohen — the lead defense attorney in challenges to Georgia’s voter ID law.
Michael Boggs – a state judge who, as a member of the state Legislature, once voted to keep in place the Confederate-themed Georgia state flag
Eleanor Ross – a female state judge who is black and (gasp) a REPUBLICAN

The fourth nominee (not being specifically contested by Lewis) is Leigh Martin May – a female trial lawyer who is white — but a Democrat.

Why is Ross such a troublesome choice for Lewis? According to Joe Saunders, writing for BizPac Review,

U.S. Rep. John L. Lewis (D-Ga) is accusing the president of selling out his political base by naming Eleanor Ross as a federal judge. She is, literally, not politically correct enough. Since most black women are Democrats, Lewis reasons, any black woman Obama appoints should be Democrat, too.

This case also clearly demonstrates who is raging the real “war on women.” The Democrats want to keep black women in their place, on the political plantation.

The irony in this all is that I’m not aware, as a DeKalb Republican, of any evidence that Eleanor Ross is a Republican, other than Democrats simply stating it. Here’s Judge Ross’s voting history, from PoliticalDataSystems.com:

Eleanor Ross Voting Record3

Her voting record above shows Democratic Primary elections and General Elections. She served as an Assistant District Attorney in Fulton County and Assistant Solicitor in DeKalb under elected Democrats. A search of the Ethics Commission website shows no Republican donations. The only Republican tie of which I am aware is that Governor Nathan Deal appointed Ross to the DeKalb State Court.

I reject the contention that Eleanor Ross is a Republican as being based solely on the facts that Governor Deal appointed her to a nonpartisan position in DeKalb County and that her nomination to the federal bench is apparently supported by Georgia’s Republican United States Senators, without which any nomination is doomed.

And speaking of Allen West, he will be the featured speaker at the Bridging the Gap Lincoln Day Dinner on February 27, 2014 in Leesburg, Georgia. From an email I received:

Bridging The Gap of Georgia is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization created to assist veterans with their transition home.  Many of the veterans we serve suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Combat Stress and are homeless. We utilize a mentorship program to enable veterans to function as productive members of our society by addressing their housing, job placement, and health needs.

For the 1st Annual Lincoln Day Dinner, our featured speaker is LTC. Allen West who will share with the audience his extensive knowledge and experience, as well as provide insight on the support systems needed to enhance services to veterans. Attendees will get valuable information about Bridging The Gap of Georgia and initiatives that can address the needs and issues of veterans in their local community.

Please find detailed information about the event below.

1st Annual Lincoln Day Dinner
February 27, 2014  Time to be announced
Featured Speaker: LTC. Allen West
The Bindery at Oakland Library & Event Center
445 Oakland Parkway, West
Leesburg, GA 31763
$50.00 per person (includes dinner)
Proceeds to benefit Bridging The Gap of Georgia
Sponsored by the Lee County Republican Party

LTC. Allen West is a Georgia native, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Fox News contributor and served in both Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield.  His book, “Guardian of the Republic” is due to be released in April 2014.  Throughout his years leading troops, raising a loving family, serving as Congressman in Florida’s 22nd district, and emerging as one of the most authentic voices in conservative politics, LTC. West has never compromised the core values on which he was raised: family, faith, tradition, service, honor, fiscal responsibility, courage, and freedom.

You can reserve your seat for the Lincoln Day Dinner by visiting Bridging the Gap on their website.

Nancy Jester visits Spalding County GOP

Last night, Nancy Jester, Republican candidate for State School Superintendent, visited the Spalding County Republican Party.

Jester Noble

Saturday, Jester will speak to the Gwinnett County Republican Party monthly meeting at 550 Trackside in Lawrenceville. Karen Handel will also be addressing the meeting.

County party organizations or other conservative groups who would like to hear Nancy Jester’s conservative message about how to get better educational results for our children through conservative fiscal management and “more classroom, less bureaucracy,” please email her at Nancy@NancyJester.com.

Greg Williams handicaps the Senate race

Our friend Greg Williams has his take on the starting positions in the Senate race. My own analogy is that we’re at the point where the candidates have been training and are now settling into the blocks. Like the picture at the top, they all start from the same starting line, but some will have an inside track. We’re in the middle distance phase of the race now, where you need both stamina, and endurance. Greg, of course, prefers a football metaphor.

Greg’s List is proud to provide our version of Georgia’s Best Conservative Senator rankings beginning Week One 2014. Our rankings will be comprised of scientific polling data, objective interviews, subjective analysis, and generalities drawn from an amalgamation of traditional media, social media and new media reactions to the individual candidates…In other words, we will provide the proverbial “Educated Guess”…or, “Enlightened Prediction” as we grassroot melo-dramatists prefer..
So, without further adieu, we present our “inaugural” rankings of 2014: 1. Jack Kingston–There’s no such thing as bad press and Kingston recovered nicely from his verbal fumble regarding childhood cafeteria sweeping aka Work Ethic in public schools. Kingston is the Senior member of Congress out of the three announced House of Representative candidates and has significant support from Coastal and Southern Georgia. Appearances on Bill Maher’s show and other national networks has enhanced his name ID in Metro Atlanta and he leads the pack in fundraising…
2. Karen Handel–With her grassroots apparatus from previous state wide races intact, Handel is a formidable competitor in the Senate race…On a purely subjective basis, Handel has the luxury of combining passionate and articulate volunteers that show up en masse for every state-side grassroot event.
3. David Perdue–Money, money, money…And lack of a voting record…Both are Boons to a prospective Senate candidate, and his last name won’t alienate him to voters, despite the wistful predictions from the anti-Sonny crowd…
4. Phil Gingrey–Clumsy defense of Todd Akin’s insanity regarding “legitimate rape” questions his ability to articulate Conservative principles…Has money though, and a large network due to his previous Congressional Geographic coverage…

5. Paul Broun–Fundraising and lamentable Social Conservative strict Biblical interpretations hold this candidacy back…The passion of his supporters could elevate him to run-off status but many things would have to fall into place and its too early to predict their manifestation..

Bill Byrne announces for Cobb Commission District 1

Byrne served as Chairman of the Cobb County Commission from 1992 to 2002 and is running for the district seat being vacated by Helen Goreham, who is not seeking reelection. From his pre-announcement:

As of December 30, 2013, I am announcing that I am a Republican candidate for Commission District 1, of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners.

My campaign will focus on the following issues facing Cobb County:

GOVERNING RESPONSIBILITY:
Decisions by Government, at all levels, must be fundamentally based on the principles of the Constitution and be limited, focused and based on the WILL OF THE PEOPLE being served.

PUBLIC SAFETY:
The primary responsibility of Government, at all levels, must always be Public Safety.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT:
I am committed to work with the cities of Acworth, Kennesaw and Marietta to bring new companies and business opportunities to those urban centers of Cobb County.

2
Jan

Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for January 2, 2014

Welcome to 2014. We are now 4 months and 18 days (138 days) from the 2014 Primary Elections and 10 months, 2 days (306 days) from the 2014 General Elections.

No day of the year better illustrates the duality of Georgia’s place in American history than January Second. On January 2, 1788, delegates to a convention in Augusta voted unanimously and Georgia became the fourth state to ratify the Constitution of the United States of America. On January 2, 1861, Georgia voters went to the polls to elect delegates to the Secession Convention to be held January 16th in Milledgeville, then Georgia’s Capital.

On January 2, 1916, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court Joseph R. Lamar died in Washington, DC. Lamar was born in Ruckersville, Georgia and grew up next door to best friend Woodrow Wilson, who served  Lamar attended the University of Georgia, received his BA from Bethany College and his law degree from Washington & Lee University School of Law. Lamar served in the Georgia House of Representatives and on the Georgia Supreme Court before being nominated to the United State Supreme Court by  President William Taft (R-Ohio).

Old Georgia Capitol1

Polls are open in HD 2 and 22 Special Elections

Check the Secretary of State’s website for information on where and when you can vote in the Special Elections for House District 2 (Catoosa, Walker, and Whitfield Counties) and House District 22 (Cobb, Forsyth, and Fulton Counties).

Speaking of Secretary of State Brian Kemp, his official website has a new design, one that’s responsive to screen size and should work well on tablets and smartphones.

New Kemp Website

One thing I would note is that it looks like his photo was taken by the same guy who shot David Perdue’s early headshots, as well as some for Donna Sheldon and Barry Loudermilk. I’d bet the shots were taken with a Nikon D4, D800, D800E, or D600. It’s easy to correct in the camera, and if you’ve already taken shots with a green cast, you can correct it in Photoshop.

Campaign Disclosure system like Healthcare.gov?

With the New Year came new reporting and registration requirements for lobbyists, and it appears that the Georgia State Ethics Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission online system may not be up to the task. Last night, we saw numerous reports of lobbyists registering for this year but not receiving a promised email to confirm their registration.

We also heard over the weekend that the campaign disclosure system was having a problem where it won’t allow the download of .pdfs of working files. So if you want to double-check your work, you may be out of luck.

According to the State Ethics Commission website, here are the upcoming deadlines for state campaigns.

2013 Year End Report Grace Period ends January 8, 2014.

2014 First Report covering the period through January 31, 2014, Grace Period ends February 7, 2014.

So, for the first time under the new law, candidates with elections this year have an extra disclosure due at the end of January.

Here’s my advice for anyone with reports due in the coming days. First, file early, even if it means that you might need to amend later, because you get fined for filing late, not for amending a timely-filed report. Second, if you do find the disclosure system bogging down and throwing errors, document it, document it, document it. Screenshots are your friend here, as are emails to the Commission’s help center.

Other new laws now effective in effect

Last year’s Lobbying Reform push, which brought us the new January 31 disclosure designed to capture last-minute fundraising in advance of the legislative session, we also have new limits on lobbyist gifts to legislators.

While the ethics laws set the first state limits on how much a lobbyist can spend, there remain considerable loopholes and questions about how the laws will be enforced. The state ethics commission, which has been dealing with various investigations and federal subpoenas, is tasked with interpreting the new laws and creating rules for compliance. That process could take weeks or months.

Under the new laws, lobbyists will not be able to spend more than $75 at a time. Previously, lobbyists could spend as much as they wanted as long as it was noted on disclosure reports filed with the state.

Potential loopholes exist. For instance, lobbyists can still spend more to host group events where all members of the General Assembly or all members of a smaller group, such as a caucus, are invited. In addition, the $75 cap is on lobbyists, not lawmakers, so it’s conceivable that more than one lobbyist might join forces and split the cost so each doesn’t exceed the limit.

Also notable about the Lobbying legislation is a new definition of “Lobbyist” that broadens who must register with the State Ethics Commission, and zeroes out the registration fee for lobbyists to allow unpaid or modestly paid citizen-lobbyists to register without a financial burden.

All new employees in childcare facilities must be cleared through a national fingerprint background check.

Juvenile Justice Reform, passed with the support of Gov. Nathan Deal as the sequel to justice reform for adult offenders and enhances the flexibility of judges to sentence juveniles to programs other than traditional youth detention centers.

“Currently, if we take a child and put them into a called ‘secure detention,’ that child is going to cost the state over $90,000 a year. You could put children through the finest college in this country for less cost than that,” said Rep. Wendell Willard, (R) Sandy Springs, the bill’s primary sponsor.

That high price tag is attributed to the cost of educating a child while he or she is incarcerated. Instead, the community-based programs will keep youth offenders at home with their families and at their regular schools, greatly reducing the cost to the state.

Legislation to address concussions in youth sports, called the “Return to Play Act,” also goes into effect today.

Georgia’s Return to Play Act of 2013 requires coaches to pull kids displaying signs of concussions off the fields for medical evaluation.

The law will keep children who’ve suffered head injuries from playing until they’re cleared by a doctor.  Some say it sounds good, but others worry it won’t work.  The players dashing down the field each game now have extra protection.

“It’s always in the back of your mind when any of your children play sports that, you know, there’s always a chance that it could happen,” said Larry Smith, Parent.

A new state law requires coaches to pull players who may have suffered a concussion out of the game.

“Basically, what it does it makes people aware of what they are and what dangers it could lead to,” said Dr. Mike Busman, Family Medicine and Sports Medicine Physician.

Busman said recognizing concussions can be tricky.  He said removing injured players from games is essential before they get hit again.

“It could cause loss of consciousness, bleeds on the brain, swelling on the brain, and could lead to death,” he said.

Doctors said concussions are fairly common among younger athletes, especially in high contact sports like football and soccer.  They said younger athletes are also more prone to second impact syndrome, leading to more serious complications.

There’s a burning Mercedes in your yard

State Senator Brandon Beach had an unexpected visitor in the form of a flaming Mercedes that his a brick wall feet from his house.

“We heard a loud noise, ‘boom,'” said Sen. Brandon Beach, whose home sits just on the other side of the wall. “I thought a transformer blew or something.”

Beach told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik his son looked out the window and saw Cobb’s Mercedes in flames.

“It would have (hit) my car if that hadn’t stopped him,” he said of the wall that curtailed the car’s momentum.

Neighbor Theresa Lynch said she also heard the impact and ran outside to investigate.

“I saw fireball, ran back, got the phone, called 911,” she said. “That fire licked up about 4 feet in a short time.”

Bob Bar drops the “I Bomb”

That’s several letters more serious than the “F Bomb.” From Barr’s column that ran in Town Hall:

December 19th marked the fifteenth anniversary of the impeachment of then- President Bill Clinton by the House of Representatives. As the first member of Congress to file an official impeachment document and one of the 13 House members who prosecuted Clinton’s subsequent trial in the Senate, I was intimately involved with — and in — that process. Not only was the 1998 impeachment a powerful and necessary response to the gauntlet throw at the feet of Congress by the Clinton Administration, it was an important exercise employing a mechanism purposefully incorporated in our Constitution by our Founding Fathers.

Today, talk of impeachment is once again growing, but the lessons from previous impeachment proceedings must not be ignored. As was the case with President Richard Nixon in 1974 and Clinton in 1998, there is growing evidence President Barack Obama has engaged in “serious offenses” that “subvert” our government and “undermine the integrity of office.” It is interesting to note (as I did in an April 25, 1997 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal) that such terminology was used in a February 1974 report written by the staff of the Nixon impeachment inquiry, outlining the “constitutional grounds for presidential impeachment” – a report a young lawyer named Hillary Clinton helped draft.

Even a passive observer of the machinations of the Obama Administration would be hard pressed to deny that such damning language is applicable today as it was to Bill Clinton and before him to Richard Nixon. Like his predecessors, Obama ascribes to the philosophy blatantly articulated by Richard Nixon a generation ago, that “[w]hen the president does it, that means it is not illegal.” It is for this very reason why the impeachment process exists, and why Republicans should never consider impeachment “off the table” in addressing the misconduct of President Obama who is, as Hamilton declares for us, a “public man” abusing the “public trust.”

Such an inquiry is needed today. Republicans should only fear impeachment if they abuse the process by letting politics guide their inquiry, rather than the pursuit of objective truth. And, Democrats should only fear impeachment if they care more for the health of their party than the health of the nation.

As in 1998, the integrity of the office of the presidency hangs in the balance; and our Founding Fathers watch us still.

Matt Towery:

In his national column, this week titled “US Chamber Vow to Take on Tea Party a Stupid, Divisive Move,” InsiderAdvantage CEO Matt Towery writes:

The most likely nominee for the GOP Senate nomination is longtime Republican Congressman Jack Kingston.

Make of it what you will.

Event Calendar


9th District GOP: A Visit with Governor Nathan Deal

January 2, 2014 from 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Achasta Club House Grille, 639 Birch River Drive, Dahlonega, GA 30533

+ Google Map

9th District GOP of Georgia Save the date for a visit with Governor Nathan Deal on Thursday, January 2, 2014, at 7 PM, at the Achasta Club House Grille in Dahlonega, 639 Birch River Drive. This intimate gathering around the fire with refreshments is being co hosted by the Dawson County Republican Party, Lumpkin County Republican Party and Foothills Republican Women.

Find out more »


Buckhead YR: Happy Hour

January 2, 2014 from 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Twin Peaks Buckhead, 3365 Piedmont Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30305

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Twin Peaks? Really, Bro? Is that before or after the gender sensitivity training session?

Find out more »


Spalding GOP: Meeting with David Pennington

January 2, 2014 from 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

J. Henry’s, 110 W. College St., Griffin, GA 30224

+ Google Map

Come join us for our regularly scheduled monthly meeting and start off the New Year right! The meeting will be Thursday, January 2nd at J. Henry’s. Those wishing to socialize and purchase dinner should arrive at 6 PM, with meeting starting at 7 PM. Our guest speaker will be David Pennington. David is running for Governor of Georgia. He is a small business owner and Mayor of Dalton. Please make every effort to attend this meeting and be an informed…

Find out more »


Gwinnett GOP: Breakfast with David Pennington, Karen Handel, Nancy Jester, & Dahlys Hamilton

January 4, 2014 from 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM

550 Trackside, 550 North Clayton Street, Lawrenceville, GA 30046

+ Google Map

Join us for our first breakfast of 2014, when our speakers will be candidate for Governor David Pennington, Senate candidate Karen Handel, State School Superintendent candidate Nancy Jester and House 97 candidate Dahlys Hamilton. Doors open at 7:45 AM for breakfast, and the meeting starts at 8:30. You can order a full buffet breakfast for $10, juice and coffee for $5, or pay a $3 door charge. Make your reservations for breakfast before January 3rd.

Find out more »


Fayette County GOP: Meeting with John Barge, David Perdue, & Richard Woods

January 4, 2014 from 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM

Fayette GOP HQ, 174 Glynn St. N (GA Hwy 85), Fayetteville, GA 30214

+ Google Map

Three Republican Speakers: John Barge – GA Gubernatorial Candidate Richard Woods -Candidate for State School Supertintendent  David Perdue –  Candidate for US Senate

Find out more »


Jack Kingston: Grand Opening New Campaign HQ

January 5, 2014 from 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Jack Kingston Senate HQ, 3360 Satellite Blvd Duluth, GA 30096

+ Google Map

Jack Kingston is having a Grand Opening kickoff party for the new headquarters of his US Senate campaign. The party is open to all– volunteers, supporters and anyone else who can make it out to meet Jack, and your invitation is attached. Please come, bring any guests you would like, and welcome the Kingston for Senate campaign to the neighborhood!

Find out more »


Downton Abbey – Season 4 Premier

January 5, 2014 from 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM
GPB

Glynn GOP: US Senate Candidate Forum with Rep. Jack Kingston

January 6, 2014 from 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Christian Renewal Church, 4265 Norwich St Ext (aka Hwy 341), Brunswick, GA 31520

+ Google Map

Jack Kingston, US House Representative for Dist 1 and US Senate Candidate for GA, is appearing in the fourth of our US Senate candidate forums We are expecting a large crowd so come early to get your seat and to spend time talking with Rep Kingston before the program begins. Short candidate speech followed by questions posed by our panel Please bring a friend, neighbor, spouse – or even a stranger – who is interested in learning more about candidates…

Find out more »


Campaign Fundraiser for State Rep. Mike Jacobs

January 7, 2014 from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Olde Blind Dog Irish Pub, 705 Town Boulevard, Brookhaven, GA 30319

+ Google Map

Please join Speaker David Ralston, Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, Majority Leader Larry O’Neal, Brookhaven Mayor J Max Davis, Chamblee Mayor Eric Clarkson and Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis at a campaign fundraiser for State Rep. Mike Jacobs. With Ron Paul inspired primary opposition set to formally announce after the start of the legislative session, we need your help now. Olde Blind Dog is located in Town Brookhaven, off of Peachtree Road just south of Oglethorpe University.

Find out more »


Fundraiser for Senator Judson Hill

January 7, 2014 from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

The Georgian Club, 100 Galleria Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30339

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You are Invited to a Reception for Senator Judson Hill, Vice Chairman of the Republican Senate Caucus, Chairman Senate Finance Committee. Suggested Contribution $250    Contributions may be made payable to Friends of Judson Hill, 3102 Raines Court, Marietta, GA 30062. In lieu of your appearance, please consider making an online contribution at www.judsonhill.com

Find out more »


29
Dec

GOP launches candidate training: How to talk to women – Washington Times

The National Republican Congressional Committee has gone back to basics and teamed up with top aides to help school GOP members facing election challenge on a key campaign skill: How to talk to women.

Even Speaker John Boehner’s aides are getting in on the act, Politico reported. His own top-ranked staffers recently met with leading party aids to discuss strategies to draw in women.

“Let me put it this way, some of these guys have a lot to learn,” said one Republican staffer who was at the strategy session in Mr. Boehner’s office, Politico reported.

The NRCC, meanwhile, has held “multiple sessions” on the same topic, a GOP aide reported.

Part of the fear: The GOP doesn’t want another Todd Akin-like moment, when the Missouri Senate-hopeful dropped with a thud in polls after speaking on the campaign trail about “legitimate rape.” Sen. Saxby Chambliss later attributed some sexual assaults in the military on male hormones, sparking accusations that he was dismissing and making excuses for what’s emerged as a top-talked about criminal issue.

The GOP has also been dogged by Democratic branding as waging a war on women, a mantra that reared frequently during the recent Virginia gubernatorial race between Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe.

Coming in 2014, the GOP faces 10 races that pit male incumbents against female Democratic Party challengers, Politico reported. And more could crop in the coming months.

via GOP launches candidate training: How to talk to women – Washington Times.

27
Dec

Representative Rakestraw Braddock Reviews Technology in Georgia

December 23, 2013 — Representative Paulette Rakestraw Braddock (R-HD19) spent the day with the Georgia Technology Authority (GTA), reviewing the statess technology infrastructure and information and plans for efficiency and security of public data housed in Georgia. Rep. Rakestraw Braddock was appointed by Speaker David Ralston to the Georgia Technology Authority Oversight Committee last year to review the states infrastructure and technology systems.Continue Reading..

2
Dec

Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for December 2, 2013

Top Stories

1. Accusations fly in Senate District 14 Runoff Election
2. North Georgia key in Senate election
3. Jason Carter throws Nathan Deal into briar patch

Economic Disaster Day observed

December 2d shall henceforth be known as National Economic Disaster Day. On December 2, 1939, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was born in Searchlight, Nevada. On this date in 1970, the federal Environmental Protection Agency began operating. Five years ago today, then-newly elected President Barack Obama said he would act swiftly on an economic plan “to solve this crisis and to ease the burden on our states.” Americans still wait for action on that item. Also on this date in 2008, Senator Saxby Chambliss was re-elected in a runoff victory over Democrat Jim Martin.

The Georgia Pundit Telethon
MyHouseLogo

We here at Georgia Pundit believe that December is a great time of year to renew our commitment to serving God and His people. It’s also convenient that it falls in the time of year that typically has very little political activity. So this is our month of service, and for me, that means it’s a month of personally begging you to open your hearts and your wallets.

My House is a home for children whom the system and their families have failed. They provide a loving home, 24-hour medical care, and the highest quality of rehabilitiation for broken and discarded children. The children at My House are in DFCS custody, having been abandoned by, or taken from, their birth families. Generally speaking, the cause for most kids there currently is gross physical abuse.

The children who have the greatest medical needs are not well-served by a state system that can barely keep up with the healthy ones, let alone those who need hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of specialized care and 24-hour nursing assistance.

In my fourteen year association with My House, I have seen battered and neglected children given a second chance at the lives they deserve to live. And they need your help. It costs roughly $30,000 per month above and beyond the per diem they receive for each child they care for. Earlier this year, My House weathered a financial crisis and is steadier but still rebuilding their fundraising and volunteer base.

So the greatest gift you could give me this Christmas is to open your wallet, get out your credit or debit card, and make an online donation right now. If you’ve been blessed and can afford it, please consider signing up for a monthly recurring donation. Any amount will help, as a donor has generously agreed to pay all the credit card processing fees from online donations. That helps your five-dollar donation go further.

Peachtree Road Christmas

We are blessed to worship at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, which has for years been a strong supporter of My House. It’s a beautiful church, especially when decorated for Christmas, but the beauty of our sanctuary is secondary to our year-round mission.

While the public spaces are beautiful, far more impressive are the ground floor rooms that are filled with brand new winter coats and Christmas toys in preparation for Christmas Kindness, open from December 7th through the 11th.

Christmas Kindness is when we open a store for underprivileged members of our community to shop for gifts. Each client we serve is given a personal shopper who helps them choose gifts for each member of their family along with Christmas treats and the respect that every individual deserves. There is no better Christmas gift you can give yourself than helping someone else make a blessed Christmas for their children.

If you’re in Atlanta and have some free time and would like to help, email me and I’ll put you in touch.

Runoff Elections tomorrow

Tuesday, December 3d holds runoff elections in a couple of state legislative districts, and local races.

In the runoff for Senate District 14, Bruce Thompson is the adult in the race and we encourage everyone who is eligible to go vote for him tomorrow.

State Rep. Scot Turner (R-Cherokee) has endorsed and gone door-to-door with Bruce Thompson, supporting him in the runoff election.

Bruce Thompson Chuck Hufstetler

Bruce has also received support from State Senator Chuck Hufstetler, who joined him on the campaign trail, knocking on doors yesterday.Continue Reading..

27
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for November 27, 2013

Happy Hannukah

Tonight begins the eight-day Hannukah festival for our Jewish friends and family. Happy Hannukah. I think I’m going to head over to Bagel Palace today.

Cobb County Commission approves Braves Stadium

The vote was 4-1 with Commissioner Lisa Cupid the only dissenting vote. Chairman Tim Lee joined Commissioners Bob Ott, Helen Goreham, and JoAnn Birrell in favor. To me, the most surprising thing was the ability of people who are otherwise conservative Republicans to suspend everything we know about government in the rush to pass the stadium financing. It will come back to bite at least one of the Commissioners who voted for the financing.

As a conservative, I believe that government is a poor tool to use for just about anything except building roads and defending the nation. My objection to Obamacare is not that I don’t want everyone to have affordable health care, but that the government is a tragically-bad vehicle for providing it. Likewise, the Braves stadium. I suspect that over the coming years, the costs, both in terms of taxation and quality of life for areas surrounding the stadium will be greater than anticipated, and the “extension” of a property tax surcharge will come to be seen as the property tax increase it is.

But as a conservative, I also believe in the right of people to raise their own taxes and spend the money on things with which I disagree. Here are the most interesting quotes I’ve seen. From the Marietta Daily Journal article:

“It gives us progressive things but not only for presently now but for the future,” said Don Wilson of Marietta, District 11 chairman for Democratic Party of Georgia.

atricia Hay, of Mableton, urged commissioners to delay a vote for at least 60 days.
“This deal is happening too fast. It’s been two weeks, and we spent two years discussing whether or not we could have chickens in the back yards,” Hay said, receiving applause referring to heated conversations the county had about whether or not Cobb is an appropriate place for farm animals.

Dr. Bill Hudson, a retired dentist and former board member of the Georgia Tea Party, accused the majority Republican commission of being “country club Republicans.”

All members of the commission are Republicans with the exception of Cupid, southwest Cobb commissioner who opposed Tuesday’s Braves vote.

“Chamber of Commerce Republicans are very different from conservatives,” Hudson said, pointing to the pro-business nonprofit that has lobbied in favor of the deal from the beginning.

And from a separate story in the MDJ:

[Commissioner Lisa] Cupid said it wasn’t that she opposed the Braves moving to Cobb County, but that she was being asked to make a decision much too quickly given the size and complexity of the deal.

“I just have a very difficult time reasoning through the rush when we spend more time speaking about zoning matters that impact a fraction, a minute fraction of the public than what the stadium will impact, and we can delay and delay to make sure we don’t have enough houses in a particular subdivision, or that people don’t have to look at a certain thing in somebody else’s backyard, and we can’t delay this vote?” Cupid said. “It frightens me, to be honest, the number of threats I’ve received. If you want a 5-0 vote, you could have gotten it, it could have been easy, but I will not ever be bullied into sacrificing my commitment to the people that put me into this position.”

Commissioner Bob Ott said he reviewed the information over the last few weeks and was satisfied.

“At this time I do not think that a 60-day delay (is needed); there is no more information that needs to be put out there about what we have to vote on,” Ott said.

Debbie Dooley wrote on Facebook that at least two candidates will challenge Commissioner Helen Goreham when she is next up for election. The candidate she named is Neva Lent, President of Cobb Regional Republican Women.

Phil Kent on Sandy Springs Runoff Election December 3d

Phil Kent sends his thoughts on the runoff election for Sandy Springs City Council District 6.

The lone Dec. 3 runoff for Sandy Springs City Council is heating up in District 6 between candidates Andy Bauman and John Stoj. Bauman, in a recent email, blasts “the partisan politics of my opponent” and piously pledges to run a “positive campaign.”

The problem for Bauman? Several prominent GOP legislators including state Sens. Hunter Hill and Judson Hill have endorsed Stoj (Pronounced “Stoy”) because their man proudly notes that he is philosophically a Republican who believes in fiscal conservatism. Isn’t that helpful information to voters who are studying the candidates?

Yet it is too much for Bauman,  especially since a Stoj mailer revealed that Bauman voted for a Democrat in the Feb. 5 2008 presidential primary– either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama!. So Bauman continues to whine that Stoj is engaging in “partisanship” and that, by contrast, he is running a “positive” campaign.

A thought: District 6 (full disclosure: I live there) is a predominantly Republican area– so, in fact, is Sandy Springs. So why is it somehow “negative” for Stoj to simply point out he is– gasp!– a Republican?. Why doesn’t Bauman just say he is a Republican, too? Well, could it be because he isn’t one?

Let’s hope the District doesn’t elect a crypto-Democrat and thus give them a foothold on the Sandy Springs City Council.

Senator George Hooks joins RTA Strategy Group

Our friends at RTA Strategy Group send along the following news:

RTA Strategy, a political management group founded by the former Executive Secretary of the Georgia Ethics Commission, Rick Thompson, announces a partnership with former Georgia State Senator and Board of Regent, George Hooks.

“Since my arrival in Georgia almost a decade ago, Senator Hooks has been a confident, reliable voice of wisdom to me; from my time as a regulator through private practice. I’m honored to have the Senator as a strategic partner in our firm,” says Rick Thompson, RTA’s founder and President. “Senator Hooks is transitioning from lawmaker and Regent to advocate, and RTA is fortunate to be in a position to collaborate with him on strategic client matters,” Thompson adds.

George Hooks, a lifelong Democrat, served five terms in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1980 to 1990. In 1991 then Representative Hooks was elected to Georgia’s 14th District Senate seat, the seat held by former President Jimmy Carter, where he served until his resignation in January 2013. Governor Nathan Deal appointed Hooks to the Georgia Board of Regents after his retirement from the post as Dean of the Senate. The former Senator announced he was stepping down from the Regent post last month citing his “lifelong passion involving historic preservation.”

Jason Boles, Partner and Chief Operating Officer, stated, “Senator Hooks will serve in an official capacity here as Senior Government Affairs Advisor. We are tremendously excited to have his insight. He will further improve the value to existing clients and will open the door to untapped relationships.” Hooks will be lobbying for his own firm as well. “We recognize Senator Hooks’ priority is lobbying for historic preservation measures and that Americus is his base of operations and home. We appreciate that he will be involved and are excited to see him around our office,” adds Boles.

Organized in 2009, RTA Strategy/ R. Thompson & Associates is a political management group providing an array of strategic enterprise services to candidates, campaigns, lobbyist, PACs and corporations. The cornerstone of its services is disclosure-reporting consultation.

Paul Broun claims Georgia Right to Life endorsement

Congressman Paul Broun sent an email claiming that he is endorsed by Georgia Right to Life in his campaign for United States Senate. I say “claiming” not because I have any reason to doubt it, but I consider such statements to be unverified claims until I see the statement by Georgia Right to Life PAC on their own website.

If you are a Pro-Life voter in Senate District 14, House District 104 or the City of Canton, check out the Georgia Right to Life PAC endorsements in those elections, and for goodness’ sake, in any case, go vote today!

From Monday’s Congressional Hearing in Gainesville

Woodall Collins Kingston Jack Kingston on Committee2

From “Your Honor” to “the inmate”

Former Crawford County Chief Magistrate Andrea Peterman was sentenced to ten years probation and 160-180 days to serve in state custody.

In a plea deal, Peterman agreed to plead guilty to a count of fiduciary theft from Crawford County Probate Court and a count of violating her oath of office as the county’s elected chief magistrate judge.

As part of the plea agreement, Cooke agreed not to prosecute a charge that Peterman stole from Magistrate Court. Cooke told reporters she took money multiple times from each of the courts and typically tried to pay it back on payday. That’s not legal.

“Any time someone involved in public trust violates public trust, they’re going to do time,” Cooke said.

According to the indictment, the Probate Court theft occurred in February 2012.

Other terms of the agreement include paying back $12,717.62 to cover the costs of a forensic audit of Magistrate Court. A Probate Court audit was not performed.

Though now a convicted felon, Peterman also agreed not to seek or hold public office as part of the plea agreement.

She also had agreed not to seek a judicial office in a separate agreement with the Judicial Qualifications Commission.

On the death of Ray Newman

Today at 10 AM, friends and family will gather at Union Baptist Church, 527 Union Church Road in Winder to mark the earthly death of Ray Newman. Ray was a preacher, serving most recently at Macedonia Baptist Church in Oakwood, GA and represented the Georgia Baptist Convention at the state capitol.

Ray Newman was a friend, but above all else I will remember him for living a life that so embodied the Good News that his friends and family rejoice at his passing, assured in the knowledge that Ray joins our Father.

5
Nov

Sen. David Shafer Applauds Georgia’s #1 Business Ranking

ATLANTA (November 4, 2013) – Senate President Pro Tempore David Shafer (R – Duluth) today offered his congratulations on the announcement by Governor Nathan Deal that Georgia has been named the number one state to do business by Site Selection magazine, a prominent national economic development trade publication.

“The best social program has always been a good paying job,” Shafer said. “Our top legislative priority has been to create an environment where business flourishes and business leaders have the confidence to take risks, invest money and create jobs.”

The magazine’s rankings are based on a survey of corporate real estate executives, an index of tax burden criteria according to the Tax Foundation and KPMG’s Location Matters analysis, and performance in Conway Data’s New Plant Database, which tracks new and expanded business facility activity.

“I congratulate the Governor and pledge our continued support for his jobs creation agenda,” Shafer said.