Category: polling

9
Jan

Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for January 9, 2014

“The duty of a patriot is to protect his country from its government.”

Thomas Paine

The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms, like law, discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The balance of power is the scale of peace. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside. And while a single nation refuses to lay them down, it is proper that all should keep them up. Horrid mischief would ensue were one-half the world deprived of the use of them; for while avarice and ambition have a place in the heart of man, the weak will become a prey to the strong. The history of every age and nation establishes these truths, and facts need but little arguments when they prove themselves.

- Thomas Paine, “Thoughts on Defensive War.”

On January 9, 1776, Thomas Paine published a pamphlet titled “Common Sense” and laid out his arguments for American Independence. I would argue that blogs are today’s versions of the printed pamphlets that played a critical role in the movement for American Independence.

On January 9, 1784, John Houstoun (pronounced House-ton) was inaugurated for his second term as Governor of Georgia and was the first Governor who was born in Georgia.

On January 9, 1786, Edward Telfair became Governor, having served in the state’s Common House of Assembly, the Continental Congress, and a signer of the Articles of Confederation.

On January 9, 1787, George Matthews was inaugurated as Governor and would go on to infamy as the signer of the Yazoo Land Act. After a story about the Yazoo Fraud earlier this week, I received an email from a descendant of Matthews who said that her family is in possession of the vest he wore in his inauguration. A blurry photo accompanied the email, and I may have a chance to photograph the vest sometime in the near future. It’s a fascinating piece of Georgia History that remains in private hands.

On January 9, 1904, Confederate General John B. Gordon died; his statue commands a corner of the lawn at the Georgia Capitol today. Gordon was elected Governor of Georgia in 1886.

On January 9, 1951, Herman Talmadge was inaugurated to his second term as Governor of Georgia. In 1956, Talmadge was elected to the United States Senate, where he would serve four terms.

Today in 1959, a United States District Court Judge declared regulations segregating Atlanta buses to be unconstitutional. On the same day two years later, Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter arrived in Athens to register for UGA under a federal court order desegregating the University. Today in 1967, the Georgia House of Representatives seated Julian Bond, having earlier denied him his seat in the body due to statements he made against the war in Vietnam.

Modern Georgia Politics

One story told by the election results in House District 22 is that one vote counts. The election is headed to a recount, as the margin between second-place finisher Meagan Biello and third-place Jeff Duncan is two votes.

Who will face top vote-getter Sam Moore in the Feb. 4 runoff for Georgia House District 22 may not be decided until next week, as Cherokee and Forsyth counties wait on Fulton County to certify election results, so that all counties’ results can be made official by the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

Moore was the top vote-getter among four Republicans vying for the seat of the late state Rep. Calvin Hill in a Jan. 7 special election.  However, the second- and third-place vote getters are neck-and-neck. According to unofficial results, Meagan Biello beat Jeff Duncan by two votes.

Duncan said Jan. 8 he plans to ask for a recount.

Cherokee County Elections Superintendent Janet Munda said provisional votes must first be accounted for and vote totals certified before a recount can be held, and Fulton County is not expected to have its totals from the three North Fulton precincts certified until the weekend, Munda said. The election will go to a runoff on Feb. 4 because no candidate had a majority of 50 percent plus one of votes cast.

“Fulton County had three provisional votes,” she noted. She said she currently is seeking guidance from Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office on how to proceed if there turns out to be a tie for second place.

The election also illustrates the pitched battle between “Liberty” Republicans, whose approach to traditional social conservatism varies from disdain to preferring to downplay the importance of issues like abortion, and Georgia’s socially-conservative Republican political establishment.

Sam Moore, who came in first in the House District 22 election represents the growing “Liberty” movement within the GOP, garnering contributions and support from like-minded Republicans and libertarians across the state. He also was able to split the social conservative vote, as three candidates appealed to that base.

Candidates Nate Cochran and Jeff Duncan (fourth and third place respectively) were both endorsed by Georgia Right to Life PAC, a cornerstone of social conservatism in the state. Meagan Biello, second-place finisher, has not received that endorsement, but states on her website that she is pro-life. From the issues page:

The Right To Life
I believe that life begins at conception. I believe that it is the duty of the government to protect all life, no matter how young. I would support efforts to increase awareness about alternatives to abortion for those in need.

House District 2 will also host a runoff election on February 4, 2014, between Neal Florence, a pharmacist who is receiving support from his colleagues across the state, and former Chickamauga City Council member Steve Tarvin. From the Dalton Daily Citizen:

“We had a lot of people working hard for us,” said Tarvin, a businessman and former Chickamauga City Council member and school board member. “We are excited by the results and looking forward to campaigning in the runoff. We were running against two very good candidates, and we are very pleased we ended up on top.”
Florence, a pharmacist and former mayor of LaFayette, also thanked his supporters.
“I appreciate the support I have gotten. I have a bunch of friends who have done a lot of work as far as putting up signs, making phone calls and talking to their friends. I really appreciate that, and I’m looking forward to the runoff campaign,” he said.
The Secretary of State’s website reported 9.11 percent of eligible registered voters turned out for the election, but both Tarvin and Florence said that was actually higher than they expected given the weather and the fact that two major holidays fell during the campaign.

While normally turnout drops for a runoff, Florence said he hopes that it won’t fall too much this time.
“These people have shown they care about the race, and I think they’ll come out for the runoff,” he said.

Now that’s a warchest

Governor Nathan Deal raised more than $4 million in the last six months, ending the year with $4.1 million cash on hand.

The governor’s raised 94 percent of that sum from Georgia residents in at least 122 of the state’s 159 counties. Nearly 3,000 donors contributed to the campaign. He’s hit the fundraising circuit hard as Carter and the two Republicans – Dalton Mayor David Pennington and state School Superintendent John Barge – launched challenges.

Deal, like Carter, will be barred from raising funds during the legislative session that starts Monday. Both are trying to add to their accounts in the frenzied days before the session’s start.

Tom Willis, Deal’s campaign manager, said the report “reflects Georgians’ trust in Deal’s leadership and his conservative vision. They are confident he is leading our state in the right direction and will stay the course.”

Congressman Jack Kingston raised more than $880k for his Senate campaign in the most recent quarter and ended 2013 with $3.4 million in the bank.

Young Republicans on the move

The Georgia Federation of Young Republicans has added four new clubs to its rolls. Henry County, Gwinnett County, Rockdale County and the South Georgia YRs chartered with the Georgia Young Republicans bringing the total number of clubs to fourteen with over 550 members. If you’re interested in starting a club, contact Meagan Hanson, state chair, via email at chairman@georgiayrs.com.

Pro notes

Tony Fabrizio has a new polling firm with David Lee as his business partner, called Fabrizio, Lee & Associates. As Fabrizio McLaughlin, the firm polled for many high-dollar Georgia Republicans. John and Jim McLaughlin, former partners with Fabrizio, have their own firm, McLaughlin & Associates, which has polled for Governor Nathan Deal and currently polls for Jack Kingston.

Joint Town Hall Saturday in Cherokee

Senator Bruce Thompson and State Rep. Scot Turner will hold a joint Town Hall Meeting on Saturday, January 11, 2014 at the Bridgemill Fire Station in Canton, located at 9550 Bells Ferry Road, Canton, GA 30114, to discuss the upcoming 2014 legislative session.

Governor Deal this weekend

Governor Deal will be a special guest speaker at the Jackson County Republican Party meeting in Jefferson, Georgia on Saturday. The meeting is at the Jefferson Civic Center from 8 to 9:30 AM. State Representatives Regina Quick and Tommy Benton will also be addressing the meeting.

Afterwards, Gov. Deal will appear at a meet and greet at the Community House in Cornelia, Georgia.

Fulton County Legislative Breakfast Saturday

One of the best events of the year will also be Saturday in North Fulton County on Saturday, as the Fulton GOP holds their annual Breakfast with the Fulton Republican Delegation. We’ve attended the last few years, and it’s a great way to hear about what legislators expect from the coming session.


Fulton County GOP: N. Fulton Breakfast with Fulton GOP Delegation

January 11, 2014, 8:30 AM - 10:15 AM
Country Club of Roswell, 2500 Club Springs Drive Roswell , GA 30076

Join your entire Fulton County Legislative Delegation to set the stage for the 2014 Georgia General Assembly session preview. Last year, this breakfast sold out. Make your reservations today! North Fulton Breakfast NFBChair@fultonGOP.org (404) 585 3138

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Rabun County GOP: Meeting with Senator John Wilkinson

January 11, 2014, 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Kingwood Resort, 401 Country Club Drive Clayton, 30525

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Guest Speaker: Sen. John Wilkinson

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Hall County GOP: Conservative Forum

January 11, 2014, 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Denny’s Restaurant, 1701 Browns Bridge Road Gainesville , GA 30501

+ Google Map

Our first Conservative Forum for 2014 will be held this Saturday. County Commission Chairman Dick Mecum will deliver our annual State of the County address.

Find out more »


Camden County GOP: Breakfast with Rep. Jeff Chapman

January 11, 2014, 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Grits-N-Bits, 101 Industrial Drive St. Mary’s , GA 31558 United States

+ Google Map

Speaker: State Representative & Congressional Candidate Jeff Chapman. Contact Jeremy Spencer for details @ jespencer@tds.net or 912.409.0286

Find out more »


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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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…

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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

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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 »


22
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for May 22, 2003

Election Law Update

United States District Judge Timothy Batten, Sr. found that at-large voting for Fayette County Commission seats violates the voting rights act and struck down the voting plan, asking the County to present a remedial plan for this year’s elections by June 25th.

From Citizen.com:

Batten’s Tuesday order grants summary judgment to the individual plaintiffs in the case along with the state conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, who had argued that the county’s district voting process precluded black candidates from winning a seat on the county commission and board of education.

The judge’s order grants the plaintiff’s wish to create a district voting scenario, which is markedly different than the current at-large voting process. Currently, all Fayette voters are allowed to vote on all five seats on the county commission and board of education.

Under district voting, voters will be limited to choosing just one person for each governing body, depending on where each voter lives.

In his order, Batten determined that the current at-large voting process “essentially guarantees that no African-American will be elected to either board.”

Whether the plan submitted by the County will include a majority-minority district is unclear, according to the AJC.

[Fayette County Commission Chair Steve] Brown said [Judge] Batten conceded in his ruling that he would be hard-pressed to create a majority-minority district — a point the county’s own demographers said would be hard to achieve. At best, a district would yield 47 percent minority voting power, Brown said.

“He (Batten) literally admitted in the opinion that he could not come up with a majority-minority district. It was kind of odd because it’s very clear what you need to prove to show that you have any kind of discriminatory activity. That was never proven.”

Getting rid of at-large voting is by-and-large a cleanup operation now, dealing with individual situations where it remains. Bigger changes to Georgia’s voting laws may be on the way from another federal District Court, where Judge Steve C. Jones has found that Georgia’s runoff elections violate the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986 (“UOCAVA”).

The Court found that Georgia cannot comply with the UOCAVA requirement that ballots be transmitted to overseas voters at least 45 days to a federal election

The forty-five day deadline and transmittal period established in the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986 (“UOCAVA”), as amended, specifically 42 U.S.C. § 1973ff-1(a)(8)(A), applies to all federal runoff elections.

The additional requirement for runoff elections set forth in § 1973ff-1(a)(9) does not alter the forty-five day deadline established for runoff elections in § 1973ff-1(a)(8).

Defendants’ inability under Georgia’s current electoral system to transmit absentee ballots (that standing alone allow the voter to cast a meaningful vote) in future federal runoff elections to qualified military and overseas voters (i.e., UOCAVA voters) who have requested them by the forty-fifth day before such an election violates § 1973ff-1(a)(8)(A) of UOCAVA.

As to the matter of relief, the Court rules as follows. Within twenty days (20) of the issuance of this order, Defendants shall confer with Plaintiff and thereafter submit to the Court written proposed changes to Georgia’s election laws that show full compliance with UOCAVA as to all future federal runoff elections.

Plaintiff shall file a response within twenty (20) days of Defendants’ filing. In the event that the Defendants fail to present a proposal that fully complies with all UOCAVA requirements, the Court will order an appropriate remedy that will govern all of Georgia’s future runoff elections unless and until there is an enactment of changes to Georgia’s election laws that fully comply with all UOCAVA requirements, as determined by this Court.

So what does this mean? Very likely the end of runoff elections as we know them in Georgia, at least as far as federal elections are concerned. Whether we end up with a longer runoff period, or dispense with the greatest invention in political consulting democracy remains to be seen. It is possible that the state will retain the current runoff election structure for state elections, but it’s also possible that a federal court will end up deciding what some future elections look like in the Peach State.

Continue Reading..

11
Mar

Rasmussen: low approval ratings for Congress, Senate

Of course, a generic approve/disapprove question in a poll doesn’t always translate into bad ratings for incumbents within their districts, or it wouldn’t be the case that incumbents are overwhelmingly reelected. But it can make it tough for, say, a Congressman in one of fourteen districts in Georgia, who decides to run statewide.

From Rasmussen:

Over half of voters think both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives are doing a poor job, but nearly as many also prefer having them run by different political parties the way Congress is now.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 12% of Likely U.S. Voters think the U.S. Senate is doing a good or excellent job. Fifty-three percent (53%) rate the Senate’s performance as poor.

Nineteen percent (19%) of voters believe the House is doing a good or excellent job, while 51% view its performance as poor.Continue Reading..

28
Jan

GaPundit.com Poll: GA GOP voters approve of Deal’s performance by 3:1 margin

A poll conducted this weekend by GaPundit.com shows that voters approve of Governor Deal’s handling of job growth by a better than 3-1 margin.

Asked “Do you approve or disapprove of the job Governor Nathan Deal is doing in bringing new jobs to Georgia?” 60.1 percent of past Republican Primary voters answered affirmatively, while 18.6 do not approve of Deal’s performance and 21.3 percent are undecided.

DealApproval

A poll conducted by Public Policy Polling in December and November of 2012 showed self-identified Republicans giving Deal a job performance approval/disapproval rating of 58/20, with 23% not sure.

Last week, Fox5Atlanta noted a poll showing Governor Deal with a 55-29 approval/disapproval rating in another poll.

InsiderAdvantage/FOX 5 political analyst Matt Towery said the poll results weren’t surprising.

Towery said that the results suggest that Deal would be a strong candidate if he chooses to run for a second term next year.

“At this point I would say that Gov. Deal is about as popular as a governor in this region of the nation can get. We used to require approval of 50 percent to say a governor was in good shape for reelection, but that bar moved several years ago to around 45 percent, so Gov. Deal is sitting pretty as of now,” Towery said.

A poll commissioned by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and released two weeks ago showed Deal with a 51% “favorable approval rating” among all voters, but did not meet the minimal requirements for disclosure of a poll under industry and academic standards.

Click here for a copy of the script and research methodology.

28
Jan

GaPundit.com Poll: Sonny Perdue leads the field for 2014 U.S. Senate race

With support from 24 percent of past Republican Primary voters, former two-term Governor Sonny Perdue leads among the serious potential candidates who have not foreclosed the possibility of running for the Republican nomination for United State Senate in 2014 following the announcement by Senator Saxby Chambliss that he will not seek reelection.

SenateBallot

Former Fulton County Commission Chair and Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel comes in second with 15 percent, reflecting a strong 2012 Gubernatorial campaign in which she came in first in the Republican Primary before losing the runoff to then-Congressman Nathan Deal.

Four Republican Congressmen, Paul Broun, Tom Graves, Tom Price, and Lynn Westmoreland hover in the range from six to ten percent; I’d guess any other incumbent GOP Congressman would score similarly.

The Gender Factor

The following table shows that sixty percent of Handel’s support comes from women, significantly higher than any other potential candidate, and nearly 64% of undecided respondents are women, showing some upside for Handel in a demographic that has been a weakness for the GOP lately. With an identical number of male respondents choosing Handel and Congressman Tom Price, whose geographic bases overlap, Handel’s lead over Price comes entirely from additional female votes.SenateCrosstabGenderRows

At the same time, Governor Perdue’s strong lead overall means that he still attracts more votes from women overall.

SenateCrosstabGenderColumns

Click here for a copy of the script and research methodology.

31
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for October 31, 2012

Y’all helped save these four puppies this week, with more than $400 in contributions to Angels Among Us Rescue earmarked for them.

Braelynn, Bria, Brisa and Briley are Golden Doodle/Shepherd mix puppies who are now safe out of the shelter, but seeking foster and permanent homes through Angels Among Us. Foster applications and adoption applications are available on Angels’ website.

Duff is a tan-and-white mix of hound dog and whippet, who is about 6 months old, quick to learn, loves to please his humans and gets along with other dogs. He is listed as “URGENT” at Chatham County Animal Shelter.


Nyko is also listed as “URGENT” at Chatham County and is a lab mix less than a year old, who is very friendly, smart, and eager to please his humans. He loves to play and is a fast learner.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections

Advance voting is still open the rest of this week for next week’s General Election.

Patch.com brings us some stats on Early and Advance voting in Gwinnett County.

  • 995,493 – Number of early votes cast in Georgia as of Saturday.
  • 40,558 – Number of votes cast in Gwinnett County as of Saturday.
  • 22,400 –Total votes cast at the Gwinnett County Elections Office in Lawrenceville in the first week of early voting according to Gwinnett County Communications Director Joe Sorenson.
  • 7,600 – Total number of voters who went through the satellite voting locations throughout Gwinnett County.
  • 4 – The number of satellite locations across Gwinnett County. They are Centerville Community Church in Snellville,  Dacula Activity Building in Dacula, George Pierce Community Center in Suwanee and Lucky Shoals Community Center in Norcross.
  • 45 minutes – Average wait time for voters standing in line outside the Elections Office Monday.
  • 1 hour 30 minutes – The longest wait time of the day early Monday morning. Sorenson says he expects the wait times to grow as the week goes on.

This weekend, we will be “falling back” and resetting our clocks for the end of Daylight Saving Time, and Georgia Insurance and Fire Safety Commissioner Ralph Hudgens reminds you to change the batteries in your home and office smoke and carbon dioxide detectors.

“Last year in Georgia there were 72 fatal house fires and 67 of them didn’t have a working smoke alarms,” Hudgens said.  “If you have a smoke alarm, make sure it’s in working order.  Changing the battery at least once every year and cleaning dust from the device are easy ways to ensure continued protection of your family and your property.  Having a working smoke alarm doubles the chances you will survive a fire in your home.”
Daylight saving time ends Sunday, November 4th at 2:00 a.m., when clocks are set back one hour.

We were about to change all the batteries in our smoke and CO2 detectors because somewhere in the house, one of the blamed things is chirping just often enough to drive me insane while I work from home, but not often enough to figure out which one it is.

Commissioner Hudgens is a great public servant for Georgia and we don’t get to say that often enough here because he seems to keep a pretty low profile in the media.  Not what we’ve come to expect from that office.

Twenty members of the Georgia National Guard were sent with their CH-47F Chinook helicopters to assist in storm relief.

The two helicopters are to be used primarily to move groups of people in and out of areas. They each can carry at least 33 seated passengers, as well as heavy equipment such as bulldozers. Additionally, they each left Savannah with a 2,500-gallon water bucket for firefighting and a vehicle.

Leading the two crews are Chief Warrant Officers Timothy Ladson, 47, and Lance Brennan, 38, full-time pilots who said they are well-trained and prepared for whatever they may encounter. The unit served twice in Afghanistan and fought fires in the Okefenokee Swamp.

“Everybody is excited; everybody wants to go and help out,” said Ladson, a Groves High School and Savannah State University graduate, before deploying.

“Sometimes people hesitate a little bit to go to Afghanistan. But on a mission like this, when you’re going to help people on our home soil, there’s no hesitation whatsoever.”

Like many of the crew members, Brennan, a Liberty County native, has seen the around-the-clock news coverage of communities devastated by the large storm that made landfall in the northeast on Monday, leaving flooding, power failures and death in its wake.

“I’m expecting to see a lot of debris and a lot of water,” Brennan said.

“I expect the worst but hope for the best. If they send us on up, I hope to see a lot of people already coming back in and taking it upon themselves to not wait for us, but to start the clean-up process and then when we get there, to further assist them in the clean-up and rebuilding.”

By Monday night, U.S. Coast Guard aircrews and helicopters from Savannah and Jacksonville, Fla., had already arrived in Elizabeth City, N.C., to allow for faster response times following the storm’s landfall, the U.S. Coast Guard announced Tuesday.

The Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron, based at Cecil Field in Jacksonville, sent two MH-65 Dolphin helicopters and two pilots. Air Station Savannah deployed a third Dolphin helicopter, four pilots and six crew members.

Air Station Savannah executive officer, Cmdr. David Cooper, headed north as well to coordinate the Coast Guard’s aviation response for the storm.

South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson joined Republican Lee Anderson in Georgia’s Twelfth District.

Speaking at a press conference at his campaign headquarters following a visit to the Columbia County American Legion, Anderson said that any cuts he approved in Congress would not include the defense budget.

“The main thing we can do is get Mitt Romney in the White House,” Anderson said. “Then, with Joe Wilson’s leadership, we can make sure that our defence is the strongest Defense Department ever. We are totally opposite to what Obama and John Barrow want to do. We want to make the Defense Department stronger.”

When pressed on his opponent Congressman John Barrow’s stand against the looming economic sequestration and the effect it would have on defense spending, Anderson responded that to support the President was, in fact, supporting sequestration.

“He’s right,” Wilson said, “He (Barrow) supports Obama, the leader in the White House, the man who wants to cut our defense department. That’s the difference right there.”

Joe Wilson must be an honorable man, as he is a graduate of Washington & Lee University, one of the finest institutions of higher learning in our nation.

I received word that a bus of volunteers will head to Virginia this weekend to campaign for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in that swing state Commonwealth. Maybe they’ll stop briefly in Lexington.

Another FREE trip to a swing state-VIRGINIA.  Jack Smith “the Lion of N. GA” I call him,  is heading up a bus to Virginia to walk neighborhoods for freedom.   I told Jack, a herd of wild horses could not keep me from going on this trip.  Like Mary, Jack has fun trips.

For this side of Atlanta our bus will leave from the Home Depot on Hwy 92, 200 feet off exit 7 off 575.  Park on the far side of the parking lot were the plants are.   (Home Depot is 200 West of exit 7)

Briefly,  it will be  four days, Thursday November 1 to Sunday, November 4. ALL-expenses paid, (transportation, lodging for 3 nights, and ALL meals)

Would you like to go? Would you like to make a difference? Contact Jack Smith,jackjoy1151@gmail.com or 706-635-3831

Jim Galloway brings us the news that white voters now constitute less than 60% of all registered voters in Georgia for the first time.

White voter registration, which stood at 63 percent in 2008, has dropped to 59 percent of the 5.3 million signed up to cast ballots in this year’s presidential contest. African-American registration stands at 30 percent, just as it did in 2008.

The difference comes from the growing pool of voters who decline to identify themselves by race, or describe themselves as something other than white, black, Asian-Pacific, Hispanic-Latino, or Native American. That group grew from 3.6 percent in 2008 to 8 percent today.

The decline of the white vote in Georgia has been slow but steady. In January 2001, whites made up 72 percent of registered voters; in January 2007, they were 67 percent. Blacks in 2001 made up 26 percent of the electorate, and 27 percent in 2007.

Statistics and political geeks are encouraged to check out the rest of the article, where Jim trots out some additional statistics that will be part of the forces driving Georgia politics in the coming years.

Also yesterday, Galloway noted that Erick Erickson has endorsed the reelection of Democratic State Representative Scott Holcomb (81) on the basis of severe bad judgment by Republican Chris Boedeker.

As the weekend began, Holcomb received this Tweeted endorsement from Erick Erickson of Redstate.com:

“I’m proud to support Democrat Scott Holcomb for re-election in the Georgia State House. Better an honest Democrat than a lying fool.”

Noting the statement by Boedeker’s Republican Primary opponent Carla Roberts, which we published yesterday, Galloway followed up with Roberts on whether that constituted an endorsement of Holcomb. Dr. Roberts replied, “I am not endorsing Rep Scott Holcomb. It would be hard for me to vote for Mr. Boedeker to represent my district and my state. I may have to leave that ballot choice blank on Nov 6, 2012.”

Pro-tip for politics: if the Marietta Daily Journal calls your candidate, you tempt the wrath of Dick Yarbrough if you don’t take the call. Just ask Doug Stoner.

My colleagues Joe Kirby and Bill Kinney reported in Tuesday’s Around Town that current State Sen. Doug Stoner (D-Smyrna) will not return calls from the media.

Let’s let that one soak in a moment. Stoner is fighting for his political life, having been redistricted into a new Sixth District that is heavily Republican and against a formidable opponent, Hunter Hill, of Vinings, who has all the right credentials: Graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, three tours of duty in Afghanistan, two Bronze Stars, bright, articulate and a family man. In my opinion, Stoner would have a tough time with Hill even without all the gerrymandering.

When AT asked why Stoner won’t return calls to the media, Melissa Pike, chair of the Cobb Democratic Party, informed them that the Senate Democratic Caucus is “very, very, very firm that they are going to be united, they’re going to give a consistent response and that consistent response is going to come through Liz Flowers.” Flowers is with the caucus and will return media calls to Stoner by asking what questions will be asked him.

Pike says she wishes the House would do the same thing so “we wouldn’t have 800 answers to the same question, which makes it so easy to pick off our legislators.”

Having been around politics before Pike and Flowers were potty-trained, I will say that is about as dumb a thing as I have ever seen or heard.

If Democrats are so simple-minded they can’t be trusted to answer a question properly from the media — which, by the way, is a pass-through to voters and constituents — then they are not qualified to hold public office.

Assuming Hunter Hill is going to roll Stoner like a cheap cigarette on Nov. 6, Republicans will have a super majority and Democrats will become even more irrelevant. Liz Flowers won’t need to worry about screening calls. Georgia Democrats will be full of sound and fury, signify nothing.

Power can do strange things to good people.

If someone from the Republican Caucus suggests screening your calls and blocking the media from talking to you, tell them to go microchip their body parts. You work for the constituents. Stay in touch with them.

In defense of screening calls for candidates, I note that it’s not unheard of for reporters to call just hours before deadline on a story that nowhere includes the words “breaking news” and a candidate who is, say, preparing for a televised debate, may not feel the same sense of urgency the writer wishes to impart.  It also allows staff to ensure that the candidates has any facts, legislation, etc. available if he or she is going to be asked about it, rather than have to call back after shuffling papers or reviewing the subject of the story. Finally, in down-ballot races, ninety percent of the questions asked by reporters will be the same as have been asked and answered a dozen times. Allow us to send you written answers to these, and the candidate will have more time to answer fully and thoughtfully the specific and unique questions that may be specific to your media outlet.

The Cherokee Board of Elections will address today a complaint that presumptive District Three Commissioner-elect Brian Poole is not qualified to hold the seat.

After meeting in a called, closed-door session for two hours Oct. 24, the Cherokee County Board of Elections emerged to vote to authorize a motion for county Superintendent of Elections Janet Munda to challenge Poole’s qualifications and eligibility to seek and hold office and set a hearing on the matter. The controversy centers around whether Poole can legally hold office under the Georgia Constitution while owing unpaid taxes.

Another complaint issues out of Cherokee County, this one under the Open Meetings Act, alleging that Georgia Charter Educational Foundation, which runs Cherokee Charter Academy, failed to abide by notice requirements for two meetings and entered executive session improperly.

The AJC notes that enforcement of the state’s law against texting while driving appears to be low.

In the two years after a ban on texting while driving in Georgia took effect on July 1, 2010, state records reveal that fewer than 50 people a month have been convicted of the offense, for a total of 1,281 convictions as of Sept. 17. That’s a small fraction of the 22,500 people convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs during the same time frame. The Department of Driver Services (DDS) only tracks convictions, not the number of citations issued, DDS spokeswoman Susan Sports said.

Many law enforcement officers say the law is difficult to enforce. State troopers have only issued an average of 11 citations a month since the law took effect.

Lt. Les Wilburn, assistant troop commander for the Georgia State Patrol, said troopers have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone was texting at the wheel, and not merely dialing a number or talking. Most drivers simply stash their phone when a cop is in sight, he said.

To effectively prevent texting while driving, I recommend installation of something called a “spouse” in the passenger seat of your car. An alternative to that device is a “parent” or “tattletale sibling who receive money for reporting older brother/sister.”

Governor Nathan Deal will recommend that the state pony up another $40-50 million dollars toward the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project in next year’s budget.

Last week the federal government gave final regulatory approval to deepen the river to 47 feet, from its current 42 feet, at a cost of $652 million.

Georgia has already put up $181 million for its cost-share portion of the deepening tab, including $47 million last year. Deal, during a brief interview following the annual State of the Ports luncheon at the Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta, said he’ll probably request a similar amount from the General Assembly come January.

“We haven’t finalized our figure yet,” the governor said, “but it’s safe to say we’ll be in keeping with what we’ve given in years past.”

Savannah is the nation’s fourth busiest container port and moved a record 3 million containers the last fiscal year. Nearly 100,000 jobs in metro Atlanta alone are directly tied to the distribution of goods that come through Savannah and the port at Brunswick.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a final “record of decision” last Friday allowing 32 miles of Savannah river and harbor to be deepened so ever-larger container ships can ply the waterway. Foltz called the decision “really great news for Georgia and anyone in the Southeast who uses our port for commerce.”

Storm-related port closures on the East Coast are affecting the Port of Savannah.

With Hurricane Sandy closing major deepwater ports from Virginia to New York, a domino effect has delays stretching up and down the coast and into the nation’s heartland.

“This storm has definitely disrupted shipping along the Eastern Seaboard,” said Curtis Foltz, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority.

“Already, we’ve had a number of vessels that were scheduled to be in port by today either delayed or rerouted,” he said. “Ultimately, this is going to affect trade — unfortunately in the middle of peak retail season.”

The northeastern U.S. ports supply 170 million U.S. and Canadian customers with cargo goods. Disruption to these ports is also expected to have a significant impact on supplies like food and oil to the region.

CSX Corp. and Norfolk Southern Corp., the two main Eastern railroads, are telling customers to expect at least three days of traffic delays in the affected areas. For truckers, travel in the region will remain difficult, though some road restrictions are being eased as the storm passes through.

I’ll be in Savannah in December and would like to hear any recommendations for good bird-watching or train-watching in the area. Also, nominations for best seafood will be accepted, and a couple places may be reviewed.

Speaking of birds, Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds plays at the Strand Theater on the Marietta Square on Friday night, November 2d at 8 PM. Vertigo plays tonight at 9 PM and I may sneak out for the showing. Psycho and North by Northwest play next month. November is also Hitchcock month at the Plaza Theater in midtown Atlanta, with showings of Rope, Strangers on a Train, Vertigo and The Birds. I’m going to try to see as many as I can.