Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 5, 2015


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 5, 2015

According to “This Day in Georgia History, on June 5, 1775, the first Liberty Pole in Georgia was raised in Augusta, Georgia. Another account holds that the first Liberty Pole in Georgia was raised June 4, 1775 at Tondee’s Tavern in Savannah. Those who fly the “Appeal to Heaven” flag should know that it has some common history with Liberty Poles.

Light Horse Harry Lee, later the father of Robert E. Lee, led a group of Continental soldiers, South Carolina and Georgia militia as the British surrendered Augusta on June 5, 1781. The capture of Augusta led to Georgia’s inclusion in the United States, though it had previously been so divided between Patriots and Loyalists that Georgia was the only American colony to not participate in the First Continental Congress.

The Republican National Convention met in Philadelphia on June 5, 1872, nominating Ulysses S. Grant for President the next day. Twelve years later, on June 5, 1884, William T. Sherman refused the Republican nomination for President, saying, “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.”

Republican candidate for Governor A. Ed Smith died in a car accident on June 5, 1962.

Senator Robert F. Kennedy was shot after winning the California Primary on June 5, 1968 and died the next day.

President Ronald Reagan died on June 5, 2004. USA Today has ten memorable Reagan quotes along with videos.


This afternoon on GPB radio, I’ll be on Political Rewind with host Bill Nigut, and fellow panelists Jim Galloway of the AJC, Republican Eric Tanenblatt, and Democrats Liz Flowers and former Congressman Buddy Darden. Among other things, we’ll be discussing my interview with likely GOP Presidential candidate Scott Walker. In Atlanta, you can listen on 88.5 FM, across the state on the GPB radio network, or streaming online.

Georgia Politics

Mike Jacobs Oath of Office

Yesterday, former State Rep. Mike Jacobs was sworn in as a DeKalb County State Court Judge by Gov. Nathan Deal.

zPolitics writes that Alex Atwood, having previously announced he will not run for reelection to the State House, has also stepped down from his role as Chairman of Appropriations, Public Safety Subcommittee.

Tom Crawford writes that State Rep. Hugh Floyd (D-Norcross) also will not run for another term.

Presidential Politics

Jim Thompson writes for the Athens Banner-Herald that Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed legislation to move the 2016 Razorback Primary to May 1, joining Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia in the SEC Primary.

While Virginia is in the South, it has no SEC collegiate presence, this bringing the total number of SEC states in the primary to five, with other SEC states arrayed like this: Louisiana going on March 5, Mississippi likely on March 8, Florida and Missouri set for March 15, South Carolina unlikely to give up its “first in the South” Feb. 20 primary, and Kentucky, presumably on May 17 but talking about shifting to a caucus to assist its own Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican who announced his presidential candidacy last month.

And while there was some suggestion in political circles the current configuration of the “SEC primary” would be more accurately referenced as “the Waffle House primary,” a nod to the ubiquitous short-[order] restaurants that dot the South, the SEC primary has spawned a website,, reportedly the work of young Alabama Republican Jordan Doufexis, and a companion Twitter feed, @SECPrimary, with 240 followers as of late Tuesday afternoon.

Whatever its name, though, the “SEC primary” is, in a sense, a case of “history repeating itself,” according to University of Georgia political science professor Charles Bullock, an expert on Southern politics.

In a Tuesday interview, Bullock pointed out that in 1988, a number of states across the South, frustrated by presidential nominees that didn’t necessarily represent their interests, banded together for a March 8 primary dubbed “Super Tuesday.” That primary featured the states of Texas, Florida, Tennessee, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama and Georgia, but it failed to produce a consensus, with Dick Gephardt, Jesse Jackson, Al Gore and Michael Dukakis splitting the vote across the region.

An advantage of the SEC primary, according to Bullock, is it is early in the election cycle, which means voters will have a wider range of candidates from which to choose than might be the case later in 2016, as candidates are forced out of the race.

The SEC primary won’t necessarily force candidates to adopt more conservative positions than they might be comfortable with, Bullock said, but it could give one or more of the Southern Republican candidates — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and possibly Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham — an advantage over the rest of the field.

Kyle Wingfield of the AJC follows up his first column on Scott Walker’s Atlanta visit with a second focused on why the Wisconsin Governor says he can win next year.

“I think Republicans do well all across the country because we get things done,” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker told me in an interview Monday, after meeting about 150 supporters at a Buckhead hotel. “That’s the focus: that we’re optimistic, and we’re focused on getting things done, and we’ve got a proven track record.”

Walker said that track record — not only in Wisconsin, where the unemployment rate in April was a full percentage point below the U.S. average, but in other GOP-led states — is something Romney should have promoted in 2012.

“I think that argument’s even truer now,” he said. “Almost all of the battleground states are led by Republican governors. … What our argument should be, when going into those states, is: Remember how things were messed up? You not only elected Rick Snyder (in Michigan), Rick Scott (Florida), Susana Martinez (New Mexico), but you re-elected them because they made things better.

“Imagine how much better if we could elect a reform-minded Republican like that to be president.”

Matt McDonald writes an interesting piece calling Presidential campaigns, “The Fastest Startups in the World.”

In the roughly 18 months between the announcement of a presidential campaign and Election Day, the general election candidates will likely have raised and spent over a billion dollars each. They will have built an organization with hundreds of paid staffers and untold thousands more in volunteers. Beyond that, the formal campaign organization is just one part of a large ecosystem of organizations working to support the campaign in coordinated and uncoordinated ways.

This rate of growth is a major management challenge. There are certainly lessons to learn from the tech startup experience. These are among the handful of modern companies that have dealt with truly exponential growth and the struggle of scaling at superhuman speed.

Growing the team in an effective way in line with resources is a significant challenge. Go too fast and you won’t have the resources to compete when it matters; go too slow and you won’t be in a position to take advantage of opportunities. This differs by the type of race, as well. Incumbents have the luxury of saving resources for the general election. Underdogs in the primary have to pick their spots and place their bets.

Of course, a presidential campaign is not a business. There is no profit or loss; there is just Election Day and win or lose. And there are rules and systems for campaigns that the business world does not have to deal with, in terms of limits on fundraising and the party and third party apparatus that exist around the campaigns. Some of this complexity creates more problems, and some offers solutions to the scaling problem. Indeed, outside groups offer one way to relieve the pressure of scaling rapidly.

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