Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for June 13, 2013


Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for June 13, 2013

RLG Pachyderm Banner0613On Straw Polls

Because we received a number of responses in the voting for 2013 GAGOP Resolutions, we’ll keep voting open through 5 AM tomorrow. Click here to cast your vote.

Yesterday, we released the vote totals for this past weekend’s Fulton County Barbecue Straw Poll. We’ve had a number of discussion with people about the large number of straw polls at local events, which some people think is mainly a way for local parties to hit up campaigns in their area and boost ticket sales.

It was also suggested that if you want to know how accurate straw polls are, you could ask Insurance Commissioner Gerry Purcell, who by April 2010 had swept 18 straw polls before coming in fourth in the 2010 Republican Primary Election.

But the Fulton County straw poll gives us an opportunity to look back four years ago to another straw poll held by the Fulton County GOP, when Karen Handel took 54% of votes cast versus the 42% she carried this weekend. So you could say that she’s running behind in her support among the local party activists from where she was four years ago in the Gubernatorial race.

But that’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. In March 2009, Handel’s closest competition was Lt. Governor Casey Cagle with 21%. Nathan Deal, who would eventually win the GOP nomination and go on to be elected Governor, had not declared for the race, and was thus not on ballots. Cagle, of course, would drop out of the campaign for governor and be reelected Lt. Governor.

So, the lesson from this year’s early round of straw polls, when viewed in light of the 2009-10 campaign season is two-fold.

First, there is no real predictive value in straw polls of activists, as shown by the strong front-runners; straw polls are not reflective of the voters at large, and the further out the straw poll, the more likely the ballot is to change dramatically before the actual election.

Second, this past weekend, only about 40% of the attendees at the Fulton GOP even bothered to cast votes in the contested straw poll election, which indicates to me that (a) a lot of voters are likely undecided this far out; and (b) voters, even activists involved enough to attend a county party event in a non-election year are not as focused on the 2014 elections as the candidates in the field are.

Georgia Democrats seek Leadership, Relevance

I’m surprised they haven’t posted the Chairman’s job on Craigslist yet.

Former State Senator Mary Squires announced that she is seeking election as Chairman of the embattled ignored second party in Peach State Politics. Over at Georgia Unfiltered, Andre Walker notes that DPG rules require the Chair and First Vice Chair to be of different genders, and so a Squires victory would mean that acting Chair Nikema Williams (D-Planned Parenthood) would be unable to serve unless a rules change is made.

Senator Johnny Isakson says Dems could win Senate seat in 2014

Yesterday, reported that Senator Johnny Isakson said that Democrats might have a chance of winning the 2014 U.S. Senate race in Georgia,

“It should be a Republican seat, but there’s a perfect storm that could happen that could make that challenging,”


Isakson maintained that the seat “will probably be Republican,” but the margins of the party’s “overwhelming” victories in the past decade in legislative and congressional races have grown closer over time. He noted that “Georgia was one of the few Southern states that Romney didn’t carry by double digits.”


“So if the Republican party were to make a mistake in its nominating process, as happened in a couple of states in the last cycle,” Isakson said, “then you run the risk of the Democrats having an unchallenged quality opponent in their primary and a bloody Republican — beaten up by other Republicans as well as Harry Reid — coming into a race where they are behind in money.”

Speaking of Isakson, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that his lukewarm support for enhanced monitoring by security agencies shows a split within the party between the GOP establishment and “Liberty” Republicans.

The split between defense and “liberty” Republicans extends down to the grassroots. Take the 11th Congressional District, which extends from Atlanta, through Cobb and into Cherokee and Bartow counties.


The seat is held by U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta, who is now running for the U.S. Senate. Four Republicans are in the contest to replace him: state Sen. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, former Congressman Bob Barr, Marietta businesswoman Tricia Pridemore, and state Rep. Ed Lindsey, R-Atlanta.


“You’ve got to ask, is he a traitor or is he a patriot?” said Loudermilk, who answered his own question. He compared Snowden to this country’s Founding Fathers.


“They met the definition of both. [Snowden] is kind of in that position. Has he violated the laws of the United States? Has he divulged secrets? Yeah, but the secrets he divulged are activities that the government should not be doing,” said Loudermilk, an Air Force veteran who monitored snooping U.S. satellites over the Soviet Union and China in the 1990s.


Loudermilk declared the collection of data – and more importantly, the storage of that information – as “chilling.”


Barr wasn’t ready to pass judgment on Snowden. “That’ll take care of itself. It’s not, did one man violate the law, but did the U.S. government violate the law?” said 2008 Libertarian presidential candidate, who is again running as a Republican.


But Barr declared Chambliss’ and Isakson’s assertions that all is going according to plan to be “either naïve or deliberately ignorant of what’s going on here.”


Pridemore, likewise avoided mention of Snowden. But she may have her doubts. “Our government clearly has the capacity to collect personal data on its citizens, but these revelations bring into question whether they have the faculty to safeguard the data and who has access to it,” she said.


Lindsey expressed the strongest distaste for the security breach. He has no problems with a review of judicial oversight and other safeguards. Snowden is another matter.


“He is a criminal whose actions potentially imperil every American citizen and should be hunted down, prosecuted, and, if found guilty, punished to the fullest extent of the law,” said Lindsey, an attorney.

Another split within the Republican party appears to be among the those in the business community who support at least a thoughful conversation about immigration reform, which many conservative activists decry as “amnesty.” Isakson voted with Democrats and most Republicans to send the federal immigration reform bill to the Senate floor for debate and amendments.

McKoon on the Rise?

I wrote yesterday at InsiderAdvantage that two recent announcements demonstrate that State Senator Josh McKoon is on the rise, both in Georgia and on the national scene.

After a period in the wilderness, made unpopular among some insiders because of his unstinting support for lobbying reform, two announcements indicate that Senator Josh McKoon is back on the move with an upward trajectory.


Last week, the Senate Press Office announced two committee assignments for McKoon. Committees are important because it’s where much of the work of perfecting legislation is done and it’s the primary venue for gathering information to improve legislation.


Yesterday, MavPAC, led by Texan George P. Bush announced that Senator Josh McKoon is the only Georgian named to their “40 under 40” list of influential up-and-coming Republicans across the nation.


A past winner of the national Young Republicans “Man of the Year” Award, McKoon is becoming a nationally-recognized leader among the next generation. This recognition enhances not only McKoon’s reputation, but that of Georgia as an incubator for GOP leadership.


A Candidate for Jeff Chapman’s State House Seat?

Once again, I’m probably making stuff up and passing it off as rumor, but I’m hearing that retired Glynn County Sheriff Wayne V. Bennett, a Republican, is being urged by community leaders to run for the State House of Representatives seat currently held by Jeff Chapman, who announced he will run for Congress. Hit this link for what the numbers looks like in that District for a GOP Primary.

Other Campaigns

FINAL reversed

Stephen Simpson emailed invitations for an announcement on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 11 AM at Oconee Veterans Park, 3500 Hog Mountain Road, Watkinsville, GA

Joining Simpson will be Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry, Greene County Sheriff Chris Houston, Barrow County Sheriff Jud Smith, Henry County Sheriff Keith McBrayer, Oconee Commission Chairman Melvin Davis, Baldwin County Chairman Sammy Hall, Milledgeville Mayor Richard Bentley, and Monroe Mayor Greg Thompson.

A story on WTVM titled “Columbus Mayor Plans to Seek Second Term” is no longer available on the website. Whether this means Teresa Tomlinson had second thoughts, or is simply a technical problem is unclear.

Bob Barr on Government Surveillance

Former US Attorney and Congressman Bob Barr wrote about government surveillance in an op-ed published at

America may never be the same again.


For a decade, the political establishment — Big Government advocates from the Left and the Right — mocked privacy activists over their warnings about the dangerous rise of a Surveillance State. During this time, I cautioned repeatedly that one day we would wake to find ourselves in the grip of a digital dystopia in which virtually our every electronic communication is subject to surreptitious eavesdropping by government agents. Snowden’s revelations confirms this nightmare scenario.


For me, it matters far less whether we demonize or deify this one man, than it does to bring true transparency to what the NSA and other federal agencies are doing to abuse, circumvent, and downright break federal laws designed to limit and control surreptitious snooping by Uncle Sam.


Our nation was built on the principle of the rule of law; the notion that people are most free if they cede only a minimum of their natural rights to government, limited by a written Constitution, in order to secure liberty.


Yet now we are witnessing a government unbridled by the rule of law, which has become subservient to the whims of its leaders; and based not on the goal of ensuring liberty and justice, but on constructing arbitrary conditions of “security.”


In this paradigm, the Fourth Amendment no longer carries any real significance for we are asked to accede to the principle that a president and his administration posses “inherent power” — superseding any other authority or limitation — to secretly gather, store, and analyze an infinite amount of information gathered from the private communications of millions of law-abiding citizens.


Murphy Committee to Research, Discuss Brewpubs

State Senator Jack Murphy will chair the Senate Brewpubs and Alcoholic Beverages Tastings Study Committee, to research potential changes to Georgia law to allow greater latitude for on-premises tastings and sales of locally-produced alcoholic beverages.

“The Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee listened to many testimonies regarding filed legislation on brewpubs and alcoholic tastings during the legislative session,” said Sen. Murphy. “As chairman, I saw the merit in the different arguments and wanted to further analyze the impact of these bills. In this committee, we will review the three-tier distribution system of alcoholic beverages to ensure revised laws do not impact competition and jeopardize public safety.”

Semi-serious suggestion: hold at least one meeting in a local brewpub or distillery to get voter input. Committee rules should allow members of the public to play drinking games based on political buzzwords.

Notable Events

Today from 5 to 7 PM Governor Nathan Deal Young Professionals Event at Sweetwater Brewing Company, 195 Ottley Dr NE, Atlanta, GA, 30324

Today at 6 PM Harris County Republican Party Monthly Meeting at VFW POST 10558, 7379 HWY 27, Cataula, GA, 31804.

Today at 7 PM Atlanta Young Republicans Happy Hour at Front Page News, 1104 Crescent Ave., Atlanta, GA, 30309.

**Drink Specials**
$2.99 Lemon Drop Shooters
$4.00 Sweetwater Draughts
$4.99 Hurricanes


**FREE Appetizers**


**Complimentary Valet**
The valet station is located at the top of the alley north of Front Page News between 1106 Crescent Ave and the large white Crescent Place Apartments.


Click here for to RSVP via Facebook.

Saturday, June 15, 2013 at 9 AM, Cherokee County Republican Party Breakfast at Winchester Wood Fire Grill, 110 Mountain Vista Blvd, Canton, GA, 30115.

Saturday, June 15, 2013 at 7 PM Bowling with the Cherokee County Teen Republicans at Cherokee Lanes, 1149 Marietta Hwy., Canton, GA, 30114.

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