Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for June 17, 2013


Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for June 17, 2013

Deal to Dems: This is your problem, you deal with it

Governor Nathan Deal appointed Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson and House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams to join Republican Attorney General Sam Olens on the committee that will review the indictment of State Rep. Tyrone Brooks and recommend whether he should be suspended from office.

This is a reasonable response to the issue, as well as one that neutralizes the other party’s ability to cast any decision by Deal as being motivated by race or partisanship.

“It’s one of those cases where you absolutely have to take politics out of the equation and do what you think is the right thing and deal with that at a later date,” Henson said. “If you do that, you come out a lot better than looking at politics.”

Brooks is charged with 30 counts of wire fraud, tax fraud and mail fraud. Federal prosecutors allege Brooks raised money for two charities but used much of it for personal expenses. Brooks’ attorney, former Gov. Roy Barnes, has said his client is innocent but has had poor accounting practices.

The panel has 14 days to issue a written report; its decision is final.

If suspended, Brooks would continue to receive his legislative pay and benefits but could not act in an official capacity. The suspension would be lifted if Brooks is not convicted.

Olens, the only Republican on the panel, said his charge is clear.

“I will consider only whether the indictment relates to and adversely affects Rep. Brooks’ administration of the office and, if so, whether the rights and interests of the public are adversely affected,” he said.

Walter Jones on Hiring a Political Consultant

Walter Jones of Morris News writes about the candidacy of Dr. Branko Radulovacki for the Democratic nomination for United States Senate, the first announced candidate on their side. A new candidate could do worse than to follow the steps outlined by Jones for beginning a campaign

A candidate’s first job is to hire a political consultant who’ll help formulate strategy, including the answers to position questions.

Next come the fundraiser, campaign manager and press secretary. An opposition researcher will begin digging into the candidate’s own background for weaknesses and then the likely primary opponents’.

For the candidate, after hiring the consultant who helps pick the other members of the staff, the main task is asking people for money, first from friends who’ll give out of courtesy, then to professional colleagues who’ll do the same. At the same time, a candidate will call on anyone who can be considered a party leader, from current and former officeholders to the big givers.

Radulovacki probably won’t be heard from much in the coming months other than appearances at local party breakfasts and barbecues. If he’s smart, he’ll be busy though.

These informal conversations will give him practice answering questions and honing his message before meeting the press. While the Georgia press corps is tame compared to states like New York, there is still opportunity for peril in addressing a dozen political reporters who likely know the issues, as well as most veteran politicians.

Rookies often aren’t sensitive to how their comments can be taken out of context by opponents. It’s the sort of thing that tripped up Missouri candidate Todd Akin over his “legitimate rape” remark, and he had been a congressman.

Experience is the best teacher, of course, and it helps to gain that experience in a lower-profile position.

I would add a few points here. For first-time candidates, hiring the right political consultant can send a message that you’re serious, and that at least one seasoned political veteran is willing to take your candidacy seriously.

For candidates running for offices below Congress, large urban and suburban county office, or some highly-contested and highly-funded legislative races, and even most statewide races that don’t include the word “Governor,” staffing is likely to be much more streamlined than Jones discusses for a Senate campaign. You and your consultant may be the only ones working regularly to get you elected.

GOP fields 16 Congressional candidates to zero for Dems

Russ Bynum has an excellent and thorough articles on the sixteen candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives seats being vacated by Congressmen Jack Kingston, Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey in their pursuit of the GOP nomination for US Senate. Here’s an excerpt, and I recommend reading it in its entirety when you have time.

Tony Center of Savannah, a Chatham County commissioner and former county Democratic Party chairman, said he doubts any Democratic officeholders will risk their positions by running for the congressional seat Kingston is leaving after 20 years.

“The Democratic bench here is very, very thin and that’s the way it is statewide, too,” Center said. “I would love to be a member of the U.S. House, but I’m happy as a county commissioner. I don’t want to resign as a commissioner to run in a race like this.”

Meanwhile, five Republicans have already announced for the 1st District race in southeast Georgia barely a month after Kingston kicked off his Senate campaign.

In metro Atlanta’s 11th District, Gingrey won re-election in 2012 by a whopping 35 percentage points. Five Republicans are now competing for the seat.

Ironically, Democrats might have a tougher time recruiting a candidate for northeast Georgia’s 10th District seat now that Broun isn’t seeking re-election. During his more than five years in office, Broun has compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler and denounced evolution and the Big Bang theory as “lies straight from the pit of hell.” Such statements helped motivate challengers from heavily Democratic Athens.

“He in and of himself was definitely a recruitment tool for Democrats,” said [Russell] Edwards, the Clarke County Democrat who ran unsuccessfully against Broun in 2010.

Six Republicans are already running to take Broun’s place. Edwards said it’s unlikely any current Democratic officeholders will seek Broun’s former seat in 2014.


We’re tracking the Senate and Congressional candidates on the website. Hit that link, or head over there directly, and click on “2014 Campaigns” in the menu bar at the top.

Steve Forbes in Atlanta tomorrow

Former GOP Presidential candidate and Conservative stalwart Steve Forbes will be in Atlanta tomorrow for a fundraiser reception for Bob Barr, who is running to return to Congress in the 11th District. The event is Tuesday 18 June, 2013 from 11:30am to 1:30pm at The City Club of Buckhead speaking on “The Economic Outlook for 2013 and Beyond” in support of Bob Barr for Congress.

Steve Forbes serves on the Boards of FreedomWorks, the Heritage Foundation, and National Taxpayers’ Union

For Information on this Event, or to R.s.v.p., contact Maggie Bohannon by email to or 706.394.8893.

Meddlesome Feds Muddle Disclosures by Macon-Bibb Candidates

The recent decision by the US Department of Justice to order the delay of elections for Macon-Bibb consolidate government means that the timeline for campaign disclosures is uncertain, as most ethics deadlines are set by the number of days before the election.

“The rule is that you file your first finance report 15 days before the special election,” she said Friday.

Instead, Roberts plans to call the state Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission and ask for instructions.

“If they want a report, I’m fine with that,” she said. “All we can do is wait and find out when the election is going to be.”

Asked by The Telegraph what the postponement would mean for finance report filing, neither the campaign finance commission nor the Georgia Attorney General’s Office would comment on the record.

Had the election date not been kicked back, state law would have required a campaign-contribution disclosure report to be filed between June 30 and July 8, according to the campaign finance commission’s website. More reports were to be filed later, but all those dates are calculated in relation to when the election is scheduled.

Nonpartisan elections for the new Macon-Bibb County consolidated government were planned for July 16, but the Justice Department intervened with questions about how the election date was set and why elections are to become nonpartisan.


Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink?

The Water Resources Development Act, which was passed by the U.S. Senate, is now in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where Florida holds six seats and Georgia has none. This is important for the outcome of the Georgia-Florida water wars over the ACF basin, as well as the Port of Savannah Harbor Expansion.

The Georgia-Florida issues arise over questions of the propriety of wearing jean shorts allocation of water in the Chattahoochee River to supply Metro Atlanta and the resulting downstream flows received by the Sunshine State.

The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, the most important economic development project for Georgia and much of the east coast, requires a change in the projected total cost in order for the Peach State to move forward under its own allocated funding, as Governor Deal has indicated he will do.

Between the question of Atlanta’s water supply and the Savannah River dredging, this is the most important legislation for Georgia’s economy, and I would argue it’s the most important legislation for our entire state bar none.

Former Gov. Perdue Gone Fishing

While his pet project remains the punchline to rueful jokes among many Republicans, the Go Fish! Program continues to rack up losses of taxpayer dollars.

That dream — to promote Georgia as an angler’s pardise — belonged to Gov. Sonny Perdue, who pledged the state to borrow $14 million needed to float his Go Fish Georgia initiative. When he announced around Christmas 2007 that the center would be built down the road from his home, officials predicted annual attendance of 200,000.

Paid attendance, while slowly growing, is barely a tenth of that, with ticket sales of less than $70,000 this fiscal year, through the end of May. The debt, $20 million with interest, won’t be paid off until Dec. 1, 2027. Including bond payments, salaries and overhead, the state is paying out more than $1.5 million a year to keep the center going. It is open to the public three days a week, but school groups reserve it for field trips other days.

Joe McCutchen, an Ellijay retiree who criticized Go Fish from the start, said it “makes me sick to my stomach to think about the waste of taxpayer money. It’s turned out to be a real boondoggle.”

That’s not the way locals who use the facility see it.

“It is a pretty neat place,” said Bob Melnick of Warner Robins, who visited the center one recent Friday with his grandson. “For an area outside of the Atlanta market, it’s not bad. It gives kids around here something to do.”

If I were Governor, I’d be on the phone to Bass Pro Shops asking if they’d be interested in a public-private partnership. If you’ve been to the Bass Pro in Gwinnett County, you’ve seen tour buses pull up and disgorge tourists, and a parking lot full of out-of-state plates.

From the Events Calendar

June 17, 2013

DeKalb Young Republicans at Hudson Grille Brookhaven, 4046 Peachtree Road, Brookhaven, GA, 30319 from 7 to 9 PM, featuring Catherine Bernard as the guest speaker.

Conservative Republican Women of North Atlanta at Magnolia Bakery, 5175 S Old Peachtree Road, Norcross, GA, 30092 from 7 to 9 PM, featuring Senator Josh McKoon and renowned painter Steve Penley as the guest speakers.

Barrow County Republican Party Monthly Meeting at Winder Woman’s Club, 15 W. Midland Avenue, Winder, GA from 7:30 to 8:30 PM, featuring guest speakers State Senator Frank Ginn and State Representative Tom Kirby to review the 2013 Session of the Georgia General Assembly.

June 18, 2013

Buckhead Young Republicans June Meeting at Taco Mac – Lindbergh, 573 Main Street, Atlanta, GA, 30324 from 7 to 10 PM, with Bobb Barr, CD 11 candidate, Georgia Republican Party1st Vice Chair Michael McNeely and 2nd Vice Chair Ron Johnson.

Forsyth County Young Republican June Meeting at Taco Mac, 2275 Market Place Blvd, Cumming, GA, 30041 from 7 to 9 PM.

June 20, 2013

Peaches and Politics with State Rep. Robert Dickey at Dickey Farms Packinghouse in Musella, GA.

June 21, 2013

Countering the Common Core Education Event by Concerned Women for America at Sonesta Gwinnett Place (formerly Marriott), 1775 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth, GA, 30096 from 7-9:30 PM. Cost $10/person or $15/married couple; children are free but must be registered. Click here to register for the Friday, June 21, education event.

June 22, 2013

BuckSprings Breakfast at Fulton GOP Headquarters, 5920 Roswell Road Suite B-115, Sandy Springs, GA, 30328 from 8:30 to 10 AM. Secretary of State Brian Kemp will be speaking.

Countering the Common Core Education Event by Concerned Women for America at Roswell Street Baptist Church, 774 Roswell Street, Marietta, GA, 30060 from 9:30 AM to noon.

$10/person or $15/married couple; children are free but must be registered
Click here to register for the Saturday, June 22, education event.

You can pay be check for either of the Common Core Education events sponsored by Concerned Women for America by sending a check made payable to “CWA of Georgia” to:

CWA of Georgia
P. O. Box 671374
Marietta, GA 30066

June 23, 2013

“Proud to be a Republican Day,” sponsored by the Cherokee County and Bartow County Republican Parties at Red Top Mountain State Park, 50 Lodge Rd SE, Cartersville, GA, 30121 from 4 to 7 PM.

Gratuitous Railroad Notes

Conrail 5424 SD50 06162013Locomotive 5424 is one of the last, if not the last, Norfolk Southern ex-Conrail SD-50 locomotives to still wear the blue livery from before the 1997-98 breakup and merger into the Norfolk Southern and CSX railroads. It’s frequently seen at Chamblee, Georgia as part of the local switching power.

The National Model Railroad Association Annual Convention July 14-20th and the 2013 National Train Show July 19-21st will be held in Atlanta at the Galleria and surrounding venues.

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