Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for May 8, 2013


Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for May 8, 2013

The next couple days of GaPundit will theoretically be a little bit shorter as I’m in Washington, DC for a couple days, but we might be able to bring you a couple little nuggets from the trip. Here’s a photo of occupied territory.

The White House

Barrow will not run for United States Senate next year

The first big news out of Washington today was that Democratic Congressman John Barrow took himself out of speculation for the United States Senate in 2014. From RollCall:

“I’m grateful for the encouragement I’ve received from folks all across the State of Georgia, but I’ve decided that I will not be a candidate for the Senate in 2014,” Barrow said in a statement. “I enjoy my work on behalf of the folks in the 12th District, and I look forward to continuing to serve them in the House of Representatives.”

Politicos on what Barrow’s withdrawal means

From Jim Galloway’s Political Insider:

Georgia Democratic Party chairman Mike Berlon told the AJC’s Greg Bluestein that this helps consolidate the field.

“John is in a situation where he’s probably the only guy who can win that Congressional seat back and we’ll need that for the next cycle,” Berlon said. “From the party’s perspective this solves one part of the equation. Now we can move forward and go for a non-contested or barely-contested primary. The DSCC is now having conversations with Michelle Nunn about a run. John’s a team player and he’s always been.”


“The divisive Republican primary is certain to produce a nominee that is too extreme for mainstream Georgians,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Matt Canter said in a statement.

“We are confident we will have a strong candidate that will excite Democrats and provide independents and moderate Republicans with a strong, reasonable alternative to the extremism from Republicans.”

Republicans crowed about the news.

“Barrow’s decision is the biggest recruiting failure of the 2014 cycle and ensures that Republicans are on offense across the map,” National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brad Dayspring said in a statement.

“Democrats in Washington threw everything at Barrow, who realized the seat is unwinnable and left the Democratic National Senatorial Committee standing at the altar. Republicans have a strong field of energetic candidates that represent Georgia values and will win in 2014.”


National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Katie Prill said that Barrow did not run because he would have lost and promised to make him one of their “main focuses” in the midterms.

Kingston moves money to Senate campaign

Congressman Jack Kingston reported transferring more than $1.9 million from his Congressional reelection campaign to his campaign for United State Senate in 2014.

Rebecca Cummiskey will serve as an Atlanta-based fundraiser for Kingston’s Senate campaign, according to an announcement from the campaign.

Cummiskey was named Finance Director for Governor Sonny Perdue¹s 2006 reelection campaign. As Finance Director, she coordinated efforts raising $15 million for the campaign and assisted in raising an additional $17 million for the Georgia Republican Party.

She also served as Finance Director for Senator Eric Johnson¹s campaign for Governor, raising $2.5 million dollars in a highly contested primary.

Cummiskey joins longtime Kingston aide Alexandra Kendrick who serves as Finance Director. To date, the campaign has raised more than $1.2 million and led the field in the first quarter.

Tricia Pridemore for Congress in District 11?

I’m probably making this up, but unconfirmed rumor has it Tricia Pridemore will announce for the 11th Congressional District next week.

Edward Lindsey for 11th District: Attacking Human Trafficking

State Rep. Edward Lindsey sent out an email about his bill against Human Trafficking:

Yesterday, Governor Deal signed HB 141, a bill I Sponsored this year that will assist the victims of human trafficking to get the assistance they need to free them from the dark web they have been dragged into by our 21st century version of slave traders.  This is the second major piece of legislation that I have sponsored and passed on this issue.

In 2010, I was asked by church leaders in my district to address this problem in the General Assembly. Tragically, Georgia has become an international hub for human trafficking because of our boom town reputation, convention trade, and international airport. Despite the clearly recognized  problem, several bills designed to deal with the issue had been repeatedly bottled up in committee in previous years.

I was able to pull together representatives from the Attorney General’s office, state prosecutors, law enforcement, churches and religious organizations, and social workers. Working together we crafted HB 200 in 2011. The bill clarified the criminal definition of human trafficking, toughened the penalties, educated law enforcement, expanded jurisdiction of the GBI, and gave assistance to victims. The end result was legislation that passed with near unanimous support in the General Assembly, and Georgia is now considered to be a model  for other states to follow in tackling the problem.

If you help elect me to Congress to represent Georgia’s 11th Congressional District, I will take this experience of listening to my constituents and acting on their concerns to Washington.

I hope you will join me in this campaign to bring conservative reform to Congress where it is so badly needed.

Ben Watson to run for State Senate

State Rep. Ben Watson announced he will run for the state Senate seat being vacated by Buddy Carter, who is running for Jack Kingston’s Congressional seat.

“I’ve been a strong advocate in the legislature for our entire metro Savannah area,” said Watson, who also is Kingston’s brother-in-law. “As a senator, I can be even more effective in making our voices heard in Atlanta.

“I was able to have a significant voice and impact on many issues that affect Georgians, including clamping down on drug abuse of prescription medicines with the “Pill Mill” legislation,” said Watson. “I also successfully sponsored common sense legislation to protect the redfish for future generations.

“I have not supported tax increases and will continue to work hard to prevent them. Americans pay too much in taxes already and we need continued conservative leadership on fiscal issues,” said Watson.

File this under “Small World”: Ben Watson is brother-in-law to Jack Kingston.

Who else might run for Carter’s seat? According to the Savannah Morning News,

If [Watson runs for Senate], Chatham County Commissioner Patrick Farrell says he won’t rule out a bid in Watson’s district, which — like Carter’s — is lopsidedly Republican.

From that same story, Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman is considering running for Kingston’s Congressional seat. And State Rep. Ron Stephens has said he’s not interested in running for Carter’s Senate seat.

Governor Deal signs FY 2014 Budget, vetoes five bills

On the last day for signing bills from the 2013 Session of the Georgia General Assembly, Governor Nathan Deal signed the FY 2014 budget, totaling $19.9 billion.

“The General Assembly and I have once again enacted a budget that holds the line on spending, while funding the priorities that continue to help make Georgia the No. 1 place in the country in which to do business and create jobs,” Deal said. “Even with improving revenue numbers, state government faced another round of cuts because of the growth of expenses in education and in our Medicaid program. I commend the General Assembly once more for its responsible work, which focuses on the core functions of state government.”
Deal took a conservative approach in setting the revenue estimate given the national uncertainty with the federal debt limit and budget negotiations that could impact state revenues. In order to meet reduced revenue estimates and growth needs in K-12 and Medicaid, agencies again took 3 percent budget cuts, with the exception of select public safety and human services agencies.

Gov. Nathan Deal on Tuesday vetoed bills that would have abolished the Heart of Georgia Airport Authority and remade the Dodge County-Eastman Development Authority after the heads of both bodies accused the bills’ sponsor of abusing his office.

“The governor had some questions and unfortunately failed to get the answers regarding these bills,” said Chris Riley, Deal’s chief of staff.

Rep. Jimmy Pruett, R-Eastman, pushed the bills — House Bills 635 and 636 — through the General Assembly in the final days of the legislative session.

Development authority Chairman Jack Burnham and airport authority Chairman Eddie Driggers both claimed Pruett had personal and financial motives for pushing the legislation, a claim Pruett denied.

Mark Sanford wins SC-01 Congressional Seat

Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (R-Cheating Heart) won yesterday’s special election over Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch for South Carolina’s First Congressional District.

Three weeks before the special election, news surfaced that Sanford’s ex-wife had filed a court complaint alleging he was in her house without permission in violation of their divorce decree, leading the National Republican Congressional Committee to pull its support from the campaign. Sanford must appear in court Thursday on the complaint.

Sanford already has survived a 16-way GOP primary with several sitting state lawmakers and Teddy Turner, the son of media magnate Ted Turner. He also won the primary runoff. Colbert Busch defeated perennial candidate Ben Frasier with 96 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary.

Sanford, despite losing national GOP support, picked up the endorsement of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a tea party favorite who is well-known in the district.

Kennesaw State University College Republicans Chair Tori Wester, her intern Will Kremer, who serves as Chair of the Georgia Association of College Republicans, and two colleagues traveled to the Palmetto State this weekend to make phone calls for the Sanford campaign.

Saturday morning at the unheard of hour of 7:45, we collegiate campaigners put on our most fabulous Southern fashions and headed to USC’s Carolina Coliseum, where the South Carolina State GOP Convention was being held. After hurried introductions, our GACR members immediately set to work making phone calls for the Sanford campaign.

While making countless voter contacts via telephone, we also spoke to attendees of the convention, encouraging them to contact their friends and family in SC01, as well as assist with the phone banking. After a long, tiring day of voter outreach, the GACRs had a paper stack full of hundreds upon hundreds of successful phone calls that had been made on behalf of Sanford.

This race offers two glimpses of the future for political hobbyists and professional consultants.

First, it shows how third party organizations in a post-Citizens United milieu can step in where the established political party organization cannot or will not support the nominee.

A conservative non-profit that was among the few national groups to back former Governor Mark Sanford, despite his complicated personal life, claimed victory on Tuesday night, and celebrated a $250,000 independent expenditure spent in the final week in South Carolina’s first district.

“Independent Women’s Voice was the only outside group supporting Sanford on a significant scale, by educating voters about the facts about the Democratic candidate,” said IWV president Heather Higgins in a statement.

The group came into the district to support Republican Mark Sanford after the National Republican Campaign Committee opted to stay out of the race when Sanford’s ex-wife accused him of trespassing.

Second, it shows how the Democratic party will continue its spin narrative about Republican candidates being too extreme for independent female voters.

House Republicans’ outreach to women voters now has Mark Sanford as the face. Republicans now have to defend him and stand with him until Election Day,” said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel of New York.

Porsche Sales Up Dramatically

Atlanta-based Porsche Cars North America released April numbers showing a 17.3% increase in car shipments over April 2012, and a 29.1% increase for the first four months of 2013 over the previous year.

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