Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 30, 2014


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 30, 2014

July 30th could be celebrated as the birthday of democracy in America, as the Virginia House of Burgesses became the first legislative body in the New World on July 30, 1619.

 Its first law, which, like all of its laws, would have to be approved by the London Company, required tobacco to be sold for at least three shillings per pound. Other laws passed during its first six-day session included prohibitions against gambling, drunkenness, and idleness, and a measure that made Sabbath observance mandatory.

On July 30, 1931, Georgia Governor Richard B. Russell, Jr. signed legislation merging Milton and Fulton Counties if voters in each county approved a referendum. Fulton had earlier merged with Campbell County, to the south.

Actor Laurence Fishburn was born in Augusta, Georgia on July 30, 1961.

President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed legislation creating Medicare, for seniors, and Medicaid for some low-income people on July 30, 1965.

Two members of the Dalton, Georgia 150th Civil War Commission have written about the Battle of Crow Valley, which occurred in May of 1864.

News Bites

Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced a recount in the State School Superintendent’s race for the GOP nomination.

Effingham County is now home to a solar farm capable of powering 120 homes – Savannah Morning News

Mitt Romney took five of his 22 grandchildren on a tour of the American West –

Last surviving member of Enola Gay crew dies in Georgia – Savannah Morning News

In May 2012, the Marietta Daily Journal interviewed Theodore “Dutch” VanKirk about the Enola Gay’s flight.

In the face of higher police personnel turnover, Chatham County wants more control in its police merger agreement with the city – Savannah Morning News

After voting against a 2-mill property tax increase, the Augusta Commission appears poised to vote for a 1.5-mill hike. A judge rule the city won’t have to pay lawyers’ fees to a company that sued over the bidding process. – Augusta Chronicle

Graduate physician training programs may be changed in a way that would allow Georgia to address shortages in residency slots – Augusta Chronicle

Muscogee County voters will see a November ballot measure to give the Columbus Council authority to establish Tax Allocation Districts – Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.

Back to school sales tax holiday starts Friday – Albany Herald. If you use these holidays and wish to see them again in the future, thank your local state legislators.

Darrel Ealum, after winning over incumbent State Rep. Carol Fullerton, is being criticized over allegations of how he stacked up absentee votes in his Primary Election victory – Albany Herald.

Whitfield County Sheriff Scott Chitwood says voting not at the top of the “to-do list” for inmates – Dalton Daily Citizen. Maybe don’t tell the Democrats that inmates serving misdemeanor convictions are eligible to vote.

Last year, 30 unaccompanied minors from foreign countries were enrolled in Dalton City School – local officials agree with Gov. Deal they should have been notified in advance by the Feds – Dalton Daily Citizen.

Georgia House Speaker David Ralston was elected Chairman of the Southern Legislative Conference, whose 15 member states are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee,Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

Legal fees to defend against a suit by Mayor Kelly Kautz will cost Snellville taxpayers $100,000 – Gwinnett Daily Post.

The City of Smyrna is considering extending employment benefits to same-sex couples – Marietta Daily Journal.

The Kennesaw Board of Ethics is having trouble drafting language for its ethics code to address “bullying” and “intimidation.” – Marietta Daily Journal

Libertarian and would-be candidate for State House Jeff Amason is considering appealing a decision by Secretary of State Brian Kemp that removed him from the November ballot – Cherokee Tribune. Scot Turner (R), the incumbent, is about as small-l libertarian as I think a member of the State House can be and still be effective. I’m puzzled as to why a Libertarian would challenge him.

Cherokee County Commissioners are considering a 10-percent pay raise for public safety employees – Cherokee Tribune.

Georgia Ports Authority set a new record for the last fiscal year, moving more than 3 million containers – Georgia Public Broadcasting.

urtis Foltz, the Executive Director of the Georgia Ports Authority, says an improving economy and labor disputes at ports on the West Coast have helped steer more business to Georgia’s ports.

“As the demographic growth occurs in the southeast, more and more customers want to come through our ports to access that strong, regional presence we have, and take advantage of really second-to-none highway and rail access,” he says.

The GPA also saw a record year in the total volume of goods handled. The ports moved more than 29 million tons of freight, up 8 percent from last year.

The Carroll County Board of Education voted to keep the millage rate at the same level as last year – Times-Georgian.

Carroll County BOE incumbent John Wilson will not seek a recount in his 18-vote Primary Election loss to Michelle Morgan – Times-Georgian.


Skeeze of the week

Former candidate for Georgia Governor Ray McBerry appears to be misbehaving around young women again, according to allegations by the mother of an 18-year old.

A twice-failed candidate for Georgia governor found himself in an uncomfortable position — face-to-face with a mom furious with what he was trying to do this month with her teenage daughter.

Legal experts say what happened does not appear to be a crime, but the incident once again raises questions about actions involving Ray McBerry.

When Kayla got a Facebook friend request from a stranger named Tara O’Neill, the scheduling coordinator for Girls of Dixie Modeling, telling her she had a big client in Henry County looking to hire someone part-time, Malena Gooch made sure the client was real.

[Tara O’Neill] messaged her big client was Ray McBerry, the owner of KBN television in McDonough. Kayla went by herself to meet at his office. She says McBerry suggested a modeling shoot at High Falls Park.

Kayla showed us her Facebook thread with McBerry. He first talks about how to get to the park:

“You could either meet me there or meet me at the office and ride down with me in the Camaro lol.”

He asks for pictures of her wearing swimsuits “so I can tell how they look on you.”

And he even sends her a photo of a woman in a tiny bikini because that Girls of Dixie modeling coordinator “Tara said she thought this swimsuit would be pretty on you because of your nice tan. What do you think?”

Long story short, he allegedly tried to get the girl out to the park without her mother or a friend.Congratulations to the young woman and her mother for handling this well.

About that “outsider” thing has taken an interest in Nick Ayers, a Georgia-based political consultant whose career began with former Governor Sonny Perdue’s first campaign in the 2002 cycle.

First, both [Illinois GOP Gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner and Georgia GOP Senate nominee David Perdue] benefited from large ad buys by a mysterious Ohio nonprofit that hides its donors and has no obvious interest in Rauner or Perdue’s campaigns. The ads have harshly attacked the two men’s rivals.

Second, they both employed a political consultant named Nick Ayers.

And Ayers, it turns out, worked for the very same groups that funded the attacks against Rauner and Perdue’s opponents.

Jobs & Progress, an Ohio group, had less than a month earlier changed its name from the equally bland Ohio First for a Better Government. A politically active 501(c)(4) nonprofit, the group is not required to disclose its donors, nor did it share much else on its initial corporate filings besides the name of its attorney, David Langdon. Langdon is known in Ohio as a staunch conservative and opponent of campaign finance disclosure.

This spring, though – a year later — it sprang to life again, sinking more than $1.6 million into a super PAC called Citizens for a Working America. That group promptly began attacking Rep. Jack Kingston, the 11-term Georgia Republican running against David Perdue for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Saxby Chambliss.

In June, another Ohio nonprofit, the Government Integrity Fund, poured an additional $410,000 into Citizens for a Working America as the super PAC’s attacks on Kingston — and ads supportive of Perdue — continued to roll.

Perdue’s campaign steered more than $2.9 million in ad buys through Ayers’ firm, Target Enterprises, Inc. To the surprise of some observers — and the dismay of mainstream GOP groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — Perdue won the runoff on July 22, eking out a narrow 50.9 to 49.1 percent victory.

There’s nothing wrong here, and I don’t think there are even any allegations, except by the campaigns of losing candidates. Frankly, I’d even admit to being envious. The article is worth reading if you’re interested in the institutionalization of campaign finance in the wake of Citizens United and in the larger issues of the Campaign-Industrial Complex.

More Nunn memo fallout

Liberal has already started using the story about Nick Ayers as a counter to the news that Michelle Nunn’s campaign and public persona are complete creations of political consultants.

Professor Bullock sums up the effect of the memo leak for the New York Times:

“The average voter isn’t going to come across this and wouldn’t spend the time to read it,” said Charles S. Bullock III, a political scientist at the University of Georgia. “But it gives ammunition to the Perdue campaign. They know what the opposition sees it as its own weaknesses, and it can bore in on those.”

Mayor Kasim Reed’s advice to Nunn? Walk it off.

Reed, who is largely considered one of Georgia’s most prominent Democrats and prolific fundraisers, has pledged his support for Nunn and already campaigned on her behalf.

Asked what advice he would give, the mayor paused.

“Every campaign has ups and downs. You don’t know the quality of your campaign until you’ve been hit,” he said. “They should count this as a hit. And she’s going to be just fine.”

Greg Allen from National Public Radio, writes about how Michelle Nunn will attempt to win the November election.

Republicans talk about Obama more than Nunn does herself, notes Andra Gillespie, an associate professor of political science at Emory University. She says that’s because Nunn is trying to walk a narrow line.

“Michelle’s Nunn’s challenge is … to figure out a way to distance herself enough from the Obama administration that she can appeal to moderate undecided voters, but not do so in a way that she ends up alienating the Democratic establishment such that they don’t help her out,” she says.

That’s perhaps a reason why Nunn so frequently discusses her position on the Affordable Care Act. She says she wouldn’t repeal it, but believes Congress should look at it and “fix the things that aren’t working.”

But she’s studiously avoided saying whether she would have voted for it in the first place.

The Nunn campaign is hoping to build on the support President Obama drew two years ago in Georgia, when he came within 5 points of winning without ever campaigning in the state. But Republican political consultant Todd Rehm wonders whether the moderate Nunn will be able to count on that support.

“Without a presidential race that brought out some new voters, some folks who had lapsed into inactivity, it’s unclear how to get them enthusiastic if you’re not willing to go to the mat for your president,” he says.

But there’s something that Republicans and Democrats agree on — Georgia’s electorate is changing as its population grows, with the number of minority voters increasing and the proportion of white voters shrinking.

“People of color in Georgia tend to vote Democratic. If you’re African-American, it’s in the high 90s,” explains Stacey Abrams, the House minority leader in Georgia’s General Assembly and the first African-American elected to that position. “If you’re Latino or Asian, it’s in the 70s and 80s, which means those are voters that are most likely to be Democratic voters if they’re talked to, if they’re recruited and if they are turned out.”

To mobilize those potential supporters, Georgia Democrats have been working since January to target and contact voters through phone bank and canvassing operations.

A Power Grab – Get it?

Public Service Commission Chairman Chuck Eaton [disclaimer: a client] has an Op-Ed in the Times-Herald from Newnan about President Obama’s Carbon Rules.

[T]he Environmental Protection Agency recently issued 1,600 pages of new regulations that control existing coal-fired power plants, a staple producer of energy for our nation. With great fanfare, often repeated by the media, EPA announced that there was full flexibility as to how the rules could be implemented. What’s lost in the minutia of the volumes of regulations is that the only choice is to ultimately move away from coal, which accounts for roughly half our nation’s energy production. EPA’s purported “flexibility” is a perfect example of a Hobson’s Choice because, if implemented, there is no choice but to abandon coal. And the terrible irony is that the result would actually increase worldwide pollution, as our coal and manufacturing jobs are shipped overseas to countries with far fewer environmental controls.

And what about the impacts at home? Look no further than the president’s own words in 2008 when discussing the earlier iteration of his carbon plan: “Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”

Fortunately, the president doesn’t have the final word. Georgia has a robust energy planning process for electric utilities that involves long-range planning, with keen sensitivity to customer and economic impact. As chairman of the Public Service Commission, my colleagues and I intend to adamantly challenge this latest federal regulatory overreach and prevent electricity rates from skyrocketing.

Georgia operates some of the most efficient, well-run, environmentally responsible facilities in the country. Reliability and affordability are the result of our current regulatory construct. The Obama Administration’s initiative looks to dictate what energy sources can be built and how and when they can be run. But, beyond that, it even tries to mandate renewable energy percentages and the amount of energy efficiency options consumers must buy regardless of the cost to consumers. Mr. President, respectfully, that is our job, not yours. Enough with the federal power grab … in this case, a literal power grab.

Here’s an interesting difference in styles between groups addressing the EPA’s proposed rules.

“These rules if they are adopted, we believe, they will kill thousands of jobs and they will raise electricity bills in Georgia,” said Joel Foster with Americans for Prosperity Georgia.
His group and members of the national Americans for Prosperity organization are planning a rally for Tuesday afternoon outside the EPA’s Atlanta Office.
Just a few blocks away, the grassroots group Moms Clean Air Force will be holding what it’s calling a “play-in” at Woodruff Park to show support for the plan. They describe the event as being a more family-friendly option than a sit-in because it will feature activities for children who they say “can’t sit still.”
“Air pollution isn’t just unhealthy to breathe – it threatens our children’s future,” the group wrote on its website. “That’s why moms across the country want to see meaningful action on climate.”

State Rep. Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta) spoke at both the AFP Rally and the EPA hearings, telling the Agency the Carbon rules will hurt the economy.

“Ladies and gentlemen, if coal comes off the trains, all the other products that ride on the trains are going to get more expensive in your department store, in your grocery store,” said Martin. “If you don’t believe that that will have a negative impact on the economy, then we just differ.”

What did the 2014 Senate Primary teach you?

In a couple of weeks, I’m starting a mini-tour, speaking to a couple of Conservative Republican Women’s groups and a Tea Party organization and I’m working on a presentation that I’ll premiere in writing here called, “What I learned from the 2014 Republican Primary for United States Senate,” and I’m interested in your thoughts.

What lessons have you learned about politics from the 2014 Primary and Primary Runoff? Email me and I may incorporate your suggestions.

Gov. Deal receives award from 60 Plus Association

Yesterday, Governor Nathan Deal received the Benjamin Franklin award from the 60 Plus Association, the nation’s largest conservative seniors organization with more than 7.2 million senior supporters, for his longtime leadership on tax reform.

“Since taking office, I have worked tirelessly to boost job creation and enhance Georgia’s business climate,” said Deal. “This hard work has paid off – Georgia is now the No. 1 state for business. An essential component to this success was the Georgia Competitiveness Initiative, which I launched in 2011 to create a plan for long-term economic development and job growth. Delivering on the recommendation of that initiative, I signed into law a pro-jobs, pro-family tax reform package. This reform cut taxes for all Georgians and increased the state’s competitiveness.

“I remain committed to making Georgia a better place to run and grow a business, and an even better place live. Georgia has one of the lowest tax burdens on its citizens of any state in the nation, and it’s my plan to keep it that way. Thank you to the 60 Plus Association for this honor, and for their continued work on behalf of our nation’s senior citizens.”

Deal also signed into law legislation eliminating Georgia’s estate tax. Click here to find the text of the bill.

Events Calendar

We’re bringing the Events Calendar back online after it was overwhelmed during the Primary Runoff.

Republican Women’s Club Unity Meeting, July 31 @ 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM | $13

Location: Be My Guest: Catering and Events, 4216 Washington Rd, Evans, GA 30809

GOP Women Unite for 2014 November Win

Following the July 22nd run-off election, three local clubs are uniting to support the Republican nominees for the general election. On Thursday, July 31st, the CSRA Republican Women’s Club, Greater Columbia County Republican Women, and Women’s Republican Club of Richmond County will hold a unity meeting at 6 p.m. at Be My Guest Catering. The event is open to the public and will feature the Republican nominees for the 10th and 12th Congressional Districts, U.S. Senate, and State School Superintendent. Additionally, the clubs are inviting all candidates who ran for these elective offices.

Dinner is $13 per person. Those wishing to attend must RSVP to or (706) 294-5100 by Monday, July 28th.

UK Consul General Discussion – Business & Innovation, July 31 @ 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Location: Nelson Mullins – Atlantic Station, 201 17th St NW, Suite 1700, Atlanta, GA 30363

Join TAG IBS & Beta Gamma Sigma to hear the new British Consul General in Atlanta, Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford, speak about contemporary Britain and Innovation. Learn more about British industries and how the UK promotes its business in the Southeast.


  • Scholastic- Free
  • Individual- Free
  • Non-Member- $20.00
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