Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 11, 2014


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 11, 2014

On June 11, 1776, the Continental Congress appointed Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut and Robert R. Livingston of New York to draft a declaration of independence from Britain. Language in the original draft that condemned the introduction of the slave trade in the colonies did not make the final draft.

Abraham Baldwin, founder of the University of Georgia, arrived in Philadelphia on June 11, 1787 to attend the Constitutional Convention. Baldwin was joined by three other delegates, William Few Jr., William Houston, and William Pierce; Baldwin and Few would sign the Constitution on behalf of Georgia.

On June 11, 1963, President John F. Kennedy issued proclamation 3542 ordering Governor George Wallace of Alabama to allow two African-American students to register at the University of Alabama, as ordered by a federal court.

On the morning of June 11, the day the students were expected to register, Wallace stood in front of the University of Alabama campus auditorium flanked by Alabama state troopers while cameras flashed and recorders from the press corps whirred. Kennedy, at the White House, and Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, in Tuscaloosa, kept in touch by phone.

When Wallace refused to let the students enter for registration, Katzenbach phoned Kennedy. Kennedy upped the pressure on Wallace, immediately issuing Presidential Proclamation 3542, which ordered the governor to comply, and authorizing the secretary of defense to call up the Alabama National Guard with Executive Order 11111.

That afternoon, Katzenbach returned with the students and asked Wallace to step aside. Wallace, knowing he was beaten, relented, having saved face with his hard-line, anti-segregation constituency.

On June 11, 1986, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was released.

[T]he most memorable performer may have been an automobile: the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California, a custom-built car revered by auto collectors.

According to Motor Trend, the first Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California—colloquially known as the “Cal Spyder”—was produced in 1957 and the last was built in early 1963. In addition to the long-wheelbase (LWB) Spyder, Ferrari also produced a sportier, short-wheelbase (SWB) model. Though estimates vary as to exactly how many were made—Cameron says “less than a hundred” in the film—approximately 46 LWB and between 50 and 57 SWB Spyders were produced in all. For “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” the filmmakers used a modified MGB roadster with a fiberglass body as a stand-in for the Ferrari. The filmmakers reportedly received angry letters from car enthusiasts who believed that a real Ferrari had been damaged.

One 1961 250 GT SWB Spyder California, with chassis number GT 2377GT, belonged to the actor James Coburn (“The Magnificent Seven”), who died in 2002. On May 18, 2008, at the second annual Ferrari Leggenda e Passione event at Maranello, Italy, the British deejay Chris Evans bought that car at auction for 6.4 million Euros, or $10,894,400 (including fees), the highest price ever paid for an automobile at auction.


Today’s Ferrari California T is a convertible with a retractable hardtop that stickers for just under $200,000 before you start optioning it. But here’s a pro-tip: if you’re in the market, you’ll save a bundle with a pre-owned at Ferrari Maserati of Atlanta – almost any Ferrari you’ll see for sale is going to be low-mileage, and you’ll want it to visit a dealer before purchase as repair costs are a little pricy.

Eric Cantor loses: what it means for Georgia

Eric Cantor (R-VA) lost his reelection bid in a Republican Primary last night to Dave Brat, an obscure Economics Professor at Randolph-Macon College.

“This is one of the most stunning upsets in modern American political history,” said Larry Sabato, head of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “This is the base rebelling against the GOP leadership in Washington as represented by Eric Cantor.”

“I’m as stunned as anybody,” Sabato said. “I’ve yet to find one person nationally or in the state outside the Brat circle who thought Cantor would be beaten.”

Brat addressed jubilant supporters at a victory celebration in western Henrico County.

“The reason we won this campaign is dollars don’t vote — you do,” Brat said.

Brat, dwarfed by Cantor in spending, drummed home the immigration issue, accusing the incumbent of favoring “amnesty” for illegal immigrants. Cantor denied the charge, saying only that children of illegal immigrants should not suffer because their parents brought them into the country.

“Everybody agrees that if immigration reform was on life support before, they’re pulling out the plugs,” because no other Republican wants to lose as Cantor did, Sabato said.

The 7th District long has been reliably Republican, but Brat tapped into tea party and Libertarian discontent with Cantor on issues such as the debt ceiling and immigration.

On May 10, Republicans in the 7th District narrowly defeated Cantor’s handpicked party committee chairman. Linwood Cobb’s loss to Fred Gruber was the latest and freshest measure of discontent with the establishment among party activists from across the entire district.

Different spins on why the House Republican Majority Leader lost in his own district are competing. One spin is that the Tea Party and anti-immigration reform activists toppled the most visible symbol of the establishment.

Immigration reform is dead

Cantor was accused by tea party challenger Brat of supporting “amnesty,” though the congressman denied it.

Supporters of reform are quick to note that Sen. Lindsey Graham easily won his primary and avoided a runoff in conservative South Carolina despite his support for the controversial Senate bill.

But GOP members who are vulnerable to a primary challenge will be very hard pressed vote for such a bill post-Cantor.

The tea party is alive and well.

Cantor’s loss, the first time this has ever happened to a House majority leader, comes just one week after conservative state Sen. Chris McDaniel forced a June 24 runoff against Sen. Thad Cochran in Mississippi.

Tuesday was the symbolic halfway point of primary season. The “establishment strikes back” narrative that has dominated since Sen. John Cornyrn crushed Steve Stockman in the Texas GOP Senate primary this March needs to be readjusted.

This may embolden activists in states where incumbents had looked safe. Milton Wolf, running for Senate in Kansas, put out a statement saying: “On August 5th, it’s Pat Roberts’ turn,” referring to the third-term Republican senator.

Democrats, meanwhile, noted that Cantor has been one of leading obstructionists of the Obama agenda and cited his defeat as proof that the tea party has taken over the GOP.

From Georgia’s own Jenny Beth Martin:

The immigration issue drove Brat’s victory, said Jenny Beth Martin, Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund chairman.

“Dave Brat won tonight in Virginia because he effectively harnessed the outrage at Washington over the policies that have not been representative of the people including the prospect of amnesty for illegal immigrants,” she said.

Another spin emanating from Democratic quarters is that this marks the Tea Party extremist takeover of the Republican Party.

“Eric Cantor has long been the face of House Republicans’ extreme policies, debilitating dysfunction and manufactured crises,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California. “Tonight is a major victory for the tea party as they yet again pull the Republican Party further to the radical right.”

And in Virginia:

Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones, chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, said in a statement:

“If ever there was any doubt, tonight’s results prove that extremists have taken over the Virginia Republican Party. Eric Cantor tried to cater to hard-core conservatives, but he failed.”

Cantor’s loss follows last year’s defeats of Republicans for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. Democrats also hold both U.S. Senate seats.

In other news from the Commonwealth, this week, Republicans took over the Virginia Senate, marking the second time in history that Republicans have controlled the legislatures in all 11 former Confederate states, according to HuffingtonPost.

It’s part of an effort to block Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s (D) plan to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act to cover some 400,000 low-income Virginians, but it also has a broader, symbolic consequence: The unexpected flip means that the Republican Party has gained complete legislative control of all 11 Confederate states for the first second time since the early 1870s, or the post-Civil War era known as Reconstruction.

From the end of Reconstruction in 1877, Democrats maintained unrivaled control in the Southern legislatures, a period known as the “Solid South” that spanned through the Jim Crow era and into the 1960s.

Republicans started picking up majority support in presidential elections in Southern states as white voters there punished Democrats for their support of civil rights legislation. But Democrats didn’t start losing power over Confederate state legislatures until the mid-1990s — most notably, the elections of 1994, when the GOP won over both the U.S. House and the Senate.

In the 2010 election cycle, Republicans made historic legislative gains, picking up more state seats than the party had held since Reconstruction. Alabama’s 2010 majority turnover paralleled the broader political shift, and two years later Arkansas and North Carolina followed suit with 2012 legislative flips that also marked a first since the 1870s.

Finally, there’s what might be called the establishment spin, which is that Cantor neglected the voters back home.

“[It’s a] serious wake up call to all incumbents,” said Scott Reed, the top political strategist for the establishment-friendly Chamber of Commerce. “Time for candidates to run like they are running for sheriff… not prime minister.”

Cantor wasn’t exactly caught sleeping. He spent $1 million in the weeks leading up to the primary on television ads calling Brat a “liberal college professor,” and sent out mailers boasting he’d blocked “amnesty” on Capitol Hill. Polling, what little there was of it, showed Cantor way ahead, though he was booed at a May meeting of Republican activists in his district, according to the Washington Post. Some observers cautioned against drawing sweeping conclusions about immigration, and when the dust settles, it may prove that Cantor’s problem was less ideology and more a sense that he stood more for his own ambition than for any definable policies. He frequently reinvented himself with splashy policy speeches, and toured the country raising money and gathering chits for an eventual run for House Speaker.

“Was immigration an issue? Yes. Was it the deciding factor to the tune of 11%? Not no, hell no. It’s a fairy tale,” Virginia Democratic strategist Dave “Mudcat” Saunders said. “People talk. And they talk about Eric Cantor. ‘Where is he?’ His constituent services suck. He was never in the district. And when he was in the district and he went out, he had a [security] entourage with him. He was out gallivanting all over the country being a big deal and this is a lesson.”

Again from local activists in Virginia:

“That’s what you get when you get lackadaisical,” Warren said. “People are so disenchanted with politicians making laws for everybody but themselves. Dave is right with what the people want, and Eric Cantor has lost his way.”

So, who’s right? They all are, and they’re all wrong. It’s more likely that a combination of factors that included immigration reform, Tea Party activism, and benign neglect of the home front contributed to Cantor’s loss.

Within the state of Georgia, the biggest beneficiary of the Cantor loss is probably not the Tea Party, but Congressman Tom Price, who might be in a position to move up, either into Cantor’s leadership role, or into another opening as the dominos start to fall in Washington.

With Cantor gone from the leadership suites, David Wasserman, an editor at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, predicted “a free-for-all” when House Republicans assemble after the November elections to pick their new leaders. At the very least, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the No. 3 Republican, will seek to move up to majority leader, but he could also challenge Boehner.

More broadly, Cantor’s defeat will embolden conservatives like Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., who has openly complained that the leadership positions are occupied by Democratic or swing-state Republicans. The push will be for “red state” leadership.

Candidates could include Price, Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, and brash newcomers like Rep. Tom Graves of Georgia, Wasserman said. The message is that the House must be run by more conservative leaders.

If you want some fresh insight on what this means for Washington, this weekend’s Fulton County Republican Party breakfast will feature Rep. Price. Doors open at St. Ives Country Club at 8:15 AM on Saturday, while the program begins at 9 AM.

Nice internal poll, Jack, but check this out

Yesterday, Jack Kingston’s campaign released an “internal poll” that showed him with a strong margin over David Perdue.

According to the poll, Kingston led Perdue, 49 percent to 35 percent, with 16 percent of voters undecided.

That result is close to the SurveyUSA automated poll released last week that found Kingston ahead, 52 percent to 41 percent.

The internal poll was conducted for the Kingston campaign by Republican polling firm McLaughlin & Associates. It surveyed 500 likely runoff voters from May 27-29, using live telephone interviewers to both land line and cellphone users. It had a 4.5-point margin of error.

But here’s the problem: just last week, Eric Cantor released a poll by the same firm showing a strong margin over Dave Brat.

A poll conducted late last month for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) shows him with a wide lead over challenger David Brat heading toward next Tuesday’s Republican primary election.

The poll, shared with Post Politics, shows Cantor with a 62 percent to 28 percent lead over Brat, an economics professor running to Cantor’s right. Eleven percent say they are undecided.

The internal survey of 400 likely Republican primary voters was conducted May 27 and 28 by John McLaughlin of McLaughlin & Associates. It carries a margin of error of +/-4.9 percentage points.

Speaking of college economists

Roll Call has a neat piece titled Dave Brat: 11 things to know that sheds some light on this particular college economist’s philosophy:

1. Brat is the chairman of the Department of Economics and Business at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va. He has been a professor there since 1996, teaching courses including Macroeconomics, Economic Development and Economic Justice.

5. Many of Brat’s academic publications focus on the intersection of religion and economics. For example, in 2011, he published, “God and Advanced Mammon – Can Theological Types Handle Usury and Capitalism?” according to his official CV. He runs a program called “The Moral Foundation of Capitalism” at Randolph-Macon College.

6. Brat wants a balanced budget amendment and either a flat or fair tax, he wrote in an op-ed Sunday.

11. He co-wrote a paper called “An Analysis of the Moral Foundations in Ayn Rand,” also according to his CV.

Yesterday, seventeen prominent Georgia economists released a statement supporting the “Shafer Amendment,” which, if passed by voters in November, will cap the top marginal state income tax rate.

“We endorse Sen. David Shafer’s Senate Resolution 415 amending the State Constitution to prevent any increase in the maximum state income tax rate.”

“Sen. Shafer’s constitutional amendment gives Georgia a competitive advantage in attracting new jobs and businesses and in persuading existing businesses to expand, as it provides a large and important measure of long-run certainty in Georgia’s business environment.”

“We also endorse future tax reforms that would lower Georgia’s income tax rate in order to be more competitive with our neighboring states and reduce the tax burden paid by Georgia’s citizens.”


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