Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 15, 2014


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 15, 2014

Friday, October 15, 1582 marked the beginning of the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar – the previous day was Thursday, October 4th.

George Washington left New York, the nation’s capitol, on October 15, 1789, embarking upon the first Presidential tour to New England.

The world’s first combat submarine, CSS Hunley, sunk during testing in Charleston Harbor on October 15, 1863.

The 20th Amendment to the United States Constitution too effect October 15, 1933, changing the Presidential term of office to begin and end on January 20th following each quadrennial election and Senate and Congress to January 3d following biennial elections, both from March 4th.

Billy Graham launched his national ministry on October 15, 1949 in Los Angeles, California.

On October 15, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed legislation creating the United States Department of Transportation. May God have mercy upon his soul.

Interstate 285 around Atlanta was completed on October 15, 1969.

The Omni opened in Atlanta on  October 15, 1972, as the Hawks beat the New York Knicks by a score of 109-101.

Former Secretary General of the Communist Party of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev won the Nobel Peace Prize on October 15, 1990

Georgia-born Clarence Thomas was confirmed as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court on October 15, 1991.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Political Rewind Tonight

Last week, I spoke to the Georgia Municipal Association’s Legislative Policy Committee at their quarterly meeting with Tharon Johnson, a Democratic strategist, in what we jokingly called the “Political Rewind” road show.


From GMA’s writeup:

The key to victory for the gubernatorial and senate candidates will be women, said political strategists Tharon Johnson and Todd Rehm. At the GMA’s Legislative Policy Council (LPC) meeting this week, Johnson and Rehm discussed the upcoming elections for governor and Georgia’s next U.S. senator.

“Independents, especially women, are going to be the key for election for both the governor’s race and the senate,” said Rehm, a Republican political consultant and blogger.

Johnson, a Democrat political consultant, said he’d advise Senate candidate Michelle Nunn to run commercials featuring her father, former Senator Sam Nunn. “Knowing that [David] Perdue is going to get more old white guys, put your dad on TV to get the older voters who remember and liked him.”

Both agreed that the outcome of this election could make Georgia a true battleground in the future. Carter and Nunn have shown that Democrats stand a chance this year which will bring more national attention to the state in the 2016 presidential election.

Johnson noted that if the gubernatorial and senate races go into runoffs, “the state is going to explode” with outside money for the candidates. Republicans traditionally have the edge in runoffs, but a Democratic upset is not unheard of, he said.

During the moderated discussion, Rehm noted that the GOP has difficulty expressing how its positions benefit individuals. Georgia is doing well with attracting jobs, said Rehm, but “we have not figured out how to say that without sounding like we’re condescending” to the people who are still struggling.

When it comes to the economy, both agreed it’s a factor in the election, but one that’s hard to capture for voters. “The governor is truly concerned about the Georgia economy,” said Johnson. “But there is a systematic problem that creates high unemployment.”

“What is the truth about the Georgia economy?” asked Rehm, referring to the state’s high unemployment rate while at the same time being listed as a top state to do business in. “The answer is that it’s complex and it’s hard to get that across in a 30-second ad.” The health of the economy differs around the state, he added, so individual perceptions of how the economy is doing is going to vary.

Johnson said gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter has to put forth a plan showing that he’s going to work with the Georgia legislature and federal government to improve the Georgia economy. Rehm said he sees the key to growing the Georgia economy is connecting individuals to businesses. “We haven’t connected the business environment with real people,” he said.

Tonight at 7 PM, Tharon and I will be reprising our usual roles on Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Political Rewind at 7 PM on your local GPB TV station.


Along with host Bill Nigut and regular guest Jim Galloway of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, we’ll also be joined by Meagan Hanson, Chair of the Georgia Federation of Young Republicans.

If you have questions or comments regarding the show, feel free to tweet using the hashtag #gapolrewind and I’ll try to address your questions or comments, though I probably won’t be able to do it live on the show.

City of St. Simons Island?

The Brunswick News has word today of a burgeoning movement among some St Simons residents to incorporate as a city.

A band of St. Simons Island residents is resurrecting the idea of forming a second city in Glynn County.

The group met Saturday to talk about the possibility of creating an island municipality. Glynn County Commissioners Clyde Taylor and Dale Provenzano, residents of St. Simons Island, attended the meeting.

A proposal to turn unincorporated St. Simons Island into a municipality failed in two nonbinding votes in the past, once in 1996 and again in 2004. Voters on St. Simons and Sea islands were asked if they favored forming their own city.

About 40 interested citizens gathered to hear about the idea over the weekend, said St. Simons resident Ivan Figueroa, a former Johns Creek, Ga., councilman who helped establish the Atlanta suburb in 2006.

“Everybody’s positive about the potential of incorporating,” Figueroa said Monday. “(But) a lot of things have to happen. Next would be doing some type of advertising, gauging if there is a desire to incorporate.”

He said at the root of the renewed desire to incorporate is a need to improve the quality of life on the island. Concerns about planning and development, the environment and the protection of valuable live oak trees are at the forefront of the movement.

Glynn County would continue to provide court services, health and human services and library services, but a new city could be more cognizant of preserving the way of life on St. Simons Island, Figueroa said.

Georgia Rep. Alex Atwood, R-St. Simons Island, and Rep.-elect Jeff Jones, R-Brunswick, said they too would be willing to listen to the islanders wishing to move forward with incorporation.

Jones, who will start his first term of office in January, said he hasn’t spoken to any of the individuals discussing the idea, though he hopes all three of the county’s local delegates will take up the issue if requested.

“I personally have no objection to the incorporation of St. Simons, but my personal opinion is not the issue,” Jones said. “The issue for me is to listen to and then follow the will of the people in our community that will drive whether or not I support such a change. All three members of our local delegation agree that ‘local legislation’ issues must be thoroughly, openly and publicly vetted and discussed by the community.”

Atwood, R-St. Simons, said the effort to incorporate would be a complicated one, and he said he wants to see the idea thoroughly vetted before it’s brought to the General Assembly for consideration.

Having gone through the incorporation of the City of Brookhaven as a resident, I can say that the service improvements have been significant, especially the increased presence and visibility of the Brookhaven Police Department. St Simons has the additional reason to bring police services onto the island of being geographically distinct and distant from the rest of Glynn County.

In Memory of Mack Burgess

Yesterday, we received news that Mack Burgess, who worked for the Georgia Republican Party in support of Governor Nathan Deal’s reelection campaign was killed in an auto accident.

Shortly after 4 p.m., Deal’s campaign office released an emailed statement on Burgess’ death.

“Mack was an incredible young man, smart, hard-working, with a bright future ahead of him,” Deal said. “This is a terrible loss for everyone in our organization and for anyone who knew him. We are going to take some time to grieve and pay our respects to Mack and to the Burgess family. I ask that everyone bear with us as we take a break from the campaign to mourn a life ended much too soon.”

Georgia lost a good man who dedicated his professional career to improving the lives of Georgians.

I first met Mack when he was managing Stan Wise’s 2012 reelection campaign to the Public Service Commission. One of Stan’s colleagues recalled Mack being asked to speak on Stan’s behalf at an event and doing so much more professionally than would be expected his age – at the time, Mack was literally weeks or months past his college graduation.

This year he saw increasing responsibility at the helm of a Congressional campaign and after that as a member of the Georgia Republican Party’s staff supporting Governor Deal.

May God bring peace to our friend, Mack Burgess, and all who called him friend, brother, or family.


Undecided Voters and Turnout

The AJC brings us this stunning meaningless statement headline, “Undecided votes key to Georgia’s tight races”

In Georgia the races for the top offices, particularly governor and U.S. Senate, are neck and neck. That has far-reaching implications and has placed the Peach State in the national spotlight.

A mix of local polls on the Georgia races show between 3 percent and 9 percent of likely voters surveyed as being undecided. With early voting underway and Election Day less than three weeks away, candidates are targeting these voters, spending millions of dollars on advertising.

“This is the group the commercial ads are directed to. This group tends to wait until the last minute to make up their minds, or don’t have enough information to make a decision,” said Andra Gillespie, a political science professor at Emory University. “You try to appeal to them based on their perceived preferences and issues that are likely to grab their attention.”

There is always a portion of the voting population who are late to choose a candidate. But they are playing an integral role this year in places, like Georgia, with competitive Senate races, Gillespie said. As the election gets closer, she expects the number of undecided voters to shrink.

The thing to remember, she said, “by Nov. 4, they are not undecided anymore.”

That’s undoubtedly true, but some evidence points to trends favoring the Republican party and its candidates both nationally and in Georgia.

From the Washington Post’s The Fix column,

In Georgia, we only have racial data available, which is admittedly more tricky. In the key Senate race in the state, white voters back David Perdue (R) by a two-to-one margin while black voters support Michelle Nunn (D) by 10-to-1, according to a recent SurveyUSA poll. We colored Georgia’s dots light blue and red to facilitate reading the graph quickly. It’s white voters who are turning out more so far, by a wide margin.

This will change. As the weeks pass, those dots will move around, sometimes a lot. But for Democratic operatives in Georgia and Florida, and Republican ones in Iowa and Maine: you’d better get to work on changing them.

The New York Times, in Upshot, has a great column on polling, where we found this:

In our experience, those who tell you in an R.D.D. vote “definitely” are in fact the voters — “probably” are in fact the posers.

Just 85 percent of the self-identified Democrats said they would “certainly” or “probably” vote. Ninety-five percent of Republicans said they would “certainly” or “probably” vote. Fifteen percent of Democrats said they were 50-50 — four times as many as Republicans. And you can see how that moves the numbers: The registered voters who participated in 2010 or 2012 — or were newly registered since 2012 — identified as Democrats by a 35 to 33 margin. Among the likely voters, it’s Republicans by 34 to 32.

Roll Call looks at what it calls a “voter engagement gap,”

Turnout will drive the outcome. And polling in the past couple of weeks has sent strong signals that Republicans are more motivated to get to the polls and so will show up in potentially dispositive numbers.

Democratic voters are less interested in the elections than Republicans, according to survey results released over the weekend by the Wall Street Journal, NBC News and the Annenberg Public Policy Center. The poll found that while all registered voters prefer a Democratic Congress by a narrow 48 percent to 43 percent, the number is more than reversed when it comes to the voters who say they’re very interested in the elections: 51 percent are hoping for a GOP sweep, while just 44 percent are rooting for the Democrats.

Similar, albeit more detailed, numbers were reported a week ago by Gallup. It found that, overall, voters have thought less about the elections, are less motivated to vote and are less enthusiastic about their choices than in the previous two midterms. But the Republican numbers on all three fronts are much better than for the Democrats: 12 points higher on attention paid to the campaign, 19 points higher on motivation to vote and 18 points higher on excitement about voting. “As a result, even if overall turnout is depressed compared with prior years, Republicans appear poised to turn out in greater numbers than Democrats,” Gallup concluded.

The Democrats are keenly aware of this voter engagement gap, which the pollsters say is about what it was before the GOP won control of the House in 2010 — then, just as now, voters were casting ballots to show their dissatisfaction with the job performances of both Congress and President Barack Obama.

I’m not sure what this means for the ultimate election results, but last night, Nate Cohn tweeted,

32 percent of the 89,487 voters who have so far voted in Georgia did not vote in 2010 

Cohn went on to clarify that refers to absentee ballots requested and

23 percent of the Georgians who have cast accepted ballots did not vote in 2010

Matt McDermott, a Democratic pollster, tweeted,

24% (of 90k) that have requested ballots are African American; 28% of those returned (43k) are African Americans.

Event Calendar

Veterans For Perdue: Sen. John McCain in Cobb County

October 15 @ 10:00 AM11:00 AM
VFW Post 2681, 140 Powers Ferry Road SE , Marietta , GA 30067+ Google Map
Find out more »

Peach County GOP: Lunch Meeting with Georgia Life Alliance

October 15 @ 11:30 AM12:30 PM
Georgiabob’s Cane River Vineyard, 144 Cane River Dr, Byron, GA 31008+ Google Map

Peach GOP Lunch Meeting  Our speaker will be Elaine from the Georgia Life Allian…

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Georgia State University CR: Meeting with GA GOP 1st VC Michael McNeely

October 15 @ 4:30 PM5:30 PM
Georgia State University, University Center Room 460, Atlanta, GA 30302+ Google Map

We are excited to have Michael McNeely, current 1st Vice-Chair of the Geo…

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Young Professionals for Casey Cagle Event

October 15 @ 6:00 PM8:00 PM

Hudson Grille Midtown, 942 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA 30309+ Google Map

Please join our Young Professionals Event benefiting Lt. Governor Casey Cagle

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UGA CR: Phone Banking Night

October 15 @ 6:00 PM8:30 PM

GA GOP Athens HQ, 445 N. Milledge, Athens, GA 30601+ Google MapIn lieu of a regular meeting in the MLC this week, we are presenting an o…

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Women For Perdue: Meet & Greet with Bonnie & David Perdue

October 15 @ 6:30 PM8:00 PM
The Home of Paula Dickey, 309 Blackland Road NW, Atlanta, GA 30342+ Google Map
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LIVE on CSPAN: Florida Gubernatorial Debate

October 15 @ 7:00 PM8:00 PM

Florida Gubernatorial Debate Incumbent Governor Rick Scott (R) and challenger…

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Midtown GOP Breakfast: With Todd Rehm of Ga Pundit

October 16 @ 8:00 AM8:45 AM

Empire State South, 999 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30309

+ Google Map

The Midtown Republican Breakfast is pleased to welcome political consultant and pollster Todd Rehm

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Senate Tax Reform Subcommittee Meeting

October 16 @ 9:30 AM11:30 AM

Mercer University – Drake Field House, 1316 Stadium Drive, Macon, GA 31207

+ Google Map

The third meeting of the Senate Tax Reform Subcommittee  – Sen. Judson Hill (R –…

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SARW-Tribute to Republican Women w/Mrs. Bonnie Perdue Voice of Women for Perdue

October 16 @ 4:00 PM6:00 PM

Cohen’s Retreat, 5715 Skidaway Rd, Savannah, GA 31406

+ Google Map

Join the Savannah Area Republican Women (SARW) for a Tribute to Republican Women…

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Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce: Political HobNob & BBQ

October 16 @ 5:30 PM7:00 PM

The Newnan Centre, 1515 Lower Fayetteville Rd, Newnan, GA 30265

+ Google Map

Political HobNob Meet the Candidates  in Coweta’s 2014 Elections! Click he…

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Sen. Bruce Thompson & Rep. Earl Ehrhart: Beachside Concert Fundraiser

October 16 @ 6:00 PM8:00 PM

LakePoint Sports Volleyball Pavilion, 755 Hwy 293, Emerson, GA 30137

+ Google Map

RSVP for this fantastic evening of Music, Fun and Friends! Contributions to Neig…

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Magical Meet & Greet for Nancy Jester and Greg Williams

October 16 @ 6:30 PM7:30 PM

The Grove Restaurant, 2761 LaVista Rd, Decatur, GA 30033

+ Google Map

Nancy Jester and Greg Williams are Republicans running for office in Dekalb Coun…

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Hall County GOP: Conservative Forum with Rep. Lee Hawkins

October 16 @ 6:30 PM7:30 PM

Hall County GOP HQ, 715 Queen City Parkway, Gainesville, GA 30501

+ Google Map

Special Evening Meeting Speaker:Rep. Lee Hawkins – Update on legislation planned…

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Oconee County GOP: Meeting

October 16 @ 6:30 PM8:00 PM

Watkinsville Community Center, 191 VFW Drive, Watkinsville, GA 30677

+ Google Map

Oconee GOP October Meeting  Guest Speaker: State Legislative Delegation Topic: O…

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Gwinnett County YR: Meeting

October 16 @ 7:00 PM9:00 PM

Georgia Gun Club, 1951 Braselton Highway, Buford, GA 30519

+ Google Map

Gwinnett Young Republicans Meeting

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Debate: GA 12 Rep. John Barrow & Rick Allen

October 16 @ 7:00 PM8:00 PM

Ogeechee Technical College – Auditorium, 1 Joe Kennedy Blvd, Statesboro, GA 30458

+ Google Map

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LIVE on CSPAN: Iowa Senate Debate

October 16 @ 8:00 PM9:00 PM

Iowa Senate Debate Representative Bruce Braley (D) and Joni Ernst (R) meet in a …

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GA 12 GOP: 12th District Weekend of Action in Augusta

October 1719

Augusta GOP District Office, 2834 Washington Road, Augusta, GA 30909

+ Google Map

Join us this weekend (10/17-10/19) for our 12th District Weekend of Action here …

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DeKalb County YR: Cutting The Red Tape Forum

October 17 @ 7:30 PM8:30 PM

Atlanta Marriott Perimeter Center, 246 Perimeter Center Pkwy NE, Atlanta , GA 30346

+ Google Map

DeKalb County Young Republicans proudly announce the first in a series of forums…

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LIVE on CSPAN: Wisconsin Gubernatorial Debate

October 17 @ 8:00 PM9:00 PM

Wisconsin Gubernatorial Debate Incumbent Governor Scott Walker (R) and challenge…

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Haralson County GOP at the Bremen Towne Festival

October 18 @ 9:00 AM4:00 PM
+ Google Map

Haralson County GOP at the Bremen Towne Festival There will be no regular meetin…

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Brooks County GOP at the Skillet Festival

October 18 @ 10:00 AM4:00 PM

Quitman Courthouse, 1 East Screven Street, Quitman, GA 31643

+ Google Map

Brooks County GOP at the Skillet Festival

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Bibb County GOP: Family Fun Day

October 18 @ 11:00 AM3:00 PM

Tattnall Square, Macon , GA

+ Google Map

Bibb GOP Family Fun Day – Macon   Contact: 478-474-3989 for more informatio…

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Rabun County GOP: Meet and Greet for Bob Fink

October 18 @ 11:00 AM1:00 PM

The Rock House, Main Street, Clayton, GA 30525

+ Google Map

Rabun County GOP – Meet and Greet for Bob Fink Contact: …

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Screven County GOP: Salute to Military

October 18 @ 4:00 PM6:30 PM

Pathway Center, 756 Woodbury Highway, Greenville, GA 30222

+ Google Map

Screven GOP – Salute to Military The second of our two major events will be a fr…

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CSRA RWC: Savannah River Cruise

October 18 @ 4:45 PM7:00 PM

The Patriot Boat Tour, behind the Marriott at 10th street, Augusta , GA+ Google Map

Cruise the Savannah River on the beautiful Patriot Boat, which offers indoor &am…

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Chatham County GOP: Annual Awards Dinner

October 18 @ 6:00 PM8:00 PM

Hilton Savannah DeSoto, 15 E Liberty St, Savannah , GA 31401+ Google Map

Chatham GOP – CCRP Annual Awards Dinner Contact: 912-598-4443 or lisoverto…

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Camden County GOP: Annual Oyster Roast with Gov. Nathan Deal

October 18 @ 7:00 PM9:00 PM

The Stein Home, 393 Lanier Drive , Kingsland , GA 31569+ Google Map

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The Atlanta Press Club: PSC District 4 Debate

October 19 @ 3:30 PM4:00 PM

Georgia Public Broadcasting, 260 14th Street NW, Atlanta , GA 30318+ Google Map

PSC, District 4 Airs online at Invited candidates: Daniel …

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The Atlanta Press Club: Secretary of State Debate

October 19 @ 4:15 PM4:45 PM

Georgia Public Broadcasting, 260 14th Street NW, Atlanta , GA 30318+ Google Map

Secretary of State Airs at 6:00PM on Georgia Public Broadcasting. Invited candid…

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The Atlanta Press Club: Lt. Governor Debate

October 19 @ 5:00 PM5:30 PM

Georgia Public Broadcasting, 260 14th Street NW, Atlanta , GA 30318+ Google Map

Lt. Governor  Airs at 6:30PM on Georgia Public Broadcasting. Invited candidates:…

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The Atlanta Press Club: Governor Debate – LIVE

October 19 @ 7:00 PM8:00 PM

Georgia Public Broadcasting, 260 14th Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30318+ Google Map

Governor  Airs LIVE from 7:00 – 8:00PM on Georgia Public Broadcasting. Invited c…

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House Study Committee on Autonomous Vehicle Technology

October 20 @ 1:00 PM4:00 PM

Coverdell Legislative Office Building – Room 606, 18 Capitol Square, Atlanta, GA 30334+ Google Map

House Study Committee on Autonomous Vehicle Technology to Hold Next Meeting At t…

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2nd Annual Graves & Gravley Grassroots Family BBQ!

October 20 @ 5:45 PM8:00 PM

Pine Mountain Gold Museum, 1881 Stockmar Rd, Villa Rica, GA 30180+ Google Map

You’re Invited to join District 67 State Rep. Micah Gravley and spe…

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