Tag: Mike Crane


Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for November19, 2012

Biscuit (black-and-tan) and Mayflower (yellow) are lab-hound mix puppies who are approximately 3-4 months old and weigh about 15 pounds each; the littermates are available for adoption from Walton County Animal Control.

June is a happy , beautiful, adorable, playful, very affectionate lab mixed puppy, who is about 3 months old and weighs around 8 lbs; she is available for adoption from the Savannah Chatham Animal Control.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections

Because GeorgiaDailyDigest.com and GeorgiaPoliticalDigest.com have shut their doors, we’ve started GaNewsDigest.com to provide a wider variety of links to news stories about Georgia politics, business & economy, education and energy issues. The site is updated through the day.

On Friday, Governor Nathan Deal announced that he decided against setting up a state healthcare exchange under Obamacare.

“I remain committed to common sense health care solutions that empower consumers to take responsibility for their own health, motivate the private sector and drive efficiencies for consumers, employers and governments alike,” Deal said. “I continue to hope that we might finally engage in a serious conversation about restoring meaningful flexibility to states around health care programs.”

Deal said the federal government needs to loosen regulations that restrict states’ options.

“We have no interest in spending our tax dollars on an exchange that is state-based in name only,” Deal said. “I would support a free market-based approach that could serve as a useful tool for Georgia’s small businesses, but federal guidelines forbid that. Instead, restrictions on what the exchanges can and can’t offer render meaningless the suggestion that Georgia could tailor an exchange that best fits the unique needs of its population.

“I have joined numerous other governors seeking guidance from the federal government on establishing exchanges. We’ve yet to receive serious answers to our questions. I will not commit Georgia taxpayers to a project with so many unknowns.”

State Senator Vincent Fort (D) doesn’t like anything ever done by any Republican anywhere  Governor Deal’s decision.

“I bet this crowd, when the feds set up the health care exchanges, are going to howl about that,” Fort said.

Fort also said that putting uninsured people in the Medicaid program would decrease the costs that insured patients pay to cover the bills of those who need medical care but lack insurance to pay for it.

“It’s unfortunate that the governor’s chosen to put politics over the need of Georgians,” Fort said.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a feature on the long, strange trip that is Glenn Richardson’s political career. The story is worth reading in its entirety.

In Senate District 30, where Richardson failed to make the December 4th Runoff, State Rep. Bill Hembree will meet Carrollton businessman Mike Dugan, and it’s a jump ball.

Hembree led the four-candidate field in all three counties of Carroll, Douglas and Paulding, which comprise District 30. He led Carroll with 12,173 votes, topping two Carroll County candidates — Dugan, with 9,703 votes, and business consultant Jim Naughton, who had 5,091 votes. Former Georgia Secretary of State Glenn Richardson of Hiram finished a distant fourth in Carroll County with 3,627 votes.

In the total district vote, Hembree got 27,565 votes; Dugan, 13,843; Richardson, 8,467; and Naughton, 7,043.

Hembree believes the upcoming advance voting will be important to his chances of winning — he said his campaign determined that he received roughly 15,000 votes during the general election’s early voting cycle. That would account for more votes than he received on Election Day.

“We received more in advance voting than we did on election day,” Hembree said. “With 15,000 voting for me early, if we can get that same type of commitment we feel like that is a real positive step for us.”

In 2011, a pair of Senate special elections held in November went into December runoff elections; in SD 28, Duke Blackburn led the first balloting but was overtaken by now-Senator Mike Crane in the runoff and in SD 50, former State Rep. Rick Austin led the first election but lost the runoff to Senator John Wilkinson. There was some spillover in those elections from the leadership battles in the State Senate that may be absent this year, but those examples should serve as a cautionary tale to anyone finding himself or herself in a December runoff.

Here’s what I told the Carrollton Times-Georgian:

“I could go on all day with examples [of December runoffs that reversed earlier results],” said Todd Rehm. “That said, Bill Hembree still has to be considered the leader in the runoff for SD 30. Hembree’s experience and ability to fundraise, along with the fact that Hembree carried Carroll County, make it his race to lose. But if there’s a lesson for candidates who come in first in November elections and head for a runoff it’s that they can’t afford to take anything for granted and Bill Hembree should be doing everything possible to ensure his victory.

“And remember, there’s yet another election in January.”

Speaking of Senate leadership, here’s an interesting inside tidbit: Senator Renee Unterman (R-Buford) punched above her weight at the Swamp Showdown in Little Ocmulgee State Park, where the Senate Republican Caucus elections were held last week.

Renee Unterman, another powerful senator from the Gwinnett delegation, said she was honored to nominate and second Shafer for the position [of President Pro Tem], during a meeting at Little Ocmulgee State Park. She had 19 proxies from the Reform Caucus to support her colleague.

“Our Reform Caucus is committed to uniting fellow senators with the lieutenant governor restoring order, transparency, and ethics to the Georgia State Senate,” she said of the group.

The appointment is a coup for the county, she said.

“Gwinnett’s prominence continues to rise with the state’s legislative leadership, as our delegation leads both in the Senate and the House,” she said. “Sen. Shafer is a shinning example of our talent in Gwinnett County.”

So, including her own vote, Unterman was voting for an absolute majority of the Republican Caucus.

Walter C. Jones of the Morris News Service writes about what changes in Senate leadership may mean for the state.

The leaders legislators picked says a lot about them and the coming two-year term of the General Assembly.

House Republicans made no changes. Most observers figure they didn’t need any. They had success on Election Day, during the last session passing major legislation and in negotiating contentious bills like the budget and tax reform with the Senate and the governor.

His loss continues the concentration of power in North Georgia. With the exception of mid-state residents House Majority Leader Larry O’Neal of Bonaire and Senate Majority Whip Cecil Staton of Macon, the leaders reside upstate.

The Senate Republicans did make changes to their leaders.

Winning the nomination for president pro tem was David Shafer of Duluth. Other winners are Ronnie Chance of Tyrone as majority leader and Butch Miller of Gainesville as caucus chairman.

Consider how their elections consolidate power. Shafer has been a long-time ally of Cagle, who’s from Hall County like Miller and Gov. Nathan Deal. Chance has been Deal’s Senate floor leader.

Having the bulk of the legislative leadership living close enough together to carpool to the Capitol could mean favoritism toward the region they all call home. But remember that two of Deal’s top projects are the deepening of the ship channel in the Savannah River and investing enough in Georgia Regents University in Augusta to make it one of the country’s premier medical schools.

At the very least, it suggests there will be close cooperation. It may not seem possible to exceed last year when Deal’s signature legislation, criminal-justice reform, passed unanimously and his HOPE reforms nearly did the year before. But other bills ran into less harmony, and Deal and Ralston reportedly held off on more ambitious legislation out of fear of discord, mainly in the Senate.

Now, a new combination of leaders will give their full attention to legislation. And as Shelton said, “Any organization is a reflection of its leadership.”

The image in the reflection is coming into focus, and it looks a lot like a soft-spoken grandfather, Nathan Deal.

Given Governor Deal’s leadership in bringing jobs to Georgia, and his respectful approach to working with the legislature, this bodes well for our state.

State Senate Democrats will meet today to elect their leadership.

Welcome to the 2013 season of Georgia Republican Party elections! I’ve already received a piece of direct mail from John Padgett, who is running for First Vice Chair. Here’s my two cents: if you want my vote, you have to ask me for it personally. The pool of eventual voters for Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party is small enough that you can identify frequent flyers from past convention cycles and start calling them personally.

The first rule I tell anyone running for office is that the best way to earn someone’s vote is to ask them for it personally; everything else, all mass media, are second-best ways of dealing with the fact that in most elections above the level of State House, you won’t be able to reach every voter personally. This is the most fundamental rule of winning elections.

Unfortunately, the last few cycles have seen GAGOP elections take on the aspects of large-scale media-driven campaigns featuring direct mail, robocalls, websites, and mass emails. But it doesn’t speak well of your promise to be the “Grassroots” candidate if you don’t personally contact the actual voters who make up the grassroots, tell them about yourself, and ask personally for their vote.

If you want a truly grassroots-drive Georgia Republican Party, join me in declining to vote for anyone who does not ask personally for your vote.

Speaker David Ralston will address the Nov. 28 breakfast of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce Marietta Chapter.

The Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials has notified the Gainesville City Council that it objects to the at-large districts in which council members are elected.

“At-large voting processes have been undone by litigation in many jurisdictions across the county,” said Jerry Gonzalez, GALEO’s executive director. “We believe the city of Gainesville is not in compliance with the Voting Rights Act and we want to work to eliminate the at-large voting process with the City Council cooperatively.”

File under bad headline writing: “Gov. Deal to pay fees in failed ethics complaint” states the headline in the Rome News-Tribune, which might sound like Governor Deal was being fined for an ethics complaint filed against him. But the story is about the State Ethics Commission deciding against making Rome-based ethics gadfly George Anderson pay the legal fees incurred by Deal’s campaign to defend against a frivolous ethics complaint that was dismissed.

The Government Transparency Commission voted 3-1 on Friday against making Anderson pay a portion of the legal fees that Deal spent to address complaints from Anderson….

Anderson apologized for some of the language used in his complaints. But he said it’s unfair to ask citizens to pay for lawyer fees when their complaints against public officials are rejected.

The executive director of Georgia Common Cause, William Perry, said his group was concerned that forcing citizens to pay would discourage others from filing complaints.

File this one under “please don’t give the General Assembly any ideas.”

Moonshine distillers are making their first batches of legal liquor in this tiny Georgia town’s city hall, not far from the mountains and the maroon, orange and gold canopy of trees that once hid bootleggers from the law.

A handful of moonshine distilleries are scattered around the South, but observers say this is the first they’ve ever seen right in a city hall. The distilleries come amid an increased interest in the U.S. for locally made specialty spirits and beer brewed in homes and micro-breweries.

The Dawsonville moonshine makers and city officials say the operation helps preserve a way of life. It also carries on traditions of an era when moonshine meant extra income for farmers, medicine for their children and helped fuel the beginnings of NASCAR racing.

“Dawson County was, sure enough, the moonshine capital of the world at one time,” distiller Dwight Bearden said, as he checked on the still where the third batch of Dawsonville Moonshine was being prepared. “It was just a way of life back then.”

Last week, the distillery was delivering the second batch of moonshine it’s made to its distributor, which has orders from liquor stores and other businesses around the state. Georgia law prohibits the distillery from selling its liquor at the site, but allows a distributor to ship it to stores with a liquor license, where it can be sold legally.

Wood recently got approval from state officials to offer small samples for tourists to taste.

State Rep. Rusty Kidd of Milledgeville, who introduced that bill during the most recent session, said Thursday he believes there will be more legislation during the upcoming session that would allow the Dawsonville distillery and others in the state to sell a single bottle of moonshine to tourists who want to take one home.

Locally made and locally grown products are a key aspect of the business, she said. A batch of apples fermenting last week came from the north Georgia town of Ellijay, about 30 miles away, she said.

The local movement has been a successful one in north Georgia, where several vineyards dot the mountain landscape and offer tastings of wines made with locally grown grapes. In Blue Ridge, at least one apple orchard brews and bottles its own apple and peach ciders.

Corn used by the distillery is also grown locally, and the distillery sticks to authentic recipes and doesn’t use any sugar, Wood said.

“This ain’t sugar liquor,” she said, “this is the real deal.”


Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for September 4, 2013

Weebles, a black lab, gave birth to 11 puppies in an animal shelter, then got sick and was unable to nurse them. Five puppies survived after Angels Among Us pulled Weebles and the puppies. The puppies aren’t ready for adoption yet, but the vet bills are causing a drain on the rescue’s money. Visit their website if you wish to donate online or to apply to foster or adopt a dog or cat.

You can also help Angels Among Us by voting for them in the Shelter Challenge, which is giving away grants ranging from $5000 to $1000 to winning shelter. To vote, hit the link and in the “Search and Vote for A Shelter” box, set the state to Georgia, hit search and wait for the results. When it shows the result, click vote, then you’ll have to fill out some letter to confirm your vote.. Then go to another computer and vote again and repeat every day through September 16th.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections

Justice Party Presidential Candidate Rocky Anderson qualified as a write-in candidate on the Georgia ballot, which means that he filled out some paperwork correctly and both of his write-in votes will be counted. Mickey Mouse failed to qualify as a write-in candidate, but will likely receive more write-ins. Seriously.

Attorney General Sam Olens has raised his profile in Georgia politics as the best conduit to a potential Romney administration.

Dalton native Andrea Saul serves as press secretary for the Romney campaign. Dalton is quite proud of her.

Continue Reading..


Georgia Political News for Monday, February 20, 2012

Today’s adoptable dog is Ginger, who is being fostered by Adopt A Golden Atlanta. Ginger is six years old and loves playing fetch with a tennis ball. Ginger is looking for a quiet home, preferably with another calm dog.

Two dogs featured last week from the Walton Animal Shelter have been moved into foster care at Forgotten Paws. They aren’t on the website yet, but should be available for adoption.

One of two VC-25 aircraft that play the role of Air Force One visited Savannah last week, without its most famous passenger. The plane was practicing take-offs and landings at Hunter Army Airfield on Tuesday.

Former United States Senator Rick Santorum drew a crowd estimated between 3500 and 4500 last night at First Redeemer Church in Forsyth County. Santorum devoted much of his speech to the economy, and the proper role of the government under the Constitution. Senator David Shafer has been named state chairman of the Santorum campaign, said “I think Newt is clearly the frontrunner – he’s from Georgia, but I think the momentum is with Rick Santorum. Republicans are looking for someone new.” Santorum won the straw poll at the Floyd County GOP mass meeting this weekend, one of many across the state.

Notably, this is many more supporters than appeared in at least four campaign events featuring Gingrich and Herman Cain or Callista Gingrich. Gingrich told former hometown newspaper the Marietta Daily Journal that

“I think winning Georgia is really, really important. think I’m clearly ahead in Georgia…. We have a much bigger organization than anybody else. My guess is that we’ll win Georgia, but we’re going to campaign here every single day as though we’re behind, and we’re going to do everything we can to motivate people to turn out.

A tentative Gingrich visit to Carrollton remains up in the air.

Politics is the connection between transportation and economic development, according to Walter Jones. Intermodal transportation facilities including highway and rail access and the proximity of ocean ports drove the selection of Georgia for Caterpillar’s new manufacturing plant. Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman said, “[TSPLOST] is critical in making Georgia competitive. We’ll work for it, from all of our employees’ perspective here in Georgia to help get that passed here this summer.”

The Macon Telegraph editorial board opposes legislative attempts to amend the state Constitution to allow the state school board to approve local charter schools, saying the “Republican-controlled Legislature has had an anti-public school bent for years and now it foists upon us a constitutional amendment that would create an avenue for funding private charter schools. If it passes, it should be targeted for defeat at the ballot box.”

The Cobb County school board declined a $50,000 planning grant designed to help created a charter school called STEM Inventors Academy. The board said state law prohibits it from participating in a startup charter school in the way the grant envisioned.

Georgia Power opposes Senate Bill 401, which would give property owners more flexibility in installing solar power arrays by having a third party install them and purchasing power from the third party instead of financing the installation directly.

State Rep. Kevin Cooke (R-Carrollton) introduced House Bill 981, which would open bars, public schools, colleges and other locations that are currently off-limits to holders of concealed carry permits.

Cooke also co-sponsored House Bill 679, the “Constitutional Carry Act,” which would remove the requirement of a permit for the concealed carry of firearms.

Senate Bill 434 by Sen. Judson Hill (R-Not Jon Huntsman) the “Federal Abortion Mandate Opt-out Act” would prevent qualified health care plans from paying for abortions unless the life of the mother is threatened by a continued pregnancy.

Senate Bill 438 by Sen. Mike Crane (R-Newnan) would prohibit state employee health plans from paying for abortions. Crane says that the state spent $850,000 over the last three years paying for abortion services.

House Bill 735, sponsored by a quarter of Democrats, seeks to require four hours of firearms safety training for all applicants for a concealed weapon permit.

The Albany Herald Editorial Board opines that “all politics is financial,” and that minor changes in the law that are felt by taxpayers in the wallet engender stronger reactions than larger changes that do not seem to directly affect the size of paychecks.

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Editorial Board writes that rural Georgia’s aging population, lower rates of having health insurance and scarcity of medical professionals combine to threaten a health care crisis.

Former Snellville Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer has announced his campaign for Gwinnett County Commission District 3 against incumbent Mike Beaudreau.

Paul Jannuzzo, former counsel to Glock, will be tried this week on charges of theft and embezzlement from the company as well as racketeering.

Georgian Republicans in the National Press

UGA Student Leanne Livingston, former Chair of the Kennesaw State University College Republicans was quoted in a Washington Post article about Sarah Palin at CPAC. Actually, misquoted, according to her facebook status, “I never said Palin was ever my hero as they claim.”

Not to be outdone, the New York Times quoted State Rep. Sam Teasley, an early Santorum supporter, “I think there’s a real possibility of Rick being able to win the state,” he said. “I do expect the polls will tighten.

Rep. Paulette Rakestraw Braddock told the WaPo “I’m hoping that Georgia is going to come through for Newt.

Finally, Dr. Merle Black at Emory said, “[Gingrich] needs a big win out of Georgia; he needs a headline,” but Rick Santorum “has become suddenly viable, while Newt is sinking in the national polls.”

Law enforcement behaving badly

Wilcox County Sheriff Stacy Bloodsworth; his son Austin Bloodsworth; former Wilcox County jailer Casey Owens; and former inmate Willie James Caruthers were named in a 14-count federal indictment alleging the men assaulted inmates in the county jail.

A DeKalb County police officer was arrested in Buckhead for DUI on February 11th.

Forsyth County Sheriff candidate Duane K. Piper was cited for driving 103 mph in a 2011 BMW 325i. Piper is charged as a “Super Speeder” which raises the fines for anyone found guilty of speeding in excess of 85 mph, or in excess of 75 mph on two-lane roads. Piper recently retired after a 25-year career in law enforcement.

Railroad News

Norfolk Southern SD45 locomotive #1776 has been moved from the Virginia Transportation Museum in Roanoke to the shops in Chattanooga for repainting in its commemorative red, white and blue bicentennial scheme. It’s expected to return to VTM on July 4, 2012.