Happy 2014 Runoff Election Night! It’s finally over. Well, at least, the primary. Now we move towards the general election fun. Fearless Leader (Charlie, for those who may not know) will be on the teevee tonight. He’ll be on WXIA 11Alive for the metro Atlanta folks.  They’ll be livestreaming coverage here starting at 8, with Charlie appearing on their News at Ten with Melissa Long on WATL/36.

I’ll be watching from my hotel room in Columbia, SC, so sorry I can’t be with my fellow Georgians tonight.

Anyway, enjoy this primary runoff election OPEN THREAD


Broun Backs Jack — Updated

July 22, 2014 11:41 am

by Nathan · 15 comments

We received a text through the tip line that said Congressman Jack Kingston just tweeted out that his colleague and former opponent Congressman Paul Broun has made a late endorsement for Kingston:


Congressman Broun had been pretty silent after coming in 5th in the May 20th primary, but now throws his weight behind his fellow Congressman.

Discuss if this influences your vote…or not in the comments.

:: Update from Jon ::

There has been some question about whether Congressman Broun endorsed Jack Kingston for Senate. Nathan is right, our original tipster said that Kingston put “an endorsement from Paul Broun” on FB and Twitter.

A spokesman for the Kingston campaign told us that Broun had left a voicemail for the candidate indicating Broun had told a radio audience he voted for Kingston, and that he said Jack was the conservative choice. That’s what led to the tweet and Facebook post, which simply quoted from the voicemail.

Does that qualify as an endorsement? Merriam Webster says the meaning of endorse is “to publicly or officially say that you support or approve of (someone or something).” In my opinion saying you voted for a candidate, which in the end is the highest endorsement you can provide, qualifies as an endorsement. But, your mileage may vary.

The challenge of defining the true meaning of endorse is what keeps campaign finance lawyers in business. The recent controversy over whether Better Georgia went outside the permissible boundaries of advocacy given its tax status is the most recent example of this.

We’re not lawyers, nor are we a tax exempt group. We simply note the Kingston didn’t use the word endorse in its tweet. If we used it by mistake … well, we regret the error and blame others.


Sometimes fate conspires with you. It certainly did with Attorney General Sam Olens, who released his brief for Georgia’s marriage equality case (Innis v. Adderhold) on one of the busiest days of Georgia’s political calendar. When a political figure acknowledges his position on the losing side of history (“Plaintiffs may well be right that our nation is headed for a new national equilibrium on same-sex marriage”), he’d probably prefer to sidestep the media spotlight.

The obligatory preface —I’m not a lawyer. You gathered that, I’m sure. But the marriage equality question, in the minds of most non-lawyers, isn’t about the interpretation of documents as much as the ordering of our society. With that in mind, the Attorney General filed a well-written and relatively simple document, which adds up to a nod of the head towards the past and a shrug.

Reading the document, it is remarkable how much ground he’s willing to concede. To his credit, the Attorney General accepts that “[t]he love that Plaintiffs articulate for their partners and children is clear, as are their contributions to our society.” At no point (to my untutored eye) did he argue that homosexual relationships were unnatural or inferior to heterosexual ones. Rather, all but one of the “state’s legitimate interest” in question centered on attempts to regulate reproduction through marriage, which would preclude homosexuals who could not reproduce. Of course, two objections jump out: 1) that’s merely an argument why marriage is a good idea for heterosexuals, not why it should be denied to homosexuals and 2) homosexuals parent children even if they do not reproduce. In fact, gay parenting has become something of a specialty here in the South.

The state’s other legitimate interest was “exercising prudence before departing from the heretofore universal definition of marriage.” The whole document is visible in that sentence, which doesn’t ask to stop the bullet train of marriage equality but suggests we lightly apply the brakes.

The next ten pages center on Baker v. Nelson, a 1972 case in which the Supreme Court dismissed a claim that prohibition of same-sex marriage violated the Constitution. I don’t have the academic credentials to challenge the application of that precedent (hash it out below!), but it’s worth noting that at the time the American Psychiatric Association considered homosexuality a sociopathic personality disorder. If the Attorney General has to go back that far to make his case, he already knows the outcome.

We all do. The inexorable victories of the gay rights movement since United States v. Windsor last summer effectively end the debate on gay marriage. What we’re arguing about now is a time-table. The Attorney General seems to know this but feels an obligation to defend the state’s laws. To do otherwise would be “lawless.” At the very least, he can count on our state’s soft spot for a lost cause.


At the end of an election cycle it’s very easy to be jaded.  Heck, that’s my default position.  But the first note today goes out to Mike Beaudreau and P.K. Martin, who face off today to see who will be representing Gwinnett County in the State Senate.  I like them both, and have avoided this runoff where possible.  I applaud both of them for running.  It isn’t easy to take on a powerful incumbent.  Harder still when he has over a half million dollars to spend.  Both of these men put their name on the line, and I applaud both for doing so.  Whichever one wins will make a fine Senator.

I voted this morning in Marietta at 8:45am.  I was the 37th voter.  I was the 36th Republican.  Only one Democratic ballot had been cast.  While this may not seem unusual, I do live in a precinct represented by Steve Thompson.  I have Democratic neighbors.  But unlike May 20th when the Democrats pulled about 20% of the votes in my precinct, they don’t appear interested in voting today.  My guess is DeKalb county, with it’s contested Sheriff’s race, will largely decide who the Democratic nominee for State School Superintendent is.

As for the Georgia Senate Race, I’m looking at the core suburban Atlanta counties.  Kingston has virtually all of the GOP network on his side, from Tea Party to “establishment” – whatever that means.  Perdue will need to do exceptionally well in the suburbs where people are more likely to be swayed by ads than direct interaction with a candidate and/or his supporters.   Y’all have seen the same polls I have.  My gut still tells me Jack takes this one.

I think by 8pm we’ll all be able to start guessing what Bob Barr’s next career move is.  Feel free to avoid the rush and start now if you like.

I’ll admit I haven’t been on the ground as much as usual in GA-1 and GA-10, and won’t claim to know what’s going to happen here.  I expect GA-10 to be the last Congressional race called tonight.  I expect GA-1 to be slightly closer than it should be, given the late Club for Growth play in that race.

Feel free to share you own observations, experiences, or other pontifications below.


The Whitfield County Democratic Party has uploaded a video continuing the mockery of the Georgia GOP’s hashtag of #WeKnowNathan.  I wrote about it last night and it would seem that the fun has continued into this morning.  I typically love the cattiness of antics like this (I’m a sick, sick individual), but I have to say that the music for this gives me the creeps.

The music is “Every Little Piece” from Pete’s Dragon, a Disney movie, but the song lyrics state, “We could make a million just slicing him, dicing him”. I’m all about callling for more ethics reform and bringing all necessary elements to be considered in the light of day, yet I will stop far short of cannabilism.

I would suggest Democrats do the same, and the GOP think long and hard before they attempt a social media campaign again.  This has probably done more harm than good for the Governor.


We would like to thank Secretary of State Brian Kemp for hosting a statewide birthday party for Buzz Brockway today from 7am to 7pm.  Buzz would like to thank the people of Gwinnett County for him not being on anyone’s ballot today.

Buzz has been here longer than me.  He’s been a solid citizen and civic leader well before he became a State Rep.  He’s one of the good guys, so be sure when you’re “remembering to vote” – like we won’t get that reminder enough today – to wish him a Happy Birthday as well.


Judgeships are non-partisan races. Because candidates don’t have D or R beside their name, we suppose that it’s only as a public service that President Obama agreed to record this message for Fulton County Superior Court Judge Shelitha Robertson:

Seriously, though, the polls are open now, and will remain open until 7 PM. If you voted a partisan ballot in the May primary, you can vote the same party’s ballot in the runoff. If you didn’t vote, or voted a non-partisan ballot, you can choose either party ballot. There is no party registration in Georgia. Find your sample ballot, polling place and other bits of goodness here. There’s even an app for that.

Key races include the Georgia Republican Senate runoff, School Superintendent runoffs in both parties, congressional runoffs in the first, tenth and eleventh districts, State Senate races in Gwinnett and Forsyth counties, some House races, and the DeKalb Sheriff race between Snuggles and Jeff Mann. That race, by the way, is non-partisan.

Voter turnout today is generally expected to be light. Taking a look at the latest weather forecast, there’s a 60% chance of rain in Atlanta, and a 50% chance in Savannah. Will that make a difference? It’s up to you voters.

Results should start coming in around 8 tonight.

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It’s the primary runoff! Go vote! If you are in Fulton, I hereby endorse Jane Barwick for Judge and Marvin Arrington for Fulton County Commission. Beyond that, you’re on your own. Morning Reads after the jump!


  • Watergate Was the Only Serious Impeachment (Bloomberg View)
  • Jet Engineer Designs a Saucepan That Boils Water Ridiculously Fast (Wired)
  • Vertical Farming Powering Urban Food Sources (Diplomatic Courier)
  •  How Russian Hackers Stole the Nasdaq (Businessweek)
  • Visualizing Algorithms (Mike Bostock)
  • The voodoo of lobster economics: Cheap at sea, pricey on the plate (Globe and Mail)
  • The secretive billionaire who built Silicon Valley (Fortune)
  • Content Used to Be King.  Now It’s the Joker. (Medium)
  • Tech’s Most Powerful Snoop (NY Mag)
  • Will the rich live to 120 and the poor die at 60? (Aeon)
  • Tales from the Genome (Seeking Wisdom)
  • 45 Years Ago We Landed Men on the Moon (The Atlantic)
  • Has Jeff Koons Become a Pillar of the Art Establishment? (Vanity Fair)
  • The Worst Free-Throw Shooter (Pacific Standard)


  • Senate confirms Carnes for the 11th Circuit (ajc)
  • Texts between LaBerge and Riley are used to defend Riley, but cut both ways (ajc)
  • Vernon Jones is an endless barrel of classy (fox5)
  • AJC repeats Hot Car Dad’s half brother’s claims that police witnesses embellished evidence (ajc)
  • But that was in a probable cause hearing, which really should have been waived.
  • Check out the Battle of Atlanta, through the eyes of the AJC (ajc)
  • More stuff that will come back to haunt Sam Olens (dailyreport)
  • David Purdue Perdue learns the ropes, (ajc)
  • Senate Press thinks LaBerge and Deal aren’t worthy of your attention (clatl)
  • You should probably go vote today.


Facebook is running ads from Richard Woods this evening claiming an endorsement from Karen Handel.  I was contacted by Karen this evening who indicates the ads are unauthorized and that there is no endorsement.  She has since posted the following on Facebook:

A quick message to my FB friends — while I did vote for Richard Woods for state school superintendent, I did NOT make a formal endorsement nor did I authorize the ad or the use of my photo. This is all very disappointing.

Candidates love to bend the truth at the 11th hour to get elected. In the age of the internet, there’s no reason to allow this to become an advantage. I look forward to canceling out Karen’s vote tomorrow when I vote for Mike Buck.  I hope you’ll consider joining me.


Do You Know Nathan?

July 21, 2014 20:18 pm

by Scarlet Hawk · 8 comments

Because a lot of people are asserting they do, for better or worse. Today, the Georgia GOP in their infinite wisdom launched a social media push in support of Governor Deal with the hashtag of #WeKnowNathan. It would be cute if it didn’t go so tragically wrong.

First, think of hashtags like campaign signs: you don’t win elections or even change public opinion with them. They are used for name/subject recognition only. Second, twitter is a younger sourced social media option. Believe it or not, Facebook is being inundated with my parents’ generation (and even my grandparents’ generation), while twitter is being used by younger and younger folks. ICYMI, the younger generation also typically (but not always) leans left. Which leads me to my last rule: don’t use hashtags when you are trying to defend someone in the court of public opinion because EVERYONE has equal access to the conversation and it can change direction and go south….quickly.

Ask Robin Thicke.

The DPG Better Georgia has answered this push with a url wth the same name. Seriously, Republicans, did that thought not occur to you?


It’s a long way to November, y’all.  Thankfully, football season begins in 40 days and we can direct this aggression in more productive ways. Cluck femson.


How Outside Is He?

July 21, 2014 17:10 pm

by Charlie · 11 comments

He’s so much of an outsider, even his staff can’t spell his last name:


Consider this your last chance to point and laugh at the candidate of your choice before tomorrow’s runoff.



The Secretary of State’s office released the final numbers for the early voting period, which ran from Monday, June 30 to Friday, July 18, for tomorrow’s runoff:

Early Voting Numbers for the July 22nd Primary Runoff Election

Number of ballots cast: 159,152

Number of ballots voted in person: 134,267

Number of mail-in ballots returned: 24,885

Number of mail-in ballots outstanding: 12,717

Number of ballots cast, Republican: 121,678

Number of ballots cast, Democratic: 36,677

Number of ballots cast, Nonpartisan: 797

Early Voting Numbers for May 20th Primary Election

Number of ballots cast: 239,281

Number of ballots voted in person: 214,975

Number of mail-in ballots returned: 24,306

Number of mail-in ballots outstanding: 14,385

Number of ballots cast, Republican: 147,995

Number of ballots cast, Democratic: 88,316

Number of ballots cast, non-partisan: 2,970

I’ve seen some reports of higher turnout in at least one of the congressional races, so if you have access to or knowledge of any numbers from specific races in the runoff, please share them below.


Moon Shot? Yesterday’s News

July 21, 2014 10:00 am

by Charlie · 7 comments

This week’s Courier Herald column:

45 years ago last Sunday, man first walked on the moon.  I was 24 days old at the time so I can’t claim to have immediately understood the importance of the event.  Arguably, it was our country’s finest hour for a singular national effort.  By all accounts, on July 20th 1969 we were one nation. And we could do anything we could set our minds to.

We went back to the moon five more times between then and December 1972.  Since then all of humanity has only been able to gaze upward to make sure it’s still there.  We haven’t been back.  No other country has even tried.

Our country has seen a lot of other events since the Apollo 17 mission that have taken a whack at that national pride.  An unceremonious end to the Vietnam War.  The gas crises and Iran hostages of the 70’s.  Two wars in Iraq and an ongoing one in Afghanistan.  An internet bubble and a housing bubble.  The bursting of those bubbles.  Any many, many things in between. [click to continue…]


Yesterday was the 45th Anniversary of the Moon landing. Some of you may remember that day, for others it is distant history. Oh and the UAE says it’s going to Mars in 2021.

Don’t forget that Election day is tomorrow.

Here’s what else happened in the news.


Some folks think the Georgia Senate seat will go to Michelle Nunn. Others, not so much.
Either way, all  the candidates are hanging out in Metro Atlanta before the runoff.
It’s good that some folks aren’t trying to tear the party apart.
BRT removed from Cobb’s SPLOST list. Fayette and Gwinnett congestion here we come.
Congrats to Douglasville Judge Peggy Walker for being named president of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.
Ralph Long endorses Alisha Thomas Morgan.


The challenges of a Clinton Presidential bid.
Speaking of Presidential bids, it looks like Rick Perry is coming back.
$23.6 Billion for a one person smoking settlement?!?
It hasn’t been this bad in the Occupied Territories in a while.
The Dutch are not happy about the Malaysia Air situation.

Everything else

James Garner has passed away.
We can see the Higgs Boson working!


The former executive director of Common Cause Georgia, Bill Bozarth, has gathered enough signatures to qualify for the ballot in November. Though politicos will roll their eyes at the wisdom of his pledge not to accept donations over $250, it takes gumption to get signatures from 5% of registered voters in House District 54.  More on the HD 54 race can be found here.  The press release is below the fold.  [click to continue…]