Is David Graves Seat A Possible Democratic Pickup?

First of all, District 137 is as very, very strong Republican district. I don’t think you could intentionally draw up a better district for a Republican. Both Kerry and Gore only got 28% in the district in 2000 and 2004. Cleland got 30%, Barnes got 31% – while Taylor did a little better in 2002 with 43%.

This evidence suggests that any Republican (even David Graves) would beat a Democrat in a race for this seat. Even I believe that if Graves decides to run for re-election the best chance of knocking him off would be in the Republican primary.

However, I’ve done some number crunching, and there is some evidence to suggest that the right kind of Democrat could win this seat, particularly if Graves is the Republican candiate in 2006.

The evidence rests with U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall’s performance in District 137 in 2004. Marshall’s Congressional district overlaps with about 2/3rd of the voting population of Graves district. While Kerry only did slightly better in those precincts (29% vs. 28% overall), Marshall won those same precincts with a whopping 55% of the vote – besting Kerry by 26 percentage points!

While I think it is unlikely that Graves will end up being the Republican candidate for this seat in 2006, if he is, I believe, with all of his baggage, a Democrat could win this seat.

Is that enough to get Graves to resign or for the party to field a strong candidate against him?


  1. Melb says:

    Graves will be beat in the Republican primary. I can’t see people saying well he was only driving drunk, I’ll still vote for him. On a side note this was in the AJC and was wondering when exactly did they decide to raise the gas tax?

    “And starting Nov. 1, motorists will likely be paying a few cents on top of that when a higher state gas tax goes into effect.”

  2. stephaniemills21 says:

    The state sales tax on gasoline is computed as a percentage of a retail price determined by the revenue department, and this price is usually a six-month average of the prices charged across the state.

    That state-determined retail price, which is now set at $1.87 per gallon for tax purposes, by law must be adjusted whenever the average retail price increases or decreases by more than 25 percent. The revenue department is now determining what that new, and higher, base price will be.

  3. Porter Bates says:

    This press release from Representative Graves this morning was emailed to me by a friend:

    Sept. 30, 2005 For Immediate Release

    Rep. Graves Withdraws Defense Strategy

    MACON ˆ State Rep. David Graves (R-Macon) issued the following statement today concerning his defense in Cobb County of drunk driving charges.

    He will have no further comment other than the statement below.

    Statement from Rep. David Graves:
    “I have made some poor choices in recent months in both my personal and public life.”

    “First, I would like to sincerely apologize to my colleagues in the Georgia General Assembly for allowing my attorney to use an ancient constitutional provision as a defense against drunk driving charges. The Legislature is an esteemed body, and I should have never permitted my attorney — in his zeal to defend me — to use a strategy that would in any way embarrass my constituents and those who serve in public office.”

    “I have instructed my attorney to immediately withdraw any appeals regarding this issue.”

    “I want to take full responsibility for my actions, and to that end, I am submitting a letter of resignation as Chairman of the House Regulated Industries Committee to Speaker Glenn Richardson.”

    “In addition, I am instructing my attorney to continue to defend me in court on the merits of the case and to only use strategies that are available to any Georgia citizen. I do not want to be treated differently because of my status as a state legislator.”

    “Finally – and most important — to my constituents in the Macon area and my longtime supporters and friends: I apologize for any embarrassment and mistrust that my actions have caused. Regardless of the charges against me, I have been and will continue to be a proponent of strict penalties for those convicted of driving under the influence.”

    “Since my case is pending, I have been advised to not to speak any further about the charges which I take very seriously.”

    “I do, however, recognize that I have personal problems that need to be addressed. The events of the past few weeks have served as a wake up call. I have committed to myself, my family and supporters to seek counseling. You can rest assured that I will not make the same poor choices again.”

  4. Romegaguy says:

    As long as Bobby Kahn is still head of the Demomcrats, the chances of any Democrat winning this seat is non-existent.

    Did Graves come to this decision or was he helped along by the leadership?

  5. albert says:

    Thats a first step, but I believe it is too late.

    Lately it seems as if our Republican leadership are becoming the Dems of the past. I recall the House shake ups in the early 90’s that sent Rostenkowski, Speaker Foley and a host of others packing. It seems we have our issues as well.

    I’m sick of the posturing of our political establishment in trying to minimize the effect of their wrongs. Sometimes accountablility is a very good thing. Sad thing is that there too few people willing to offer their time and talent to get involved in the political process.

  6. Decaturguy says:

    I love how he waited to instruct his lawyer not to pursue the defense after the judge tossed it out. This has been talked about for weeks in the Fulton County Daily Report.

  7. Silence says:

    Too little, too late.

    My gut sense is that the leadership waited around to see what would be the result of the immunity defense…when it failed, they sent a very clear message to Graves: “move your tail out, or we’ll move it for you.” Otherwise, this step would never have been taken.

  8. Tater Tate says:

    I bet Graves’ colleagues are pissed off big time. Saw where Erick Johnson is coming out saying the Senate will have legislation for a constitutional amendment that would remove the provision for legislative immunity.

    I wonder how long before Graves resigns? Without the immunity I assume he will be convicted.

    Who are the likely contenders for this seat? It looks to be a safe R to me.

  9. landman says:

    Erick,sources tell me you may have a viable candidate for this seat,and may play a major role in the campaign.Is this based in fact or mere speculation?

  10. albert says:

    There is a candidate, perhaps 3 that are wanting to win that seat. They are all good people and would be effective, and are conservative. The most serious contender is a former County Commissioner (I believe) from Jones County. My money would go on him. He ran an uphill race against Senator Robert Brown. It was an impossibility for him to win due to the dynamics at that time. He campaigned hard and made a lot of friends. He also is a realtor and will have an easier time at raising money.

    More than money, he would be an asset to the House, bigtime.

  11. Porter Bates says:

    I am hearing that four are interested:

    Dale Washburn referenced above
    Wayne Elliott, a former house member
    Gary Bechtel, school board president
    and a woman lobbyist, whose name is not familiar to me

    I think it would come down to Washburn and Bechtel at this time, but both come from the conservative Christian community. Elliott, also a conservative Christian, is considered something of a firebrand and will have trouble raising $$$. I don’t know about the lobbyist.

    More may enter before it is over.

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