House Leadership Picks Candidates For CD 9; Friendship Matters, One Fence Appears Mended, Another – Perhaps Not So Much…

A few weeks ago, I speculated that the campaign of Bill Stephens might be winding down, based on the cancelation of a fundraiser that was to be hosted by House Rules Chairman Earl Ehrhart. Chairman Ehrhart was quick to respond that the fundraiser had been postponed, not cancelled, and was done so at his request due to a scheduling conflict.

I checked in with Chairman Ehrhart this evening for an update, and he reports that the fundraiser was in fact held as (re-)scheduled on September 17th. When asked how it went, he responded “we did well”.

I remembered to inquire about the Stephens fundraiser when I read Jim Galloway’s report that Speaker Richardson was headlining a fundraiser this evening for Tom Graves, along with an all-star host committee that also included Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers.

I found the Speaker leading a fundraiser for Tom Graves to be interesting for two reasons. The first, is that it is a rare public split of support for Ehrhart and Richardson. The two are best friends and generally walk in lockstep. Ehrhart downplayed the split, indicating that he and Bill Stephens have also been friends for a long time, and that the long relationship the two have shared earned Stephens the nod.

Perhaps the more significant read of Speaker Richardson endorsing Graves is that it perhaps (hopefully?) is the final chapter that has been the Gena Abraham Evans soap opera.

For those who just decided to follow Georgia Politics last week, more political capital was spent on installing Gena Abraham to the Department of Transportation Commissioner’s seat, keeping Mike Evans on the DOT board – and then ultimately – replacing them both, than any other action since Republicans took control of Georgia State government. Tom Graves played a central role in this saga, and ultimately lost both his Committee “hawk” status, as well as his capitol office, by crossing Richardson and supporting Evans.

Now, with Evans facing Graves and a cast of thousands for Nathan Deal’s congressional seat, it appears that the Speaker had but one olive branch to extend, and the peace offering went to Tom Graves.


  1. GeorgiaValues says:

    Tom Graves is the next Congressman from the 9th District. He will make us proud, he will not put his own self-interest above serving those who elected him, and he will champion the cause of freedom without hesitation and without reserve.

  2. omp2010 says:

    I would look to Dr. Lee Hawkins of Gainesville as the next Congressman for North Georgia… He has expert knowledge on the healthcare crisis, stands strong for Conservative values and will represent Georgians very well.

    • GeorgiaValues says:

      lol…I would not look to the good doctor…omp, you actually think a Democrat could win in the 9th?

      $200 to Friends Of Max Cleland For The Us Senate Inc on September 3, 1999 – Lee Hawkins, Dentist

      $300 to Committee To Elect Greg Hecht-Us Congress on June 28, 2002 – Lee Hawkins, Dentist

      • omp2010 says:

        I have no idea who Hecht is but I seriously think that Max Cleland was a much better Senator than Saxby ever thought about being, and the Saxby ads were just awful, along with Saxby’s voting record. Saxby is the definition of RINO.

      • Jeff says:


        I’ve started to realize something about donations from the General Assembly and other elected officials:

        The numbers that you gave ($200, $300) are typically what either a minor player gives to various candidates within his party (ie, Vice Chair of Governmental Affairs – random committee – might give that to some GOP candidate in Bulloch County if ordered to, however indirectly, by House leadership).

        Across party lines, they are symbolic of a good friendship where the donor simply doesn’t want to risk hard-earned political capital by giving a lot of money to a member of another Party. Look at the stink raised by many in the GOP when Eric Johnson gave some money to Alisha Morgan, an ally of his on school choice.

        • Joshua Morris says:

          Jeff, Dr. Hawkins has been very active in the Georgia Dental Association for many years, having served as its treasurer and president. He is highly respected by his colleagues. As the legislative spokesperson for the association, he occasionally made token donations to various legislators. You’ll find that his donations to Republicans far outweigh his tokens to any others.

          Dr. Hawkins is an honest, passionate caregiver who understands the greatest debate this country is having right now. Those who oppose him know this and will endeavor to hurt him with any little thing they can find.

          • drjay says:

            good point joshua, if you look at all of the donation dr. hawkins has made you’ll also see a good many to charlie norwood and nathan deal (after he switched parties even) that precede the ones he has mentioned. i was a legislative liaison for the student dental association when i was at mcg and one of the mantras we had was that our party was not the democrat party or the republican party, but the dentist party and we were encouraged to ignore party lines as best we could when it came to lobbying and, yes, donating for our causes, both the dentists currently in congress are gop, but one of dentistry’s best friends in dc is a dem who was exec director of the washington state dental assoc. before he was elected to congress…

          • Jeremy Jones says:

            Just to be clear, I oppose Dr. Hawkins, and I will not “endeavor to hurt with any little thing…”

            The fact he was one a Democrat is only an issue if his actions were that of what we currently define as a Democrat. In other words, has he always been for smaller government, Pro-life, 2nd Amendment, etc? I will gladly debate on issues and ideology anytime, but not just because he was once a Democrat.

            As one seeking political office, I do fail on one front, I do very little, if any, opposition research. I always criticized people who gave me reasons to vote against the other person rather than FOR them. (Bob Dole) I am careful to hold true to that and only speak of my ideas and vision. However, in a compare and contrast format, I believe it to be fair game. In a situation where the person has changed, on what appears to be a principled belief, it is fair game. And when a person continues to get support from PACs and politicians, I will point that out. I am running as the answer to the game all of the politicians play. Getting endorsements, and most of the contributions from, elected officials, is a sign that the candidate will play the same games, and we will get the same results.

            So, let me be clear, Dr. Hawkins is a good guy, from what I know, I have only met him three times. But I do oppose his run, because I know there is a better candidate running (me). As I have said before, if I think a candidate better than myself is running, I will gladly drop out.


    • macho says:

      Hawkins was a bigtime Democrat a couple of years ago. Let him catch his stride as a Republican for a few more years, before we risk sending a liberal to Congress.

      Being a Democrat in GA a couple of decades ago, when there weren’t any other real options, was a forgivable offense. It’s a little harder to explain why you were voting “D” after the state had already turned red.

  3. GeorgiaValues says:

    1. Hecht has run unsuccessfully for multiple offices in Georgia as a Democrat – his last attempt was for Lt. Gov vs. Casey Cagle (he lost in the primary to Jim Martin) – Lee Hawkins was a supporter and contributed financially to this democrat’s campaign.

    2. While Saxby is far from perfect, I would like to hear an explanation from Lee Hawkins as to why he chose to support this liberal democrat by contributing to his campaign.

    3. It’s convenient to call yourself a conservative when you decide you’d like to run for State Senate in Hall County, it’s inconvenient to try and explain why you have been a financial supporter of some of the most liberal democrat politicians in this state.

    • omp2010 says:

      Max Cleland is not one of the most liberal politicians in Georgia… Try Cynthia McKinney, Jim Martin and Sanford Bishop.

      • steelfist says:

        Check the voting record – Max Cleland DID have one of the most liberal voting recrods. He voted time and again against conservative positions in the US Senate. That’s why Georgians sent him home.

        • omp2010 says:

          Georgians almost voted in favor of the extremely liberal Jim Martin rather than Saxby… Martin wouldn’t ahve had a snowball’s chance in hell had he ran against a real conservative.

        • macho says:

          Let’s be honest, Cleland is not going to go down in history as the brightest Senator that GA ever sent to Washington. He was on autopilot, voting with the Dem leadership, which led to a liberal voting record.

      • GOPGeorgia says:

        I would not dare say that Max didn’t sacrifice much for his country, but his voting record left much to be desired. I don’t agree with Saxby on everything, but I agree with him much more than I did with Max.

  4. JG2020 says:

    At least Lee Hawkins didn’t vote for the bill that eventually funded ACORN. Graves says he is a Conservative but his voting record says otherwise… That’s why I am confident that Lee will vote our values in Washington.

    • steelfist says:

      Tom didn’t vote for ACORN funding. It was his efforts that brought attention to the contract and encouraged the Governor to stop the contracts. Where was Lee’s leadership on the matter?

    • tocallaghan says:

      The bill you are referring to is the 2008 budget and Hawkins didn’t show up to vote. 51 Senators voted for the budget and 5 like Hawkins were no shows. I have no problem with him not showing up though, because it really was a highly controversial bill.

      • omp2010 says:

        We don’t know if he didn’t show up for it, I’m he was there but decided against voting for a bloated budget… Maybe the Legislature can make real cuts this year, like the Go Fish crap.

    • macho says:

      Let’s be honest, the whole GA ACORN issue is basically a fabrication to jump on the bandwagon of a hot national issue. It’s not difference than Ox running for a state office, but jumping on the national Fairtax platform.

  5. omp2010 says:

    It is a stretch but Graves voted in favor of the budget (HB990). Although the State Legislature had no authority over or knowledge of the contract to ACORN, Graves did vote to fund it in the long run.

    Lee’s leadership was to refuse to vote for it. Look it up.

    • steelfist says:

      Your rught it’s a stretch.

      Refusing to take a position. Now that’s leadership. Exactly what we need in Congress another do nothing politican.

    • Icarus says:

      “Lee’s leadership was to refuse to vote for it. Look it up.”


      I’ll have to see how that one looks in the morning, but you may have just been added to the Peach Pundit Hall Of “Fame”, right next to “Huckabee Has Won His Last Primary” and “Where & When Can I Watch Paul Broun Get Sworn In?”.

    • GOPGeorgia says:

      If Sen. Hawkins was against it, why didn’t he just vote against it? Admit you are playing smoke and mirrors with the ACORN mud, and talk about real issues. Other than this one vote, do you have anything else to prove that Rep. Graves is not a conservative?

      I’m not taking sides, but you are throwing some unfounded mud.

    • steelfist says:

      omp just so we can get this straight, you are saying Lee didn’t vote during the roll call vote for HB990 because he knew ACORN was going to bid on a project, win the bid and ultimately sign a contract with DHR nearly 7 months after the vote took place even though there was not one line item in HB 990 authorizing a contract with ACORN. Is that correct?

        • tocallaghan says:

          Lee Hawkins didn’t vote against a bloated budget, he just didn’t show up to vote. Real leadership is not showing up for the fight I guess.

          OMP, what was so bloated about the 2008 budget though? Food Stamp awareness is a federal mandate. We have to fund it if we want all the rest of our money back for schools , roads, ect. ACORN got the contract because we have a bidding process to save tax payer money. It wasn’t until Tom, Chip, and Ed caught on that this problem was fixed.

          • omp2010 says:

            Are you saying that there is no unnecessary spending in the state budget? No pork?

            I’m glad that the bidding process is the way it is, I just wish there was some kind of oversight to make sure bogus orginizations don’t recieve tax payer dollars.

          • tocallaghan says:

            No, I just want to hear from Hawkins his reasons for not showing up to vote. You say it was pork, but maybe he thought the budget was too small. We don’t know because he just refused to vote.

            I hope he doesn’t refuse to vote when the Democrats try to pass healthcare and Cap and Trade in DC too.

            In this circumstance Tom, Chip, Ed, Judson, and Mike were the oversight. Thanks to them that small amount of our money is no longer being sent to ACORN.

  6. GeorgiaValues says:

    In summary, Lee Hawkins contributes to liberal democrats, skips votes and somehow that’s conservative leadership, while some of the finest elected officials we have in this state call attention to ACORN funding, and put a stop to it…

    And according to Lee Hawkins’ supporters, they are actually the real bad guys here.


    • Joshua Morris says:

      “Contributes to liberal democrats?”

      LEE HAWKINS (DENTIST), (Zip code: 30506) $300 to NORWOOD FOR CONGRESS on 10/27/94

      LEE HAWKINS (DENTIST), (Zip code: 30506) $250 to NATHAN DEAL FOR CONGRESS on 11/06/95

      LEE HAWKINS (DENTIST), (Zip code: 30506) $250 to NATHAN DEAL FOR CONGRESS on 09/15/97

      LEE HAWKINS (DENTIST), (Zip code: 30506) $250 to NORWOOD FOR CONGRESS on 11/25/98

      LEE HAWKINS (DENTIST), (Zip code: 30506) $500 to NORWOOD FOR CONGRESS on 01/12/00

      Lee Hawkins (Self-Employed/Dentist), (Zip code: 30501) $200 to NORWOOD FOR CONGRESS on 01/31/02

      Hawkins, Lee (Self-Employed/Dentist), (Zip code: 30501) $300 to NORWOOD FOR CONGRESS on 01/29/03

      Lee Hawkins (Self-Employed/Dentist), (Zip code: 30501) $250 to NORWOOD FOR CONGRESS on 03/09/05

      And which Hawkins supporter is it who is calling these nameless elected officials you mention ‘bad guys’?

  7. Icarus says:

    Attention OMP2010.

    Peach Pundit doesn’t have a mercy rule, but if we did, I’d have to invoke it about now.

    You clearly are a supporter of Sen. Hawkins campaign. There’s nothing unusual about that.

    And yet, you are doing clear and obvious harm to your candidate. Sadly, there’s nothing unusual about that from some of our most notorious sock puppets, either.

    You seem to have adopted a unique, two pronged strategy:

    1) Attacking a sitting incumbent U.S. Senator of your own party, and

    2) Defining leadership as demonstrated by your candidate as “not showing up.”

    I’m just going to whisper this between us, so please listen closely:

    (You are not helping your candidate.)

    What? Too Quiet? Let me try again,


    Seriously, If you’re being paid, fire yourself.

    If you’re not on the payroll, please contact someone who is and ask them to either redirect your message or give you a less public task so that you can continue helping out.

  8. omp2010 says:

    1) I do not respect Senator Chambliss. The (R) is at the end of his name for a reason and apparently last November half of Georgia’s voters wanted to send hm packing.

    2) Hawkins didn’t vote for the legislation that ended up funding ACORN.

    • appachtrail70 says:

      1) The vast majority of the people of the 9th supported Saxby, twice. While I will not try to defend all of Saxby’s moves, he is much more Conservative than Max Cleland. Regardless of your views on Saxby though, workers for Hawkins should not be attacking the our senior Senator.

      2) Great strategy. If Lee goes up to DC he can just not ever vote, that way he can’t be held accountable for anything. Thats the leadership I want to see…..

        • provisional says:

          As a “concerned citizen” shouldn’t it concern you that as an elected official, sent to Atlanta to be a voice for the people who trusted him in that office, when it came to a MAJOR bill like the State Budget, Lee denied them a voice by not voting. Leadership is taking a position, wether popular or not and standing up for what you believe in. Lee did neither, and it is just your opinion that he didn’t vote for the budget because it was, as you say “pork filled”, as much as it is my opinion that maybe he decided it was more important to take a break to the vending machines than it was to represent the voice of his district.
          The type of “conservative leadership” that Lee has demonstrated is the exact kind that has givven the Republican party a bad name lately.

        • Holly says:

          What do you mean they had no other choice? There were quite a few other choices to Saxby on the ballot.

          I voted for Saxby twice last November. However, it was my choice to vote for Democrats in other races where I thought they would serve the area better than the Republicans running. That was one choice I made. On the choice between presidential candidates, I disliked the major party tickets so much that I wrote in a candidate. That was my other choice.

          A person never has “no other choice.” That’s why it’s an election: there are choices.

      • Three Jack says:

        “While I will not try to defend all of Saxby’s moves, he is much more Conservative than Max Cleland.”

        that’s like comparing the sweetwate creek flood to flooding along the chatahoochee river; both caused severe damage, but sweetwater was not as bad as the hooch.

    • steelfist says:

      Hawkins didn’t vote at all. That’s not leadership. That’s a chicken. If he was against the budget because it was pork-filled then he would have voted NO. But instead, he just didn’t vote. We need principle people standing up for us in Washington, not some guy who won’t take stand.

      • macho says:

        If you don’t vote on major issues, then it’s as if the people of Hall county don’t have representation in Atlanta.

  9. John Konop says:

    What is conservative?

    The problem is the definition of conservative is in the eye of the beholder.

    A less government conservative would argue social conservatives are not conservative.

    A big business conservative would argue with a pro small business conservative over, eminent domain, anti-trust……

    A fiscal conservative would argue tax breaks without proper spending cuts is irresponsible.

    A fiscal conservative would argue mandatory pay healthcare is personal responsibility while libertarian conservative would argue it is over reaching government.

    A fiscal conservative would argue for government fees for service while some call it a tax.

    I could go on and on…….

  10. drjay says:

    while i admittedly don’t know as much as i should about hawkins senate record–i was in dental school when he was president of the ga dental association and his tenure there was generally considered successful (increased membership, accomplished legislative goals of our pac, that sort of thing)

    • drjay says:

      well it really has nothing to do with his being president of the yeah i omitted it…but for what it’s worth north ga seems pretty willing to accept former dems who find a home with the gop–nathan deal supported many dems running for office–pretty much until the day he quit being one, not to mention another candidate in this very race who worked for a dem guv, or the dm guv himself…so i don’t see it as quite the scandal that a fellow whose own father was once a county chair for the dems being a little slow to abandon his old party considering the history of the 2 party system in our state…

      • provisional says:

        In one of the strongest Republican seats in the Country, I think the district will want a proven conservative. Not someone who less than 10 years ago, was financing the campaigns of liberal Democrats. I believe it is an issue that he, and any other candidates in the field who have democratic ties, will be asked to answer by the voters of the 9th. What is more alarming than anything to me, is the fact that OMP has brought to attention that Hawkins forfeited the voice of the people he represents, and did not vote on an important matter like the State Budget.

  11. ChuckEaton says:

    I didn’t get to go to the event, but heard it was a huge success.

    I was told Glenn Richardson had many warm and gracious things to say about Tom, but the Speaker’s best line came at the end of the speech, when he said, “what Washington needs right now is someone who knows how to defy authority.” I heard it got a great laugh.

    Tom’s a good friend and he’s going to make a great Congressman.

  12. NorthGAConservative says:

    Lee did in fact vote in favor of HB 990 and his vote is recorded in the official record of the Senate, available here:

    The record reflects that Senator Hawkins did in fact vote, but his machine malfunctioned. He immediately notified the Secretary of the Senate and a “Yea” vote was recorded.

    Before individuals make accusations–let’s try to be adults and do the research.

Comments are closed.