A New Year, And A New Governor’s Race

I had this post about half written when we got word that Secretary of State Karen Handel would be resigning her office to concentrate full time on her bid to become Governor. In the grand scheme of events that have already occurred – The front runner dropping out because of medical problems only to run for reelection to another state wide post; campaign money laundering charges and charges of pay for play by the current poll leader; a surprise entry into the race by a sitting Congressman; that same Congressman making unfortunate remarks then being buried by ethics charges of abuse of power; and the collateral damage still yet to be measured from recent revelations at the General Assembly – the resignation of Handel, similar to the same by Eric Johnson, will be largely forgettable in the grand scheme of things. Yet it signifies that when we begin the new year in a couple of weeks, we will have begun a whole new Governor’s race. As such, it’s time to throw away all previous analysis and start fresh.

The revelations that have come out of the Georgia General Assembly have made this an election on ethics, and the (absolute) power of the majority party in Georgia. Georgians only enjoyed a two year transition from absolute Democratic rule to absolute Republican rule.

The ethical lapses showcased this month in the General Assembly are making many Georgians question why they spent so much energy to replace corrupt Democrats with corrupt Republicans. Many party faithful are now starting to understand that the election is not over with the primary, but that this contest will go all the way to November. We’ll deal with the general election in a follow up post, but for now, we’ll concentrate on the race for the Republican nomination.

Bluntly, John Oxendine and Nathan Deal’s campaigns are dead in the water. While there are still many party regulars who are sympathetic to both men, most realize that having either at the top of the ticket in November spells death for the Governor’s race, and possibly for other statewide races as well. There is no way that a Republican gubernatorial candidate can point to the abuse of power charges in the General Assembly and say “that was a small, self-contained problem” if they too are dogged by the same charges.

There are a large number of party officials and electeds that will not campaign for or with Oxendine. While not viewed as harshly, Nathan Deal is still viewed as “Radioactive” in a general election. The fact that these two currently run first and in a virtual tie for second in most polls to date is now irrelevant. The amount of negative earned media they will continue to receive makes them a gamble Republicans will be unwilling to take. For the good of the party, both men should leave the race now.

There are two others in the Governor’s race who have virtually no chance at the nomination. Ray McBerry continues to be Ray McBerry. His supporters will continue to back him until we retake Ft. Sumter, but their mile deep support is barely an inch wide. His public blow up with former campaign manager Jenny Hodges only reinforced the notion that his campaign is for entertainment value and bears no further serious discussion.

Jeff Chapman, meanwhile, is a ghost on the campaign trail and in earned media. I have seen almost no evidence of a campaign for him. He’s a good man, and has a message of bucking the powers that be when needed. That message would sell in this cycle. He’s waited too late to start selling it.

That leaves three remaining contenders in the race for Governor: Karen Handel, Eric Johnson, and Austin Scott.

I had previously written off Scott, possibly rightfully so. But, it’s a whole new election cycle, and circumstances have changed. Scott and Eric Johnson will be battling for the “anti-Atlanta” vote, which will still make up almost half of the July electorate. While we gave little press to his walk of Georgia (o.k, we covered it, but we mocked it), it seems to have resonated with rural voters based on some of my visits to GOP events beyond the 770 area code. He has a record of pushing for ethics reform before it was cool to do so (i.e., before early December), and his message of conservation before building new reservoirs and efforts to help change the state’s flag may even earn him some votes in Atlanta that would normally look another direction.

Scott likely will be far behind the others in fundraising and will be further handcuffed by his inability to raise money during the General Assembly session. Scott must figure out how to generate earned media in metro Atlanta if he is to become viable. Scott’s path to victory must also include successfully tapping his network of peers in the GA House to help spread his message. If ethical issues remain in the headlines, Scott’s chances improve every day.

Eric Johnson will probably be the money leader of these three candidates when new fundraising numbers are released in early January. Yet, his name ID outside the Savannah/Brunswick media market is still virtually unknown. He will have to spend much of his funds branding himself with Georgia voters at the same time, fairly or unfairly, he is being defined by earned media as the man who gave Glenn Richardson an ethical pass 3 years ago. While no direct ethical charges are being made against Johnson, he is suffering some collateral damage from the blasts of others’ transgressions. It appears that the longer ethics issues are in the headlines, Johnson has difficulty moving out of the mid-single digits in the polls.

Karen Handel has a runoff spot that is hers to lose. She has a history of ethics reform at both Fulton County and the Secretary of State’s office. She has already been elected statewide, and has a decent favorables/unfavorables ratio. She is not hindered by even the hint of scandal.

Her critics point to her underwhelming fundraising numbers from her first disclosure, and are whispering about another similar performance. Meanwhile, they also want to brand her as the third term of Sonny. I look at her fundraising numbers as evidence that she is not the third term of Perdue, as the rent seekers who play follow the leader, or worse, expect play for pay, were not early adopters of Team Handel. And thus, her weakness may be her biggest strength. As I remain convinced this new Governor’s race is all about ethics, the source of funds from candidates can and will be used against them. (see, Oxendine)

When fundraising numbers are released in just under a month, I expect a trend analysis is also worth watching more than raw dollar amounts. The General Assembly scandals most likely put the brakes on all big donor giving. Big money freezes up during periods of uncertainty. Giving money to Oxendine and Deal is now no longer just a risk, but may also bring media scrutiny to the donor. And I can say anecdotally that the feedback I’m hearing from fundraisers across the board is that folks are pretty tight with their wallets this year.

So, we’ll cover the disclosures in January with our usually hype. But the reality is, they just don’t matter. With the resignation of Richardson and all that followed, we have a whole new ballgame. Those are old bets, and donors will spend most of the upcoming session trying to read tea leaves before they either double down or wager on a new horse.

So, at the outset, I read the new race like this:

Handel: virtual lock on a runoff slot.

Oxendine: 50-50 on the other runoff slot, ZERO chance of the nomination

Johnson: 30% chance of runoff slot, odds steady.

Scott: 20% chance of runoff slot, odds improving.

Deal: Retirement isn’t so bad. Sonny built you some nice boat ramps while you were in D.C.

These are my thoughts, your mileage may vary.

125 comments

  1. chamblee54 says:

    Ethics and influence peddling are abstract concepts to the majority of voters. A young man in prison for sex with a high school classmate is more real, and gets more attention.
    The involvement of Eric Johnson in the Genarlow Wilson affair is going to hurt him.

    • fundy1611 says:

      Right…it will be wonderful to watch Karen stick up for under-age teenage sex. She can add that to her pro-abortion and anti-school choice stances.

  2. Doug Deal says:

    I agree with your conclusions on the odds, perhaps moving down Austin to 15%, instead of 20%.

    When it comes to a runoff, however, I think Handel will smash anyone in a one-on-one comparison. I have watched her speak with die hard Ox people and they have mostly commented on these events saying what they would never say in public, that she is confident, knowledgable and capable.

    This is why the Deal and Ox people constantly harp on her fundraising.
    The last thing they want is an election on ideas and ethics.

    • GodHatesTrash says:

      It really shows you how pathetic Deal and the Ox are that cain’t even out-debate a high school gradyeate for gawd’s sake.

      Karen Handel – the most powerful non-lap-dancing woman in Georgia.

      Even more powerful than the former Mrs. Glenn Richardson, whose time just passed…

  3. Three Jack says:

    a few days in the high altitude did not deter your keen sense of analysis.

    i agree with you and believe strongly that more is yet to be outed on the ox. so far, only the obvious occurences of malfeasance have been addressed. when the race becomes more serious after the new year, i predict ox will be wishing he would have followed the path of the ag commissioner and just kept his safe office for eternity.

    handel has done a great job of working the grassroots letting the frontrunners hang themselves. she will definitely be in a runoff with johnson come august.

  4. Sherman County says:

    Handel stepping down as SOS shows true heart and dedication. You can’t compare the moves. Eric’s resignation was smart and really only good for him.

    It will be interesting to see the response to your predictions from Ox, the laughable four term champion of status quo. Does he send out yet another poll? Or in the face of Icarus-prophet’s prediction of inevitable defeat does he drop out?(again).

    • Demonbeck says:

      “Handel stepping down as SOS shows true heart and dedication. You can’t compare the moves. Eric’s resignation was smart and really only good for him.”

      Are you kidding me? Next you’ll say that Johnson holds open doors for old ladies because he is a sexist pig and Handel does it because she cares about the elderly.

      They both dropped out for the same reason – they are serious about the race and want to do whatever they can to put themselves in the best position to win.

    • Dave Bearse says:

      “Eric’s resignation was smart and really only good for him.”

      So Handel’s resignation is good for Georgia?

    • John Konop says:

      Joshua,

      Not true Icarus and I have had many conversations about this race. Icarus is not part of the Karen Handel team and or campaign. I think he is merely giving his opinion on the race. He likes and respects Karen like I do, but in no way is he part of the campaign nor am I.

  5. Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

    You may want to leave the Bat Cave, Robin

    Chapman has been campaigning in Atlanta ( has family there ) and various parts of the state. He has ran strong in a few and was in the run away leader in Franklin Counties GOP poll.

    The problem with clean candidates like Chapman who is light years ahead of the others in the area of ethics is >>>>>> you guys and the rest give all the press to the dirty ones.

  6. StephenLocustGrove says:

    Again, Ray McBerry is the only real conservative in this race. Yes we give a mile deep in support and it also goes a mile wide thank you, Mr. Icarus. I thought this blog was conservative, but with all the hate towards McBerry it shows this is a establishment GOP blog. It also shows Ray McBerry has the establishment very nervous. One other thing Mr. Icarus, Ray did not have a public blow up with his former campaign manager. Some bloggers made it seem that way. He didn’t put a press release out on this either, but Ray did send a email out to all his volunteers and that is how it became public. I didn’t realize you were unfit to be Governor if you are a honest, christian, caring, knowledgeable of the GA/US Constitution, and a small business owner. Then again that is the problem with the GOP right now.

  7. Red Phillips says:

    “His public blow up with former campaign manager Jenny Hodges only reinforced the notion that his campaign is for entertainment value and bears no further serious discussion.”

    As far as I know, the “blow up” was not over issues or ideology. No offense to Jenny, but in the grand scheme of things I don’t see how this significantly hurts the McBerry campaign.

    Austin efforts to change the flag mark him as a PC enforcing shill and win him friends only with the big money Atlanta crowd who prefer mammon to honor. Oh, it also wins him accolades from the Morris Deeses of the world.

    McBerry remains the only authentic conservative in a race against a bunch of mainstream “conservatives.” If all the people who call themselves conservatives really want to conserve something and aren’t just talk then they should vote for McBerry.

    I respect Icarus’s breakdown of the race from a political horse race stand point, but on the issues conservatives should support McBerry hands down.

        • South Fulton Guy says:

          Is that the Old Constitution before or after the 13th amendment ratified in 1868 abolishing slavery?

          • Red Phillips says:

            You can always count on it. When arguing with an authentic conservative who takes original intent seriously, the anti-originalist plays the PC card. The amendment process is obviously constitutional. Ignoring the Constitution is not. That is what we object to.

        • Game Fan says:

          Red
          Another type of conservative would be the type who would like to stop government growth in it’s tracks. Because the “beast state” has to keep growing in order to survive. It has to grab an increasing portion of a shrinking economy. Otherwise it will eventually be dwarfed by free markets, competition, innovation and productive Americans who don’t have time for political barbecues.

        • Joshua Morris says:

          Very simple definition, Red, but a good start. Now, how does an “authentic conservative” deal with change?

  8. slyram says:

    I can’t believe you guys aren’t talking about Blue Dog Democrat Rep. Parker Griffith in North Alabama switching to the GOP today. I remember the day Rep. Deal switched and I could understand it—get in where you fit it. Should Jim Marshall be next because he is more conservative than Griffith and the Dem Team is going to grow troubled by his “no” votes on major issues? The switch for Griffith also means that the Black GOP candidate Les Phillip is likely done in that district. That might have been the GOP’s best chance to avoid running against a Black president in 2012 without a single Black member of the Republican congressional conference. Even dark Bobby Jindal is gone back to the bayou.

    To stay on topic, some of the talent possibly leaving the governor’s race should consider congress and the same could be said about Atlanta mayor runner-up Mary Norwood on the dem side.

    Icarus, nice post and nice breakdown.

    • seenbetrdayz says:

      It’s a good thing he’s in Alabama. In Georgia, he’d likely be nominated as the GOP gubernatorial nominee.

      • Silent Outrage says:

        I personally wish we’d been a little tougher on the party switchers because all they did was switch parties to retain power and not really of any personal convictions.

        • Joshua Morris says:

          Exactly who should be a little tougher, and how should he/she/they do it?

          While I agree with your sentiment, I wonder about your ideas on the implementation of it.

  9. B Balz says:

    Icarus – There is a good reason why you have front page privileges — You are provide careful, thoughtful analysis. Good work here.

    I hope the Handel campaign is proactive on her educational background, that may be hurtful to her. Not sure how important that is outside of Atlanta, but it is a concern of mine.

    Rep.Scott deserves a larger role in State government, I hope he gets it.

    @slyram Interesting point, tks.

  10. Progressive Dem says:

    “For the good of the party, both men (Deal and Ox) should leave the race now.”

    Deal might see the handwriting on the wall come Spring. The Ox is in until the bitter end. And it will be bitter. He will hammer wedge issues like stem cell research, concealed gun rights and the “fair” tax. He’ll drive hard right and make a strong charge at the anti-Atlanta crowd. It’s not a bad political strategy for the primary and runnoff. It is terrible policy and a loser for the general election.

  11. Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

    So if elected Governor will Handel quit that job and run for President?
    LOL

    Sorry, for amusing myself. I just think politicians should finish their elected terms of office before quitting to flatter themselves.

  12. Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

    “Yet, his name ID outside the Savannah/Brunswick media market is still virtually unknown.” – Icarus

    This statement is kind of compelling in diagnosing this political analysis.

    Johnson has no Brunswick media market. In fact the only thing he is known for there is wanting to keep the toll on the causeway to Saint Simons Island which people wanted to tar and feather him for. .

    Like I said above, leave the Bat Cave, Robin.

    As far as timing and politics..well lets just say this.. Look no further than Mrs. Richardson having a camera in front of her face with something to say changing the Georgia House the next day. And remember the John Dean scream and how high in the saddle he was riding ? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDwODbl3muE

    I think a lot of this is presumptuous at this point.

  13. Progressive Dem says:

    The AJC in an otherwise pretty positive story on Handel’s resignation described her as “acerbic”. Wow. If that’s her image, she has some obstacles to overcome. Hillary wasn’t even described that way.

    • Red Phillips says:

      My limited interactions with Handel, which haven’t been me interacting with her but being in the presence of her interacting with someone else, would very accurately be described as acerbic.

    • drjay says:

      “acerbic” really? wow, i am genuinely shocked by that–the intereactions that i have had with her, and her office have been warm, helpful, professional, and pleasant (even when i was getting unpleasant news about my 2007 election) i 1st met her in 06 when the candidates were doing their around the state blitz in october and was standing in the back of the room trying to calm a 6 month old down and she was downright chatty and completely the opposite of acerbic…

        • drjay says:

          well it is quite possible they pushed a button of hers, i only have my experience to go by, which did not include either rudenes or dismissiveness…

  14. slyram says:

    Regarding Handel’s education background, people to did well in life without college degrees will love it because they feel you learn more in life actually doing stuff than sitting in a classroom and you are learning while providing for your family. In an interesting twist, the African American community might appreciate that she attended Frederick Douglass High in Maryland. Come on…Frederick Douglass High…like “Doug” in Atlanta. That’s saying something because most Georgians would have mortgaged the farm to send their kids to a private school if zoned to attend Frederick Douglas Anything.

    Can you imagine being a White kid in that school back then…talk about your character-building experience. We will never hear those stories on the rubber chicken speaking tour. But, Palin is tough because she can gut a fish. No, Palin switched colleges at the drop of a hat when the vibe wasn’t right. Handel’s staff should be facebooking like crazy to find some of her HS classmates (who are likely prominent people) who would say, “she was a standup kid in school and no one had her back.”

    • Game Fan says:

      Yeah I’m all about finding out more. In fact let’s find out more about ALL OF THEM. Also wouldn’t mind a clear concise bio of all the Bushes the Clintons and Obama. Slyram, just wanted you to know I’m “equal opportunity” here. 🙂

  15. Silent Outrage says:

    Obviously Ox is going to talk trash because if he resigns, he can’t shake down insurance executives anymore and if someone else gets the job they are going to see exactly how deep the corruption is at the Insurance Commissioner’s Office.

    Good analysis Icarus.

    • macho says:

      Without being able to pressure insurance agents, he’d get out raised by the panhandlers in front of City Hall.

  16. AthensRepublican says:

    I think Handel will quickly become the frontrunner in the next few months. I do think Eric Johnson will mount an aggressive campaign, but his silence (missed opportunities) in the last few weeks have not helped him.

    • fundy1611 says:

      Johnson has class and doesn’t pile on someone when they are obviously finished. On the other hand, Handel will dig up the Richardson corpse as many times as she can during the next 6 months. Pretty much her message will be “Elect me! I don’t have a penis”.

      • macho says:

        It’s interesting that ignoring some of the biggest scandals in the history of the Capitol is considered “piling on” by some.

      • Silent Outrage says:

        Before Handel spoke up, people were trying to figure out how Richardson could hang on. Thanks to Eric Johnson he didn’t have an ethics investigation into his wrongdoing as Speaker with his mistress and his support of legislation to suppport her company.

        Put firmly, real leaders speak up for what’s right regardless of where the chips may fall. Georgia needs real leadership right now, not more political pandering and certainly not a light weight like some of the folks running…

        • Game Fan says:

          No offense, and I’m probably going to get some negative feedback here but “leadership” from politicians just shouldn’t be something conservatives should be searching for IMHO. In fact, this is in line with Libertarian philosophy too. Of course the mental midgets would confuse this with “anarchy” but in reality, “leadership” from politicians has been shown throughout history as a dangerous concept. “Society” on the other hand functions better without all the “direction” from the politicians.

  17. IndyInjun says:

    Sorry, C4L and Libertarian folks, I am going back to my Republican roots for this race, if Karen Handel proves viable and gets the GOP nod.

    She seems to be catching heat from the socons.

    To me, that is a pretty good endorsement.

  18. Wow! This is definitely going to be interesting. I really appreciate Karen’s candor when I’ve discussed particular issues concerning local governmental issues and SoS. Those are going to be some huge shoes to fill.

    She knows how to campaign statewide effectively. The pressure that was put on her by her Republican opponent, in the SoS primary was massive. She handled it tremendously and without the nasty attitude that accompanies that type of race.

    Going to miss her in the SoS office, but imagine we’ll see a heck of a lot more of her throughout the state.

    This year is going to be wild.

    I wonder who the governor is going to appoint? That is going to be equally as interesting and puts a tremendous amount of pressure on him.

  19. DMZDave says:

    Chamblee54 reprises the Genarlow Wilson case and suggests that it will haunt Eric Johnson. I don’t think his legislative position on that case is all that meaningful but what should have an impact on this race and be a subject for debate is the fact that so many legislators sat in their offices, including Eric Johnson, and viewed the sex tapes of Genarlow Wilson and the young 15 year old teenager he was convicted of having sex with. That is simply scandalous. There was no legitimate legislative reason to view those tapes and it is a federal crime to do so. The dirty old men who did so simply re-victimized the young teenage victim. When questioned by the AJC about whether it was ever permissible to view child pornography, Atlanta’s US Attorney suggested that there was no legal reason to watch those tapes and doing so was tantamount to watching child porn because the victim was 15. By rights, all those down at the Capitol who admitted to watched those tapes should probably be registered as sex offenders. Apparently there was safety in numbers and nothing was ever done.

    The image of legislators sitting around the Capitol watching those tapes supplied by the Douglas County DA is disgusting. They weren’t sitting on a jury and had no legitimate reason to view those tapes. The DA and the legislators involved demonstrated their utter contempt for the privacy of the victim in doing so. Eric Johnson was one of the first to admit watching the tapes of a 15 year old engaged in sex and said he believed what he watched was indeed a rape. It was also child porn and as Lewis Grizzard once famously suggested, “Damn, brother, I don’t know if I’d a told that.”

  20. Peter Griffin says:

    It seems conventional wisdom is that Handel will once again put up dismal fundraising numbers. What will be really interesting, though, is to look at her burn rate.

    No doubt Handel has a competent team, jam-packed with political all stars. They’ve developed a good message for her, too, but a flurry of positive comments from consultants operating under numerous aliases on Peach Pundit will be no match for the money others put on TV, radio, and in the mail.

    Handel’s disappointing fundraising isn’t nearly as problematic as her lopsided overhead is.

  21. Donna Locke says:

    Thoughtful and well-expressed, Icarus. But I don’t fall in with all of the conclusions. With enough information, voters can wisely weigh their options in their own balances. They should have the chance to do that, so I hope there won’t be premature exits.

    • Tricia says:

      You have way more faith in the general voting population than I do. I find very few voters ACTUALLY gather enough information and wisely weigh it, unfortunately.

      • Donna Locke says:

        I hear you, Tricia, but what are our options? Candidates and others shouldn’t bother trying to get information to voters? We should just give up on an educated populace?

        Most of us find few to no perfect candidates. We each have our own set of priorities. We need enough information to be able to perform satisfactory triage in the voting booth. This is the reason I’m against early voting, though I know it is far more convenient for some. Critical info can arise, be publicized, between early voting dates and election day.

  22. Technocrat says:

    SLYRAM: I would be careful about encouraging anyone to dig into her Maryland past and why she left FD High School before graduation. You may find things she obvious doesn’t want to discuss.

  23. SouthPeach says:

    I, for one, would like to know that my next Governor is highly educated and prepared to take on the problems of the state. Handel can only fake that for so long. I’ve heard of some behind scenes where she has made ignorant remarks and made major mistakes due to lacking in education. This is just who we DON’T need leading our state!!!

  24. fishtail says:

    Icarus…I would be interested in your thoughts of how Casey Cagle would be treated by the GOP Governor nominee (no matter who it is) if the Dems are airing all his dirty laundry in the General Election. Now, I don’t have anything more specific than what Erick himself mentioned about Casey getting a “Lewinsky” in his Capitol office, but I presume that Erick would not have written such slanderous comments if there was nothing concrete to back it up. Also, who are the Dems putting up for Lt. Governor? Surely they won’t let that seat go uncontested? So could a GOP ticket weakened by Cagle end up costing the entire GOP slate?

  25. I’m not making any predictions at this point, but I can’t help but notice that virtually every post about the Governor’s race on Peach Pundit is the exact same thing:

    (1) Someone says that Oxendine, despite holding the lead for a year, is dead in the water and has no chance.

    (2) Someone says something nice about Karen Handel.

    (3) Two dozen people write comments, praising the someone for being “insightful” and offering “keen analysis”.

    (4) All commentors “plus-sign” each other up to +10.

    (5) Wash, rinse, repeat.

    I don’t care for Oxendine either, but this gets boring. Someone please ping me when the poll numbers start to reflect the astroturfing.

    • Ken in Eastman says:

      Have you noticed that nearly everything is about:

      1 – The Race for governor: polls, projections, fundraising;

      2 – The character of the candidates: real and imagined; and,

      3 – The issues: just kidding! This is just to see if you’re paying attention.

      • Game Fan says:

        re:
        2 – The character of the candidates: real and imagined; and,

        3 – The issues: just kidding! This is just to see if you’re paying attention.

        After discovering Ron Paul who’s “clean as a whistle” this whole “bashing Democrats” (which some would prefer apparently) is no longer viable for many. Because the good Doctor represents a NEW STANDARD in ethics and morality. And (for those of you in Rio Linda) since RP was grassroots (no corporate sponsors) then ANY ties with lobbyists, multinational corporations, or so-called “bundlers” represents something rather hideous and disgusting in comparison. So when a politician is getting a happy ending from a lobbyist babe then yeah this is definitely about character and it is an issue because the entire “relationship” is about effecting legislation. Of course the sheeple will continue to debate the boiler plate served up by the mass media and criticize the “outsiders” who ain’t in on the financial orgy. So I guess we’re both on the same page with #1.

  26. anewday says:

    Does anyone care that Georgia is in the middle of a battle with the Obama justice department concerning elections and keeping our election for legal immigrants. It is absurd to think that someone will be able to come in and pick up the ball that Karen dropped. In my opinion Karen cares way more about her personal power then the people of Georgia. Pres. Obama 1, Karen Handel 0. I hope that if she does get elected Governor she can protect her state better then she previously has.

    • Jeff says:

      Karen Handel’s Voter Verification program was implemented illegally, violating Federal Law (VRA Section 5) by implementing it prior to USDOJ approval. Whether you like that particular law or not (and I’ve LONG said it needs to be repealed), it IS The Law and I would expect a statewide elected official to follow The Law, even ones she personally disagrees with.

      How can I look a pothead dead in the eye and tell him he needs to avoid pot as long as it remains illegal, when Ga’s Secretary of State is violating Federal Law herself? What is the difference there?

      Furthermore, the program she illegally implemented had a 60% FAILURE rate. In other words, out of all the people it banned from voting because it said they were illegal, SIXTY PERCENT of them were, in fact, legal voters! (Oh, and it was BOTH a Republican-controlled AND a Democrat-controlled USDOJ that censured her!)

      So here you have a candidate who actively works to disenfranchise voters while breaking The Law in the process.

      And note that I haven’t said a peep about the usual “disenfranchisement” argument against Handel – the photo ID. Personally, I think that one is a solid move, and as far as I am aware we had the proper USDOJ preclearance on that one.

      • ready2rumble says:

        The election law expert speaks. Did Austin write that for you, or did you come up with the cracker jack anaylsis on your own?

        Just curious, what state agency is the states lawyer? Are they involved in th process of requesting and working with the DOJ on pre-clearance requests?

        • Jeff says:

          VRA Section 5 is pretty clear – and WELL known in this State. (Mostly because people despise it, but it is the law regardless.)

          As far as Scott goes, I haven’t talked to him at all since his fundraiser last Thursday night in Albany.

          The Attorney General’s office is the state’s lawyer, but I am unsure of exactly how the pre-clearance process works – only that NOTHING can be changed in our election process without first receiving it, which Karen Handel did NOT do, as the DOJ and court system have said multiple times under two different administrations.

          • Silent Outrage says:

            Wrong facts – HAVA requires Citizen Verification. Prior to Obama, the Bush Justice Deparment had the matter handled by careers and there were no issues.

            Randy Evans thinks that we should not have citizen verification and that illegals should be able to vote.

            Obama wins and politicals are now handling the legal matter with citizen verification and are using Georgia as a test case to throw out HAVA and open the doors to illegals being able to vote across the country.

            Karen Handel, easily recognized as one of the best Secretary’s of State in the entire country, was standing strong for our democracy and the integrity of the voter registration process.

          • GOPGeorgia says:

            Silent-

            Been inside Evans head lately? Have any actions or statements by him to back up what you say he thinks?

        • Jeff says:

          I’m a 26 yo libertarian. Of course I know a few potheads. I also knew several back in college when I was a solid neo-con. My advice to them has remained consistent over the years: As long as it is illegal, don’t do it.

          The problem I currently have is that I can’t refute the argument that they can ignore at will that Federal law because the Secretary of State ignores at will Federal laws she doesn’t like as well.

          I mean, dang, aren’t elected officials held to “higher” standards?

          • GOPGeorgia says:

            So if 1 person breaks a law, be it a President, a Governor, or a judge, then we are hypocrites for obeying the rest of the laws on the books. Got it. and Merry Christmas! Santa broke a few speed regulations last night and did not pre-clear his flight plan with the FAA!

            Tell them if they are naughty, no presents next year!

  27. Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

    I think this opinion was a comical and cloaked candidate worshiping and effort to set the tone of an election that isn’t ready to be set yet.

  28. Jane says:

    It could be a fun couple of months. Karen has some problems with Social conservative issues. Planned Parenthood was funded by the Fulton County government when she was chairwomen. She is the candidate of choice for the Log Cabins and the outside HWY 285 folk are suspicious of the Buckhead Republicans like herself. She has an opening, but I cannot see her really selling well outside the metro area. She has no tie in with agriculture/ the chicken industry or UGA as far as I can tell. If OX fails, look for Eric Johnson to gain a little of the MO. However he needs a better issue than School Choice.

      • Jane says:

        Bill Stephens was a horrible candidate. I supported Karen for Sec of State where her positions of social issues were irrelevant to her job. I wish some of people would have stayed in their current positions and not tried to rise above their skill set.

    • Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

      Eric has a problem. I can not believe Eric placed one of the Reynolds boys on his campaign staff. This denotes a serious leadership and ethics gap at a time when all of this is paramount.

      Here is how I see the perceived leaders.

      Oxendine.
      Dreamer. If his ethics and funding violations don’t kill him, the cameras and microphones will.

      Handel.
      Insider that bills herself as the outsider who has a new fund raising theme now other than “Bring It On” since the House Zipper Gate”. I could write more but I don’t like beating on women.

      Deal.
      Give it a month, no one will be mentioning his name.

      Johnson.
      I mentioned him above. This guy will be reading about politics in the paper next year in a Savannah office.

      So what does this say? Keep your eyes on the rest of the pack.

    • Silent Outrage says:

      Anyone that knows Karen Handel knows what an advocate she is for life issues. Of the candidate, she is the only one who has ever participated in a pro-life rally or demonstration she feels so strongly about the issue.

      What’s unfortunate is some close minded people feel that unless you are with them lock stock and barrell then you’re actually pro-choice. They can’t handle that Karen Handel won’t sign their pledge and that she has exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. They would rather buy the lip service they get from the frauds then the sincerity they get from Karen Handel.

  29. Jane says:

    The only Georgia governor from Fulton County was Lester. I do not think Karen will be the second. The rest of the state is suspect of Fulton county Republicans even though Fulton county is the wealthiest and best connected county organization. Karen would have to move to the right to out maneuver those who are concerned that she is a moderate. When I know that she is not liberal and not as much of a moderate as her critics say, she is to most moderate of the current candidates for Governor. This perception that she is a moderate will prevent her from making any headway among those who fall over themselves supporting wing nuts like Broun and Westmoreland out in the hinterlands.

    • Doug Deal says:

      Like pretty much all political labels, “moderate” has become as worthless as “conservative” and “liberal”.

      Why are so many people pro-extremism in that only the most radical and only the “most conservative” candidate will do. How about looking at candidates on what they believe issue by issue and picking the one that most closely resembles your own belief set, tempered with your view of their ethics and competence? You know, use rational thought, instead of throwing out meaningless labels to support a couple of candidates that should probably be in jail, instead of the governor’s mansion.

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