Big 5 GOP Debate Live-Blog

Clayton, Icarus and myself are at The Beacon‘s Big 5 gubernatorial debate. Live-blogging begins soon. You can watch online here.
Photos from the event here on Flickr


  1. ZazaPachulia says:

    I enjoyed the live chat… nice work.

    And now, for more silliness, Icarus gets name dropped in small town Georgia media: (gotta love Peach Pundit… isn’t this the kind of stuff that’s supposedly killing local newspapers?? And yet, the media folks embrace it…)

    “Oxendine denies any wrongdoing in both cases, but as former Fayette County resident Charlie Harper wrote in the influential Georgia political blog Peach Pundit Monday, “Ox is toast.”

  2. lets rock says:

    I think Rep. Scott kicked butts and took names this evening he was great! I wish that I could have been there.

  3. Republican Lady says:

    I was there in person and Karen was awesome. Deal was late but he had an important vote to post and with the weather, it was unavoidable.

    Deal and Oxendine repeatedly refused to stop talking when the red stop reminder was displayed. Oxendine played with his Blackberry or whatever it was he had, and he looked bored at times, like he had the nomination in the bag and was wasting his time. His staff and volunteers were rude to the staffers and volunteers of the other candidates.

    Scott will be a force to reckon with in eight to ten years but right now, I do not feel he has the experience and he was too intense tonight.

    Johnson made some good points but overall, Karen took it by a landslide. Many people took her name tags coming in, but after hearing her speak, some who had refused her name tag, gladly took her informational brochure and her sticker for cars on their way out.

    • AthensRepublican says:

      Very good analysis. Thank you for sharing Republican Lady. I heard the Athens debate (was not able to attend in person because of illness). During that debate, Karen came across as sharp and knowledgeable but also quite cold. She never smiled and seemed defensive. Did she show a warmer side at this debate?

          • polisavvy says:

            I am 55 and a libber (to a degree). Back in the day I did burn a few bras; believed in make love, not war; San Francisco was my idea of heaven; equal pay for equal work; and on and on). And yes, I was once a registered, card carrying Democrat. However, I finally changed a lot of ideas and ideals — this happens with age. Having said all that, I vote for a person based on what I think meets my criteria. I never have nor will I ever vote on someone strictly because of gender. I think she’s doing just fine even without my support. She was much warmer and more relaxed last night. I have decided to support Austin Scott. I hope that you will still remain my friend, though. 🙂 Drinks at the next debate? Please don’t have a wreck the next time. By the way, are you okay?

          • Kellie says:

            I am 40 and I like my bras so I won’t burn them. 😉
            Did go to a pro-choice protest in DC back in 1990 though. 😉
            Vote for who you like. I don’t pick someone because of gender either nor do I pick someone just because they share one major view with me. (unlike people who vote only on a persons abortion view) I pick who I think shares the majority of my beliefs.
            Austin seems like a nice guy. I did meet him at the last PP pow wow. He seems a bit shy though.
            Ray McBerry is a very nice guy too.
            The field is just too crowded right now. I hope some drop out and we don’t have a run off.

          • polisavvy says:

            I feel that there may will some dropouts. Just a gut feeling that we have just begun to hear of scandals/ethics issues with more to follow. But, you can take it to the bank that there will be a runoff. No one is going to win out in July. Just my feeling. We won’t know until August who the GOP candidate is going to be. There again, just my feeling.

          • 1magnoliapeach says:

            I was there, found it very interesting! I really enjoyed hearing and seeing all the canidates in person. Karen did well and it seemed to me that most of the time, she did stike a balance-showing a softer side while being direct. I was impressed with Rep. Scott too. But hey, I have to admit, it was fun to finally see “The Ox” in person. All I could think about each time he spoke was hearing all the comments I have read here…..I will not vote for him but I can tell you that the die hard “Ox” supporters think he is a god of sorts.

          • polisavvy says:

            The Ox did provide a little comic relief. I was amused as to how high his voice gets when he becomes angry/irritated. The part about the wife and baby was a little much.

            I was watching it (when it was working) and live blogging. Icarus was throwing out the commentary. When the wife and baby part started, Icarus said, “And, we have a 6 month old baby who isn’t old enough to shoot anyone yet.” I completely fell out laughing! Ox and Deal didn’t like having their shortcomings pointed out to them, did they?

  4. Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

    Big Yawn. Other than it sounds boring , The Beacons comments section was more interesting. The comments were overwhelmingly attacking The Beacon for excluding two candidates based on money when one that was invited has been extorting money from insurance companies and along with Deal pawed their property for revenue.

  5. polisavvy says:

    From what I saw and heard last night, Austin Scott held his own. As a matter of fact, he gave the most candid responses — not canned or rehearsed. For those who think he is not “ready for primetime,” stop and think, he was on his toes and, apparently from the reaction of some of the other candidates, hit some buttons that perhaps they didn’t want hit. [I thought that two of the candidates’ heads were going to explode]. He seemed genuine. He has served his constituents and this State well for 14 years. He has also run a successful business for 14 years. He has no skeletons in his closet (contrary to bogus rumors and innuendos which appeared here yesterday). No hint of ethics issues. He was the only candidate who would actually answer the question regarding what our present governor has done incorrectly. Think about it, none of the others would. They skirted the question with a “non-answer answer.” He was the only candidate that mentioned our rights and liberties.

    • gasurvivor says:

      I like Austin.

      Ideally, he would have a shot at this thing.

      In reality, he is entirely too awkward to win a statewide office (especially Governor) and won’t have the funds to communicate (already not his specialty) his message to the voters.

      • polisavvy says:

        I’m glad you like Austin. We could debate this one forever; but, it would serve neither of us any good. I think he’s definitely ready to o run with the big dawgs and you don’t. I just wasn’t aware that having a bubbly personality was a criteria that people look for in choosing a candidate. As long as he conveys the message that people are wanting to hear, I don’t think it matters if he’s awkward in the presentation. As far as funds go, well, it’s still five and a half months away and anything could happen. Right now, other than paying staffers and ads, the campaigns aren’t spending the amount of money they will be spending in May. A lot can happen between now and then. The front runners could stumble and those trailing behind could advance. Endorsements can become game changers. Nothing is written in stone, yet.

  6. justforga says:

    after attending the debate here are some thoughts: Ox seemed a bit unprepared and his answers were sound bites for the most part, but he sure had his best $1M smile going, definately knows how to turn that up when needed. Not much substance for a guy that is the front runner. Closing comments were terrible, I thought he was going to cry which would make me cry, when talking about his wife and new baby, give me a break… People need to wake up. Deal, while understandably late, again didn’t seem overly prepared, handled questions like the veteran he is, never said much more than what the candidates ahead of him had already said, except he did emphasize several times that he was ‘the only one’ that had voted or dealt with specific issues, that got old after a while. Played it very middle of the road. While he looks the part of a lifetime politician he might be better left serving in D.C., not sure he is really in touch with the issues in GA and what about the ethics issues… we need high integrity honest people running our state, no more ‘good ol boy’ stuff… Johnson was smooth, cracked some good jokes, liked the one about betting on him, unfortunately anyone that knows anything about betting knows that the house wins the majority of the time so is Johnson really a safe bet, you could walk away a loser… talked too much about being an architect, yes some of the lessons apply but there is a big picture here that needs to be addressed, talked alot about creating jobs but had nothing defined as to how to do that. Handel was good, her answers were concise and well rehearsed/thought out. I got put off from the very beginning when she didn’t answer the first question put to her and instead talked about what she wanted to say, you just want to yell out ‘answer the question!!’. While she has a lot of experience just not sure she is the one to run the state. Scott, he seemed to have a chip on his shoulder and didn’t hesitate to throw a few barbs at the other candidates (i think the only person spared was Johnson). He showed a passion that was missing with the others (until Deal’s closing comments). He is a determined, hard working (1000 mile walk), high integrity candidate. He needs to work on his presence and delivery, he has good ideas that need to be communicated clearly and concisely. I love the part about putting the crooks in jail, if it can be done I think this guy will back it up. Seemingly impeccable background with no skeltons. Lets vote for someone that won’t embarrass us with sleazy business dealings and will leave the state in a better spot. Scott has a future…

    Now for a couple of questions: why was there no mention of balancing the GA budget and how that was going to be accomplished? Why is the issue being avoided! Also, someone needs to step up and provide a plan that is going to save our public education system. Put simply how are we going to get out of the bottom five in education (48th) and get into the top five? Simple question that requires a difficult but well thought through answer and action to be taken. Quite honestly all of us should be embarrassed… we have willing teachers who want to do a great job but continuously get handcuffed. Who has that answer? That is the person who should be seriously considered. Fix education you can fix industry, transportation, create jobs, etc… educated people are in demand…

    enuf said… good job by the Beacon organizing the event… loved the peach pundit live dialog.

    • SouthGAConservative says:

      Interesting analysis justforga.

      A few things though:
      Austin I feel was too busy throwing elbows and not mentioning policiy, what solution did he really offer up? Get rid of the corporate income tax? That was about all I heard. That whole thing that you feel was passionate, I call aggressive. Just like last year when he stood up against the empty Obama resolution wasting General Assembly time and embarrassing the state. (We made the NYT for that one. )That’s the kind of immaturity he displays in picking his fights (and their solutions) not to mention I would have loved to have that time back so they could have passed the end of the birthday tax bill on our cars but among other fruitless things, that time was used up on bickering over two days about a silly resolution. No, I didn’t like or agree with it either but it was merely symbolic, go work on something that matters.

      Also, Johnson is a huge proponent of school vouchers. It’s not the end all, be all but I think it is a heckuva good start! I am a product of similiar programs and my degree came thanks to HOPE. Free market definitely boosted my educational opportunities, I think everyone should have that chance. Not to mention, it puts some responsibility back on parents to figure out their child’s education rather than let them rely on the “nanny state” to do all the thinking and teaching for them. Oh, and Johnson will start with infrastructure to create jobs. Lord knows the construction industry could use a little help right now.

      But I wholeheartedly agree that Ox continues to be a lowly panderer and Deal should remain in DC we need experience to continue up there. Why is he showing up now? For Governor? No clue.

      OH and did anyone catch Deal saying he lead the state senate in his career?!?! HA!! Yeah, as a DEMOCRAT!

      • anewday says:

        God knows that we don’t need anyone in the Governor’s office that stands up for a principle. Austin stood against the Obama Resolution because the wording said that he “had unimpeachable reputation for integrety”. As a Georgia citizen when they pass a resolution like that it means that you are behind it. Do you believe that Obama has unimpeachable reputation for integrety? That there is nothing that he could do that would be grounds for dismissal from the Office of President. If you do I would have to believe that you are just another one of those conservatives that choose to stand on the sideline, and go along with the flow.

        And a whole lot of time was wasted. Those 6 minutes really held back a lot of legislation.

      • justforga says:

        good comments. I do agree that I think Scott came across as a little too aggressive, would like to see that toned down some, don’t want this to end up being a mud slinging campaign. He does have some good ideas on policy and I would like to see it begin to be articulated more clearly. I agree with you on the vouchers, choice is good and the Hope scholarship, it has enabled people to pursue a higher education. I would just like to see someone really tackle the education issue and put together a good, achievable long term plan that takes GA from the laughing stock to well respected and often duplicated… and it can’t just be gov’t, parents play a significant role in providing their kids a solid foundation and must support the public schools from the home…

        • polisavvy says:

          Unfortunately, with seven candidates in a race, and some having less than perfect reputations (with probably more scandals or ethics questions to be raised), there will be mud slung. I don’t feel that Austin Scott was overtly aggressive, I just think he was trying to get his point across. I did appreciate the fact that his answers seemed candid and not rehearsed or canned. He at least answered the questions posed and did not dance around them. Also, in my opinion, to get people to listen to you and hear your message, you also have to be able to point out the shortcomings of your opponents.

        • polisavvy says:

          As an aside, until parents start taking some responsibility for their own children, all the money in the world will not fix the education problems. Parents seem to skirt their responsibilities and want to blame others.

          • ByteMe says:

            But are Georgia parents really worse than, say, Massachusetts parents… and, if so, why is that? If not, why are MA schools so superior to ours when measured using all the possible measurements out there?

          • polisavvy says:

            Byte, I can’t answer that. I only know from what I saw and experienced when my own kids were in school. I saw total apathy. I’m sure that Georgia doesn’t have the lock on apathy, by any means. As far as what makes MA superior, can’t answer that, either. I was told by a retired teacher that the reason, in her opinion, why Georgia’s school performance is so bad is because of the pay for beginning teachers. She said that Georgia’s pay was considerably lower than other states and the result of that was that Georgia would sometimes hire the culls. Granted she told me this about eight years ago, so I don’t know if the pay has improved or not.

          • ByteMe says:

            I grew up in Florida, where the school districts set their own salary schedules and competed for teachers. Here’s it’s set on a state-wide basis and subject to the whims of the legislature. (At least this is how I understand it, so please correct me anyone if I messed up.)

            Who’d want to put up with the legislature telling you you got a pay cut because they wanted to fund boat docks instead?

        • anewday says:

          If school vouchers were given to Georgia family’s do you not think that the private schools would raise their tuition rates to still keep the “rift raft” out their school. If I was a private school administrator and Georgia gave $2,500 credit out to Georgia families to send there kids to a private school of their choosing I would raise my tuition rate by exactly that much. If the cost of schooling was $5,000 a year (a conservative price for most schools), I would raise it to $7,500 so the same students would go to my school plus I would get the $2,500 that the government gives there family to send them to my school.

          Would the government put a cap on how much private schools could charge? If so that is the farthest thing from being conservative, and that is yet more government intervention in the private sector. How about those parents who work hard day in and day out to A) obtain a home in a good school district or B) go to a private school of their choice. I think it punishes those parents and teaches them a lesson of don’t worry about working to make the best life for your family the government will take care of it. Not to mention the seperation of Church and State with federal money being delivered in large amounts to Christian schools if vouchers were to go through.

          Not sold on the voucher idea. Sure it sounds like a good idea, but in reality it is just the government putting there hands on something else that I would rather remain private.

          • Ramblinwreck says:

            If a voucher program did pass some existing private schools might raise tuition. Supply and demand would, and should, take over. However, I think you would also see more private schools springing up all over the state to compete which could bring the tuition back down. I believe a voucher program or tax credits for parents would provide some much needed competition for public schools and force them to improve their product. Eventually the best way to improve public education is to wrestle it away from politicians.

    • Silent Outrage says:

      Good observations, however the Beacon didn’t ask any questions about education.

      And GA has a balanced budget requirement. How they were going to balance the budget in light of continuing falling revenue would have been a good question too.

      All in all – smart money should be on Handel at this point.

  7. BillinSuwanee says:

    People of this great State of Georgia.

    Nathan Deal (R-9th) is a Statist. He is a quintessential Liberal Republican. Nathan Deal voted YEA for;

    1. No Child Left Behind – Big Guv’mint
    2. Homeland Security Act – Big Bureaucracy
    3. Medicare Prescription Drug Plan – Big spending/taxes

    Ronald Reagan once said; “You can’t be for big government, big taxes, and big bureaucracy and be for the little guy.’

    We need a Governor that is willing and knows how to push back against the Federal guv’mints intrusions into our families lives. Nathan Deal is not capable of doing this.

    He is a Washington DC insider and big guv’mint (Statist) Republican. He is a Repubic Hair.

  8. B Balz says:

    He is a Repubic Hair.
    He is a Repubic Hair.
    He is a Repubic Hair.

    I don’t care you you are, that’s just funny.

  9. kyleinatl says:

    All I learned was that Johnson was an architect, and Deal was the best speaker of the bunch (not that I agree with his policies).

        • AthensRepublican says:

          And did the crowd swamp him after the debate? Fighting with each other to get an autograph or a handshake?

          • AthensRepublican says:

            Yep, Tim Bryant trying to feed McBerry’s ego. Keep feeding him maybe his head will explode and we don’t have to listen to him anymore.

          • Red Phillips says:

            Romegaguy, I never made the straw poll claim. Sounds like AthensRepublican is cooking up some kind of conspiracy theory. Ray got together with the talk show host before hand and they conspired to lie about it I guess? (Some clown on the other thread alleged that Ray was just making it all up.) Just accept the fact that the crowd dug Ray’s straight up conservatism, and quit being such a sore loser.

          • Red Phillips says:

            “Good then. But, he will certainly lose this election.”

            AthensRepublican, if the people aren’t yet ready for real conservatism why is that a good thing? Why wouldn’t that be something to mourn? Unless of course, you aren’t ready for real conservatism either.

            Why don’t you sign up for the Tenth Amendment Summit and see what you think? But you better hurry. It’s almost sold out.

          • AthensRepublican says:

            According to his disclosure, McBerry has $17K cash left in his campaign account. He has no money to get his nutty, crazy, secessionist message out to voters.

            That is probably a good thing for him because the more people hear his message the fewer votes he will receive in the primary.

            Yes, he will lose this election. I also doubt any remaining candidates would accept the endorsement of Georgia’s modern day version of J.B. Stoner.

          • Red Phillips says:

            “his nutty, crazy, secessionist message”

            Wow AthensRepublican, I’m proud of you for making such an intelligent, reasoned and thoughtful argument and not just resorting to name calling.

            Why don’t you try to do what I have challenged all these other McBerry critics to do, but they have yet to step up to the plate. Make the historical case that state’s rights, nullification and interposition are not legitimate constitutional options intended by the Framers and the State Ratifying Conventions. Because original intent is something conservatives are supposed to care about in case you have forgotten.

            I know it is harder to compile a reasoned and historically accurate argument than it is to just call names, but you owe it to yourself and your position. Really you do. So have at it.

          • AthensRepublican says:

            It could be that no one wants to elevate your positions as being worthy of debate. You guys don’t seem to be getting any respect.

          • Red Phillips says:

            “It could be that no one wants to elevate your positions as being worthy of debate.”

            Well thanks AR. That is a handy little admission. I guess that means you give up?

            So what position the Framers had is not “worthy of debate?” Interesting. Very interesting.

  10. Red Phillips says:

    “Chapman won the debate.”

    Actually, Chapman and McBerry did win the debate. (I’m assuming their exclusion stood.) Excluding candidates from a debate always backfires. Their supporters get riled up and the Establishment tools who excluded them end up looking like … well … Establishment tools, and the excluded candidates looks like martyrs that the Powers That Be are trying to keep down.

    • Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

      This is true. I really don’t see how the others attended myself. How can you be for fair and open government when the birthing process of being elected isn’t fair and open?

  11. bwjohnson83 says:

    The OX has no experiance and has never lead during difficult times. He talks a big game but we have no idea who he really is. Handel is a liberal (RINO), and comes across very cold. Deal is ranked in the top 15 most corrupt congressman. Johnson should resign because of his involvement on the ethics committee that did nothing during the Richardson administration. Scott is a royal jerk to those who are pro-life. McBerry is a tea party candidate that has alot of the qualities I like.

    Senator Jeff Chapman is my candidate. He says “All tea bags look the same until you add hot water.” I want someone I can trust and know what they will do when under fire.

    Senator Chapman is not recieving the support of the state republican leadership. That’s probably the best compliment a person could get!

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