Rubio-Crist, Georgia Style

The Rubio-Crist race for Senate in Florida has captured national attention. Erick has mentioned Rubio time and again. The race is a classic battle of establishment vs. grassroots, status quo vs. the Right direction.

On Saturday Jim Galloway gave an excellent synopsis of the Ninth District Republican race for Congress. Galloway paints a clear picture of the CD-9 race by using Florida as an example.

Backed by tea partyists and GOP hard-cores, the 39-year-old Rubio is mopping the floor with the 53-year-old Crist, who started the race with the backing of the Republican establishment, in both Florida and Washington.

A single embrace by a stimulus-peddling President Barack Obama has crippled the well-tanned governor. The latest primary polls put Rubio 18 points ahead.

That kind of success is bound to encourage imitation. In Georgia, the resignations of U.S. Reps. John Linder and Nathan Deal, within the space of three days, have virtually guaranteed that the dynamics of the Rubio-Crist fight will dominate state GOP politics through the July primary.

Two candidates have dominated the fund-raising — state Rep. Tom Graves of Ranger and state Sen. Lee Hawkins of Gainesville. Graves, a 40-year-old developer and builder, has tied himself closely to the tea party movement. He uses the language of insurgency, referring to his supporters as “freedom fighters.”

“I think people are fed up. They’re saying enough’s enough. They’re an energized group of people,” said Graves campaign manager Tim Baker. In 2008, FreedomWorks, the group led by Dick Armey that helped kick-start the tea party movement, gave awards to two state lawmakers. One was Rubio. The other was Graves.

Hawkins, 59, is more a traditional Republican — a practicing dentist for 30 years, first elected to the Legislature in 2006. His focus in the congressional campaign is small business. He pitches himself as a steady conservative and has had little contact with the tea party movement. “He’s not really associated with it at all,” said his spokesman, Steve Holman.

“He’s not really associated with it at all”, really? I’m from CD-9 and can attest to the growing number within the Tea Party movement. The very last thing I would do as a Congressional candidate in the Ninth District is explain that I’m not associated with the Tea Party.

This statment opens Hawkins to more “good ole boy” criticism. I would argue that Hawkins should not be running as an establishment candidate in our current political environment. Establishment is “out” and limited government is “in”. Graves has continually reached out to the Tea Party and set himself up as a conservative looking to “bring the Party back”. This race seems to mirror the Rubio-Crist race in Florida and is rapidly becoming just as interesting.


  1. GeorgiaConservative says:

    Check out what Hawkins had to say about his own views rather than what Holman said.

    • GOPGrassroots says:

      “He” – Lee Hawkins – “has had little contact with the tea party movement”

      “His spokesman” Holman – “He’s not really associated with the Tea Party.”

      As the self-identified “spokesman” he is speaking on behalf of Hawkins so what’s your point GeorgiaConservative? This is a pretty clear statement, leaving little room for creative explanations from the Hawkins-bots.

      Additionally, if Lee’s spokesman just made up this quote (highly unlikely), you would think Lee would issue a retraction. I haven’t seen anything yet and this quote appeared days ago.

  2. Technocrat says:

    Sounds like OX [antilegislature] vs Handel establishment {Sonny pick} with Deal {Sonny backup pick} and assorted ex state politicans throw in.

    • B Balz says:

      If one believes consumption decisions ought to be driven by a ‘rational economic person’, then the Club makes perfect sense.

      Ideology enters the picture when one believes the State ought to drive consumption and production.

      Good call Chef!

      • ByteMe says:

        Actually, ideology enters the picture when you believe that your “beliefs” are more important than reality.

      • griftdrift says:

        Yes, B Balz, but the sin here is Crist openly welcomed the stimulus dollars. Unlike other southern governors who said all the right things then showed up at the photo ops. Unlike Rubio, who after blasting Crist for taking the stimulus later said if he had been governor he would have done the same.

        On for this sin, they’ve thrown in with a creationist.

    • DTK says:

      @ Grift

      I don’t understand your criticism of the Club for Growth. Of course they like to enforce “their economic ideological line.” They are, after all, an ideological group. That’s why it was formed. You can argue that their economic philosophy is wrong but faulting them for simply being ideological is off base.

      It’d be like faulting the Sierra Club for reflexively opposing, say, clear cutting of our national forests. Or the NRA for opposing handgun bans. The Club for Growth was formed to support laissez-faire economics and the politicians who might be supportive of their cause. It is no different than any other ideological group.

      In the Club’s view, Rubio is a better choice than Crist, and so it endorsed him. And with recent polling showing Rubio leading Crist 2-1, it looks like it picked the winner and isn’t “thow[ing] the baby [out] with the bathwater.”

      It seems like your criticism of Rubio is that he pandered to the creationists once too often. I’ve never seen you criticize him for anything other than this. Are you automatically dismissing him based on your own “ideological line”? If so, that’s cool. But don’t act like you’re just some pragmatist constantly weighing the pros and cons of each situation as it comes to you while the rest of us knuckle-dragging Neanderthals rely on our “ideology” (scare quotes intended) to make sense of a complicated world.

      • griftdrift says:

        All good points. And yes, creationism is a bright line for me. Bottom line, I don’t think anyone who believes the earth is only 10,000 years old is in any position to judge someone else on macroeconomics.

        And yes, Club For Growth is guilty of mainlining one issue too. Crist shepherded through one of the largest tax cuts in Florida’s history. That would seem to be in line with the Club’s ideology. Yet because of a hug in Tampa….the knives come out.

        And certainly others are guilty of it too. It reminds me of two years ago when the NRA threatened Georgia Republicans with an F on their famous scorecards if they voted wrong on a single issue – carrying guns onto an employers property.

        I’m sure you can find an instance where the Sierra Club did the same.

        So, yes. We all throw the baby out with the bathwater in some way. Including me. But my standard is to believe that someone who denies one of the basic principles of science doesn’t have the sense required to change a light bulb – much less run government.

        I’m comfortable with my narrow mindedness.

  3. Tommy_a2b says:

    This is just nonsense.

    Lee Hawkins has been a strong supporter of the tea party movement.

    In fact, Lee was at some of the very earliest meetings for our cause. He has been there with us from the beginning.

    And Lee has joined many events and rallies, including one just a week ago at the capitol.

    Steve was attempting to say that too many politicians just ‘talk the talk’, and we need more leaders who will walk the walk, leaders who will vote to cut budgets and reduce America’s taxation burden.

    Lee is the only candidate who has actually voted for the Fair Tax. In the Legislature, he voted to endorse the Fair Tax and urge Congress to pass it. And he is the first candidate in this election to sign the Balanced Budget Amendment Pledge.

    Lee is a strong supporter of the Tea Party movement and this is just nonsense.

    • provisional says:

      Well if “walking the walk” is the issue Hawkins is trying to make I’d say since Tom Graves is the perfect example of someone who is running the walk, not just walking it at a comfortable pace. He is the only candidate who has been asked to travel across the country with Fair Tax leaders to promote the cause, is the only candidate whose fight in the state legislature for conservative principles and ideals have earned him awards and endorsements by the leading conservative groups in the country, the only candidate to introduce a JOBS bill for Georgia that has garnered National attention (not is still in the process of writing one or is introducing one soon now that he is running for Congress), One of the only state legislators in the country and the only candidate in this race to be asked to speak at the 9-12 Tea Party in Washington,DC and the only candidate in this race to speak at the first Georgia tea party in Atlanta last year (and was asked to speak at both because of the conservative principles he has fought for in the House for 8 years).

  4. reaganrev4 says:

    I can introduce JOBS bills all day long that will sit in the chambers and never be passed because it will render negative returns for the employers and hurt the state…I wouldnt expect you to know this because you are misinformed on most things you post, provisional, but that is the reason it hasnt been signed and put into law

    • Mother Goose says:

      Y’all are all wrong on the JOBS bill — and I want to preemptively deny that I’m not a Graves’ staffer or relative or Graves himself. I’m not commenting to defend Graves, I am commenting to defend the JOBS bill. I’m a small business owner and member of the NFIB so I have followed this legislation carefully.

      The JOBS act is the only true economic stimulus proposal we have seen that gives small employers a fighting chance to play a vital role in our state’s economic recovery. The angel investor tax credits would leverage sorely needed access to capital for small employers like me, since we all know the banks aren’t helping.

      Before you guys try to use a good piece of legislation as a pawn in your political battles, why don’t you get your facts straight. CD9 race aside, Graves should be commended for his efforts!

  5. reaganrev4 says:

    So your defense is that Senator Hawkins supported Graves bad JOBs bill last year and then fixed it this year in the form of HB 1204?

    • provisional says:

      So are you saying Graves JOBS bill was bad last year, but Lee still voted for it??? If it was so bad, why didn’t he vote against it?

  6. debbie0040 says:

    I am always astounded to see Republicans playing politics with bills such as this.. Disgraceful!!

    Rep. Jerry Keen Preventing A Vote On The JOBS Bill

    Jobs Opportunity and Success Act of 2010 HB 1023

    Rep. Tom Graves announced the JOBS Act on January 28, 2010. He was joined at the press conference by Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, Senate President Pro-Temp Tommie Williams, Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers and many other state senators and representatives

    On February 18, 2010, the Small Business and Job Creation subcommittee unanimously passed the JOBS Act out of committee, earning support from both Republicans and Democrats

    When the JOBS Act was favorably reported out of the committee, it then was sent to the Rule Committee to be placed on the calendar for consideration by the full House of Representatives.

    Last week without warning, the JOBS Act became stuck in the Rules Committee by House Majority Leader Jerry Keen.

    Call Rep. Jerry Keen and tell him to let the JOBS Act out of the rules committee and let the full House of Representatives vote on it. Ask him why he is holding up a vote on the JOBS Act.

    (404) 656-5052

  7. debbie0040 says:

    SFrazier, FreedomWorks is not in bed with anyone, including AT&T. Tell me, what cable company do you lobby for?

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