Clay Cox and the tea party movement

The Republican primary in Georgia’s Seventh Congressional District is interesting to me for a few different reasons. You have the Washington insider (Rob Woodall), the establishment Republican (Clay Cox), the up-and-coming conservative (Chuck Efstration) and several neophytes.

As we’ve seen recently, State Rep. Clay Cox is waving the banner of the tea party movement. It’s not surprising. In a year where Republicans are poised to make gains, nearly every candidate is running to impress the various tea party groups that have sprung up across the nation, including here in Georgia. What is surprising is that he may actually get away with it.

When it comes to promoting limited government, lessening government intervention in the economy and cutting wasteful spending, Cox hasn’t exactly been a friend of the taxpayer.

Rep. Cox voted for every bloated budget submitted to the legislature by Gov. Sonny Perdue, which is why the cuts these past two sessions have been so difficult to deal with.

Despite the signing a pledge not to raise taxes and tea party movement’s opposition to fee increases, including the hospital bed tax, Rep. Cox voted for them. He even co-sponsored a constitutional amendment to place a tax on phones to fund trauma care in the state.

He also voted for a $25 billion statewide transportation sales tax in 2009. Since that didn’t make final passage, Cox voted for a different transportation tax measure this past session, which will likely be signed by Gov. Perdue. Rep. Cox also supported a resolution begging the federal government for an earmark for a wasteful pork project.

Judge a candidate’s credentials on the content of their record, not the allure of their rhetoric. Clay Cox may talk a great game, but once you take a deeper look, there is cause for concern.


  1. You had a convincing argument until you got to the end:

    “Clay Cox may talk a great game, but once you take a deeper look, there is cause for concern.”

    You’re conceding he actually even “talks” a great game? This man is a John Edwards understudy in smarmy pretentiousness.

    No two districts have the same tea party. In Cox’s case, his “tea party support” is a group of dedicated people rally for Cox and adopting the wider battle flag in name sake only. Anyone who is interested in common ideals expressed nationally by many intelligent spokespersons of tea parties agree that Cox hardly “fits in” with their ideals and aspirations for the nation. Just because HE’s singing it in the streets doesn’t mean theres a chorus marching behind him.

    I agreed with all of your itemized lists of a horrendous track record no conservative could defend with a straight face. Fortunately Clay hasn’t had to since he just keeps ducking and running everytime these points are made, even calling Chuck a liar at the Freedomworks debate as the latters time to respond expired. Fortunately the moderators permitted a retort from Chuck. Unfortunately for Clay, Chuck laid out the precise manner and occassions in which he voted for, encouraged and blindly insisted on self-help bills.

    Clay just doesn’t get the fact that in a national race, the voters care a lot more about what nonsense you’ve been up to over there on your day trips to the capital and the aquarium. He simply can’t get away with what you generously call “rhetoric” and talking a great game and have people actually beleive it.

  2. Thomas W. Krause says:

    Jason, this is virtually a quote of Chuck Efstration’s stump speech. Not to mention a blatent slam of the Republicans under the gold dome and patently untrue.

    Cox voted against the bed tax twice: ( &

    The link you show is where he later voted for the budget that included a net tax reduction. That hardly violates his pledge. The phone thing redirects money already collected toward trauma care and the transportation bill does not ask for an earmark, it says one is already available. Read the bills before you spit back the drivil of a 27-year-old candidate trying hard to get noticed.

    If any of the other candidates would have voted differently on these items, I’d like to hear their explanations why.

    • Thomas W. Krause says:

      We now resume our regularly scheduled programming of Seth Weathers, Rob Woodall, and Chuck Efstration yelling as loudly as possible about how they’re so much more conservative than the only leading candidate in this race with a legitimate private sector job.

      • “the only leading candidate in this race with a legitimate private sector job” So, is his job PPS or is it being a Representative. There’s too much gray area with Cox. One second hes voting to jack up new hospital bed taxes, the next second he’s drafting and submitting bills that directly unrestrain burdens on his private practice.

        Cox is an ethical barnacle.

      • I Am Jacks Post says:

        Wait, Seth Weathers? Wasn’t he working for Clay originally? Or was it Balfour? Or was it the “draft the 287g Sheriff” guy. Or all of them. Who can keep track of these things?

    • Jason says:

      The link you show is where he later voted for the budget that included a net tax reduction.

      That’s not true. Rep. Cox voted for a budget that included revenue that used taxes/fees increased by over $300 million for FY 2011. Outside of the hospital tax, the fees will remain in place over the long term.

      The tax cuts were a gimmick so Republicans like your boss could go to voters and say “I cut your taxes.”

      These cuts are $387 million over five years and are hardly broad-based. Give me tax cuts, but make them meaningful.

      The phone thing redirects money already collected toward trauma care…

      But it was a tax increase, correct? Because the bill is clear, it provides for the “imposition and collection of a fee on all telephone and wireless service subscribers and on sales of disposable wireless telecommunications devices and recharge credits.”

      [T]he transportation bill does not ask for an earmark, it says one is already available.

      Because that makes it better. Send the money back to Congress with a resolution telling them to end earmarks. That would have been the fiscally responsible thing to do.

      • I Am Jacks Post says:

        “Send the money back to Congress with a resolution telling them to end earmarks.”

        Jason, you demonstrate your armchair (blogger) understanding of the law when you post glue-huffing statements like that. Is it possible to send previously appropriated funds back to the Congress, or in this case, the Treasury?

        • Jason says:

          I base that on the fact that David Scott has continuously said that the money may be taken back.

          Of course, it would only be symbolic, but there is absolutely nothing preventing legislators, who often claim to be fiscal conservatives, from making such a statement.

  3. I Am Jacks Post says:

    I don’t know about you guys but I’m voting for Chuck Efstration because he prosecuted DUIs and because . . . um, hold on, wait . . . I know this! Umm, crap . . . .he uhh, wait . . . it’s right there on the tip of my tongue . . . . Zeus’s beard, I just had it . . .

    • Glen Ross says:

      You are OBVIOUSLY unfamiliar with Chuck’s record as his high school’s senior class president. Some one here mentioned the Peter Principle in another post. Chuck is just trying to rise to his level of incompetence like everyone else.

  4. GOPwits says:

    I think you can buy the Tea Party Endorsement online at Ebay… I think those gals now support people based on how nice they are to them and how much money they donate to their cause… It has nothing to do with conservatism anymore. It might as well be a front for furthering the corporatism of the Republican Party. Not sure… First Graves and his drug filled hotel and hiding of assets and now Clay Cox and his legislative bills to help his own business with the state… Will anyone call out the hypocrisy of this group in Georgia or are we just going to follow them down the road back into the minority?

    Seriously, it’s really hard to take serious anyone supporting Clay Cox because he’s a conservative. I mean, if you said it was because of his hair, I’d have more respect for you for that reason. He’s just another typically politician pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes who is going to go to Congress and enrich himself even further.

    And if Rob Woodall wins, it just goes to show that you can literally pack up and move anywhere and run for Congress. It’s an insult to a Democracy. He may be a nice guy, but wow. It’s a pretty audacious move.

    Seriously though, if you want a work horse conservative in this district, a good leader with his head on right you should vote Chuck Efstration. Just cause he didn’t buy the Tea Party Endorsement doesn’t mean he’s not the real conservative – which he is…

    • debbie0040 says:

      You should not be attacking like you do. Chuck is a good guy and you will turn others off Chuck .

  5. debbie0040 says:

    GOPNitwits, I would strongly advise you checking your facts. Of the 6 people Atlanta Tea Party endorsed, only two have donated money at the events we have and that was very minimum. You just hurt your candidate, Efstration with your assinine comments.

    • Bob0400 says:


      Check the facts????

      Does the IRS know that the Atlanta Tea Party (501c (4) corp) is connected to the National Tea Party(501 c (4) corp)? Do they know that the Atlanta Tea Party accepted $2,000 from Clay Cox for Congress and allowed him to speak on April 15th…and then endorsed him????? ( It was advertised on the Atl Tea Party website after April 15th) That they didn’t vet any other candidates or contact any other candidates but endorsed the guy that gave them $2,000?? Yea there was another guy from the 7th district that gave $250 but I guess that wasn’t enough to speak or get endorsed. Your post says that 2 people donated money..which 2 debbie??? Clay… and who else??? By the way, wish I made enough money to consider $2,000 minimal.

      • debbie0040 says:

        Bob, Atlanta Tea Party is not a 501c4 corporation. Maybe you should verify your facts before you go spouting off. We are a L.L.C. You really need to stop talking about matters you know nothing about. You no clue about our vetting process and were not involved.

        There were many others that donated money that were not endorsed and everyone we endorsed did not donate money. Clay has been active with us for almost a year and he would have been endorsed had he not donated money. The Arpil 15th event cost almost $ 20,000. Not one of us see even one dime of profit, nor have any us ever been paid. I spend over 30 hours per week volunteering my time on behalf of the tea party movement plus work a full time job. Bob, how much time do you devote to the tea party movement or do you just sit back and complain about what others do?

        • Grave Diggers Rule says:

          Ya Bob get the facts straight! The Atl Tea Party is a FOR PROFIT COMPANY. Why else would these good ladies work so hard?

        • Bob0400 says:


          Check facts debbie000o???

          An LLC??? On April 16th, the Tea Party website claimed that you were a 501c(4) and that you didn’t endorse candidates…I read your website debbie…

          I don’t care how much your event cost OR how hard you worked but if your an LLC, then there are members of the LLC. These members have to declare the profit or loss based on their percentage ownership of the LLC, on their personal return ( corporations aren’t allowed to be members) Who are they debbie? So a for profit entity is holding a political event??? and then supportng a candidate??? Especially one that happen to donated $2,000. You said in your first blog d that only two acndidates donated money…You also used the same “excuse” for endorsing the other candidate, that “they had been involved for a year” HOW CONVIENENT!!!!

          I may be the guy who donated the $250…yes I do know about your vetting process…you DIDN’T vet ANY of the other candidates…be truthful debbie… this endorsement is a sham

          • debbie0040 says:

            I think you are very confused . We have never had that on the Atlanta Tea Party web site and we have been a L.L.C since June of 2009. Atlanta Tea Party has no profit. All the money that is taken in is spent on the events we hold. I really hope you are kidding about being a candidate for Congress…

        • amor patriae says:


          From your website

          (at the top)
          Atlanta Tea Party Patriots
          This is the group for all of Atlanta Tea Party Patriots. While all the metro Tea Party Patriots group fall under the Atlanta Tea Party, we encourage each respective county to have their own group so you can get to know your fellow Tea Party Patriots in your area. Local Coordinators: Julianne Thompson ~ [email protected] 404-798-4663 Debbie Dooley ~ [email protected] Jenny Beth Martin

          Now, at the very bottom (you know, where the fine print goes?):
          Tea Party Patriots, Inc. operates as a social welfare organization organized under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to Tea Party Patriots, Inc. are not deductible as charitable contributions for income tax purposes.

          Do you know as much about the candidates you’ve endorsed as you do about your own organization’s legal structure? Taking donations from a candidates whom you then endorse is kind of like trying to pass legislation that will directly benefit your business. Perhaps not illegal, but it certainly doesn’t pass the sniff test.

    • In The Arena says:

      Chuck’s attacks on others make him out to look weak and inexperienced. He would do better if he talked about himself more on the stage. The attack method of politics is however the only method available to candidates with no merits of their own.

      GOPwits is a firm believer in the attack style of politics. He is one of the chief smear campaigners for Karen Handel. Since Handel goes against the Tea Party movement, so does he and he attacks the moral convictions of the Tea Party movement by claiming that the Tea Party can be bought and sold.

      Insulting the ethics of a whole movement, just because they do not offer your candidate an endorsement or because they pose a serious threat to your candidate’s chances at victory, is pretty low. That type of behavior will never equal success on election day in Georgia.

      • I agree that the tea party is an enigma, and successfully attacking it would appear to yield little fruit. I haven’t seen evidence of any other candidate attacking the tea party in this race.

        It’s quite a blunt generalization to say Chuck has no merits of his own because he’s calling Cox out. When a state legislator is in the wrong, he needs to be called out. That legislator certainly does not need to be voted into another term. Calling out a state legislator like Clay Cox for his hypocrisy does not mean a candidate has no merit.

        In Chuck’s instance, calling out Cox for his double-standards distinguishes Chuck’s merits from Cox’s own dubious character. Chuck has put his money where is mouth is; Clay has mouthed-off where the money is. Unfortunately he’s also used his vote to make our taxes his money.

  6. debbie0040 says:

    Oh, and btw, Chuck Efstration has asked for the Atlanta Tea Party endorsement as well..

  7. GOPwits says:

    Let me clear up something – I’m not anyone’s watergirl… I’m my own person… I’m not part of Chuck, Karen’s, or Hewey Dewey and Lewey’s campaign…

    I also consider myself to be a part of the spirit of the Tea Party. However, when the organzation endorses candidates who have actions and records that strike against the grain of the movement it does puzzle you.

  8. I’ve seen a lot of base criticisms of fellow posters, and concede some are funny (albeit bordering lewd).

    However, I’ve yet to see a defense or explanation for Cox’s deplorable record of:
    1) raising taxes on hospital beds in the 2010-2011 budget;
    2) taking credit for a reduced spending in a statewide budget crisis; or
    3) drafting and presenting two pieces of legislation to benefit directly his own company amidst that same budget crisis, and at a time when renewal his company’s contracts with the state were in jeopardy.

    If Jef Fincher or Tom Kirby or John Woodall raises these questions, does that mean they should still go unanswered?

  9. I Am Jacks Post says:

    “3) drafting and presenting two pieces of legislation to benefit directly his own company amidst that same budget crisis, and at a time when renewal his company’s contracts with the state were in jeopardy. ”

    You: 1
    English Language: 0

  10. Joshua Morris says:

    Well, if this guy hasn’t traveled the country with Linder and used the big national stage to exploit the hard-working and passionate tea party folks, then he surely couldn’t be associated with the tea party movement. No, sir!

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