Straw Poll Du Jour II: The Search for More Straw

The Cherokee County GOP has released the results of their recent Family Picnic Straw Poll. The results are very similar to other recent straw polls around the state, and of course are not scientific. But honestly, I’m more concerned about this goat in Virgina than figuring out what straw polls mean.

As an aside, someone should tell the Cherokee County GOP that preventing people from copy and pasting content from their website is like so 1998. But enough about that, continue reading for the results.

Cherokee County Republican Party Family Picnic, June 12, 2010

Straw Poll Results


Jeff Chapman 6%

Nathan Deal 22%

Karen Handel 28%

Eric Johnson 26%

Ray McBerry 0%

John Oxendine 16%

Otis Putnam 0%

Secretary of State

Brian Kemp (I) 64%

Doug MacGinnitie 35%

Attorney General

Sam Olens 48%

Preston Smith 16%

Max Wood 35%

State School Superintendent

John Barge 42%

Richard Woods 57%

Insurance Commissioner

Dennis Cain 0%

Rick Collum 0%

Seth Harp 19%

Ralph Hudgens 9%

Tom Knox 0%

John Mamalakis 0%

Stephen Northington 2%

Gerry Purcell 65%

Maria Sheffield 2%

Agriculture Commissioner

Gary Black 85%

Darwin Carter 14%

Labor Commissioner

Mark Butler 27%

Melvin Everson 72%

Public Service Commission

Joey Brush 9%

John Douglas 28%

Tim Echols 19%

Jeff May 42%

State Representative District 20

Charlice Byrd (I) 67%

Michael Caldwell 32%

State Representative Distric 22

John Forrester 22%

Sean Jerguson (I) 77%

Cherokee County Solicitor

David Cannon, Jr. (I) 70%

Channing Ruskell 29%

Cherokee County Commission Post 4

Derek Good (I) 55%

Jason Nelms 44%

Cherokee County Board of Education Post 3

Gary Puckett (I) 40%

Michael Geist 59%

Cherokee County Board of Education Post 6

Debbie Radcliff (I) 40%

Robert Usher 59%


  1. Tiberius says:

    Is this Kemp’s 1st (Non-Athens area) straw poll win?

    Is Purcell really this loved or are his people eating more BBQ? Still undecided in that race.

  2. gopgal says:

    Gerry Purcell has an amiable personality, but his fundraising is terrible. How will this translate in a statewide race?

  3. Kincaid says:

    Apologies for the copy protection on the CCRP website. (Im the Webmaster). We had some graphics up there that we could not redistribute and had someone copy and paste them elsewhere. Archaic, yes, but unfortunately a necessary measure to maintain our ability to use the graphic and remain in the good graces of the law.

    Feel free to sign up on the website for our mailing list where all of our news blasts and press releases are sent as well. Thanks for getting this out to your readership.

  4. MariettaLegal says:

    Gopgal, it is true Mr. Purcell has not raised money like the PAC’s favorite pick or the current Commissioner’s pick, but he sure seems to winning support everywhere else, and not just because he is amiable. He has a command of the issues and looks and speaks like the leader. His military background helps with that I am sure. He has deep grassroots support all over the state, the support of many party regulars (which the straw polls demonstrate convincingly), and seems to have the insiders in the race out of sorts. But hey, if it is all about the establishment money, then the other candidates should not be so focused on Mr. Purcell, as they seem to be.

    Disclosure: I have supported Mr. Purcell since I first heard him speak last year and I am about to send him some money.

    • gopgal says:

      I like Gerry Purcell. I have heard him speak on numerous occasions. I like that he would bring a fresh new perspective to state government. Heck, I may even vote for him. I was just expressing my concern that he has not raised much money and that running statewide involves more than the inside baseball stuff.

      • MariettaLegal says:

        Gopgal, valid concern. It is going to be a grassroots ground game versus insider money (albeit, even it is diluted as everyone is having a tough time). Good year for grassroots.

  5. ECSnob says:

    I love Purcell and his passion, however the man has little idea what he is getting himself into and cannot possibly expect to do any of the things he is promising in all his “to whom much is given, much is required” speeches. This is a regulatory office without the ability to do a whole lot without MAJOR co-operation with the general assembly, Gerry is doning all he can to kill any kind of relationship with people under the gold dome by saying all the things he has about them. Great guy who needs to be running in race where the things he says can actually turn to action.

    Let’s face it, the guy has worked his ass off to get the grassroots support and was the first one I am sure many of you met. He says everything you want to hear, regardless of your knowledge of the situation. The straw polls add up. I’ve met the guy numerous times and feel like I haven’t had a real conversation with him. Just his tone and all. With 8 people in this race it will be interesting how this pans out. I suggest actually researching the OFFICE before the candidates in this race and making an educated choice that way. That’s the only way I am weeding through these guys, Gerry is still near top on my short list mind you.

    Commence the Purcell love onslaught and the straw poll victories and ‘the national healthcare reformer’ troll/sock-puppet fun.

  6. ummm-duh says:

    @gopgal: The way I see it, straw polls (taken collectively, not picking out individual ones) are a barometer of momentum and enthusiasm for people who “know what they’re talking about” when it comes to a race. The fact that Purcell has won virtually every single straw poll throughout this entire campaign, often w/more than 50% w/9 candidates in the race is quite impressive.

    Seems to me that whatever the Purcell campaign is doing, it should keep on doing, because they’ve obviously tapped into and resonated with the grassroots message that conservatives are looking for in 2010 (i.e. honesty, principled ideas, and leading the charge on ethics). Just my two cents…

    @ECSnob: I haven’t gotten that vibe from Gerry myself. From what I’ve seen, it’s his track record of success in the very fields he seeks to regulate that makes him many people’s choice for the job (as opposed to some of these state legislators who literally have no real-world insurance experience other than sitting on a committee or running for the IC office). As for issues, it really bugs me when a lot of Gerry’s IC opponents sound like Democrats when it comes to common-sense free-market solutions. At least Gerry’s offering some, rather than running for IC because he’s “entitled” to the job as a career politician

    • ECSnob says:

      I’ve moved on to the goat issue. Thank you though for proving at least the last part of my comments right.

      I would challenge his “track record” quite simply by having you look into it, which I would suggest you do but this is a fluff show for you to champion Purcell.

      About this goat…

    • godspeed says:

      I have read PP for years and never made a comment, but I want to comment on the previous conversation regarding the IC race. There seems to be a big debate every time a straw poll comes regarding Purcell, the “outsider” and Harp, the “insider”. By the way, I can certainly understand why some folks are particularly looking for an outsider.

      While I am undecided on virtually all races, this race is particularly hard because Purcell is a virtual unknown to me. I have visited his website and I have heard him speak a few times. I certainly like what he stands for and I don’t think that it is any different than what the others stand for. However, I don’t know anything about him. At least with the others, I can see a record from their votes in the legislature.

      @ummm-duh, who obviously knows a lot about Purcell, I want to ask a few questions about Purcell’s background. First of all, what does he do for a living? The website says that he is a small business owner, but what does he do? Secondly, what “multi-million dollar budgets” did he manage? Also, how did he lead “thousands of people?” How did he “save millions for governments and businesses?” His website seems so vague on these issues. The website says that he was military, when did he serve and when did he move back to Georgia?

      I don’t mean to put ummm-duh on the spot here, but I would like to know.

      • ummm-duh says:

        @godspeed: I’ve heard him give more specifics on the stump, but I suppose you could always ask him personally next time he’s in your area. Pretty sure from my recollection that most of those thousands of people and budgeting was in leadership in the army, and then after coming back to GA post-surviving a bout w/cancer, he went into insurance and has travelled across the nation working with state/local governments and businesses on health care/insurance and consulting.

        • godspeed says:

          @ummm-duh: Thank you for your answer. Personally, I am more concerned with what people have done in the past and not by what they say they will do. We need to stop believing these guys and look at their record. While I thank you for your answer, I would have to know the answer to these questions before ever considering to vote for him. At least with the legislative candidates, I can see what they have voted for and I have years of disclosures to look at their business experience, etc. With Purcell, I have nothing more than faith to vote on. I would think that if what you said was correct that he would proudly display this on his website. I did try to find a number on his website to call, but couldn’t find one. I am in this business and I am concerned with the future of the IC office. Do you even know what kind of insurance he deals with? You didn’t even mention that. It’s just weird to me that people are just blindly supporting this guy.

      • MariettaLegal says:

        godspeed, most websites don’t have granular detail about candidates, but highlights. If you have been around him a few times as you indicate, you know he is very accessible and even puts his cell phone number right on his card. He gave me his card right away last year with cell and email. So I would encourage you to call him directly.

        I, too, have heard Mr. Purcell speak several times. He does speak in detail about his credentials in his speeches, to the extent one can in 10 minutes or so. Plus, he often relates his past and current work experiences in Facebook and campaign email posts.

        After reading your post, though, I called and spoke with one of his staffers. He forwarded me a highlight sheet with his various duties and credentials (too long to post here). I was also told that some of his work on health care transparency is available via Google. Here are two articles I was referred to in US News & World Report and the New York Times, where he was cited (they were fairly easy to find):

        Apparently protecting consumers and employers by advocating for more transparency has been a big part of his work.

        All I can say is that his credentials are extensive, from leading a 300,000 member organization at age 17 to managing a multi-million dollar Fortune 10 corporate territory to the work he has done in health care. This highlight sheet is available to you I am told. Just send your contact info to [email protected], or again, just call him.

        I think you will be impressed.

        • godspeed says:

          @ marrietalegal: Again, thank you for the response, but what company did he work for? What was the 300,000 member organization? What does he do now? Those are the questions I want to know. Thanks for any info.

          • MariettaLegal says:

            godspeed, from the highlights:

            *Vocational Industrial Clubs of America (SkillsUSA); nat’l and state pres – 300,000 members
            *US Army, enlisted & officer – six years, multiple leadership assignments; George Marshall Award
            *Mobil Oil Corp, p&l and mgt authority
            *Kaiser Permanente – licensed agent
            *Consultec in Roswell, now ACS; was nat’l sales mgr for PBM div
            *He owns solo health care/leadership consulting practice now (has local and nat’l client references listed); looks like many local community HC providers backing him

            More…Call him.

        • godspeed says:

          By the way those two articles don’t say anything about his credentials, they each have just one quote from him saying that PBMs are bad. I am not trying to challenge you or him on this and I actually looked for his number on his website and it is not there. I am just trying to learn more about him.

  7. Biased says:

    Quick note: The hosts ran out of ballots before the poll was supposed to close. A couple campaigns tried to vote as a group at the end, and were turned away. Just take this one with an even bigger grain of salt than usual.

  8. Notice how poorly the local lawmakers did. Usually they garner 90%-plus against any no-name primary opponent they get. This time, the opponents are garnering anywhere from 20-45% at an event where the incumbents bring their supporters by the pickuptruckfull. There’s a serious anti-incumbent ferver in Cherokee (and the rest of the state as well) that’s going to see several shocking results both in the primaries, and even in November. Up to now, the GOP in Cherokee has been complacent, convinced that no Dem will ever get elected in their county. I for one hope they stay complacent until Nov. 3.

    • Gary Cooper says:

      Progressive Peach, you obviously don’t understand local Cherokee County politics. Having lived there for several years and my in-laws still residing there, I can tell you for a fact that local politicians get soured on pretty quickly – particularly the school board and county commission. And trust me, they dislike Democrats even more. They will vote out Republicans on a whim in the primary and replace them with a different Republican, but they will never vote for a Democrat.

      • Three Jack says:

        gary cooper, you obviously don’t understand local cherokee county politics…”local officials get soured on quickly — particularly the school board and county commission”???

        commissioner derek good is seeking his 3rd term. chairman buzz ahrens is running unopposed for his second term. the other three commissioners are serving 2nd terms or longer.

        on the school board, radcliff is going for her third term, puckett has been on the board since canton was burned by sherman…they both deserve to lose.

        no legislative incumbent has lost in years. the sheriff who ran an illegal charity gets more votes than any other official and is serving at least his 4th term.

        cherokee county is probably the safest for incumbents at all levels.

        • You’re both talking history. Things are difference this year. In Cherokee. In Georgia. All over the country. Having “incumbent” by your name is the same as painting a target on your back. And justifiably so. Incumbents under the Gold Dome and in Washington have wrecked our state and country. People are so fed up this year they’d vote for nihilists over people currently in office.

    • In The Arena says:

      GOP Congressional endorsements –

      Jack Kingston – “Nathan Deal has been a leading voice on Medicaid and immigration reform” @ Tom Graves swearing in

      Lynn Westmoreland – endorsed Nathan Deal

      Price – Under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics, supports Handel

      Linder – endorsed Nathan Deal

      Broun – endorsed Nathan Deal

      Gingrey – enndorsed Nathan Deal

    • Hill Rat says:

      It will be interesting to see Team Handel’s reaction to this since they have tried to heap credibility on the OCE in an attempt to drag down Deal.

      Maybe they will open their eyes to the fact that the OCE was created by the Democrats to serve as their attack dogs against Republicans. I know the voting members of the OCE are bipartisan, but the OCE’s staff is made up of Democrats and the staff does all of the work, including writing the reports.

  9. MDokes says:

    Was anybody at the Fulton breakfast on Saturday? I heard the breakfast is always packed. But because of Karens incessant lying, there was 4 empty tables. Fulton has even had enough of her.

  10. Tireless says:

    Eric Johnson wasn’t at that event. Handel was a paying sponsor and attendee, as was Deal. EJ placed second in the poll. He has been consistently placing second or first in the straw polls. “Governor Johnson” is starting to sound more and more probable.

  11. Hill Rat says:

    Regardless of her performance in this straw poll, the following quote from PolitiFact Georgia is going to really hurt Handel’s chances on July 20th:

    “But the evidence is overwhelming that Handel did indeed belong to the Georgia Log Cabin Republicans — whether or not she remembers it. Newspapers reported it. A membership list backs it up. And the man running the organization at the time swears by it.”

    • James Fannin says:

      There is just something so terribly wrong with the AJC article and their pants seem to be on fire here. The guy saying Handel was a member of the Log Cabin Republicans apparently has a “partner” who is a big Dem and wanted to be an Obama delegate. He add Karen Handel’s name to an excel spread sheet, prints it off and the AJC buys it? What, are they going for the Dan Rather award for constructive journalism?

      Hidden in the article is the fact that the current president of the Log Cabin Republicans says the past president gave him the records and Karen isn’t on any of the old membership lists. It’s a “he said, he said” situation. And let’s be honest here. The AJC is a lefty Democrat rag that wants Barnes to win. Handel is the candidate the Dems don’t want to face in a general. Barnes knows he has a great shot against the Ox, Deal and Johnson and none against Handel. So the AJC, Barnes, and the Wheeler Dealers are definitely strange bedfellows here. And the oddest part is it is the Dealers are the ones “in bed” with the former head of the Georgia Log Cabin Republicans.

      All this Republican gay-bashing is troublesome on a host of levels and the AJC’s role is particularly troubling. For his part, Deal seems to be running some kind of bigoted retro campaign not unlike the campaign Carter ran against Carl Sanders in 1970 in which he ran all over South Georgia claiming that Sanders was “a friend of the Negro” because he opposed segregation. Is anyone else troubled that rather than offer any positive leadership on the Deal’s and Johnson’s supporters are on Peach Pundit offering nothing but Gay bashing?

      • Doug Grammer says:

        I understand the LCR not releasing the names of it’s members, but why don’t they allow a reporter to check the official records only to look for one name? From what I understand, they refused.

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