Purcell Endorses Hudgens

Received via email:

Grassroots Favorite Endorses Ralph Hudgens for Georgia Insurance Commissioner

Statement from Gerry Purcell

For fifteen months, I have traveled throughout Georgia campaigning for the Office of Insurance Commissioner. I have sought to bring innovative, state of the art reform to the healthcare crisis we face in this state and in this country. I have fought to give voice to those who are seldom heard in the political process. While our campaign was not victorious at the polls, I am certain that our message of reform was heard and will ultimately come to pass.

While I am no longer a candidate, I intend to remain very active in the political process. The Office of Commissioner of Insurance is a very important one to the people of our state.

Of the remaining candidates, Ralph Hudgens is the one candidate who is prepared to lead this office through the difficult times ahead. I have the utmost respect for him. He is a successful small businessman and leader. While others have been pushing paper, Ralph has created jobs and made payroll, year after year.

His opponent is an Atlanta insurance lawyer/lobbyist who was mentored by and maintains close ties to Commissioner Oxendine. After 16 years, we need a fresh start. Ralph’s positive and clean primary campaign further demonstrates he has the ethics, the honesty, and the character that the people of Georgia deserve. Ralph took the high road in the campaign, while his opponent ran a divisive and toxic campaign.

When it comes to leadership, Ralph Hudgens is the candidate who spearheaded legislation to protect the rights of nine million Georgians to make their own health care decisions. That is leadership. You may also remember that Ralph and I are the only two candidates advocating interstate sales of health care to bring more competition and lower costs. Ralph is the leader who will fight for free market competition.

It is without hesitation that I endorse his candidacy for the Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner!

Not only do I intend to vote for Ralph Hudgens on August 10th, but also Julianne and I intend to work tirelessly on his behalf in the remaining days of this runoff to ensure that he is elected. We encourage all seventy-two thousand Georgians who supported us on primary Tuesday to do the same!


    • Bill Knowles says:

      That light at the end of the tunnel isn’t daylight Mary. It’s the Sheffield train.

  1. TidePrideGA says:

    And after endlessly repeating the mantra aimed at Hudgens throughout his campaign that “Those that led us into this mess are not the ones to lead us out” and “Georgia needs new leadership”. Then praises Hudgens for running a “clean campaign” while being the ONLY candidate to include a direct attack on the opponent in his endorsement.

    Yeah. Classy.

    • @TidePrideGA – I may have missed it, but I just noticed your moniker is tied to Stephen Dale Northington’s campaign website. Are you one of his supporters or staffers, or is that actually you personally?

      At any rate, I think Northington did a great job during the APC debate. He struck me as very intelligent and an independent thinker.

      • TidePrideGA says:

        I was Stephen’s Campaign Manager. And yes, it’s me personally 🙂 I had no idea that when you clicked on my nick it linked directly to the web site. That’s pretty cool.

        FWIW (and with this and the better part of a $5 bill you can buy a cup of coffee) I whole-heartedly 100% join Stephen in his endorsement of Maria. From the day she entered the race she was my 2nd favorite – she really knows her stuff and is one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met. Purcell goes on in his “endorsement” about her running a “toxic” campaign, but I never saw any of that. She got a little feisty there toward the end but never even close to “toxic”. After all it really was true that the candidate Purcell touts as the most ethical had not just one but TWO ethics complaints – both of which he admitted being guilty of – filed against him. And said on APC’s debate that he had returned money which he later admitted he hadn’t. I’m not sure how Purcell reconciles that with his much-touted “zero tolerance” policy on ethics. But then there are quite a few things I’m not sure how he reconciles with that policy.

        Thanks for the compliment, I’ll pass it on. I thought he did very, very well that night myself.

        • Ah, I see! I’m glad Northington ran & I felt he was a standout in a crowded field. Kudos to you for managing his campaign despite the presence of well-funded insiders in the race.

          I thought it was telling that Sheffield zinged Harp during the debate about his absent-mindedness while chairing the Higher Education Committee, but Harp has now joined in the endorsement with Northington for her anyway. Harp was one of the folks “worried” about her role as a “lobbyist” even though she had no corporate clients.

          You have any prediction on runoff results for IC?

          • TidePrideGA says:

            I really don’t. I don’t think Ralph has any money left for an additional ad buy although he can afford to do it out of pocket. Maria’s volunteer base is stronger. My personal feeling is that everything will ride on GOTV. There were 567k who voted in the primary for Rep IC, only 6k separated them. I will be surprised if there are 100k who vote in the runoff, even with the Governor’s race thrown in there. And if last Tuesday taught us anything, it’s that Georgia voters are unpredictable.

              • TidePrideGA says:

                My gut says there’s no way that this reddest of red states elects a blue INSURANCE commissioner with the whole Obamacare thing so fresh. Regardless of who the blue and who the red candidates are. That said, Mary is formidable. She’s a very qualified, very impressive lady who I like a lot on a personal level, and to be honest with you she sounds way more red than blue. My only fear is that I’ve only heard her address mostly red audiences and I can’t be certain at this point what she’s “hiding” (and I don’t mean that in a negative way but again – mostly red audiences – she’s going to stick to the topics that don’t turn that particular audience away). After the runoff I’ll probably go to a few blue events where she’s speaking just to see what we’re really getting if she does win.

                  • TidePrideGA says:

                    Yes, albeit equivocally. I can’t quote her word for word, but her basic message is that even though she’s a Democrat she doesn’t like it, but her focus is on addressing it. She talks about the things that have to be done immediately on a state level and her preparedness to do them. And I’m not talking about the “no to a high risk pool” high level rhetoric – I’m talking about real issues/paperwork/regs that have to be in place by January. As a Democrat, I think she feels much the same way Hudgens does – “you can’t do squat about it” so you might as well deal with it competently.

                    • Interesting. All the more the reason that Sheffield should probably be the GOP nominee so there is a clear contrast from the Democrat candidate going into November. (Same could be said at the top of the ticket where Deal would match up better against Barnes than Handel would.)

                      Thanks, TidePride, for your insights!

  2. Lady Thinker says:

    I met Gerry several times and he was my only candidate of choice, but since he is out of the race, I will vote for the person he supports, Hudgens.

    • Lady Thinker says:

      For those accusing me of voting for women only, I am taking the opportunity to not vote for an Oxendine clone, Maria Sheffield.

      • Provocateur says:

        You call yourself “Lady Thinker”, yet you say “I will vote for the person [my candidate] supports, Hudgens.”

        Yeah. That’s SOME thinkin’ going on there.

        That explains everyone who voted for Handel because Palin endorsed her. NO thinking going on at all.

      • EllaPatriot says:

        I’m with you LadyThinker.. I’m sick of gender politics. I will be voting for Hudgens.

        I wont be voting for Maria because in my opinion she is an Oxendine clone. She donated $3,000 to Ox herself and was the recipient of $70,000 from Oxendine’s contributors – I’ve posted the proof of the correlation between the campaigns on previous posts. She worked as lawyer/lobbyist under Oxendine and worked on a campaign or two for him as well. Her campaign manager also worked on a few campaigns for Ox and even the campaign manager’s husband was on the Ox campaign… way to much relation to Ox if you ask me.

        In terms of her “toxic” campaign.. its not just spin. Her ineundo that Purcell was “campaigning” with McBerry were flat out lies — they attended the same event. She never would debate him on the issues but always liked to sling a little implication and inneundo.

        Hudgens is not the perfect candidate, however I will take my chances with Ralph rather than have someone so closely affiliated with Ox in that office.

        • Bill Knowles says:

          Refer to this article about whom is actually closer to Ox:


          Refer to this article, announcing a Purcell and McBerry at a joint “States Rights Tour” event. Sounds like they campaigned together to me.


          The key phrase in this article is: “Scheduled to accompany Ray is Republican candidate for insurance commisioner Gerry Purcell.”

          You, or Mary should apologize to Maria and her campaign immediately. Take your pick.

          • Romegaguy says:

            Someone that has been paid by Oxendine’s campaigns is saying not to vote for Hudgens because he might be another Oxendine. Yawn.

        • TidePrideGA says:

          Interesting blanket statement: “Never would debate him on the issues”. That’s an interesting take since I have been present at least a dozen or more times in the last year when Maria debated him on the issues. One may prefer on or the other’s take on the issues but to say she would never debate him on the issues is just — odd. Not to mention that I must be confused – I thought Hudgens was in the runoff with Maria, not Purcell.

          I guess we just have differing definitions of “toxic”. The Gubernatorial campaign has been and continues to meet my definition. The multiple posts on Facebook and campaign emails I have received from the Hudgens campaign talking more about Maria than about Ralph are starting to come close. “A *little* implication and innuendo? Even if that qualifies, how is that more “toxic” than the campaign Hudgens is currently running?

          An old adage about glass houses is coming to mind….

  3. Harry says:

    Ralph Hudgens responded to my taking issue with him in regard to his yes vote on the bed tax with a load of pure insider disinformation. Here’s my answer back, to which I received no further response:

    It’s a direct tax on hospitalized middle class people who have played by the rules and have insurance; taken from them and used for Medicaid reimbursements to hospitals that treat indigents and illegal aliens, with the purpose to protect hospital profits and the salaries of their executives. Republicans should not raise taxes in the middle of a recession when there’s still plenty of pork and bureaucracy being spared.

    The hospitals will be able to pass the tax (billing) directly through to the patients as a hospital tax. Then, the hospitals get the money coming back from the state as Medicaid reimbursements. For the hospitals it’s a no-lose on the expense side and a win on the revenue side. The legislation is lobbyist-driven. The rest of us of us have to pay and suffer the injustice of sacrificing for the benefit of millionaire hospital executives and their lobbyists, and welfare queens popping out babies for free, which end up being supported by the rest of us for generations.

    The senate version inserts a tax cut for union members and high-income government employees and employees of large corporations with cadillac plans, which only goes into effect if the state has a fiscal year in which the revenue shortfall reserve is funded at the level of $500 million or more. They would like to call it an “offset” but it’s not an offset. It also gives hospitals a three year extension of CON, which goes against free-market competition.

    Spending cuts need to happen in the budget. Georgia has one of the highest ratios of state employees to total population in this region, if not the entire country. Karen Handel was able to cut, I believe, 20% out of the SOS budget. Such cuts can be made across the boards in government. I don’t think a new hospital tax taken out of the pockets of paying patients in order to foot the unpaid bills of indigents and deadbeats is called for.

  4. AthensRepublican says:

    I have been biased in this race from the beginning. I have known Ralph Hudgens for a number of years and have always been impressed with him as an individual.

    Back in the old days when contributors would write a check to support a candidate that candidate would reply with a personal thank you note. These days when I write a check I may be lucky enough to get an acknowledgement but more often that not just get another request for more money to be sent. Ralph still writes those personalized thank you notes.

    And yes, Ralph defended himself when he was under attack from other candidates but resisted the temptation of firing cheap shots back at his competitors. As long as I have known him he has conducted himself with class.

    I have a number of friends who are supporting Maria Sheffield. I have met her, spoke with her and should she win this run-off election will have no issues in supporting her in the general election. I also am not convinced she is an Oxendine clone. She is highly capable for the position.

    Regardless of who wins, I think the GOP will be well served. When I cast my ballot in the run-off it will not be against Maria Sheffield but for Ralph Hudgens.

    • TidePrideGA says:

      I’ve seen a couple of people mention this. Is there documented evidence of it? Jeff’s wife is working for Maria, yes, and I’m sure they talk about the campaign and Jeff offers his opinion, but to the best of my knowledge Jeff is not now nor has he been working for Maria. Is the assumption here that Kat is a straw man? If so, she’s the hardest working straw man I’ve ever run across as I can personally attest that she has worked her tail off for this campaign. I have also heard nothing other than from Purcell in his mud-slinging “endorsement” of Hudgens that Kat and Maria have run anything but a clean campaign. A couple of barbs thrown in a debate and a couple of press releases about a candidate’s self-admitted ethics violations and his own statement that he “can’t do squat” about the most important issue on the table do not make for a “toxic” “scumbag” campaign.

  5. jgw2cpa says:

    As someone who voted in the primary I must say that I am disappointed. I do not understand how a career politician, with miultiple ethics charges, is going to bring about the change discussed in the campaign. If Hudgens is such a great choice – why were you in the race – Gerry. I would rather have seen you endorse nobody and run again in 4 years than turn your back on all of us who worked hard for NEW leadership in State Government. Not the same tired people with all their baggage. I suspect there are a lot of us out there like me. I cannot follow you as you jump off your own train. I will be voting for Maria on the 10th. I agree with what you said at an event I attended “It is time for us to bring new people with new ideas to the office of Insurance Commissioner”. I intend to do as you asked. Go Maria

    • EllaPatriot says:

      Interesting article. However, I have done my own research in regards to the Oxendine/Sheffield contribution connection. My information shows a lot different results then theirs.

      http://tinyurl.com/3ayv3tl $70k in contribution from Ox supporters. $3,000 contribution to Ox himself from Maria…sounds like more of the same any way you slice it.

      • TidePrideGA says:

        But the only candidate the Ox donated to was – wait for it – Hudgens. I find this whole argument that mutually shared support is de facto proof that personalities, ethics and ideologies are identical naive at best and intentionally deceptive at worst. For instance, a good friend of mine is on Ella’s list. One of THE most ethical people I’ve ever known (although you only have my word for that). He has a stellar reputation in the insurance industry and yeah, he’s given to Oxendine – most of us have. He also gave to Maria. If you bothered to examine the disclosures of Northington, Purcell and believe it or not Squires, you would find he gave to them as well. Yet his donation to both Ox and Maria is proof positive Ox = Maria? Doesn’t that then mean that Ox = Maria = Purcell = Squires = Northington? The logic falls apart quickly, doesn’t it? Not to mention that the donations from Burr and Forman – you know, Maria’s co-workers – were probably not motivated by her relationship to Oxendine.

        Oxendine has been IC for 16 years. He’s an aggressive fundraiser. People donated. Those people also donate to other people. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

  6. I must say that I’m disappointed in Gerry… I had hoped he would have kept himself above either the status quo candidates and remained a grassroots outsider and neutral between these two, neither of which is good for GA.

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