Category: 2010 Election

Hold that Turkey! Delay that Dressing! We’ve Already Got Leftovers.

If your family is anything like mine then someone has already started cooking for Thursday. In a weeks time we will have all had a bait of turkey and dressing – but we already have leftovers.

For some the 2010 election cycle ended a few weeks ago, but for several candidates the beat goes on. While many of these positions lack the titular prestige that a Governor’s race would have had, they are important positions. There are a number of State-wide races open, a few District Attorney races open, and various other positions still contested at the local level. Depending on where you are from, a vote for a School Board candidate might be as important as a vote for the Georgia Supreme Court.

I encourage you all to vote (again). Encourage others to vote. These races are very important. I’ve compiled a list of races that I know will be going to a run off on the 30th, feel free to comment with the races from around the State I’ve missed and I will add them. For the races I am more familiar with, expect some light commentary.

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Amy Carter’s Constituents Speak Out

I know that Rep. Amy Carter (D – Valdosta) is considering a party switch after the shellacin’ that we Democrats received statewide.  Here’s what Carter had to say:

“As a moderate conservative, I am troubled by the recent direction that the Democratic Party has taken on a state level,” she said. “I fear they have become disconnected from rural Georgia. Ultimately, I have a lot to consider, but I will not make a final decision until I have had time to fully evaluate the desires of my district.”

Well, the good ole’ Secretary of State has released the county precinct reports, and this year all absentee and early voters results are actually reported by precinct.  So what we can do for Amy Carter is go see exactly how her constituents voted in other races.  In my opinion, the best way to evaluate the desires of your district would be to look at how your district voted in other races.  We had an election, everyone voted, and you can see how they voted.

In an exceptionally good year for Republicans, here’s how HD 175 voted in the top 3 races on the ballot:

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Bryant To Remain At DOE As General Counsel

The AJC’s Maureen Downey is reporting that interim State School Superintendent Brad Bryant will be remaining with the Georgia Department of Education as General Counsel after John Barge is sworn in. 

There had been speculation that Perdue would return Bryant to his state board seat, which remains unfilled. But Bryant can probably be more helpful to DOE in the paid capacity of its top legal adviser.

Some folks suggested to me that Bryant would be the shadow agency leader, but he was vehement today that he is not going to be the head of  DOE in any way, and that he believes Barge’s long education background is vital now in the department.

Nahmias Building Bipartisan Coalition For Runoff

Supreme Court Justice David Nahmias is receiving support from all corners of the state’s political spectrum.  The AJC is reporting four significant endorsements today:  Governor-elect Nathan Deal and Attorney General-elect Sam Olens from the Republican camp, and Former Mayor Shirley Franklin and Democratic nominee for Attorney General Ken Hodges.

Nahmias’ race verses Tammy Adkins will head the statewide ballot for the November 30th runoff.

Georgia College Republicans Outwork Peer Organizations

We kid the College Republicans around here because, well, because we can.   We’re old and most of our college days are long behind us.   We’re jealous that they still get to enjoy the college lifestyle while also participating in our grown up games.   Today, however, we’ll acknowledge the hard work of the Georgia Association of College Republicans.    Students around the state gave up a few frat parties and games of flip cup to donate over 7,000 hours to get Republicans elected this campaign cycle.

With the official books now closed, the GACR’s can now claim they outworked every other state federation in the country.  In fact, the UGA chapter alone, were it broken out as a separate state, would have ranked 6th in total hours worked.  

Their press release is below the fold.  Please join in congratulating all those mentioned below and the many others unnamed who worked hard and generated demonstrated results this campaign cycle.

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GOP Redistricting Problems

Of course I’m talking about Bob Hanner and Gerald Greene, the newest members of team GOP.  Why are they problems?  The more the merrier, right?  Well, not exactly.  For one thing, the two newest Republicans both represent districts that Roy Barnes won.  In Hanner’s district, I estimate that Roy got 51% to Deal’s 47%.  I had to do some estimation for Lee County – don’t have the precincts there, but I do know that Hanner’s district has approx 29% of Lee county’s voters and it’s also twice as African American as the overall county, so I made some conservative adjustments to account for that.

Greene’s district is easy – 6 whole counties.  Roy got 50%, Deal got 48%.  So that’s obviously a problem, these are two districts that the GOP could have cast to the dustbin of history in redistricting (except for one problem – they are heavily African American).  But here’s the other problem – these districts are disappearing.  According to 2009 census estimates (which tend to undercount urban areas which means the numbers will actually be even worse) Hanner and Greene’s districts have a population of approximately 44,000 people each.  Well here’s the problem – Georgia’s population is estimated to be 9.8 million, and 1/180th of that is 54,606.  That means that each one of these districts will go into redistricting at about 80% of the population needed to make a district, meaning that they’ll each need to come up with an additional 15% or so (under Roy rules) or 19% (under Larios rules).  And you better believe I personally will file a lawsuit if the GOP dares go outside the +/- 1% variation, as my rights are likely to be violated just like the lovely Ms. Larios.

So how do you fix these guys in redistricting?  Well let’s look at the districts that surround them.  North?  Nah, African American Columbus districts.  Won’t help.  Northeast – Mike Cheokas, he’ll either switch too or maintain his base of Sumter county, won’t help.  Maybe you can help Hanner out in Lee county – but how many Republican activists that were hoping to have their own district to run in will you piss off?  Now to Greene…north, no sorry that’s Hanner and even if Hanner moves into Lee sorry game over play again these are majority AA counties.  East – Winfred Dukes AA district.  Southeast – sorry Republican Decatur/Grady county district and BOTH of these counties have failed to grow at the rate of Georgia overall, which means a Republican who isn’t a RINO will probably have first dibs on extra population.  What about South and West – thanks for playing but sorry that is Florida and Alabama.

Have fun with that guys.  Isn’t an independent commission or a judge starting to look pretty ideal right about now so you don’t have to settle these family feuds yourself?

Unraveling GA-8

Here we are a week out from Austin Scott’s victory over incumbent Congressman Jim Marshall and what a better time to reflect upon this campaign. How did Scott manage to do what Calder Clay, Mac Collins, and Rick Goddard couldn’t do? One could say that Austin just rode the wave crossing the country – but I think that theory is lacking.

Mac Collins attempted to tie Marshall to his national party – didn’t work. Rick Goddard tried to tie Marshall to Nancy Pelosi – didn’t work. The anti-Pelosi backlash surely had something to do with Scott’s victory, but he had to tie Marshall to Pelosi and that required work on his part. Ultimately Marshall’s downfall was his failure to define himself. Looking at his voting record, Marshall is a moderate in a sea of extremes. Some votes conservative, some liberal. But two weeks out, Jim Marshall was making commercials and speeches saying he wouldn’t vote for Nancy Pelosi. Distancing himself from the Speaker of the House. Some people pointed out that in 2008, he stated that it didn’t matter who he voted for Speaker. That argument didn’t catch much traction, but it appears the damage had already been done. Marshall had been tied to Nancy Pelosi.

As I drove through GA-8 on my daily 140 mile roundtrip commute, I noticed something that I had never seen before in this district. Signs. Ok, so I have always seen signs in this district. But these signs were different. In 2008, I can count the number of signs I saw in Dodge County and Bleckley County for Rick Goddard on one hand. Austin’s team pushed signs out and had them everywhere, not just Houston. But there was more than just Scott and Marshall signs. Two of the more notable homemade signs I saw read: “JIM MARSHALL = NANCY PELOSI ‘NUFF SAID” and “FIRE NANCY PELOSI, VOTE OUT MARSHALL.” A lot of people question the effectiveness of yard signs, I think they are good tools and I think they really helped push Austin to victory.

I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the candidates, both of them worked hard. Marshall had his people on the ground moving and Scott himself was working the phones early on. Listening to Marshall speak after conceding, it should be clear to everyone that he has a sharp political mind and I honestly doubt his political life is over.

All of that said, Scott won not just because he tied Marshall to Pelosi but because he’s a good candidate and fought hard. Victory wasn’t won in one large county, in Houston Scott barely beat Marshall. In Bibb, Scott was soundly defeated by Marshall. But in counties like Pulaski, Bleckley, Wilcox, and Dodge – that is where Austin got his win. In Dodge County, Austin won 3 out of every 5 votes casted to Marshal’s 2. Previously Dodge had been a solid Democratic Party voting county. Dodge is like a lot of rural counties in this state, rich with local offices filled by Democrats – that’s something that has been changing in recent years. As rural Georgians identify more and more with Republicans, the harder it will be to run as a conservative Democrat.

GA-8 wasn’t won simply because of a national tide against Democrats. It was won through hard work and shifting partisan identification in rural Georgia.

Sam Olens Announces Transition Team

Attorney General-Elect Sam Olens announced his transition team this morning as he prepares for his January 10th swearing in. Co-Chairs for his team are Jimmy Franklin, Partner, Franklin Taulbee Rushing Snipes & Marsh and Past President, State Bar of Georgia 2001-2002; Bill Hutson, Retired Cobb County Sheriff; and Robert Ingram, Partner, Moore Ingram Johnson & Steele and Past President, State Bar of Georgia 2005-2006.

The remaining transition team is as follows:
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Singing The Blues In GA-2

The following was sent to me in the wee hours of this morning by Justin Tomczak, who was a consultant on Mike Keown’s campaign, and is printed as a “guest editorial”.

The Albany Herald is reporting that Democrat U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop (GA-2) appears to have squeaked out a victory down in South West Georgia. With a bundle of votes finally tallied sometime after 1AM (I thought with electronic voting this whole counting thing was supposed to be faster, but what do I know?), Bishop pulled into a comfortable lead and claimed victory in front of a few remaining diehards.
The race was much closer than anyone expected for this once “Safe Democrat Seat”. It attracted national attention from both parties and the political pundits eventually moved it into the “Toss up” category. Keown worked his tail off, his campaign ran a great race, exceeding all fundraising expectations and during the final 8 weeks alone his grassroots supporters made over 60,000 personal volunteer phone calls. It was a heck of a fight from the Baptist preacher, former State Representative and mayor of Coolidge (population 562 at last count).
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And On A Brighter Note…

If you took the time to read my last post, you’ll probably think I’m fairly down, perhaps pensive this morning.  I am not.  Quite the contrary.  I have reason to be optimistic.

It’s not often that you have the opportunity to attend a victory party for a newly elected Congressman.  It is even more rare (if you’re around enough politicians to know better) when you think that Congressman has an opportunity and the ability to truly effect change in Washington.   This year, I’ve been able to do that twice.  

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Settling Into A Pew On The Back Row

I remember a few years ago listening to one of my political mentors explain what he did the morning after a candidate he had backed heavily lost unexpectedly and he was left having publicly supported the wrong guy.   He wrote a big check, took it over to the victor, and when giving it to him said “I don’t need to be a deacon, I just would like to have a seat in the choir.”

I’ll admit I’ve used that line before.  At least once, I accompanied it with a decent check.

When I look at the results of many state level races, I don’t much feel like singing today, and I desire no seat in a choir.   Doesn’t matter, those seats have long since been taken.  Getting one of those in any administration has never been my goal.   This loss was also not a surprise.  It was not unexpected.

Unless any of us have plans to move any time soon, we’re stuck in this congregation.   Like it or not, we’re all looking at the same person standing up front.  It’s now his time to lead.

I’ll stop the church comparison there before I have to say anything about Nathan Deal leading us into the Promised Land, or leading 4 extra verses of Just As I Am so us sinners can come down front and be forgiven.

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‘A Total Loss’

Democrats in Washington tonight are looking at Georgia and see it as a ‘total loss.’ Things could certainly change, but right now I’m being told Democrats believe Nathan Deal will win without a runoff and that both Sanford Bishop and Jim Marshall are lost.

Democrats expect a near total wipeout in the statewide races.

Election Night Live-Blog

Join us this evening for the election night live-blog.