Category: Democrats

Apparently Stacey Evans Isn’t Alone In Sending PSAs

Friend and GOP stalwart Justin Tomczak forwarded me an email from State Representative Pat Gardner (D-Atlanta) also encouraging her constituents to take preventative measures against identity theft.  Interestingly enough, the email is almost, an exact copy of Stacey Evans’ email that she sent out earlier this week.  The only exception is that Rep. Gardner’s email ends with “Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!” instead of another paragraph like Rep. Evans.

Either the honorable ladies have the same consultant who used a cookie cutter approach in order to seize the opportunity created by the Secretary of State’s mistake, or perhaps there is another person looking forward to the 2018 election.

DeKalb Lawmaker: Eliminate the CEO Position

One DeKalb Democratic lawmaker has already called on interim CEO Lee May to resign.

Now, another wants to eliminate the position altogether.

According to Patch, state Rep. Scott Holcomb, (D-81), is proposing to eliminate the CEO position and perhaps replace with it with a professional county manager.

Holcomb said he plans to file a proposal in 2016 to change DeKalb’s form of government from its current CEO model. Several local GOP lawmakers, including Sen. Fran Millar of Dunwoody, have been advocating that change for some time.

Holcomb is the latest high-profile Democrat to weigh in on DeKalb’s current controversy, which began several weeks ago with the release of a report by former state Attorney General Mike Bowers and Richard Hyde, which cited widespread corruption and improper spending from many elected and appointed county officials.

The report also called on May to resign, a call repeated about two weeks later byDecatur State Sen. Emanuel Jones, the first Democrat to say May should step down.

Kellie Austin To Run For Something Statewide–Details At 5:30

CS2_9617_ppKellie Austin’s campaign manager issued a press release announcing a campaign announcement for some statewide office at 5:30 this afternoon somewhere on the Square in downtown Lawrenceville.  Apparently she is responding, as the sub-headline of the presser says, “to the request of many to oppose a statewide incumbent in 2016.”  Here’s the presser (formatting is as it was in the original email):

(Gwinnett) — Kellie Austin will announce on Wednesday at 5:30 pm on the Square in downtown Lawrenceville, GA her plans to seek elected office.

Kellie Austin has never run for public office and is fed up with watching politicians become disconnected from the people they were elected to represent. Having the support of grassroots organizations and concerned Georgians, she has made the decision to challenge the incumbent for statewide office in 2016.

Kellie will stand for the rights of Georgians and has no personal agenda and no industry prejudice. She says, “We must get back to solid, common sense, economically viable solutions.”

Kellie is a true Georgia Girl. She was born in Hall County and has lived in Decatur, Fayette, Fulton, Habersham, and Stephens counties while growing up. She has lived for the past decade in Gwinnett. She has been a respected political consultant and has helped many businesses to reach their greater potential through her business marketing development. She understands economic development in the private sector, having worked closely with several Community Improvement Districts.

To find about more about Kellie and her campaign, visit her website: VoteKellie.Com

Her website, as of 1:30p EDT, had a parking page from GoDaddy, so no information available yet.

Most statewide elected offices were decided last year, but there are a couple of statewide offices that are on the ballot: US Senator and Public Service Commissioner – District 2.  Maybe she’s running for US Senate against Johnny Isakson since she’s running against an nondescript incumbent.  The rumors that are currently floating about is that she will be running for Public Service Commissioner currently held by Commissioner Tim Echols who was elected in 2010 and is up for re-election next year.  Of course, her presser doesn’t say if she will be running as a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or Independent.  If she runs as a Republican, she would be joining Michelle Miller who announced earlier this year that she would be running for the Republican nomination against Echols.

We’ll have to wait until 5:30p to get the full details on if she’s running for Senate, PSC, or something else.

New Fox poll: Trump No. 1, trouble for Hillary?

Donald Trump comes in first in a just-released Fox News poll, with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker a close second.

But the poll’s real story may be a sign of trouble for Hillary Clinton.

Clinton easily leads all Democratic contenders for the nomination, 59 percent compared to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders 19 percent. But 70 percent of voters overall said a candidate who is sometimes less than honest is a “deal breaker” for them; plus, 58 percent said Clinton’s natural instincts lean more toward “hiding the truth” and “telling the truth” (33 percent).

Democratic voters say her natural instincts lean toward “telling the truth” at 61 percent, but even among those voters, 29 say Clinton is more prone to “hiding the truth.”

You can download the entire poll here.

Here’s a look at how GOP candidates fared:

  • Donald Trump — 18 percent
  • Scott Walker — 15 percent
  • Jeb Bush — 14 percent

None of the other candidates reached double digits.

Here’s the exact question that was asked about Hillary Clinton in the poll. Tell us what you think.

It’s UGA vs. Tech in Brookhaven

Former Tech QB Taylor Bennett will meet Republican J. Max Davis — a former offensive lineman at UGA — in a runoff for House District 80.

The Brookhaven Post is reporting that the two will meet in an August 11th runoff for the seat vacated by Republican Mike Jacobs, now a DeKalb state court judge.

Republicans Catherine Bernard and Loren Collins came in third and fourth, respectively, in Tuesday’s special election. 

Analysis

Bennett — whose campaign visibility throughout the district was dwarfed by Davis and Bernard — was surprisingly the top vote-getter on Tuesday, with 36 percent. Davis came in second, with 33 percent.

Bennett’s campaign seemingly came on strong in the final days before the election, as the Democrat received endorsements from such organizations as the Sierra Club, Georgia Association of Educators, Planned Parenthood and even former state senator Jason Carter.

Davis, Brookhaven’s first-ever mayor and arguably the highest profile candidate in the election, also had a hefty list of endorsements, most notably from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and local political heavyweights such as state Sen. Fran Millar, Rep. Tom Taylor and three of the four members of the Brookhaven City Council.

Any contest fielding four candidates is most likely bound for a runoff, but Bennett’s first-place showing has to be considered somewhat of a political shock, given the district’s strong GOP leanings, along with some of its neighboring communities.

Another factor contributing to Davis’ second-place showing could be residual damage resulting from some unflattering charges made against him during the campaign, dating back to his tenure while mayor of Brookhaven.

In any event, if Bennett defeats Davis on August 11, it could signal a dramatic, political changing of the guard in an important metro Atlanta house district.

More Fun In HD-80 Race

Tomorrow is the special election in HD-80, and it sounds like the tried-and-true GOP operative tactics of Attack, Rebuttal, Counterattack, Rebuttal, Wash, Rinse, Repeat, and then finally call for unity against Democrats is in full operational mode.

For those keeping score, there are three Republicans and one Democrat who is running to fill the seat being vacated by Mike Jacobs.

An anonymous mailer was sent out attacking J.Max Davis, one of the Republicans running for the open seat.  The AJC’s Political Insider has pictures of the mailer, but the gist of the mailer is a sexual harassment complaint that was made against Davis during his term as Brookhaven’s mayor and compared him to former Democratic President Bill Clinton.  From the Political Insider:

Records show Davis was accused of spraying an aerosol product on a woman’s buttocks while she was working at city hall, and the mayor told the flustered woman he was joking. The woman and a witness reported the incident to the city mayor the next day, who has said he never aimed at the woman’s backside. Davis is now facing allegations that he bullied the woman into retracting the allegations against him, and that he sought to cover-up the complaint. He’s denied any wrongdoing.

We’ll see how this affects J.Max’s chances of making it to a run-off with someone who we’re still curious about if she voted for the Republican presidential candidate in 2012, the libertarian/conservative/classical liberal/Bull Moose YouTube candidate (is he afraid of the Republican label even though he qualified as a Republican?), or the Democrat….or win the thing out-right.

Prognosticate in the comments.

Stacey Abrams, the New Georgia Project, and Winning Elections

Minority voter registration was one of the most hyped Democratic strategies of the 2014 Georgia election cycle. These new voters, it was presumed, would vote for Democratic candidates, and allow Michelle Nunn, Jason Carter and down-ballot Democratic candidates to prevail last November. In a MSNBC op-ed published in June 2014, former NAACP chairman Benjamin Jealous estimated that registering 60% of the previously unregistered black voting age population would be enough for the Democrats to win. Registering 60% of black, Asian and Hispanic non-voters would be enough to guarantee it.

House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams. Photo: Jon Richards
House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams.
Photo: Jon Richards
The most visible voter registration effort was the New Georgia Project, an effort by House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams to register more minorities. Using paid canvassers, the group claimed it registered thousands of voters, but reports of fraud prompted Secretary of State Brian Kemp to file a lawsuit against the organization. As the voter registration deadline approached in October, the NGP claimed that 40,000 voter registration applications turned in by them had not been processed by local elections offices. And as election day approached with speculation that the senate and governor’s races could be extremely close, there was talk of post-election lawsuits.

Of course, the Republicans won the election by fairly wide margins, and memories of the New Georgia Project started to fade with the approach of the 2015 legislative session. That is, until Max Blau of Creative Loafing published his extensive investigation into the operations of the NGP earlier this week. But Blau’s essay is more than a postmortem of the voter registration effort; it is also an examination of Minority Leader Stacey Abrams’s actions leading up to the election. Read more

Stacey Abrams named “Public Official of the Year”

Stacey Abrams  Photo:  Jon Richards
Stacey Abrams Photo: Jon Richards
GOVERNING Magazine has named Georgia’s own Stacey Abrams a “Public Official of the Year” — a distinction given to only 8-10 state and local officials nationwide.

The magazine, which previously presented the award to Gov. Sonny Perdue and Mayor Kasim Reed, paid particular attention in its write-up to the history-making rise of Abrams, who currently serves as Minority Leader in the State House.

A Democratic Representative from Atlanta, Abrams is the first woman to serve as a party leader in either chamber of the General Assembly and the first African-American to lead either party in the State House of Representatives.

GOVERNING credits her ability to work across the aisle for her growing prominence. One key excerpt recalls the role Abrams played in pressuring Governor Nathan Deal to make concessions on his Hope Scholarship reforms:

Abrams walked that tricky line, for example, by supporting legislation championed by Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, to overhaul the state’s Hope Scholarship program. While she disagreed with the governor that the program should be based on merit rather than need, Abrams was able to convince Deal and a majority of Republicans to compromise on other parts of the bill. Ultimately, the two sides agreed, among other things, to include low-interest loans and preserve most funding for pre-K programs. “My fundamental philosophy,” she says, “is that my first job is to cooperate and collaborate with the other side whenever I can.”

The magazine is not the first to recognize Abrams’s growing political influence in the Peach State. This year, the pro-choice women’s group EMILY’s List awarded Abrams its inaugural Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award.

Is the Georgia Latino Vote Shifting to the GOP?

With both Nathan Deal and David Perdue winning with a wide margin, one has to wonder what happened to the Democratic Party of Georgia’s secret weapon, a.k.a. “minority voter turnout”. Did the anticipated voters not show up to the polls? Or did the Georgia Republican Party actually win a significant chunk of the minority voter share? Exit poll statistics of one demographic in particular seems to have surprised many.

From WABE:

National exit polls show Republican Governor Nathan Deal took 47 percent of Latino votes, while Republican Senator-elect David Perdue got 42 percent.

Compare that to the 2010 midterms, when Republicans nationally got about 34 percent of that demographic (Latino voting numbers were too small in 2008, the last time the state had a U.S. Senate race, for reliable polling data).

One could argue that the recent shift in Latino voting trends can be attributed to the Georgia Republican Party’s minority engagement efforts. Leo Smith, the Minority Engagement Director for the Georgia Republican Party is also quoted in the same article:

“When it comes to business opportunities and developing a personal economy, I think that our messaging really resonated,” said Leo Smith, who heads minority engagement for the Georgia Republican party.

Smith says the state GOP did virtually nothing to bring in Latinos in 2010, and looked to change that this time around. He said the party did a lot of outreach with the Latinos this year, speaking with community leaders, talking with Latino media and using Spanish messaging.

Leo Smith may actually be on to something here. A recent PewHispanic study shows that most Latino voters (49%) rate the economy as their number 1 issue, followed by health care (24%) and illegal immigration (16%). It is no secret that the economy was a key issue in the campaigns of Governor Deal and David Perdue. Is the recent Latino surge to the GOP a sign of things to come? Also, is the Republican Party’s fiscal platform enough to attract Latinos their way? Discuss.

Libertarian Support Dissolves at the Polls

For all the speculation of a Libertarian candidate pushing two of the nation’s most-watched political races into a runoff, neither Andrew Hunt or Amanda Swafford were ever a factor in Tuesday night’s elections.

Libertarian support dissolved completely at the polls, allowing both Gov. Nathan Deal and David Perdue to cruise to comfortable victories.

As a result, Democrats in Georgia will continue to wander in the political wilderness for at least the next decade. Even with two election cycles between now and 2020, Democrats will not be able to gain enough clout under the Gold Dome to play an influential role in the next big political battle – redistricting, as mandated every time a Census is conducted.

For 2018, expect state Rep. Stacey Abrams and Secretary of State Brian Kemp to take their battle over voter registration to the governor’s race. Both have to be considered leading candidates in what will become an open gubernatorial contest in four years.

New Poll: Deal, Carter Headed to a Runoff?

“Stuck in the mud” is how a new poll released Friday describes Georgia’s gubernatorial race between incumbent Nathan Deal and state Sen. Jason Carter.

The new InsiderAdvantage/Fox 5/Morris News Super Poll shows Deal and Carter at 43 percent, with Libertarian Andrew Hunt at 4 percent.

“This race seems stuck in the mud and still appears headed for a runoff,” said pollster Matt Towery. “It should be noted that our poll weights African-American turnout at a higher rate than most other surveys. If that turnout is lower, Deal will take a bigger lead.”

Towery said the poll’s biggest news is that Carter has 32 percent of the white vote in our survey.

“That reaches the magic number that Democrats have failed to receive in recent statewide races,” he said.

In the Senate race, David Perdue leads Michelle Nunn, 47 percent to 43 percent, with Libertarian Amanda Swafford at 3 percent.

“Nunn has gained ground in recent weeks,” said Towery. “A key to this was the Perdue ad made by his campaign, using a leaked Nunn campaign memo. Perdue’s ad suggested that the non-profit Nunn ran aided terrorists. The ad appears to have blown up on the Perdue campaign.”

NY Times Laments Georgia’s Black/White Politics

Georgia’s high-profile, high-stakes elections caught the attention of another national media outlet late last week.

The New York Times reported on the Peach State’s November contests, saying that while Georgia has become more demographically diverse, its politics remain rooted in racism.

“The new Georgia [is] a state whose transformed economy has spawned a population boom and demographic shifts that are slowly altering its politics,” the article states. “With African-Americans coming in large numbers from other states, and emerging immigrant communities … Georgia is less white and less rural than it was a decade ago.

“Yet for all the changes … Georgia’s politics … are today playing out largely on the familiar terrain of black and white.”

The article actually does a pretty good job of profiling the challenges faced by both Georgia Republicans (maintaining their electoral grip) and Democrats (registering enough minority voters to loosen that grip). And it includes a good deal of history of the state’s politics.

What it misses, however, is arguably the state’s most important political chapter – how rural white and urban black Democrats coalesced for more than a century, dominating the state.

Practical-minded leaders like Tom Murphy, George Busbee, Jimmy Carter Carl Sanders and Zell Miller — and a progressive Atlanta business community realizing that green is the only color that matters — reduced the GOP to political insignificance for more than 100 years.

In the 1990s, though, the GOP began engaging in a massive, grass-roots recruitment. And when the Democrats’ liberal base took control of the party in the late 90s, a perfect storm ensued, most publicly manifested in the battle over the state flag and then resulting in Sonny Perdue’s stunning gubernatorial triumph. It took two more electoral cycles for Georgia Democrats to finally stop living in the past and re-build for the future.

But if what U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson says in the article is true – that “Georgia is a conservative state … it was a conservative state when … Democrats were in control” – it may not matter how many minority voters that Stacey Abrams and Rev. Raphael Warnock can register.

Kemp vs. New Georgia Project Makes National News

The controversy over some possible instances of voter fraud in Georgia made Fox News’ homepage on Friday.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp is investigating some allegedly fraudulent voter applications submitted by the New Georgia Project.

“There’s somebody clearly doing something wrong,” Kemp told Fox News.  “And we want to figure out who that is, and try to make sure that we stop that.  And bring charges against those people.”

“You don’t have to wear a hood — you don’t have to be a member of the Ku Klux Klan to be engaged in voter suppression,” said Rev. Raphael Warnock of Ebenezer Baptist Church. “We know voter suppression when we see it.”