Category: Primaries

Perdue’s Slam on Handel Gets National Attention

On the same day that former Alaska governor Sarah Palin was in metro Atlanta campaigning for Karen Handel’s U.S. Senate bid, some unflattering comments made by one of her opponents made the national spotlight.

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has endorsed Karen Handel.
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has endorsed Karen Handel.

On Thursday, The Daily Caller reported highlighted David Perdue’s remarks from January that slammed Handel for only having a high school diploma.

“I mean, there’s a high school graduate in this race, OK? I’m sorry, but these issues are so much broader, so complex,” Perdue said during a Bibb County speech. “There’s only one candidate in this race that’s ever lived outside the United States. How can you bring value to a debate about the economy unless you have any understanding about the free enterprise system and how — what it takes to compete in the global economy?”

You can find the video of Perdue’s remarks here on Peach Pundit.

David Perdue
David Perdue

Perdue has a degree in industrial engineering and a masters in operations research from Georgia Tech.

Handel has acknowledged that she did not complete college.

Palin and Handel made an appearance at the South Fulton Republican Women’s Club, and then at a private fundraiser.

Palin said she was disappointed in Perdue’s comments. As reported on the AJC, Palin said, “There are a lot of good, hard-working Americans who have more common sense in their pinky finger than a lot of those Ivy League pieces of paper up on a wall.”

A ‘Yu Turn’ in the Wrong Direction?

Peach Pundit came across an email sent out Monday afternoon from the campaign of Eugene Yu, a GOP candidate in the 12th congressional district, that featured an unusual logo.

A campaign image from Eugene Yu, 12th congressional district
A campaign image from Eugene Yu, 12th congressional district

Yu is using a nice bit of alliteration in his campaign materials, such as “Washington Needs a Yu Turn,” but this latest image from his campaign could easily be interpreted as heading in an unfortunate direction.

The logo features a simplistic, downward pointing arrow that looks as if it could have been created by a second-grader with PhotoShop. What’s more, how hard could it have been to create an arrow that is either pointing upward or forward, instead of appearing to go in reverse?

Yu is one of five Republicans seeking to oust U.S. Rep. John Barrow, whose seat has long been considered vulnerable by the GOP. He has one of more interesting backgrounds of any candidate in recent memory. Of Korean descent,  he’s an ex-military man and law enforcement official, successful entrepreneur, and holds unquestionable conservative beliefs … in short, exactly the kind of diverse candidate Republicans need as Georgia’s population becomes more and more blue.

But one of a political campaign’s cardinal rules is, avoid giving your opponent any ammo, a maxim that Yu’s campaign has just broken.

National Dems Need a Win in Georgia

That, at least, is the conclusion of an article in TIME Magazine last week, profiling Michelle Nunn’s U.S. Senate candidacy.

Republicans need to pick up six seats to retake the Senate, and the magazine says at least three of those – South Dakota, Montana and West Virginia – are likely in the bag already.

“That leaves Democrats praying for at least six wins in eight states,” the article says, “unless they get lucky somewhere they haven’t won in a long time.

“Somewhere like Georgia.”

Besides her political lineage, TIME says Nunn’s final qualification is the “almost comical field of Republican challengers who have been doing everything they can to commit political fratricide. In one recent ad, Republican businessman David Perdue depicted his seven GOP rivals as a bunch of babies in diapers crying on the floor,” the article says.

TIME didn’t fail to point out some embarrassing gaffes from some of the other Republicans in the GOP primary, either, citing U.S. Rep. Paul Broun’s claim that evolutionary theories are “lies from the pits of hell;” U.S. Rep. Jack Kington’s suggestion that low-income middle schoolers sweep floors to earn free lunches; and U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey’s defense of Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin’s comments that women have a natural defense against pregnancies in cases of “legitimate rape.”

Buddy Carter Comes Out With New TV Ad

Qualifying is next week, so we’ll start to see a number of new television ads hitting the airwaves from various candidates. Buddy Carter just sent out his first TV ad in the 1st Congressional District. From a campaign presser:

Georgia State Senator Buddy Carter, Republican candidate in the First Congressional District of Georgia, became the first candidate to go up on television with a campaign ad.

Carter, an independent pharmacist who owns three pharmacies, touts his experience and emphasizes his opposition to Obamacare in the ad, saying that “As a pharmacist practicing for over 30 years, I’ve seen a lot of changes in health care, and I still maintain we have the greatest health care system in the world, but Obamacare’s a train wreck, and it has to go. In Congress, I’ll continue my pursuit to get rid of it.”

“Senator Carter has said from day one that Obamacare is a train wreck and that he would work to delay it, defund it, and defeat it. It is this message along with his proven leadership and track record of real solutions and conservative principles that have allowed us to continue momentum throughout the campaign,” said spokesperson Jud Seymour.

You can see the ad here:

Secretary of State Releases 2014 Qualifying Information Packet

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp released the 2014 qualifying guide and forms on Monday:

[Monday,] Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp released a “one stop shop” informational packet for candidates wishing to qualify in the 2014 elections. The informational packet helps candidates by clearly outlining the dates, times, and locations for qualifying in partisan and nonpartisan races. It also includes reference information for Write-In Candidates and Independent/Political Body Candidates.
The packet features a concise 5-page format including detailed qualifying checklists and a complete set of required documents. The additional documents are embedded within the packet and can be accessed by clicking on any of the underlined blue links.
“In light of the recent changes, I wanted to ensure that veterans and newcomers alike could go through the qualifying season with confidence. With that in mind, we designed a comprehensive source of information that is both easy to understand and share,” said Secretary Kemp.

You can download the packet over at the Secretary of State’s website. It comes in a .zip file and is in a PDF format.

Qualifying will begin Monday, March 3rd and run through Friday, March 7th.

Rep. Josh Clark Will Not Seek Re-Election

State Representative Josh Clark of Buford announced he will leave his seat in the Georgia House after his term ends in December due to changing job responsibilities. From the Gwinnett Daily Post:

“It is with much prayer, consideration and a heavy heart that I announce I will not be seeking re-election for a third term,” Clark said. “Being given the opportunity of serving my community in the Georgia House of Representatives has been one of the most meaningful privileges of my life. I want to thank each of my constituents who have granted me the privilege of representing them.”

Clark is finishing his second term in the House, after defeating former Gwinnett Commission Chair Wayne Hill in the 2010 GOP primary.

The timing of Rep. Clark’s announcement is significant. Qualifying for the 2014 elections begins a week from Monday. Clark is a popular Gwinnett legislator who presumably would have run unopposed for reelection. Those who might want to replace him have two weeks in which to prepare for a campaign.

Perdue Campaign Launches TV Ad

In a follow-up to the five minute video introduction released yesterday, the David Perdue campaign released its first 30 second TV spot, which will run in several Georgia media markets. From a press release:

“I’m excited to begin a direct conversation with voters across the state. With a crushing federal debt and a stagnant economy threatening our very way of life, we have a limited window of opportunity to get things back on track,” said Perdue. “I believe that it will take an outsider with real business experience to get big things done, and our media campaign helps show Georgians the clear choice they will have in this election.”

According to an article in The Hill, the ad will run in the Atlanta, Albany and Macon TV markets, with a total cost of about $170,000.

Gingrey Joins Broun and Kingston Opposing Immigration Amnesty

I mentioned earlier today that immigration reform is likely to become a hot topic in the U.S. House this year.

11th District Congressman and Senate candidate Phil Gingrey announced today that he is opposed to the principles proposed for debate in the house. From the press release:

“I’m not sure who’s [sic] “principles” those are,” said Gingrey. “But they are not mine, and they certainly are not the principals [sic] conservatives want us advocating. Illegal immigration is one of the toughest issues facing our nation, but amnesty is not a sensible solution, and we simply cannot afford to tack tens of millions on to our unemployment lines in our current economic condition. Regardless of what Leadership says, securing the border remains my top priority when it comes to immigration.”

“Georgians are fed up with elected officials who promise to stand-strong on issues just to give in to pressure from special interests when they get to Washington. Throughout my tenure in Congress, I’ve fought to strengthen and uphold our nation’s immigration laws – not ignore them like President Obama and Harry Reid. As your next Senator, I promise to continue that fight.”

Gingrey joins the two other House members running for the Senate in opposing amnesty. Jack Kingston posted this on his campaign Facebook page yesterday: “I will not support an immigration bill that includes amnesty for illegal immigrants.”

Paul Broun released a video on Monday stating his position:

Another GOP Candidate for 12th Congressional?

State Rep. Delvis Dutton
State Rep. Delvis Dutton

InsiderAdvantage is reporting that state Rep. Delvis Dutton (R-Glennville) is considering entering the 12th congressional district race.

The seat is currently held by Democratic congressman John Barrow, who has held the seat since 2006.

“We’re checking into it. We’re getting a lot of calls on it,” Dutton said.

Dutton won a special election in 2011 to the state House.

After winning re-election in 2012, he unsuccessfully challenged the chairwoman of the House Republican Caucus, state Rep. Donna Sheldon (R-Dacula).

Coleman To Gain Another Challenger in HD 97?

Georgia House Education Committee Chair Brooks Coleman of Duluth may be in for a three way primary contest in May. Political novice Dahlys Hamilton announced last month that she would challenge the 21 year House veteran in the Republican primary.

We have heard that Jef Fincher may throw his hat into the ring, possibly announcing his candidacy later this week. No political newcomer, Fincher ran in the seven person race to replace Congressman John Linder, coming in fourth, behind Rob Woodall, Jody Hice and Clay Cox. Fincher has also held leadership positions within the Gwinnett Republican party over the last few years. Fincher’s wife, Kathy, has deep roots in the Duluth area.

Nothing is official until an announcement from the candidate, of course. But it’s notable that Fincher registered the domain back on November 28th, 2013. That’s the same website name he used for his 2010 congressional bid.

Porter Picking His 2014 Battles Wisely, Carefully

New Democratic Party of Georgia Chairman DuBose Porter has been in the game long enough to know how to pick and choose his battles.

Porter, who served in the state legislature for almost three decades, knows his party’s best chance to return to political relevance lies with the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Saxby Chambliss. That’s why he’s taken every opportunity to publicize the candidacy of Michelle Nunn, often to the dismay of the other Democrats in the primary, none of whom can match Nunn’s visibility or ability to bring in big dollars.

The GOP Senate primary is crowded, another factor in Porter’s favor. He knows if the Republican primary gets rough and bloody, whoever survives will be weakened and battered. 

The 2014 governor’s race is more problematic. So far, Gov. Nathan Deal‘s popularity doesn’t seem to have been affected by ongoing ethics charges, and the governor has already begun a series of campaign ads on TV and over the web. 

Porter has to keep hammering home the ethics issue in the hope that their negativity will cling to Deal and, at the same time, help state Sen. Jason Carter’s candidacy gain some traction. To date, Carter doesn’t even have a website for his gubernatorial campaign. 

Porter has also made a point of targeting state Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgins for his opposition to the Affordable Care Act. While Georgia remains a predominantly red and conservative state, Porter is hoping that Obamacare will be a rallying point for his party’s faithful, and thus drive them out to the polls next November.

Already, Georgia Democrats are seeing a fundraising bump from Nunn’s and Carter’s candidacies. It’s Porter’s job to keep the momentum focused and growing.

This is exactly the strategy the party should have pursued after 2002, when Sonny Perdue upset then-incumbent Roy Barnes for governor. Four years later, party leadership under Bobby Kahn allowed then-Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor and then-Secretary of State Cathy Cox obliterate each other in a gubernatorial primary that cleared Perdue’s re-election path as well as further GOP domination.

Today, both Taylor and Cox – two young, attractive and once-promising candidates who could have been the party’s future – are out of politics. And Republicans gained a stronghold on the legislature and every statewide elected office.

In 2010, unbelievably, Democrats elected Barnes one more time to run for governor, even more evidence the GOP has outmatched and outgunned the party in grass roots organization, candidate recruitment and fundraising.

Now, Georgia Democrats has two big-name candidates poised to become the party’s future for 2014 and beyond. Porter needs to keep the momentum going by picking and choosing his battles.

Is GAGOP Chairman John Padgett Choosing Sides?

Facebook is abuzz by my fellow Georgia Republicans praising state chairman John Padgett for his personal support of Governor Nathan Deal.  From the supposed email I came across on Facebook from John Padgett’s personal Facebook:

“The Rules of the GAGOP clearly prohibit the Party from engaging or endorsing in any Republican Primary contest….However, on a personal level, I am a strong supporter of Governor Deal’s conservative leadership and appreciate his efforts to transform Georgia into the number one destination for job creation and business growth in the country.
“From maintaining our AAA bond rating to making common-sense reforms to our state budget and corrections system, the Governor has done an exceptional job leading Georgia forward.”

That’s fine.  You’re supposed to highlight the accomplishments of your Republican officials.  You are the head cheerleader after all, but it does seem like it was sent out in an orchestrated way to “advertise” Chairman Padgett’s support of Governor Deal to stem off any primary opposition.  He knows the rules, obviously, as he states them in his email.

However, Padgett needs to be careful.  He seems to get into gray territory when supporters begin circulating the email via Facebook where his private, personal thoughts on the Governor become public and tagged as an endorsement by the GAGOP Chairman.  Let me say that I don’t think that Padgett didn’t technically break the rules since he didn’t use his title as GAGOP chairman, but he needs to be mindful that supporters can take his words and tout it as support and endorsement by the GAGOP chairman.  It could happen…especially if primaries become more contentious between the factions of the Georgia Republican Party.

Of course, it’s not the first time a chairman has touted the incumbent over rumors of candidates.  Previous GAGOP Chairman Sue Everhart talked up Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson when they had rumored primary opposition.

It shouldn’t be up to the state, district, or county chairman to encourage or discourage a candidate from running for office in a primary if there is one or more Republicans running.  Most folks legally qualified candidates are old enough and competent enough to make their decision.  If they want to put forth the time, effort, and resources to run for office, go for it.  However, it is a monumental challenge to take on an incumbent.  It just is.

Ultimately, it’s up to the voters of Georgia who pull a Republican ballot that decide the Republican candidates going to the general election contest, and it’s up to the candidates to explain why they are the best fit for the office.  That’s what our Republican leadership should be saying during the primary process.

Georgia Could Have A Shorter Primary Cycle In 2014

Georgia voters may be getting a shorter primary cycle.  The federal Department of Justice has long been disgruntled with the lack of turnaround time between the primary, primary runoff, and general elections for getting ballots to overseas voters.  Secretary of State Brian Kemp offered to delay the close of voting for a longer of period to ensure that overseas ballots made it back home.    However, the Feds aren’t warm to the idea.  Jim Galloway has the document pertaining to this issue as well as an outline of the DOJ’s plan:

— The DOJ’s proposed plan is to require our federal primary election to be held on the Tuesday 22 weeks before the general election, which would be June 3rd for 2014.

— For any primary runoffs, the DOJ proposes that those be held 13 weeks before the general election, which would be August 5th for 2014.

— For any federal runoff election in the general election, the DOJ proposes that the runoff be held 9 weeks after the general election, which would be January 6, 2015 for the 2014 election cycle.

Time to venture into speculation land.  How does this affect candidates?  Further, does this help a candidate running against an incumbent?  The time between the adjournment of the General Assembly and the primary election date has shrunk by over one month…which means that’s about a month less of time that incumbents in the General Assembly and statewide office could be using to raise money.  An opportunity for candidates seeking the defeat of incumbents to stuff their war chests?  I’d be interested to see if there is pressure on the General Assembly to “get the people’s business” done at a faster pace this next year.  Also, I’d be interested in seeing how this could affect the now almost official race between Mayor David Pennington and Governor Nathan Deal (I say “almost official” since candidacy isn’t truly official until he or she signs on the dotted line).

Also, that last bullet should be thought about in how it could impact some big races in the future.  2008 saw a run-off in the US Senate race, but that run-off was in December of that year.  Under the new plan, a run-off would be pushed to January of the following year.  I’m sure there wouldn’t be much issue between the election and subsequent swearing-in for various offices, but you never know.

Let your speculation about how this change could affect the dynamics of primary elections.

Pennington…The Real Deal This Time?

Swirling rumors coupled with announcements, then a possible announcement, then an announcement to hold off on the announcement have left us all wondering if and when Dalton Mayor David Pennington will throw his hat into the ring for Governor. But this morning we were met with an endorsement by the highly respected (for his politics and his BBQ) Oscar Poole.

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What Will Dalton Mayor David Pennington Do?

So, Al Gray has this going on this evening in Columbia County:

Good morning everyone!

When I read that Mayor Pennington was considering a run for Governor in the Republican Party primary in 2014, I wanted to know more about him. On Wednesday April 17 we have reserved the Columbia County Government Complex Auditorium (In Building A, where the county commission meets) from 6:30PM -until ? for a meet-and-greet session with David Pennington. I look forward to meeting the mayor and I hope folks like me who want change in Atlanta will come and greet him, as he considers the brave challenge of taking on the incumbent.

The government complex is at 630 Ronald Reagan Drive in Evans.

If you can come and lend direction to David’s quest, please do so. Bring a friend along, too.

Georgia is in troubled times and needs a pretty radical change in direction, starting in the Governor’s mansion.

I look forward to seeing you this evening.

Dalton’s Mayor David Pennington has been kinda coy in his flirtation with challenging Governor Nathan Deal in the 2014 Republican gubernatorial primary.  But he kinda hasn’t.  He has some harsh words for the governor and the state legislature when it comes to economic growth and tax reform.  Things that our Party has promised to deal with for the past number of election cycles, but we seem to lose sight of once we win.  I believe a lot of Republicans probably would be in agreement.  Tax reform has percolated a few times in the past few legislative sessions, but never really took off.  If you’re an elected official reading this right now, grassroots Republicans aren’t thrilled with the lackluster performance of the General Assembly for the past few sessions.
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