Category: Republicans

Yep. It’s True.

When Clayton and I started Peach Pundit, one of the cool things about it was the idea that we should put both Democrats and Republicans on the front page who were willing to write openly and frankly about their own sides. It was not intended to be a site that took a particular view, but rather took the view that we should cover what was happening within our respective parties as objectively as we, with known biases, could.

We timed it perfectly in that state blogging was really taking off and we cornered the market here in Georgia with independent blogging. If you look at Florida, South Carolina, Iowa, and several other places, what you find is that a lot of political consultants have started blogs and the opinions of the people they write about rise and fall corresponding to payments into the bloggers’ consulting businesses. People write nice things about people and positions hoping to curry favors, open doors, and shape agendas.

To be sure, that happens some in Georgia, but I like to think Peach Pundit forestalled the wider expansion of this phenomenon just given the level of readership and the insistence that we cover our own partisan side as objectively as we could — again knowing we had stated biases.

Part of that came with accountability. In that vein, Charlie’s title change yesterday was in every way accurate and, as I said in the email in which I endorsed Alex Johnson, I will not be at the State Convention.

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Can the House Freedom Caucus save the GOP?

Two freshman Georgia congressmen have learned in a hurry that fiery political rhetoric might get you elected, but it doesn’t get you very far in the messy world of governing.

This week’s AJC highlighted the heat that Barry Loundermilk and Jody Hice — who represent two of Georgia’s most conservative, solidly GOP districts — faced from voters when they returned home during a congressional break. Their constituents were outraged, among other things, over both men’s support of House Speaker John Boehner and the GOP majority’s capitulation on President Obama’s executive immigration orders on the Department of Homeland Security’s funding bill.

The Republican tidal wave of 2014 hasn’t produced much in the way of results, and as Peach Pundit’s Jon Richards points out, Hice’s predecessor, Paul Broun, is rumored to be considering a run to get his old job back.

Now, both Hice and Loudermilk have joined the House Freedom Caucus (HFC), a group that has been formed to pull Republican leadership to the right.

The HFC is already causing some GOP insiders to develop a good case of heartburn. One senior GOP aide tells Roll Call that its members are “not legislators, they’re just assholes” and nothing more than a collection of “the craziest of the crazy.”

But the HFC now numbers about 30 representatives, and Ohio congressman Jim Jordan is reported to be in line to become the HFC’s first chairman. One HFC member says he’d support Jordan for speaker.

The HFC has obviously been formed in direct opposition to Boehner and other GOP insiders who are seen either as being too cozy with Democrats or too intimidated by President Obama to stop his policies.

In 2014, voters overwhelmingly elected Republicans to move Capitol Hill to the right. The question is, will the HFC pull the party in the direction that voters elected them to go? If not, Republicans may continue to be seen as appeasing the White House, which will have its own ramifications in 2016.

Newton County GOP’s concerning shenanigans continue

“I’ve been a Republican my whole life, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Fred Wheeler from his wheelchair outside the Newton County Courthouse after he was told he couldn’t participate in the local Republican Party’s convention on Saturday.

Wheeler, 70, is just one of more than 120 local Republicans who were selected by their precincts to serve as delegates at the February 7 mass precinct meeting, in accordance with the Call and Georgia Republican Party Rule 1.1, but later were told that they didn’t meet local party membership requirements to participate in the county convention. The list of disqualified delegates not only includes local Republicans motivated to get involved due to a recent controversy related to the county government, but also former county party chairmen, elected officials, and Republican donors. Read more

County GOP Convention Weekend

Republicans will gather tomorrow to elect new county officers to serve for a two-year term. As the saying goes: All politics is local. Republican candidates need established county parties to assist in canvassing, phone banking, placing yard signs, organizing events, and numerous other tasks. If you are a delegate or alternate, I strongly encourage you to get involved.

I recognize several county GOPs will hold elections tomorrow, but here are my chairman endorsements some of the metro counties

Forsyth County: Jason Mock

Cobb County: Rose Wing

Gwinnett County: Undecided

Fulton County: Trey Kelly

DeKalb County: Shawn Keefe

Comment with your favorite candidates.

Ban the Bag Ban Ban

We are heading into Day 24 of the 2015 legislative session, and this time of year, a girl’s thoughts often turn to legislation that could potentially impact the way she does her job as a local elected official.

This year, I have my eye on several bills. I’ve written before on the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission (formerly the State Ethics Commission) and how it was a bit of a hot mess during several transitional years. Others agree, and the House and Senate are each considering bills that would provide waivers for fines that were accrued – frequently in error on the part of the GGTCFC(FKASCE) – during this special time in GGTCFC(FKASCE) history.

House Bill 442 addresses conflicts of interests for county and municipal governing authorities. I thought this was already a thing, but I’m all for anything that further clarifies to my colleagues throughout the state that if you have a substantial interest – and by “interest,” I mean money – in something before your elected body, recuse thyself! I’ve always felt like conflict of interest recusals is not something an elected official – at any level – should need to be told to do, but as I am often wrong (yet rarely in doubt), it can’t hurt to spell it out as clearly as possible, in ways that are as subtle as an anvil to the head. Read more

Tone-deaf Newton GOP leaders are actively pushing away elected delegates

One would think that a county Republican Party that has lost three consecutive federal elections to Democrats would embrace new people joining its ranks. It wouldn’t make sense for a party that has lost members at an alarming rate over the last four years due to a lack of any serious involvement by the local party in any local issue to turn away new members.

With that said, people who attended the mass precinct meeting in Newton County on February 7 came home on Wednesday to find a letter, with no return address and no contact number, from the sitting party chair, Delia Fleming, telling them that they aren’t welcome to be a part of the March 14 county convention.
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Forsyth County Young Republican Straw Poll

The Forsyth County Young Republicans conducted a straw poll last Saturday at the Forsyth GOP Mass Meeting. 137 people voted in the poll which included 11 candidates and two additional questions involving cannabis oil and the Religious Freedom bills.

2016 GOP Primary Results

Walker – 26%
Cruz – 12%
Carson – 10%
Undecided – 6%
Rubio – 5%
Bush – 4%
Paul – 4%
Perry – 3%
Palin – 3%
Huckabee – 3%
Christie – 1%
Graham – 0%

Do you support the medical marijuana concept?

Yes – 81%
No – 19%

Do you support the Religious Freedom Act (HB 218, formerly HB 18)?

Yes – 93%
No – 7%

It’s interesting to note that Forsyth County, arguably the most conservative county in the state, supports medical marijuana by such a wide margin. The question did not use  “cannabis oil,” but the vague term “medical marijuana.” Granted, HB1 has been in the news for quite some time so one could argue the majority of participants understood the question referred to THC-reduced cannabis oil.

In regards to RFRA, I’m not surprised in the slightest at the results. It is widely supported in Forsyth County.

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.

Northwest Georgia: By The Numbers

It was a banner year for the Republicans. We gained seats in both chambers of Congress and won gubernatorial races that showed in pre-election polling that we wouldn’t win. Even here in Georgia, Republicans had the pleasant surprise to see a wide margin of victory in the top two races.

We did well. Statewide, we held a pretty good margin. However, the devil is always in the details. Northwest Georgia is traditionally a strong, conservative base for Republicans, but there are a few numbers that should be looked at and analyzed by Republican Party officials in our state: the trend for a few counties up here in northwest Georgia showed an increase in voter turnout, but a decrease in percentage points when compared to 2010. Those numbers didn’t decline due to the spirit of l/Libertarianism grabbing the hearts of folks. In fact, the number of votes for the Libertarian candidates in both the US Senate and gubernatorial races decreased when compared to 2010. I’ll use the numbers from my own county (Walker) to illustrate since the trends are similar in Dade, Catoosa, Chattooga, Floyd, and Whitfield.
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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.

Why I Voted For Nathan Deal And David Perdue

Tomorrow is election day, but I have already cast my ballot. I’m obviously one of the resident Republican partisans here on Peach Pundit, but I just wanted to share my thoughts on why I voted for both Governor Nathan Deal and David Perdue.

Georgia has shown to be a very pro-business state, a fact that has been shown time and time and time again. That’s a point of pride for our state, and I believe that points to the leadership of Governor Deal and our state’s legislature. That’s something to think about. I know our governor doesn’t single-handily create jobs or spread out seeds that magically make businesses pop up all over the state, but he helps set the tone of what sort of policies should be implemented.

I know there are a lot of self-identifying Republicans (both implicit and explicit…that includes folks who show up to county party meetings on a regular basis, participate in the convention process, and/or get elected as officers in the Republican Party at some level) who have said that they will vote for the Libertarian candidate for Governor for various reasons. That’s fine. That’s your choice. You have the freedom to make up your mind since whomever you vote for is between you, the voting machine, and God. I will say, however, that if we see tomorrow evening or Wednesday morning with the headline “Another Carter Heads To Governor’s Mansion”, then you can expect a lot of conservative legislation coming from the Republican legislature will arrive on a Governor Carter’s desk to arrive DOA. If you’re a self-identifying Republican who is contemplating voting for the Libertarian, then you will only have yourself to blame if this scenario comes to fruition.

I’ll be honest. I didn’t think David Perdue had a shot at winning the Republican primary. He is a man who hasn’t been in the Republican ranks until he declared that he was running for Senator Saxby Chambliss’ seat. He’s positioned himself as an “outsider”, so now we have an “outsider” v. “outsider” campaign. Soon, one of them will no longer be an outsider. Michelle Nunn has stated that she would vote for the best Democratic leader that she believes would best get the job done. That’s a bit ambiguous, but that leaves enough room to say that she believes, in her judgment, the best Democrat to lead is Harry Reid. The same Harry Reid who has refused to bring up a large number of House bills for a vote in the upper chamber. Will David Perdue vote for Mitch McConnell as leader when the next Congress convenes in January? I’m not sure, and there’s a possibility he will, but that may not be an absolutely horrendous thing that folks have been crying about. (see the Mitch-Rand bromance that has blossomed this election cycle). When it comes right down to it, I would bet that David Perdue would vote for conservative legislation more often than Michelle Nunn would. Can I guarantee it? No, but party identification is a start.

If Republicans fail to retain control of either the governor’s mansion or the US Senate seat, then you can expect the Democratic National Committee to be licking their lips in 2016. They’ll see the Peach State ripe and ready to pick as another southern state that they can put back into their blue basket. Elections have consequences, and having a Democratic governor and/or US Senator would certainly have some ramifications for Georgia’s political landscape in the future.

It’s your choice. I encourage you to choose to vote Republican on Tuesday.

Republican Governors Release Ad in Georgia Gubernatorial Race

The Republican Governors Association released a new television ad on Tuesday, which it says “draws contrast between liberal Jason Carter, who put politics ahead of Georgia’s children, and Governor Nathan Deal, who has achieved real results on education.”

Georgia’s governor’s race continues to be one of the most-watched in the nation, with numerous polls showing the race a toss-up.


Digging Deeper into the Isakson Rollout

Finally putting to rest any rumors of retirement, Sen. Johnny Isakson formally launched his 2016 reelection bid last week.

The rollout, which opts for “Johnny 2016” as a messaging tool, includes a social media makeover on Facebook and Twitter, along with a sleek new website.

With such an early rollout, Isakson appears ready to shield himself from challengers on his right and, to some extent, his left.

Looking to his right, Isakson throws out plenty of red meat to excite his base.

The Senator promises to “Repeal & Replace Obamacare,” “secure the borders [and] avoid amnesty,” and even block “policies that undermine marriage”—a not-so-subtle stand against the string of marriage equality rulings that have knocked down same-sex marriage bans like dominoes in more and more states in recent years.

But if you’re able to get past all the grandstanding, you might find something a bit… odd about the messaging on his website. In the bio section of his website (“Meet Johnny”), he runs through the standard politician’s biography of business and political experience.

And then he says this:

Johnny brings commonsense leadership to Congress through his efforts to address federal spending, reduce the debt, create jobs, and reform burdensome regulations.

Which is not odd by itself. But the press kit available at the bottom of the page includes an almost identical bio… with one exception. It reads:

Johnny brings commonsense leadership to Congress through bipartisan efforts to address federal spending, reduce the debt, create jobs, and reform burdensome regulations.

It’s unclear whether the two versions are intentionally different, but it means that either Johnny still hasn’t decided whether bipartisanship is a dirty word, or he’s purposefully sending two different messages to his partisans and the media.

With Georgia Democrats starting to rebuild after years of disarray and with the prospect of much higher turnout in 2016, Isakson may need all the bipartisan credentials he can get.

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.”