With less than a week before the election, the Georgia Senate race is getting more national attention. This morning, a profile of the Perdue campaign from The Hill highlights the GOP candidate’s experience with outsourcing, and the Nunn campaign’s use of the contents of a deposition made during the time of the Pillowtex bankruptcy. In that deposition, Perdue admitted he was proud of outsourcing.

The outsourcing remarks and Perdue’s attempt to defend his record are not new news, especially for those who follow the race closely. The new element in the Hill story is the concern expressed by some GOP insiders over the campaign, and the need to defend it.

Perdue won a hard-fought, crowded primary last summer by framing himself as a political outsider and job creator. Even his allies admit the Democratic attacks have undercut one of his campaign’s main arguments: that he knows how to help grow the economy.

“He was a great businessman, and some things sometimes that businesspeople are involved in are not necessarily the most popular things with the citizens in this country,” Georgia Republican Party Chairman John Padgett told The Hill following a GOP unity rally in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta on Friday evening. “That doesn’t mean that they’re not good candidates, but they have a job to do, and their job is to make sure the company they represent makes money.”

Privately, many Republicans are frustrated with Perdue’s campaign, worried he could cost them the seat.

One high-ranking Georgia Republican said that at a recent golf charity event, many in the party were complaining about having to support Perdue.

“I have never heard people say the following, and these are Republicans: ‘I have never felt more disgusted about who to vote for than this year,’ ” the GOP official said.

Discuss.

{ 39 comments }

Why I Support Jason Carter

October 29, 2014 8:30 am

by Stefan · 48 comments

The following is a guest post from Representative Stacey Evans (D- Smyrna). Evans is credited with crafting a bipartisan effort to increase access to HOPE Grants for technical colleges.

Yesterday Rep. Ed Lindsey posted his support for Governor Deal. Many chuckled at the lack of newsworthiness of a Republican legislator supporting a Republican governor.  And no doubt there are chuckles as now a Democratic legislator tells you why she supports the Democratic nominee. But I want to share with you why—party and politics aside—Jason has demonstrated the character and leadership I think we’d all like to see in our State’s chief executive.

HOPE drives me. Growing up, my mother—usually single, oftentimes fleeing hardscrabble men—shuffled my brother and me from rental trailer to rental house and back again just this side of the Tennessee border. College tuition was unthinkable or at least unreachable for us. The promise of HOPE allowed me opportunities beyond the paneling that separated my room from my mom’s. So when cuts to HOPE reared as the first major issue on the 2011 General Assembly’s calendar, I shuttered. To think that 18-year-old me may have missed UGA had I graduated high school after Deal’s cuts was humbling—and horrifying. No games between the Hedges, no law review at UGA, no wedding at the Chapel.

Deal altered HOPE so that only those students with a 3.7 GPA and 1200 SAT score would qualify for full tuition (Zell Miller Scholars). That wouldn’t have included me (I had the GPA, but not the SAT score). Jason urged the Governor to reconsider, noting that these criteria would exclude numerous students, most in rural counties. He offered a counter to Deal’s proposal: award Zell Miller Scholarships to the top 3% of students in every Georgia high school. Deal refused. Eventually though, he cratered and permitted the top 2 individuals from each high school to receive full tuition under HOPE. This change would not have happened without Jason.  Few know that. Without him, Deal would have gutted the lifeblood—and salvation—of countless rural kids yearning to be their family’s first college graduate, like myself.  Jason pushed the idea for the good of the State, not his resume.

The pattern repeated in 2011. In that year, Deal inserted a GPA requirement into the HOPE Grant for the first time, which now precluded technical-college students from receiving full coverage. The year Deal’s cuts took effect, 40,000 students—comprising 25% of the technical- college enrollment—fled Georgia’s technical colleges (more would continue to leave in the years to come). The loss of these students hurt Georgia’s efforts to close the skills gap. Jason and I introduced parallel legislation to reverse the cuts to the HOPE Grant. We urged Governor Deal to support our cause. Not only did he refuse, he questioned its relevance. Only after leaders in the Chamber of Commerce and Republicans buoyed the legislation did the Governor pivot toward us. He however conditioned his support on a self-serving notion: Jason Carter would get no credit. Jason acquiesced. Again, Jason elevated the state’s interests over his own.

Governor Deal still refuses to acknowledge the problem his draconian cuts to HOPE engendered. He credits an economic upswing as the culprit behind the enrollment plunge in technical schools. But two mutually exclusive facts belie that argument. First, unemployment has spiked, not dipped—Georgia now ranks dead last in state unemployment rate. Second, the rate of students leaving our technical colleges exceeded the rate of job growth by 350%. If students were dropping out of school to accept jobs, as Deal asserts, the rate of unemployment would have plunged. Further, work that requires technical skills, like welding, remain vacant in overwhelming numbers.

I visited 5 technical colleges in Georgia and talked to people from many others when I was crafting legislation with Senator Carter on HOPE. Everyone uttered the same message: help was needed. Nobody at those schools—not TCSG leaders, not campus leaders, not instructors, not financial-aid officers, not students—urged us to cease our pleas in the General Assembly.  No one told me that not to worry. Instead, and at every turn, I was told the problem was larger and more noxious than anticipated.

The now 45,000 students who fled our technical colleges since 2011 are real. The over 350,000 people who comprise the 7.9% unemployment rate are real. The over 130,000 vacant jobs that could be filled by qualified people are real. But as per Deal’s cuts, Georgia is woefully short on educational resources and job training. It’s a sad day when Georgia has to look to Florida for skilled labor. Yet that’s the reality.

We need a Governor who will stand up for these Georgians. And we deserve a leader who will elevate people over credit; solutions over politics; Georgia over Florida. We need Jason Carter.

{ 48 comments }

More Early Voting Data

October 29, 2014 8:00 am

by Buzz Brockway · 40 comments

Two bits of information about early voting for your consideration.

First an analysis of Sunday’s voting by Landmark Communications, forwarded by Mark Rountree:

Eleven counties enabled early voting on Sunday October 26, 2014. Because these eleven counties generally have historically been more Democratic, many analysts assumed that this would create a large potential windfall of additional voters for Democratic candidates.

Once compiled, 12,708 voters were listed as having voted on Sunday.

Based on current polling conducted by Landmark Communications as well as based on election results from demographics groups in previous election, it is our analysis that Sunday voting resulted in approximately 5,500 net additional statewide votes for Democrats than Republicans.

However, many of these voters would have also likely voted on Tuesday, meaning that the large majority of these Democratic net votes are simply the result of “Robbing Peter to Pay Paul.”

Our conclusion is that, unless a statewide election is decided by around 1,000 votes, then Sunday voting will not have been decisive.

  # Votes % Votes
White 3,351 26.39%
Black 8,461 66.53%
Unknown 618 4.89%
Hispanic 111 0.88%
Other Race 84 0.66%
Asian 78 0.62%
Indian 5 0.04%

Georgia Early VotingSecond comes this cool map sent to us by Erick Erickson and produced by L2 VoterMapping.

Georgia Early Voting as of 10/28/14 – 412,807 (9.5% of Registered Voters)

  # Votes % Votes
Republican 197,711 47.9%
Non-Partisan 56,479 13.7%
Democrat 158,617 38.4%

Discuss.

{ 40 comments }

Morning Reads–There Goes Honey Boo-Boo

October 29, 2014 7:09 am

by Ed · 6 comments

How will the world function without the broadcast exploits of Mama June? We’re unfortunately about to find out. 

Chick Corea & Bobby McFerrin “Autumn Leaves” 

  1. Experts: Georgia State on par with Harvard. 
  2. GA Bar Admissions: GSU better than Emory. 
  3. Deal’s unanswered questions from ethics investigation. 
  4. Maybe Chris is right? Why you shouldn’t trust #GASen, four other states’ polls.
  5. Caught in ongoing labor dispute, MARTA’s CEO makes almost as much as NYC’s MTA chair. ATU not happy. 
  6. Mark Butler likes the jobs outlook for GA. 
  7. 411 on 311 for 404. 
  8. Eight arrested protesting in SoS office. 
  9. 96 million pounds of blueberries came from our soil; and now we’re getting pomegranates.
  10. The Elite of Buckhead’s WASPy elite are caught in a multi-billion-dollar family feud. 
  11. Dear the Elite of Buckhead’s elite: I’ll still accept membership into your rarefied air.

{ 6 comments }

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Christopher Brasher declined to order any remedies in the “missing voter” lawsuit brought by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. That group had filed the suit against Secretary of State Brian Kemp and five Georgia counties, claiming that some 50,000 voter registration applications had been submitted but not processed. Two of the counties, Chatham and DeKalb reached a separate agreement with the committee, which left Clayton, Fulton and Muscogee counties as defendants.

While the group was hoping for remedies including the hiring of additional staff to process applications, the judge wasn’t sure what more could be done. According to the AJC,

“What does the law require that they haven’t done?” Brasher asked during the hearing. “That’s what I’m a bit fuzzy about here.”

It seems like this may bring an end to the ongoing controversy that started in September after the New Georgia Project submitted thousands of registration applications and Secretary Kemp subpoenaed the group as part of an investigation into fraudulent applications.

{ 0 comments }

The bugaboo of electronic voting machines has been with us since the 2000 election. Security flaws that would cause an election’s results to be called into question has been documented in the laboratory, but I have yet to hear of a definitive case in our state where the validity of an election is called into question due to the tampering of our direct-record electronic (DRE) voting machines. If someone has a documented case that has been presented before a county’s board of elections or the secretary of state’s office, please let me know.

A research team from Rice University in Austin, TX is tackling the problem or, as they phrase it, the “impending crisis” that will face elections officials: the replacement of aging DRE voter machines. From a presser issued by the University:

The quest to build STAR began three years ago when DeBeauvoir spoke at a voting technology conference and asked the academics at the conference to work with her office to create an e-voting system with security features that are lacking in today’s market. For example, most e-voting systems offer no method for conducting a meaningful recount because there are no physical records — like paper ballots — that can be tallied.

Wallach, a longtime advocate of paper ballot backups to e-voting systems, leaped at DeBeauvoir’s offer to help design a more secure e-voting alternative.

The team is hoping to have a functional system for wide-spread use by the time of the 2018 mid-term elections.

{ 2 comments }

If you’re Michelle Nunn, reading the latest results from SurveyUSA were sure to leave you nervous. 

She’s lost five points to David Perdue, who now leads 48% to 45%.

Worst of all–Perdue’s shaved 11 points off Nunn’s lead with women and he now trails by a mere two-point margin. Granted this is one poll and there’s a ton of much smarter poll watchers than me (literally anyone else) but I just don’t see how she can win if she has virtually no lead among women.

Perude also has a 10-point advantage with early voters, according to the survey.

Oh, and to top things off, Perdue has solidified the GOP vote.

Deal and Carter remain at 46% and 44% respectively, with the Governor having a nine-point lead with early voters.

Going down the ballot, there’s little optimism for Democrats.

The Republicans lead by five in the AG and State School Superintendent race and nine and 11 points for Lite Gov and SoS respectively.

Agriculture, Insurance and Labor commissioners races  were not polled.

You know you want to dissect every little piece of info in the poll. You know you want to do it in the comments.

{ 28 comments }

In case you haven’t seen the plethora of commercials that link Democratic candidate Michelle Nunn to President Barack Obama, then here’s another one for your viewing pleasure from GeorgiaOne:

Discuss this and other similar commercials in the comments.

{ 2 comments }

Merle Black Analyzes 2014 #GASen Ads

October 28, 2014 10:41 am

by Ed · 8 comments

Everyone’s favorite Georgia-based political scientist has a video looking at the ads from the Nunn and Perdue camps.

{ 8 comments }

The annual smackdown made an appearance last night in Athens. No, it wasn’t the upcoming football game against the hated Florida Gators. This time, it was the UGA College Republicans against the Young Democrats in a battle for political dominance.

The Great Debate, not to be confused with this one, was hosted by Athens Political Union, Georgia Political Review, and Roosevelt @ UGA. Student debaters were able to represent their respective parties’ views leading up to the 2014 election.

We’ll note that our intern Alex Rowell made a valiant effort to defend the Democratic side. Was he successful in turning the UGA audience blue? You can decide as we present some curated tweets from the event below the fold..
[click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }

The following is a guest post from Sen. Jack Hill (R-4), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.  It is re-printed in its entirety with permission from Sen. Hill.

A NON-ECONOMIST’S LOOK AT UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS

We don’t pay too much attention to the unemployment rate normally, maybe being vaguely aware of the trend down or up, but not much else.  The injection of the rate as a signal of failure of the current administration caused me to want to see what economists were saying about Georgia’s economy and how they view unemployment statistics.

Turns out, they don’t put much stock in them either because they use a number of measurements both to evaluate where the economy is and to make judgments about where it is going.

I do remember something an Office of Planning and Budget official in the Miller administration told me one time when I mentioned to her a mysterious unemployment number that didn’t make sense.  She said “we don’t put much stock in unemployment numbers when looking for a direction in the economy on which to base Revenue projections.”  She said “Frankly, we find Food stamp applications a better guide of how the economy is going than unemployment rate.”

Remembering that conversation, I decided if I was going to evaluate Georgia’s economic situation in light of the unemployment numbers, maybe that was a good place to start.

In Georgia, the Food Stamp program is called SNAP and I asked for a review of numbers of recipients month by month for the past six years.  Some smoothing out is required because of the backlog of applications earlier this year, but the graph for 2008-2014 shows a rise in recipients in 2009-2012 peaking at 1,972,221 recipients in November of 2012 and a slow decline since then.  A 12 month average ending in July 2014 shows an average of 1.819 million recipients per month, which is a 7.1% average decrease from the preceding 12 months average.  So there is a marked decline in food stamp recipients since the midst of the recession.
[click to continue…]

{ 17 comments }

The fact that I support Governor Deal for re-election should surprise no one, so let me do more here and explain why. As a State Representative and House Majority Whip, I had an opportunity to work with the governor and his team over the past four years. In so doing, I have seen Governor Deal exercise vision, tough leadership, and savvy determination to meet the needs of our state. Here are just a few examples:

It is always good politics to appear to be tough on crime; however, good policy requires you to also be smart on the issue. Governor Deal took the lead on revamping Georgia’s criminal justice system. The goal for the reforms is to distinguish between people that we are afraid of from those with whom we are merely mad at. The latter are often made up of folks who have been busted for drug related crimes. Through the expanded use of drug courts and alternative sentencing we now have a real chance at keeping a youthful mistake from becoming a first step towards a lifetime criminal profession.

In 2011, we faced a crisis in the HOPE Scholarship Program – revenue was simply not keeping up with expenditures. Governor Deal assembled a bi-partisan group of legislative leaders who included Republican Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones and the Democratic Minority Leader Stacey Abrams to fashion a rescue plan. A Zell Miller Scholarship was set up to provide a full scholarship to our state’s top high school students (3.7 GPA or above). The HOPE scholarship for the remaining eligible students (3.0 or above) were pegged to Lottery revenue to insure its long term economic viability. Without these changes, the HOPE Scholarship would be in a precarious position now. [click to continue…]

{ 49 comments }

One of the factors that has made a path to victory more difficult for Nathan Deal and David Perdue is Georgia’s economy. Job losses in manufacturing and construction during the great recession led to the Peach State having the highest unemployment rate in the country as voters go to the polls next week. It’s not just blue collar workers that have been hurt. Georgia also led the nation in bank failures, which dried up funds that could have been used for business growth and expansion in all economic sectors.

While the effects of the recession have weighed especially hard on the Deal campaign, today’s New York Times takes a look at how the closing of factories and the loss of Georgia’s manufacturing base has affected the candidacy of GOP Senate candidate David Perdue.

With a dateline of Cartersville, the story cites one former worker at that city’s shuttered Sara Lee apparel plant:

Diane Barnette, who spent 26 years working at the Sara Lee apparel plant here, had never heard Mr. Perdue’s name when he was in charge of building the company’s presence in Asia. But she believes she saw his handiwork.

She worked her way up from sewing machine operator to plant manager, watching as jobs moved overseas and until the plant finally closed in 1995. Her introduction to Mr. Perdue came more recently, in a campaign advertisement attacking him as the man responsible for her career’s demise. She would never vote for him, said Ms. Barnette, 69, who finished her working days at a car dealership earning a fraction of her previous salary. But she does not hold him personally responsible.

Perdue maintains that no one individual is responsible for the loss of jobs in the textile industry. He has tried to push back against the Michelle Nunn campaign’s attempt to highlight his experience in outsourcing as a cause of the loss of manufacturing jobs.

To Mr. Perdue, all of these attacks are “sleights of hand.” He said that he had a right to protect contractual perks already paid out by Pillowtex from unsecured creditors trying to take them back and that he had tried to save Pillowtex and now was being pilloried for it. And, he said, he had nothing to do with the three Sara Lee plants closed in Cartersville, Milledgeville and Wrightsville, Ga. He was living in Hong Kong at the time, expanding Sara Lee operations in Asia.

“I was in another hemisphere doing something totally independent of that, and they know it,” he said of the Nunn campaign.

In September, many political observers had David Perdue winning the Senate race without a runoff. While that’s still possible, recent polling points to a runoff or even an outright Michelle Nunn win. While it’s probably irrelevant whether Perdue was directly responsible for the loss of jobs in Georgia, it’s pretty clear that his outsourcing past has come back to haunt him in the closing days of the Senate race.

{ 3 comments }

On this day in 1886, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated, pictured above is the statute under construction. It is also the 100th birthday of Jonas Salk. Morning Reads after the jump… [click to continue…]

{ 4 comments }

Jack Kingston, outgoing (in more ways than one) representative of Georgia’s CD 1, held his annual family BBQ at Ottawa Farms in Bloomingdale (just outside Savannah) on Saturday. The event in theory could have been an important campaign/media stop for other Republican candidates who attended, but none of those candidates were even mentioned until the 6th and 7th paragraphs of the Savannah Morning News coverage:

Nov. 4 will be the first even-year election day in a long time that Kingston, elected to the House of Representatives in 1992, won’t be on the ballot. He lost a Republican Senate runoff in July to businessman David Perdue.

Perdue and the Republican candidate running for Kingston’s current seat, state Sen. Buddy Carter of Pooler, were two of the guests who spoke at Saturday’s event. Joining them were Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and Ted Cruz, and many others.

The article is over 500 words, but there are no other mentions of Deal or Perdue. The story is all about Kingston’s departure from elected office.

In the July runoff, Kingston got over 15,000 votes here in Chatham County; Perdue got just over 2,500. I’m sure many of those Kingston voters will vote for Perdue next week, but how strong will that support be? Frankly, I have been surprised by Perdue’s relatively low profile down in this part of the state (is he taking Kingston voters for granted?), and I suspect a small but significant percentage of Kingston supporters (5 percent? 10 percent? more?) to either stay home or to support Nunn at the polls next week.

By the way, the dynamics here in Chatham County are interesting: in 2012, Kingston took 52.7 percent of the vote while Obama took 55.5 percent. In 2010, Roy Barnes took 50.3 percent of the Chatham vote with Nathan Deal getting 45.2 percent. Under one scenario, Nunn and Carter might end up doing only slightly better than Barnes did in 2010 in Chatham County; at the other extreme, it’s easy to imagine Nunn and Carter doing far better — especially Nunn.

{ 10 comments }