In the latest chapter of a more than month-long battle over voter registrations, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp says that the 48,000 or so voter registration applications the New Georgia Project says are missing have been accounted for.

According to the AJC, SOS Kemp held a press conference Thursday to respond to the lawsuit filed last Friday by NGP and other groups against his office and several counties.

Kemp said his office has now confirmed nearly 40,000 of those voters are active and on the rolls. He said almost 10,000 more are on a “pending” voter registration list kept by individual counties, meaning those potential voters have been asked to provide more information to confirm their identities.

In both cases, Kemp urged any voter with questions about his or her registration status to contact a local registrar or check online at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov. He also launched a new email address to accept voter registration queries — [email protected] — and said voters could call his office at 404-656-2871.

Secretary Kemp claims an additional 6,000 forms that were submitted are now cancelled because of an inability to obtain needed information, or because the individual was not eligible to vote.

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George Chidi penned a very detailed piece about DeKalb County Commission candidate Tom Owens while I was away. If you haven’t read it, you should to get an understanding of the guy. It’s a very well-written by my colleague. Bravo, sir.

George’s piece, unfortunately, has brought Mr. Owens’ unpleasantness to him. Owens accused him of stalking and got a temporary restraining order against George. Thankfully, the restraining order has been cleared (and apparently the hearing was quite….interesting).

Comes now the organization “Refugee Relocation Relief”, which Owens has been associated with before, sending out an email urging folks to oppose candidates who refuse to oppose refugee relocation due to public health concerns:

We have been particularly vocal about Senator Fran Millar from Dunwoody who has sought and received special financial assistance which requires refugees to live in Dekalb County. We conducted a state-wide campaign against Nancy Jester, a former candidate for State School Superintendent and current candidate for DeKalb Commission who, while serving on the Dekalb School Board, ignored the RR problem and then later claimed it was someone else’s problem. DO NOT VOTE FOR ANY CANDIDATE FOR PUBLIC OFFICE WHO REFUSES TO OPPOSE THE RR, ASYLUM, AND DIVERSITY VISA PROGRAMS—ALL 3 PROGRAMS. MAKE THESE PEOPLE TAKE A STAND FOR PUBLIC HEALTH IN THIS STATE AND COUNTRY.

As a result misinformation and ignorance, we are now faced with a national health crisis called Ebola, which is the most contagious disease ever to reach our shore. Refugee contractors and other do-gooders have energetically worked with these foreign countries and refugee camps urging immigrants to come to America where “everything is free and life is good”. Predictably, this has lead to other contagious diseases being spread throughout this country. It is eminent that Ebola will soon be tracked to refugees as well (the first U.S. Ebola victim in TX was located in a densely populated refugee community) coming to us by and through the RR program.

I will note that the organization has promoted Mr. Owens as someone who would oppose refugee relocation, and has specifically named Nancy Jester as someone they opposed when running for state school superintendent. Ms. Jester is also running for the vacant commission seat in DeKalb as well…against Mr. Owens.

Mr. Owens and his associates have had run-ins with other folks at various political events. It sounds like they have certainly boarded the Crazy Train and have set its destination towards DeKalb County.

Republicans and conservatives have for years allowed themselves to be defined by those on the farthest right side of the political spectrum. People like these could define the conservative movement right off the edge.

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Republican Governors Association Chair (and New Jersey Governor) Chris Christie was is Roswell last night to support Nathan Deal.  Mayor Jere Wood gave the first lady a ride to downtown Roswell.  Photo: Jon Richards

Republican Governors Association Chair (and New Jersey Governor) Chris Christie was is Roswell last night to support Nathan Deal. Mayor Jere Wood gave the first lady a ride to downtown Roswell.
Walter Jones with Morris news has the deets on Christie’s visit. Photo: Jon Richards

Find the rest of the Morning Reads below the fold.
[click to continue…]

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Thanks For Sticking With Me.

October 16, 2014 21:24 pm

by George Chidi · 41 comments

Well. That was interesting.

As the inestimable Eugene Volokh, Bill Torpy and others have now noted, I am a free man, unburdened by the legal menace of Tom Owens and his execrable temporary protective order barring me from within a football field’s length of him. I am now at liberty to stay away from him simply because I want to. God bless America.

My story about court is rapidly growing into another chapter in the book, though this time I think I’ll spare you the full dose. Suffice it to say that the closer I look at the sheer bloody-minded stupidity and perjury committed by Owens and his crew yesterday, the more I think there’s something fundamentally broken with the lot of them.

It’s not that they simply lied in court — and no, I don’t lay that accusation lightly — but that I’m legitimately wondering if they were capable of perceiving reality as most people do, or wish to do.

Tom Owens, his campaign manager Wayne Witter and the genuinely terrible human being Joe Newton walked into court yesterday prepared to testify that I had physically and verbally threatened Owens. In their hands, they carried a digital video recording that showed almost exactly the opposite — me, asking questions, while Newton hurled insults at me about a foot from my face.

It’s one thing when someone misremembers an event. Eye witness testimony is notoriously fraught. But it’s another thing when you have immediate access to a video recording of an event and still get the details radically wrong.

The video made a complete mockery of their case. The word pitiful might be appropriate, were they not such raging mattress stains and the kind of stupid that requires watering twice daily. To the typical observer, three minutes of me explaining why it’s important to ask questions of a political candidate while Newton calls me a violent Muslim and a fool would be quite enough to convince them who is on the right side of the question. A magistrate summarily spanked them yesterday with this approach. We have the video. I’ll post it soon.

Faced with that failure on Tuesday … they took exactly the same approach again yesterday.

They used the same video, only more of it, which made it worse. They made variations and elaborations on their testimony, which caused their statements to deviate even more from their own damned video evidence. They leveled accusations that were directly contravened five flipping minutes later on video.

I didn’t even have to testify.

So … what were they thinking would happen? That a new judge would magically decide to ignore the video evidence that they themselves brought and believe them when they said I was physically threatening? That they had video of my encounters with Owens and the phrase “I will destroy you” just by happenstance is absent?

Their own weird wiring appears to have led them to radically interpret what they saw on the tapes as beneficial to their case. But even during Owens’ ham-handed pro se “questioning” of witnesses — an entirely comic experience I’ll write about at length later — they insisted on describing their experiences in entirely subjective terms, trying every way possible to express their feelings as legally valid submissions of fact.

There’s a deeply troubling psychology at play here, a kind of confirmation bias reinforced by groupthink. The fact that they reinforce each other makes their biases harder to penetrate — even for themselves.

The Peach Pundit community has been unbelievably wonderful throughout this mess. I am in your debt. The outpouring of support from both liberal and conservative readers has bolstered my belief in the essential goodness of people involved in politics. Someone will, of course, disabuse me of that feeling quite soon.

Also, in an entirely unrelated note, I’ve ceased to pretend Harry doesn’t exist.

I sincerely hope, when all of this is over, that it renews interest in the vital discourse that fuels democracy … and that the Georgia First Amendment Foundation outraises Owens for the quarter.

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Ever since Kent Brantly, the first Ebola patient, was flown in from Africa over a month ago, the country has slowly been waking up to the possibility of a real health epidemic. Because it is the headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control, Georgia is on the front lines, with yet another Ebola patient arriving at Emory for treatment Wednesday.

The growing concern about the ability of the American health system to treat what could become an epidemic has caused politicians to start to offer their suggestions for containing the crisis. First in line was Democrat David Scott, who represents the 13th district on the west side of Atlanta. Quoted in the Marietta Daily Journal Wednesday, Scott told the Smyrna Rotary Club that he supported a ban on travel from Africa.

I have a difference on this with my president. I can’t for the life of me understand why we don’t have a ban on flights to that part of Africa. You’ve got an example already of someone who came into this country with the virus. How many more? That has to stop. We don’t need to ban the flights permanently, just until we get our arms around the situation.

We have to ban those flights. There’s no question about it. We’ve got to protect the American people from this disease. It’s not here — or it was not here — and the president said a week or two ago ‘We don’t know of any case’ where it would be here. And now it’s here, and it’s already killed somebody.

This morning, First District Rep. Jack Kingston called for an Ebola Czar to manage the situation in a Washington Examiner Op-Ed.

The alphabet soup of agencies responding to this crisis has a tangled and confusing reporting structure. Africom reports to the Department of Defense while CDC, NIH, and BARDA report to the Department of Health and Human Services. Meanwhile, USAID is under the jurisdiction of the State Department and CPB reports to Department of Homeland Security.

While America’s response has many of the right ingredients, it lacks a singular leader to outline strategy, marshal resources, and track the effectiveness of the response. Then there’s the rest of the world.

Responses from other Georgia congressmen continue below the fold.
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GA-12 Debate Livestream Tonight

October 16, 2014 14:30 pm

by Lawton Sack · 6 comments

The Statesboro Herald will be holding a GA-12 Congressional debate tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Ogeechee Technical College in Statesboro.  The debate will feature Democratic incumbent Rep. John Barrow and Republican challenger Rick Allen.

According to yesterday’s edition of the Statesboro Herald, the debate will be live-streamed on the following sites:

In the area of campaign finances, the FEC website shows that Barrow heads into the debate with a financial lead.  The following financial information for the two candidates is as of September 30, 2014:

  • Rep. John Barrow – $1,501,399 cash on hand with $0 debt – For the election cycle through September 30, Barrow has received a total of $3,051,799 in contributions, with $1,125,609 coming from individuals.
  • Rick Allen – $118,238 cash on hand with $1 million debt – For the election cycle through September 30, Allen has received a total of $1,727,769 in contributions, with $902,978 coming from individuals.

Rick Allen heads into the debate after picking up the endorsement of the editorial staff of The Augusta Chronicle on Sunday.  In their support of Allen, they stated:

In contrast, voters this election have the chance to vote for someone who really does resemble the district – in his life story, his authenticity, his work ethic, his values and his deeply held views on the issues of the day.  Rick Allen, in short, is the real deal.

Mr. Barrow also is swimming upstream as a member of the minority party in Congress.  Why would District 12 voters want to stick with a representative who has to go out of his way to appear to sincerely represent them – and who must do so not only against the currents of the conservative majority party, but also against the grain of his own?

It’s just crippling themselves and their interests, to no good end.

Americans say they’re tired of self-serving, duplicitous, forever-politicians in Washington. Well, when you have the chance to change that, what do you do? You vote for someone like Rick Allen.

Representing the 12th District won’t just be second-nature to Rick Allen. It will be his first.

Disclaimer:  I am the Bulloch County Republican Chair.  I am also the only current PP writer in GA-12.  All information provided in this posting is available to the public and has been compiled for our readers as information only.

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The expanding influence of the Asian community in the South in general, and in Georgia in particular is evidenced by the recent merger of the four year old Asian American Legal Advocacy Center with the national organization Asian Americans Advancing Justice, which previously had branches in Washington, DC, San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles.

A billboard encouraging Asians to vote is on Pleasant Hill Road in Duluth.  Photo:  Jon Richards

A billboard encouraging Asians to vote is on Pleasant Hill Road in Duluth. Photo: Jon Richards

The new affiliation was announced at a recent conference, where Advancing Justice released a new report, The Changing Face of the South: Building Electoral Power in Emerging Constituencies. The report provides a wealth of data on the Asian, Hawaiian and Pacific Islander population in several southern metro areas, including Atlanta.

Georgia’s Asian population grew by 83% between 2000 and 2010. Asians are 5% of the metro Atlanta population, however Gwinnett County, has the largest Asian population in Georgia at 11%.

The Pew Charitable Trusts took this research and wrote a separate report about how Asians are affecting southern politics. Georgia GOP Minority Engagement Director Leo Smith noted that while two thirds of Asian voters chose Barack Obama in 2012, that was less than the 95% of black voters that supported him.

“We obviously have not as hard a row to hoe,” Smith said. “We probably have a lot more traditionalists and conservatives that are already resonating and connecting to the Republican platform than any other racial group we’ve been connecting with.”

Notably, the state’s first Korean-American General Assembly member, B.J. Pak, is a Republican. Pak is also thought to be the first Asian-American Republican to be elected to any state legislature in the region.

Democrats, too, are making their own push in Georgia, and their efforts are as varied as the community they’re trying to reach. The party has two co-chairs for its Asian-American and Pacific Islander Caucus, a Korean-American and an Indian-American.

Aside from voter registration drives, the party and others involved in the community have organized meetings with local officials and business leaders in a “bridging the gap” efforts, as Tim Hur, one of the co-chairs of the party’s Asian-American and Pacific Islander Caucus, put it.

“As the population grows, there’s always a rough period,” Hur said. “We have a lot meetings with officials to tell them that, ‘Hey, we’re not going anywhere.’”

Hur had an unsuccessful run for the Democratic nomination for House District 105, losing to Renita Hamilton 61%-39% in May.

Because Asians come from many different countries and backgrounds, it’s possible they won’t become the unified voting block in the way African Americans have. While the group tends to favor Democratic candidates now, it’s possible that the GOP could make significant inroads. As the Pew story notes, two of the South’s Republican governors, Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley both hail from Asia.

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In the last few months, DeKalb County has come across as Georgia’s Spinal Tap County- all the foibles and failures of politics everywhere, turned up to 11. (See this, this, and don’t forget to buy George a beer.) The saga of the Druid Hill Charter Cluster won’t help that notion.

If you’ll remember, DeKalb’s School Board has repeatedly rejected a motion to create a Druid Hills Charter district out of seven DeKalb County Schools. When  faculty and parents were asked to vote on the question last year, the motion ground through with a narrow 92% victory. Yet nearly a year later, DeKalb’s School Board and Superintendent continue to resist the community leaders of the Druid Hill Charter Community.

Unfortunately for civil politics and DeKalb’s children, the DHCC, “with a sense of despair for DeKalb County,” is withdrawing their petition to create a charter school. Fortunately for you, they wrote of a barn burner of a resignation later sent that will almost certainly keep the issue from going quietly into DeKalb’s good night. I’ve italicized the best parts. I look forward to the comments. [click to continue…]

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Unemployment Rate Down

October 16, 2014 8:23 am

by Buzz Brockway · 18 comments

The Georgia Department of Labor released the follow statement:

The Georgia Department of Labor announced today that Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for September was 7.9 percent, down two-tenths of a percentage point from 8.1 percent in August. The rate in September of last year was 8.0 percent.

“The rate dropped because there were 5,744 fewer unemployed people in September, according to the federal government’s monthly household survey, and we had fewer new layoffs,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.

While the rate decreased, Georgia lost 7,300 jobs in September, as the total number of jobs dropped to 4,129,200. The net loss was mostly seasonal in nature, with the biggest reduction being the loss of 9,200 jobs in leisure and hospitality, as many students left summer jobs to return to school. Additional losses came in several sectors. Despite the overall loss, government gained 8,200 jobs, which were mostly in public schools, and other gains came in educational and health services and trade and transportation.

“We continue to have strong over-the-year job growth, as Georgia added 80,000 jobs since September a year ago,” said Butler. “Our impressive over-the-year growth keeps Georgia among the leading states for job creation. And, the growth is in every private sector job category we track, with government being the only sector showing a loss.”

We had several posts in the wake of last month’s unemployment rate announcement here, here, and here. I think those posts are relevant whether the rate goes up or down in any particular month. Our economy is headed in the right direction, we need to keep the business climate friendly and do what we can to encourage job growth.

The Jason Carter campaign was quick to pounce on the drop in unemployment as bad news:

“Georgia’s economy is heading in the wrong direction. We lost more than 15,000 private sector jobs in just one month, and far too many Georgians are still looking for work.

“Every state in the country has recovered from the recession faster than Georgia has under Gov. Deal. It’s time for a new direction.”

So when the rate goes up it’s bad news and when the rate goes down it’s bad news….and vote for me.

Discuss.

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On this day in 1892, U.S. government announced that the land in the western Montana was open to settlers. The 1.8 million acres were bought from the Crow Indians for 50 cents per acre.
Peaches

Jimmy Carter

Sweet Tea

Liberty Drum

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Mack Burgess, who lost his life yesterday in a traffic accident on Georgia 400, worked as the manager of Tricia Pridemore’s campaign to replace Phil Gingrey in the 11th District House Race.

Tricia issued this statement on Facebook tonight. If you were a friend of Mack, I hope you will join Tricia either Thursday evening or Friday afternoon to help celebrate a life taken too soon.

Mack Burgess.  Photo: credit:  Tricia Pridemore

Mack Burgess. Photo: Tricia Pridemore

Yesterday, I lost a friend, advisor and sidekick who was “adopted family” to Mike and me. Mack Burgess was a constant part of our lives these last two years. He spoke for me, wrote for me, and was a fixture of my life during the campaign and supported me this summer through the loss of my Dad. More importantly, Mack loved his Mom and Dad with everything he had. He treated honest people with respect, was proud of his country, strived to make a difference, played a wicked-good guitar and respected the God who made him. In Mack’s short 25 years, he made many people better and Mike and I are grateful that we are two of them.

This picture was taken early morning May 20, 2014. Mack and I stood on alternate street corners and waived signs Election Day. I took this picture after realizing he had a phone-full of pictures of me, and I didn’t have one of him. Campaigning was natural for Mack. With an election just two weeks away, me and many of his other friends are gathering tomorrow night in Mack’s hometown at 5:45 pm at Roswell City Hall for Governor Deal’s event with Governor Chris Christie. Please join us.

To celebrate Mack’s life and pay respects to his family, please join me this Friday at 12 noon at St. Brigid’s Catholic Church in Johns Creek, Georgia.

May God comfort and heal our broken hearts. Psalm 147:3

Tricia

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A tracker for the group America Rising asked Michelle Nunn if she voted for President Obama. Here’s what happened:

To be fair, it’s not clear that Nunn has ever answered a question from a tracker, but the question is now out there and one would think would be easy to answer. Another Democratic Senate hopeful Alison Lundargan Grimes of Kentucky was asked if she voted for President Obama, refused to say and now it’s turned into a big deal. We’ll see in the coming days if Michelle Nunn handles this better than Grimes.

For the record, in 2008 I voted for John McCain and in 2012 I voted for Mitt Romney.

H/T: Weekly Standard.

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don-balfourLast week outgoing State Senator Don Balfour issued a press release thanking the people of the 9th Senate district for allowing him to serve.

ATLANTA (October 8, 2014) | Sen. Don Balfour (R- Snellville) has released the following statement regarding his time in the Georgia State Senate:

“For the past 22 years, it has been a great honor to represent the people of Gwinnett. I have lived and worked in our community and state due to my strong belief that Georgia is, and will continue to be, the best state in the country to live, learn, work and raise a family,” said Sen. Balfour. “My time in the Senate provided me with many fond memories, whether passing legislation on the Senate floor, interacting with my constituents or watching Georgia Gwinnett College blossom into the great institution it is today.

Throughout my tenure at the Capitol, you have become friends, colleagues, advisors, teachers and confidants; this is a blessing that I do not take lightly. I fully realize the great opportunity I have been awarded in serving you, and am truly appreciative to have the chance to get to know each and every one of you. Being entrusted as your state senator to represent the values that we believe make this country the best country in the world is one of my proudest accomplishments. The core values of family, faith, free markets and small government combined with the strong will of working Americans will ensure our future success as a country and state. Thank you for two decades of meaningful relationships and a chance to work on your behalf, for the government is nothing without the voice of its people. Teddy Roosevelt once said:

‘It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat’.

I thank you for the chance to be your representative in the arena.”

Senator Balfour did a lot of good things for Gwinnett County, which many people in our county recognize. Georgia Gwinnett College, mentioned in his statement, currently serves over 11,000 students and would not exist if not for the efforts of Don Balfour. Before serving in the Senate, he was Chairman of the Gwinnett County Republican Party, a thankless position I also held before being elected to the House. I wish Senator Balfour well in his future endeavors and hope he stays involved in the Gwinnett community.

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The Perdue Campaign is out with a new ad called “New Direction” which you can see below. According to the press release announcing the ad:

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, David Perdue, today released a new statewide TV ad titled, “New Direction,” featuring Georgia women who want to know where Michelle Nunn stands on the issues. Despite spending millions of dollars on false and misleading attacks tearing down David Perdue, Nunn has failed to tell voters what she really stands for.

Discuss.

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Jon’s already done a great job of giving a full run-down of today’s SurveyUSA poll, which showed Michelle Nunn leading David Perdue 48%-45%. However, I noticed one major swing in the crosstabs that hasn’t yet received much attention: Nunn closing the gap in Northwest Georgia. While just one week ago she trailed Perdue there by 23 points, she now is behind by just 6. With SurveyUSA projecting that this region (which spreads to include Rabun, Oconee, and Upson counties) will make up 35% of voters, this swing could make a major difference on election day.

Trendline for NW Georgians in GA-Sen

Why the change? The recent focus on Perdue’s outsourcing comments – that he not only “spent most of [his] career doing that” and his subsequent ‘pride,’ would naturally have a big impact in manufacturing-rich Northwest Georgia. In the three Regional Commissions that mostly make up the region, manufacturing makes up one of the top industry sectors, and the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission earned the state’s only “Manufacturing Community” designation from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

SurveyUSA’s poll movement doesn’t show similar movement elsewhere: Nunn solidified her support in Atlanta, and lost a bit of ground in the South. With roughly a 7% margin of error for each regional crosstab, though, only the Northwest Georgia shift seems significant.

With this poll being conducted before the Nunn campaign launched their latest ad featuring Perdue’s “Defend it? I’m proud of it!” line, we’ll see if future polling shows this trend continuing. Things might get even worse for Perdue, too– residents of Northwest Georgia’s “Carpet Capital of the World” woke up today to news of the Tuesday visit of popular former Senator Sam Nunn in the Dalton Daily Citizen.

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