On Sunday, The New York Times Magazine took an especially harsh look at the leaked Michelle Nunn campaign memo. (Truly the 144-page document is the gift that keeps on giving). I only read dead-tree editions of newspapers, so I saw this after finishing my morning reads.

Writing for the magazine, Mark Leibovich takes issue with the candidate, the memo itself and its implications. 

To wit!

The content of the memo is even more dispiriting. I read every word, and my main “takeaway” — as we helpfully summarizing reporters like to say — is that a political campaign today is a soul-killing pursuit and would generate the precise opposite of the “joy in my heart” that Jeb Bush says he would wish to bring to a presidential campaign if he were to undertake one in 2016. (Memo to Jeb: Do not read this memo.) In other words, this document confirms every worst suspicion that people tend to have about campaigns.

And this!

Suspicion: Sometimes when a member of a campaign’s communications staff is nice to me, it is not because he likes me as a person; it is because he is trying to manipulate me.

Confirmation: It made me very sad to read one particular portion of the memo. “Being able to interact with the press on the campaign’s terms is the most important way campaigns can guide reporters’ coverage,” the document says. The authors also believe that Nunn’s media team should “leverage relationships” with the press in a way that will help them “kill or muddy” bad stories. So much for love and poetry. But presumably this will also highlight what the authors hail as one of Nunn’s biggest assets — her “authenticity.”

That last line has to sting.

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Democratic candidate for Governor Jason Carter was the featured speaker at Tuesday’s meeting of the Gwinnett Rotary Club, and according to a story in the Gwinnett Daily Post, his topic was education.

“We’re campaigning all across the state, and Gwinnett County is a county that cares about education and that is at the forefront of our campaign,” he said.

According to Carter, the state has “every ingredient” it needs to be an economic and social powerhouse, yet is lagging behind — a situation he attributes, in part, to a “disinvestment” in education at the state level.

“The educational system is not working for the people that it is supposed to work for today and it’s not working for the employers either,” Carter said.

With an enrollment at 171,872 students, Gwinnett County Public Schools is the largest system in Georgia. Only twelve Georgia counties have more people living in them than attend school in Gwinnett. Despite its size, the system won the Broad Prize for being the best urban school district in the country in 2010, and is up for the award again this year. Two years ago, the school system was noted for opposing the constitutional amendment to re-establish the state charter schools commission, an effort pushed by Nathan Deal.

Whether Carter’s emphasis on education will mean a victory in the traditionally red county in November is another question. He has campaigned in Gwinnett, and marched in the Dacula Memorial Day Parade in May. Carter says he “expects to do really well” in the county.

Over at the AJC, reporter Aaron Gould Sheinen took a look at the chance of Gwinnett going purple this November.

The possibility of a flip from red to blue lies in the rapidly changing demographics that has turned Gwinnett into one of Georgia’s two majority-minority counties. (The other is Chatham County, home of Savannah.) From Sheinin’s story, which focuses on the contested State House race of Rep. Tom Rice:

In 1990, 5 percent of Gwinnett’s residents were black, 2 percent were Hispanic and nearly 3 percent were Asian. A census estimate in 2013 shows the county’s population is 26 percent black, 20 percent Hispanic and 11 percent Asian. The county’s population also grew by about 500,000 people in that time period.

But while the county’s population is now more than 50 percent minority, whites remain the majority bloc, and minority groups aren’t registering to vote as quickly. Of the more than 380,000 voters registered in Gwinnett as of Nov. 26, 54 percent are white, 25 percent are black, 5 percent are Hispanic, while Asians make up about 2 percent of the electorate.

Redistricting following the 2010 census will make it more difficult for Democrats to flip additional seats in the legislature, county commission and school board beyond what they already hold. As the story notes, only the State House seat held by Republican Joyce Chandler that runs from east of Lawrenceville towards Loganville is realistically up for grabs by Democrats. For statewide races, including the Governor and U.S. Senate, it could be a different story.

The political parties are paying attention. Republicans have established a “Victory Center” in the county GOP’s office near Lawrenceville City Hall, and are knocking on doors in targeted precincts. A short distance away, the Democrats opened up an office in the same shopping center that holds the county’s elections office.

The results of the two parties’ efforts will be known on November 4th.

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RIP: Michael Brown

August 20, 2014 10:22 am

by Buzz Brockway

I’m sad to tell you that Michael Brown passed away yesterday afternoon of natural causes. Michael Brown was the GOP nominee in House District 98 which was previously represented by Josh Clark. Brown faced no opposition on the November ballot so he was in essence the Representative-Elect.

Since he won the primary back in May, Michael jumped right in to his role as Rep. Elect by helping constituents. He would have done a fantastic job as Representative and he will missed.

My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Lisa and his family and friends.

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Everyone knows that summer is the premier season. Unfortunately, Summer 2014 Edition is coming to a close.

Time for a summertime appreciation: “Summertime” by Billy Stewart.

  1. A hearty good morn’ to my 4,272,299 fellow ATLiens!
  2. Moody’s predicts Atlanta’s sewer rates to stay the same until 2016. 
  3. The real numbers that spell doom for Michelle Nunn.
  4. Yeah, I know, 2002 Roy vs. Sonny etc…
  5. Congressman Johnson doesn’t like police departments having military-grade equipment. 
  6. Here’s Covington’s police chief explaining why departments need the gear. 
  7. Athens has some big police equipment but there’s no need to worry says Blake Aued. 
  8. Got an extra half billion in change lying around? The King and Queen could be yours. 
  9. Pretty sure the Atlanta City Council could do more on this than pass a resolution. 
  10. Did Coke err not buying all of Monster?
  11. A day in the life of the founder of Atlanta-based shapewear giant Spanx. 
  12. Can the Lame Stream Media ever criticize Obama? 
  13. Krog Street Market and Gu’s Dumplings get some love. 

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Much has been said about the demographic and social changes that are supposedly sweeping through Georgia. Democrats hope these changes will make the Peach State competitive in 2014 for Jason Carter and Michelle Nunn, and might lead to Democratic wins in the 2016 Presidential and Senate races.

Is Georgia ready to go blue? A New York Times Upshot story says maybe not.

Nate Cohn’s theory is that southern states like Virginia, North Carolina and Florida have become swing states because of a large number of new residents hailing from the northeast and west coast. These migrants, along with others not originally from southern states, make a Democratic takeover more likely. For example, 41% of Florida residents were born outside the south. In Virginia, it’s 30%. Contrast that with Georgia, where only 20% come from outside the south.

If you look at this chart showing where Georgia residents were born going back to 1900, you can see that the percentages of migrants from other states and U.S. regions have stayed fairly constant since 1990. Indeed, the drop in the percentage of Georgia born residents can mostly be explained by the increasing number of migrants who were not born in the United States. Many of those migrants are not U.S. citizens, and are therefore ineligible to vote.

While the Upshot story focuses on Texas as a state not likely to flip from red to blue in the near future, perhaps the same thing can be said about Georgia:

The proportion of native-born residents from the South versus the Northeast and California roughly parallels President Obama’s share of the white vote in 2012, which was lowest in states like Mississippi and Louisiana and as high as the mid-30s in Virginia and Florida. Those tallies are good enough for victory in states where nonwhite voters make an above-average contribution to Democratic tallies, as is the case across most of the South.

Democrats were able to become competitive so quickly in states like Virginia and North Carolina because they combined a growing nonwhite share of the electorate with gains among white voters, particularly in postindustrial metropolitan areas full of Northern expats. Without additional gains among white voters, Democrats will be forced to wait a long time for the children of foreign-born residents to carry them to competitiveness in Texas, a state that Mr. Obama lost by 17 points in 2012, and where there isn’t a flood of Democratic-leaning voters from New York to bail them out.

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Jason Carter Announces State Committee

August 19, 2014 12:10 pm

by Ed · 5 comments

Traditional Democratic constituencies dominate Jason Carter’s gubernatorial campaign committee.

Looking quickly at the 20-person list, 11 members are African-American, nine are women, there’s one gay member, one Hispanic, 13 are from the Metro Atlanta area and only one comes from a non-metropolitan area.

A couple things that stick out: Lois Frank is a member. She is very active in Jewish philanthropic and civic efforts. No doubt an effort to show how Jason is different from his grandfather (President Carter, ICYMI).

Andrew Young continues his role as Georgia Democrats’ doyenne. Michael Coles and Max Cleland are the two other big names from by-gone glory years on there. Representing the future of the party: Scott Holcomb and Stacey Evans.

Atlanta City Council President Caesar Mitchell is a member, but not Kasim Reed or any of his other allies. Reed has pegged much of his political fortunes to Deal’s success and had a generally cool relationship with Senator Carter. This will be as good a sign as any that Reed won’t be actively working against Deal this fall.

The rest of the list is below.
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The #Outsider’s campaign announced the county campaign chairmen in a press release issued today. It is an interesting selection of people ranging from both elected officials and familiar faces within the Republican ranks to folks who are beginning to get involved with Republican politics. It’s also my understanding that a lot of Kingston supporters have signed on to help the Perdue campaign effort. It looks like the Perdue campaign is doing a lot to bring the different factions of the Georgia Republican Party together and work towards victory in November. You can see the presser below the fold:
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Apartments in Snellville?

August 19, 2014 8:30 am

by Jon Richards · 0 comments

An information session sponsored by the grassroots group SOSnellville.com drew a crowd estimated at over 800 people to Gwinnett County’s Brookwood High School last Thursday night to discuss a proposal to build apartments near Snellville’s Eastside Medical Center. According to the story in the Gwinnett Daily Post, the biggest concerns raised were a potential increase in crime and the impact on the schools.

[Event organizer Ron] Weber spoke about the impact apartments had when they came into the Shiloh community in 2000 and 2001.

“I owned a business near the apartment complexes and I saw drug deals with my own eyes,” he said. “I saw an increase in crime. A Gwinnett County police officer even voiced that before those complexes went in, that with those developments, there would be more crime … and there was.

“Now, I’m not saying that you can’t get a good education at Shiloh, because you can. But when you look at the difference in SAT scores from 2000 to 2014, there’s a noticeable difference. In 2000, Shiloh’s average SAT score was 1029, while Brookwood’s was 1067. In 2014, Shiloh’s (adjusted) SAT average was 933, while Brookwood’s was 1068. Shiloh’s average decreased by nine percent. That’s a lot. A lot of factors go into the success of schools, but apartments are the catalyst that create those problems.”

The opposition to apartments does not appear to be race-based. Four years ago, the AJC did a story about how the population of the school cluster was majority-minority, and the area has continued to diversify since the story was written.

Instead, the concern is more likely an interest in maintaining the good educational outcome of the cluster’s schools. Brookwood High School has consistently ranked as one of the top high schools in Gwinnett County, if not the entire Atlanta Metro area. High SAT scores help keep home prices up. At one point, the cluster was touted as being the only one in Gwinnett that didn’t have apartments in it, although with new high schools having been opened in the county, that claim may no longer be true.

A large portion of the population that makes up the Brookwood cluster lives outside the city, including some of those leading the opposition to the apartments.

A decision on whether to allow the apartments to be built won’t be made until late October.

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Atlanta’s Channel 11 is out with the results of new polling by SurveyUSA. In the Governor’s race, Nathan Deal leads Jason Carter 48%-39%, while Libertarian Andrew Hunt has 4% and 8% are undecided. In the Senate race, David Perdue leads Michelle Nunn 50%-41%, with 3% for Libertarian Amanda Swafford.

While the results mirror other recent polling, the details are interesting. In the Governor’s race,

Deal holds 83% of the Republican base. Carter holds 82% of the Democratic base. Independents break sharply Republican. Moderates provide some support for Carter, but at the current rate, it’s not enough to catch Deal. Libertarian Hunt takes more votes from the Republican Deal than he does from the Democrat Carter.

And in the Senate race,

Perdue’s lead comes entirely from men, where he leads by 19 points. While Atlanta votes Democrat, Northwest GA votes 2:1 Republican. South and East GA votes 5:4 Republican.

There’s a link to the poll’s crosstabs, and polling for down ballot races in the 11 Alive story.

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Happy Birthday to Bill Clinton! Also, it is National Aviation Day and Vinalia rustica, I’d suggest celebrating those separately. Your Morning Reads after the jump… [click to continue…]

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Those of us who were anticipating the follow-up to John Lewis’ critically-acclaimed first graphic novel got a little surprise recently.

Nate Powell, the artist for the series tweeted a panel of “March: Book Two.” The book shows a slightly, uh, less dignified John Lewis in action.

You will find the book in retailers early next year.

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Judging by what I saw on social media today, it looks like Georgia’s college students are heading back to class this week. The new professors that the University of Georgia hired to teach them toured the state recently, and found out that in addition to teaching, they are now helping with the Peach State’s economic development efforts.

Walter Jones has the story in the Augusta Chronicle:

The faculty is touring the state as a way to familiarize those new to Georgia and to help all of them understand the ties between academia and business.

“In the state of Georgia, you are now, if you haven’t been before, in the economic-development business,” said Gretchen Corbin, the commissioner of community affairs.

She explained that often in talking with industrial prospects the companies will need specialized information, requiring recruiters to seek advice from microbiologists, chemistry researchers and other professors whose specialty might seem more basic science than business.

The state’s economic development and workforce development divisions, which combined in April, are already working with the state’s technical colleges to provide skilled employees in career fields including aerospace, healthcare and even film and movies. In many of these areas, there is a shortage of people qualified to do the jobs.

Extending the economic development effort to the state’s four year colleges makes sense. Many college professors see their mission as helping students gain knowledge as opposed to preparing them for a career. And frequently, this has led to a newly minted college graduate with a degree in a field which doesn’t offer many job prospects, while being burdened with student loans that will need to be repaid.

While the Board of Regents understands the relationship between education and economic development, by working more closely with professors and teaching assistants, students will better be able to judge which fields of study offer the best career opportunities.

Students pursuing post-doctoral degrees are a great illustration of how the workforce development effort can help both students and businesses. Many of those working in these programs expect to become professors themselves once they graduate, or to do academic research in their chosen fields. that’s where they and their professors are the most comfortable. The problem is that academia can only provide jobs for about 10% of those graduates.

The private sector, especially in areas such as biotechnology and computer science that invest in research and development, can provide jobs for those graduates, and may even decide to relocate to or expand their operations in Georgia because of the skilled workforce the state can provide.

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This week’s Courier Herald column:

Republicans running for office always feel they are in a safe zone when quoting Reagan.  The Reagan presidency remains the modern high water mark for the conservative movement.  A quarter century after Ronald Reagan left office, many Republicans seem to be channeling another Reagan with their contemporary execution of conservatism.  Too many in the party position themselves with respect to governing with a slogan from former First Lady Nancy Reagan, and have internalized her anti-drug message of “just say no”.

It is for this reason that a guest opinion piece from Georgia’s GOP nominee from the 11th Congressional District to the Atlanta Journal Constitution seems a bit noteworthy.  Barry Loudermilk ran his primary and runoff campaign around the idea of “Constitutional Conservatism”.  Many equate this form of sloganeering to mean that he would be a Congressman in the realm of departing 10th district Representative Paul Broun, a “Just Say No” Republican.

Loudermilk wrote the piece as a response to the AJC’s Jim Galloway, who had previously written that Loudermilk was seeking to join the House Transportation Committee but would likely seek to dismantle the highway trust fund and return most transportation responsibilities back to the states.   All of this comes on the heels of a recent visit from former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who told the study committee on transportation funding that Georgia lacks clout on the transportation issue in Washington as no one in our delegation sits on a transportation committee in Congress.  Flordia, by contrast, has six members – and the influence that goes with that level of representation. [click to continue…]

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10 days until football season.

Georgia

Now that the primary runoff is over, the Georgia Senate Race is now at the bottom of the list.
That’s a lot of self funded money for GA-12.
I doubt that Richland County is really going to need a vehicle that can traverse land mines.
Well that’s an interesting wrinkle in the Braves deal. (MyAJC link)
Why the Atlanta testing scandal matters.

SEC

Eight SEC teams in the AP 25.
Need to know how the weekend scrimmages went?
Meanwhile every UGA fan is thrilled Muschamp is still there.

National/International

The potentially unconstitutional things happening in Missouri.
Rand Paul, not really a Tea Party guy.
Rick Perry responds to his indictment.
With Malaki out, will Abadi be able to pull things together?
Your weekly Ebola update.

Everything Else

Paul Ryan doesn’t like House of Cards (spoilers).
Offered without comment.

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Though not #gapol, it’s creepy enough and rare enough for it to be newsworthy for some of us local tax dollar watch dogs.

The small Colorado town of Montezuma is suing all 61 of its registered voters after charging that the results of a spring election were ‘full of errors’. The lawsuit compels each voter to appear in front of a judge in an effort to sort out the mayor and town board races. While 12 people ran for mayor, the small margin of 3 votes is the point of contention after claims that non-resident second-home owners voted. The residents are collectively seeking legal counsel though there is no word as to whether or not there will be a venue change for court hearings.

It’s not too often that a city or county sues one of its citizens, though it has happened here in Georgia. The Roswell Chicken Man, Andrew Wordes, was represented by former governor Roy Barnes after the City of Roswell filed a first-ever seventy-something page suit against Mr. Wordes. 

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