I Get By

July 23, 2014 15:30 pm

by Chet Martin · 13 comments

Editor’s Note: Chet Martin not only is an intern for Peach Pundit, but he also volunteered his time for the Jack Kingston campaign. Charlie has written about how an election loss can be more difficult for those that volunteer their time than the candidate him or herself. Here’s the perspective from one of those volunteers.

The first time my father and I met Jack Kingston, he offered us a ride in the back of a pick-up. It was the Alpharetta Old Soldiers Day Parade, and we were parked far from the finish line. Jack had his truck circle around to offer us a place in the flatbed, in which we chatted about the pleasures of Athens, the charming illegality of riding in a truck’s bed and, inevitably, college football. When we hopped out, my dad sad “I guess I can cross ‘Ride in a pick-up with a sitting US Congressman’ off my bucket list.”

Over a year later, I sat dazed in a hotel ballroom, struggling to accept the fact that this man would not be my senator. For whatever reason–low turnout, unfortunate weather, the primacy of Atlanta in statewide politics–the numbers we’d been enthusiastically following had turned against us. We’d lost. My friends and I solemnly shook hands, entirely aware that the crucible that made us a team hadn’t forged a thing.

Except for us. Jack had a way of inspiring loyalty, from the volunteer-turned staffer who had taken out thousands of dollars in loans to devote herself fully to the campaign to the promising law students who neglected their studies and their careers for a cause. Dozens of high school and college students befriended their peers as they actively engaged in democracy for the first time. By some miracle, Jack even managed to endear his most objective supporters–his family–to the campaign.

We all had our moments. There was the 15-year-old intern who unloaded a generation’s worth of familial problems to his elected representative. There were the college students who dared to make a blue joke in front of a congressman. There was the staffers and their shared privations of another sub-par barbecue lunch and a long, contemplative drive home. There were thousands of supporters and voters who were inspired–literally, “to breath life into”–by this radically normal and honorable man.

I’ll admit the whole thing sounds a bit messianic, and it times became that way. When confronted with her son’s defeat, Jack’s beloved mother “Grand Am” shrugged her shoulders and quite sensibly replied “What are you gonna do?” The egoless concession speech gave all credit to the team and joyfully advocated unity with what had five minutes before been the enemy. Even the most fervent backers of Jack’s campaign would acknowledge that the policy differences between the two potential senators and the way they would likely vote on a given issue was minuscule.

Yet this extended fraternity of campaigners had been drawn together by a shared trust in a single man. After a brief bout with depression, most of us dragged ourselves to a nearby bar. We still believed in Jack Kingston. We had to grapple with the notion that a majority of our fellow party-members did not. Alcohol, dark humor, and premature autopsies made it a bit easier. But in the end, we came to grips just as a serendipitous song on the radio suggested–with a little help from our friends.

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The Georgia GOP wasted no time before talking about its new Senate candidate, David Perdue, and noting the similarities between Perdue’s job creation record and the Governor’s record of job growth in the Peach State.

From a press release:

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, Republican Senate nominee David Perdue, and Georgia Republican Party Chairman John Padgett gathered this morning at the GAGOP Headquarters in Buckhead to kick-off the General Election campaign.

“Having two proven job creators at the top of the ticket is a real asset for the Republican Party,” said GAGOP Chairman John Padgett. “David Perdue is a bold leader with a stellar record in business. We are confident in his ability to take on President Obama and Harry Reid’s handpicked candidate, Michelle Nunn, and look forward to working together in the trenches to ensure victory at the ballot box.”

“David and I have a lot in common,” said Governor Nathan Deal. “We are both the children of two public school teachers in the state of Georgia. Both of us grew up in middle Georgia. We know the values that Georgians hold.”

“I am excited about going to Washington to help fight some of the bad government policies that are keeping us from being all that we can be in this state,” said David Perdue. “My role in this campaign is to prosecute the failed record of this Democratic administration. I believe this economy is ready to bust out if we just take some common sense, free-enterprise principles and put them to bear.”

Clearly, there are differences in how the Democrats and Republicans view Perdue’s record in business. Discuss.

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That’s certainly how I interpreted DuBose Porter’s comments about Tuesday’s election.

In a statement posted to the Democratic Party of Georgia’s website, Porter said:

“There is a clear contrast in this race between Michelle Nunn, a leader who has spent the last 25 years leading volunteer organizations and lifting communities up, and David Perdue, someone who has spent his career enriching himself while often times tearing companies and communities apart. Georgians want leaders who will fix the mess in Washington, not someone who puts personal profit ahead of regular people.”

I’m glad to see that cliches will be alive and well during this race.

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The Libertarian Party of Georgia slammed Attorney General Sam Olens’ brief in defense of Georgia’s ban on same-sex marriages.

Olens filed the brief on Tuesday. In April, class action lawsuit against the ban was filed by Lambda Legal.

In a press release, LPG chairman Doug Craig said:

“We believe marriage is a fundamental right retained by the people and that this right extends to same-sex couples. Our state constitution should be limited to restricting the powers of government – not the rights of the citizens. Attorney General Sam Olens’ defense of this ban is indefensible.”

The statement continued: “According to Craig, the popularity of any issue should never be used to limit or prohibit rights of a minority. Equal protection under the law is one of most basic rights we have as citizens. Government should not be involved in personal relationships.”

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That seems to be the message, as Gov. Nathan Deal, Senate nominee David Perdue and Georgia GOP chairman John Padgett are holding a media event at 11 am Wednesday.

The event is being held at the party’s state headquarters in Buckhead.

Analysis: Party leaders know they need to unify the GOP base if Perdue has a chance of defeating Michelle Nunn in November. As expected, the GOP senate runoff was brutal and bloody, as is virtually every high-profile, high-stakes runoff. The 2006 Democratic gubernatorial race between Mark Taylor and Cathy Cox resulted in the destruction of two political careers and a cakewalk for Sonny Perdue’s re-election.

General consensus among Republicans is that Perdue has some fences to mend and wounds to heal, if he’s going to attract the conservative, Kingston/Handel constituencies. Those voters have to be enthused enough to go vote for him in November. If they don’t, Perdue faces the prospect of a loss exactly like the one Mitt Romney endured: enough Republican votes out there to win, but not enough being cast.

And there’s another candidate in the race, Libertarian Amanda Swafford. Peach Pundit contributor Jason Pye told me last night on Newsradio 106.7 that if Swafford siphons enough conservative votes from Perdue, we’re looking at a runoff, in which Georgia voters will hold the fate of the U.S. Senate in their hands.

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And Now The Work Begins

July 23, 2014 10:12 am

by Nathan · 14 comments

Take a look at the map below:

RCP-GABlue
[click to continue…]

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Jeff Mann and Debra DeberryVernon Jones’ political career is over.

He may run for other offices in DeKalb County. He will lose. It is inconceivable for him to wrangle an appointed role in executive authority in government after last night’s three-to-one loss to Sheriff Jeff Mann. He may have political advice to give others, but I doubt it will be heard, much less heeded.

Political folks here expected a loss, but the margin stunned most people I’ve spoken with. The exception: Lee May, DeKalb’s interim CEO. May had the spread pegged days ago.

May was eager last night at Mann’s victory party in Northlake to show me a series of insane text messages Jones sent him in the days before the race, cajoling him to offer support. “It got biblical,” said May, a minister-turned-politician.

Others told darker tales last night of Jones’ weirdness. Jones messaged Debra Deberry, DeKalb County’s clerk of superior court, with an appeal that bordered on a threat, she said. She contemplated a temporary protective order after reading it, she added, half-jokingly.

This is what a meltdown looks like. I’ve seen it personally, in Jones’ messages to me.   [click to continue…]

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Post-Runoff Morning Reads

July 23, 2014 7:59 am

by Ed · 8 comments

We have our ballot! 

The not-live live version of “Hard Luck Woman” from KISS. 

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  1. The Republican Party continues with its identity crisis:

There were two major statewide races.  As of midnight EDT, The race for US Senate had a spread of less than 2%.  85,000 fewer people couldn’t bother to learn the differences between Richard Woods and Mike Buck, a race that has a difference of roughly 700 votes, or less than .2%.  The results of each race mean very different things, but this much is clear:  The “voice” of the Georgia GOP is being determined by razor thin margins.  But at the end of the day, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.  To the victors…

  1. The concept of the Tea Party continues to trump the reality of the Tea Party:

David Perdue, cousin of a two term Governor and appointee of said Governor to one of the state’s more prominent boards successfully used his own money to brand himself as “the Outsider”.  In doing so, he managed to defeat not only all pretense of Georgia’s GOP establishment, but virtually everyone those of us in the media often quote as “Tea Party Leaders”,  that seemed to all endorse Jack Kingston.   It’s clear that many Georgia Republicans still identify with the nebulous idea that is the Tea Party.  It becomes less clear when you try to determine who, if anyone, leads this movement, or try to articulate how, exactly, it is led.

  1. That battleground we’ve all been looking at?  Wrong. [click to continue…]

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Happy 2014 Runoff Election Night! It’s finally over. Well, at least, the primary. Now we move towards the general election fun. Fearless Leader (Charlie, for those who may not know) will be on the teevee tonight. He’ll be on WXIA 11Alive for the metro Atlanta folks.  They’ll be livestreaming coverage here starting at 8, with Charlie appearing on their News at Ten with Melissa Long on WATL/36.

I’ll be watching from my hotel room in Columbia, SC, so sorry I can’t be with my fellow Georgians tonight.

Anyway, enjoy this primary runoff election OPEN THREAD

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Broun Backs Jack — Updated

July 22, 2014 11:41 am

by Nathan · 15 comments

We received a text through the tip line that said Congressman Jack Kingston just tweeted out that his colleague and former opponent Congressman Paul Broun has made a late endorsement for Kingston:

BrounBacksJack

Congressman Broun had been pretty silent after coming in 5th in the May 20th primary, but now throws his weight behind his fellow Congressman.

Discuss if this influences your vote…or not in the comments.

:: Update from Jon ::

There has been some question about whether Congressman Broun endorsed Jack Kingston for Senate. Nathan is right, our original tipster said that Kingston put “an endorsement from Paul Broun” on FB and Twitter.

A spokesman for the Kingston campaign told us that Broun had left a voicemail for the candidate indicating Broun had told a radio audience he voted for Kingston, and that he said Jack was the conservative choice. That’s what led to the tweet and Facebook post, which simply quoted from the voicemail.

Does that qualify as an endorsement? Merriam Webster says the meaning of endorse is “to publicly or officially say that you support or approve of (someone or something).” In my opinion saying you voted for a candidate, which in the end is the highest endorsement you can provide, qualifies as an endorsement. But, your mileage may vary.

The challenge of defining the true meaning of endorse is what keeps campaign finance lawyers in business. The recent controversy over whether Better Georgia went outside the permissible boundaries of advocacy given its tax status is the most recent example of this.

We’re not lawyers, nor are we a tax exempt group. We simply note the Kingston didn’t use the word endorse in its tweet. If we used it by mistake … well, we regret the error and blame others.

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Sometimes fate conspires with you. It certainly did with Attorney General Sam Olens, who released his brief for Georgia’s marriage equality case (Innis v. Adderhold) on one of the busiest days of Georgia’s political calendar. When a political figure acknowledges his position on the losing side of history (“Plaintiffs may well be right that our nation is headed for a new national equilibrium on same-sex marriage”), he’d probably prefer to sidestep the media spotlight.

The obligatory preface —I’m not a lawyer. You gathered that, I’m sure. But the marriage equality question, in the minds of most non-lawyers, isn’t about the interpretation of documents as much as the ordering of our society. With that in mind, the Attorney General filed a well-written and relatively simple document, which adds up to a nod of the head towards the past and a shrug.

Reading the document, it is remarkable how much ground he’s willing to concede. To his credit, the Attorney General accepts that “[t]he love that Plaintiffs articulate for their partners and children is clear, as are their contributions to our society.” At no point (to my untutored eye) did he argue that homosexual relationships were unnatural or inferior to heterosexual ones. Rather, all but one of the “state’s legitimate interest” in question centered on attempts to regulate reproduction through marriage, which would preclude homosexuals who could not reproduce. Of course, two objections jump out: 1) that’s merely an argument why marriage is a good idea for heterosexuals, not why it should be denied to homosexuals and 2) homosexuals parent children even if they do not reproduce. In fact, gay parenting has become something of a specialty here in the South.

The state’s other legitimate interest was “exercising prudence before departing from the heretofore universal definition of marriage.” The whole document is visible in that sentence, which doesn’t ask to stop the bullet train of marriage equality but suggests we lightly apply the brakes.

The next ten pages center on Baker v. Nelson, a 1972 case in which the Supreme Court dismissed a claim that prohibition of same-sex marriage violated the Constitution. I don’t have the academic credentials to challenge the application of that precedent (hash it out below!), but it’s worth noting that at the time the American Psychiatric Association considered homosexuality a sociopathic personality disorder. If the Attorney General has to go back that far to make his case, he already knows the outcome.

We all do. The inexorable victories of the gay rights movement since United States v. Windsor last summer effectively end the debate on gay marriage. What we’re arguing about now is a time-table. The Attorney General seems to know this but feels an obligation to defend the state’s laws. To do otherwise would be “lawless.” At the very least, he can count on our state’s soft spot for a lost cause.

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At the end of an election cycle it’s very easy to be jaded.  Heck, that’s my default position.  But the first note today goes out to Mike Beaudreau and P.K. Martin, who face off today to see who will be representing Gwinnett County in the State Senate.  I like them both, and have avoided this runoff where possible.  I applaud both of them for running.  It isn’t easy to take on a powerful incumbent.  Harder still when he has over a half million dollars to spend.  Both of these men put their name on the line, and I applaud both for doing so.  Whichever one wins will make a fine Senator.

I voted this morning in Marietta at 8:45am.  I was the 37th voter.  I was the 36th Republican.  Only one Democratic ballot had been cast.  While this may not seem unusual, I do live in a precinct represented by Steve Thompson.  I have Democratic neighbors.  But unlike May 20th when the Democrats pulled about 20% of the votes in my precinct, they don’t appear interested in voting today.  My guess is DeKalb county, with it’s contested Sheriff’s race, will largely decide who the Democratic nominee for State School Superintendent is.

As for the Georgia Senate Race, I’m looking at the core suburban Atlanta counties.  Kingston has virtually all of the GOP network on his side, from Tea Party to “establishment” – whatever that means.  Perdue will need to do exceptionally well in the suburbs where people are more likely to be swayed by ads than direct interaction with a candidate and/or his supporters.   Y’all have seen the same polls I have.  My gut still tells me Jack takes this one.

I think by 8pm we’ll all be able to start guessing what Bob Barr’s next career move is.  Feel free to avoid the rush and start now if you like.

I’ll admit I haven’t been on the ground as much as usual in GA-1 and GA-10, and won’t claim to know what’s going to happen here.  I expect GA-10 to be the last Congressional race called tonight.  I expect GA-1 to be slightly closer than it should be, given the late Club for Growth play in that race.

Feel free to share you own observations, experiences, or other pontifications below.

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The Whitfield County Democratic Party has uploaded a video continuing the mockery of the Georgia GOP’s hashtag of #WeKnowNathan.  I wrote about it last night and it would seem that the fun has continued into this morning.  I typically love the cattiness of antics like this (I’m a sick, sick individual), but I have to say that the music for this gives me the creeps.

The music is “Every Little Piece” from Pete’s Dragon, a Disney movie, but the song lyrics state, “We could make a million just slicing him, dicing him”. I’m all about callling for more ethics reform and bringing all necessary elements to be considered in the light of day, yet I will stop far short of cannabilism.

I would suggest Democrats do the same, and the GOP think long and hard before they attempt a social media campaign again.  This has probably done more harm than good for the Governor.

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We would like to thank Secretary of State Brian Kemp for hosting a statewide birthday party for Buzz Brockway today from 7am to 7pm.  Buzz would like to thank the people of Gwinnett County for him not being on anyone’s ballot today.

Buzz has been here longer than me.  He’s been a solid citizen and civic leader well before he became a State Rep.  He’s one of the good guys, so be sure when you’re “remembering to vote” – like we won’t get that reminder enough today – to wish him a Happy Birthday as well.

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