Eric Johnson, former State Senator and GOP candidate for Governor, has endorsed a Democrat over the Republican-backed candidate in the Savannah mayoral race:
Eric Johnson — perhaps Chatham County’s most prominent Republican — is supporting Democrat Edna Jackson for mayor of Savannah.
Johnson, former state Senate president pro tem, is doing so even as local GOP chairman Carl Smith and other party activists back fellow Republican Ellis Cook.
Jackson, mayor pro tem, received one of the top three annual awards bestowed by the Chatham County Democratic Committee in 2002 and 2007.
Although city elections are officially non-partisan, no Republican has been elected mayor of Savannah since 1991. Four of this year’s six candidates are avowed Democrats.
So far, Jackson leads the field in campaign contributions and widely is considered the frontrunner in the Nov. 8 election.
Johnson, who ran third last year in a seven-way race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, was effusive in his praise for her.
“I believe Edna brings a unique resume to this election,” he said. “She has critical recent experience on City Council. She has a detailed platform that will allow Savannah to create jobs and improve the economic environment.
“And Edna has the ability to blend the old with the new — to merge the existing city’s leadership structure with new ideas and a needed partnership with the business community.”
Johnson, one of the nicer and more straightforward politicians I’ve met, has not been shy to lend a hand to the occasional Democrat — particularly when it comes to those willing to break ranks with party on the issue of school choice.
Here is your weekly round-up of campaign updates for the GAGOP for the week of January 23rd:
NOTE: If I didn’t post enough or anything about your favorite candidate for chairman or 1st vice chairman for the state GOP this week, email me press releases or other notes of interest to me by noon on Fridays before the state convention in May. Click here to email me.
Tricia Pridemore has announced new additions to her campaign steering committee for chairman of the Georgia Republican Party:
Pridemore in reply to these latest endorsements, “After only twelve days on the campaign trail, I am honored to have the endorsements of a broad range of conservative GOP activists. These activists represent Georgia Republicans’ desire for a bold, energetic party exemplified in the GROWroots plan. Working together across Georgia, Republicans have an opportunity to build a lasting majority.”
The tipline points us to this from Facebook:
“I am thankful for God’s blessings. I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for a stunning political career that took me from the minority to Senate leader to a top tier candidate for Governor. I am thankful that I stayed true to my principles.
I will continue to serve this state, but I will not seek the chairmanship of the Georgia GOP. I want to protect my independence and help a new generation of leaders.”
Eric Johnson has joined the McGuireWoods Consulting Firm as a Senior Advisor, according to Insider Advantage (subscription required.) McGuireWoods describes “our people” as follows:
In the end, it’s all about people. Staffed with political professionals from both sides of the aisle, McGuireWoods Consulting offers an experienced team of lobbyists at the local, state, and federal levels. Our strategic communications and grassroots experts come from politics, journalism, and non-profit organizations. And our infrastructure and economic development team has played a major role in significant economic development projects—always helping to bring the best deal to the table for our clients. We work as your partner, helping you to build long-lasting relationships with government and key decision makers that bring value to your company.
This news comes just as Governor-Elect Nathan Deal has rolled out his transition team, according to the AJC, with Johnson, Deal’s former rival, listed prominantly among the group.
From the Savannah Morning News:
Former state senator hasn’t made formal statement about Aug. 10 runoff
Former state Sen. Eric Johnson is backing Nathan Deal against Karen Handel for governor, U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston said Tuesday.
Kingston, a Savannah Republican, spoke a day after Johnson, who finished third in the July 20 GOP primary, said on Facebook he “likes” Deal. Johnson has not responded to requests for comments since the primary.
Kingston, a close Johnson friend and ally for more than 25 years, said they spoke after Johnson returned from a vacation earlier this week.
The congressman didn’t discuss the reasons for Johnson’s decision, but other Johnson supporters have said he was unlikely to back Handel…
Deal campaign spokesman Brian Robinson said he’s encouraged by Kingston’s statement but remained cautious.
“We don’t want to put words in his mouth, but would love to have Eric Johnson’s support,” Robinson said. “It would certainly make sense that he would see Nathan Deal as a clear conservative choice.”…
Kingston said Johnson probably won’t stump actively.
Governor Jan Brewer, check
Governor Sarah Palin, check
Governor Mitt Romney, check
I’m not sure how many electoral votes that is for Karen Handel, but she’s getting national exposure as the front runner in the Georgia Governor’s race. Mitt Romney is the latest to back Handel:
“A successful businesswoman and public servant, Karen Handel’s blend of executive, political, and business experience is just what Georgia needs at this critical time,” Romney said in a statement Wednesday. “The leadership skills that she has honed in both the private and public sectors will enable her to make tough decisions and enact the reforms needed to get the economy back on track and foster job creation.”
Romney stayed out of the primary, an aide said, because one of the candidates, state Sen. Eric Johnson, had backed Romney during his 2008 presidential bid.
Note that last sentence. For those who think Johnson’s supporters are automatically going to Deal, I’ll suggest otherwise.
I’ll now return you to sock-puppetry while I return to work.
With less than two weeks to go in this marathon of a Governor’s primary, Eric Johnson has a few things he would like you to focus on rather than his lock on 4th place in the polls.
He’s been endorsed today by the Marietta Daily Journal and the Cherokee Tribune, (which are running the same editorial, and thus I will assume the Tribune is also owned by Marietta publisher Otis Brumby).
Johnson is also touting the new addition of Jim Lientz to his campaign, adding one more high level backer of current Governor Perdue into Johnson’s camp.
While Johnson has yet to show significant upward momentum in the polls, we’ve also been preaching ’round here that the final 3 weeks of the campaign would be what mattered. With most polls still showing 40% +/- undecided, there’s plenty of room for any of the candidates with an active ground game and media presence to make a move.
The battle now is whether or not those undecided voters decide, or decide not to vote. We’ll know in less than two weeks.
Jim Lientz press release below the jump.
The following press release was issued today by the campaign of Eric Johnson:
The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a horrific tragedy. Just as tragic has been the federal government’s incompetent response in the aftermath of the spill. All available resources from the public and the private sector must be activated to contain the spread of oil, clean up the damage, and investigate the incident in its entirety to determine how we can keep it from ever happening again. However, the Obama Administration should not use the spill an excuse to divert our nation from a critical and attainable goal—energy security.
Our country is simply too dependent on energy from foreign dictators. We are buying oil from countries with regimes that support thugs and terrorists. Money we hand to the cashier at the gas station eventually makes its way into the hands of criminals who want to destroy our way of life and kill Americans. As appalled as I am by the images of oil washing up on beaches while federal officials attempt one futile plan after another, I am even more enraged by the thought of seeing images of another 9/11-style attack on our nation’s soil.
Just getting word that there was a somewhat of an eventful finish to today’s Governor forum held by the 6th District GOP. Karen Handel closed by saying that she would no longer accept debate invitation for panels which include Ray McBerry. Handel, who made her feelings toward McBerry publicly known earlier, said the GOP was a party of ethics and she did not feel it was appropriate to condone McBerry past actions by continuting to appear with him.
Deal, following in his closing remarks, reacted to Handel’s mention of ethics by charging that Handel only read what her staff told her, and noted that Governor Perdue had been labled a “worst Governor” by CREW, the same organization that labled him a corrupt Congressman. He then questioned how Handel could support Perdue after Crew’s allegation. Read more
Eric Johnson has today issued a press release announcing his plans to reform the state’s (apparently broken) budget process, and pledges to implement Zero Based Budgeting. The press release is as follows:
Macon, GA—Former Senator Eric Johnson, Republican candidate for Governor, today announced his plans to reform the state budget process. As Governor, Johnson will instruct agency heads to implement zero based budgeting and partner with the private sector to ensure that state government focuses on the most essential core functions.
“As Governor, I will direct all state agency heads to implement zero based budgeting so that I, the legislature, and Georgia taxpayers will know exactly what services government is providing and what it costs to provide these services,” said Johnson. “Like the private sector, government should be in a position to make informed decisions based on the total actual costs of different programs, not just changes in expenditures.”
In the Senate, Johnson voted repeatedly to implement zero based budgeting—most recently in 2009.
Additionally, Johnson will create and ask respected business leaders to join him and other public sector representatives on the “Back to Basics Commission”, which will be tasked with setting priorities for the state budget. The Commission will be able to use the information provided by the use of zero based budgeting when reviewing the budget.
“Especially in these difficult economic times and given the tough choices state government is facing, many of us are asking what the core functions of government are,” said Johnson. “With input from private sector experts, public sector representatives, and our citizen consumers, we will ask the tough questions and look for programs that might be unnecessary and opportunities to trim the state budget while protecting vital government services.”
An architect and a respected conservative leader, Eric Johnson served as President Pro Tempore of the Georgia State Senate. In that role, he passed legislation that cut taxes and spending, empowered small businesses, and protected doctors and businesses from frivolous lawsuits. He and his wife Kathryn have two grown children and live in Savannah. For more information please visit www.JohnsonForGeorgians.com.
Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate hit 10.3 percent in December, matching the record high reported last July, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.
Eric “Jobs” Johnson was quick to follow this news with comment.
After learning about the declarations from Austin Scott and Eric Johnson regarding victory last night at the debate, Nathan Deal has declared victory, as well.
Head below the fold for all the self-delusion, dear friend.