Archive for October, 2010

Candidates clash in Saturday debate double-header

The first of two debates Saturday in the race for governor is in the books, and while punches continued to be thrown, little new ground was broken.

Democrat Roy Barnes, Republican Nathan Deal and Libertarian John Monds met in a live televised debate on Channel 2 Action News at 12:30 p.m. They’ll gather again at Fox 5 at 5 p.m. Both debates are a prelude to the final face-off Sunday evening live on Georgia Public Broadcasting.

In the first round today, Deal decried what he called Barnes’ negative campaign and proceeded to land several jabs of his own. Barnes, meanwhile, replied that Deal and the Republican campaign against him has been as negative, if not more. Monds, meanwhile, said he’s the only candidate trying to keep the focus on issues facing Georgians.

Meanwhile, when the subject turned to those issues, Deal and Barnes both promised to work to protect the HOPE scholarship program, and the state-funded Pre-K program, both of which are funded by lottery accounts that are …

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Debate over Georgia’s paperless e-voting process continues

Georgia’s paperless electronic voting process and systems in five other states have gained the attention of an election watchdog group. In a ComputerWorld article on e-voting, the Verified Voting Foundation says states relying on paperless machines will have a hard time auditing the results, which, the group says, are vulnerable to tampering.

Voter-marked paper ballots that are scanned and tallied by electronic systems, along with paper copies of electronically cast votes, together give election officials a reliable way to verify the accuracy of tallies,  [said the watdog group's president, Pamela Smith]. “Paper enables the properties of recounting that we need right now,” Smith said.

But Merle King, executive director of the Center for Election Systems, says Georgia’s system is safe and disputes the watchdog group’s concerns. CES is a venture between Georgia’s secretary of state’s office and Kennesaw State University.

“I think the notion that electronic systems are not …

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Results from automated polling reflect GOP-leaning effect

Follow the latest tweets from Georgia’s campaign trail @ajcgaelections

Rasmussen Reports, SurveyUSA and InsiderAdvantage all use automated polling equipment for their surveys – i.e., robo-calls. So over the next four days, you might keep in mind this observation from Nate Silver at

Most of the automated polling firms have a Republican-leaning house effect. For instance, it’s about 2 points for Rasmussen Reports (our estimate for Rasmussen includes polls conducted by its subsidiary, Pulse Opinion Research) and 4 points for SurveyUSA.

Another automated polling firm, Public Policy Polling, has almost zero house effect. But some of the smaller robopoll firms, like Magellan and Merriman River Group, also have a Republican-leaning effect.

On average, the robopoll firms have a 2-point Republican-leaning house effect, whereas the live interviewer polls have a 0.7-point Democratic-leaning house effect. The difference between the two, then, is 2.7 points.

Get an …

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Governor’s debate Saturday; Insider seeking your questions

Political Insider’s Jim Gallway is looking for your help with questions for a gubernatorial debate Saturday:

Y’all were kind enough last week to toss me more than a few questions for last week’s U.S. Senate race on GPB. Very high quality stuff – and I thank you for taking the task so seriously.

On Saturday, Channel 2 Action News will broadcast Gubernatorial Debate No. 10 at 12:30 p.m., an hour-long affair with Democrat Roy Barnes, Republican Nathan Deal, and Libertarian John Monds.

Your thoughts would be welcome.

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Looking for Republicans eager to vote on Tuesday

The polls continue to suggest the big winners next Tuesday will be Republicans. Are you a Republican who is eager to vote on Nov. 2 and who wants to share your reasons? Please contact AJC reporter Katie Leslie for a story at or 404-526-5969.

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Federal stimulus contractors switched amid weatherization work delays

Citing persistent work delays, state officials have decided to replace a contractor weatherizing homes with federal stimulus money for low-income in Cobb County.

The Georgia Environmental Finance Authority is taking part of its $7.6 million stimulus contract away from Gainesville-based Ninth District Opportunity and giving it to Tallatoona Community Action Partnership to do the work in Cobb.

Ninth District also must team up with North Georgia Community Action to continue doing its weatherization work in Forsyth and 12 other North Georgia counties. As of Aug. 31, Ninth District had weatherized 175 homes, state records show. State officials expected the agency to have more than twice the number done by then.

GEFA is also considering taking away part of Columbus-based Enrichment Services Program’s $4.5 million contract and giving it to one or more other agencies to do the work in Stewart, Randolph, Clay and Talbot counties. Between August of last year and September of this year, …

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Gingrich touts Deal candidacy at Republican rally

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., on Thursday brought his American Solutions group to Duluth to endorse Georgia’s Republican slate of statewide candidates.

Gingrich has been touring the country in support of GOP candidates in advance of the Nov. 2 general election.

Of Republican gubernatorial nominee Nathan Deal, Gingrich said, “I was just thrilled when he decided to run for office. He’s going to bring a lot of common sense to the office of governor and build on what Governor [Sonny] Perdue has done.”

Most of Georgia’s statewide Republican candidates were in the audience at the Gwinnett Center, along with about 400 party supporters. But Deal and incumbent U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson spoke from the stage.

“People all over the state of Georgia are excited about this election,” Deal said. “They want to put Georgians back to work and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Deal said if Republicans win on Tuesday, they can show Georgia “what can be done to create a better job …

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Barnes seeks to set record straight on missed Obama visit

Just in case you missed it, Democrat Roy Barnes jumped at the chance this week to try to set the record straight on what many observers felt was a snub of President Barack Obama this summer during his visit to Atlanta.

At the time of the Aug. 2 visit, Political Insider’s Jim Galloway quoted Barnes as saying:  “I’d rather be with these folks [in south Georgia], if you want to know the truth. I’m not running for governor of Washington D.C. I’m running for governor of Georgia.”

But on the Frank Ski and Wanda Smith show at V-103, a station with a large African-American audience, Barnes insisted he would have met with the president instead of dozens of sheriffs who were endorsing his campaign that day, but he said Obama insisted otherwise.

Here’s just a snippet of  the exchange Barnes relayed to Ski, as reported Thursday by  Galloway:

“He [Obama]  said, ‘I want you to go ahead with the sheriffs.’

“And I [Barnes] said, ‘Well, I’ll cancel it if you want me to.’

“He said, ‘I want you …

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Nine debates and counting for Deal, Barnes, Monds

Political Insider’s Jim Galloway points out that there is one thing that distinguishes the governor’s race this time around from others:

[T]he contest among Barnes, Deal and Libertarian John Monds has been admirable, even historic, by one important measure. Since August, the three candidates for governor have already debated nine times.

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Nathan Deal: ‘I don’t think anyone wants another month of this’

Despite speculation that a post-Thanksgiving Day gubernatorial runoff may be on the way (see Aaron Gould Sheinin’s AJC article),  Nathan Deal says he’s optimistic he’ll prevail, and it’ll be over after Tuesday.  “I don’t think anyone wants another month of this,” the GOP contender says in a Savannah Morning News article. “I think everybody is ready for this campaign to be over.”

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