In attorney general’s race, a clear choice for a big job

The best statewide race this year happens to be one of the most important contests.

Forget the offices of lieutenant governor (whom a motivated and disciplined majority of senators can neuter), schools superintendent (who watches while the governor and Legislature make the biggest waves in education policy), U.S. senator (important, but no real contest this year), and the rest.

Georgia’s next attorney general will enter office amid the state’s biggest conflict with Washington in decades, and more may be on the way. The public is demanding better enforcement of ethics and open-government laws. Only the governor stands to be more important over the next four years.

Fortunately, the race to succeed Thurbert Baker has drawn two of the strongest major-party candidates.

You won’t confuse the resumes or campaigns of Democrat Ken Hodges and Republican Sam Olens. (The Libertarian nominee, Don Smart, has been one of that party’s least visible candidates this year.)

Hodges: South Georgia, three-term district attorney, wants the AG’s office to be more aggressive in pursuing civil-rights claims and white-collar crime.

Olens: metro Atlanta, a longtime lawyer but better known as a successful Cobb County Commission chair, emphasizes tackling illegal immigration and suing to overturn ObamaCare.

The two men do agree on some things. At a candidate forum Thursday in Decatur, each sold himself as a fiscal conservative who supports the death penalty, wants to fight public corruption and Medicaid fraud, and aims to win the water wars.

And in light of the mud being slung in the governor’s race, the AG’s race is a textbook example of polite and substantive politics.

In fact, for the most part the AG’s race is electoral politics as it’s meant to be: Two candidates offering voters a clear choice between competing perspectives, and letting them decide on the merits.

And it’s probably no surprise that I’m voting for Olens.

His political and legal philosophies on ObamaCare and immigration more closely align with mine. He speaks more strongly, and without prompting, about enforcing sunshine laws (much-needed, and close to the heart of any journalist). He would not be the kind of activist, common among Democratic AGs in some states, who scares businesses.

His stewardship of Cobb County — budget surpluses without tax hikes or furloughs — was impressive. He also did it all without a hint of corruption. That’s something we should remember not to take for granted after the news that a grand jury has indicted a commissioner in Gwinnett County.

It’s likely that Olens has designs on even higher office down the road. Hodges has tried to make an issue of that, saying that he just wants to be attorney general, and not a future governor.

Who knows whether that last part would remain true forever; Hodges is awfully young and bright for a man who today would forswear any higher aspirations down the road.

Either way, ambition is nothing to hold against Olens.

Georgia isn’t exactly swimming in qualified, attractive candidates for higher office right now. Olens may well be the best person for the job one year.

Heck, he might be the best person for the job this year.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This year, Olens is running for attorney general. And he will make a fine one.

67 comments Add your comment

Tanya Harding

October 22nd, 2010
7:07 pm

Good call on Olens.

Susan

October 22nd, 2010
7:51 pm

What a joke. Wingfield is for the same guy who spent over seventy thousand on mules with Cobb County taxpayer money when it was recomended he not. Excuse me? And he has the audacity to call himself a fiscal conservative? Hodges is the only fiscal, law and order conservative in the race. Olens spent years as the Cobb Commission Chair, feeding at the Government taxpayer funded trough for politcians. He was taking trips all over the world as the “head of the ARC”. Whatever. This while we don’t have an adequate supply of water and our major city is stuck in gridlock. Way to solve the problems Olens. At the same time, Ken Hodges was putting violent criminals behind bars. The Attorney General is the state’s top prosecutor and law enforcement officer. Hodges is an experienced prosecutor. Olens real job is a personal injury lawyer who sues doctors and hospitals. Is that conservative? The choice is clear who I am voting for, Hodges.

Willie

October 22nd, 2010
8:04 pm

San was a smart and effective leader of Cobb County, the best administered county in the state and among the best in the country. He was a man of integrity and a good manager. I think he would be a fine attorney general.
I can’t imagine a good reason to elect a democrat to this critial job.
Susan makes one good point. After all Roy Barnes is a lawyer and I would not vote for him either.

al

October 22nd, 2010
8:28 pm

Sam is the man! Just wish he were candidate for Governor instead.

Charles

October 22nd, 2010
8:31 pm

As Teilet said in the debate– “Hodges was a district attorney, just not a good one.” Face it, the A.G. is really NOT a prosecutor, and the amount of prosecutorial experience is moot. Hodges likes to say he is not a politician, but he fails to explain how earning a living as a full time elected official for the past 12 years is somehow exempt from being a politician. When you look at the Phoebe Factoid “prosecution as a favor” fiasco that Hodges orchestrated before resigning as Dougherty County D.A., you have all the proof you need to conclude that Hodges lackes the ethics to be the top attorney in Georgia government.

Susan

October 22nd, 2010
9:04 pm

Willie, I’m not voting for Barnes, or Nathan Deal, who is probabaly the most corrupt politician to ever run for Governor, but from your statement, I guess ethics don’t really matter to you. And to you Charles, Hodges was named District Attorney of the year by his peers, but I guess that doesn’t make him a good DA.(And you spelled Teilhet wrong)

Georgian

October 22nd, 2010
9:09 pm

Olens is a great choice. Solid record, and ethical.

Mark

October 22nd, 2010
9:18 pm

Kyle, You articulate and acknowledge your conservative perspective very well. Thank you for direct and honest journalism. I am voting for Hodges because this is not about creating law, it is about enforcing existing law competently. Hodges also has more Republican endorsements that Olens, highlighting Olens’s lack of relevant experience. Kyle, please investigate why Ken has more R endorsements than the the Republican.

td

October 22nd, 2010
9:21 pm

How can anyone call themselves conservative and still remain in the Democratic party? If he had all this great integrity then he would have resigned from his party and joined the Republican party. The democratic party in this state and nationally are run by the far left and have a progressive/socialist agenda.

I lived in Cobb county during most of Olens term and he did run the county better than any other county in the state. Cobb is only one of a dozen counties in the entire country that has the highest rating available and allows them to borrow money almost interest free.

Rafe Hollister

October 22nd, 2010
9:48 pm

al: You have it correct, either of these guy would be a better Governor than the Raw Deal and Rerun King Roy.

I lived in Cobb during the Olens administration. He did a very good job of listening and trying to do as the PEOPLE pleased, rather than try to implement his own agenda. I am voting for Sam.

D. M. Mullis

October 22nd, 2010
11:00 pm

Sam is the man. I served with Sam on a statewide Board and found him to be a great Board Member. He has integrity and was very intuitive on important issues of the State. He will make this state a great Attorney General. I too wish he would run for Governor later.

dawg

October 23rd, 2010
12:09 am

Too bad Sam is not running for Governor. It’a been a long time when we had a politician who could tell you something and you could take that to the bank. A downright conservative and we NEED him. Watch the crooked politicians run when Sam Is elected…There’s is going to be a new SHERIFF in town….

bhorsoft

October 23rd, 2010
1:01 am

Sam was going to be the only Republican to get my vote this season as I felt he did a good job running Cobb County in a more or less business-like manner. Sure, there were a few mistakes (like the mules, & undocumented workers building the courthouse), but I felt he did and overall good jog. However, he lost my vote when he decided to go after Obamacare. Obamacare isn’t perfect, and there are changes to be made, but it was a start on getting our wretched healthcare “system” workable. Hodges seems like a good man, so he gets my vote now.

jim

October 23rd, 2010
3:08 am

Ken’s the best qualified for AG. It’s obvious Sam Olens would be a great candidate for governor. It’s too bad he didn’t run. We sure need good prospects from the GA Republican party. The two running for the Gov & Lt. Gov come up short, very short. I’m going to write Sam Olens in for governor and vote for Hodges for AG. GA desperately needs an AG that will help beleagured law enforcement in the state who are undertrained, under paid, and under supported. I don’t agree with fighting Obamacare, even though it’s poor legislation. It’s resolution will come from Congress. Obamacare will be addressed long before any laborious and costly court cases inch to SCOTUS. If Olens has his eye on the governor’s job you know he will always be looking for the press conference and not wanting to be bloodied for the cameras. Ken Hodges on the other hand took on and whipped the wealthiest lawyer in the country, Richard Scruggs. who was also the brother in law of the US Senate majority leader Trent Lott, Sr. R-MS. Hodges would take on the devil himself if he thought he had a case against him. Hodges is the better of the two for AG though I agree Mr. Olens is a good person and would make an excellent governor some day!

GOP Lawyer

October 23rd, 2010
4:04 am

Hodges is the only Democrat I will vote for this year as he is much more qualified than Olens for the AG job.

Will

October 23rd, 2010
4:32 am

As a republican newspaper writer, why would anyone be surprised that you are voting for the republican candidate for Attorney General?

Let’s agree to meet back here two weeks from today and count the number of votes you cast for democrat candidates. I’m pretty certain that this will not take very long!!

Ayn Rant

October 23rd, 2010
6:09 am

According to Kyle, Georgia’s greatest needs are to persecute illegal immigrants and to reject fair and complete health care insurance. What about high unemployment, no job growth, all those bank failures, failed and failing schools, flood control, and the threat to cut off our water supply?

The fat-cat “conservatives” want ignorant Georgians to focus on making life miserable for the hardest-working segment of the population, the immigrants, denying coverage rights to those who have medical insurance, and withholding health care from the uninsured.

Greed is the “conservative” cause, and hate is the “conservative” agenda. Just goes to show, “conservative” is a politically correct term for greedy and stupid!

barking frog

October 23rd, 2010
6:46 am

Any AG that would waste time and money attempting
to avert the application of Federal law to the state is an
extremely poor choice.

Mr_B

October 23rd, 2010
8:23 am

Fantastic use of taxpayer money: take on the Feds over ACA. And the chicken and carpet interests ain’t gonna be too happy over that “illegal immigrant” thingy, so expect that one to go to the far back burner as soon as the elections are over.

carlosgvv

October 23rd, 2010
8:29 am

Yes, the public is demanding better enforcement of ethics and if you really beleive any of these corporate owned and union owned candidates will deliver on this, you are just too gullible for words. Only a completely new kind of political leadership will give the people what they want and this will not happen in this election.

jconservative

October 23rd, 2010
8:50 am

Let’s see.

We have a trial lawyer running for governor and the Republican Party is running ads trashing trial lawyers.

We have a trial lawyer running for attorney general and the Republican Party loves him and is running ads wanting me to vote for a trial lawyer.

Kyle is a Republican and will vote for the Republican candidate. OK, I understand that. But I am an independent. I am not as liberal as Kyle and the vast majority of Republicans so I will take a few more days and mull over this race before deciding.

But after years of listening to Republicans trash trial lawyers I do find it amusing that now a trial lawyer is their darling.

Veracity – Adherence to the truth…

AmVet

October 23rd, 2010
9:33 am

The nation has just endured eight years of the worst president in modern American history.

And not to be outdone, Georgia is getting ready to elect the most corrupt, worst governor in modern Georgia history.

IF either of these candidates for AG had the _____ and ethical decency to aver that they are going to implement widespread prosecutions of the men who ran businesses that employed illegal immigrants, they would be doing their job. And would get my vote.

But they will not. And you ethically challenged enablers in the electorate will give them a completely free pass for NOT doing their jobs, won’t you?

Exactly as you do for the thousands of corrupt business owners who violated numerous US and Georgia laws, won’t you?

All the while praying that the poor schmucks who worked for these law averse business owners get “rounded up” and deported.

But ask yourselves these two questions, you myopically selective soft on crime types.

Why won’t these employers in a wide range of industries be treated the exact same as the employees that they made lots of money off of?

And, when did the GOP become the Anti-Law & Order Party?

Cobb Res

October 23rd, 2010
9:44 am

Kyle, you should do some more research on Olens’s conservative credibility. http://www.therealsamolens.com

Gimme More

October 23rd, 2010
9:54 am

I’ll be casting my vote for Olens. He believes that donkeys are entitled to live in luxury.

If you’re a Democrat, vote for Sam. I am!

N Fulton Mom

October 23rd, 2010
11:42 am

Olens has nothing to say in his TV commercial that indicates he’s qualified to be the State’s top prosecutor. So he plays upon partisan bias by slipping in his commitment to “fight Obamacare” at the end. Don’t you people realize that campaign = job interview? The job is making sure criminals in Georgia are prosecuted. Do we realy need another top state official who ignores his duties to the people of this state in order to pursue a national partisan agenda on behalf of his party and his own ambitions?

Gator Joe

October 23rd, 2010
11:43 am

Kyle,
You and many on the Right persist in showing your ignorance in using “Obamacare” when that title does not appear on the legislation. By the way, if many in the public have abandoned the Democrats, after less than two years, for not having corrected the damage done by your party, then how long do you think Republicans have?, that is if they succeed in taking back the Congress.

mike

October 23rd, 2010
2:23 pm

“You and many on the Right persist in showing your ignorance in using “Obamacare” when that title does not appear on the legislation”

LOL. This might take the cake for the most ignorant comment I have ever seen on this blog.

Thanks for the hearty laugh.

LegalEagle

October 23rd, 2010
6:41 pm

Jim, You are wrong about Hodges taking on Richard Scruggs, that simply never happened. What Hodges DID do was falsely indict his consultants THREE TIMES, a case that is now headed to the U.S. Supreme Court because the prosecutorial abuse was so egregious. While I am sure you mean well, your comment is just totally factually incorrect.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

October 23rd, 2010
6:59 pm

In August 2004, for instance, American forces surreptitiously purchased what they believed to be containers of liquid sulfur mustard, a toxic “blister agent” used as a chemical weapon since World War I. The troops tested the liquid, and “reported two positive results for blister.” The chemical was then “triple-sealed and transported to a secure site” outside their base…

Even late in the war, WMDs were still being unearthed. In the summer of 2008, according to one WikiLeaked report, American troops found at least 10 rounds that tested positive for chemical agents.

Well, well, well, you just can’t tell…

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

October 23rd, 2010
7:43 pm

However, the bigger finding is that, at least according to the Pentagon’s secret report, most Iraqi civilian deaths were caused by other Iraqis. The report calculates 31,780 Iraqis killed by roadside bombs and 34,814 by sectarian killings (notated as “murders”).

This surprises the liberals?

Are you kidding me?

John Franklin (JF) McNamara

October 23rd, 2010
7:46 pm

I live in Cobb and think Olens did a good job, but I wouldn’t mind if either won. If overturning Obamacare and illegal immigration are the key things he’s going to focus on, then I can’t really get with Olens. Overturning Obamacare is a waste of time and sure to fail (rightfully) and so is focusing on illegal immigration. He can’t do anything about either but appear mad to get votes and placate to the extreme right.

Lil' Barry Bailout

October 23rd, 2010
9:48 pm

You can be the most qualified candidate in the world but if you’ve got that (D) by your name, you’re just another Idiot Messiah enabler and must be defeated.

Lil' Barry Bailout

October 23rd, 2010
9:52 pm

AmVet: And, when did the GOP become the Anti-Law & Order Party?
—————————-

Last night, in your dreams.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

October 24th, 2010
8:13 am

Why go backward? President Barack obozo challenged voters Saturday in Minneapolis. He said Republicans can only hope Americans forget which party brought them a “lost decade.” -Urinal

A “lost” decade where most had a job, unlike now.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

October 24th, 2010
8:31 am

In that less-likely scenario, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., probably would keep her post as second in the line of succession to the presidency, even after being vilified by Republicans throughout this election season as the face of the Washington establishment. -Urinal

This would be perfect, just sayin…

What says we don’t get it more than Nasty Pelosi’s mug hung around your own neck?

AmVet

October 24th, 2010
9:34 am

Last night, in your dreams.

Perhaps. Must have been the same one where the responsible state and federal authorities were identifying, arresting and prosecuting the many thousands of business owners in Georgia alone, who used “undocumented immigrants” to profit illegally. At the expense of working class American citizens and their families.

But you you soft on crime types wouldn’t want those business owners, in a wide variety of industries, to be held accountable for that would you?

Nope, they are immune from the law of the land. Just the way the Wall Street banksters, casino capitalists and legalized thieves are. And just the way you Anti-Law & Order rubes want it.

As evidenced by the fact that I have never, ever once seen one of you insanely misnamed conservatives on any AJC blog call for justice in these matters. You fiscal irresponsibles have become pros at turning a blind eye and playing stupid to all of the types of crimes you are hunky dory with.

And knowing just how courageous you are, you will now give empty lip service to upholding the law, but who are you kidding, Lil’ BB?

You’re thrilled, just as long as you get to see the employees themselves rounded up and deported and the employers get a totally free pass.

Typical capricious neo-con – vilify the weak and glorify the wicked…

Lil' Barry Bailout

October 24th, 2010
10:13 am

I suppose the federal government, which is of course the only level of government that is constitutionally empowered to police immigration, and the Idiot Messiah who has that responsibility, could adopt the same attitude toward prosecuting business as deporting illegal aliens:

“We can’t prosecute them all!”

Stopping the hiring of illegal aliens: Another of the Idiot Messiah’s many failures.

AmVet

October 24th, 2010
11:02 am

Stopping the hiring of illegal aliens: Another of the many instances where tens of thousands in the business community have virtually NO use for the law of the land.

It hurts profits.

And thought the delusional blame BHO, the real culprit lies with the US Congress for failing to *require* that employers certify legal immigration status of workers before hiring by using a Department of Homeland Security program called E-Verify. The program allows employers to check the validity of Social Security numbers provided by new hires.

It is available to employers on a voluntary basis. In other words, the old neo-con mantra of “Let the free market police itself”. Who could have know that by that that shallow mantra actually meant a market free of adhering to many US and state laws.

“They could have deterred this, but they chose not to,” said Steven Camarota, director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies.

He said a federal requirement that employers use E-Verify would have reduced, if not eliminated, the hiring of immigrants in this country illegally.

“We don’t need no stinking requirements. We’ll do the right things, honest!”

And as is often the case, because the “free market” has acted so irresponsibly on such a giant scale, Uncle Sam has no choice but to step in and supposedly – though we all know he really doesn’t and wont, because the corporate paymasters would have a cow – make the miscreants obey the law.

So keep shucking and grinning for the unindicted criminals, cons.

It suits you well…

Lil' Barry Bailout

October 24th, 2010
4:19 pm

AmVet: It hurts profits.
——————————-

You should demand that the nation’s chief law enforcement officer do something about it.

9 Days To V-Day

October 24th, 2010
4:25 pm

That idiot Biden sure knows how to let his ass overload his mouth, like most liberal nut sacks:

“I was amazed at the amount of money, this $200 billion of money that is — where there’s no accountability,” he said. “When I say accountability, we don’t know where it’s coming from. There’s no disclosure, so the folks watching the ad can’t make a judgment based upon motive when you say it’s paid for by so-and-so.”

BILLIONS??? Idiot.

“A teleprompter will be in use for the first time in the Central Hall of Parliament when US President Barack Obama addresses MPs on November eight….As per the tentative programme being worked out, the address by Obama, who once said that “America has its roots in the India of Mahatma Gandhi”, would not be for more than 20 minutes.”

Sigh. I sure miss presidents who spoke from the heart and mind, not from a teleprompter. Obummer couldn’t host an original thought or speech any more than his lobster gorging wife – who wants to tell the rest of us what to eat – could.

“A teacher who is judged to be incapable of ever improving his work has become the first to be banned for life from the classroom due to incompetence.”

Can we do that to the American Teacher’s Union who support and promote liberalism, indoctrinate our youths, and support and Democrat politicians and causes? That would be great.

Juan Williams is now free from the mindlessness of liberalism at NPR. He’s going to be a very wealthy man now thanks to Fox News. Eat that, DNCNN and PMSNBC, let alone you bed wetters at NPR. America WILL speak its mind, irrelevant what you mouth breathers find “offensive.”

AmVet

October 24th, 2010
8:35 pm

You should demand that the nation’s chief law enforcement officer do something about it.

Unfortunately there are WAY too many criminal coddlers like the people you adore, who have his ear…

@@

October 24th, 2010
8:45 pm

Isn’t there $162,000,000 in stimulus money that unaccounted for?

Wasn’t it Joe’s job to keep up with where that money goes?

Lil' Barry Bailout

October 24th, 2010
9:18 pm

Sorry, AmVet, but conservatives run nothing in Washington D.C. at the moment. If you’ve got a problem with the job the Idiot Messiah is doing, or the laws the Congress is or isn’t passing, your one-stop-shop for assigning blame is the Democrat party and their little emperor.

Must be a bummer to have your guys in total control and have it go this poorly.

AmVet

October 24th, 2010
9:55 pm

“…conservatives run serve no constructive role in Washington D.C…”

Unless you are a white collar criminal…

9 Days To V-Day

October 24th, 2010
9:55 pm

Lil’: Obummer is just not bright enough to run the Demorat party. He’s nothing but a political tool being pwned by the likes of the Pelosirats who are soon to be extinct for the time being. Americans have had enough of fascism, government ramrodding policies down our throats, and sheer incompetence wrapped in Chicago-style arrogance.

9 Days To V-Day

October 24th, 2010
9:57 pm

“Unless you are a white collar criminal…”

Democrat run government has lied, cooked the books, spent money it doesn’t have, and blamed others for their failures. Just like Enron and other “white collar” companies. But yet Demorats (and many Republicans for that matter) get to go home at night. Pathetic.

Lil' Barry Bailout

October 24th, 2010
10:02 pm

Don’t worry AmVet, I suspect that starting in January your pathetic attempt at blame-shifting might resonate a little better but until then, whatever happens is on the Democrats and their boy emperor.

9 Days To V-Day

October 24th, 2010
10:03 pm

Shamvet wants to talk about white collar criminals as if they are only Repugs. Let’s just rattle off a few tax cheaters from the top, shall we? Tim Geither our treasury secretary, John Kerry (who served in Vietnam if you hadn’t heard), and Charlie Rangel.

Lil' Barry Bailout

October 24th, 2010
10:05 pm

Oh, the hypocrisy!

Lil' Barry Bailout

October 24th, 2010
10:06 pm

Kerry only paid his taxes after he got nailed by what the libbtards fearfully call “Faux News”.