Archive for April, 2009

One more out: Westmoreland says no to race for governor

We speculators are quickly running out of spare GOP candidates for governor.

Sam Olens bowed out on Tuesday, Mark Burkhalter on Thursday, now Lynn Westmoreland, who issued his stay-put memo about an hour ago.

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston and state Sen. Eric Johnson, both of Savannah, remain quiet.

Here’s what the congressman from Coweta County had to say:

“The last week has given me a chance to think seriously about how I can best serve the people of our state. That process has involved in-depth talks with my wife and children, my longtime supporters and my most trusted friends.

“I have decided that it is best for me to remain in Congress, where I think I can make a difference as a legislative fighter.

“I work with a great group of Georgians in Congress, and I believe it’s critical that we rebuild our state’s seniority in the delegation. I’m also excited about leadership roles I’ve taken to help Republicans work toward reclaiming our majority in Congress and returning …

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Your morning jolt: Gay marriage and the beauty contest

Gay couples in Iowa — Iowa! — are on the verge of marital bliss, courtesy of that state’s supreme court.

Kristen Dalton (left) and Carrie Prejean/AP

Kristen Dalton (left) and Carrie Prejean/AP

The Connecticut legislature has passed a bill extending marriage rights to same-sex couples. The governor is expected to sign it.

Polling in New Jersey and New York show opinion shifting on the issue. In the New Jersey poll, 51 percent of Republicans in New Jersey disagreed with this statement: “Same-sex marriage is a threat to traditional marriage between a man and woman.”

And so, for social conservatives, this week was reduced to a pair of dischordant bright spots: their old nemesis Rudy Giuliani, and a sparkling blonde in a skimpy bikini and heels.

Giuliani took after David Paterson and the New York governor’s proposed gay marriage bill. Religious conservatives like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council were forced to give kudos. This from Politico:

“Mayor Giuliani has several positive traits. One that just …

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Westmoreland: ‘I’ve got a lot of people saying, ‘We need you at home.”

Updated at 6:07 p.m.: We were able to confirm that Republican members from Georgia, known collectively as the G-7, met on the floor of the U.S. House this afternoon. Among the topics raised was the Georgia race for governor. No details — yet — of the direction the discussion took.

Two weeks ago, U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland struggled with a horrendous case of kidney stones that put him in the hospital.

This week, the Coweta County congressman is wrestling with something that’s perhaps not as painful, but no less difficult: Whether or not to run for governor.

U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland/AJC

U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland/AJC

My AJC colleague Bob Keefe cornered Westmoreland earlier this week — before a round of anonymous robo-calls carpeted his 3rd District, asking voters to call the congressman and urge him to stay put.

Westmoreland said his biggest worry is about what running for — and winning — would mean to his personal and family life.

“It’s a big decision. It’s a complete change in your …

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Meghan McCain on Dick Cheney: ‘You had your eight years — now go away’

Coming to you soon via everywhere: Meghan McCain, on ABC’s “The View,” talking about being creeped out by having Karl Rove follow her on Twitter, and her desire to see less of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

“You had your eight years — go away,” sayeth the daughter of the former Republican presidential nominee, on video posted at Time magazine’s The Page.

Whether a coincidence or not, John McCain now has primary opposition for his Arizona Senate seat in 2010.

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

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Obama leads in 2012 match-ups, whether Gingrich, Palin, Huckabee or Romney

Public Policy Polling of North Carolina has released the first of what it says will be a series of monthly surveys showing how President Barack Obama fares against leading names in the Republican party.

Right now, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee fares best, but Obama leads all.

See the complete results here. But in summary:

Obama vs. Newt Gingrich: 52 percent to 39 percent. Gingrich’s unfavorable ratings are at 44 percent, while Obama’s job approval ratings stand at 53 percent.

Obama vs. Huckabee: 49 percent to 42 percent.

Obama vs. Sarah Palin: 53 percent to 41 percent. Palin’s unfavorable ratings are up to 49 percent, a number driven largely by women.

Obama vs. Romney: 50 percent to 39 percent.

The stats: PPP says its survey of 686 voters, conducted April 17-19, has an MOE of ±3.7%.

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Another Republican says ‘no’ to the governor’s race

This decision just in from Mark Burkhalter of Johns Creek, citing his duties in the Legislature and his business concerns:

After careful consideration, I have decided that I can best serve the citizens of Georgia, and my constituents by continuing my role as Speaker Pro Tempore of the Georgia House. I will continue to work diligently to help the GOP maintain and grow the majority that we won in the House five years ago.

Also, like many small business owners I want to stay close to my own business and not neglect it in this economy. I am confident Republicans will produce a gubernatorial candidate that our party will unite behind to win the 2010 general election. I wish the
best to each candidate.

Burkhalter becomes the second Republican in three days to reject a run for governor. Cobb County Commission Chairman Sam Olens on Tuesday declared he preferred to run for attorney general.

Burkhalter shares a north Fulton County footprint with Secretary of State Karen Handel, who …

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Here’s a mystery: Anonymous robo-calls demanding that Lynn Westmoreland stay in Washington

Someone would prefer that U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland stay in Congress, and keep out of the 2010 Republican race for governor.

Westmoreland spokesman Brian Robinson confirmed this morning that residents of the 3rd Congressional District are receiving automated phone calls — asking them to call the Coweta County congressman and urge him to stay put.

Robinson said the voice on the phone call was a female who described herself as conservative. The message did not include the name of any group or individual footing the bill.

If your answering machine has captured the sound, or the phone number of the originating caller, we would surely appreciate a copy of the MP3 file.

One would suspect the effort is paid for by a party or parties who don’t want the Republican field to grow beyond the current crop of four candidates.

Robinson said voters were urged to call Westmoreland’s district office in Newnan, and many of them thought their congressman was merely giving thought to …

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Your morning jolt: Isakson a step closer to his ‘Crash of ‘08′ commission

Johnny Isakson got something he very much wanted late Wednesday when the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly for his amendment to create an independent, 9/11-style commission to investigate the origins of the Crash of ’08.

The amendment was tacked onto a mortgage and securities fraud bill by a vote of 92 to 4. All four votes against the measure were Republican.

“When Enron and WorldCom failed at the start of this decade, Congress rushed to legislate and regulate without all the facts. We need to make sure we don’t repeat that reaction as we seek to recover from today’s financial crisis,” Isakson said. “The only way to get an objective evaluation of where mistakes were made is to create an independent commission of experts to ask what went right, what went wrong and what could we have done to prevent this.”

Isakson had paired with Kent Conrad, a Democrat from North Dakota, to push the legislation back in January. This is its first sign of traction, and occurs as the …

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Some background on the ‘Hail, Mary’ pass against those godless Democratic fund-raisers

When Karen Handel formally announced her team this week, the name of campaign manager Marty Ryall was at the top, of course.

Ryall’s brief bio was forthright enough to include the fact that he had managed the unsuccessful re-election bid of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.).

The most controversial move in that 2008 race was a decision by the Dole campaign to launch two 30-second ads that criticized Democrat Kay Hagan for attending a fund-raiser hosted by two atheists.

The first ended with a female voiceover declaring, “There is no God.” Which many interpreted as an attempt to put words in Hagan’s mouth — the Democrat never said that.

Ryall explained the entire episode — he called it “our Hail, Mary pass” — just last month in an article written for Politics magazine. Two more members of Handel’s campaign team, spokesman Dan McLagan and TV specialist Fred Davis, were on Dole’s squad at the time and helped make the call.

Wrote Ryall:

We were on a losing …

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A Strategic Vision poll in the governor’s race, and questions about transparency

Atlanta-based Strategic Vision, the GOP-oriented polling and strategy firm, is doubly in the news today.

This morning, SV released the latest statewide poll in the race for governor — the first since the departure of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle from the fray.

Download the entire poll memo here, but this is the GOP line:

— State Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, 33%;
— Secretary of State Karen Handel 14%;
— U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston 11%;
— U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland 7%;
— Cobb County Commission Chairman Sam Olens 4%;
— House Speaker pro tem Mark Burkhalter 2%;
— Ray McBerry 2%;
— State Rep. Austin Scott 2%;
— and undecided, 25%.

David Johnson, CEO of Strategic Vision, said Handel appears to be getting a good share of Cagle’s support. While Oxendine leads, Johnson said, the question is whether there’s a ceiling on his support.

The SV poll also gives Gov. Sonny Perdue a higher approval rating (51 percent) than a SurveyUSA poll released last week (40 …

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