Your morning jolt: Al Gore’s champion in Republican ranks

Within hours of a Georgia Supreme Court decision upholding the use of touch-screen voting machines, Secretary of State Karen Handel celebrated with a press release.

“Georgia has the most secure elections in the nation due to our four levels of security testing on touch-screen voting machines,” crowed the Republican candidate for governor.

But if Handel is fer it, then GOP rival John Oxendine must be agin it.

Said the Ox, in a counter news release:

”With all due respect and appreciation for the Supreme Court of Georgia, I am deeply disappointed in the decision today to reject the challenge to touch-screen electronic voting machines.

….[M]any Georgians will suggest, and I agree, that the 2000 presidential election demonstrates the exact need for a back-up paper system to establish the integrity of the voting process.”

Who knew that Oxendine was an Al Gore man?

A third Republican candidate for governor, Eric Johnson, was at the state Capitol on Monday, packing up his office. After 17 years, Johnson resigned from the Senate in order to concentrate full-time on his gubernatorial campaign.

Johnson said the University of Georgia has asked for his papers and such – or at least the right of first refusal. “I never considered myself a historical figure,” he said.

On the Democratic side, former Gov. Roy Barnes has penciled in a $1,000-per-head fund-raiser at the World Trade Club in downtown Atlanta on Oct. 13. It looks to be a McKenna, Long & Aldridge affair. Organizers are Buddy Darden, Gordon Giffin, Steve Labovitz, Keith Mason and Ed Sims.

See the invite here.

DuBose Porter, another Democratic candidate for governor, has relaunched his Web site with the video below.

But Porter might want to work on what the trade calls search engine optimization. If you Google “DuBose Porter governor,” the first thing that pops up is Roy 2010 Governor. Fancy that.

If only golf could be played in church basements instead of at country clubs. We told you about that ABC News piece from last week, which focused on the way members of Congress use leadership PACs to boost their lifestyles.

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss was the poster child. But Republicans are still talking about the numbers rattled off in this parallel Washington Post article over the weekend:

In California, he’s putted at Pebble Beach, where a round of golf costs $495. In Florida, he’s driven the ball down the fairways of the Boca Raton Resort, with its signature island green on the 18th hole. These are among the dozen premier resorts where Chambliss played golf in 2007 and 2008 at a cost of a quarter of a million dollars.

Yet Chambliss is hardly rich. His net worth is between $181,006 and $415,000, according to his 2007 financial disclosure report, ranking him 91st in the Senate in terms of wealth.

The congressman pays for his golf through a political leadership fund, the Republican Majority Fund, which took in $692,618 during the 2008 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Almost all of it came from lobbyists, political action committees and corporate leaders.

But of the $112 million that leadership PACs spent during the two-year campaign cycle that led up to the 2008 elections, less than half was passed on to candidates or party committees, according to a ProPublica analysis of Federal Election Commission data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. The rest paid for entertainment, administrative costs, fundraising and other categories that are so vague that it’s impossible to know for sure how the money was spent….

Leadership PACS file disclosure forms with the FEC that are so cursory that lawmakers don’t have to disclose who contributed at a PAC fundraiser, the day the event was held or how much money was raised.

Chambliss’s leadership PAC ran up a $50,394 bill at the Ritz-Carlton Naples on Jan. 25, 2008. The only note of explanation was the stated purpose, “PAC EVENT/LODGING/BANQUET/GOLF.”

“The problem is that sometimes it’s hard to tell the personal from the political,” said FEC Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub. Only a quarter of the more than $750,000 that Chambliss’s PAC spent during the 2008 cycle — about $200,000 — went to help GOP candidates. The rest went for golf, including payments to resorts and transportation — a private jet on one occasion and limos on another. In July, ABC News cameras captured shots of Chambliss and other lawmakers playing golf at the five-star Greenbrier resort in West Virginia.

Chambliss declined to be interviewed but his communications director, Bronwyn Lance Chester, defended the golf outings.

“Every fundraising event Sen. Chambliss has held has been appropriately conducted, all expenses have been closely scrutinized and all reporting has been accurate,” she said.

While you ponder that, consider these items found while perusing this morning’s ajc.com:

  • Recession pushes 26,000 metro Atlanta families into poverty.
  • Austell moves toward contract with disaster recovery company.
  • Homeless sex offenders live in woods in Cobb County.
  • Atlanta fined $1.6 million for pension glitch.
  • King siblings hold shareholder’s meeting — first in five years.
  • Grady dialysis patients to get care for three months.
  • Snellville delays Sunday liquor decision.
  • Young strippers from Cheetah win court case.
  • Rome bans “Girls Gone Wild” event.
  • Illegal aliens charged $2K for driver’s license.
  • Some opinion:

  • Two views: How should President Barack Obama respond to the fight in Afghanistan?
  • U.S. turns blind eye to obesity as health costs soar.
  • Marriage crisis is root of poverty.
  • From elsewhere in Georgia:

  • ABC: Morris Publishing Group working to restructure outside bankruptcy court.
  • Athens Banner-Herald: Broun softens health care reform rhetoric .
  • And beyond:

  • UPI: CIA opens center for climate change.
  • NYT: Abortion fight complicates debate on health care.
  • WSJ: Iran’s troubling nuclear disclosure leaves key questions to be answered.
  • For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

    11 comments Add your comment

    Dash Riptide

    September 29th, 2009
    9:42 am

    “Who knew that Oxendine was an Al Gore man?”

    The Ox is just sewing up the black crossover vote. I just talked to the black crossover vote, and he says he’s voting for Oxendine for sure now. The man is unstoppable.

    GoOx

    September 29th, 2009
    9:49 am

    Go Ox, way to put the Georgia Supreme Court in it’s place. Can’t wait to vote on new machines when you get elected.

    Jeff

    September 29th, 2009
    10:17 am

    So the man who uses fraudulent numbers to proclaim himself the “front runner” in his race wants new voting machines? Now why on earth would he do that? Does he plan to blame the machines when he LOSES his election?

    roger

    September 29th, 2009
    11:43 am

    Oxendine was a Clinton elector in 1992 – remember? he vote for Al as VP so there is still some loyalty there

    Bo Chambliss LOBBYIST

    September 29th, 2009
    11:52 am

    I know all of Georgia is glad that Saxby is spending his LOBBYIST money on golf rather than little boys like most Republicans.

    GoOx

    September 29th, 2009
    12:48 pm

    For the record my man Ox was not a Clinton Elector

    Owl Gore Tom GA Hunter Flip Wilson

    September 29th, 2009
    1:09 pm

    OWL Gore is a tool. Only 25% of the country has bought his man-made global warming garbage. Now one of the companies he owns is going to attempt to make electric cars, with gov’t funds. Follow the money kids.

    Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

    September 29th, 2009
    4:38 pm

    “Birds of Feather:”

    Roy Barnes, a Vietnam law school draft-dodger, “got into bed” with the same corruption and treason which sent us to die in Vietnam after killing John and Martin.

    Isn’t this the Steve Labovitz, Bill Campbell crony, to whom Sarah Tokars gave imprisoned-for-life Fred’s “connections” list to safeguard before she was blown away – which never again saw the light of day?

    President Obama needs Georgia’s help. The Democrats better come up with something better than scum as a candidate, or we’ll have to make Jeff Chapman – who yet may call himself “Republican” – governor.

    TANSTAAFL

    September 29th, 2009
    7:49 pm

    Greetings All,

    It’s hardly news that Saxby plays golf in only the finest venues around the country, $50,000 dollars for a golf weekend! On his salary? Over here at Bludgeon & Skewer we were talking about that way back in the way back in September of ‘08 as we assisted Allen Buckley (L) with his US Senate Campaign. One of our projects was the development of some really incendiary AM radio ads that compared and contrasted the inimitable Senator Chambliss with the man he defeated for his Senate seat, Max Cleland. Sadly, the ad was deemed to incindiary by Allen and he refused to run it, evidence that Allen has far better taste than we do. Still, it’s one of our favorites and is available for your auditory pleasure right here http://sites.google.com/site/bludgeonskewer/Home.

    Leopards do not change their spots and neither do corrupt politicians. It is time for change and you should consider the Libertarian alternative in 2010. You can throw away your vote on the Democrat or Republican party candidates and continue to suffer the slings and arrows of their indifference to you the voter. Or you can slap them in the face by casting your ballot for Libertarian John Monds for Governor and the rest of the merry Libertarian crew that will be running with him in 2010.

    Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

    September 29th, 2009
    8:28 pm

    “Republicans” who want to smoke pot or come out of the closet are the heart and core of the “Libertarian” party. Many Democrats at least recognize the Gay Old Pervert party, and pseudo-”Democrats” like sold-out Roy Barnes, for what it is: the political front for the Roman Anti-Christ’s “Fifth Column.”

    Enough

    September 30th, 2009
    9:09 am

    Chambliss is unbelievable. As this country sinks deeper and deeper into insolvency/depression/recession/endless war, he is out on the links playing golf.
    And he’s got 5 more years to enjoy a lifestyle funded by PACS and lobbyists. Georgians, how dumb can you be to elect this kind of man? Out with all incumbents! Term limitations! Accountability!