Massachusetts and its U.S. senate race between Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Scott Brown was the center of attention over the long Martin Luther King weekend – even in Georgia.
Martin Luther King III was summoned from Monday’s service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta by President Barack Obama, his sister Bernice King said, to stump for Coakley.
Fulton County Republicans report that they have been drawn into the contest as well, placing 7,000 calls into Massachusetts over the weekend via the GOP chapter’s new GOTV phone system.
Tonight’s mystery, from this morning’s Politico:
“Conventional wisdom is, the high turnout favors the Democrat. But in a special election, high turnout is volatile because you don’t know who’s showing up,” said Scott Ferson, a Democratic strategist in the state.
Making the vote even tougher to predict: the weather. Tuesday’s forecast calls for a mix of snow and rain, with temperatures in the low 30s.
So where did Brown get his money? This, too, from Politico:
Working quietly and under the radar, the National Republican Senatorial Committee shifted $500,000 to the Massachusetts GOP in the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s dramatic election, according to Republican sources.
The NRSC transfer, made in several dispersals beginning on Jan. 7, were used for phone and mail get-out-the-vote operations targeted at independent voters, said Rob Jesmer, the NRSC’s executive director.
NRSC officials kept quiet about the money transfers, despite public taunts from their Senate Democratic counterparts that the GOP leadership was declining to put money behind Brown’s candidacy.
PeachPundit reports that, with the old state House regime out, Tom Graves (R-Ranger) is re-forming the 216 Group, an informal caucus of (very) conservative Republicans who graded legislation passing through the House.
The number “216″ came from the state Capitol room where they met each week.
The group was disbanded after House Speaker Glenn Richardson decided he didn’t need a Greek chorus proclaiming his legislation something less than ideologically pure.
“The 216 Policy Group believes that less government is better government. And having a principled based belief system is a compass that helps to guide our decision-making, because above all, we were elected to do one thing: put principles before politics,” Graves says on his web site.
Did we mention Graves was running for Congress?
The Atlanta Business Chronicle cities a survey by the Chronicle of Higher Education that, recession or not, the heads of Georgia’s public universities are among the highest paid of 185 institutions surveyed.
Georgia Tech President G. P. “Bud” Peterson ranked 21st with a total compensation package of $634,138 for 2008-2009. This includes a $424,50 salary, $150,000 in deferred compensation, $22,638 in retirement pay, a $25,000 relocation allowance, $12,000 for use of a car and a house.
In 23rd place is Georgia State University President Mark Becker, whose total compensation was $629,776. That figure includes a $515,100 salary, use of a car, $19,400 for a house, $22,638 in deferred compensation, $22,638 in retirement pay, a $50,000 relocation allowance and an expense account.
The University of Georgia President Michael F. Adams had $604,864 in total compensation, putting him at 25th highest-paid. His total compensation includes a $380,719 salary, $150,000 in deferred compensation, use of a car, $19,400 for a house, $14,745 in retirement pay, $40,000 in longevity pay, an expense account and club dues.
Tom Baxter at Southern Political Report says the South should be bracing for an influx of Haitian refugees:
To say the least, Haiti has had its share of disasters. But this one [is] big enough to send a significant number of Haitians to our shores, one way or another. Interviewed on CNN Monday, retired Lt. Gen. Russell Honore’ suggested that outright evacuation of some of the worst-hit areas on the island made more sense than attempting to get supplies to survivors on the ground.
The political reaction to a mass of new arrivals in the United States could be explosive, but Honore’, who won plaudits for his role in the Katrina recovery, may only be suggesting something that will make the inevitable more orderly. Haiti was a poor and hungry nation before last week’s earthquake. Now it will be a desperate one, and not very far away, even on a flimsy boat.
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