Archive for April, 2010

Who has qualified in local races?

You can  view who has qualified for statewide races at the Secretary of State’s site.

Below is early information on who has qualified for local races, provided by our colleagues at the AJC . It is a work in progress and will be updated next week.


Solicitor General: Robert James, (D) I

Commission District 2: Jeff Rader, (D) I

Commission District 3: Larry Johnson, (D) I

Commission District 7: Stan Watson (D)

Commission District 7: Kathryn Rice (D)

Commission District 7: Bryce Farbstein (D)


Board of Commissioners

Michael Robinson, District 1, empty seat (R)

Ralph “Pete” Amos, District 1, empty seat (R)

Todd Levent, District 3, (R)

James “Jim” Harrell Jr, District 3, (R) I

Mark Venco, District 3, (R)

Josh Shorr, District 3, (R)

Board of Education

Ann Crow, District 1, (R) I

Kristin Morrissey, District 2 (R)

Camille Fareri, District 2 (D)


Buzz Ahrens, Co. Commission Chairman, (R) I

Harry Johnston, Co. Commission Post 1, (R) I

Derek …

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Ray McBerry makes Karen Handel ‘very uncomfortable’

The first reaction to today’s column about Ray McBerry and his relationship with a 16-year-old girl comes from fellow Republican candidate for governor Karen Handel.

Said Handel spokesman Dan McLagan:

“Karen is very uncomfortable appearing onstage with Mr. McBerry and is perplexed that GOP groups continue to invite him to events.

“He clearly does not represent the values of the Republican Party or of Georgians in general and Karen will take the lead in saying this — even if other Republican leaders do not.

“The fact that he continues to campaign as if none of these revelations has occurred is disturbing and unsettling.”

Then there’s John Watson, immediate past finance chairman of the state GOP and former chief of staff for Gov. Sonny Perdue. Watson agrees that state Republican officials had no choice but to allow McBerry qualify this week.

But that doesn’t completely tie their hands said Watson, the father of two daughters:

“It’s a free country, and if the guy wants to put …

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Qualifying suprises — and Roy Barnes hits TV today

Click here to look at the details yourself, but these are some suprises as qualifying shut down at noon today:

– Chuck Efstration, the 27-year-old assistant district attorney in Gwinnett and chair of the county GOP, jumped into the GOP race to replace U.S. Rep. John Linder in the 7th District.

Other top candidates are former state Rep. Clay Cox of Lilburn and Linder’s former chief of staff, Rob Woodall. A total of eight Republicans are in the contest.

– Democrats Angela Moore of Decatur, a former 4th District congressional candidate, state Rep. Georganna Sinkfield of Atlanta, have all jumped into the primary for secretary of state. The race is no longer a fight between state Sen. Gail Buckner and party activist Gary Horlacher.

– Former state Rep. Roger Hines of Kennesaw failed to qualify in a GOP primary challenge to Republican incumbent School Superintendent Kathy Cox. Cox still faces a primary challenge from school administrator John Barge of Rome.

On the Democratic side, …

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Parents, church and judge told future GOP candidate for governor: ‘Leave the girl alone’

Ray McBerry (center) with four other GOP candidates for governor at a 2009 forum. Elissa Eubanks/

Ray McBerry (center) with four other GOP candidates for governor at a 2009 forum. Elissa Eubanks/

Rachel Gandee was a band nerd in high school.

She didn’t drink. She didn’t smoke. Her grades were solid. The 16-year-old had just finished 10th grade and was, by her mother’s judgment, a good girl.

Then she fell in with Ray McBerry, a married history teacher and member of her small storefront church in McDonough. When their relationship began, McBerry was still four years away from his first Republican run for governor in 2006. He’s trying again this year.

Last month, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission released a summary of its investigation into McBerry, who resigned his position at Patrick Henry High School in Stockbridge in January 2003, shortly after Rachel’s mother filed a complaint.

Eventually, in 2004, the GPSC would suspend his teaching certificate for five days for abuse of a student, lying to administrators and violation of the …

Continue reading Parents, church and judge told future GOP candidate for governor: ‘Leave the girl alone’ »

David Poythress aims a first TV ad at south Georgia

David Poythress, the former National Guard commander, intends to become the first Democratic candidate for governor up on television with the ad below, which starts Friday.

Here’s the script:

“People all over Georgia are hurting, and the politicians in Atlanta aren’t listening. They don’t seem to realize that this week’s paycheck won’t cover next week’s bills.

“My plan will help small businesses start hiring again and put folks back to work. And to prove I’m serious about getting results … I won’t accept a paycheck as governor until we get unemployment below 7 percent.

Georgians needs a fighter. As a three-star general, that’s what I do.”

The Poythress campaign is putting the size of the ad buy at “six figures,” and says it will air in a large part of Georgia below I-20: Albany, Augusta, Columbus and Macon.

Says campaign manager Wendy Davis:

We’ve been saying for months that we’re the little campaign that can do big things. We’re up on TV when most …

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The winnowing continues: Austin Scott runs for Congress

We’re down to six candidates in the Republican race for governor. This from my AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin:

Rep. Austin Scott (R-Tifton) will challenge U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Ga.) in the 8th congressional district, eschewing a bid for governor.

Scott has been one of several candidates seeking the GOP nomination for governor but has been unable to attract the money of many of the other top contenders.

While a rumor surfaced in the past two weeks that he would challenge incumbent Republican Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle instead, Scott confirmed to the AJC on Thursday that he will qualify to run for Congress.

But to be fair, Travis Fain – who today leaves the Macon Telegraph for North Carolina and marriage – had the first word from Scott:

State Rep. Austin Scott, the Tifton Republican who had been running for governor, will file to run against U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall in the 8th Congressional District instead, he said today.

“It’s not about Marshall,” he said. “It’s about …

Continue reading The winnowing continues: Austin Scott runs for Congress »

Don Balfour picks up GOP opposition for return to Senate

He who hesitates is primaried.

Travis Bowden of Lilburn announced today that he would drop out of a crowded race for House District 102 and into a primary contest against state Sen. Don Balfour (R-Snellville).

Balfour was the first Republican to announce for the 7th District congressional seat of retiring U.S. Rep. John Linder, then abruptly pulled out – and said he was done with politics. Earlier this month, backed by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and other Senate Republican leaders, Balfour said he’d run for re-election to the Senate.

Bowden’s press release is pretty rough – and full of implied meaning:

“After several insightful months of meeting with Lilburn residents, I have decided to focus on the Senate District that encompasses much of Lilburn, as well as the communities of Snellville, Lawrenceville, Grayson, and Loganville. It is not a decision I make easily or hastily. However, I can no longer abide our current Senate representation and feel I can better serve my …

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Your morning jolt: Cherokee tea party leader makes Time list of ‘most influential’

Time magazine today released its annual list of 100 most influential leaders, artists, thinkers, and heroes in the world.

No. 15, under the category of “Leaders,” behind Barack Obama (No. 4) and Sarah Palin (No. 9), is the name of Cherokee County’s own Jenny Beth Martin, tea party organizer extraordinaire:

Every revolution needs icons. The Tea Party movement may have mushroomed because of its reluctance to anoint a leader, but leaders have emerged nonetheless. In February 2009, Jenny Beth Martin was one of about 20 people who took part in the original conference call (convened via Twitter hashtag) in response to Rick Santelli’s now famous rant.

Her commitment to building the burgeoning movement has made her one of its breakout stars. Martin, 39, is a co-founder and the national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots, an umbrella organization that claims 1,800 local affiliates with some 15 million members. She serves as co-chair of her hometown Tea Party in Atlanta, and she …

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Marco Rubio says Arizona immigration law could ‘unreasonably single out people’

On Tuesday, Republican candidate for governor Nathan Deal declared he would implement Arizona-style immigration laws in Georgia.

But signs that all Republicans aren’t on board are popping up. This from

Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio said in a statement Tuesday that he fears the law puts the Arizona’s police force in an “incredibly difficult position.”

“It could also unreasonably single out people who are here legally, including many American citizens,” Rubio said.

“Throughout American history and throughout this administration we have seen that when government is given an inch it takes a mile.”

Rubio criticism was quickly followed up by a fellow Floridian, former Gov. Jeb Bush. In an interview … Bush said the law is not “the proper approach.”

“I think it creates unintended consequences,” he said. “It’s difficult for me to imagine how you’re going to enforce this law. It places a significant burden on local law enforcement and you …

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Your morning jolt: The woman who beat Sarah Palin in Alaska takes aim at the Georgia House

The woman who beat Sarah Palin for the beauty queen title of Miss Alaska in 1984 is aiming for the Legislature.

Maryline Blackburn, once of Alaska, now of Smyrna

Maryline Blackburn, once of Alaska, now of Smyrna

Singer and actress Maryline Blackburn of Smyrna, now a 24-year resident of the state, will announce Thursday that she’ll mount a Democratic challenge to Republican incumbent Rich Golick for his House seat.

Blackburn was Alaska’s first African-American representative to the Miss America beauty pageant. Palin, the future GOP vice presidential nominee, was a flute player from Wasilla. She was named Miss Congeniality.

Blackburn has said nice things about her encounter with Palin 26 years ago. But she voted for Barack Obama in ‘08.

Blackburn’s entrance is a happy development for Democrats. The 34th District has some rapidly shifting demographics.

Dan Becker is not a happy man this morning. The president of Georgia Right to Life woke up this morning to this piece from my AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin:

House Speaker …

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