Your morning jolt: Eric Johnson to be the first candidate for governor on TV?

We’re told that Eric Johnson will become the first Republican in the race for governor to go up on TV, with a small but targeted ad buy on cable outlets in Atlanta, Savannah, Macon and Augusta.

Johnson, the former leader of the state Senate, will be focus his message on Fox, the Weather Channel, HGTV, the History Channel, ESPN, and the Golf Channel.

The ads are to start Tuesday. Next week is the start of the Masters.

Johnson, who hails from Savannah – a relatively small media market, has been finishing in the middle of the pelaton in statewide polls. But the purchase of TV time so early may also be an indication that Johnson has done relatively well in raising money.

Campaign disclosures, which will measure the amounts raised by candidates in the period that ended on March 31, should be out starting next week.

The price of fame: Having those Tweets you sent out, while your judgment was at the dry cleaners, aired again and again and again.

Last night, Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart skewered CNN and its new conservative commentator, Erick Erickson of Macon, who runs Redstate.com.

The same Erickson whose Twitter account includes this:

Is Obama shagging hookers behind the media’s back?…I assume that Obama’s Marxist harpy wife would go Lorena Bobbit on him should he even think about it.

Watch it here:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
CNN Hires Erick Erickson
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Health Care Reform

One of the general rules of campaigning is that, when you’re in a hole, stop digging. Change the topic. But Nathan Deal, the former congressman and current Republican candidate for governor, has felt it necessary to become the exception.

A report by the Office of Congressional Ethics, released Monday, alleges that Deal involved his office and staff in an effort to lobby state Revenue Commissioner Bart Graham and preserve a business he owned in north Georgia.

On Tuesday, Deal held a press conference. On Wednesday, he sent out video links of his session with reporters to potential contributors. On Thursday, he was on WGKA (920AM) in Atlanta, with conservative talk host Denny Schaffer.

Listen to the entire conversation here. But there was this exchange:

Schaffer: So does the AJC have it wrong in the big story, front page, says, “Deal and his business partner Ken Cronan for 20 years had an agreement with the state that earned the company $1.5 million from 2004 to 2008.”?

Deal: Well, they have it wrong in that we never had an agreement. It was always a discretionary program subject to the commissioner of the Department of Revenue. And many other companies across the state had the same arrangements. We allowed our facilities to be used, free of charge, by the state of Georgia. The state charged fees. Those who chose to come to our facility, like every other facility in the state, paid a user fee. No contract, no state money. That was the arrangement.

Deal and the OCE have been the topic of editorials by both the Washington Post and the New York Times this week.

Wrote the Post:

Mr. Deal’s conduct is troubling, but even more troubling is the thought that his actions could have remained hidden from Georgia voters if the OCE hadn’t taken the unusual step of releasing the report post-resignation. The probe was exposed last year by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, but the OCE report adds details and, more important, the imprimatur of an official review. It underscores the importance of an outside investigative body and the limitations imposed on the body: Without subpoena power, the OCE was unable to interview the Georgia lieutenant governor, who had attended one of the meetings, and to obtain other information from state officials.

And the NYT:

The office served notice on lawmakers that someone new is indeed watching — and with a professional eye. The secrecy surrounding the standing ethics committee’s operations too often shields and delays resolution, as in the case of the tangled affairs of Representative Charles Rangel. Members may grumble that the Office of Congressional Ethics amounts to a grand jury. The fact is that Congress refused to give it subpoena power, yet the office is not only managing to do good work but is telling the public what it is entitled to know.

AARP Georgia told its membership that SB 57, a bill known as the Georgia Fair Lending Act, was stripped of many consumer protections by the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

AARP said:

The House diluted provisions outlawing broker kickbacks that cost Georgians hundreds of thousands of dollar in extra interest payments each year. For example, if a Georgia resident asks a broker to find him or her the best rate on a mortgage, the broker may discover that the person qualified for, say, a 5.5 percent rate. But, instead, the broker steers the customer to a mortgage costing 6 percent. The broker receives a kickback, called a yield spread premium, from the lender as a result.

Georgia has one of the highest mortgage foreclosure rates in the nation.

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

36 comments Add your comment

Deal Real Steal

April 2nd, 2010
10:26 am

When your within the margin of error in every poll, like Johnson, you have to go on TV early. How much did spend increase under his leadership?

You Asked

April 2nd, 2010
10:26 am

Eric Johnson is going to air his commericals on that bastion of elitist conservative country club politics?!?!

The golf channel.

(just kidding)

GoOx

April 2nd, 2010
10:28 am

My man Ox looks forward to goring Johnson in the primary. He can’t buy enough TV to even get in the shadow of my man Ox.

RetiredSoldier

April 2nd, 2010
10:28 am

Glad to see Eric going on the air. I think this will be the start of a strong push that will rocket Eric to the front of the pack.

You Asked

April 2nd, 2010
10:30 am

Deal Real Steal- the cost per capita for state services has gone down in recent years. The last two years overall budget has gone down as well- with 1 million new citizens to care for.

The recent economic troubles notwithstanding we were already cutting costs. I credit the work of state employees who have engaged in a customer service and government efficiency campaign (the PEW institute ranked us in the top 5 best managed states last year). Despite the recent troubles Georgia has kept its AAA bond rating (saving us lots of interest) and is poised to come out of the recovery in better shape than most larger states.

The time is near

April 2nd, 2010
10:35 am

p

April 2nd, 2010
10:37 am

Eric Johnson has millions in Reynolds brokered campaign money and the behind him. The rich folk intend to spend whatever is necessary to stay in control of GA

td

April 2nd, 2010
10:38 am

Eric Johnson is probably the one person in this race that should be and would make the best Governor. The problem is he lives is south Georgia and has very little name recognition and the true non believing or ignorant politicians like Ox or Handel will win the primary.

You Asked

April 2nd, 2010
10:39 am

The time is near – glad to see you are excited and involved in the political process. I am impressed with how well informed you are. Thanks to people like you we are certain to attract the best and brightest candidates for public office then vote in the best qualified leaders.

Deal Real Steal

April 2nd, 2010
10:41 am

You asked,
The only reason spending went down in the last two years is because the economy tanked.

You Asked

April 2nd, 2010
10:47 am

Deal Real Steal- State employees were cutting costs before the drop in the economy- and thank goodness they were. If not we’d be in worse trouble like California and New York. Mind you there is always more work to be done and not all agencies were as careful with funds as they should have been but places like the Department of Natural resources were cutting costs and payroll for the last decade while still providing some very good service. DHS and Drivers Services professionalized call centers and streamlined operations so people could get services in much less time and spend less tax dollars to do it. These were all efforts going on well before the economic crisis.

Now in a strange sort of way other agencies around the state are being forced to do the same.

The direct answer to your earlier question is I don’t know how much the Republican led legislature was responsible for budget growth or shrinkage (that is a very complex calculation) but Georgia by and large has been a good steward of taxpayer money on both sides of the aisle. Certainly we do a better job on the local level than the Feds do with our tax dollars (but that is a whole ‘nuther story).

Jason

April 2nd, 2010
11:12 am

Nathan Deal,

The guilty dog barks the loudest.

Just a taxpayer

April 2nd, 2010
11:15 am

You asked – The count of state employees has gone up significantly since the republicans have taken over Georgia. This is one of the secrets of Georgia State government. State government in Georgia is our largest employer and its a jobs program for many rural areas (represented by republicans and democrats).

The Cynical White Boy

April 2nd, 2010
11:21 am

My question – why in God’s name would any normal person want to subject themself (and their family) to ‘high’ public office nowdays anyway?

It would be refreshing to hear some candidate throw a big press conference and say: I was running for (insert office) but I am going to short-circuit this process by bypassing the campaign and acutally holding office. I am just going to get a mistress, do some improper things with public money, go on a woman’s talk show and break down and cry like Jimmy Swaggart, then finish up with my book signing.

DT

April 2nd, 2010
11:22 am

I guess if you gauge the success of a candidate by how much money one has then OX would definately be winning. None of the other candidates have the huge Insurance Industry pouring money into their campaigns like OX. I would rather not have a candidate that is being controlled by the Insurance Industry. I would rather have a candidate that is for the common man lik Ray Mcberry!

You Asked

April 2nd, 2010
11:52 am

Just a Taxpayer: I don’t know where you are getting your information on the number of state employees (I’d be willing to see those tables if you have a reference) but remember the population has jumped by a million citizens in the last decade. Here are some other tax facts:

Georgia 2008 Tax Comparison to other states (source US census data):
Population Rank #10
Tax Revenue per person #43
Tax Expenditure per person #46
Debt per person #49

I am all in favor of making government more efficient – but let’s not starve it to the point where it is ineffective.

You Asked

April 2nd, 2010
11:56 am

Found another number… Tax burden per capita #42

Texas is the lowest but Georgia isn’t allowed to drill for oil off it’s coast either.

Alabama Communist

April 2nd, 2010
12:25 pm

Breaking News……Republican Governor Candiate Eric Johnson recived a Postage Due letter from a unknown Milita Group that gave all Governors in the United States to resigned in 3 days. He paid the Postage Due and said he was now the Governor of Georgia….

Ocean of Wisdom

April 2nd, 2010
12:52 pm

Where’s the HANK JOHNSON STORY in the AJC today???

You Asked

April 2nd, 2010
12:55 pm

This list includes state government employee numbers (which have gone down significantly since 2008)

Georgia 2008 Tax Comparison to other states (source US census data):

Population Rank #10
Tax Revenue per person #43
Tax Expenditure per person #46
Debt per person #49
Tax Burden per person # 42
Personal Income per person # 34
Government Employees per citizen # 43
Government Payroll per citizen # 46

A Hopeful Voice of Reason

April 2nd, 2010
1:22 pm

I’ve already vowed that any candidates who I see signs or TV ads for before September will not be getting my vote.

really

April 2nd, 2010
1:27 pm

The real story on this post is the House Judiciary Committee making folks pay a higher interest rate than is needed. They are stealing our money. What part don’t we get? This is outrageous. When will we learn the republicans are out to get working families and seniors anyway they can. I am calling the leadership of this committee who are Wendell Willard,
chairman of the committee his phone numbers are 404.656.5125 state capitol number 770.481.7100 – Office and his fax number 770.481.7111. Mike Jacobs (switched to republican after winning as a Democrat) is the vice chairman his numbers are 404.656.0152 his state capitol office, district number 404.954.5019 and his cell s .441.0583 – and secretary of the committee is Stephen Allison, call him at the state capitol at 404.656.0177 or his office 706.781.3929 or email him at stephen.allison@house.ga.gov. The entire judiciary committee is on the state website georgia.gov. Folks its time we fight back on this crazy legislation. They are stealing our money. The “Georgia Robin Hoods” will be sorry in November.

really

April 2nd, 2010
1:28 pm

@ you ask – where in the state capitol do you work?

You Asked

April 2nd, 2010
1:33 pm

Really: You go first- and can I have the name of your direct supervisor?

Seriously-

I’m not from the Governor’s Office or the Legislature. I’m just a political junkie who happens to be a state employee. (And before any wonk criticizes me for posting during work hours I’ve already put in over 50 hours this week, worked through most breaks and lunches + I’m scanning the political blogs today to see what is up with the Legislature.

The numbers I pulled were all from the federal census bureau. I think they overreported the number of state employees in 2008 (or included the university employees) but to be fair I didn’t change anything.

No OX Noo Deal

April 2nd, 2010
2:03 pm

A vote for Eric Johnson is a vote for Jamie Reynolds, why doesn’t Reynolds run himself and cut out the middle man. & run himself? Bottom line King Roy will eat Reynolds/Johnson up in the general election. Please name a honest man in the Republican side of the race.

RetiredSoldier

April 2nd, 2010
2:27 pm

You need to update your list. Murtha is dead and Deal has resigned. Stay up to date.

upeoplernutz

April 2nd, 2010
2:49 pm

Eric Johnson is like Durock Oxendine. The camera lens does nothing to enhance their image. Keep the lens cap on.

RetiredSoldier

April 2nd, 2010
2:51 pm

Up-

Let’s see if I understand your post Up. You have to be handsome/pretty to be elected to office? That’s brillant! Guess Roy Barnes should just stay home.

You Asked

April 2nd, 2010
2:52 pm

I am underpaid and overworked. If revenue is not maintained, state government can not provide essential services you expect.

upeoplernutz

April 2nd, 2010
2:56 pm

Roy would be a good member of the lens cap club. Couldn’t agree more.

If you want to be popular, advertising an image-challenged mug don’t help.

You Asked

April 2nd, 2010
2:59 pm

That last You Asked 2:52pm is not the same as You Asked (me) from before. Don’t be a jerk and steal other peoples nicknames so you can put words in their mouth.

I would say I’m fairly paid and work very hard. Not quite private industry wages but the work ethic and dedication is the same (I’ve done both private and public and private is no better about wasting money and time).

NO OX, NOO DEAL, NOOO JOHNSON

April 2nd, 2010
4:07 pm

the name says it all..

DT

April 2nd, 2010
7:32 pm

Actually it’s Nathan (Let’s make a) Deal.

The time is near

April 3rd, 2010
12:08 am

@you asked– I have been gone from my laptop since this a.m. So now I can reply to your statement to me. Yes I know about Politics and State Goverment for over 30 years(worked at the gold dome for 15 years and another state department for another 15 years).My wife is a state employee for 26 years. I have seen things in backrooms and other places that these leg’s have done and approved that would make you want to throw-up!Both Dems and Rebubs.If you knew the whole story,no one is clean!!! Morale with state employees is the lowest in the last 40 years.You have to go back to the Carter Years as Governor(during reorginzation period). Since you are concerned about State Goverment; look at HB 1431.Passed in the House,pending in the Senate.A big waste.Larger department to be created with no direction. I have been involved with three governor races(not sonny’s) You would not believe what is given during this time period by lobbyist and special groups-things you do not have to report.It flows(creative financing). My BEEF is not with Employees, but with the system that has been created and has gotten worse each year.Good Luck in the coming fiscal year,you will need it!RIF and paycuts are coming.

Cissy

April 5th, 2010
3:39 pm

Eric Johnson is the most low-key, honest, down-to-earth politician I’ve ever met. I’m impressed by what I’ve seen of his campaign. Most of the other Republican candidates seem like liars, creeps, or both.

Steve

April 6th, 2010
2:20 am

Really, the Reynolds family is getting a heckuva deal here. Eric pushed for the people of Georgia to subsidize their development (to the tune of what, 50 million bucks?) and arranged a no-competition contract for 25 years, and Mercer Reynolds sitting on his campaign finance committee only generated a couple million so far?

No wonder their worth has climbed to the billions when they find partners like that… Ahh what a governor he would make. Champion of the past Republican minority and the antithetical magic of big business subsidization.