Your morning jolt: State employees and the race for governor

Over the weekend, one of the Political Insider’s dedicated readers in Marietta, blessed with fast keyboard fingers, received a call from a polling firm that had taken aim at state employees.

The survey was clearly trolling for union support – with all the talk of layoffs, the subject is a natural. But the questions also attempted to determine where state employees are leaning in the race for governor.

Respondents were asked to say whether they rated the following favorably, or unfavorably:

– The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees;

– Barack Obama;

– Workers United;

– Nathan Deal;

– Sonny Perdue;

– The Georgia State Employees Association;

– The National Association of Government Employees;

– John Oxendine;

– Service Employees International Union;

– Roy Barnes;

– Karen Handel;

– Labor unions;

–The Democratic party

– The Republican party;

– The tea party.

There was no mention of Eric Johnson, the former GOP state senator from Savannah. Then came this question: “In November 2010, would you vote for John Oxendine or Roy Barnes?”

And this one: “Would you vote for Roy Barnes because he a) makes creating jobs as top priority and has a plan to turn ga around; or b) is concerned that we face a crises in quality of service in state government and will organize state workers to make state government more efficient.”

The wording may not be exact, but the point of the poll does come across.

In contemplating the implications of a Michael Thurmond run for U.S. Senate, we neglected to mention those who are already eyeing his job as state labor commissioner.

With Thurmond as an incumbent, we were headed for a rare, statewide confrontation between two African-Americans.

State Rep. Melvin Everson (R-Snellville) has been in the race for some time. His March campaign disclosure indicated that Everson had raised a total $17,792, and had $9,661 in cash on hand. However, a campaign aide said the disclosure form had been filled out incorrectly, and that Everson has raised a total $45,255, with $13,770 in cash on hand.

But over the weekend, as Thurmond’s news settled on the body politic, we heard that state Rep. Mark Butler (R-Carrollton) was looking at the contest.

On the Democratic side, we’ve heard no name but that of Darryl Hicks. His Facebook page says he’s running for secretary of state – which he did in 2006, losing to Gail Buckner in a runoff.

But Hicks’ Web site is properly vague.

But if Hicks jumps into the race, and Everson fends off Butler, we’re back to a black-on-black statewide race.

With the Legislature in its 37th day, two groups are kicking up dust over bills that need to be stopped or passed, depending on your point of view.

The League of Women Voters is rallying its troops against Gov. Sonny Perdue’s HB 1184, which would allow the purchase of stripped-down health insurance policies from companies in states not subject to Georgia’s coverage mandates.

That bill’s in the Senate.

The Network of Politically Active Christians is calling for help to pry SB 529 out of the House Judiciary Committee – in a form that would allow a U.S. Supreme Court challenge to Roe v. Wade.

Read some background here. At bottom, the bill would ban physicians from performing abortions on women they believe to have been “coerced” into the procedure.

But the measure also bans abortions performed because of the race or gender of the fetus, and this is the portion of the bill that Georgia Right to Life hopes will prove to be the basis for a court case.

GRTL President Dan Becker says he suspects a substitute to SB 529 will be offered, stripping away the race and gender provision.

Robo-calls from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee have already hit the phones of Republican voters. But an e-mail from the NPAC may be overstating the case.

The e-mail claims that Georgia chapters of the NAACP and the SCLC support the legislation. But that support has been withdrawn, we’re told.

On Monday evening, the state Democratic party of Georgia put out a press release noting that Gov. Sonny Perdue has appointed Amanda Mercier, a law partner of House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) to a Superior Court judgeship.

“Judges should be chosen for their knowledge and impartiality, not their personal contacts,” said party chairman Jane Kidd. “It is apparent that the Republican leadership is unable to put a stop to the back-room deals we’ve seen from them in the past.”

For political junkies, even bigger than the inner turmoill of Charlie Crist is this from the New York Times:

With Conan O’Brien about to change the calculus of late-night cable programming, the Comedy Central channel has made a move to lock up its two dominant stars, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

The network has signed the two hosts – who both attract more young viewers than even the late-night shows on the broadcast networks – to new contracts that will keep them in the 11 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. weeknight slots through the next presidential election in 2012.

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

39 comments Add your comment


April 20th, 2010
9:59 am

Would Michael Thurmond vacate his office as Labor Comm. once he announces his run for Senator?

Coastal Cavalier

April 20th, 2010
10:22 am

Not unless he should want to SE. I believe since the terms do not overlap he is not required to vacate his current job.

Don Juan

April 20th, 2010
10:36 am

Any state worker that votes for a republican is an id-iot!


April 20th, 2010
10:47 am

Just another example of the strength of My Man Ox. He’s the only one who can beat Barnes, and only one of two that Barnes is even thinking about. Roy don’t waste your time polling Handel. My Man Ox will beat her twice before November

Rob Vinson

April 20th, 2010
10:50 am

Let’s not put the cart ahead of the horse….GoOx….We shall see how it all plays out.


April 20th, 2010
11:02 am

One other thing. My Man Ox knows how to handle state employees, he has get his staff by 30% since he’s been in office.


April 20th, 2010
11:05 am

Any taxpayer that votes for a Democrat is an idiot.


April 20th, 2010
11:07 am

“he has get his staff by 30% since he’s been in office” Huh?

retired early

April 20th, 2010
11:08 am

The only raise state employees get since Zell eliminated merit raises in 1991 is COLAs. Teachers continue to get career path raises and additional raises for continuing their education. When the Ga tax revenues were up 11%, several years ago, employees got a 3 % raise for the first time in 10 plus years. We either got -0- or 2 maybe 2/12 % the other years so, what the Gov started doing was bump up the starting pay by 5% for new employees because there are so many unfilled positions due to the low starting salaries. Well, in alot of cases, a newcomer will make as much as someone who has been in the same position for 4 years. Now talk about a moral killer. Stagnant salaries losing ground to inflation and this ” Sonny” policy of running state gov like a bs has ruined this state. You reap what you sow and believe me they are not using ANY fertilizer on this crop.

The General

April 20th, 2010
11:19 am

John Assendine and the goofball above known as GoOx are both in for a rude awakening soon. It is one thing to become a corrupt governor while in office, but entirely different one to actually elect a corrupt politician to the governor’s mansion. The folks of our state won’t make that mistake with your guy.

Ox Baker

April 20th, 2010
11:26 am

Ox is an ass.

The General

April 20th, 2010
11:44 am

@ Ox Baker

In the future, please refrain from insulting the hardworking, always dependable ass.

Georgia is racist

April 20th, 2010
12:06 pm

Vote for Roy Barnes for Governor…..Vote republicans out of the office


April 20th, 2010
12:31 pm

Vote for DuBose Porter for Governor!

Don Juan

April 20th, 2010
12:42 pm

Yeah Mike, because republicans are lowering taxes and fees, left and right.


April 20th, 2010
1:03 pm

“Georgia is racist” – there is the door. Don’t let it hit you in the Democrat on the way out.

Avery Bundren

April 20th, 2010
1:05 pm

John Oxendine has always reminded me a whole lot of Jethro on The Beverly Hillbilies. He might make a fairly good mayor of say, Hahira, GA, you know, the little town down near Valdosta.


April 20th, 2010
1:08 pm

The only answer is to elect Ray Boyd for Governor…

WE have lost our way

April 20th, 2010
1:14 pm

A Democrat will be Govenor of Georgia next time. The Teachers,State Employees and University Employees will make sure it happens.

susan ellis

April 20th, 2010
1:22 pm

Where is Mike Bowes when we need him?

Mrs. White&Black

April 20th, 2010
1:27 pm

Vote for the lesser of the 2 evils:Democrats…
Republicans want to repeal Roe v. Wade, get rid of the separation of church & state, screw the middle class even more…etc. If Republicans have it their way, they will enact laws that will hurt gays,minorities,and women. Republicans will hurt our country more than any Democrat ever will.
*We need to progress forward not go backwards in time*

Mr. Grumpy

April 20th, 2010
1:31 pm

Anyone who votes for another Republican as Governor needs psychiatric care. Sonny Perdue has done something no Governor in Georgia has ever done — he’s mismanaged DOT so poorly, there is now a very good chance that, for the first time in Georgia’s modern history, we will lose the federal highway monies we have heretofore received because Sonny squandered the only money DOT had to use as matching funds. In addition, he’s turned Georgia’s educational system into a laughing stock nationally by cutting and cutting and cutting, when other alternatives existed. We will now most likely drop below Mississippi and Louisiana as the worse school systems in the country. Those will be part of his legacy. A Governor who was too busy tending to his own personal financial affairs, and who surrounded himself with incompetent “yes men,” that, afet 8 years, he leaves us a train wreck of state government. Vote Barnes !!!!!!!!!


April 20th, 2010
1:32 pm

Where’s the article about Ray Boyd and the GOP pushing Ray to sign the oath and his refusal to do so as stated?…Ray is the answer!


April 20th, 2010
1:39 pm


April 20th, 2010
1:42 pm

Oxendine is nothing but an arrogant prick! He has always been able to point out the problems but never offers a solution.


April 20th, 2010
1:43 pm


April 20th, 2010
1:45 pm

Mrs. White&Black……………………

You comment points out why I will vote Republican

Rob Vinson

April 20th, 2010
1:49 pm

The GA insurance department currently has about 300 people, so the Ox has cut it down from about 430 people since he has been there? I don’t think so. Try again….Any Sonny Perdue should never have been allowed to run his personal business while governor of this state. I don’t know much, but i would think that being governor would be considered a full time job? Leaving no time to run a multi million dollar personal business….It’s a mess for sure.


April 20th, 2010
1:57 pm

Mrs. White & Black – take off the tinfoil hat. It’s messing up the reception. That has to be the most ignorant, fringe nut comment I’ve seen in a while.


April 20th, 2010
2:30 pm

Jane Kidd’s comment: “It is apparent that the Republican leadership is unable to put a stop to the back-room deals we’ve seen from them in the past.” What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Democrats were in control for years and the king of back-room deals. Republicans must have been good learners.
What is the Georgia State Employees Association?

Mrs. White&Black

April 20th, 2010
3:34 pm

Red-It’s satisfying to see that I got under your skin and it’s because the truth hurts. Your childish rant is hilarious!

Mrs. White&Black

April 20th, 2010
3:39 pm

Thanks Dave, for being honest and not being ashamed to admit you hate gays, minorities, etc…Angry Red needs to take a cue from you…he’s still angry I borrowed his tinfoil hat and never gave it back.


April 20th, 2010
4:51 pm

All I know is that Sonny Perdue et al have trashed state government. They have hired cronies and the unqualified and have got us circling the drain. The incentive system is non-existent. No raises for achieving goals, insanely expensive health insurance, which blows anyway, pay that is way below what other states pay for similar positions, and the management level a revolving door but still with 100k salaries while rank and file employees struggle. State government is now by and large a temp agency with no employees with expertise and no employees who really care. Congrats Republicans!! You have totally dismantled state government. I only hope for this once-great state that we put someone in office in January who has sense and is not working part-time.

Bludgeon & Skewer

April 20th, 2010
7:53 pm

Greetings All,

It’s a rare occasion to post here on consecutive days but the guys and gals over here at the Secret Underground Libertarian Command Center (LCC) are getting concerned that Mr. Galloway may be having some memory issues. The race for Labor Commissioner will be a three way affair with a republican of some complexion, a democrat of some complexion and Libertarian Will Costa who identifies as an American.

If you’d like to find out a bit more about Will, then visit his FaceBook page, fan the man up and if at all possible, volunteer some of your time and treasure for the cause of Liberty. You can hear Will Costa at the Libertarian Party of Georgia’s annual convention this weekend where he will be nominated for the post of Commissioner of Labor and voted onto our slate of candidates for this fall’s historic run.

Vote for Smaller Government, Lower Taxes and More Freedom! Vote for Libertarian Will Costa for Labor Commissioner!

Bobby Anthony

April 20th, 2010
10:46 pm

Enter your comments here

Bobby Anthony

April 20th, 2010
10:49 pm

Teachers in Georgia will never forget how Roy Barnes mistreated them when he was in office.


April 21st, 2010
3:33 am

With Ray Boyd NOT taking any contributions from anyone leaves no doubt in my mind who should be our next governor.


April 21st, 2010
4:04 pm

are you a teacher or related to a teach. GET OVER IT! You are no different than the flaggers. Don’t we as Georgians have enough problems to get off of that petty answer every time something about Barnes comes up. Don’t you feel that way about Perdue?


April 25th, 2010
9:49 am

@Bobby Anthony but we can see the results were even WORST with Sonny Perdue. Get over it, career politicians are a dying breed. The EXPOSE will continue and November will be far different than the media is spinning it NOW. WE THE PEOPLE have the FINAL say.