Six GOP candidates gather in Roy Barnes’ backyard

Six Republican candidates for governor gathered down the street and around the corner from Roy Barnes’ house on Friday, for a forum before the Cobb County Republican Women’s Club.

It was an outdoor affair, on the edge of a golf course with a spectacular view.

Former state Sen. Eric Johnson of Savannah declared that he’s the only one who can beat the former Democratic governor seeking to regain the seat he lost in 2002. State Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine poached on Johnson’s issue of school vouchers.

Former secretary of state Karen Handel declared that her five rivals have already had their chance to fix things in the state Capitol.

Yours truly was the moderator, so here’s a slice of Jon Gillooly’s piece in today’s Marietta Daily Journal:

In an apparent dig at other candidates whose questionable ethical engagements have been duly noted by the media, state Rep. Austin Scott (R-Tifton) said he’s welcomed the press to look into his history and any ethical issues surrounding his actions.

“We’re yet to get that story. I’ve been looking for the front page on Austin Scott and unfortunately if you’re ethical I don’t think you get that,” Scott said.

Former U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal of Gainesville has been receiving media attention, which he took issue with.

“Want to know who can beat Roy Barnes? Look at the front page of the (Atlanta newspaper) and see who they think has got the most chance of beating Roy Barnes. Yeah, I’ve been on the front page of the (Atlanta newspaper). I’ll tell you why. Because they know I’m the one who’s most likely to beat him and they’d like to tarnish my reputation at every chance that they can do so. You know when you got folks like George Soros and crew after you, you must be doing something right,” Deal said.

State Sen. Jeff Chapman (R-Brunswick) said it’s great to spout Republican principles, but useless if you’re not going to follow them.

“It’s the character of the governor I think that matters,” Chapman said.

“You know, when a large utility company can walk into the state capitol and bypass the Public Service Commission and put million dollars of rate increases on Georgia, we’re clearly in trouble.

We have to confess that the (Atlanta newspaper) not mentioned above is in fact the Journal-Constitution.

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50 comments Add your comment

G Reon

April 24th, 2010
10:26 am

I will say for sure that Ms. Handel got it right! The way of life in government has had it’s run for a long time, people of any Country, State, County or City want real change in our governing leaders. Party, gender and race should be and is surely becoming a mute issue. WE THE PEOPLE want good government with real issues resolved!


April 24th, 2010
10:28 am

It’s funny- I always see the candidates for governor talking about who can beat Roy Barnes, but this is the first time I think I’ve heard “It’s the character of the governor that matters.” Jeff Chapman just moved way up in my book… and if his record actually matches his words it’ll be truly amazing.


April 24th, 2010
10:51 am

““You know, when a large utility company can walk into the state capitol and bypass the Public Service Commission and put million dollars of rate increases on Georgia, we’re clearly in trouble.”

The Tea Party in Georgia is pretty lame. This is what it was like during 8 years of Bush, not a peep from the so-called Tea Party types.

Bank closings, ethics, lobby influence, DOT, are all pretty much out of control.

If Barnes were to win, these issues would suddenly become important. Anger expressed openly. He would then be given 1 month to fix all these things.

Just how does Georgia Power go from bragging about the “lowest rates in the country,” to “we’re not quite the highest!” in 7 short years?

No OX, Noo Raw Deal, Nooo Linger Longer Johnson, Noooo King Roy

April 24th, 2010
11:06 am

The name says it all…


April 24th, 2010
11:38 am

Is there anyone out there that wants to serve the people? No Handel, No Barnes OH hell no to all of them.

Praying Grandmother

April 24th, 2010
11:56 am

If we judged our leaders by the content of their character, we would have public servants instead of politicians. A majority of our politicians do not want “We the People” to uphold the standard of character because over 90% of the people running for Governor would have to quit…Time to stop looking at the money and compare the candidates’ character.

Jason S.

April 24th, 2010
12:01 pm

Jim, you did an excellent job. Thanks for moderating.

Conservative Voice

April 24th, 2010
12:15 pm

We The People Want Austin Scott!


April 24th, 2010
12:20 pm

All that is required from a Republican to win an election is Georgia is a pulse and a name.

They don’t have to perform, they can lie steal, sleep with their mother-in-laws and no big deal.

If the outrage that people express for the federal government were to be expressed at their state and local governments imagine what a difference it would make in our lives?

That is why I know the Tea Party movement is full of hypocrisy, hate and hot air.


April 24th, 2010
12:42 pm

Wow…the ghost of Gene Talmadge is around. The candidates are calling out “them lyin’ Atlanta newspapers” Where’s the red suspenders?

Michael in Decatur

April 24th, 2010
1:05 pm

This conservative would take Barnes. At least he wasn’t afraid to take a stand. For the last 8 years we’ve had a moderator when we needed a statesman. Thanks Sonny, for putting GA 20 years behind in transportation.


April 24th, 2010
1:45 pm

Let’s all hope that Ray Boyd wins this race. He is Georgias only hope.

former MDJ writer

April 24th, 2010
2:07 pm

I love it how the MDJ still has this big-brother complex with the AJC. Even if we were running an AP story that gave credit to the AJC, we had to change it so it said “an Atlanta newspaper.” And if Nathan Deal thinks the people are really that stupid that “them dab-nabbed liberals in Etlanter” are just out to get him… oh wait, he does think we are that stupid!


April 24th, 2010
2:21 pm

Keep voting republican and keep watching Ga. slip further behind. A shame that people “don’t get it” about the repubs. The beat goes on.


April 24th, 2010
2:42 pm

Deal is really that stupid. Yeah, the Atlanta newspaper made up all your ethical problems whole cloth and intentionally plastered them on the front page because they know you’re such a stud that only you can beat Roy Barnes. If Georgia is dumb enough to elect this idiot, it is truly a state of morons.

Also, go back up and read the comments of Michael in Decatur. Truer words have rarely been typed.

Alabama Communist

April 24th, 2010
2:59 pm

Breaking news! Meanwhile Former Governor Roy Barnes struck back by having a fake Tea Party meeting in all 6 GOP candiates front yards with Tea Party members marching around in Klan Robes…..


April 24th, 2010
3:07 pm

Sam, Ray Boyd wants to serve the people…


April 24th, 2010
3:10 pm

How does he want to serve them? With or without mustard?


April 24th, 2010
3:30 pm

Jim, with character and integrity…if we can remember what that is…it’s been a while since we have seen it…


April 24th, 2010
3:55 pm

Praying Grandmother said it all. If an elected official is a person of character we would not have ethics scandals as we have seen with Oxendine, Deal and McBerry and conflict of interest scandals which are so evident with Eric Johnson and team Linger Longer trying to take over Jekyll Island State Park. Thanks to Jeff Chapman, a man of CHARACTER, that did not happen. Chapman is the ONLY candidate speaking of principals because he has the background and record that can back up his words.

Independent Voter

April 24th, 2010
4:43 pm

For me, Chapman is the unsung hero in the GOP gubernatorial race, for he has stood up, time and again, for ordinary folks and against the elite in his own party, who seem to vhe forgotten what being a Republican is all about. I’m not just referring to his opposition to the now dead Jekyll land deal with the Reynolds family, which Eric Johnson and other bigwigs within the party backed to the hilt for obvious reasons, but to his stance on eminent domain abuse, cuts in veterans’ benefits, and the Georgia Power giveaway. The fact that the entrenched fat cats who run the party have seen fit to deny Chapman a committee chairmanship, or, thanks to Casey Cagle, even a seat on the Jekyll Island Legislative Oversight Committee, speaks volumes about his unwillingness to play along in order to get along. We need a guy like Chapman as Governor – someone for whom conservative principles are not just to be trotted out at election time but rather have real and enduring meaning.
If Chapman had not opted to keep serve out his term as a State Senator and, instead, devoted the past four months to fund-raising and burn the shoe leather type campaigning, I think he would be polling far better than he is, but the same values that make him such a great candidate are the ones that prevented him from resigning his position in the Senate. Unlike Eric Johnson and Nathan Deal, Chapman refused to jump ship in the midst of the worse mess Georgia has seen since the great depression. People of principle just don’t behave that way…..

Impressed with Chapman

April 24th, 2010
5:21 pm

Of all the candidates, only Jeff Chapman has an unimpeachable and public record of challenging back room deals (the attempted giveaway of Jekyll Island to George Bush’s campaign finance director) and his own party’s elite, who were cheerleaders for the deal, including Eric Johnson. Contrast his words and deeds to those of ALL other candidates. Here is a Republican candidate who did the right thing, for the right reasons. He has taken principled stands, spoke truth to power, and suffered the consequences when his own party leadership ostracized him.. This is the kind of backbone that this state desperately needs.


April 24th, 2010
5:33 pm

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the most popular of all? I’m sure there are a lot of folks who can beat Roy Barnes. Since when is that the issue? Seems like the issue ought to be who can best represent the good folks of GA. Don’t need to look to far or too long to see the work that Jeff Chapman has done, sometimes at the expense of what is best for his own career, to represent the voters in his district. The governor will serve, or at least should serve, the people – all of them, who live in GA, not just those who are the most politically powerful. Jeff Chapman has proven he does that.


April 24th, 2010
5:34 pm

I like what “Independent Voter” and “Impressed with Chapman” have to say. I believe that Jeff Chapman stands up for the little guy because he identifies with the little guy. A former small business owner and mindful of his roots, Chapman answered the call to public service in 1998, running for Glynn County Commissioner. As Commissioner, Jeff initiated a rollback of the inflationary portion of the tax digest each year, and eliminated the practice of passing tax increases without a public hearing process. His dedication to public service earned him numerous awards, and he was honored as the first Glynn County Republican Man of the Year.
In 2004, Chapman ran for State Senate. As a freshman, he introduced Georgia’s first private property legislation, preventing the abuse of eminent domain. Senate President Pro Tempore Tommie Williams once credited Chapman for some of the strongest eminent domain legislation in the country.
Misappropriation of public land and abuse of the public trust are two offenses which Chapman ardently opposes. When legislation extending the lease of the JIA was introduced during the 2007 legislative session, Chapman noticed a section of Georgia law enabling the Authority to sell Jekyll outright. During an eleventh hour struggle, he successfully negotiated for legislation that assured that Jekyll Island State Park can never be sold. Concurrently, he earned praise from the environmental community for introducing legislation that protects in perpetuity the island’s ecologically fragile south end. For his attention to public opinion and environmental concerns, Chapman earned the Georgia Conservation Voters Leadership Award and the Georgia Common Cause Democracy Award.
Honorable actions speak for themselves. During his re-election campaign, Chapman’s opponent, a fellow Republican, outspent Chapman 4 to 1, pelting the electorate with inflammatory mass mailings portraying Chapman as a shiftless obstructionist. Determined to take the high road even if it cost him his seat, Chapman responded with dignity and composure, proclaiming his commitment to truth and transparency in government. He won the race.
These days, when the word “politician” conjures up an unpleasant image, Jeff Chapman seems too good to be true, but he is “the real deal.” His unswerving commitment to doing the right thing may disqualify him as a “team player” in the eyes of the power brokers within the Gold Dome, but he’s earned Hall of Fame status among those who appreciate him for who he is and for what he has accomplished as a State Senator. Now he wants to take the next step because he believes that Georgians deserve transparency in government, ethical behavior in their elected officials, and someone in the Governor’s office who can be counted on to put the interests of the people first.


April 24th, 2010
6:08 pm

Jeff Chapman used the word “character! ”
A word and a principle absent of late in Georgia politics! As he mentioned in his statement, to espouse Republican principles and not to follow them is to do more harm than good. Senator Chapman does NOT have the backing of lobbies. big business, developers or the rich elite. In my mind that shows he supports the PEOPLE when he votes! How Radical!

"favorite dem."

April 24th, 2010
6:17 pm

I agree with the other comments favoring Jeff Chapman!! How refreshing it would be to have a candidate like Jeff – open, honest, smart, ethical — someone who could even work with “the other side of the aisle”. Spread the word – Jeff Chapman for Governor of GA.

Terry Miller

April 24th, 2010
6:34 pm

Jeff Chapman is the ** only ** GOP candidate who has consistently stood up for the average citizen and has refused to kowtow to the GOP hierarchy. He’s exactly right that you have to follow your principles, not simply give lip service. I used to be a Republican, but the establishment types turned me off. I’m coming back to support Jeff!!! Jekyll Island isn’t the only time he has helped “the little guy,” though it is the most well known.

Terry Miller

April 24th, 2010
6:35 pm

Enter your comments here

Jane Fraser

April 24th, 2010
6:57 pm

Of all the candidates, Jeff Chapman is the ONLY one with a public record of challenging back room deals (the attempted giveaway of Jekyll Island to George Bush’s campaign finance director) and his own party’s elite, who were cheerleaders for the deal, including Eric Johnson. He stands out from ALL other candidates as a Republican candidate who did the right thing for all the right reasons. He has the the kind of courage and backbone that this state desperately needs.


April 24th, 2010
6:59 pm

I think all five of Jeff Chapman’s donors have commented on this thread.

Anyone know the details about Ox’s attack on educational freedom and choice?

Also, can someone please tell Karen Handel to stop hijacking the PRO-LIFE label.

Johanna J

April 24th, 2010
7:33 pm

While living in the town that one of the candidates for Governor does, it concerns me that people seem to still be looking for the “Good Ole’ Boys Club” of the South candidate! We need to instead look for a candidate that will represent one of the people and be one of the people! We need a voice for the people! There is only one, crystal clear candidate for office of the Governor and that is Jeff Chapman, Brunswick.
I, a citizen and taxpayer, want someone who will listen to me and not listen to the people with the money to go directly to the top! Don’t damn the little people, talk to the little people (the little people’s vote counts – or did the Good Ole’ Boys club members or wannabees forget that?) I want someone who won’t try to pad their pockets with special interest monies (oh that’s right some of the candidates have already had that done!)
Jeff Chapman is FOR THE PEOPLE! Remember this when it’s time to vote. We have already had Governor Barnes, and some would consider him a “Has Been” not a “Will Be”. Let’s take a new stance Georgia and elect someone into office that will represent US, not the money.

Cornelia Brillhart

April 24th, 2010
7:47 pm

Enter your comments here

Al Tate

April 24th, 2010
8:38 pm

The next Governor of Georgia will face some of the hardest decisions and some of the toughest times that our state and our nation have seen in a very long time. Finances and our economy, jobs for Georgians, education, health and mental health, transportation, environment – just to name a few critical issues that are facing us as our budget shrinks- must be addressed in a careful, thoughtful way. The time for idealogues, conservatives or liberals, republicans or democrats is not now. We need a Governor who can find a way through this mine field. We need some clear thinking and some new faces in the executive office to bring Georgia through these turbulent times. I believe that Jeff Chapman just may be the right man for the task. He has shown some real leadership skills and serious support for the common people of Georgia in defiance of his party’s wishes and armtwisting. He has not been stained by the stench of scandal so prevalent around the Georgia Legislature and some of the other candidates. He has demonstrated a willingness to listen and learn before making commitments and then to be determined enough to see his commitments through. Those of you who do not know Jeff need to take a good look at him before deciding who to vote for for Governor.

Independent Voter

April 24th, 2010
8:41 pm

Hey Mayo, your statement is off base, as Chapman has been unable to raise funds, by law, for the past 4 months because he chose to retain his seat as a state senator. In the 4 months between declaring his candidacy for the office of Governor and the opening of the2010 legislative session, the records show that he received contributions at a brisk rate, rivaling the donations made to fat cat candidates Johnson and Oxendine, who have benefited from big money donors that shy away from Chapman due to his record of standing strong for the little guy. If you believe that it’s proper for candidates to buy their way into office, then Chapman, obviously, is not your man.

Wounded Warrior

April 24th, 2010
9:10 pm

we lead the nation in bank closings. we are at the bottom in the nation in education. Way to go Sonnnyyyyyyyy!!!


April 24th, 2010
9:11 pm

The big Ox has tried hard to make Mrs. Handel appear uneducated, lower class, and less qualified for not having her college degree. Well I have news for him, many of the people who built this country through industry, innovation, and hard work, also did not have a degree.

Mr. Oxendine was fortunate to come from a well to do family with money that paved the way for the lifestyle he now enjoys. Other than his father’s law practice, has he ever worked in the private sector? He is not relatable to me personally. I too came from an abusive home that forced me to go into the workforce after 2 years of college. I have never been a burden to the government, payed more than my fair share of taxes, and feel very privaliged to have overcome my background. Mr. Oxendine seems to look down on those from humble beginnings.

As a woman, I am offended that Mr. Oxendine chose to criticize someone who has made a success
of their life. Why was this neccessary? How many other women do you think feel as I do? Mrs. Handel has a proven record that we can draw from. Karen Handel is my candidate for governor.

Legend of Len Barker

April 24th, 2010
10:10 pm

The sad thing is that I can count all the good Georgia governors since 1935 on one hand.

Sometimes we got ones that were racially prejudiced. Sometimes we got ones that were corrupt. Once we got one racially prejudiced *and* corrupt.

Carla Cook Smith

April 24th, 2010
10:37 pm

It is not surprising that Jeff Chapman is quoted as saying “character matters.” A perfect example of his character was when he stood up for the people of Georgia with respect to Jekyll Island. Senator Chapman’s principles speak much more loudly than the rhetoric routinely spouted by other politicians. As governor, Chapman could actually bring integrity back to government. What a concept!

Lewis Owens

April 25th, 2010
10:37 am

The Georgia GOP has soundly demonstrated that there is absolutely no difference between their northern and southern extremities, and have been such a study in truly dismal government that I am now convinced that they have all had implants, but who can tell in which end?

There is one exception, though, in the person of Jeff Chapman, who stands alone in this herd of loyalty oafs, bogus “morality” prigs and corrupt corporate weasels. A man who would stand for principal and actually put the interests of the people of Georgia before Guvnah Gone Fishing’s gilded costal cronies is more than exceptional: He demonstrates something called integrity, a word not associated with the pachyderms for many decades, and clearly shows the only path out of the GOP’s self-induced abyss of abject greed and crony corruption.

When the party comes first, before the needs of the people, there is where the you will actually find that hammer and sickle so falsely attributed to their opposition.

No OX, Noo Raw Deal, Nooo Linger Longer Johnson, Noooo King Roy

April 25th, 2010
10:38 am

I would really like to vote for Chapman, hope he is still around election time.

Georgia Public

April 25th, 2010
10:53 am

LET’S VOTE FOR HONEST GOVERNMENT! Previous commentor “Steve” has it right – Senator Chapman is the candidate for Governor who would give us the honest government we citizens seek. Chapman would be the antithesis of “Oaky Woods” Perdue (google “Oaky Woods scandal” to find details), as he has proven with his honest and brave efforts to keep one of our State Parks out of the hands of ultra-wealthy real-estate profiteers.

Bludgeon & Skewer

April 25th, 2010
12:07 pm

Greetings All,

It’s fine Chamber of Commerce day here at the Secret Underground Libertarian Command Center (LCC) as the guys and gals recover from last nights Cigars and Brandy session that marked the end of the Libertarian Party of Georgia’s annual convention. We’ve managed to nominate and elect a full slate of candidates for this fall’s historic run with out dipping into the public’s purse and take no small delight in observing the back and forth between the warring factions of our republican brothers and sisters as they hash out which of their gubernatorial candidates will take the field against Libertarian John Monds this fall.

We have our preferences of course. Of the current field we think a match up between Libertarian John Monds, Nathan “Stinky” Deal and King Roy would provide the maximum contrast of choice for the voters of Georgia. There are months to go and we’ll just have to wait and see like everybody else. It’s comforting to know that the standard of Liberty will be carried this fall by a man of impeccable character and resolute conviction, a man named John Monds.

Vote for Smaller Government, Lower Taxes and More Freedom! Vote Libertarian John Monds for Governor!

Just Nasty & Mean

April 25th, 2010
12:54 pm

Austin Scott voted AGAINST having people VOTE for their chosen government when he voted against Milton County.

A Republican— voting against people deciding their own government????

RINO in my book,,,,,,he’s OUT>…..

Babs McDonald

April 25th, 2010
5:33 pm

I can only hope Georgia’s Republican voters give Jeff Chapman a chance to be Georgia’s next governor. I just finished writing a book, soon to be published, about the attempted Jekyll Island giveaway. I spent almost two years following the scandal. Solid evidence points to Jeff Chapman as an honest, courageous, and principled state senator whose sole mission as senator is to work for the people of Georgia. During the attempted giveaway of Jekyll Island, Senator Chapman repeatedly challenged ANY politician, including the leadership of his own party, to champion the public’s expressed desires regarding Jekyll Island. If Senator Chapman has a shortcoming as a politician, it is that he declines to boast about his accomplishments. He prefers, obviously, to let the evidence speak for itself. Jeff Chapman deserves the serious attention of every Georgia voter.

self destruct

April 26th, 2010
11:23 am

if Barnes is leading this dead horse race, how stupid are we in GA?

self destruct

April 26th, 2010
11:35 am

and wth will all these blog endorsements; any career polictian we should be moving away from, someone that the dems or republicans serve us up on a silver platter we should say NO THANKS. All we got now is cronies and we will continue with the same Ole BS as long as we got the same ole good ole boy “show me the money” A@$ wipes

Flora Bunda

April 26th, 2010
3:30 pm

Even Democrats, like me, are impressed with Jeff Chapman.

Hoyt LeCroy

April 27th, 2010
4:29 am

Georgia needs viable candidates from each party who can discuss issues on a level above party politics. Of the Republicans, who has shown himself capable of that?
Jeff Chapman.


April 27th, 2010
2:26 pm

Nine Republican candidates for governor and three Democrats seeking the state’s highest office gathered on Friday at the University of West Georgia to debate their ideas for solving the state’s water problems.
But it soon became clear that none of the candidates had a clearly defined strategy, and most hadn’t had much experience in dealing with water issues, which will be among the most important challenges the next governor faces.
Republicans Jeff Chapman, Nathan Deal, Eric Johnson, Ray McBerry, John Oxendine and Austin Scott were joined by Democrats Thurbert Baker, Carl Camon and David Poythress.

diddy kong

April 29th, 2010
10:11 pm

i enjoy small children.