The woman who beat Sarah Palin for the beauty queen title of Miss Alaska in 1984 is aiming for the Legislature.
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 David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) will make a final-hour push on Thursday to pass a revamped abortion bill that removes many of the original proposal’s most controversial elements….
Ralston told the AJC on Tuesday that the abortion bill now before the House, Senate Bill 529, is unacceptable as written. On Thursday, he will propose an alternative that is more constitutionally sound and not designed to encourage a court fight.
“I’m working with pro-life House members and House members who feel very passionately, and have supported SB 529, by suggesting to them that I’m interested in protecting the unborn,” Ralston said. “I’m not interested in the agenda of a special interest group, and I believe what we have done is craft a bill that has done that.”
Ralston’s decision essentially kills a months-long plan by GRTL to craft a legal challenge to Roe v. Wade – before the Obama administration is able to shift the dynamics of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Becker’s language was harsh.
“He clearly doesn’t want to challenge Roe v. Wade,” Becker said this morning. “This is amazing stuff, that David Ralston should single this one issue out for special treatment. This has been the most blatant political hatchet job that many have every seen.”
Becker said he and others were handed copies of Ralston’s draft at the close of business at the Capitol on Tuesday. In its version of SB 529, GRTL had inserted a ban on abortions based on the race or gender of the fetus. That portion has been significantly altered.
Most importantly, Becker said, is that within the restrictions imposed by the speaker’s legislation are exceptions for cases of rape and incest. Over the years, GRTL has worked to remove those exceptions from Georgia statutes.
When grading political candidates on the abortion issue, GRTL acknowledges only one acceptable reason for abortion – the life of the mother. “[Ralston] has literally introduced legislation that would take us back a decade,” Becker said.
The Rome News-Tribune this morning notes this change in the legislative line-up:
State Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, was the first to throw his hat in the ring for the state Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Preston Smith, R-Rome, who announced Monday he will run for attorney general.
Smith qualified to run for attorney general Tuesday, after a surprise announcement.
By Tuesday evening, Loudermilk was the only candidate to qualify for Smith’s District 52 Senate seat, and no one had come forward to qualify for Loudermilk’s District 14 House post, which includes eastern Floyd County and western Bartow County.
Earlier this week, Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed state Rep. Mike Coan of Gwinnett County as administrator of a state injury trust fund – which provides payments to workers permanently injured, under Georgia’s worker compensation law.
One of PeachPundit.com’s best contributers, former Gwinnett County GOP chair Buzz Brockway says he’ll qualify for the District 101 seat. It’s doubtful that political literature in Georgia can recover.
State Sen. John Douglas (R-Social Circle) on Tuesday became the first Republican to qualify for the Public Service Commission seat suddenly made vacant by Bobby Baker’s decision not to seek re-election.
Douglas quickly obtained the endorsement of what looks like the entire Senate Republican caucus. Other Republicans are considering the contest.
At least one Democrat is running for the seat. Keith Moffett of Macon announced last week, according to this piece in the Macon Telegraph.
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