Last month, Georgia Bio invited Democratic and Republican candidates for governor to a pair of forums, where they could express their views on science and economic development before an assembly of the state’s scientists, academics and CEOs of bioresearch companies.
The consortium of research and business interests scheduled two dates at Kennesaw State University: May 20 for Democrats, and May 27 for Republicans.
The stampede of candidates has been less than thunderous.
On the Democratic side, only three have agreed to attend: Attorney General Thurbert Baker, who last week declared biotech to be an essential part of his jobs program; former National Guard commander David Poythress; and Ray City Mayor Carl Camon.
House Democratic Leader DuBose Porter and former Gov. Roy Barnes have yet to commit, even though the KSU event is in Barnes’ backyard.
Response from the GOP side has been even weaker. Only former congressman Nathan Deal has agreed to appear.
Charlie Craig, president of Georgia Bio, says the state’s top technical brains want to know what the men and woman who would be governor think about education, health care reform, economic development and its connection to the life sciences.
“Candidates who are not participating are telling us that these aren’t priorities for them,” Craig said.
But don’t fool yourself. Especially on the Republican side, the reluctance is about the restrictions many of the candidates have advocated for such things as embryonic stem cell research – which researchers say has sent a chill down the spines of industry recruiters.
Just in time for what could be a tough Democratic primary fight, U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson of Decatur has landed a seat on the House transportation committee. That will make the two-term congressman a prime contact for MARTA and other transportation funding in the state.
Johnson has already picked out a target in the crucial southern portion of his 4th District. This from his press release::
Johnson said part of his focus will be to upgrade transportation along the I-20 East corridor through the heart of the Fourth District.
“This means jobs. This means serious federal investment in our transportation infrastructure, in roads, bridges, and rail,” said Rep. Johnson. “Metro Atlanta needs a seat at this table. Now we have one.”
The closing 48 hours of the special election in the 9th District congressional race will focus on a tiff between former GOP lawmakers Lee Hawkins of Gainesville and Tom Graves of Ranger.
Late last week, Hawkins blistered Graves with a mailer that accused the former state House member of poor business dealings, releasing a series of documents to back the charges up.
The Graves campaign has charged that Hawkins has tinkered with the documents, mischaracterizing them by applying it’s own stamp reading “judgment.”
That, of course, raised a logistical conundrum: How to show, graphically, the alleged misstep by Hawkins – without giving credence to the underlying documents. The Graves campaign’s solution, apparently, was to blur the documents so they can’t be clearly read.
The other high-profile vote on Tuesday is a more polite contest for the state Senate seat vacated by David Adelman of Atlanta, now U.S. ambassador to Singapore. The Associated Press caught former President Jimmy Carter campaigning with his grandson Jason Carter on Saturday.
The other candidate in the race, Thomas Stubbs, a DeKalb County attorney, on Friday condemned an anonymous flier circulating in the 42nd District, depicting a donor to Jason Carter’s campaign with the late Yassir Arafat.
Stubbs has called for an investigation by the State Ethics Commission.
Catching up: Two videos from last week are worth noting. The first was this paid TV ad from former Gov. Roy Barnes, outlining his populist line of attack for the season:
The second was this dystopic, three-minute video from Republican candidate for governor Jeff Chapman of Brunswick – interesting for its accusation that GOP leaders have abandoned the principles of Ronald Reagan:
Last week, the Augusta Chronicle explained why politics makes comedy so superfluous:
The only person to attempt to run for Sen. J.B. Powell’s Senate seat as a Democrat acknowledged Thursday that he rode to the Capitol with Powell but insisted he made the decision to run on his own.
Leon Garvin, a former sheriff’s public relations lieutenant who retired with 40-plus years on the force, said he was surfing the Web last week when he noticed that no one had qualified for Powell’s seat.
“I was actually looking on Craigslist for a pontoon boat,” he said. Then he clicked over to the Georgia secretary of state’s Web site.
“I didn’t even think about qualifying until I saw that on the computer,” he said.
Garvin, it was later discovered, doesn’t actually live in the Senate district involved.
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