Your morning jolt: Three Ga. lessons from Tuesday night

The lessons that Tuesday night might hold for Georgia aren’t exact.

We have no Arlen Specter-like party-switcher. No Blanche Lincoln-like challenge to an incumbent in either party.

But the lessons do exist:

LESSON NO. 1: The victory of tea-party favorite Rand Paul over hand-picked GOP establishment favorite Trey Grayson in the Kentucky race for U.S. Senate doesn’t bode well for former state senator Lee Hawkins of Gainesville.

In the special election to replace Nathan Deal in Congress, Hawkins faces a June 8 runoff with fellow Republican and former lawmaker Tom Graves of Ranger, who is backed by FreedomWorks, a financer of the tea party movement, and the conservative Washington group Club for Growth.

Hawkins in no way can be described as hand-picked by any GOP establishment, but he is running as a more traditional Republican with strong business ties.

LESSON NO. 2: Perhaps the happiest man in Georgia today is Rob Woodall, former chief of staff to U.S. Rep. John Linder and now a Republican candidate to replace his former boss.

With anti-incumbent fever plaguing both parties, many have cast doubt on the possibility that such a transition was possible.

But Pennsylvania’s 12th District congressional race dashed that presumption Tuesday, with voters electing Mark Critz, former aide to the late Democratic congressman John Murtha, over Republican businessman Tim Burns.

Just in time. Woodall has a Saturday afternoon fund-raiser that features Linder.

LESSON NO. 3: The same race may also hold lessons for Georgia Democrats who will have to walk a tightrope when it comes to President Barack Obama.

This from today’s Wall Street Journal:

Tuesday’s results revealed a possible tool-kit for navigating the year’s challenging political climate.

In a closely watched Pennsylvania congressional race to replace the late Democratic Rep. John Murtha, the Democratic candidate, Mark Critz, successfully wooed conservative voters in his party by opposing Mr. Obama’s health-care law, and by opposing abortion rights and gun control.

Mr. Critz defeated a Republican in a Johnstown-area district that had voted for Republican presidential candidate John McCain in 2008.

Yes, that galloping figure you may have seen on Saturday in the 2010 Turtle Crawl Sprint on Jekyll Island was indeed Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who finished his first triathalon – just a little more than a year after the back/neck surgery that forced him out of this year’s Republican contest for governor.

Running under his given name, Lowell Cagle of Gainesville, 44, No. 534, finished 92nd in the men’s division, out of 132. Swimming was the strongest portion of his ordeal, according to the stats.

Cagle’s spokeswoman directed us to these quotes from Cagle, shortly before his 2009 surgery:

“There are times when you are injured, that you don’t have the ability to get back on the field immediately,” Cagle said. “You’ve got to get yourself back in shape, because this is a contact sport. If anybody doesn’t believe it, they ain’t been around enough.”

Cagle’s Democratic opponents include Carol Porter of Dublin, wife of gubernatorial candidate DuBose Porter.

Fox5’s investigative reporter Dale Russell this week had a piece on corporate identity theft – focusing on the easily penetrated business registration system operated by Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

Kemp admitted the glitch, which had apparently existed since the days of Cathy Cox, and Russell didn’t broadcast his report until it had been addressed:

All of that to say that, on the Galloway household answering machine on Tuesday was this robo-call message:

“Attention. This is a Georgia voter action alert. Secretary of State Brian Kemp has allowed, through mismanagement, a security breach at the corporation division where your identity can be stolen. Investigative reporter Dale Russell of Fox5 aired this story last night.

“If you or anyone you know owns a small business, check your business records immediately to make sure your business has not been altered. Remember to vote ‘no’ on Brian Kemp.”

The message ended there, with now mention of who paid for the robo-call.

As noted by Morris News Service, two candidates, Republican Doug MacGinnitie and Democrat Gail Buckner, publicly attacked Kemp on Tuesday for what they called sloppy management:

“What we have here is not a minor technology glitch, but rather a major gap in priorities,” MacGinnitie said. “When the incumbent spends time away from his desk on midday campaign fundraisers and golf outings, it is no surprise criminals view our Georgia business owners as a weak target for identity theft.”

Buckner accused Kemp of spending too much time campaigning and not enough overseeing the office.

“The people of Georgia need to know that their government will no longer leave them vulnerable to such an attack,” she said. “My real concern is that if Mr. Kemp took such a lax approach to online security, what other potential problems in his office is he ignoring?”

Kemp, appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue in January, is filling the balance of Karen Handel’s term since she resigned to campaign full time for governor. Kemp, a Republican, had already been campaigning to succeed her when Perdue picked him.

In a precursor to his Saturday show at the Fox, “Prairie Home Companion” host Garrison Keillor will speak Friday at a noon lunch hosted by the Atlanta Press Club.

By happenstance, the liberal Keillor also had an op-ed piece in the Baltimore Sun this week, drawn from his attendance at a recent gathering of spouses of U.S. senators – and their mates:

Some members seemed less embraceable than others: Roland Burris, the Rod Blagojevich appointee, was not Mr. Popularity, and one could detect a distinct coolness toward Saxby Chambliss, whose 2002 campaign defeating Max Cleland was more like first-degree assault than civics, but otherwise, people mingled freely.

Out in America, the U.S. Senate is regarded as a tiny medieval fiefdom of pompous gasbags, but in the Senate, there is genuine affection among colleagues. And why not? They spend a lot of time together. Johnny Isakson of Georgia palled around with Al Franken.

There was friendship on both sides for Bob and Joyce Bennett of Utah. Senator Bennett has served three terms and, at 76, was hoping for a fourth, but a few days before, his state Republican committee denied him the endorsement, a big shock here, a sign of the anti-incumbency wave, and his fellow incumbents kept slipping over to him and patting him on the shoulder.

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32 comments Add your comment

John Konop

May 19th, 2010
9:52 am

Rand Paul ran on getting out of Afghanistan and Iraq ASAP to save money. How does this play in the GOP?

How do the Democrats explain to their base Obama following the Bush war strategy in the Middle East?

And the GOP lost the Murtha seat that went for McCain in a special election, how did this happen?

And Specter got beat in the Dem primary by a former military guy who sounds like Rand Paul on foreign policy.

The American people want out of the nation building strategy we cannot afford and is not working.


May 19th, 2010
9:56 am

Jim, PA 12th is a very, very different situation than the northern ATL suburbs. PA 12th is a place where people have strong roots, there are many union towns (heck, one is even called Uniontown!) and habits don’t break very easily. The northern ATL suburbs are transient and better educated. The electorate is very, very different.

What the results last night tell us is that people don’t like politicians. We know that when someone who has been in office for 30 years claims that he is fighting against the system it means he’s either not telling the truth and needs to be replaced or he’s incompetent and needs to be replaced. Tea party, progressive or independent, the common theme is these people need to be replaced.


May 19th, 2010
10:02 am

“we marched in there, we can march right back out” , Ron Paul

John Konop

May 19th, 2010
10:06 am


I do agree people are angry but remember Murtha was very outspoken about getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan. I do think most Americans realize we are loosing human life and also throwing good money after no win situation. And in a down economy this hits a nerve.


May 19th, 2010
10:06 am

John Konop – Let me try to address what you point out as a connundrum….

Too many people nowadays want to think that life is full of right and wrong answers. It’s not. There may be several good answers. What’s needed are people who know how to execute those ideas.

Example: If you wanted to drive from Emory to the airport, you could drive to the connector and down, to I-20 and over to the Connector, to the Perimeter and then to the aiport, or take Moreland most of the way there. Each route will get you to the airport. Each has its advantages.

What happens if someone starts in one route, then decides to backtrack and try another? You waste time, energy and might never get to where you need to be. What if you choose to put someone behind the wheel who doesn’t know how to drive? You won’t get there and may wreck the car!

Voters need to spend less time arguing over which route is right and more time electing competent people who are willing to sometimes let go and trust someone else’s route in the interest of getting to where we need to be! We need leaders, not egomaniacs, who work for the common good, rather than the people who are more concerned about their party than the average folk.

Coastal Cavalier

May 19th, 2010
10:06 am

I for one am getting sick and tired of hearing how evil Saxby Chambless is for defeating Max Cleland. Politics is a grown up game. Get over it..your guy got beat..fair and square. It’s like Dems claiming LBJ beat Goldwater solely on the basis of the daisy ad.


May 19th, 2010
10:11 am

John K – full disclosure – Years ago I worked on The Hill for a Congressman who had geographic and and personal ties to Murtha. We worked very closely with his office and his district was very similar to my Congressman’s district. Additionally, I grew up just outside his district, in the same TV and radio market, which treated both my Congressman and Murtha as the “local” member of Congress. I’ve lived in ATL for 20+ years, still have family there and go back often. Trust me. The electorate up there is very, very different.


May 19th, 2010
10:14 am

Coastal – Have you ever noticed that Max Cleland whines about that all over the country, but rarely states that here in GA. Why? Because we know it’s not true. Max Cleland lost for many reasons, which did not include any questions about his patriotism or personal sacrifice. Cleland seems to think that he deserved his seat because of his military service rather than believing he should be treated equally and judged by his record. He did not represent GA views, so he was voted out. He still seems unable to understand that.


May 19th, 2010
10:20 am

Sorry for the triple post, but Coastal, one more thing…

Garrison K owes the people of GA an apology. He is saying that we are so stupid that when we go to the ballot box, all it takes is name calling and we won’t vote for someone. We had six years of Max Cleland as our Senator. We are intelligent voters who analyzed his record and booted him out. What Garrison K and his ilk would have the world believe is that we ignored Cleland’s record and voted based on the smear. It’s insulting to everyone who votes in GA. It shows an arrogance that permeates left wing politics. Mr. K likely doesn’t even know a single issue that was important to GA voters at the time, but that doesn’t stop him from perpetuating the lie, does it?

John Konop

May 19th, 2010
10:34 am


Different or not people are angry about the budget and the truth is the burn rate of money in the Middle East would solve some short term issue at home. And many on both sides realize we cannot afford our current foreign policy.

The General

May 19th, 2010
10:41 am

Rob Woodall may be giddier than a schoolgirl now, but come July 20 (perhaps not until a run-off) he’ll be moping around looking for a job.

Clay Cox will take this congressional seat.

Paddy O

May 19th, 2010
10:53 am

AngryVoter – I actually agree with you today. The people of Georgia are actually more realistic & pragmatic about the government. The vast majority of Georgians, especially the old time 3 generations connected folk, have a good understanding of government – keep it small, let it regulate little, and the independent individual has only himself to blame for bad things that happen to him – and bad things happen frequently in the Atlanta area (due mostly to immorality and the inability to drive sanely). When I first came to GA, I was under the impression that all these people who hated unions were stupid, redneck suckers – but they actually understood that interfering with the person/people who actually own and run a business simply makes that business want to go somewhere else. The unions are very similar to the Federal Government – they have taken on a life, and purpose, as an independent entity disconnected from their original intent, and the people they are supposed to serve. The south also does not systematically repress & marginalize the “rednecks” among us, which is why you have the impression there are a lot more of them in the south. In the north, they just don’t get covered. NY City probably has more homeless living in it thatn the entire population of the City of Atlanta, proper.

Paddy O

May 19th, 2010
10:58 am

Phil Gingrey has represented me personally, as a member of his district. He has consistently voted against the bail outs. However, he is not pushing 3 important initiatives: 1) Constitutional Amendment mandating balancing the federal budget; 2) Appeal/amend NAFTA (it would only apply to countries with similar labor & environmental laws); 3) Amend the income tax so it is actually fair and equitable ($25,000 standard deduction, all citizens over 18 must pay 2.5% of their income to the government, regardless of wages earned). If a candidate ran who was advocating these positions, I would consider voting for them. I am awaiting the census results – I hope GA gains 2 congressional seats.


May 19th, 2010
11:19 am

Aside from the people that are interested in politics, who else in Georgia has any idea what happened in Pennsylvania yesterday? The people of Georgia are going to vote for:

a) the first name on the ballot

b) the candidate that sounds like a good Christian

c) whoever their preacher says in a good Christian

Keisha Waites

May 19th, 2010
11:23 am

Go Get em Gail!


May 19th, 2010
11:35 am

I was a reliable Republican voter for almost two decades until Republican candidates became obsessed with social issues and the radical religious nuts took over the party. With the democrat party offering no viable alternative, I have been left with voting in local county and city elections and leaving the rest of my ballot blank.

IF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY will listen to Tea Party advocates who advocate for fiscal responsibility and less government and place a much lower priority on social issues, then I will glady support these type candidates.


May 19th, 2010
11:52 am

The GOP has been hijacked by good ol’ boy former Southern Democrats. Look no farther than Purdue, Chambliss, and Deal. Nationally the GOP is rotten to the core with this ilk. We had the WH for 8 years and Congress for a good bit of that and what did it get us? We have insider and establishment candidates still running for two reasons – benefitting themselves and their special interests. We’re left with third stringer candidates for Governor and in the 7th some DC insider running on a single issue that could not under the most favorable conditions begin to be applied for at least a decade even if it works.

Call me a pessimist but yesterday’s results just go to show this ‘confusion’ is far from over and the results are that we the people will just get bent over in a different direction come January.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

May 19th, 2010
12:00 pm

Garrison Keillor is not an American liberal. Our Founders were liberal and told the truth on the Roman Anti-Christ which is now promoting illegal immigration after cheating into office Hitler’s banker’s grandson, and JFK’s assassin’s son, to commit 9/11.

Keillor knows all this and would rather pursue commercial “success.” He is no “liberal.”

G-d is not mocked.

Paddy O

May 19th, 2010
12:34 pm

The main reason the GOP is thriving in Georgia is the Georgia Democrats are stupider, more inept, and have no concept of organizations. Otherwise, why would anyone keep voting for the feckless, do nothing but enrich their buddies and fellow wealthy retirees? These twits are not Reagan Repubs. They keep interfering with local government, while stealing various state trust funds to pay for the operation of state government. Trust them like you do a used car dealer, or a Michael Jackson DR.

Will Jones - Bananasville

May 19th, 2010
12:36 pm

Hey Will, you loon, I bet the pope and bush and clinton’s nose via rome are still watching you.

Will Jones is mocked, often and by everyone.

Jumbo G is the king of conventional thinking

May 19th, 2010
12:38 pm

You know what I took away from tues. night? That democrats have to run against the Obama agenda to get elected……. but I’m a sucker for irony.


May 19th, 2010
12:40 pm

Deege, It is racist to say that blacks vote how their preachers tell them. Everyone know that they do, but it is racist to point it out.

John Konop

May 19th, 2010
2:14 pm

Kentucky primary reveals GOP rift on Afghan war

…The other difference is on national defense.

Paul says invading Iraq was the wrong thing to do, and while he supported the attack on Afghanistan, he expresses reservations about President Obama’s mission for U.S. forces there and speaks about the need to scale back overseas commitments.

Grayson, meanwhile, defends the Iraq invasion and argues for a long-term commitment to Afghanistan as part of “keeping America on the offensive” in the war on terrorism.

Grayson hammered Paul on the difference with some nasty ads, suggesting that Paul had blamed America for the Sept. 11 attacks because he had argued that previous American policies had helped galvanize Islamists.

The Grayson strategy was to tie Paul to the “truther” movement that holds that Sept. 11 was an act of mass murder perpetrated by the Bush administration.

That’s how Grayson won the backing of former Vice President Cheney and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who bashed Paul just as he had derided Paul’s father in the 2008 Republican primaries.

Pundits expected Paul’s insurgent candidacy to fizzle

But Paul hit back hard. His response ad used images from the Sept. 11 attacks and said “fighting back was the right thing to do.” He then spoke directly to Grayson, saying “your shameful TV ad is a lie, and it dishonors you.”

His message on the stump was that he wanted America have the most powerful military in the world as a deterrent to our enemies, not to be a policeman or a community organizer to failed nations…..


May 19th, 2010
3:08 pm

“You know what I took away from tues. night? That democrats have to run against the Obama agenda to get elected……. but I’m a sucker for irony.”

Lol!! Here we have an invented imaginative “Tea Party” created with the sole purpose of diverting our attention from the fact you people supported George W Bush’s every move for eight years. You people are so ashamed of the way this country was run you invented an alternate reality. In the meantime, Bush is still in self imposed exile, and any mention of his name gets shouted down on the blogs.

These same Tea Party members love Ronald Reagan. The same President Reagan that gave amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. Their children and grandchildren are now voting Democrat by the millions. Now that’s irony!

Paddy O

May 19th, 2010
3:29 pm

Danny – your playing partial reality here. Reagan was pretty pragmatic – he traded immigration rules for amnesty; however, subsequent administrations failed to deliver, including Bush 1. The TEA party is a movement – essentially demanding that taxes be reduced, and non essential spending terminated until we have a surplus. The last surplus? Clinton. Lousy husband, but actually a fine President. Except for not blowing up the Taliban after the 93 bombing.

Paddy O

May 19th, 2010
3:30 pm


May 19th, 2010
3:45 pm

RaceCop, where do you live? I live in the GA 9th. It has nothing to do with race.


May 19th, 2010
5:22 pm

Clay Cox is the only logical choice for the 7th district. He is the only true conservative in the race. He is a true leader and not a D.C. insider. He has run a profitable business and knows how to balance a budget without getting a bail out. He has served the people in his house district well.


May 19th, 2010
5:31 pm

If I lived up your sizeable arse, you’d already know, deegee.

Danny 3.5's (X) wife

May 19th, 2010
5:34 pm

Danny 3.5 (yes, it is that small) fails to check his facts all the time. He has know idea that the democrat that won in KY said he would have voted against Obamacare. Against the Auto-Finance takeovers, and he went around talking about cutting taxes, for all!!!! Obama was not even asked to come and campaign for the fella. Danny micro member is rivaled by his micro mind.


May 19th, 2010
6:00 pm

That was brilliant, RaceCop. Wherever you happen to live, your mind resides in the gutter.

Paddy O

May 19th, 2010
6:38 pm

Lets look at non-essential spending: NASA, troops in Korea, all foreign investment (IMF, WHO), all foreign assistance, the funding of the UN, NATO, the FARM bills, the EIC. Also, if you eliminate or amend NAFTA, then provide for a “wage equalization tariff” per unit produced, that would generate a good deal of income. You need to get to the point where you are generating at least a 500 billion dollar surplus, so you can eliminate long term debt. I would also like to see the establishment of “hemisphere assistance zones”; the US would cover central & south AMerica; China & Japan would cover southern Asia; Europe would cover Africa. In this fashion, the US would not be spread so thin. It would also be interesting to analyze the basic staff in our embassies around the world. We could probably get out of 500 countries and not miss them at all.