Your morning jolt: Why Sonny Perdue is likely to name a caretaker to replace Kathy Cox

More on this later, but the guessing in Georgia’s education community is that Gov. Sonny Perdue will appoint a caretaker to fill out the last six months of School Superintendent Kathy Cox’s term rather than either of two Republicans in the contest the advantage of the incumbency.

As if having an “(i)” next to your name is an actual advantage in this climate.

Here’s the situation: Cox gave notice of her June 30 resignation after the qualifying period that ended in April. So Perdue’s choices for a long-term superintendent are limited to three Democrats and two Republicans.

Perdue intends to pick a successor before Cox leaves, so that Georgia can continue to pursue a competition for federal dollars known as “Race to the Top.” This is important.

Assume that to choose a Democrat would prompt a GOP revolution. That leaves the two Republicans: John Barge, a Bartow County school administrator; and Richard Woods, an Irwin County administrator.

As of Wednesday, neither candidate had been contacted by the governor’s office.

Both Barge and Woods entered the contest with the aim of reversing several of Cox’s policy – which, one presumes, have had the approval of the governor. Both candidates point to a new math curriculum and a de-emphasis on technical training for students who aren’t headed for college.

But most importantly, both Republicans have been critical about the pursuit of “Race to the Top” money. Woods objects to increased federal funding of education, and the strings it brings. Barge said local school officials were kept in the dark about the goals of “Race to the Top” – which he said were then presented as a fait accompli.

But if “Race to the Top” is the governor’s reason for filling Cox’s position, then the two GOP candidates pose a contradiction.

Georgia has Jessica Colotl as the face of the debate over illegal immigration. In Washington, the poster child is much younger. This from today’s Washington Post:

On Wednesday, with TV cameras rolling during an event to promote healthy eating, a second-grader at a Silver Spring elementary school asked first lady Michelle Obama why the president was “taking everybody away that doesn’t have papers.”

Sitting in front of a dozen schoolchildren, with the first lady of Mexico by her side, Obama told the girl: “That’s something that we have to work on, right? To make sure that people can be here with the right kind of papers.”

“But my mom doesn’t have any papers,” the student blurted as soon as the first lady had finished.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced that only a single Democrat, Scott Holcomb, had qualified for the House District 82 seat given up by Kevin Levitas.

Several of you quickly pointed to the Facebook page of Allan Williamson, a former leader of the Atlanta Young Republicans, who has begun to collect signatures for an independent run.

Former Republican candidate for governor Austin Scott on Wednesday explained to a hometown audience why he had decided to challenge U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Macon). This from the Tifton Gazette:

Scott assured Rotary members that his decision to remove his name from the gubernatorial ballot was what he thought to be the best move for the country.

“The most important change that needs to be made is in Washington,” Scott said. “My family can survive whatever governor is elected to lead Georgia, whether Republican or Democrat, but I’m not sure my family or yours can survive another two years with the way things are in Washington. In the end it was a decision between proving a point and making a difference. I chose to make a difference.”

Marshall has proven a difficult target for Republicans. For instance, this very day the middle Georgia congressman is hosting a lecture by former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich on the necessity of a balanced federal budget.

A program begun by state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond, called Georgia Works, is the focus of a National Public Radio report looking at alternative programs to address unemployment.

The program, now being duplicated in other states, permits workers to continue to collect unemployment benefits while they train at companies. Listen to the podcast here, but NPR reports:

So far, almost 8,400 employers have signed up, and about 7,800 workers have participated in training. Businesses are not required to hire workers, and those who don’t get jobs will continue to receive their unemployment checks. But nearly half of the trainees — more than 3,700 people — now have jobs.

The fact that Thurmond is now a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate goes unmentioned. But count on the labor commissioner to ultimately draw that connection.

You don’t usually find op-ed pieces in the New York Times arguing – quite seriously – that the results of Tuesday’s elections prove that Rush Limbaugh has become the savior of the Republican Party.

This from the radio talk show host’s biographer, Zev Chafets:

Mr. Limbaugh was not just the architect of this plan, he was (and continues to be) its enforcer. Dissenters like Arlen Specter, whom Mr. Limbaugh disparaged as a “Republican in Name Only,” found themselves unelectable in the party primaries. Moderates like Michael Steele, the party chairman, were slapped down for suggesting cooperation with the administration. When Representative Phil Gingrey of Georgia had the temerity to suggest that Mr. Limbaugh was too uncompromising, he was met with public outrage and forced into an humiliating apology.

When the Tea Party movement emerged, Mr. Limbaugh welcomed it. The movement’s causes — fighting against health care reform, reducing the size and cost of government, opposing the Democrats’ putative desire to remake America in the image of European social democracies — were straight Limbaughism. A very high proportion of the Tea Partiers listen to Mr. Limbaugh. Sarah Palin’s biggest current applause line — Republicans are not just the party of no, but the party of hell no — came courtesy of Mr. Limbaugh. (Ms. Palin gave the keynote address at the first national Tea Party convention.) Glenn Beck, who is especially popular among Tea Partiers, calls Mr. Limbaugh his hero.

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16 comments Add your comment

Coastal Cavalier

May 20th, 2010
10:25 am

As far as I am concerned, all appointments to fill unexpired terms should be caretakers. And appointees should certainly not be called an incumbent since they have not faced the voters before.


May 20th, 2010
10:36 am

“Assume that to choose a Democrat would prompt a GOP revolution.”

Why is that? Bi-partisanship is only an issue in Washington. Obama has 2 Republicans in his cabinet. Yet Perdue picking a Democrat to replace Cox would “prompt a revolution.”

At the state level bi-partisanship is not even on the radar. Never mentioned. It would be one thing if Republicans had a resume. They don’t. The state is in horrible shape. Same with the country as a whole after 8 years of Bush.

Republicans talk a lot about “bi-partisanship,” and “family values.” Problem is they never apply the same standards to themselves.


May 20th, 2010
11:01 am

Allan Williamson has done an excellent job serving in the Georgia Young Republicans. He would be a great addition to the Georgia General Assembly.

You Asked

May 20th, 2010
11:04 am

I think you underestimate the people of Georgia by saying appointing a Democrat will cause revolution among the GOP. Some of the appointed Directors of major state agencies reporting to Governor Perdue were recruited from such diverse places as the Daley administration in Chicago (textbook Democrat).

Despite the accusations of “good ‘ol boy” politics the Governor has a diverse slate of leaders working in his administration. Recruiting good leaders is one of this administrations positive legacies for Georgia.

What is the real reason the Governor will appoint someone to fill the spot? Its his constitutional duty.

You Asked

May 20th, 2010
11:06 am

DannyX- The state is in pretty good shape considering the overall national and world economy. Wew still rank #49 in terms of per capita government debt and #46 in terms of per capita tax burden. Sure we’re in a tough time, but the problems we are facing are truly bipartisan in their creation.

But don’t let good sense get in the way of your partisanship.


May 20th, 2010
12:26 pm

At least we won the “Race to the Bottom”.


May 20th, 2010
12:38 pm

@you asked
Where do you get your information from–look at Louisana? 24billion dollar budget and a lot less of a population. The school districts have a 2,000,000,000 reserve. We can’t even by license plates for cars and you are saying what ? Are you another paid blogger from Perdue?


May 20th, 2010
12:39 pm

that is 2,000,000,000 school districts in Louisana to clarify


May 20th, 2010
12:40 pm

Also if you look at the information from Moody and Standard and Poor you will see that if revenue is not generated we will lose our AAA bond status.


May 20th, 2010
12:43 pm

And what about the debt from the loans that have been carried out for the last 7 years Perdue has created. It is the largest in recent history. The interest rate alone will eventually hurt our so called per capital spending per a person. Look at the numbers of how much is borrowed money. Also look at how we went ahead and used our federal stimulus dollars for next year to balance this year.


May 20th, 2010
12:55 pm

There is no bi-partisanship from Republicans in Georgia and there is no public involvement either. Last summer Obama and other Democrats faced a hostile public at the “grandma death squad” town hall meetings.

Can you imagine Sonny Perdue hosting a town hall meeting here in Atlanta on transportation? The ridicule and laughter would be overwhelming. The Republican plan on transportation? “We’ll squeeze you in.” The only things Republicans have done is kill the Outer Perimeter and extend the Ga 400 toll past its promised life. How would Sonny explain the incompetency and moral questions about DOT? How would he explain why so many metro tax dollars are being diverted elsewhere?

What Republican could explain why our taxes are next to last and 35% of local taxes are diverted elsewhere. At the same time Republicans encourage uncontrolled growth. The metro infrastructure doesn’t stand a chance.

Public debate/involvement on water issues? Are you crazy? The new ethics laws. NO. Public debate on the elimination of corporate taxes? No. The education cuts? No. Sunday liquor sales. No.


May 20th, 2010
1:18 pm

What no mention of the latest poll, that once again show’s My Man Ox in first place.


May 20th, 2010
1:30 pm

Congratulations on the ethics investigation mention today GoOx.

Further highlighting our Georgia Republican’s walled off leadership. Here is a case where the public demanded bi-partisan action and received almost nothing. Democrats and Republicans at every level in this state have proven to be equally challenged in the ethics department. They have been equally challenged at seriously addressing the issue also.

How can so many Republican candidates for governor have so many ethical questions?

who is in the race for state super?

May 20th, 2010
1:52 pm

please list canidates that will be listed on the ballet

lots of research to do


May 20th, 2010
2:39 pm

i’ve never used names in my comments..simply out of respect to all candidates. but, now that karen handel has made such a silly comment about eric johnson and more important..about nathan deal…here goes. lady, before you sound off on nathan deal you need to study his prior votes on immigration. you’ll learn first hand how he not only supported but introduced legislation against illegal immigration. some of the very legislation he introduced while he was in washington the past twelve years is allowing state governments to do what the federal government is failing to do. if were gonna begin calling names….lets get the facts right.


May 20th, 2010
3:25 pm

If I read you comments right, Deal Real Steal he introduced legislation, but wasn’t able to get it passed? Is that the kind of leadership we need in Georgia? Deal has even brought his Washington ways to his campaign. In his second disclosure period he spent more than he raised. We do not need a do nothing congressman leading our state.