Your morning jolt: Tom Graves again dominates 9th District map

Republican candidate for Georgia's 9th Congressional District Tom Graves greets supporter and barbecueist Oscar Poole during an election-night party in Jasper. AP/John Bazemore

Republican candidate for Georgia's 9th Congressional District Tom Graves greets supporter and barbecueist Oscar Poole during an election-night party in Jasper. AP/John Bazemore

Updated at 10:37 a.m.: A campaign spokesman on Wednesday morning said it’s likely that Tom Graves of Ranger won’t be sworn in as the newest Republican congressman from Georgia until early next week.

Tim Baker of the Graves campaign, said that he’d been told by the U.S. House clerk’s office that Graves could be seated Thursday – if Secretary of State Brian Kemp, by noon, sends a letter, assuring Congress that the results aren’t likely to be contested.

Baker says he’s getting indications that Kemp isn’t completely comfortable with that. Provisional ballots don’t have to be counted until Thursday, and the deadline for overseas military ballots is Friday — at which time counties will send in their formal counts.

But the betting here is that caution from the secretary of state is rooted in the fact that this congressional race will continue apace through the July 20 primary.

Graves took an impressive 56 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s special election runoff to replace Nathan Deal, swamping former state senator Lee Hawkins of Gainesville in 12 of the 9th District’s 15 north Georgia counties.


As in the initial May election, Graves – from the western portion of the district – showed surprising strength on the eastern side. We include a chart filched from the secretary of state’s website.

The race was won (or lost, if you’re a Hawkins fan) in Hall and Forsyth counties, which supplied more than 50 percent of the vote.

Graves won Forsyth County by more than 2,000 votes, negating Hawkins’ residency advantage in Hall, which the former state senator won by only 2,700 votes.
Dawson and Lumpkin were the only other counties won by Hawkins.

The question is whether Tuesday’s lopsided result will be enough to choke off the finances of at least four GOP candidates likely to continue the fight into the July 20 primary, when a full, two-year term is at stake.

And Graves’ financial dealings have yet to be aired out.

Hawkins has vowed to continue. So has Steve Tarvin of Chickamauga.
Hostilities will be renewed immediately. Phil Kent and I will be cat-herding a 9th District debate in Hall County on Saturday morning.

Your suggestions for questions are welcome.

Immigration activist D.A. King has found an ally in Cobb County Sherif Neil Warren, who wants to see the state Board of Regents in court. From this morning’s MDJ:

Sheriff Neil Warren is calling for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to probe the University System of Georgia’s governing body, the Board of Regents, for possibly violating the law by admitting illegal immigrants into the state’s universities….

Warren said he filed the request with GBI because, in his opinion, the law is being violated.

“The way I read the law, I think someone is in violation of the law and I think someone independently should look into it,” Warren said.

In light of the criticism Warren has received regarding the Colotl case, he said he felt it was appropriate for an independent agency to do the investigation.

It’s not likely to happen, given that we’ll have a new governor and a larger infusion of new members into the General Assembly, but already one group – and a few candidates are calling for a January override of Gov. Sonny Perdue’s veto of two bills: one demanding zero-based budgeting, and another to permit the Legislature to “sunset” entire state departments.

“Zero-based budgeting is the most important piece of legislation today for smaller government, and a more fiscally responsible Georgia. We call on the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the House to lead in a veto overide of SB 1 in January, and show true leadership for the economic future of this state,” said Julianne Thompson, coordinator of the Georgia Tea Party Patriots.

In his veto message, Perdue said zero-based budgeting had been tried in other states – and made little difference.

The Associated Press has gotten its hands on a letter from state Democratic party chairman Jane Kidd to county chairmen on the south side of U.S. Rep. John Barrow’s district – warning them to stay out of the incumbent congressman’s primary fight.

At issue is Barrow’s vote against the health care reform championed by President Barack Obama. Barrow faces a rematch with former state senator Regina Thomas in a July 20 primary.

Writes Russ Bynum:

One county party chairman has said he’s so angry with the congressman that he plans to vote against Barrow in the primary.

Kidd’s letter says criticizing Barrow while he seeks re-election violates state Democratic bylaws that require party officials to refrain from taking sides in contested primaries.

“Any of you wishing to continue this type of activity are required by our Charter and Bylaws to resign any official position with the Democratic Party of Georgia immediately,” says Kidd’s letter, dated June 1.

Barrow is seeking a fourth term in Georgia’s 12th District, which includes most of Savannah and Augusta plus a large swath of rural southern Georgia. In the 2008 primary, he easily defeated Thomas — who got only 24 percent of the vote.

Heading into next month’s primary, some Democratic officials have said upfront that Barrow’s vote against health care cost him support within the party. A few state lawmakers who endorsed Barrow in the 2008 primary are either backing Thomas or staying out of the race.

“While this letter is certainly going to raise eyebrows, I think people are just going to ignore it,” said Tony Center, Democratic chairman for Barrow’s district and Chatham County. “There are several party chairs who believe it’s the Democratic Party’s responsibility to tell an elected official when he’s out of line with Democratic ideals.”

Kidd’s letter doesn’t name individuals or list specific criticisms of Barrow.

The Republican campaign of Secretary of State Brian Kemp claims that a photographer for GOP rival Doug MacGinnitie is taking pictures of supporters and children walking in and out of Kemp fund-raisers.

From the Morris News Service:

The MacGinnitie campaign acknowledges that a photographer working for them attended Kemp fundraisers, but said he is an unpaid volunteer whose job is to document times when Kemp is raising money during working hours instead of dealing with state issues.

“We don’t have pictures of children,” said the MacGinnitie campaign’s Brandon Phillips. “I could care less who’s going, who’s attending and who’s not attending his fundraisers. I have a problem with him raising money in the middle of the day.”

But the fundraiser June 2 in Sandy Springs didn’t start until after working hours, and Kemp didn’t arrive until 5:20 p.m. or so, said Rep. Joe Wilkinson, R-Sandy Springs.

Wilkinson said he saw the photographer taking photos of people arriving for the event, even when Kemp was not present.

“It seems to be an intimidation tactic — taking pictures of our supporters and their children,” said the Kemp campaign’s David Dove, who was present at the event and one that preceded it.

One of the stranger quotes of the ‘10 campaign was fielded by Dick Pettys of InsiderAdvantage this week, during a look at the pros involved in the Republican and Democratic campaigns for governor.

House Democratic Leader DuBose Porter wouldn’t identify his team:

“For me to talk about who they are would be showing my hand and my strategy, which will be revealed over the next five weeks. I’ll be glad to explain when we win and everybody will understand and say, ‘Wow, what an amazing group of folks.’ I have a major policy person, folks who have interned with me, folks travelling with me. The whole team I want to hold very close because of the uniqueness of the campaign,” Porter said.

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

31 comments Add your comment


June 9th, 2010
9:57 am

Why the rush to get Graves sworn in? Does he want become a “Congressman” before he’s brought down for fraud?

Bill Orvis White

June 9th, 2010
10:07 am

Swear Mr. Graves in immediately, secretary. What is the holdup? The state and the rest of the country needs this man in office to help save this once-free nation from tyranny of the minority.
Also, it’s time to reverse Sonny’s serious mistakes. I love Sonny, but he’s dead wrong on these vetos and his recent visit with Communist Cuba. Who is he going to visit next? Chavez? Ahmadinejad?
God Bless,

Raquel Morris

June 9th, 2010
10:12 am

DuBose Porter doesn’t have a staff.


June 9th, 2010
10:19 am

Curiously, in a supposed anti-incumbent year, most of the departing are not retiring but seeking higher office. We may recycle more than we replace. The bad news is that a frustrating 114 seats still have but one contestant. Two of them aren’t even incumbents, meaning they will affect state policy without being vetted by voters. And I have to think that we’d be better off if many had run instead for the Legislature — and cut down on the number running unopposed. Georgia’s problems are numerous. They aren’t going away. There’s too much stale thinking at the Capitol, on both sides of the aisle. New voices would be welcome.


June 9th, 2010
10:24 am

Hey Bill Orvis White, the majority voted for the current administration, so where does the tyranny of the minority come in to play? Seems to me you are part of the minority group.


June 9th, 2010
10:26 am

this doug macginnitie is turning out to be a real disgrace to the gop. or should i say “thug” macginnitie?


June 9th, 2010
10:34 am

WTF: You are incorrect. A majority of those who voted, voted for the current administration. That is a very important distinction.


June 9th, 2010
10:40 am

Hawkins is toast. He can’t raise any money.

You Asked

June 9th, 2010
10:49 am

Can anyone remember the fracas a few weeks back when the Georgia Arts Council was defunded and added to another agency?

Now multiply that x 200 and you will see how zero based budgeting with a sunset clause will work for state government.

In theory having to justify budgets each year appeals to the fiscal conservative side of me, but if you think bureucrats spend too much time judtifying their programs now and not enough time implementing their mission then “bar the door Katie!”

Governor Perdue made the right call. Keep the budget process in the hands of the Executive branch and keep the purse strings in the hands of the Legislature as outlined by our state constitution.

You Asked

June 9th, 2010
10:53 am

Oh, and what’s up with showing pictures of Oscar Poole before lunch time? Now I have a craving and there’s no way I can make it to North Georgia in time for lunch. Mr. Galloway you owe us a BBQ road trip!

Jon but not Jon Voight

June 9th, 2010
10:56 am

Graves is perfect for this hillbilly group. And I hope he doesn’t bring a dime to the district. As we say in hillbilly land – small guvrnment for the toothless.

Helpful Annie

June 9th, 2010
10:58 am

Bill Orvis White,

You’re RIGHT! Why don’t you do down to the cellar you built in 1962 (take some fresh cans of tuna and bottled water), and stay hidden until it’s safe to come out. We’ll be by with the secret knock when it’s all clear, but until then, Shhhh! Keep your head low, my good man. You are going to make it through this!


June 9th, 2010
11:18 am

When are we going to see the May revenue figures? Should have been out by now and the DOR website has (strangely) been down for days. How about some investigative reporting, AJC?

Graves Digger

June 9th, 2010
11:22 am

Enjoy it while you can Tommy. The big defaulted bank loan likely will lead to more than just bad press and media attention. Do you know a good bondsman in ranger?

Elliot Garcia

June 9th, 2010
11:26 am

I wish Hawkins would just go away…I am sick of the negative campaigning….Go pull a tooth or something!


June 9th, 2010
11:26 am

Didn’t zero-based-budgeting *originate* in Georgia, under then-Governor Jimmy Carter? That’s what I learned in graduate school…I also learned that it was an abject failure.

ZBB is the equivalent of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic; really, truly building a statewide budget from the ground-up every year would be so burdensome that budget-builders simply revert to the prior-year’s budget as a guide. At which point it’s not really ZBB, anyway.

Of course, if one actually, truly did ZBB on a yearly basis, the current size and complexity of the state’s budget and structure would make it paralyzingly difficult. Which is probably the point – you’d have to vastly reduce and simplify things. And if there’s one thing elected officials hate to do, it’s reduce the size or scope of government (because they’d be voluntarily reducing their own power, which few people are able to do – particularly if they’re the type of person inclined to run for elected office!).

The sunset veto is more disappointing – while more often than not sunset reviews are very pro-forma (I say this as someone with direct experience in the matter in another state), they can and have provided good opportunities to reorganize or – in especially dire cases – abolish and completely reestablish dysfunctional state agencies. And I can think of a few in Georgia that would benefit from the latter…


June 9th, 2010
11:28 am

In the grand scheme of things this is a fairly minor nit but … re: “The race was won (or lost, if you’re a Hawkins fan) in Hall and Forsyth counties …” — Since those two counties essentially offset each other, wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that the race was won by Graves ability (or Hawkins inability) to dominate the remainder of the counties in the district”?


June 9th, 2010
11:29 am

Deal is out and Graves is in. The House is basically exactly the same as it was before. Just replaced one “no” vote with another “no” vote.

You Asked

June 9th, 2010
11:33 am

JDG – Well stated… One more thought: If you do abolish established departments there is always a constituency out there that will raise a ruckus over it. Case in point the Georgia Arts Council being eliminated in this years budget. In my experience people are all for eliminating government “waste” until its their favorite “waste” thats on the chopping block.

We stand a much better chance controlling government expenses by doing what state employees are already starting to do. That is look for service efficiencies and improve the delivery system for the services constituents use. There are some very exciting movements in e-commerce, continuous improvement, customer service and other ways of getting more bang for our tax dollars going on in Georgia and around the nation.


June 9th, 2010
11:34 am

@ Lurker: “A majority of those who voted, voted for the current administration. That is a very important distinction.”

Why didn’t you vote then Lurker? Isn’t that how elections work. Fact remains that the majority of Americans chose for Barack Obama and the Democrats to lead this country. They won the election, quit crying.

The Snark

June 9th, 2010
11:43 am

LURKER: No, it is not a “very important distinction.” It is not the least bit important. That’s how we choose our leaders in this particular democracy — majority vote. Been that way for centuries now.

I wish you wingnuts would stop trying to delegitimize people with whom you disagree. It’s no different from the left wingnuts who still complain that the election was stolen in 2000. It doesn’t erode the legitimacy of your opponent, it erodes the legitimacy of the whole system. And if you think that’s a good thing, then go spend a few weeks in Somalia or the Congo.


June 9th, 2010
11:46 am

Brian Kemp needs to get in the office and stop raising money during the middle of the day. We have elections going on, security breach at on the SoS website and a slug of other issues and he’s out padding his campaign pockets. THAT’S the disgrace.


June 9th, 2010
12:08 pm

Mmmmm….Poole’s BBQ. This is the only pork we should have in politics.


June 9th, 2010
12:20 pm

Hawkins has vowed to continue the mudslinging. I have a question for Graves Digger. Why would Tom needs a bondsman on a civil case???

New Blood Please

June 9th, 2010
12:39 pm

Drove by a Kemp event in a snazzy part of Buckhead the other day. 10 am on a Thursday morning. At that hour, it seems to me Sonny’s appointee should have been at the office fixing his website. Nice to know how our tax dollars are being put to work! Yep, Kemp means business…Business as usual.


June 9th, 2010
1:39 pm

Tom Graves in the man! He is truly an exceptional man in a dirty business.

Bobby Anthony

June 9th, 2010
1:43 pm

Its too bad we do not have statesmrn like Jack Flint and Doug Barnard in Congress anymore.


June 9th, 2010
2:02 pm

This Graves guy must be a really good person with all the liberal hate I see spewed on this blog.

“Tom Graves in the man! He is truly an exceptional man in a dirty business.”

Now, he could have learned from Obama and the democrats from Obamacare. Were there any smoke filled backroom deals during this election. Were candidates told not to run and they would get a good paying state position?


June 9th, 2010
2:42 pm

Kemp’s upset he got caught, so he does what? Blame the cameraman? What a loser.

Food For Thought

June 9th, 2010
2:56 pm

The majority of voters who voted for this Obamanation of a president fell for the touchy feely stuff. Because of their public education stupidity, we are left with a man who is clueless in the world of politics. Having only been a college prof and a community organizer, Obama is not nearly experienced enough to handle the tough issues he’s created and the ones he was left with. I will give him credit though….. the man loves to party.

Congratulations Congressman Graves.

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