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.
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.
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