From the veranda of the Jekyll Island Club – An island debate among the Democratic candidates for governor this afternoon, hosted by the Georgia Press Association, is highly likely to include charges of theft.
On Thursday, former Gov. Roy Barnes launched his sixth TV ad – this one proposing that Georgia Power and other utilities be required to burn wood pellets from Georgia pines to generate some of their power. Thousands of jobs could be created, he said.
House Minority Leader DuBose Porter of Dublin this morning says Barnes is guilty of intellectual poaching.
“I have been advocating wood-fired power for years. I know it will create thousands of jobs in Georgia — foresters, skidder operators, mechanics — and help landowners by creating a market for timber.”
Porter said. “Coal produces jobs for people outside of Georgia. Wood-fired power doesn’t poison Georgia’s rivers and streams. Coal-fired power does. Wood-fired power doesn’t create pollution that harms unborn children. Coal-fired power does.”
Porter also points out that one of Barnes’ legal clients is attempting to build a coal-fired power plant in Georgia – an effort opposed by environmental groups.
As for the charges of copyright infringement, the Barnes campaign pleads nolo contendere. Writes Chris Carpenter, campaign manager:
“This is what is wrong with Georgia politics. It is not about who get credit or petty politics. It is about moving this state forward adding jobs, educating our children and making Georgia work for families all across our state.”
Here’s the TV ad in question:
Alan Abramowitz, the Emory University political scientist, is among those blowing the whistle on Barnes. “I heard Porter talk about this in 2009,” he e-mailed this morning. (Cell phone coverage is lacking on Jekyll.)
Abramowitz is also out with an analysis, posted on Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, in which he argues that control of the U.S. House is within reach of Republicans this November. A taste:
“[W]hile the GOP’s chances of gaining the 10 seats needed to take control of the upper chamber appear to be remote, the 39 seats required to take back the House of Representatives may be within reach.
“There are some striking similarities between the mood of the American people today and the mood of the country 16 years ago. The most important similarity is that President Obama, like President Clinton in 1994, has seen his approval ratings fall below 50 percent which is generally considered the danger zone for an incumbent president and his party.
“The Democratic-controlled 111th Congress, like the Democratic-controlled 103rd Congress, is very unpopular with an approval rating of 21 percent in a May Gallup Poll. And only 24 percent of Americans according to the same poll are satisfied with the way things are going in the country.
Given these results, it is not surprising that Republicans have been running either even with or ahead of Democrats when voters are asked which party they want to control the next Congress. That was true in the summer of 1994 as well.”
Here on Jekyll, Republican candidates for governor will go first in the three-hour debate fest hosted by the GPA. Former secretary of state Karen Handel will not be among them – given Ray McBerry’s presence on the stage.
Which means she’ll have to find other ways to get attention. Treading ground plowed by Sarah Palin, Handel toured a Heckler & Koch assembly plant in Columbus on Thursday, posting a few snaps on her Facebook page.
“Here I am checking out an HK416 — 5.56 mm. Nice!” she writes.
My AJC colleague Nancy Badertscher has a good look at Brad Bryant, the state school board member tapped by Gov. Sonny Perdue to replace departing state School Superintendent Cathy Cox – and run an independent campaign aimed at a four-year term.
The piece includes this:
Jeff Hubbard, president of the Georgia Association of Educators, said Bryant is well-respected for his service on the state and local school boards.
“But we are deeply concerned that his appointment is being used for political purposes by Governor Perdue,” Hubbard said. “There were many capable individuals who could have served in the interim without the need to also run as a candidate for the permanent position.”
GAE has just endorsed candidate and attorney Joe Martin in the Democratic primary, who expressed similar reservations about the appointment.
This morning, Martin has taken issue with the use of the word “reservations.” Writes the Democrat:
“I don’t have a ‘reservation’ about the way in which this appointment was made. I think it stinks….
“[T]he real point is that the person being appointed will owe his or her allegiance not to the voters but to the kingmaker who put him or her in this position to begin with and even made it a condition of the appointment. The obvious intent is to perpetuate the current governor’s control over education in Georgia. I leave it to you and others to decide whether that is good or bad, but it is what it is.”
Some strange things are going on up in north Georgia, reports the Chattanooga Times Free Press:
A Catoosa County magistrate judge who filed a complaint about a fellow judge and feared retaliation was removed from the courthouse by law enforcement personnel Wednesday and no one would say why.
Magistrate Judge Anthony Peters was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon, according to Catoosa County Commission Chairman Keith Greene. Mr. Greene said he could not discuss why Judge Peters was taken into custody because it was a personnel matter.
Catoosa County Sheriff Phil Summers did not answer calls or return messages Wednesday.
Witnesses said more than a dozen cars from Ringgold police, the Georgia State Patrol and the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office swarmed the courthouse just before 3 p.m.