Your morning jolt: Behind the Sierra Club deadlock over Roy Barnes and DuBose Porter

On Thursday, the Georgia chapter of the Sierra Club issued a list of primary endorsements that included Carol Porter in the Democratic race for lieutenant governor, plus eight Democratic and two GOP state lawmakers.

But the conservation group made no endorsement in the contest for governor – deadlocked between two Democrats, former Gov. Roy Barnes and House Minority Leader DuBose Porter of Dublin.

How do we know? Here are excerpts from a letter penned by Mark Woodall, vice chairman of the group’s executive committee, summing up the dilemma:

It’s unfortunate that the two best environmental office holders we have seen over the last 20 years in Georgia are both running in the Democratic primary for Governor. Here is some history on the record of Roy Barnes and DuBose Porter.

Roy Barnes as Governor gave us some good appointments to the DNR Board, although he didn’t fire EPD Director Harold Reheis.

As Governor, Roy was against the mining of the Okefenokee by DuPont which led to the eventual agreement, which protected the swamp.

As Governor, Roy was against the attempt to turn Georgia into a hog hell with 10 million hogs like eastern North Carolina. DNR Board members Jim Butler and Jim Langford couldn’t have gotten the rest of the DNR Board to go along with the regs on CAFOs if Roy hadn’t backed them.

As Governor, Roy established GRTA to address the problem of the DOT roads and bridges only policy.

As a legislator, Roy helped pass MRPA, SB 317, the Metropolitan River Protection Act, in 1986 which protected the Chattahoochee. I think Roy was the sponsor. Roger Buerki and Alan Toney worked on this.

As a legislator, Roy sponsored and passed clean lakes legislation in 1990 which helped fix West Point’ Lake’s phosphorus problem.

As for DuBose Porter, he has been the leading politician to oppose construction of new coal plants in Georgia. He has spoken against new coal plants at hearings in Early County and Washington County. DuBose also spoke at the Sierra Club’s preview of the movie COAL COUNTRY in Decatur last year.

As House minority leader for the last 6 years, DuBose has helped defeat a series of Chip Pearson projects, including narrowing of stream buffers, septic tanks on drinking water reservoirs and more dirt in streams.

As House minority leader, DuBose led the successful fights, at least three times, against the billlboard industry’s endless campaign to cut down trees on highway rights of way.

As House minority leader, DuBose has tried to get immediate funding for passenger rail and other public transit. Until Casey Cagle as errand boy for C. W. Matthews pulled the plug at midnight on SR 845 in 2008, DuBose had negotiated a penny of the sales tax on motor fuel to be opened to any transportation use, a goal of the Sierra Club since 1990.

As House minority leader, DuBose fought against GA Power’s SB 31, raising rates to pay for nuclear power plant construction before a plant is built, if it is built.

As House minority leader, DuBose fought the State Water Plan “ratification” and tried to get a plan that created planning districts based on river basins instead of the political districts we have now.

As a legislator, DuBose succesfully fought the sale of water withdrawal permits, pushed by DNR in 2003.

As a legislator, DuBose supported every effort to regulate Interbasin Transfers of water for supply purposes.

I could go on but I’ll stop and review the endorsement history.

The Sierra Club endorsed DuBose Porter when he ran against Tom Murphy for Speaker in 1994 or thereabouts. We have endorsed DuBose many times as a legislator. After riding with Ogden Doremus and me to get yet another award as GEC legislator for the year, DuBose said thanks but we needed to find some more legislators to help instead of giving him the award every year or two.

The Sierra Club endorsed Roy Barnes in both the primary and general election in 1998. In the 1998 primary, all four candidates thought they should be endorsed: Steve Langford, Lewis Massey, David Poythress and Roy Barnes. We endorsed Roy again in 2002.

Republican candidate for governor Karen Handel uses a lipstick theme in going after all three of her major GOP rivals in her first TV ad of the primary today. Here’s the link. We’ll post the video box as soon as it’s up on YouTube. The ad is Fred Davis’ handiwork.

He did it last cycle, and he’s done it again. Peach Pundit blogger (and now Gwinnett County candidate for the state House) Buzz Brockway has put together some splendid Excel spreadsheets that map the campaign contributions of all statewide candidates, and all candidates for the Legislature. Check them out here.

As reported Thursday by the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, Rob Teilhet, a Democratic candidate for attorney general, is up today with this harsh 30-second spot criticizing primary rival Ken Hodges for failing to bring a deputy sheriff to trial in the 2003 death of Kenneth Walker:

Release of the Teilhet TV ad overshadowed a state Capitol press conference held by Hodges on Thursday afternoon to announce endorsements by Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard and Solicitor General Carmen Smith.

Hodges was also endorsed by International Brotherhood of Police Local 623, which represents 1,000 or so law enforcement officers in metro Atlanta.

“Ken Hodges understands the needs of law enforcement because he carried a badge for 15 years,” Lt. Scott Kreher of the Atlanta Police Department, president of the local, is quoted as saying.

Creative Loafing has a nice catch-up piece on the Democratic primary brawl between state Sen. Vincent Fort of Atlanta and biology teacher Graham Balch:

With weeks until polls close, both candidates have begun blasting each other in quotes to the press and glossy mailers. Balch has knocked Fort’s combative style, his missed Senate votes and his inclusion on a list of lawmakers in 2009 who failed to pay their taxes.

“I’m not happy our state senator is raising our taxes while not paying his own,” says Balch.

Fort, who said he’s since settled his debts, has fired back with, among other charges, a tactic that worked well for Kasim Reed during his mayoral race against Mary Norwood and Borders: Questioning whether Balch, who, records show, has voted in two Republican primaries and once worked for an eco-minded GOP congressman, is really a Democrat.

“Graham Balch can’t buy this election,” says Fort, who hasn’t had an opponent since 1998. “He can’t hide his Republican-in-Democrat clothing.”

Jody Hice, a Republican candidate in the 7th District scrum to replace U.S. Rep. John Linder, has ingratiated himself with untold numbers of Georgians in this press release:

Jody Hice (GA-7) is the only candidate running for office in the State of GA that has agreed to honor the National Political Do Not Contact Registry. This means that voters from GA-7 who have registered their phone number at should expect their phones to be quiet – at least from robocalls from Jody Hice.

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20 comments Add your comment


July 9th, 2010
9:17 am

Hodges was the #1 Fundraiser out of all the Attorney General candidates this last quarter AGAIN!! He raised almost $268,000!!!! Go Ken Hodges!!!

On the upside

July 9th, 2010
9:19 am

Even if Blach loses now, maybe Fort will be forced to actually represent his district now.


July 9th, 2010
9:33 am

The GA Sierra Club web site says (from 2009) Woodall is “At-Large Excom (executive committee), Chapter Chair and Legislative Chair.” Is that out-of-date? If so, who is the current At-Large Excom Chapter Chair?

Titles schmitles. Jeez.


July 9th, 2010
9:36 am

It sounds like DuBose Porter is the man with the plan. Go DuBose!


July 9th, 2010
9:37 am

At least they got their choice narrowed down to the best two Democratic candidates :)

No Teabagging

July 9th, 2010
9:49 am

Thanks for this great post with lots of summaries! More jolts like these!

informed environmentalist

July 9th, 2010
10:05 am

Don’t be fooled, Roy Barnes is no friend of the environment.
Case in point, it is odd that he is suddenly interested in burning wood chips for power.
His client, in a criminal proceeding involving Cobb Energy, is Dwight Brown, who is trying to build two coal fired power plants in middle and south GA, in Washington and Ben Hill Counties.
Brown, and his spokesman, Dean Alford, have explicitly rejected the use of wood fueled power as “uneconomic,” meaning that they cannot make as much money from it as they can by building a coal fired plant that will put people to work in coal producing states outside GA.
If this is such a good idea to Barnes, why isn’t he using his influence over Brown to get this done?
DuBose Porter and Jeff Chapman are the best candidates on the environment.


July 9th, 2010
10:05 am

Rob Telheit apparently feels that no matter what the circumstances may have been regarding the unfortunate shooting of Kenneth Walker and the subsequent prosecution of the officer involved, that it’s okay to sit in the cheap seats after the fact and take advantage of a grieving mother to judge that the decisions made by Ken Hodges were wrong and racially motivated. Had Telheit had ANY experience as a prosecutor, he may have felt differently about the circumstances surrounding the shooting. Anyone who knows Ken Hodges personally or professionally also knows that he’s a man of character, compassion and integrity. As a prosecutor, you will always have people who, based on incomplete or no information, question your decisions and Monday morning quaterback what you’ve done or didn’t do. It’s easy when you’re in law school or your legal practice is in workers’ compensation. It’s easy, but it also lacks credibility. While Rob Telheit was chasing coeds in college, Hodges was breaking his back prosecuting criminals, especially those victimizing African-American communities in his judicial district. Those who know Hodges’s track record know he protected children and the elderly from abuse and went after corrupt public officials, including those who wore a badge. Does the name “Sidney Dorsey” ring a bell with anyone? Hodges was a key prosecutor in putting Dorsey away for the rest of his life for having DeKalb County Sheriff-elect Derwin Brown assassinated. So, those who don’t know all the facts surrounding the unfortuante shooting of Kenneth Walker, shouldn’t be drawn into Telheit’s cynical and racially motivated innuendos. Shame, shame, shame, little Rob.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

July 9th, 2010
10:46 am

The Phoebe Putney Scandal, in and of itself, is fully sufficient to know with absolute moral certainty that Ken Hodges, currying favor with the powerful and wealthy against the People, is unworthy of the Public Trust. His failure to bring to justice a police officer who without provocation murdered an innocent, unarmed man is an abomination: an injustice against the People and Constitution of the State of Georgia Hodges falsely swore to protect.

By grace, Rob Teilhet should have this opportunity to demonstrate his good character as our next Attorney General. After Thurbert Baker there is great room for improvement.


July 9th, 2010
11:33 am

If Sen. Fort wins, he will continue to be an arrogant, no-show Senator. Teach complacent incumbents a lesson and vote them out!

Bobby Anthony

July 9th, 2010
12:55 pm

Only three candidates were concerned enough to show up in Columbia County to debate about the critical water supply in our state. I would like for Barnes, Handel, Oxendine and the rest of the candidates to tell us if they plan on draining water from the Savannah River and dumping it into the Chattahoochee. This action would involve us in a costly water war with South Carolina and endanger Georgia’s commerce at the Port of Savannah. We are already in a legal battle with Florida and Alabama concerning the use of water in our region. Porter, Poythress, and Canon stated they are opposed to draining water from the Savannah. Roy Barnes do you have the intestinal fortitude to tell us where you stand on the issue?

Bobby Anthony

July 9th, 2010
12:58 pm

Oxendine and Deal have sent me emails opposing interbasin transfers,


July 9th, 2010
12:59 pm

Ruth, I could not agree with you more!! Vote Fort out. We deserve better representation!

Bobby Anthony

July 9th, 2010
1:00 pm

My choice for Governor is David Poythress. He will stand up for education in our great state.


July 10th, 2010
9:20 am

Karen Handel let oxen poop in the White House?

A Better GA

July 10th, 2010
11:03 pm

DUBOSE!! Roy doesn’t have any shot in November. He’s a joke. I’m voting for DuBose because he’s the only good man running. He’s the only hope to keep our state out of corruption and turmoil.

Go Team Porter!!

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

July 11th, 2010
7:26 am

This guy cannot be serious

July 11th, 2010
12:10 pm

Jody Hice announced he won his first straw poll yesterday. Ray McBerry won the same straw poll. This guy CANNOT be serious.

AJC please stop censoring

July 15th, 2010
10:04 am

Graham Balch = Not what he seems!!!

I . Graham the Republican:
A. Republican Voting from 1996 to 2006:
i. In Georgia, in 1996 (Clinton v. Dole), Graham Balch voted as a Republican in the Presidential Primary. Source: Fulton County Voter Registration Records
ii. In Georgia, in 2000 (Bush v. Gore), Graham Balch voted as a Republican in the Presidential Primary. Source: Fulton County Voter Registration Records
iii. In Pennsylvania, in 2004, (Bush v. Kerry), Graham Balch registered to vote as a Republican. Source: Pennsylvania Voting Registration Records
iv. Even though Balch now jumps on the Obamawagon when it was politically expedient to be a Democrat, he admits he still might vote Republican! On February 13, 2008 Graham Balch writes: “I have struggled in my thinking about whether Hillary won if I would vote for her or McCain.” “I would be interested to know what others would do. . . whether you would vote for HRC or McCain?” Source: Graham’s blog see this link:

B. Republican Allegiances and Ties:
i. On page 91 line 7 of his 1997 104 page College Senior Thesis entitled: “The Republican’s Environmental Policy,” Graham Balch writes: “The answer is to keep Republican environmentalists in Congress.”
ii. Upon graduating, Graham moved to Washington D.C. where he went to work as a staff assistant for Republican Congressman Sherwood Louis Boehlert.
iii. Graham thinks Obama’s “Dream Cabinet” should consist of four Republicans, including Paul Weyrich, hard core-right wing, racist, anti gay, anti-Jew extremist and founder of Moral Majority and the Heritage Foundation who condemned homosexuals amongst others. Source, Graham’s own writing:

If you ask Graham about any of this, he has lied and said he didn’t vote Republican, “or he voted to benefit the opposition” B.S. If think any of these are lies, submit an Open Records Request for all of this. Pursuant to the law, they have three days to reply back to you with this information in Georgia. Call the Philadelphia Voting Registration Records. They will confirm it. Look all of this up, it is there. Graham Balch is funded by all the big Chamber of Commerce, Republican Corporate Interests. They are seeking to bring Vincent Fort down because he is the one senator who has consistently fought for what is right, fought against sub-prime lending, fought for the poor, and fought for Democratic ideals.

All you liberal white Atlanta folks who think that Graham is this cool white guy who went to the Peace Corps, voted for Obama and hikes the Appalachian trail, he has you fooled!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don’t buy it. Black people, Gay people the guy has you DOUBLY SERIOUSLY FOOLED. This is the dude that suggested the biggest Anti-Gay, Anti-Semite, Republican, Racist Paul Weyrich ON Obama’s “Dream cabinet!!!” Stop drinking the KoolAid and open your eyes!!!!!
Demand the AJC, Creative Loafing etc. fact check all of this, or open records request it yourself.


July 16th, 2010
3:50 pm

@AJC please stop censoring

So what are you saying? White people are only half as foolish as “Black people [and] Gay people”? Glad you’re here to set us all straight.

I’d like to see an article detailing what’s up with Fort not paying his taxes (has he since been audited?) and a good break down of all the votes he’s missed. That would be some interesting things to learn about.