Endorsement fever: Roy Barnes tightens his grip, and Sam Olens shows GOP depth

Watching the Roy Barnes campaign roll out his African-American support in the Democratic contest for governor is something like watching a python put the squeeze on its chosen victim.

It’s done quietly, respectfully, and with a minimum of fuss. But the progress is relentless, coil by coil, day by day.

This morning at the state Capitol, Burrell Ellis, CEO of DeKalb County – home to Attorney General Thurbert Baker – endorsed Barnes. As did Richard Oden, chairman of the Rockdale County Commission, and Eldrin Bell, chairman of the Clayton County Commission.

Also on a long list of Barnes supporters was state Rep. Calvin Smyre of Columbus, who as chairman of the House Democratic caucus has worked closely with one of Barnes’ rivals, House Minority Leader DuBose Porter. That had to hurt.

In the Republican race for attorney general, Sam Olens – the former chairman of the Cobb County Commission – announced endorsements from two of the most plugged-in Republicans in Georgia.

See today’s piece on Sarah Palin for more information on Randy Evans, the former general counsel for the state GOP.

Also endorsing Olens was Robert Highsmith, former counsel to Gov. Sonny Perdue – and a former law firm associate of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. If you’re a Republican in trouble, Highsmith is the guy you call.

On the Democratic side of the race for attorney general, Mark Taylor, the former lieutenant governor and 2006 nominee for governor, made a rare public endorsement of hometown boy Ken Hodges. Both share Dougherty County roots — Hodges as a former district attorney.

These two paragraphs in Taylor’s written praise caught the eye:

Ken is ready for the very important job of attorney general. In this role he will often be seen as a spokesman for and a defender of our state’s values and culture. The eyes of the state and nation will often be on him. Our state will be judged based on his performance. Like he did in Albany I know he will make Georgia proud.

On Tuesday, a hard fought campaign will come to an end. My beloved Georgia must choose between two talented young men who I know well and who I greatly admire. Their futures are unlimited and I thank them both for their previous public service and for their willingness to put themselves in the brutal, thankless arena of a statewide campaign.

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27 comments Add your comment

Conservative Thinker

July 15th, 2010
1:11 pm

Olens wins without a runoff, congrats Sam!

Like minded thieves

July 15th, 2010
1:29 pm

Boy the trash seems to attract the trash. How sad politcians are here in GA.


July 15th, 2010
1:33 pm

Max Wood has more experience and less baggage than Olens.

Plus, with a name like Max Wood…..

gop voter

July 15th, 2010
1:33 pm

Olens was outed by Preston Smith as an officer in the Democratic party after Olens called Preston a liar.

Olens hasn’t moved far from his Democrat roots. He supported Hillary Care under Clinton, but now is opposed to Obama care? Why, because it sounds good now that Georgia is a Republican state?

Give me a break. Let’s keep political opportunists out of the Attorney General’s office.

The Timekeeper

July 15th, 2010
2:23 pm

2 years ago, a young man Genarlo Wilson had an opportunity to be relased from prison on a trumped up rape charge when at 19 he was with a girl who was 16. After much campaiging, and realizing this law was not intended for that situation, Genalro had a chance to be freed. but Thurbert Baker, then Attornhy General played politics with this Boy;s life in order to socre some brownie points for what he must have thought would be a succesful gubernatorial run. Baker will never be fit for govenror, he couldnt even run my Block Association after what he did to Genarlo. Wilson was freed not too long after, No Thanks to Baker!!


July 15th, 2010
2:31 pm

Olens shows GOP depth? Are you serious, Galloway? I’ve been a conservative longer than Olens has and I’m 29. SAM OLENS LIED, JIM!!!. Take a closer look at the MDJ article from 1992. Sam Olens is listed as the Treasurer of the Cobb Democratic Party.

Olens’ response is not compelling. He says he was independent in 1992 and voted for Clinton, but that doesn’t seem to dispel his strong Democratic support when his name is in the MDJ as Treasurer of the Cobb Democratic Party.

Galloway, it is readily apparent to a critical thinker what you are trying to do. You are trying to support Sam Olens for the Republican nomination so he can be defeated by the Democrat in November. All the more reason for Republicans to vote for Max Wood who is unbeatable against both Democratic candidates. Furthermore, when a liberal, such as yourself, comes to the defense of a Republican, it causes the objective observer to raise an eyebrow and wonder why a flaming liberal would be so defensive, writing three articles in one week, coming to the defense of a Republican.


July 15th, 2010
2:51 pm

Since we know Barnes is promising to spend like he can print it, as if spending freely will solve budget issues, we have to wonder what type of political promises he is making to all these people to get their endorsements.

Mark my words – not only will Barnes be in a run-off, but the AJC is going to look foolish when he actually either barely wins on Tuesday or comes in second. Everyone I know who has already voted didn’t vote for him. Most have voted for Porter.


July 15th, 2010
3:13 pm

Welcome back, Governor Barnes!!


July 15th, 2010
3:13 pm

People have to know and study the people who are running for any office and not be influenced by endorsements. The person that would endorse a person for office is one that would vote for them in the first place. That does not mean we all must follow suite! Newt endorsed Deal means nothing too me, even though I like Newt. But I would still vote for the person best suited.

Brent Hoffman

July 15th, 2010
3:18 pm

I more interested in the new news that Nathan Deal is even with Handle for the GOP nod! With OX showing up in 3rd place! I am going to vote for the person with the most REAL experience to to represent me. That is Nathan – Karen has done what?? Ox has done what??


July 15th, 2010
3:19 pm

Anybody but Barnes. If we are stupid enough to elect him again, we deserve what we get. We are seeing this with Obama.


July 15th, 2010
3:28 pm

If Barnes is Governor and Olens is Attorney General, Georgia will not join the fight against Obamacare, regardless of the pandering promises Sam Olens has made. Sam Olens would be a disastrous Attorney General for the mere fact that he hasn’t practiced law in about a decade. Olens would respond,”Well, the Attorney General is more of a manager than anything else.” My response to him is, “Partners in law firms mainly manage and supervise their subordinates but they know what it is to practice law.” Everyone becomes shabby at a task they haven’t performed in ten years unless it’s riding a bike.

GA Voter

July 15th, 2010
4:00 pm

Sorry, as the AG of this state, I want someone who has experience in that capacity and not someone who is trying to get his foot in the door of the Governor’s mansion. Max Wood will get my vote and Sam Olens can go back to being a Democrat voter in Cobb County where things are just oh so great (sarcasm intended).

Everyone beats Ken Hodges

July 15th, 2010
4:07 pm

I think in any race opposite Ken Hodges, Hodges will lose. The Republicans are going to have a field day wtih the buffoonery of Ken Hodges.

Paddy O

July 15th, 2010
5:16 pm

My memory of the sainted Genarlow is that he and couple of other fellows had group sex with a girl under 16 – none of whom were married to her. His jail sentence, handed down by a jury, was most likely deserved. Or is timekeeper also “keeper of no morals”?

Paddy O

July 15th, 2010
5:18 pm

JDW – knowing a few partners in law firms, only the division heads are the actual managers, most of the other partners need to work to generate revenue for the firm. Olens did a good job in Cobb – if you like a whole lot of regulation, which, as the floods in September demonstrate, really do not deliver a whole lot of benefit in a crisis.

Paddy O

July 15th, 2010
5:19 pm

Barnes has a better than 50-50 chance of winning – he will actually ADDRESS problems in the state, as opposed to the deck chair reorganizers we’ve had the last eight years on the cruise ship Georgia.


July 15th, 2010
5:31 pm

One thing to keep in mind is that up until Perdue won, Georgia had always voted Democrat. Perdue is the first Republican governor since Reconstruction. So, with that in mind, I can’t blame Olens for being a Democrat. I’ve spoken with him and he seems like a very intelligent man and he will definitely get my vote for AG.

Now as for Roy, there is no way I will ever vote for that lying scum bucket. He thinks by taking away special interest tax exemptions that we will be able to solve the budget crisis. HA! Georgia in no way gives that much away in tax exemptions. Promises, promises, promises Roy Boy. Why don’t you try keeping one every once in a while.


July 15th, 2010
7:49 pm

Is there any one of the major Democratic office holders in metro Atlanta who hasn’t endorsed Roy Barnes? I can’t keep track.


July 15th, 2010
8:02 pm

Paddy O,

How does your comment contradict anything I said? A partner manages, conducts business, and practices law. Let’s not get distracted; Max Wood has the most relevant experience to be Attorney General. Sam Olens is a good candidate for other offices such as Lt. Governor, Governor or Secretary of State, but when it comes to Attorney General, Max Wood is the best candidate.


July 15th, 2010
8:30 pm

I put it on other blogs, but join me in pushing for the governor candidates to announce their stance on alcohol package sales on Sunday. Only a few days left for them to comment!

GI Dolly...Henry Hates McBerry

July 15th, 2010
10:00 pm

Roy is right about others laughing at GA. We can’t buy alcohol at a store on Sunday, or on election day when the polls are open. We remain at the bottom in education and the politicians are still corupt. We have Baker Bingo for education, and McBerry using puppies to entice young girls, especially after a restrain order has been issued against McScary.

Bobby Anthony

July 15th, 2010
10:43 pm

I will never vote for Roy Barnes. I have already voted for Poythress. If Barnes gets the nomination, I will vote for his opponent.

[...] Endorsements: Jim Galloway with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a nice round-up of several endorsements that were announced today. [...]


July 16th, 2010
8:11 am

Did no one see the AG debate where Sam Olens just LIED on public television in front of the whole state??? What is wrong with these people. Sorry, but I don’t know who Randy Evans is but I will not vote for someone who LIES and then tries to say he didn’t lie. Sounds a liitle too much like Bill Clinton to me.


July 16th, 2010
2:51 pm

Roy Barnes was an arrogant power hungry democrat. We don’t need one more Obamacrat in office and certainly not Barnes. We will remember that Barnes saw our GA 400 tolls as his private piggy bank to use as he pleased around the city. We also remember the incredilbly partisan re districting attempt by Barnes that had to be controlled in federal court. When challenged on his outrageous plan, Barnes’ floor leader bragged that it was “partisan, right down to its toenails”.
For the last eight years Barnes has been a big funder of democrat causes including being a major backer of his fellow trial lawyer John Edwards.
We don’t need Roy Barnes to be in public office….ever.


July 17th, 2010
12:46 pm

I’m glad to see Mark Taylor and I agree on Ken Hodges.

It’s not a contest, really: Hodges is a qualified prosecutor with hundreds of convictions under his belt; Teilhet is a career politician, unqualified to prosecute anything, really.

Only Ken Hodges will help us create a safer Georgia.