The issue of abortion is likely to dominate much of the remaining two weeks in an increasingly caustic Republican runoff for governor.
But after Saturday’s meeting in Dalton, former secretary of state Karen Handel attempted to inject another element that she’s hinted at before: An age gap of nearly 20 years.
Here’s the Twitter she sent out on Sunday:
gd debate. Nathan forgot that he quit Congress b/c of that ethics investigation but I suppose he was tired. http://bit.ly/9KJN97 #gapolitics
While Deal emphasizes his experience, the former secretary of state’s language is littered with phrases like “next-generation” and “fresh-thinking.” Handel is 48. Deal will turn 68 next month.
Do not be surprised if the next TV ad from the former north Georgia congressman shows him taking a jog, or lifting a bulldozer over his head.
Last night, former GOP candidate for governor Eric Johnson of Savannah sent out a proposed op-ed piece for Georgia newspapers, saying that he expected his political career was at an end:
“My ministry in elected office is probably over. It was a wonderful journey. There is no doubt that I was called and I answered. There is always joy in that. God certainly has blessed me.”
But Johnson also indicated that he might not be ready to endorse Karen Handel:
“The race turned ugly in the final month when one candidate called the rest of us (and the entire legislature) “corrupt” and she was subsequently attacked by other candidates for lying and being ‘liberal.’ We did not respond and that may have cost us this race. But it is not in my nature.”
On the other hand, Tom Barton of the Savannah Morning News is having none of this talk about retirement. He wants Eric Johnson to run for mayor of Savannah:
I mean no disrespect to Alderwoman Edna Jackson, who’s angling for this job. She’s very much a worthy candidate. Then there’s Regina Thomas. My understanding is that Thomas isn’t interested in running for mayor.
But after clocking incumbent Congressman John Barrow by more than 2-to-1 in Chatham County in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for the 12th District congressional seat (Barrow still won the nomination easily), the lady in the hat may be having second thoughts.
Eric Johnson, however, is too good to lose. He would be the right mayor for the right city at the right time.
The Macon Telegraph this morning addresses the cases of two men who last week appeared to have lost their races by only a few hundred votes each: Terry Coleman of Eastman, the former House speaker, in a Democratic contest for labor commissioner; and Max Wood, the former federal prosecutor from Macon, in the GOP contest for attorney general:
[Coleman] said he did better than he expected he would statewide, given what he called a cash-strapped campaign budget and the limited amount of time he had to win support across the state.
But he also said he was underwhelmed at the lackluster support he received from Bibb and Houston counties. He lost Houston County by two votes, 1,671-1,669, and the margin in Bibb was more than 1,300 votes, 5,059-3,726.
“It was a little disappointing, given the strong ties I have to Macon and Warner Robins,” Coleman said.
He said he wants to wait and see how the final vote turns out before planning his next move. He said he’s unsure if he’ll make another political bid or not.
Wood said big money was his real enemy in the contest:
Wood said he’s not admitting defeat until all the absentee ballots have been counted and the vote is certified, which could happen Monday. He said he hopes he can pick up the 600 additional votes necessary to get a recount.
“There’s still a chance I could get enough for a recount, and who knows what could happen then?” Wood said.
Wood said he intends to fight to the end because he doesn’t think his opponents represent Georgia — or the Republican Party — well.
“I think Republicans are going to regret nominating either one of them. Both (Olens and Smith) are big in the Legislature, and that’s why they had so much money donated to them. That money tends to come from vested interests.”
Tom Crawford of the Georgia Report has a new, accessible blog, Human Behavior – which this morning takes a shoot-the-wounded look at Attorney General Thurbert Baker and his Democratic try for governor.
Crawford puts most of the blame on Baker’s handling of the Genarlow Wilson case. Baker pressed the state case against the young black man jailed for having consentual sex with another teenager:
Baker always maintained he was just upholding the law, which was his duty as the state’s top legal official, but his insistence on pursuing the Wilson appeal cost him dearly among black voters. Look at the numbers from last Tuesday.
Blacks comprise about half the voters who cast ballots in the Democratic primary. Barnes received nearly 66 percent of the total vote, which suggests that he got at least 35 percent or more of the black vote – a vote that, under other circumstances, might have gone to the first African American ever to be elected attorney general in Georgia.
But Crawford brings in another, less talked about factor: Baker’s failure to go after Linda Schrenko.