Archive for July, 2010

Karen Handel hit with ethics complaint alleging $13k in illegal payments to staffers

Political blogger Bill Simon has filed a complaint against Republican candidate for governor Karen Handel with the State Ethics Commission, alleging that she illegally paid $13,200 to advisors of her gubernatorial campaign with money raised as a candidate for secretary of state.

Read the entire complaint here, but here’s the heart of the allegation:

Because Karen Handel did not wish to announce her candidacy for governor until after the 2009 Session of the Georgia General Assembly (as per Steve Handel’s December 12, 2008 e-mail), and because she could not raise money for governor until after she registered her campaign committee, she had no funds in which to pay any consultant or staff to work on her campaign for governor.

So, she unlawfully used funds from her Secretary of State’s account to finance the first 3 months of her campaign for governor.

Actually, Handel announced her campaign for governor in January 2009, during an impromptu session with reporters on the eve of …

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Your morning jolt: Right-wing will target Sanford Bishop — just like it targeted her, says Shirley Sherrod

Political analyst Charlie Cook recently downgraded Sanford Bishop’s 2nd Congressional District in southwest Georgia from “safe Democratic” to “likely Democratic.”

Bishop is taking no chances.

Shirley Sherrod at her home in Albany, Ga., last week. Associated Press

Shirley Sherrod at her home in Albany, Ga., last week. Associated Press

On Monday, his first full day of campaigning against newly nominated Republican Mike Keown, the congressman pulled out the biggest gun he could find – Shirley Sherrod, the wrongly fired U.S. Department of Agriculture worker.

Sherrod, by virtue of apologies delivered to her from President Barack Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, is the region’s newest political celebrity.

From WALB-TV:

…[H]er message at Bishop’s headquarters in Albany came in loud and clear. “He has my vote,” she said. “I will do all I can to make sure he is reelected in this district and I hope you’ll do the same.”

In her years working with farmers, Sherrod says Bishop has fought for them and that’s why she’ll fight for him. She said, …

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ESPN’s Erin Andrews goes to Capitol Hill to demand tougher anti-stalking laws

From the aptly named web site, Fishbowl DC:

ESPN’s Erin Andrews is scheduled to join Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Reps. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), Virgina Foxx (R-N.C.), and Scott Murphy (D-N.Y.) in a press conference on Capitol Hill Tuesday to plug tougher federal stalking laws.

The presser is at 10:30 a.m. at the House Triangle just off Independence Avenue near New Jersey Avenue.

Klobuchar will introduce a Senate companion bill to H.R. 5662, the Simplifying the Ambiguous Law, Keeping Everyone Reliably Safe (STALKERS) Act, introduced by Sanchez last week.

Now, that’s an acronym.

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Until south Georgia voter fraud inquiry is settled, Terry Coleman says he’ll hold off on concession

According to the secretary of state’s web site, Darryl Hicks of Fayetteville beat former House speaker Terry Coleman of Eastman by 572 votes in the Democratic primary for labor commissioner.

But nearly a week later, Coleman has yet to concede – and won’t until a situation in Brooks County is sorted out by the GBI and Brian Kemp’s office.

“Apparently they’ve never had but a couple hundred absentees. This time they had something like 1,400 requested, and voted about 1,100 of them” Coleman said. “Of course, I lost the absentees by two-and-a-half to one or more. So it looked kind of suspicious.”

In next door Lowndes County, which hosts the big city of Valdosta, 439 ballots were reportedly mailed out – and 169 returned.

Coleman’s allies are now looking to see if any other counties have shown jumps in absentee ballots.

“There may be a little fraud involved. Who knows?” the former speaker said.

Matt Carrothers, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, confirmed this …

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South Carolina as ‘the whoopee cushion of the nation’

It’s still morning, and over at Politico, Jonathan Martin already has the quote of the day.

From his look at Alvin Greene and South Carolina politics:

State Rep. Anton Gunn, an up-and-coming Democrat, said there is now a national perception about the state along the lines of, “If you want to hear something crazy, if you want to see something stupid, come to South Carolina.”

“I don’t agree with it,” he added, “but there’s this imagery of us being the whoopee cushion of the nation, and we continue to exacerbate that.”

Updated at 12:17 p.m.: A few minutes ago, a loyal reader called to say that he’d heard the “whoopee cushion” line before – from Jon Stewart with “The Daily Show:”

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c

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Your morning jolt: Karen Handel puts a shawl around Nathan Deal’s shoulders

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 …

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Roy Barnes bets his campaign on rural Georgia

Last Tuesday night, for the third time, Roy Barnes won the Democratic nomination for governor.

With 66 percent of the primary vote in his pocket, the former resident of the Governor’s Mansion held up the front page of that day’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The lead headline, “State falls further behind,” was a reference to school test scores.

Roy Barnes greets supporters on Tuesday night -- before leaving for rural Georgia. Associated Press/John Bazemore

Roy Barnes greets supporters on Tuesday night — before leaving for rural Georgia. Associated Press/John Bazemore

Barnes thanked his supporters, complimented his defeated opponents, and condemned Republicans who “gave tax breaks to special interests and then had to lay off teachers and shorten the school year to cover up their mistakes.”

And then he dropped off the face of metro Atlanta.

Not even an Aug. 2 visit to Atlanta by President Barack Obama will bring Barnes back. “He’s going to be in Middle and South Georgia,” campaign manager Chris Carpenter said Saturday.

Barnes has bet his campaign on rural Georgia — the one that turned …

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Roy Barnes says he’ll be in south Georgia when President Barack Obama comes to town

Tim Bryant, who hosts a daily talk show for WGAU (1340AM) in Athens, asked the campaign of Democratic nominee for governor Roy Barnes whether he would make room on Aug. 2 for a word with President Barack Obama, who will be in Atlanta for a pair of events.

This is the quote Bryant is using this morning, from a Barnes campaign spokesman:

“Nobody’s invited us. He plans to be in south Georgia that day. There are no plans to change the schedule.”

Phone numbers get lost over eight years. Kristin Oblander of Atlanta is the fund-raising contact for an Obama event on behalf of the Democratic National Convention that day. From 1998 to 2002, according to her web site, she raised money for Barnes.

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Runoff transcripts: Deal and Handel on taxes and the meaning of ‘pro-life’

The two Republican runoff candidates for governor had their first joint appearance Friday in Marietta, before a gathering of the Cobb County Republican Women’s Club.

Overflow tables were required. A few Democrats from the Roy Barnes campaign, headquartered nearby, stood in the back to listen.

The Insider was given the honor of posing questions to former congressman Nathan Deal and former secretary of state Karen Handel. Answers to two of them provoked some differences worth considering.

On the subject of taxes, former secretary of state Karen Handel appeared to be shading – ever so slightly – her position on elimination of the state income tax. Three weeks ago, she and John Oxendine had been the only advocates of such a move.

She also appeared to walk onto ground plowed by Democrats in their primary, urging an examination of sales tax exemptions.

Said Handel:

“We do need comprehensive tax reform in the state of Georgia. As part of that, and I think the tax commission is …

Continue reading Runoff transcripts: Deal and Handel on taxes and the meaning of ‘pro-life’ »

Your morning jolt: Nathan Deal up with first TV ad in runoff

We’ve got a busy morning ahead, including lunch with the Cobb County Republican Women’s Club and the first face-to-face between Nathan Deal and Karen Handel in the runoff for governor.

So just a short jolt.

Deal becomes the first up on TV today, with the ad below aimed at metro Atlanta.

In political terms, a sweeter-than-sweet 30-second spot featuring a grandfather talking to his grandsons can have only two functions.

It might be intended as a palette-cleanser after a primary that left a bitter taste in the mouths of many Republicans. Or it might be an inoculation for a candidate who knows he’s going to be leveling harsh attacks on his female opponent – and needs to reinforce his credentials as a solid family man.

The script:

Noah: Papa, why do you want to be governor?

Deal: ‘Cause grown-ups in Washington are just spending too much money. They’re hurting us here at home.

Noah: Really?

Deal: Yes, and I want to fight back by giving more jobs and lower taxes so people can keep …

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