Archive for July, 2010

Austin Scott close to 8th District GOP win, and gets a bruising welcome from Jim Marshall

Updated at 11:50 p.m.:Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for all of your attention this evening. I’ll check in with you tomorrow morning.

Updated at 11:15 p.m.: On the Republican side of the 8th District congressional contest, state Rep. Austin Scott (R-Tifton), who until this spring was a candidate for governor, has apparently won the nomination without a runoff.

With 89 percent of the vote in, Scott is at 53 percent. Which prompted this bruising welcome from Doug Moore, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Macon):

“Austin Scott’s been in the legislature his whole adult life, He’s a career politician looking for his next job. Ran for governor, found no takers. Ran for Lieutenant Governor, got run off, and was told to run for Congress.

“He’s voted against taxing illegal immigrants, but he’s voted for, even proposed, multiple new tax increases on every Georgian.

“Politics makes strange bedfellows, but with Jim’s record of protecting and helping the people of this district, …

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Your morning jolt: Anti-abortion group makes a late robo-call attack on Karen Handel

We’d been told to expect the call, and it arrived on the answering machine just before dinner. The machine missed the first few words:

“…Karen Handel’s extremely liberal record on abortion. As commission chair of Fulton County, Karen Handel voted to give over $400,000 to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.

“Karen Handel also sat back and watched an additional $800,000 go to this despicable organization. For the pro-life cause and the unborn children in Georgia, Georgia Right to Life asks you to reject Karen Handel on July 20. Thank you.”

The robo-call, presumably made to thousands of Republican voters across the state, is the first significant spending of third-party money in the GOP race for governor.

The Handel campaign has said the Fulton County cash was federal pass-through money directed to a Planned Parenthood unit in downtown Atlanta that performs no abortions.

Handel is the only one of six Republican candidates for governor not endorsed by GRTL, …

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The next frontier: Mapping the DNA of a lowly peanut

Signs that a general election campaign is almost upon us, from the congressman’s office:

Washington, DC – Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-2) announced today that the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Services, Crop Genetics and Breeding Research Unit in Tifton, Georgia, in collaboration with the University of Georgia researchers at the National Environmentally Sound Production Agriculture Laboratory and the Center for Applied Genetic Technologies, has received a $1 million Federal grant for Peanut Genome Mapping and Marker Development.

The Federal funds will be used to sequence and map the peanut genome and develop molecular markers that can be used in marker assisted breeding. The project aims to provide U.S. consumers with a higher quality and safer product while using fewer pesticides and less water.

And the killer quote from the congressman:

“I have great confidence in our peanut farmers, the Crop Genetics and Breeding Research Unit in …

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Yet another poll shows John Oxendine slipping

InsiderAdvantage and Channel 2 Action News are out with a new poll – tapping 1,619 voters last night via automated phone calls.

The survey state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, who eight days ago was the undisputed front-runner, struggling to remain in the Republican hunt for governor.

Here’s the horse-race, with a 2.3 percent MOE:

Handel, 28%

Deal, 17%

Johnson, 14%

Oxendine, 13%

Chapman, 6%

McBerry, 3%

Putnam, 0%

Undecided, 19%

A Georgia Newspaper Partnership poll published Sunday in the AJC showed Oxendine in second place – with Nathan Deal in a statistical tie.

Scott Slade, the morning host of WSB (750AM) who moderated the Republican debate for governor last night, sends this link of a radio-based forum of eight candidates for governor – four on the Democratic side, and four on the Republican side.

Political veteran Bill Crane did the interviews, which aired Sunday.

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

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Your morning jolt: Republicans put distance between themselves and the state Capitol

Georgia Republican candidates for governor take part in a final debate. Curtis Compton/AJC

Georgia Republican candidates for governor take part in a final debate. Curtis Compton/AJC

The campaigning side of the state GOP couldn’t afford to be seen with the governing side of the Republican party on Sunday night.

Much was made of Karen Handel’s absence from the Atlanta Press Club debates for governor, held at Georgia Public Broadcasting headquarters.

But with one runoff berth – possibly two – at stake, the most interesting aspect of the GOP confrontation was the effort made by each candidate to separate himself from the Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Sonny Perdue.

Asked – by yours truly – whether $96 million in fee increases passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Perdue amounted to a tax increase, each candidate answered in the affirmative:

Nathan Deal: “It comes closer to a tax increase than anything else I can call it.”

Eric Johnson: “Anything that increases revenue to state government is just like a tax increase, no matter what you call …

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Sarah Palin sets off a ‘mama grizzly’ war in the GOP race for governor

Sarah Palin and GOP women have apparently given Karen Handel the boost she needs to survive on Tuesday — and her male rivals know it.

From a Saturday campaign summary by the Associated Press:

The fireworks were in the GOP race, where a recent poll showed state insurance commissioner John Oxendine, former secretary of state Karen Handel and ex-U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal battling for an expected runoff.

Handel accused Deal of sexism by pointing to a press release from his campaign saying that “real women” support his campaign. Handel said that attacked her own female supporters, including her most prominent backer: former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

“That just really disappointing,” Handel told The Associated Press.
Asked if the attack was sexist Handel said, “of course it is.”

Deal called the claim “absurd” and said he was simply using campaign branding — the word “real” — he’s adopted since the election began. His campaign slogan is “Deal. Real.”

“That certainly was not meant to …

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Atlanta’s next police chief and a freewheeling political experiment

Andy Young (in black and yellow helmet) continued pedaling into his 1990 campaign for governor. George Turner, his bodyguard and future Atlanta police chief, is fourth from the left. Special

Andy Young (in black and yellow helmet) continued pedaling into his 1990 campaign for governor. George Turner, his bodyguard and future Atlanta police chief, is fourth from the left. Special

Earlier this month, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed settled on George Turner, a man of rank-and-file origins, as the city’s police chief.

Turner must yet face a grilling from the City Council before his appointment becomes official. But there’s a piece of this cop’s background that council members probably don’t know — the mayor certainly didn’t when he picked him.

Twenty-two years ago, Turner became a key participant in one of the most unusual political experiments in Georgia history.

Before there was Barack Obama, there was Andrew Young. Young was first known as the civil rights activist able to reason with white segregationists. Then he was a congressman, followed by a stint at the United Nations.

Closing in on the end of his second term as mayor of Atlanta in 1988, Young was looking for still …

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Your Saturday jolt: The Facebook campaigns to come

Over at Slate, John Dickerson uses Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Karen Handel in the Republican race for governor to forecast a 2012 trend:

Sarah Palin speaking in Duluth last month. AP

Sarah Palin speaking in Duluth last month. AP

The next Republican presidential campaign will happen in lots of new places. There will be all the familiar locations we love so much—Iowa, New Hampshire, diners, and Lincoln Day dinners—but this week offered another reminder, as if we needed one, that the race for the 2012 nomination will play out in the virtual world and at hyperspeed.

For the next 18 months, there will be stories and controversies and entire news cycles (or mini-cycles) in which the candidates deliver their messages but in which no one is actually seen speaking.

The most successful adopter is Sarah Palin on Facebook. She’s been posting messages on the social network for months. This week she endorsed Karen Handel in the Republican primary in Georgia, which drew a sharp response from one of Handel’s GOP challengers, and …

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Of prison camps, secret identities and final words

A pair of taped debates featuring Democratic and Republican candidates for governor – broadcast is tomorrow morning — ate up much of the first day of the last campaign weekend.

Immigration dominated both conversations:

Eric Johnson said Friday that he wanted to round up illegal immigrants in Georgia and he was willing to build prison camps to house them for deportation if elected governor.

“If we have to set up a Guantanamo Bay of Georgia, I would do it,” the Savannah Republican said….

Karen Handel was not present at the GOP forum — because Ray McBerry was. Early this morning, her campaign focused on the identity of the actress in this Nathan Deal attack in this TV ad:

The Handel campaign declared – and the Deal campaign confirmed – that the unnamed woman is Mandy Cronan, daughter-in-law of Deal’s business partner Ken Cronan.

The two own the auto salvage business, Recovery Services, Inc., that became the focus of an investigation by a congressional ethics office – which …

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Some of the stranger places money is going in state House and Senate races

The Georgia arm of the American Federation for Children Action Fund, a D.C.-based group pushing school choice, has spent $38,427 in primary battles for House and Senate seats up for grabs on Tuesday, according to its most recent disclosure.

Some of the group’s choices for contributions are bound to stir bad blood:

– Democrat Torrey Johnson of Atlanta, one of two primary challengers to state Sen. Donzella James of south Fulton;

– Graham Balch, a Democrat and biology teacher challenging state Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta); (See the mailer the AFCAF paid for here.)

– Shawn James, who’s running for an open Clayton County seat in the House;

– Kenneth Samuel, a Democrat and pastor challenging incumbent state Rep. Earnest “Coach” Williams (D-Avondale);

– David Wilkerson, a Democrat and accountant challenging state Rep. Don Wix (D-Mableton);

– State Sen. John Wiles (R-Kennesaw), who faces challenger Lindsey Tippins, a former Cobb school board member;

– State Rep. Tom Weldon …

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