Earlier this month, political watchers in Washington began putting U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall, D-Macon, on their lists of congressional Democrats endangered by a Republican high tide in November.
And every morning reveals more signs of the partisan gulf. For instance, today from NPR:
For the first time since 1930, Republican votes for statewide offices are outnumbering Democratic votes, according to an analysis from American University’s Center for the Study of the American Electorate.
And Republicans, eager to campaign against Democrats who control the House, Senate and White House, are casting primary ballots at the highest rate since 1970.
So it’s no coincidence that Marshall has cut loose on Republican rival Austin Scott, with a 30-second TV spot that slaps the former state lawmaker for expressing “moral” qualms about a 2006 bill aimed at illegal immigrants:
Marshall: “I’m Jim Marshall, and I approved this message.”
Male voiceover: “Times are hard. And illegal immigrants are putting more of a burden on taxpayers by using public services like hospitals and schools.
“But Austin Scott voted against penalizing illegal immigrants who try to send money out of the country. Austin Scott said he had ‘a moral problem’ making illegal immigrants pay.
“Mr. Scott, what about the moral problem of illegal immigrants breaking the law?”
The legislation in question was HB 1238, a bill that dubbed itself the “Illegal Immigrant Fee Act.”
Introduced by state Rep. Tom Rice, R-Norcross, the measure would have levied a 5 percent tax on cash wired out of the country by any individual who could not prove U.S. citizenship or legal residency.
The bill passed on a 106-60 vote by the House on Feb. 14, 2006. Scott, from Tifton, was one of the few Republican members to vote against it.
The AJC archives has this:
In a speech, Scott said that comprehensive immigration reform is needed, because of the impact illegal immigrants have on crime and public schools.
But Scott said he believes that Rice’s bill would “tax people who are doing the best they can to provide for their families. I’ve got a moral problem with that.”
The measure was gutted in the Republican-controlled Senate, and it has never resurfaced.
When contacted by phone on Tuesday, Scott didn’t want to talk much about the moral concerns he expressed two years ago.
“My reason [for the no vote] was that it exempted bank and credit unions that did wire transfers. I had a problem with making Western Union the enforcer of immigration policy,” Scott said.
One month later, Scott noted, the GOP-run Legislature passed a comprehensive bill aimed at illegal immigration – which he voted for – that was called the toughest in the country. That is, until Arizona passed its measure earlier this year.
“[Marshall] knows he’s in trouble or he wouldn’t be running negative ads 60 days before the election,” Scott said.
But the Marshall campaign says there’s nothing to be read into the fact that this first punch was thrown by the incumbent – that the National Republican Congressional Committee has come after the Macon Democrat so often, one campaign simply blurs into another.
More fallout from the Barnes-Deal tax fight: This morning, AJC Politifact takes on the question of whether Republican nominee for governor Nathan Deal showed all when he disclosed the cover sheets of 28 years of tax returns.
And Tom Baxter of Southern Political Report focuses on this arithmetic coincidence:
In previous years, the Deals had reported only modest capital gains, a steady income that appears to have come from his partnership in Gainesville Salvage Disposal, and losses every year – reaching a high of $82,040 in 2002 – on their farm.
But in 2006 all this was reversed. They reported $225,381 in capital gains, more than 10 times any previous filing, followed by $62,102 in capital gains in 2007. For the first time, they reported a net loss from their Schedule E (partnerships) of $233,240 (followed by losses of $53,520 in 2007 and $1 in 2008). And for the first and only time in 29 years of filings, they reported a profit from their farm, of $6,424.
Go figure that. Could the farm somehow be related to the other changes in Deal’s finances taking place at the same time? What about the very convenient pairing of $287,760 in capital gains in 2006 and 2007, with $286,760 in unprecedented losses from the partnership over the same period?