Two candidates for governor on Tuesday traded old newspaper clippings in a tiff over illegal immigration.
From his stronghold of north Georgia, Republican Nathan Deal – no doubt eager to tread familiar ground – began the discussion.
“My opponent, Roy Barnes, has a proven track record of promoting services for illegal aliens, such as welfare programs, tuition assistance and even driver’s licenses,” Deal said. “Only now is Mr. Barnes changing his tune after reading the tea leaves.
As proof, noted Republican operative and Roy Barnes biographer Dan McLagan pointed reporters to a Sept. 21, 2001 article in the AJC:
Gov. Roy Barnes said Thursday the state should grant some form of driver’s license to illegal immigrants, something that has long been a top priority of advocates for Georgia’s booming Latino population.
Barnes said the state could create an international driver’s license for non-citizens or follow the lead of North Carolina and Tennessee and let illegal immigrants get a standard license.
Thousands of illegal immigrants in Georgia drive to work every day in poultry plants, carpet mills, construction sites and farms. But a 1994 law says the state can only license U.S. citizens or people with legal permission to live here.
“We’ve got to work this problem out,” Barnes said at a town hall meeting held at Georgia State University with Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and Arizona Gov. Jane Dee Hull….
Barnes said the newly created Department of Motor Vehicle Safety is studying the issue. He predicted a change within 12-18 months. He noted that North Carolina and Tennessee, two states that also have a growing number of illegal immigrants, have cited public safety in decisions to license illegal immigrants.
Not to be outdone, the Barnes campaign dusted off an article from the Chattanooga Times Free Press, published four months later, quoting political commentator Phil Kent on the deep-sixing of the driver’s license proposal:
Mr. Kent said the bill’s success also was hurt when Gov. Roy Barnes backed off the proposal.
“Gov. Barnes agrees it’s in the interest of public safety to ensure that everyone on our roads has learned the same rules and regulations in addition to having insurance,” said the governor’s spokeswoman, Joselyn Butler. “However, he also realizes there are a number of issues of public policy involved with regard to allowing illegal immigrants access to driver’s licenses.
“The governor feels at this point it would be premature for the state to take any action,” she said.
The Barnes campaign also wondered – out loud – why, if Deal’s north Georgia auto salvage business had expanded as he has said, the former congressman hasn’t signed up to use E-Verify, the free government database used to make sure that job applicants are legitimate U.S. residents.
Over at PeachPundit, Buzz Brockway says he’s got evidence that a Rasmussen Reports poll is in the Georgia field, measuring the race for governor.
The Associated Press last night moved an article on its national wire that explained how revelations about the poor finances of Republican nominee Nathan Deal have affected the Georgia race for governor.
The AP article included this:
“He should step down as the nominee,” said Tom Perdue, a well-known Georgia GOP campaign operative who ran U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ re-election race in 2008.
“People in the party feel betrayed and they feel cheated because if they had known about all of this earlier, there would have been a different nominee.”
Jerry Luquire, head of the Georgia Christian Coalition, said Deal must do more to clear up the confusion surrounding his finances.
Luquire said voters — wrongly or rightly — have been left with the impression that “something is wrong.”
We doubt that they trade notes, or hold secret Starbuck meetings over lattes.
But Democrats Roy Barnes and Ken Hodges are employing some remarkably similar tactics to win their respective races for governor and attorney general.
Hodges was at the state Capitol on Tuesday to show off a strong, bipartisan list of more than 90 of Georgia’s 159 sheriffs who have endorsed him.
“Supporting Ken Hodges is not about the letter he has after his name on the ballot,” said Sheriff Mike Jolley, a Republican from Harris County – that’s just north of Columbus – who is backing Nathan Deal in the race for governor.
Another sheriff at the Atlanta ceremony was John Cary Bittick, a Democrat who attended a similar event for Barnes last month. Hodges also lists Gene Pope of Butts County, a Republican and former head of the Georgia Sheriffs Association, as a supporter.
Hodges, a former Dougherty County district attorney, is leaning on his experience as a prosecutor in his contest against Republican Sam Olens. These endorsements fit that narrative.
But Georgia’s network of sheriffs is also an excellent way to tap rural voters in the state.
1) Richard R. Foskey – Bacon County (D)
2) Dana Mead – Baker County (D)
3) William C. Massee, Jr. – Baldwin County (D)
4) Bobby L. McLemore – Ben Hill County (D)
5) Jerry Modena – Bibb County (D)
6) Harold Lancaster – Bleckley County (D)
7) Robert C. Thomas – Brantley County (D)
8/ Mike Dewey – Brooks County (D)
9) Gregory T. Coursey – Burke County (D)
10) Gene Pope – Butts County (R)
11) Josh Hilton – Calhoun County (D)
12) Tommy Gregory – Camden County (R)
13) Phil Summers – Catoosa County (D)
14) Glynn Cooper – Chattahoochee County (D)
15) John W. Everett – Chattooga County (D)
16) Ira Edwards, Jr. – Clarke County (D)
17) Kemuel “Kem” Kimbrough, Sr. – Clayton County (D)
18) Winston C. Peterson – Clinch County (D)
19) Al Whittington – Colquitt County (R)
20) Johnny Daughtrey – Cook County (D)
21) Lewis S. Walker – Crawford County (D)
22) Donnie R. Haralson – Crisp County (D)
23) Patrick Cannon – Dade County (R)
24) Billy Carlisle – Dawson County (R)
25) Thomas E. Brown – DeKalb County (D)
26) Wiley Griffin – Decatur County (D)
27) Jeff Hinson – Dodge County (R)
28) Kevin R. Sproul – Dougherty County (D)
29) Jimmie. R. Murkerson – Early County (D)
30) Randy Courson – Echols County (D)
31) Jimmy McDuffie – Effingham County (R)
32) Barry L. Haston – Elbert County (D)
33) J. Tyson Stephens – Emanuel County (D)
34) Randall H. Tippins – Evans County (D)
35) Theodore Jackson – Fulton County (D)
36) Dean Couch – Glascock County (D)
37) Harry C. Young – Grady County (D)
38) Chris Houston – Greene County (R)
39) Tomyln T. Primus – Hancock County (D)
40) Mike Jolley – Harris County (R)
41) Ross Henry – Heard County (D)
42) Donnie Youghn – Irwin County (D)
43) Charles Roper – Jasper County (D)
44) Richard Deas – Jeff Davis County (D)
45) Gary Hutchins – Jefferson County (D)
46) Robert Oglesby – Jenkins County (D)
47) R.N. “Butch” Reece – Jones County (D)
48) Nick Norton – Lanier County (D)
49) Cecil Nobles – Long County (D)
50) Chris Pine – Lowndes County (D)
51) Reggie D. Rachals – Lee County (R)
52) Charles M. Cannon – Macon County (D)
53) Horace Snider – Marion County (D)
54) Logan Marshall – McDuffie County – President of the Georgia Sheriff’s Association (D)
55) Steve Whitlock – Meriwether County (D)
56) H. E. “Buddy” Glass – Miller County (D)
57) Clarance Sanders – Montgomery County (D)
58) John Cary Bittick – Monroe County (D)
59) Ezell Brown – Newton County (D)
60) Scott R. Berry – Oconee County (R)
61) Terry W. Deese – Peach County (D)
62) Howard R. Sills – Putnam County (I)
63) Jimmy Thomas – Pike County (R)
64) Billy Cape – Pulaski County (D)
65) Steve Newton – Quitman County (D)
66) Gary Yochum, Sr. – Randolph County (D)
67) Ronald Strength – Richmond County (D)
68) Shane Tondee – Schley County (D)
69) Mike Kile – Screven County (D)
70) Heath Elliot – Seminole County (D)
71) James “Dee” Stewart – Spalding County (R)
72) Randy Shirley – Stephens County (R)
73) Larry Jones – Stewart County (D)
74) Pete Smith – Sumter County (R)
75) Marc Richards – Taliaferro County (D)
76) Herman Howard – Talbot County (D)
77) Quinton Rush – Tattnall County (D)
78) Jeff Watson – Taylor County (D)
79) Johnny O. Smith – Telfair County (D)
80) John Bowens – Terrell County (D)
81) Roy Wiley, Sr. – Turner County (R)
82) Darren Mitchum – Twiggs County (D)
83) Scott D. Stephens – Union County (D)
84) Steve Wilson – Walker County (D)
85) Thomas H. Smith – Washington County (D)
86) Randy Dely – Webster County (D)
87) James Peacock – Wheeler County (D)
88) Neal Walden – White County (R)
89) Stacy C. Bloodsworth – Wilcox County (D)
90) Mark A. Moore – Wilkes County (D)
91) Freddie Tompkins – Worth County (D)