Tea party enthusiasts are livid over a ruling by Secretary of State Brian Kemp that shirts, hats and buttons with tea party logos won’t be allowed in polling places on Tuesday.
The loose organization claims to be nonpartisan, but its endorsements in several races are mostly Republicans and Libertarians.
James Groce, head of the Walker County Tea Party, said he was kicked out of a Chickamauga voting precinct last week for wearing a Walker County Tea Party shirt.
He said he was allowed to vote after calling the elections office and threatening to call U.S. marshals. He said the shirt does not promote any candidate or party affiliation.
“I said, ‘Where do you see Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or Independent on my T-shirt?’” Groce said. “If you’re being told that you need to go change clothes before you vote … that is a violation of civil rights.”
Walker County Elections Supervisor Barbara Berry said that, when she first called the secretary of state’s office, she was told that allowing or disallowing tea party gear would be a local decision.
On Friday, however, the state office held a statewide web conference to explain that tea party paraphernalia should not be allowed.
“The word from the secretary of state’s office is that no one can wear the tea party shirts, buttons or hats into our polling places,” Berry explained.
Matt Carrothers, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, said state law covers more than just political parties and candidates’ names.
He cited a section of Georgia code that states: “No person shall solicit votes in any manner or by any means or method, nor shall any person distribute or display any campaign literature, newspaper, booklet, pamphlet, card, sign, paraphernalia, or any other written or printed matter of any kind” inside any polling place.
Debbie Dooley of the Atlanta Tea Party called last night to say that she’d just finished a long conversation with Kemp – and is demanding that all other clothing with messages from labor unions, the National Rifle Association and Georgia Right to Life also be banned.
That avoiding a runoff has become a central focus of Nathan Deal, the Republican nominee for governor, was made clear in the second of two televised debates on Saturday.
From the Fox 5 confrontation, via the Associated Press:
In something of a surprise, Deal tossed a question to John Monds, asking the Libertarian – who has said he supports decriminalizing marijuana – whether he would also support such a move for “harder drugs” and prostitution. Monds said he would not.
There is some concern the Libertarian could draw enough votes to send the race into a runoff and Deal seemed to have his eye on cutting into Monds’ support.
A poll published Sunday by the AJC and the Georgia Newspapers Partnership shows Monds drawing a crucial 6 percent of the vote.The survey shows Deal at 47 percent and Democrat Roy Barnes at 40 percent.
Democrat Roy Barnes’s top media guy gave a harsh assessment of his candidate’s chances to the New York Times on Saturday:
Georgia voters would be hard-pressed to recognize Raymond D. Strother. But as a veteran of political advertising — writing the scripts, editing the sound, directing the actors — he provides the most direct contact they may ever have with a Democratic candidate. It is the quintessential behind-the-scenes job, with Mr. Strother, 70, an avuncular Texan, working in a small recording studio beside a bowling alley and a strip club, with one assistant.
“No, I never even thought about running for office myself,” he said. “I’m too blunt.”
Blunt, for example, when he handicaps the outlook for Mr. Barnes: “All things being equal, it will be very hard for a Democrat to win Georgia,” he said. “In focus groups, people say, ‘Sure, your opponent’s a crook — but he’s a Republican and I’m voting for him.’ ” Polls show Mr. Barnes slightly behind his Republican opponent, Nathan Deal, a former congressman whom the Barnes campaign has tried — with limited success — to paint as corrupt.
U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall’s voting record and his efforts to separate himself from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been a focus of the contest for the 8th Congressional District. Mike Stucka had these paragraphs in Saturday’s Macon Telegraph:
Claims by the National Republican Congressional Committee that Marshall votes with Pelosi “almost 90 percent of the time” come from a Washington Post analysis of how often Marshall voted with his own party in the last two years. But a vote with other Democrats isn’t necessarily the same thing as a vote specifically with Pelosi. As speaker of the House, Pelosi, following tradition, votes only on select or major bills.
The Telegraph looked at how often Marshall voted with Pelosi — since she’s been House speaker — when Pelosi and House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, cast opposing votes on substantive legislation. The Telegraph analysis — of 2.5 million House votes — shows that Marshall has backed Pelosi 60.6 percent of the time and Boehner 39.4 percent of the time when Pelosi and Boehner disagreed on a measure.