Tim Pawlenty has signed Nick Ayers, former protégé to former Gov. Sonny Perdue, to run his ’12 Republican campaign for president – if the former Minnesota governor decides to jump in.
Which now seems more likely. From the press release, quoting Pawlenty adviser Phil Musser:
“Nick has proven his incredible talent in the political arena many times over. He has also long been our top choice for this job, and we are thrilled he has agreed to lead this campaign. He’s a man of character, faith and integrity who will take this organization to the next level, and hopefully to the nomination of the Republican Party.”
The hiring of Ayers further illustrates the splintering of Georgia’s Republican establishment among several potential presidential candidates. Perdue – who brought Ayers into Georgia politics — and Gov. Nathan Deal have lined up behind Newt Gingrich, the former U.S. speaker.
Much of the GOP’s monied interests in the state have already signed on with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. Herman Cain, the former radio talk show host, is a resident of Georgia and has his own following.
Ayers is the former executive director of the Republican Governors Association, and is credited with running a well-financed organization that made the difference in several states – including Georgia during the ’10 cycle.
What may be most telling about Ayers’ choice is the fact that Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour headed up the RGA during the final portion of Ayers’ tenure.
Speaking of Haley Barbour – it is not usual for the speaker at a local political gathering to be rewarded with favorable placement in the straw poll that follows. What’s discouraging is to address the crowd, and not make an impression. From Politico:
GREENVILLE, S.C. – Rick Santorum scored a decisive victory in a straw poll held Saturday among Republicans in South Carolina’s largest county.
The former Pennsylvania senator won 31 percent of the vote from a group of 413 activists who cast ballots at the Greenville County Republican convention.
Newt Gingrich came in second place, taking 14 percent, Michele Bachmann and Donald Trump each captured 7 percent to tie for third place.
Santorum and Gingrich both spoke at the meeting, offering hard-edged denunciations of President Barack Obama, and each has made multiple visits to the state in the last year. …Also addressing the Greenville Republicans was Haley Barbour. But the Mississippi governor’s speech received a more polite reception than the standing ovations Santorum and Gingrich drew and he won just 5 percent in the poll.
That 71-page tax overhaul bill that the House will vote on today? Take a look at it here, courtesy of state Rep. David Wilkerson, D-Austell, who came up with a copy for us.
Some Republicans are complaining about the lack of forewarning on the tax bill. State Rep. Buzz Brockway, a Gwinnett Republican, is having none of it. From Peach Pundit:
We received an email to the tip line this morning from Don Williamson, Chairman of the Rockdale Republican Party decrying the “PURE PELOSI style maneuver” of planning to vote on HB388 on Monday. The accusation is that voting tomorrow is akin to Congress voting for the health care plan so they could see what’s in it. Poppycock!
The basic outline of HB388 has been discussed on this blog and in the media since March 24th, a full 18 days ago. Additionally, the components of HB388 all come from the recommendations of the Special Council on Tax Reform which spent most of last year holding public hearings and made their final proposal on January 7th.
Democratic lawmakers from metro Atlanta will gather at the state Capitol at 11 a.m. today to protest the new content of SB 79, which would allow Gov. Nathan Deal to replace the governing boards of school systems – including Atlanta Public Schools – that lose their accreditation.
Atlanta faces a September deadline from its accrediting agency. The legislation would speed that up a bit:
The bill would require the Atlanta board — and boards in a handful of other Georgia school systems — to face a hearing before the state Board of Education by July 31. The hearing would be the first step in a two-step process that could end in the wholesale removal of local boards by the governor if it is determined they are not doing enough to maintain high standards.
In a note to supporters Sunday evening, Jerry Luquire of the Georgia Christian Coalition predicted 2-to-1 House passage on Tuesday of the measure to permit sales of package alcohol sales on Sunday.
He urged his followers to begin concentrating on local referendums required by the measure – and suggested that voters seek those elections during high-turnout political seasons, such as the November 2012 presidential balloting.
AJC’s Politifact today looks at claims by U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Mark Warner, D-Va., that “an average of $4 billion is added to the national debt” every day.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider