Federal campaign reports have begun to trickle in, bringing with them an outline of next year’s congressional primaries.
The 9th District congressional campaign of Doug Collins, the state lawmaker from Gainesville, reports raising $114,235 as of Sept. 30, with only slightly less on hand. Seventy-five percent of the cash came from within the northeast Georgia district.
The report from Gainesville radio talk show host Martha Zoller has yet to pop up – but her strategist, Joel McElhannon, says the campaign will report about $30,000 raised.
Collins, as you know, has strong links to both Gov. Nathan Deal and House Speaker David Ralston. Zoller has courted the tea party crowd. But the dynamics of the race may be about to change.
We’re hearing that Hunter Bicknell, chairman of the Jackson County Commission, is giving some thought to entering the race, with the object of capturing the non-Hall County vote. From the county’s web site:
A graduate of Georgia State University, Hunter earned his Bachelor of Business Administration and Masters of Business Administration while working for The Sperry and Hutchinson Company. He spent twenty-two years with this company where he was able to move from an entry level position to Vice President.
Hunter then ventured out on his own and developed a sandwich shop franchise which he sold in 1996 to begin working as a residential building contractor in Gwinnett and Hall counties. In 1998, he became the President of Sky Access, a rental company that supplied equipment to contractors until he retired from the private sector in 2002.
Last month, Lee Hawkins, who unsuccessfully against Tom Graves last year for the congressional seat vacated by Nathan Deal, announced he would run to replace state Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, who is making that run for the 9th Congressional District. But he still must deal with $346,625 in debt from his 2010 race.
U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, also remains slightly hampered by last year’s contests. As of Sept. 30, Graves reported raising $449,542, with $149,498 in cash on hand. About $16,000 in debt remains from 2010.
Steve Tarvin, a businessman from Chickamauga, ran against Graves in 2010, and has been mentioned as a primary challenger to Graves in 2012, in a refigured 14th District. But Tarvin reports a debt of $322,754 from last year.
State Rep. Lee Anderson of Grovetown, one of two announced GOP challengers to U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Savannah, reports raising $71,050 as of Sept. 30, with $80,775 in the bank.
Barrow raised $877,181 over the same period, and has $691,507 in cash on hand.
Republican businessman Rick Allen, a Republican, entered the race after the disclosure deadline.
If the weekend news shows didn’t feature GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, they were about him. Here’s what friend and rival Newt Gingrich said on CNN:
”If Herman figures out how to do it all right and if he can explain a 9 percent sales tax so people decide they want it, he has a good chance to be the nominee. If, however, in New Hampshire, for example, where they have no sales tax at all and no mechanism for collecting it, or in Iowa where senior citizens are going to say, wait a second, as my 79-year-old mother-in-law said on her Social Security, in her fixed income she’s now going to pay 9 percent more?
“Herman has a — as people look at 999 and disaggregate it, it gets to be a lot harder sale, I think.”
My AJC colleague Daniel Malloy in Washington reports that U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston this week is involved in what make become an experiment to see if Congress can avert yet another funding shutdown before the latest in a string of stopgap measures expires Nov. 18:
Kingston is in charge of a House appropriations subcommittee that, this summer, put together for House passage a funding bill for the Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and related agencies.
The Senate is combining that bill with two other spending measures. One covers funding for the departments of Commerce, Justice and State, and another dictates spending for the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. The hope is that all three can clear the upper chamber at once.
They are less politically thorny than the bills governing environmental or human services agencies, where philosophical clashes about the role of government matter more than dollars and cents.
The Senate package would have to go to conference committee with Kingston’s bill, which spent substantially less – but much has changed in the meantime. The Aug. 2 debt ceiling deal set a spending cap of $1.043 trillion for fiscal 2012, a number that some conservatives would prefer to see much lower, but is likely to remain the amount spent.
But the debt-ceiling deal did not include how that sum would be divvied up – a key question for the conference committee, as Democrats prefer to fund social safety net programs and Republicans want to preserve military spending.
“It would be great as kind of a tone-setter for the rest of the year,” Kingston said.. “But you’ve got to break the deadlock first and this could be the bill that does it.”
Some of the details are above Kingston’s pay grade. Appropriations fights often hinge on policy more than numbers – remember the rows this spring over defunding Planned Parenthood and National Public Radio?
But Kingston said he has his own issues. Medical companies have complained to him about what they see as a draconian FDA approval process for new drugs, and Kingston has concerns about the FDA taking new responsibilities in food safety when the U.S. Department of Agriculture already oversees that area.
And if the deficit-reduction “supercommittee” – another spawn of the debt ceiling agreement – takes a bite out of farm subsidies, that could send Kingston back to the drawing board as well.
The way Kingston tells it, those problems are solvable if only he is allowed to work with his Democratic counterparts. Politicians are vigorously avoiding the “D.C. insider” label these days – but the benefit of being a veteran is knowing when to trust your adversary and make a deal.
“We’ve all worked together for a long time and we know these issues and we know where each other is,” Kingston said. “And Rosa [DeLauro, a liberal Democrat from Connecticut] is philosophically [at] the opposite end of the spectrum, but she and I get along and we can get this thing done. But when it’s hijacked from us in order for her to get, I don’t know, the Dems on board, and for us to get the Republicans on board, then she and I lose the autonomy. And that’s what’s been happening really for 10 years now.”
Getting people on board, though, is essential to crossing the dental floss tightrope of 218 House votes, 60 Senate votes and a presidential signature that has made legislating nearly impossible in this year’s divided Congress.
Kingston acknowledges the challenge within his own party, where 60 conservatives will refuse to back any bill that spends more than the GOP-passed House budget, which is $24 billion less than the debt-ceiling deal.
That group includes a few Georgians, but not Kingston.
“I opposed the Aug. 2 agreement, but I’m also understanding that my side lost, you might say, and we’re locked into a major bicameral, two-branch agreement,” he said. “And so you know, it’s like you’re the quarterback on the team. You’re not making your own calls at this point.”
It’s a sentiment that’s more Tom Brady than Cam Newton, at a time when Congress seems to have far more of the latter.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider