Your morning jolt: 9th District race for Congress may be about to grow

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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

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19 comments Add your comment

Danny O

October 17th, 2011
10:06 am

Barrow has a good head start, but it seems likely that any Republican that can put in a good showing in the 12th will be able to raise a substantial amount of money to close the gap in the general election season. It should be a very interesting race.

MiltonMan

October 17th, 2011
10:06 am

9th – yet another district in GA that will be in the (R) column. Democraas is this state should rename themselves the “Moses Party”. They will be wandering around for 40+ years before they get their act together in this stae.

Jackie

October 17th, 2011
10:17 am

For a congressman in trouble, Democrat in a Republican state, Barrow has not had any trouble rasing money. It sure seems he is a lore more beholden to big money interests than any of his challengers are.

DannyX

October 17th, 2011
10:27 am

Right on MiltonMan. Republicans rule!!!

We have a bankrupt career politician Governor begging for strings attached federal education dollars, and port pork….We have Tom Graves showing all how to get 2 million dollar signature loans that could never be paid back…We have the perverted Georgia Power give-a-way…We have community organizer Beth Merkleson keeping our politicians honest…We have Sonny expanding his shipping business…”Because it”s free”…We have lax ethics…We have crops rotting in the field…We have transportation nightmare…We still have a water problem…We had another bank fail last week…We have an unemployment problem…Our property values are still declining…Houses and businesses are still being foreclosed at record levels.

Vote Republican!!!

blue dog

October 17th, 2011
10:37 am

When Barrow voted against the health care bill, I emailed him stating I would never vote for him again. He has no reason to expect continued support from the Democratic voters in this state. He has voted with the Republicans on most issues, so why do you have to replace him with a “conservative”. All he needs to do is change parties.
Remember, here in the south, with so many “ill informed voters”….trying to be polite here…there is no difference between a Democrat and a Republican… they are all “Dixiecrats”.

No Longer Republican

October 17th, 2011
10:38 am

Right on DannyX!

Democratic Plantation Dweller

October 17th, 2011
10:47 am

The stimulus is working !!!

Mrs.Glenn Richardson

October 17th, 2011
10:54 am

Danny, you left out the one-eyed trouser snake infestation in Republican Georgia. Casey getting his zipper fixed in his office. Mark Burkhalter’s sudden exit.

And of course, Glenn. What was I thinking?

Don’t miss my next special on Fox 5!

Jon Lester

October 17th, 2011
11:06 am

State GOP officials ought to take a second look at the 12th district and decide if they really need to sink so much money into it, because their repeated failure to replace John Barrow with a Republican has had the latent effect of practically transforming him into one.

Off de Plantation

October 17th, 2011
11:14 am

MalcomX. Er, DannyX @10.27am; You were probably eating Pablum or still on mamma’s teat when this state was being ruined by the Dumbocrats. They ruled Georgia for decades until there were enough intelligent voters to begin to winnow them out. GOD is with the GOP. We’re finally getting the last vestiges of blanche-skinned folks off de plantation, now we’re working on the vast number of intelligent blacks that are at this very moment cutting their chains and telling massuh ‘bama to go to hell.

Alabama Communist

October 17th, 2011
11:18 am

“Herman has a — as people look at 999 and disaggregate it, it gets to be a lot harder sale, I think.”* Republican Econ Wizard………

More Breaking News On Herman Amazing 9% Federal Sales Tax……….A source deep within a Republican Think Tank said today ” That if Herman gets away with his 999999999999 plan and sells it as Pizza to the Republican Tea Party as a cure all for all problems in the USA. He will retired from Republican politics and go to work for Papa John’s Pizza and Taco Bell as a outside server at the drive In Widow of Corporate America.

Alabama Communist

October 17th, 2011
11:18 am

“Herman has a — as people look at 999 and disaggregate it, it gets to be a lot harder sale, I think.”* Republican Econ Wizard………

More Breaking News On Herman Amazing 9% Federal Sales Tax……….A source deep within a Republican Think Tank said today ” That if Herman gets away with his 999999999999 plan and sells it as Pizza to the Republican Tea Party as a cure all for all problems in the USA. He will retired from Republican politics and go to work for Papa John’s Pizza and Taco Bell as a outside server at the drive In Widow of Corporate America.

LMAO

October 17th, 2011
11:22 am

GOP crooks are okay and GOD approves? Is that what you are saying @ODP? Wow the Koch Brothers have really %^&@*# you people up. This state is doomed!!!

td

October 17th, 2011
12:26 pm

LMAO

October 17th, 2011
11:22 am

Do you know what is really funny. You libs are about three years behind on the behind the curtain bandwagon. Glen Beck brought out the George Soros control of the far left about 3 years ago, with his connection moveon.org, the Tides foundation, SEIU and many others. He is a devote socialist and wants a one world socialistic government. Now you Dems are trying to connect the GOP to the Koch brothers. There is a couple problems with the argument.

First: David Koch is a devote libertarian and not a Republican.

Second: If you really read the history of the Koch brothers then you will realize that they HATE communism with a passion. Their life’s work is to rid the world of communist/socialist influence.

I as a die hard conservative am proud of the Koch brothers and follow their philosophy. We do not deny their influence while you libs try to hide the Soros influence because you do not want it out in the open.

honested

October 17th, 2011
1:10 pm

td,

You never cease to provide comic relief!

The expert on all things political ‘outed’ George Soros as being ‘in control of the far left’. So a discredited crackpot used his daily commercial exposure on an entirely discredited propaganda network and it is supposed to be held closely ad unvarnished truth?

Where does the beckclown work today?

But you do help me understand why I hold the koch brothers in such disdain and ensure that neither I, my family or my company ever purchase products that might allow a penny to flow back into their treacherous little paws.

td

October 17th, 2011
1:30 pm

honested

October 17th, 2011
1:10 pm

I am sure you and your company has given them plenty of money considering that it is almost impossible to buy paper or build a house without the GP products or buy gas that was not shipped through one of their pipelines.

honested

October 17th, 2011
1:35 pm

td,

Not impossible or really difficult, it just requires JUDGMENT and DISCRETION.
Qualities that would have stanched the American slide into right wing mediocrity.

td

October 17th, 2011
2:15 pm

honested

October 17th, 2011
1:35 pm

So you are going to sit here and tell the world that you, your family or your company has never paid for gas that was refined in a Koch brothers oil refinery, the oil went through a Koch Brothers built oil pipeline or bought by the Koch brothers on the commodity market? Are you trying to tell us that your home and business has no GP products in them?

Do you have a “Stain master” Carpet in your home? You do not buy Brawny paper towels, Angel soft TP. Marti gras napkins and towels, Quilted northern TP and paper towels or Dixie paper plates, bowels, napkins and cups, Sparkle paper towels or Vanity fair paper towel?

Did you know if you buy any gas made out of heavy oil then you are paying the Koch brothers fro their patient rights on the process?

Do you use any nitrogen based fertilizer in your yard or at your company? If so then it was produced or a fee paid to Koch because they own the patient and produce all of it in the US.

Yea, go ahead and tell me how much you do not support them. Everyone on here knows the truth.

fire eater

October 18th, 2011
4:15 am

A lot of people would like to see Phil Kent get in the 9th District race…his get-tough stand on third world immigration would be a winner here. Unemployment is directly related to the number of illegal aliens and it is long since time that the GOP point this out.