Your morning jolt: Casey Cagle dips into a pair of Senate races

Next Tuesday’s runoff elections for two state Senate seats have the potential to strengthen the hand of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in his struggle to regain control of the chamber.

Cagle has made personal appearances this week on behalf of both John Wilkinson of Toccoa, a Republican candidate for the District 50 seat, and Duke Blackburn of Newnan, in the contest for District 28.

The lieutenant governor’s public endorsement of Wilkinson came on Tuesday, according to Wilkinson’s Facebook page. But the lines of battle were drawn much earlier. Former state Rep. Rick Austin, R-Demorest, who finished first with 43 percent of the vote in the first round of voting, is backed by Senate President pro tem Tommie Williams of Lyons and Majority Chip Rogers of Woodstock.

Last year, Williams and Rogers led a successful revolt to strip Cagle of much of his authority over the Senate. The chamber has been in turmoil since.

A Wilkinson victory in northeast Georgia by itself wouldn’t be a gain for the lieutenant governor. The seat was vacated by Jim Butterworth, R-Cornelia, upon his appointment as adjutant general by Gov. Nathan Deal. And Butterworth was a Cagle ally.

But the District 28 seat had been occupied by Mitch Seabaugh, R-Sharpsburg, who sided with those who want the chamber controlled by its own members. The Newnan Times-Herald notes that Cagle appeared at a fund-raiser for Blackburn last night.

Blackburn, a former state Department of Corrections official with a lengthy law enforcement resume, led the first round of voting with 28 percent. He faces Mike Crane, a building contractor with one congressional race behind him.

Both contests have been tied together by anonymous mailers that accuse Wilkinson and Blackburn – among other things – of having a Democratic past. Despite the difference in geography, both mailers have been traced to the same north Georgia address.

A spokesman for Cagle on Thursday dismissed the charges. “The lieutenant governor knows both of these candidates and thinks very highly of them and their experience. They are both good, solid, respectful, conservative community leaders,” said Cagle spokesman Ben Fry.

***
Democratic activist Amy Morton called Thursday to say she’ll be heading up a new, non-partisan – but progressive – policy group that intends to become a player when the Legislature returns next month.

Better Georgia intends to focus on issues such as Georgia’s new illegal immigration law and criminal justice reform, Morton said. The group will attempt to rally Georgia’s political middle. A couple paragraphs from the press release:

“Gov. [Nathan] Deal’s Georgia looks a lot like Alabama. We’re saying ‘no’ to turning back the clock,” said Bryan Long, executive director of Better Georgia. “Georgia once took pride in rising above issues that held back much of the South. Today, Gov. Deal and many of our lawmakers are chasing every bad idea Conservatives have dreamed up –from Alabama’s anti-immigrants law to Mississippi’s personhood amendment.”

…Earlier this year, Georgia passed a law that will cost the average family farmer $1.2 million in lost revenue annually, for a total up to $1 billion in losses statewide. A portion of the anti-immigrants law is similar to one passed in Alabama that requires police to determine the immigration status of suspects they believe are illegally in the country. Alabama’s law recently led to the arrest of a German manager with Mercedes-Benz who was visiting for business….

***
Larry Peterson of the Savannah Morning News notes that Maria Sheffield, a Mableton attorney who finished second in last year’s Republican contest for state insurance commissioner, will move south in a bid to challenge U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Savannah.

From the newspaper:

“I stand as a true Reagan conservative,” Sheffield said Thursday in a prepared statement, “and will go to Congress as a conservative leader.”

…Sheffield spokeswoman Kathryn Ballou said the candidate will move to Dexter in Laurens County, which is in the new district. Barrow has said he’ll move into the district but hasn’t indicated where.

Sheffield is the fourth Republican in the contest. The others are state Rep. Lee Anderson of Grovetown, Augusta businessman Rick Allen and Evans real estate attorney Wright McLeod.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

34 comments Add your comment

shoshanna

December 2nd, 2011
11:12 am

BOTH Cagle supported candidates have a strong Democrat history of voting and giving. Is this really the what Georgia needs more RINO’s?

BILLY MAYS HERE

December 2nd, 2011
11:14 am

Uh dude there’s no such thing as a non-RINO Republican

oppo

December 2nd, 2011
11:31 am

anyone cagle is for all good conservatives should be against. the man is seeking to destroy the gop majority for his own gain. it’s disgusting.

liberalefty

December 2nd, 2011
11:36 am

more rednecks trying to turn back the clock to the “good ole days” of JIM CROW

Macon, GA

December 2nd, 2011
11:41 am

Good luck, Amy. Have fun eating free BBQ at the cap with the Dem’s b/c that’s all you’re gonna get. They hold no power and neither will you. Note to self, Amy: Calling out the gov and leadership is not a good start to becoming a “power player”.

td

December 2nd, 2011
11:44 am

No lose situation. I see no Dems anywhere on the ballots.

Attack Dog

December 2nd, 2011
11:45 am

What is a “true Reagan conservative?”. One who believes in immigration amnesty, or the one who believes in double counting tax revenues. One who paled around with Russians or the on who invented a war. One who reached across the aisle or the one who had crooks and convicted traitors in his administration. There is no such thing as a conservative leader in Congress. Not if you sign a no tax pledge and scared to tell Rush to kiss off when he is lies to and about American women as entertainment.

Romegaguy

December 2nd, 2011
11:49 am

Maria Sheffield is [yawn] not very exciting

attack Dog

December 2nd, 2011
12:05 pm

How can Cagle destroy the GOP majority in Georgia? The election of Nathan Deal shows that only a truly educated electorate could make that happen. It used to be a joke when someone said that they were a Yellow Dog Democrat. Ask anyone who ever called themselves that, what is their party affiliation today.

Tea Party Hobbit

December 2nd, 2011
12:23 pm

Gotta agree with Billy Mays…no such thing as a RINO. The name means nothing. Here in Georgia, most candidates from both parties are social conservatives who could not save a penny for their kid’s penny banks. There is so much disconnect from the national parties, especially for the Democrats. The Tea Party does have a lot of support in Georgia, but very few Ga Republicans actually fit the Tea Party mold. Mostly old Southern Democrats still running the show – they just changed parties when the national Democrat party went uber-left. I wish the Georgia Libertarians could get some more traction…

Centrist

December 2nd, 2011
12:30 pm

Mr. Jim Galloway terms typical intra-party internecine maneuvering as putting the Senate “in turmoil”. Hardly the case. Either Cagle will recover his lost power, or he won’t – but the Senate will continue to work with the Republican House and Governor on legislation as a single party with little partisanship.

Mr. Jim Galloway highlights a minority Democratic activist effort to overturn the ILLEGAL immigration law only because of his own leftist bias. It’s going nowhere.

Mark

December 2nd, 2011
12:32 pm

PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND TO “td”, BECAUSE IT IS SUCH A WASTE OF YOUR TIME.

He’s feeds off of bullsh*t!

Centrist

December 2nd, 2011
12:43 pm

@ Mark posted “PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND TO “td”, BECAUSE IT IS SUCH A WASTE OF YOUR TIME.

He’s feeds off of bullsh*t!”

Hey Mark, I agree with your assessment that most responses to td are BS.

honested

December 2nd, 2011
12:44 pm

Good Luck to Amy Morton. If the General Assembly gets their way, everyone earning under 275k will get a tax increase. Somebody has to stop this.

As for Casey, he’s always got to be dipping into something!

Centrist Jr.

December 2nd, 2011
12:48 pm

the libiral meedia ate my hommeworck an now i gots a F in histerry.

liberalefty

December 2nd, 2011
1:12 pm

these rednecks love the black players at UGA (afterall without them the team would be pitiful with only puny slow non athletic white boys) yet they hate blacks with a passion,lol.

Mark

December 2nd, 2011
1:14 pm

@ Centrist

Well I agree that he delivers bullsh*t!

Bubba

December 2nd, 2011
1:20 pm

Georgia used to have 3 parties: Democrats who were in, Democrats who were out, and a few Republicans in a phone booth. Now we still have 3 parties: Republicans who are in, Republicans who are out, and a few Democrats gathered around an iPhone.

MiltonMan

December 2nd, 2011
1:21 pm

“Democratic activist Amy Morton called Thursday to say she’ll be heading up a new, non-partisan – but progressive –…”

Good grief Amy you make yourself look like a clown. Do not call something non-partisan & then progressive in the same breath much less the same sentence.

Dems labeling reps as racists??? Did they forget the Dem George Wallace from Alabama & the Dem Lester Garfield Maddox from GEORGIA!

Kev

December 2nd, 2011
1:25 pm

@ MiltonMan

Well George Wallace and Lester Maddox were just plain old White Racists. LOL

liberalefty

December 2nd, 2011
1:26 pm

MILTON

Yeah that was before NIXONS SOUTHERN STRATEGY.in other words conservatrive southerners always hated blacks. their party affiliation meant nothing, they were united in their hate for blacks

Bobby

December 2nd, 2011
1:27 pm

Really doesn’t matter. Both parties are morally and ethically corrupt on the local, state and federal level. Politicians, regardless of political affiliation are out only for themselves, not the preservation of the U.S. Neal Boortz, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh are as corrupt as Barney Frank. They all sleep in the same bed regardless of party affiliation.

Livin' the Dream

December 2nd, 2011
2:11 pm

Blackburn has refused 3x to answer specifics on where he stands on issues. I saw him IN PERSON do so at a candidate forum at the old Coweta County Courthouse. He refused to do so in an interview with a Carrollton newspaper and chose to keep a ‘commitment’ to meet with 2 individuals (donors!) rather than appear at a TEA Party public forum. I live in Newnan. I have seen with my own eyes signs for DEMOCRATS in his yard. If Blackburn isn’t one, then he used to be or is an ALL CAPS RINO.

Crane has been forthcoming about his positions on issues. He’s a conservative. Vote Crane!

clem

December 2nd, 2011
2:56 pm

this reported about American Airlines:

The top five execs have reaped $100 million in bonuses since 2005, while the carrier lost more than $4.2 billion. In 2003, the flight attendants agreed to cuts in pay and benefits worth $340 million annually, which they say kept American out of bankruptcy.

Did these guys work on wall st before? The do as i say crowd, not as i do!

and republicnans don’t want to tax these folks?

td

December 2nd, 2011
3:06 pm

clem

December 2nd, 2011
2:56 pm

Now this is an area that I believe you and I could probably come to an agreement. I believe management and boards of directors should not be limited in their liability when a company fails. There personal fortunes should be at stake in a bankruptcy court. I also believe if the company is a union shop then the union should be accountable also. If one is going to ask for rewards then one must be will to take on the risk.

Now we may not agree that the government should not interfere with the compensation a corporation pays its executives, just like they should not interfere in union contracts made between the parties involved.

clem

December 2nd, 2011
3:27 pm

i would agree, i just find it amazing that repubs not willing to tax folks who have done much better…dems 51-49, repubs plan lost something like 20-78….what does that tell you relatively speaking

but we have beat that dead horse before

td

December 2nd, 2011
3:38 pm

clem

December 2nd, 2011
3:27 pm

Me, the tea party and the vast majority of the Republican party believe that we have to take a stand right now on the size and scope of government. We are heading in the same direction as Greece and Europe. Most of the right believes that spending cuts must happen first (conservatives have been fooled twice before on raising taxes with the promise of spending cuts later and they never materialized) and then after a year or two if revenues need to be raised then it will be considered.

Tom H.

December 2nd, 2011
3:41 pm

Milton Man – Where have you been? In today’s world both George Wallace and Lester Maddox would be strong republicans.

clem

December 2nd, 2011
4:00 pm

td, i would agree that a glide path reduction of spending (not just reducing the growth) is in order as long as inflation is in check. i think it appropriate to lay out a glide path individual tax increase too. if they can get together on tax reform for corporations that raises revenue(while eliminating not cost/benefit justified loopholes with overall goal of reducing the corporate tax rate)i think most progressives would agree on corporate tax issue. but the real gorilla in the room is getting healthcare under control.

td

December 2nd, 2011
4:03 pm

clem

December 2nd, 2011
4:00 pm

We are in agreement again about eliminating loop holes and flattening the tax rates.

clem

December 2nd, 2011
4:34 pm

good; found this interesting which naturally supports my position on taxing wealthy:

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-12-01/raise-taxes-on-rich-to-reward-true-job-creators-nick-hanauer.html

Centrist

December 2nd, 2011
4:53 pm

@ Clem – Unless the capital gains tax is increased, the millionaire senior managers at AMR will CONTINUE to pay lower tax rates on their booty than the flight attendants on their reduced salaries. Those bonuses were paid in low-balled qualified stock options. BOTH Democrats and Republicans pander for themselves, rich friends and family, and their campaign contributors.

Disagree with a “glide path individual tax increase”. Glide paths go down, not up. Increasing individual INCOME taxes on the productive class simply leads to less production. Capital gains will either be invested or spent – both good for the economy, but lowering those tax rates did little other than political payoffs.

clem

December 2nd, 2011
5:00 pm

centrist, please read article in my previous post….i agree glide path up not good analogy, but a combo of gradual cuts, marginal entitlement reforms (age, means test) and more revenues is only way to get us out and we better do something quick with longer term in mind

cheap-monsterbeatsbydre

December 5th, 2011
8:51 pm