Your morning jolt: What a revived Rick Santorum might mean in Georgia

So Rick Santorum went three-for-three on Tuesday night, sweeping up Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado in those presidential contests. Bad news for Newt Gingrich, but good news for Mitt Romney – even though it may mean a longer slog.

In particular, Santorum’s strong showing could be another enticement for Romney, who makes a short visit to Atlanta today, to make a large commitment in Georgia as we get closer to March 6 and Super Tuesday.

Romney still needs to show he can win in a Deep South state – the Republican party’s geographic base. And no, Florida doesn’t count. A revived Santorum, especially one who does well in blue-collar Michigan on Feb. 28, could weaken the Gingrich campaign here by drawing away evangelicals.

That would give Romney, who won most of metro Atlanta in 2008, a decent chance to win a plurality in the state.

***
The campaign of GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich this morning unwrapped an endorsement from former U.S. Sen. Mack Mattingly and his wife Leslie. Mattingly, who served from 1981 to 1987, defeated Herman Talmadge to become the first Republican senator from Georgia in modern state history.

Meanwhile, ahead of an appearance in Atlanta today, the Mitt Romney took a shot at Gingrich’s idea of a moon colony: “Speaker Gingrich just doesn’t seem to get it. Our staggering national debt and recurring deficits are jeopardizing America’s fiscal future – yet he attacks critics of his moon base proposal for being ‘cheap’ and ‘stingy.’ ”

***
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at Newt Gingrich’s claim that President Barack Obama wants to raise the federal gas tax by 25 cents on the gallon.

***
Truer words were never spoken by Donald Trump, as he discussed his endorsement of Mitt Romney on CNN this morning:

”The sad part about the world in which we live, if you do well in television you maybe can get elected to something. But that doesn’t mean you’re going to be any good at what the big picture is which is running the country.”

***
The 2010 Republican race for governor of Georgia lives on. Former state senator Eric Johnson on Tuesday night Tweeted out the following reaction to the resignation of former rival Karen Handel from Susan G. Komen for the Cure:

Handel hurt Komen & helped Planned Parenthood. Next time, don’t play silly games. Just say you are getting out of bed with a scorpion.

***
A knot of young Turks in the state House are attempting to postpone those regional transportation referendums scheduled for July 31. From Jon Gillooly and the Marietta Daily Journal:

State Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth) and other lawmakers introduced legislation Tuesday that would postpone the Transportation Investment Act referendum for two years to address what Setzler calls “fatal flaws.”

Setzler, who chairs the Cobb Legislative Delegation, said he and state Reps. Rich Golick (R-Smyrna) and Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City) have filed House Resolution 1350 and the enabling legislation, HB 938…”

None of these three lawmakers are backbenchers. Ramsey, you’ll remember, sponsored last year’s illegal immigration legislation. Should this package move any distance, it would pose an interesting challenge to House Speaker David Ralston.

***
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s spokesman says she’ll veto a measure opposing her board’s decision to allow Georgia to dredge the Savannah River and expand its port. From the Associated Press:

The measure viewed as a rebuke of the Republican governor is on its way to her desk following yet another unanimous vote.

The House voted 105-0 on Tuesday to approve a tweak the Senate made to the bill. The same chamber voted 111-0 two weeks ago.
The proposal is designed to help undo the Department of Health and Environmental Control’s decision allowing Georgia to dredge the shared river.

The measure retroactively suspends the agency’s ability to make dredging decisions. The Senate approved it 37-0 last week after inserting a clause specifying the suspension applies to the Savannah port project only.

***
While we’re on the topic of South Carolina, the latest Winthrop Poll of adults living in that state had this to say:

Almost 30 percent (29.3 percent) could not accurately identify who the current vice president—Joe Biden—is. Almost one-quarter (23 percent) couldn’t remember who the vice president is; 3.3 percent supplied the incorrect name; and 3 percent named Dick Cheney.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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294 comments Add your comment

Charlie H

February 8th, 2012
9:50 am

You stay Klassy Eric Johnson.

John

February 8th, 2012
9:54 am

TSPLOST is a dog with fleas. Let’s put it out of its misery sooner rather than later.

There's Is a Sickness In GA

February 8th, 2012
9:56 am

I’d be interesting to see the results of that Wintrop poll if it were taken here in Ga. I suspect we’d do better, but not considerably.

There's Is a Sickness In GA

February 8th, 2012
10:00 am

@John What do you propose in TSPLOST place?

honested

February 8th, 2012
10:05 am

Sickness

How about a real, centrally connected commuter rail proposal using MARTA as a hub and existing rail corridors as spokes?

The pavement industry can still use it’s well established base of corruption without a new sales tax, but REAL transportation improvements require funding.

reebok

February 8th, 2012
10:11 am

Gingrich is no doubt thrilled to get an endorsement from Mattingly, who has been out of politics for a quarter-century. One has-been endorsing another. These clowns are still living in 1986.

Ryan Shakur

February 8th, 2012
10:19 am

in my Marv Albert voice: “Santorum for three…YES! Saaaantorum connects from downtown…”

Don't Kid Yourself

February 8th, 2012
10:20 am

Eric Johnson is an embarrassment

There's Is a Sickness In GA

February 8th, 2012
10:30 am

@Honested That sounds nice in theory, but given the political/racial environment in GA is even a realistic option. In addition, creating “centrally connected commuter rail” would take metro wide consensus and over a decade to complete.

I agree though that rail needs to at least be in the mix for the northern I-85 and I-75 tier (I don’t know much about south metro area traffic so I’m containing my comments to problem areas I do know about), because trying to use roads along to ease congestion in those areas is not a realistic option. However, those are exactly the areas with the most political opposition to rail or any non-road traffic reducing solutions.

That being the case, I should probably not care and let those people up there fester in the muck of their own creation, but their traffic impacts the economic viability/strength of metro Atlanta as a whole…so their problem is our problem.

Centrist

February 8th, 2012
10:35 am

Romney barely campaigned in those yesterday caucus voting states – they only have impact in the media attempting to make a runaway primary season a horse race. Romney has the nomination wrapped up. Georgia does not matter – it is an open primary state where Democrats will vote for the weakest Republicans (Santorum, Paul, and Gingrich). It is where Gingrich served from as Speaker of the House. Romney will fund raise here and make a token effort, but Super Tuesday has bigger delegate prize chances in combinations of other states.

Ol' Timer

February 8th, 2012
10:36 am

Ol’ Mitten will come to town with his ears laid back, a wild look in his eyes, his nostrils flared and a snarl on his lips as he stakes out a position just to the right of Atilla the Hun — trying to establish his conservative bona fides.

And, Ol’ Newt is so good at spinning his poor performance, if he could incease the speed of his spin just a bit — to say 186,000 MPS, he might end up back in the arms of his second ex-wife.

Lord, I love this Republican/Tea Party Smack Down!

CobbGOPer

February 8th, 2012
10:38 am

Eric Johnson and Dan Becker just can’t get over it can they?

Becky

February 8th, 2012
10:42 am

Answer me this. Why do republican men hate women? Are they afraid of the truth that we are smarter than they are? LOL!

Rick Santorum gives me the willies and not in a good way.

Ga Values...Ron Paul for Peace & Prosperity

February 8th, 2012
10:52 am

For those of you stupid enough to think we are going to get any thing out of TSPLOST look at the bidding on the air port concessions. All of Reed’s buddies won everything & Maynard Jackson’s family which is worth over $50,000,000 are considered disadvantaged. The Maynard Jackson Paving Co. will be the prime contractor for TSPLOST.

DJ Sniper

February 8th, 2012
10:59 am

Santorum needs to go sit down in the corner somewhere.

Becky, I ask the same question every day. Whenever I read about some of the legislation that they want to pass, I have to wonder what woman would vote for these clowns.

There's Is a Sickness In GA

February 8th, 2012
10:59 am

@Centrist I think Romney will be the nominee, but he has yet to win a Midwestern or Southern state and I wonder if that says something. Is this just an anomaly, or does it portend a real problem for him with the GOP base (he’ll win Va, but since he’s the only non-Ron Paul candidate on the ballot that won’t tell us much)? Furthermore, turn out for these elections has been pretty low which seems to suggest that GOP voters are less than enthusiastic about their choices.

Also, I don’t think you should discount the vote of people who don’t support Romney as mainly media driven…it comes of as petty to say that people who don’t vote for Romney, do so because they are suckers to the media. Just because someone doesn’t vote the way you think they should doesn’t make them a rube.

honested

February 8th, 2012
11:05 am

I understand a lot of people don’t support romney.

We will be voting for the President in November.

Obama 2012!

There's Is a Sickness In GA

February 8th, 2012
11:07 am

@Ga Values You think TSPLOT won’t work because the bidding process is rigged to benefit the connected and wealthy. Okay, I got it. That aside, since TSPLOT is no good what is your idea for funding solutions to the Metro area’s congestion problem…do you think maintaining the status quo is the answer?

DannyX

February 8th, 2012
11:13 am

Santorum now has more wins than Romney. What a weak Republican field.

Republicans don’t like Romney, how in the heck is Romney going to get independents to vote for him if Republicans have to hold their nose while voting for him?

UGA 1999

February 8th, 2012
11:13 am

Really glad to see Santorum doing well. However I dont think it will mean that Newt will lose Georgia.

honested

February 8th, 2012
11:14 am

Sickness,

A sales tax (a statewide sales tax and not the bogus regions) will be necessary. The PLAN will need to be statewide (and not the bogus regions).

Of course this will require a legislature that has visited or lived in cities with region wide, functional public transportation (yes I realize they don’t have that in Myrtle Beach or Panama City) and an understanding public transportation IMPROVES the whole region.

Right now we seem to be stuck with a group stuck in the past and the mindset of ‘we took over in 2002, now what’. The strong tilt toward balkanizing every county into little toy cities and building larger arterial roads through every neighborhood.

If we attach ourselves to ideas that have already failed miserably, how can we hope for improvement?

UGA 1999

February 8th, 2012
11:14 am

honested….Please do….A vote for Obama in Georgia equals a wasted vote.

Becky

February 8th, 2012
11:14 am

UGA 1999-I’m curious. What do you like about Santorum?

UGA 1999

February 8th, 2012
11:17 am

Becky…I like his views on government healthcare. Ideas on cutting spending. The governments role in Americans lives. Would you like more?

George Hills

February 8th, 2012
11:18 am

> Gingrich this morning unwrapped…

Note Mr. Gingrich didn’t remind voters about that 1996 gun control deal he made in Congress.

Becky

February 8th, 2012
11:19 am

Yes, please elaborate. I haven’t paid much attention to his views.

DJ Sniper

February 8th, 2012
11:22 am

Any vote for any of these clowns in the GOP field is a wasted vote.

UGA 1999

February 8th, 2012
11:23 am

Becky….maybe you should. Watch a couple of the debates.

UGA 1999

February 8th, 2012
11:24 am

DJ…..Really? Haha. We shall see. Come November. Lets see how Obama does when unemployment stays at 11.5%, Gas prices are at $4 and we have $15T in debt. Why would anyone vote for him.

Tom

February 8th, 2012
11:26 am

I’d actually take Obummuh over Santorum. I know the capabilities of the O in his fight to destroy the Constitution and capitalism, and how to fight his efforts.

But how do you fight the efforts to destroy the liberties of U.S. citizens by someone who actually believes he’s doing it on behalf and in the name of a myth?

There's Is a Sickness In GA

February 8th, 2012
11:29 am

@UGA 1999 And a vote in the general for the Republican presidential nominee in GA isn’t as equally pointless? The state is populous/conservative, whoever the R prez. nom. is they are going to win. So what’s your point?

Becky

February 8th, 2012
11:33 am

I’m hearing crickets. Can’t find one thing you care to elaborate on in your adoration of Santorum?

UGA 1999

February 8th, 2012
11:34 am

There is a sickness. NOPE….in all of the polls the general election race is virtually a tie with a generic republican candidate. I want to see how Obama is going to defend his record in the debates.

The point is that you live in Georgia. There is a 0% chance that Obama is going to win Georgia. SO, your vote is pointless.

Travis McGee

February 8th, 2012
11:35 am

It takes a person whose family tree doesn’t have a fork in it to pay into Newt’s B.S.

UGA 1999

February 8th, 2012
11:35 am

Becky….I challanged you to watch the debates. Educate yourself.

UGA 1999

February 8th, 2012
11:35 am

Travis…..now THAT was an intelligent post.

DannyX

February 8th, 2012
11:36 am

“a generic”

Why isn’t he on the ballot? He seems to be the Republicans only hope.

honested

February 8th, 2012
11:37 am

Tom

You identify one of the major reasons I have been unable to vote for any republican since about 1980!

Look before I leap...

February 8th, 2012
11:37 am

Santorum’s wins do more harm to Gingrich than to Romney.
MO turnout was very low as compared to 2008 (as was CO) but MO’s depressed turn-out was impacted by the fact that it was not a true primary vote.

Since CO and MO will be considered swing states in the general election, you have to ask the question, did those states swing far to the right due to an increase right-leaning voters, or does it represent a simple shift within the existing GOP base?

honested

February 8th, 2012
11:39 am

Look….

Or is it that MO will be following it’s normal pendulum and swing Democratic this time?

Becky

February 8th, 2012
11:41 am

Believe me when I say I have watched what you call “debates”. It is very interesting and telling you cannot find one thing to comment on that you like about Santorum. Me thinks you like him because he is a white guy that wears sweater vests. Ring true?

And there is no such thing as a vote not counting. My vote will cancel your vote. See how it works or did you miss that day in Civics 101?

n

February 8th, 2012
11:43 am

Low information voters make terrific cannon fodder. Elect a Republican and march them off to yet another war.

Will

February 8th, 2012
11:43 am

Do you remember the thrice divorced, self-confessed adulterer’s speech and promise to America on the night he was humilated in Florida? “Forty-Six go go”. Gonna contest each and every one and “the people” will decide this thing.

Guess Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota are not part of the remaining “forty six” because Speaker Moonbeam sure didn’t show up in those three states. Also, I guess “the people” are not “the people” in Colordao, Minnesota and Colorado as those “people” did not vote for the politician that “pals around” with Nancy Pelosi.

It looks like to me the true conservate base of the republican party has found their candidate and the candidate who believes Represenative Ryan’s economic plan is “too radical” would best serve the party by returning to lobbying Congress and hawking books.

Historians will long puzzle over how the republican party lost the 2012 general election to an incumbent president who has been as disappointing as President Obama. It now appears that it is no longer a question of whether President Obama will be re-elected, it a question of whether or not he will exceed his electoral victory of 2008.

DJ Sniper

February 8th, 2012
11:44 am

1. Unemployment is around 8.5 percent now. Are you talking about nationwide or just the state of GA.

2. The president is not to blame for high gas prices. I had to explain that to several people who wanted to blame Bush when gas prices were high as hell back in the summer of 2008. POTUS does not set the prices.

I already know that Obama won’t win GA, because the people here will vote Republican, no matter how jacked up the candidate is.

PMC

February 8th, 2012
11:45 am

One thing I like about Romney is that he does seem to be focused on economics.

I could care less about Santorum. I don’t want the government involved in social issues in the first place, so I can’t vote for a Theocrat like Santorum.

zeke

February 8th, 2012
11:46 am

this guy lost in his home state; probably because his views harken back to the dark ages…

DJ Sniper

February 8th, 2012
11:48 am

Becky, you actually sacrificed brain cells to watch the GOP debates? You are now officially a candidate for sainthood!

Look before I leap...

February 8th, 2012
11:51 am

honested

February 8th, 2012
11:39 am

Look….

Or is it that MO will be following it’s normal pendulum and swing Democratic this time?

I suspect with a larger turn-out in March, Santorum will have to hand this win back over to Romney.
How that bodes for the general election, I don’t know. My gut tells me a swing to Romney favors the Democrats. Unemployment there matches the national average.

Becky

February 8th, 2012
11:51 am

DJ Sniper-you have to watch them as a drinking game!

DJ Sniper

February 8th, 2012
11:53 am

LOL@ Becky!!!! I’m sure that makes it much more fun! I may have to try that!

The only reason I want Romney to get the GOP nod is so that the right wing evangelicals will be pissed off. I really want this unofficial relgious test to fall by the wayside.