Last week, out of the blue, a press release in the name of state Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers declared that the Cherokee County lawmaker had received re-election endorsements from every Republican in the north Fulton legislative delegation.
Now we know why Rogers felt the need to put the information out there.
This morning, Brandon Beach, president of the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce and a member of state transportation board, announced that he would challenge Rogers in the July 31 primary.
Beach, who was narrowly defeated by John Albers of Roswell in a 2010 race for the Senate, named jobs and transportation as his top two priorities – but apparently expects dissatisfaction in the local education community to provide much of the spark for his campaign.
Beach, from the press release:
“We have excellent schools in Cherokee County and North Fulton because of dedicated parents, teachers and principals. Cherokee and North Fulton need a senator who is an advocate for improving and sustaining our children’s education.”
He continued, “My opponent cloaks his top-down, Washington-like control of education with terms like ‘educational freedom.’ Real educational freedom is allowing teachers to teach and principals to manage schools. School boards and the parents that elect them know what is right for their school district, not bureaucrats in D.C. and Atlanta.”
Rogers has been at the forefront of the charter school movement in Georgia, and was a sponsor of the proposed constitutional amendment, on the November ballot, to restore the state’s power to override local school systems that reject charter school applications. The issue has rent Cherokee County, where the local school board has rejected the application of the Cherokee Charter Academy.
This last session, new school district maps for Cherokee were drawn so as to oust the current school board chairman and vice-chairman.
With reapportionment, Senate District 21was shifted eastward, out of Cobb County and into the northernmost reaches of Fulton. Cherokee, home to Rogers has the bulk of the voting population.
Beach, a former Alpharetta city councilman, declared that “we need leadership with integrity in the state legislature” – perhaps a signal that the challenger intends to bring up Rogers’ business partnership with U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger. The two men purchased a dilapidated Calhoun motel with a $2.3 million loan – which almost immediately went into default.
Voters “deserve a senator that is approachable,” Beach said.
The challenger will have an uphill climb. Last week, when Gov. Nathan Deal signed legislation establishing a funding system for state-ordered chartered schools , Cherokee County was the chosen venue for the ceremony. The governor has a general policy of endorsing Republican incumbents – and Rogers won’t be an exception.
Though it may be a temptation, we’re told that Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle intends to stay away from the contest. Rogers was a leader in the Senate Republican effort to strip the lieutenant governor of power over the chamber in November 2010.
ABC News has now posted, in its entirety, the White House interview in which President Barack Obama endorsed gay marriage:
Over at the New Republic, Ed Kilgore makes this smart point about the inevitability of Obama’s decision:
There was a growing movement—endorsed already by eleven state party chairs—to place support for marriage equality in the 2012 Democratic platform. Given the president’s total control of the platform process, he would eventually have had to embrace it or squelch it; there’s not much of a middle ground any more on the basic proposition of marriage equality.
A New York Times review of the struggle in states to anticipate the impact of a U.S. Supreme Court rejection of the Obama administration’s health care overhaul includes these lines:
In Georgia, where the legislature has not yet authorized the development of an exchange to buy and sell insurance as required by the law, the state’s insurance commissioner, Ralph T. Hudgens, says he knows he may have to come up with a marketplace, regardless of how the Supreme Court rules. He said he opposed the mandate, but he believed the exchange could make it easier for citizens to buy policies. “Whether the mandate is struck down or not, Georgia is under the edict to establish an exchange,” he said.
Last night, state GOP chairman Sue Everhart sent out a letter to Republicans, reminding them that one of the chief points of next week’s state convention in Columbus will be to select 31 at-large delegates and 31 alternates to the national convention. Georgia will have the fourth-largest delegation there.
If you plan on going to Tampa, bring your checkbook to Columbus:
[I]f you are elected as a Delegate or Alternate to the 2012 Republican National Convention, there will be a mandatory meeting immediately upon the adjournment of the State Convention in the Chattahoochee Room of the Columbus Civic Center.
In addition to signing the oath, taking a photo, completing all paperwork and receiving additional pertinent information, each Delegate and Alternate must have a personal check or cashier’s check for $400, made payable to the Georgia Republican Party; the payment must be from personal funds as non-federal funds are not permissible. If you are planning to have a guest at the National Convention, an additional $400 will be required for your guest.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider