Your morning jolt: The 2013 campaign season begins — for GOP chairmanship

The Republican world – at least the Georgia part of it – is headed down to Columbus today for its two-day state convention.

Former state senator Chip Pearson of Dawsonville

Former state senator Chip Pearson of Dawsonville

Delegates will be pointed to November and, in at least one case, beyond. Among the many fliers on their seats will be one from former state Sen. Chip Pearson of Dawsonville, announcing his candidacy for state party chairman in 2013.

He’s already got a website that includes this shout-out to the current term-limited chairman, Sue Everhart:

With your help, we will continue Sue Everhart’s proud tradition of grassroots leadership and build on her great successes. I want to hear your ideas on how we can build on the successes of the Georgia GOP and make our Party even stronger…

Pearson, who has spent the last year raising money for the party, will be emphasizing his loyalty to the grassroots rather than officialdom. “People don’t know that there’s a whole lot more of me in the party than there is in the Senate,” he said.

Pearson’s first test comes over the next two days. He’s chairman of the resolutions committee, which will decide whether to offer delegates a chance to rebuke fellow Republicans in the Legislature for their failure to take up ethics reform.

One thing to watch at the GOP convention on Saturday will be the crowd’s reaction to Gov. Nathan Deal, who was booed last year when he backed an opponent to state GOP chairman Sue Everhart.

No doubt, delegates will also be discussing this, from my AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin:

A member of the State Properties Commission resigned Thursday after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution discovered he signed a $1.4 million deal to lease office space to the state while serving on the panel.

No law or guideline prohibits such a deal. But a spokesman for Gov. Nathan Deal, who appointed Dr. Larry “Jeff” Payne to the commission in September, said it “does present the appearance of a conflict of interest.” The spokesman said the resignation was a “mutual decision” between Payne and the governor.

As you may have heard, an ethics complaint has been renewed against Senate Rules Chairman Don Balfour, R-Snellville, less than a week before qualifying begins. From my AJC colleague Chris Joyner:

Debbie Dooley, state coordinator of the Georgia Tea Party Patriots, filed the complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee. Dooley said Balfour, R-Snellville, violated Senate rules and state law and called on GOP leaders to strip him of his chairmanship.

In a statement, Balfour said the complaint “smacks of campaign politics.” He said he reimbursed the state for what he claimed were “inadvertent” errors and filed corrected paperwork.


Dooley says she plans keep the pressure on state officials to act on the complaint by handing out copies of the complaint at the state Republican convention in Columbus. She also plans to mail it out to conservative activists.

Dooley will also be attempting to make friends with the governor by handing out lapel stickers — an example is above, right — calling for opposition to the transportation sales tax referendums on the July 31 ballot.

Speaking tonight before a number of major GOP donors in Columbus will be former GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, in the midst of refashioning himself into a supporter of the presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney. My AJC colleague Daniel Malloy caught up with Gingrich on Thursday:

Gingrich did not exactly recant, but did acknowledge the ineffectiveness of one attack he used on Romney – the private equity firm Bain Capital. When Gingrich accused Romney and Bain of taking over companies and downsizing them at the expense of workers, he was widely condemned by fellow Republicans and eventually backed off.

This week the Obama campaign released an ad along those same lines. Gingrich said his experience should be a lesson to Obama: “that dog won’t hunt.”

Gingrich said the attack will not resonate in voters’ minds as they think: “You want me to be mad because in one company somewhere Romney may have in fact been involved in someone losing their job while you as president have been involved in millions of people losing their jobs?”

If you’ve already imbibed your daily allowance of irony this morning, prepare for an overdose. We told you Thursday that U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah, had slipped into a defense authorization bill a ban on Pentagon sponsorships of sporting events. Politico offers more this morning:

NASCAR commands the lion’s share of these expenditures, estimated at about $80 million in 2012 altogether. And new estimates from the National Guard show that more than $135 million has been spent over the past five years just for the Guard’s sponsorship and branding efforts through Hendricks Motorsports in North Carolina and the racing team of star driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.

“The old question always in politics is, ‘If not here, where, if not now, when, if not us, who?’” Kingston told his colleagues. “I am a conservative Republican. I’m very pro-military but at some point we have to get in the habit of cutting programs that are less efficient, less effective… Would you still spend this money if it was you?”

“They can still go to events. They can still put up banners. They can be all over the high school sporting events,” he said of the recruitment campaigns. “But $20 million for one NASCAR race (team)? Have we lost our minds?”

And who spoke up to defend military targeting of a sport that specializes in left-hand turns? Again, from Politico:

His fellow Georgian, Democratic Rep. Sanford Bishop, remained unconvinced, spinning his own picture of modern Sergeant York’s being uncovered at the speedways.

“NASCAR is big and particularly in rural communities,” Bishop said. “We’ve got to go where the potential recruits are. These youngsters who work on the tractors… who are the mechanics who can take those skills to the military who hunt, who fish, who become expert marksmen because they’re accustomed to hunting in the woods. I think we need to target those folks.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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31 comments Add your comment

Fond memories

May 18th, 2012
9:19 am

My abiding memory of Chip Pearson was when I attended a committee meeting he chaired regarding handing over development of Jekyll Island to Reynolds Linger Longer. He made some older women attending the hearing give up their seats and stand up so that the developers and the Jekyll Island Authority men could sit down in the hearing room.


May 18th, 2012
9:32 am

fond memories, sounds about right. The entitled ones doncha know. Stand up and kiss the ring.


May 18th, 2012
9:34 am

chip pearson is a chip rogers clone, and just as ethically corrupt. he’ll fit well in the GOP chairmanship

da pope

May 18th, 2012
9:38 am

Chip will be offering free moustache rides at intermission.

Danny O

May 18th, 2012
9:40 am

You may recall that as a state Senator, Chip Pearson tried to woo consulting business by touting his connections w/other state leaders:

I wonder how Chip Pearson plans to parlay the GA GOP chair into personal gain?


May 18th, 2012
9:41 am

Chip will be offering free moustache rides to garner support!


May 18th, 2012
9:43 am

Oh God, Chip Pearson and Linger Longer, I had forgotten about that unholy pimpfest. I bet the Republican apparatchiks will love him.

[...] 2010 amid a transparency fight that rocked his campaign. But an opening exists for the senator to reclaim some moral authority with those who’ll elect the next chairman: Pearson’s first test comes over the next two [...]

Captain America

May 18th, 2012
9:52 am

Where can we get some of those lapel stickers?!!


May 18th, 2012
10:07 am

Were I Romney,I would ask the Newt to support Obama.


May 18th, 2012
10:08 am

I want one of the lapel stickers as well with the proviso I will use a sharpie and write in smart and not republican.

Marlboro Man

May 18th, 2012
10:10 am

Those folks really need to loosen up and go with the flow.


May 18th, 2012
10:13 am

God, I admire you.


May 18th, 2012
10:15 am

Chip’s pic looks like a combo add for male impotence and the hair club for men.


May 18th, 2012
10:20 am

Margo-diet coke on screen!!!!

Jim Galloway is still here? hahaha

May 18th, 2012
10:43 am

I can’t read all of that. New author please.


May 18th, 2012
11:22 am

“No law or guideline prohibits such a deal.”

Don’t you just love Georgia ethics. Give this guy membership into the Georgia Republican No Law or Guideline Prohibits Such a Deal Self Enrichment Club.


May 18th, 2012
11:32 am

So, when Newt goes off on a tangent about how President Obama is the biggest spender in history – doubling the national debt – will anyone recall that President Reagan tripled it with Newt’s help? When he chides the president for oppressive regulation will anyone recall that the conservative Supreme Court mandated many of them, and the current administration has reduced many to below the President Bush level? And finally in his big wrap up about how ethically challenged the current administration is will any of them know how someone made $300k as a historian for a mortgage finance company?

The Snark

May 18th, 2012
11:44 am

So … Gingrich attacks the President in advance for using a strategy which Gingrich himself used to attack Romney, on the grounds that it didn’t work for Gingrich, when there is no evidence that the President has even considered such a strategy?

This is news?

My brain hurts.


May 18th, 2012
11:55 am

“No law or guideline prohibits such a deal”

Georgia Republicans have shortened this statement to “Such a deal!”


May 18th, 2012
12:08 pm

just “deal” says it all


May 18th, 2012
1:28 pm

State republican chair.

Do they have a checklist for that job:
Self serving
Double dealing
Equipped with blinders
Unable to compromise for the good of the Citizens
Lacks all hint of ethics
Able to put the interests of lobbyists first in all situations
Never met a wedge issue they didn’t like
Ready to give full citizenship and social security cards to fetuses

For starters.


May 18th, 2012
1:47 pm

Let the gerrymandering, dirty games and corruption begin. Darn lets just super size this “DEAL

Big Mama

May 18th, 2012
2:07 pm

Finally, Jack Kingston does something worthwhile. After how many years in Washington…..?

Road Scholar

May 18th, 2012
2:16 pm

“This dog won’t hunt?”
Maybe for close minded Repubs who get blinded by an R after ones name.


May 18th, 2012
4:09 pm

But the important question is: What does Diebold think?


May 18th, 2012
5:11 pm

No Georgia democrat can complain about gerrymandering since King Roy exploded his gerrymandering bomb that was so partisan that the justice department intervened against his “partisan right down to it’s toenails” turkey.

GodHatesTrash, Superstar

May 18th, 2012
5:12 pm

Somebody needs to tell John Waters that someone stole his moustache.

Buckhead Boy

May 18th, 2012
5:27 pm

But, Newt, didn’t Ted Kennedy successfully hang Bain around Romney’s neck back in ‘94? Maybe an assault on a leveraged buyout artist just isn’t compelling when coming from a con artist.

GodHatesTrash, Superstar

May 18th, 2012
6:12 pm

I wonder if the senator is as dynamic in person as he appears in that picture.

Honest ed has a good list going for GOP chairman qualifications. Other important qualifications relate to one’s ability to appeal to the white racists and xenophobes that make up the GOP’s core constituency in Georgia. Senator Pearson sponsored legislation creating Confederate Heritage Month, and a bill to make English the only language for drivers tests.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution [...]