The qualifying period for candidates seeking a spot on the July 31 primary ballot began this morning.
[Debbie Dooley of Atlanta Tea Party Patriots] said a tea party candidate has already announced a challenge to state Sen. Jack Murphy, a Republican from Cumming and chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. The movement is also hopeful, she said, to have a serious challenger for state Sen. Don Balfour, a Republican from Snellville and chairman of the Senate Rules Committee….
Dooley said if former state Rep. Clay Cox, R-Lilburn, doesn’t qualify to run against Balfour, she will — reluctantly.
While candidates are ponying up qualifying fees in the Capitol, the watchdog Common Cause will lead tea partyists – and state Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus – further down that frightful, liberal path to chaos this morning. They’ll have a press conference calling on all GOP and Democratic candidates to sign a pledge to limit lobbyist gifts to legislators to $100.
But the most dedicated students of the next three days of qualifying will be the political strategists behind the transportation sales tax campaigns in metro Atlanta and the rest of the state. The concoction of local races for county commission seats, district attorney, sheriff, Congress, and the Legislature will create the voting environment by which the transit initiative will pass or fail.
State Reps. Elena Parent and Scott Holcomb, two Atlanta Democrats paired in the same district, are to announce Friday which one of them won’t run. We’re betting that Parent will bow out – she’s been introducing Holcomb to her voters.
A new poll by the Washington Post/ABC News finds evidence that President Barack Obama’s support for gay marriage may have changed a few minds:
Overall, 53 percent of Americans say gay marriage should be legal, hitting a high mark in support while showing a dramatic turnaround from just six years ago, when just 36 percent thought it should be legal. Thirty-nine percent, a new low, say gay marriage should be illegal.
On the other hand, Gallup says its latest polling data shows that personal identification with a woman’s right to abortion is slipping:
The 41% of Americans who now identify themselves as “pro-choice” is down from 47% last July and is one percentage point below the previous record low in Gallup trends, recorded in May 2009. Fifty percent now call themselves “pro-life,” one point shy of the record high, also from May 2009….
However, opinion on the legality of abortion is holding steady:
Since 2001, at least half of Americans have consistently chosen the middle position, saying abortion should be legal under certain circumstances, and the 52% saying this today is similar to the 50% in May 2011. The 25% currently wanting abortion to be legal in all cases and the 20% in favor of making it illegal in all cases are also similar to last year’s findings.
U.S. Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, is seeking an FBI investigation into White House leaks of information surrounding that aborted underwear bombing. Reuters news service adds this:
Later on Monday, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, faxed a similar but more specific request to [the FBI].
A representative of Chambliss’ office said that the letter referred to a Reuters story from last week, which disclosed that a briefing by a senior White House official may have inadvertently tipped the media to sensitive information about an undercover informant who played a central role in the case.
The briefing by John Brennan, the White House counterterrorism adviser, came after the Associated Press wrote the first story about the plot by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to plant an underwear bomber on a U.S. flight.
During the call, Brennan said that the bomb scheme was never a real threat because the U.S. had “inside control” over the plot. Within hours, a former official who was on the call speculated on television that the U.S. “had somebody on the inside” of the plot.
Denis O’Hayer of WABE (90.1FM) has posted a long interview with state Sen. George Hooks, D-Americus, who is leaving the Legislature after three decades. Hooks, the chamber’s unofficial historian, hits the highlights of his career, and has this observation on current Republican thinking:
”Should you say no taxes at all? Frankly, I don’t like voting for a tax increase, and I hope I have voted for very few. But I think you do a disservice to the citizens when you just say no, no, no. Georgia has not raised a motor fuel tax – we’re the lowest in the nation – since 1971, when then Gov. Jimmy Carter was in office. Frankly, the other states have moved ahead of us. So we need to examine that. That’s one of the things we’ll be talking about this summer.”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider