Archive for May, 2012

The mystery of the Republican casino question

Ladies and gentlemen: With this post, I’m taking a few days off. Have a safe Memorial Day weekend.

The mark of a successful political convention is an absence of surprises.

By the time thousands of Republicans fled Columbus last weekend, the forces of Ron Paul had been routed with a heavy hand. Not a surprise.

Delegates to the annual state convention had rebuked the GOP-controlled Legislature for refusing to get serious about ethics reform. Important but predictable, given the anger of tea partyists.

And the Republican party’s executive committee, just before delegates jumped into their cars, had announced the five non-binding questions that will be placed before GOP voters on the July 31 primary ballot.

Topping the list: ‘Should Georgia have casino gambling with funds going to education?”

Boom.

The very topic stunned the highest-perched Republicans in the land. “The casino question was a shock coming out of the convention — given the prominence of social conservatives …

Continue reading The mystery of the Republican casino question »

House Speaker David Ralston endorses Doug Collins in 9th District race

Gov. Nathan Deal may have declared his neutrality in the GOP contest for the new 9th Congressional District, but House Speaker David Ralston has not.

As noted by the north Georgia news site, fetchyournews.com, Ralston on Monday showed up at a fundraiser for state Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, and said this:

“It’s going to take more than someone just talking about something up there…Doug has experience. He knows how to pass legislation; he knows how to get things done.”

Just possibly, Ralston’s remark was directed at Martha Zoller, a former radio talk show host from Gainesville who is one of Collins’ opponents. She’s promised to set up an Internet-based talk show just off the floor of the U.S. House.

Also remember that Ralston is somewhat indebted to Collins. Even though he was stationed in Iraq as a military chaplain at the time, Collins was one of the few House Republicans to stick his neck out for Ralston when the Blue Ridge lawmaker mounted a disastrous …

Continue reading House Speaker David Ralston endorses Doug Collins in 9th District race »

Of gays, lesbians and an electric fence in North Carolina

Below is a clip of the anti-gay sermon by the Rev. Charles Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, N.C., that’s whipping around the Internet via YouTube:

Look, it doesn’t matter what you think of gay marriage or Barack Obama. Should it ever come to pass, the inside of the Reverend Worley’s electric fence will be the only side to be on. And it’s a sin that anyone should have to say so.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Your morning jolt: Local races will create climate for transportation sales tax vote

The qualifying period for candidates seeking a spot on the July 31 primary ballot began this morning.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp has promised live updates here. My AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin has a rolling blog going – plus an advance that focused on tea party ambitions:

[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 …

Continue reading Your morning jolt: Local races will create climate for transportation sales tax vote »

One day later, pro-transportation tax forces say their side is winning

On Monday, Channel 2 Action News released an automated poll that put metro Atlanta support for a transportation sales tax at 42 percent – with the measure gaining a bare majority only in Fulton and DeKalb counties.

Twenty-four hours later, the campaign arm of the metro Atlanta pro-sales tax campaign released news of its own poll, completed two weeks ago, that shows support for the measure in the winning column at 51 percent.

Jeff Dickerson, spokesman for Citizens for Transportation Mobility, said there was no causal relationship between the two events noted above. But the first paragraph of the memo below – basically a description of the Rosetta Stone/Channel 2 poll – argues otherwise:

TO: Citizens for Transportation Mobility

FROM: David B. Hill, Ph.D., Director [Hill Research Consultants]

DATE: May 21, 2012

SUBJECT: Polling results

From May 6 through May 8, we conducted a telephone poll of 600 voters likely to vote in the July 31 transportation referendum. Our …

Continue reading One day later, pro-transportation tax forces say their side is winning »

Your morning jolt: About those tax credits for donors to private scholarships

From down in south Georgia, Sid Cottingham pointed us to this New York Times article, likely to become a topic of discussion during the upcoming charter school debate:

When the Georgia legislature passed a private school scholarship program in 2008, lawmakers promoted it as a way to give poor children the same education choices as the wealthy.

The program would be supported by donations to nonprofit scholarship groups, and Georgians who contributed would receive dollar-for-dollar tax credits, up to $2,500 a couple. The intent was that money otherwise due to the Georgia treasury — about $50 million a year — would be used instead to help needy students escape struggling public schools.

That was the idea, at least. But parents meeting at Gwinnett Christian Academy got a completely different story last year.

“A very small percentage of that money will be set aside for a needs-based scholarship fund,” Wyatt Bozeman, an administrator at the school near Atlanta, said during …

Continue reading Your morning jolt: About those tax credits for donors to private scholarships »

New poll doesn’t bode well for metro Atlanta’s transportation sales tax

Channel 2 Action News is touting a Rosetta Stone poll that shows strong opposition outside Fulton and DeKalb counties to the July 31 transportation sales tax initiative:

The poll found 42 percent support the referendum, while 45 percent oppose it. Thirteen percent remain undecided.

Voters in DeKalb and Fulton counties showed overwhelming support for the tax, by a 52 to 33 percent margin. The numbers are nearly exact opposites in the other eight suburban counties where the measure is opposed by a 20 point margin.

This isn’t what proponents were looking for – not midway through a campaign that has already blanketed voters with direct mail and not a small amount of TV.

We hope to have some cross tabs and methodology to offer you soon.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Continue reading New poll doesn’t bode well for metro Atlanta’s transportation sales tax »

Maria Sheffield endorses $100 cap of gifts to state lawmakers

You may or may not agree with him, but House Speaker David Ralston was right about one thing – the argument over ethics in the state Capitol will certainly cause some fissures in the GOP.

Here’s a message that Maria Sheffield, one of four Republicans in the fight to oust U.S. Rep. John Barrow, just posted on her Facebook page:

I will vote yes for ethics reform July 31 on the GOP Primary ballot. I invite and encourage all conservatives to join me. I congratulate Senator Josh McKoon and my friends Julianne Thompson and Debbie Dooley of the TEA Party, Kay Godwin and Pat Tanner Tippett of Georgia Conservatives in Action, and Dan Becker and Nancy Stith of Georgia Right to Life for their leadership on this issue.

The ballot question specifically calls for a $100 cap on gifts to state lawmakers. Sheffield isn’t likely to be the last to line up behind it.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Continue reading Maria Sheffield endorses $100 cap of gifts to state lawmakers »

Your morning jolt: GOP convention silent on transportation sales tax

Some things, in some places, are better left unsaid.

Gov. Nathan Deal is sticking his neck out for the July 31 transportation sales tax, in speeches and fundraisers. As noted by the Saporta Report:

On [Wednesday], Deal is inviting business and civic leaders to the home of Jennifer and Tom Bell in Buckhead to a reception aimed at raising campaign dollars to help get the tax passed in the 11 regions outside of metro Atlanta.

The goal is to raise a total of $4.5 million among the regions for a grass-roots campaign in favor of the transportation sales tax. So far, the Connect Georgia campaign has raised between $2.5 million and $3 million, according to Chris Clark, president of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

But more than a few Republicans at the state convention in Columbus noticed that, as Deal listed the accomplishments of his administration to the conservative crowd, the governor gave no mention to the Transportation Investment Act.

Deal was booed by the crowd last year, …

Continue reading Your morning jolt: GOP convention silent on transportation sales tax »

Nathan Deal joins the Mitt Romney campaign

From the Associated Press:

JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga. — Gov. Nathan Deal says he’s supporting Mitt Romney for president and he’s confident Georgia voters will too.

After staying mum about presidential politics in his speech to the weekend convention of the Georgia Republican Party, Deal [said] Sunday that he’s spoken with Romney and “certainly I will support his candidacy.”

Deal had been a strong supporter of Newt Gingrich, who easily won Georgia’s Super Tuesday primary in March. The governor did not publicly declare his support for Romney when Gingrich dropped out of the race May 2.

Deal says he’s certain Georgia voters who “support a conservative” to take the White House in November will end up backing Romney.

The governor said: “He’s conservative enough for me.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Continue reading Nathan Deal joins the Mitt Romney campaign »