No matter what happens on Nov. 6, Democrats will be at least one seat down in the state House.
State Rep. Rick Crawford of Cedartown, one of the few remaining conservative Democrats in the Legislature, says he intends to switch to the GOP – if he survives the general election.
House Speaker David Ralston doesn’t think he will. Crawford faces a tough race in a newly redrawn west Georgia district that has a Democratic performance rating of 27 percent. Crawford’s Republican opponent is Trey Kelley, a 25-year-old manufacturer’s rep.
“I am fully committed to making sure Trey Kelley is elected to the House. He is an outstanding candidate who is working hard and is consistent,” Ralston said this morning. “While I respect Rick Crawford and appreciate his dilemma, the truth is that the [Democratic] Party didn’t just suddenly become liberal. It has been, is, and will continue to be a party that is far to the left of the great majority of Georgians.”
Jim Walls and Atlanta Unfiltered started the ball rolling yesterday:
Crawford, who had been pondering his party affiliation for a while, said Democrats’ endorsement of same-sex marriage pushed him over the edge. “I thought, ‘My time here is done,’” he said.
In a telephone interview this morning, Crawford elaborated — saying that he’d been thinking about making the switch for about two years. But the final straw didn’t land on the camel’s back until August — weeks after the summer primary — when the Democratic National Convention included an endorsement of gay marriage in its platform.
That, Crawford said, was different from President Barack Obama’s endorsement of same-sex unions in May. “That issue for me is kind of like the cherry on a sundae,” the state lawmaker said. “There’s been been a growing philosophical divide me and the Democratic party for a long time. Once upon a time, the Democratic party was a comfortable place for someone with my beliefs. That day is gone.”
Crawford says he understands that Ralston isn’t in a position to call off his general election House race — or render it moot by endorsing him. “I understand their position from a party standpoint. That process is now in motion. It’s an uncomfortable situation,” he said. “I have every indication that if I’m re-elected they will embrace me. They’ve been after me for a while.”
Before he announced his decision, Crawford called House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams to give her the news. She quoted Waylon Jennings.
“Mr. Crawford has been a long time leaving and will be a long time gone,” Abrams said, wishing him well but expressing doubts about the lawmaker’s situation. “That’s a very, very Republican district,” she said. “This young man” – referring to Kelley – “has been very engaged in the Republican party.”
We’ll be making calls today to get a head-count on the Georgia Senatorial Republican Trust fund-raiser up in Adairsville – the event that Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said he would skip because of his concerns over the legality of the way the Trust spent $140,000 this summer to defend GOP incumbents in the Senate.
But here’s what Lori Geary of Channel 2 Action News had on the topic last night:
Earlier this week, Charlie Harper at PeachPundit.com endorsed the proposed constitutional amendment to ramp up the state’s authority to create charter schools. The column prompted this response from tea partyist Debbie Dooley:
I support Charter Schools but not sure I support this amendment because of the way it is set up.
As far as it having bi-partisan support, I would not count on it having broad based Democrat support. I heard rumors that the NAACP was supporting it so I asked people I knew that were involved with the NAACP. I was told that maybe one county chapter was but that was it. I think you are about to see prominent Democrats coming out opposing it. Some local tea party groups are already sending out emails opposing it. I have received emails from other conservative groups opposing it as well.
This referendum, like T-SPLOST will boil down to trust or lack thereof and true local control.
For some reason, the Republican campaign of Lee Anderson wants voters in the 12th Congressional District to take a closer look at U.S. Rep. John Barrow’s TV spot that brags on the Demcratic incumbent’s role in slashing government automobile fleets.
The ad involves a long line of nearly identical cars. Ryan Mahoney, spokesman for the Anderson campaign, wants to know where they came from. From the Augusta Chronicle:
Mahoney said it “would be the height of hypocrisy” if Barrow used government resources to make his point.
“It’s time for Barrow to fess up and let us know where he got the cars and how much did it cost the taxpayers to film his commercial? We are all waiting,” Mahoney wrote in an e-mail, adding that Burke County residents in the district were wondering about the fleet of cars they saw going up and down a county road.
The answer from Barrow spokesman Richard Carbo: Enterprise, the car rental agency. From the newspaper:
Carbo provided … a copy of an expense document showing that Friends of John Barrow paid $3,499.33 for 18 rental cars on Aug. 13. He said the logos were sign magnets the campaign used to make the cars appear to be government vehicles.
It’s highly likely that the outcome in the 12th District will be impacted by the presidential contest. The latest from Gallup:
September is turning out to be one of Obama’s best months in over a year: he is on track to average roughly 49% job approval this month, up from 45% in August and 41% in September 2011.
At the same time, the president is enjoying increased support from voters in Gallup Daily tracking of presidential election preferences. Registered voters favor Obama over his Republican challenger Mitt Romney by 50% to 44% in Gallup Daily tracking from Sept. 19-25.
Pessimism among Republicans is springing up in unlikely places. David Brody is the chief political correspondent for the Christian Broadcasting Network established by Pat Robertson.
In a piece announcing the distribution of a presidential voter guide by Ralph Reed and his new group, Brody included this note of doubt:
The Faith and Freedom Coalition is locked and loaded, as they get ready to mobilize Teavangelical voters across the country. The question is will the Romney campaign do their part and have a strong ground game too?
On the same topic, Kerwin Swint over at Kennesaw State University wonders whether Republicans might be engaging in a self-fulfilling prophesy when it comes to Mitt Romney.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider