Opponents of Amendment One, the ballot issue to reinforce the state’s power to establish charter schools, have scraped up enough cash — $40,000, they say – to launch a low-budget TV campaign:
The ad features Donna Kosicki, president of the Georgia Parent Teachers Association, state School Superintendent John Barge (indirectly), and Valarie Wilson, president of the Georgia School Board Association.
The spot is seeing limited air-time in metro Atlanta and Columbus, said state Sen. Emanuel Jones, D-Decatur. “We’re hoping we can raise some more funds so we can really put it out over the state.”
Last week, the lead proponent organization for the charter school measure, Families for Better Public Schools, reported raising $1.2 million, much of it in high-dollar contributions. Vote Smart! No to State-Controlled Schools reported raising $18,164.
Jones, who is currently chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, has emerged as the political leader of Amendment One opponents. “Because no one else would,” he said this morning. “There are a lot of different groups out there in their own individual silos, and we needed to bring them together.”
On only a slightly different note, perhaps you saw that the antagonism between Gov. Nathan Deal and state School Superintendent John Barge has expanded beyond the charter school ballot issue, and now includes who has more say so over see $400 million in federal “Race to the Top” cash. From my AJC colleague Wayne Washington:
Barge says Deal asked him to replace MacCartney with Kristin Bernhard, who has served as Deal’s education policy adviser. Deal said he said he only wanted Bernhard to oversee Race to the Top implementation.
That, however, is precisely the role MacCartney occupied, Barge said, and he had someone else in mind — Clara Keith, associate superintendent for Race to the Top implementation.
Barge wrote Deal on October 24 to tell the governor that he was appointing Keith. “I believe that hiring Ms. Bernhard in this senior level position with no prior educational experience, over many who are more experienced and better qualified, would have the potential to create a contentious work environment within the Department of Education,” Barge wrote Deal.
The governor fired back the next day. “Apparently, you forgot that I told you I was not asking that she be appointed as a Deputy Superintendent, only that she be responsible for overseeing the implementation and that she have a direct line to you, me and the U.S. Department of Education.”
You can read their letters here (Barge) and here (Deal). But before you dismiss them as evidence of unimportant squabbling, consider that – whichever way the charter school issue goes on Tuesday – Barge will have emerged as the only Republican with a statewide network that could rival Deal in a 2014 re-election bid.
We’ve got no evidence that Barge is thinking in this direction, but you have to wonder whether the governor sees a potential threat.
In the 12th District congressional race, Republican Lee Anderson has needed a TV spot to break through the clutter. You have to wonder whether this one, portraying a “bromance” between President Barack Obama and Democratic incumbent John Barrow, is edgy enough — by south Georgia standards — to fill the bill:
The latest poll has President Barack Obama ahead by five points in all-important Ohio, for this unusual demographic reason cited by the New York Times:
In Ohio, according to the latest poll of likely voters by Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News, Mr. Obama runs nearly even with Mr. Romney among white voters who do not have college degrees.
That helps explain why he appears slightly better positioned there in the closing week of the campaign than in Florida and Virginia, where the polls found that Mr. Romney holds an advantage of about 30 percentage points among those voters.
Which makes it appropriate to close with Kerwin Swint, the political scientist over at Kennesaw State University, who writes today on the disparity in national tracking polls, with Gallup showing Mitt Romney in the lead and the above NYT/CBS poll that has President Barack Obama leading in critical swing states. Writes Swint:
You have to go back to at least 2000 and probably 1980 or 1976 to find the polls this far apart. But it provides someone with a real opportunity to be right; and of course it also means someone is going to look really bad next Tuesday night.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider