If U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta, has a little bounce to his step this morning, it could be that some number-crunchers have given him some hope that today may not mark the end of his congressional career.
As newly redrawn, the 12th District in east-by-southeast Georgia has an overall African-American population of perhaps 32 percent. Republicans have been calculating that a slightly depressed black vote, 30 percent or lower, might spell doom for the last white Democrat from the Deep South – and send GOP state lawmaker Lee Anderson to Washington.
Advance ballot stats place African-American participation in the 12 District contest at 36 percent, thanks to President Barack Obama’s name at the topic of the ticket, and a Richmond County sheriff’s race.
Statewide, African-Americans cast 34 percent of Georgia’s early ballots.
Never mind that joke that caused such a fuss last week. We’ve gotten word that the Rev. Joseph Lowery, one of Barack Obama’s frontier supporters in 2008, will be at the side of the president and first lady tonight in Chicago.
James Earl Carter IV – yes, the man who helped bring out Mitt Romney’s 47 percent video – has pointed us to some complicated Georgia footprints. In Maine, where a U.S. Senate race to replace Olympia Snowe could determine control of the chamber. The lead candidate is an independent.
First, background from the Associated Press:
While it’s commonly accepted that Angus King, a former Democrat who supports President Barack Obama, would align with Democrats, he has refused to say. That’s generated suspense and, in theory, could translate to power for King if the Senate ends up close to a 50/50 split.
Safe Nation PAC, a Marietta-registered firm with two well-known Georgia Republicans on its masthead, had been sending direct mail and putting out robocalls in support of the Democratic candidate, Cynthia Dill – whom the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has refused to endorse.
The robocall from Safe Nation PAC urged progressives to reject King because he “opposes marriage equality,” according to the Associated Press.
Here’s the text:
“This is an important message from Safe Nation PAC. Maine can either elect a George W. Bush supporter or a senator who will stand up for progressive values. As one of Bush’s biggest supporters, Angus King described himself as ‘too fiscally conservative for today’s Democratic party.’
“Now, Angus King wants to give tax breaks to the 1% and opposes marriage equality for LGBT couples. Angus King even opposes common sense restrictions on assault weapons. That is just wrong. How can progressives trust Angus King in the U.S. Senate when he has let them down so many times before.
The Bangor Daily News now reports this:
A Georgia-based Republican super PAC that spent $25,000 on a mailer urging progressive voters to choose Democratic state Sen. Cynthia Dill over independent former Gov. Angus King in Maine’s U.S. Senate race is now also urging voters to choose Republican candidate Charlie Summers.
Safe Nation PAC announced Friday that it’s started airing a 60-second radio ad that touts Summers’ military service and says that, as Maine’s Secretary of State, Summers “protected the integrity of Maine’s elections and fought against wasteful red tape.”
Complicated, huh? All three candidates are in double digits, and only a plurality is required tonight. Hence the double-dipping.
Safe Nation’s treasurer is Bryan P. Tyson, a lawyer at Strickland Brockington Lewis, who has been deeply involved in Georgia redistricting over the last several years. Its chairman is Chip Lake of Glendale Strategies, the GOP political strategist.
Both are former staffers for U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland – with Lake serving as Westmoreland’s chief of staff.
Want more oddness? The spokesman for Safe Nation is R.C. Hammond, former spokesman for Newt Gingrich during his GOP presidential campaign.
Feel free to pick your own, but below is one of many final words in polling this morning:
A Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll showed Obama at 50 percent to Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s 47 percent. That is Obama’s best showing since July and a reversal of the three-percentage-point edge Romney held last month.
Elsewhere, new polls showed the president up by small margins in Ohio, Virginia and New Hampshire, three swing states that could give Obama the last electoral votes he needs to win.
In an interview with Tony Thomas of Channel 2 Action News, Secretary of State Brian Kemp worries that Fulton County’s tumultuous election division might not be up to snuff this evening:
Whether or not Amendment One passes tonight could very well be determined by the intensity of opposition from rural Georgia.
To that point, Bryan Long of Better Georgia, the progressive group, has passed along what he says is a nine-month-old e-mail from state Rep. Tommy Benton, R-Jefferson to a constituent, on the origins of the language of today’s ballot measure on charter schools:
Received: Fri, 03 Feb 2012 07:39:04 AM EST
From: “Benton, Tommy”
To: “J. Knazek”
Subject: RE: Today’s House Education Committee meeting & question
What can I say. People high up are wanting this legislation. I was at the beginning of the meeting. I was the one who got Rep. [Jan] Jones to say that if the bill were changed in the Senate she would not support those changes. I had to leave before the vote was taken to chair my own committee that was meeting at 3:30.
The vagueness of the ballot wording is something they want to keep. They think if they keep it vague it will more easily pass. The wording had been changed from the time the bill was introduced. Even as vague as it is now it is better than in the beginning.
The meeting yesterday was the second we had concerning the bill. We took public comments in the first meeting. I would urge you to come and speak anytime you have concerns about a bill. Usually bills are assigned to a subcommittee where public comments are made. In the full committee the public does not comment, only committee members can ask questions and make comments.
I am also a product of K-12 education and taught middle school for 30 years. It is interesting that of the six signers to the bill[,] Rep. Lindsey sent his kids to private school, Chairman Coleman was in public education but has been out so long I don’t think he remembers what it was like, Rep. Kaiser’s children go to a charter school, Rep. Morgan’s child is not old enough to go to school but her husband is a big advocate of charter schools, Rep. Jones’ children went or are going to public school and Rep. Hatchett is one of the Governor’s floor leaders.
All of the public school advocates are opposed to the measure. If we do this we might as well pass legislation to do away with the local boards of education and just run things from Atlanta. We have heard local control from the metro crowd when wanting to start new towns but they will not even listen to that argument now. We will now try to find 81 votes to vote against it because it will take120 to pass.
Chairman, Human Relations and Aging Committee
Georgia House of Representatives
U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Atlanta, has opposition on today’s ballot, but apparently has no worries. He was up in Massachusetts over the weekend, campaigning for Elizabeth Warren, the Democrat attempting to oust U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, a Republican.
Lewis’ GOP challenger is attorney Howard Stopeck.
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today offers up a round-up of past fact-checks on election and voter ID claims.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider