5:30 p.m. — This story has been updated after a conversation with Sean Jerguson to fully reflect his side of the case
The knives are out in the hurry-up special election between a pair of Republicans to replace Chip Rogers in the state Senate.
A supporter of North Fulton chamber executive Brandon Beach – who said she is acting independently – unloaded her opposition research on former state Rep. Sean Jerguson of Holly Springs this week.
Linda Flory of the Cherokee Coalition for Responsible Growth dug up a federal lawsuit filed against Jerguson for defaulting on a loan. Bank of the Ozarks (which took over the loan from a failed North Georgia bank) says Jerguson and his associates from Sapphire Pointe, LLC, owe more than $640,000 on a loan for a mobile home park in Polk County. In court papers Jerguson’s attorneys admit the group has not paid back the whole loan but dispute the amount.
In an interview Jerguson said Sapphire Pointe is doing fine as a business and had made every loan payment. Bank of the Ozarks declined to renew the loan and abruptly sued for the balance in September, Jerguson said. He said the parties are negotiating a settlement and he believes they are close to a deal.
“It’s a business dispute,” Jerguson said. “The property hasn’t been foreclosed on. We’re in a settlement process with them on the dispute.”
Left unsaid is that Jerguson ally Rogers had his own debt issues.
Flory also points out that Jerguson’s gun shop, Hi Caliber, got a federal Small Business Administration loan in 2010 that Pro Publica identifies as funded by the 2009 stimulus — even though Jerguson is a critic of said stimulus. Jerguson spokesman Robert Trim noted that SBA loan programs far predate the stimulus.
In a phone interview Flory said that she was irked by Jerguson’s statements 0n Facebook about Beach’s support for T-SPLOST, or as Jerguson put it “the largest tax increase in Georgia history.” Flory felt this broke a gentleman’s agreement to play nice in the Jan. 8 special election. The move adds further intrigue as to whether this is a territory-oriented election, with Beach holding North Fulton and Jerguson strong in Cherokee. Flory insists this is not so.
In the game of dominoes that is this Jan. 8 special election, a candidate for the state House seat vacated by Jerguson is taking a bold stance in deep-red Cherokee County: She’s running as a Democrat. Natalie Bergeron, a juvenile and family lawyer from Holly Springs, is competing for the seat.
Also qualified: Scot Turner, who lost to Jerguson in the July primary for the seat; GOP activist Brian Laurens; and businessman Kenneth Ashley Mimbs. The Cherokee Tribune reported last week that Republican Bill Fincher and Independent Eduardo Correia withdrew from the race.
Your daily breathless fiscal cliff update comes as Republicans prepare for a big vote scheduled for this evening on a bill to extend marginal tax rates for income of $1 million or less, with an added package of domestic spending cuts to avoid the Pentagon cuts scheduled for the New Year. National Journal reports that the spending cut addition — meant to mollify conservatives — made for a lively late-night meeting of the Rules Committee.
House Speaker John Boehner has been actively whipping Georgians and others on this bill, known as “Plan B.” Some wavering members of the GOP delegation to watch today as bellwethers for the caucus: Tom Price of Roswell, Phil Gingrey of Marietta and Austin Scott of Tifton.
The Senate has already vowed not to take up the bill and the White House has promised a veto, but it’s a test of strength for Boehner as the “fiscal cliff” negotiations move forward — not unlike the “Cut, Cap and Balance” effort during the debt ceiling dance.
Because of an egregious oversight, we forgot to include in yesterday’s Jolt a new role for Tom Price: House Budget Committee vice chairman. Price was tapped by his friend and former vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan for the post this week, and it is a sign of the policy path that he will take in the coming Congress. It ain’t House Conference Chair — the race Price lost last month — or Senate candidate — the race Price is rumored to be considering — but it’s a fairly prominent slot.
“It will be a privilege to work with Chairman Paul Ryan and the fellow members of the committee during the 113th Congress to help correct the fiscal course of our nation,” Price said in a statement.
Buzzfeed today profiled James Carter IV, President Jimmy Carter’s grandson who is best known for finding the Mitt Romney “47 percent” video but also dug up some embarrassing footage of Georgia state house Republicans. He was unemployed when he got his “47 percent” break but now has started his own research firm:
After the 47 percent video broke, Carter got a slew of job offers from news organizations such as the Huffington Post, Reuters, and the Daily Beast.
But he knew early on that a job in media wasn’t for him. “I’m very partisan,” he said. “The way I look at it, having to even acknowledge that there’s another side of the argument is doing the other side’s work for them.”
So he decided to start his own opposition research firm instead. He didn’t know how to start a business, but his cousin lawyer helped him file the papers, and on Oct. 15, he officially opened Carter Research, LLC for business.
Walter C. Jones of Morris News Service reports this morning that the Georgia Senate GOP’s only woman — Renee Unterman of Buford – is looking to chair the Rules Committee:
Observers say the choice is between her and Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, the current chairman of the Transportation Committee. He has been in the Senate one term longer than Unterman, who has more legislative seniority when her tenure in the House is counted.
Mullis didn’t return calls seeking a comment.
Political consultant Mark Rountree of Landmark Communications has worked with Balfour, Unterman and many other legislators over the last 20 years. He said making a woman the head of the Rules Committee wouldn’t register with the average voter but that her presence would affect leadership decision making by adding a female perspective on issues [reducing] confrontation. On the other hand, freezing women out could have definite political costs.
The presidents of Buckhead’s Oglethorpe University and Decatur’s Agnes Scott College started a campaign for college presidents to press for new gun control measures in light of the Sandy Hook Elementary School killings. They rallied more than 160 colleagues to the cause — including the presidents of Georgia’s Andrew College, Brenau University, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Piedmont College, Reinhardt University and Spelman College — to say this:
As a group, we do not oppose gun ownership. But, in many of our states, legislation has been introduced or passed that would allow gun possession on college campuses. We oppose such laws. We fully understand that reasonable gun safety legislation will not prevent every future murder. Identification and treatment of the mental health issues that lie beneath so many of the mass murders to which we increasingly bear witness must also be addressed.
- By Daniel Malloy, Political Insider