Ready or not, here comes Paul Broun.
Karen Handel, the former Republican candidate for governor, was supposed to the featured attraction at a Tuesday night meeting of Georgia C.H.A.R.G.E (Citizens Helping America Restore Government Ethics).
Then an unscheduled Republican congressman from Athens arrived with his wife and a staffer in tow. Broun spoke, but stopped short of announcing a 2014 run for the U.S. Senate. We’ll let Andrew O’Shea of Viral Read take you the rest of the way:
As Congressman Broun sat down to a room full of applause followed by a short silence, Dr. Broun’s wife, Niki, stood up in front of the crowd and courageously declared that not only did her husband have her permission and support to run to be Georgia’s next junior U.S. Senator, but that he was openly announcing his candidacy, the first to formally do so in the wake of Senator Chambliss’ declaration to resign following the remainder of his current term.
This morning, we called O’Shea, a Republican consultant, who said there was no hemming or hawing on Mrs. Broun’s part. This was a definitive statement that Broun is in the contest, he said. A formal announcement is expected next week.
More U.S. Senate talk:
– Paul Broun isn’t the only one who has obtained spousal permission for a Senate run. U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta, was at the state Capitol on Tuesday, to talk “statewide politics” with Gov. Nathan Deal. “My family is very much on board,” Gingrey told my AJC colleague Kyle Wingfield. Gingrey said his wife of 43 years, Billie, “is so supportive” of a Senate run in 2014.
– The Augusta Chronicle quotes U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta, as saying he hasn’t given “any serious thought” to a 2014 run for Saxby Chambliss’s seat. Presumably, he has people doing that for him.
– The 2014 Senate race and the resulting dominoes have the potential to create more turnover in Georgia politics than we’ve seen since the 2002-2004 GOP takeover. And we’re picking up word that a group of Republican donors and activists are attempting to bring some fresh blood into the ranks.
Look for some new names to jump up in the next few days, belonging to younger candidates who can claim to be outsiders to both Atlanta and Washington, capable of self-funding, and conservative – without being weighed down by ideology.
For the first time on the air, Georgia Public Broadcasting officials on Tuesday addressed – very gingerly – the topic of the network’s hiring of former Senate majority leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, for a $150,000-a-year job that has yet to be described.
For reasons we’ll tackle later today, Gov. Nathan Deal acted as Rogers’ employment broker. The end of last night’s episode of “Prime Time Lawmakers” featured a panel made up of Bob Olive, GPB’s chief operating officer, and two GPB board members, chairman Michael McDougal and Bert Brantley, former spokesman for Gov. Sonny Perdue.
None of the trio mentioned Rogers’ name – anchor Scott Slade was the only one to do that. But here’s what McDougal said about GPB’s editorial independence:
”It starts with our board. I do not believe that there’s anybody on our board that would just fall down and bow down if they were requested to come in and allow that kind of interference. But we don’t have that. What we’ve got here is a professional crew. They’re doing a very good job, they’re guided by a person of great background. We’re very comfortable with what they’re doing, because it’s all education. There’s not a program on that’s not educational.”
And from Brantley:
”At the governor’s office, we saw first-hand — GPB covered us just like every other news organization did….I worked for two agencies before the governor’s office. There is that independence. It’s a state-owned media, but not in the sense you’d see [in] other countries, where the state runs the media and delivers the content.”
McDougal was slightly more critical in an article by my AJC colleagues Kristina Torres and Shannon McCaffrey, available today to subscribers. The GPB board chairman said he believed Rogers is being overpaid:
“In my view, he’s being paid too much,” said McDougald, a 60-year broadcast veteran. “The man comes to us with very limited (broadcast) experience and there are very few $150,000 radio products.”
In response to some worries expressed Tuesday that the Atlanta Falcons would take off for Los Angeles, the team issued this denial picked up by 11Alive:
“The Falcons have never threatened to move the team out of metro Atlanta, and that is still our position today,” Falcons president Rich McKay said in a statement.
If you’re Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, the presence of the word “metro” in the Falcons declaration offers no comfort. The state Capitol tussle over a new stadium home for the football team is all about keeping the team in downtown Atlanta.
We understand that one of the newest facets of negotiations is this: If the city were to float the extra cash needed to make the Falcons deal happen, would a new stadium be wholly owned by the state – as is the case now with the Georgia Dome? Or would the city of Atlanta have earned a piece of the action?
It’s a question sure to test the friendship between Reed and Gov. Nathan Deal, which already has many other things riding on it – as my AJC colleague Ariel Hart reminds us. From her look at the departing Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, who served in Congress with Deal:
A spokesman for Deal, Brian Robinson, conceded the relationship was helpful and said Deal wished LaHood could stay. But he noted, “We still have influential liaisons to the Obama administration, particularly Mayor Kasim Reed.”
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows President Barack Obama’s popularity at a three-year high. Sixty percent of Americans express a favorable impression of Obama in the new poll, up slightly from October but a clear shift from last year, when his ratings were mired in the low-50s.
Eric Erickson, the editor of Redstate.com, is indeed moving from CNN to Fox News, he confirmed on Tuesday – as CNN announced a large shake-up in its line-up of political analysts. Erickson said he won’t be required to move to New York.
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at criticism from state Senate Democratic Leader Steve Henson of Tucker, who says “state revenue projections have missed the mark month after month.”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider