Archive for the ‘election2010’ Category

A dispute between Tricia Pridemore and Karen Handel over who met whom, and when

This morning’s post made reference to a Marietta Daily Journal question-and-answer session with Tricia Pridemore, one of three candidates for the chairmanship of state GOP.

She’s backed by Gov. Nathan Deal.

In the article, Pridemore told of an encounter she had with Karen Handel during her campaign for governor – when Handel, in the aftermath of the Glenn Richardson scandal, hammering at the issue of ethics in the state Capitol.

Said Pridemore, in the MDJ:

”[T]he Handel for Governor team was talking with me, and I liked them and thought they had a lot of momentum and liked both Mr. and Mrs. Handel and at the end of ‘09 that campaign took a stark trip into calling out members of the General Assembly and people that work at the Capitol.

“Now I’m a former intern down at the state Capitol and it was a great experience for me and I have many friends that served in the General Assembly. They work hard. They don’t do it for the fame. They sure don’t do it for the …

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Your morning jolt: Post-election intrigue and an attack on the RNC’s Nick Ayers

Two weeks ago, a Democratic operative sent news of a curious online ad – with a link to this new web site – that he had run across at nyt.com.

It was an attack on Nick Ayers, the former aide to Gov. Sonny Perdue who made good in D.C. as the executive director of the Republican Governors Association.

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The anonymous web site takes a look at a DUI charge that Ayers, at age 24, was hit with in 2006 while he was campaign manager of Perdue’s multi-million dollar re-election bid. The charge was later reduced, as these things often are in Georgia.

Without knowing the source of the attack, we let the tip pass. But the Ben Smith team at Politico.com, knowing a little more about the Internet, did not:

”We’ve tracked an anonymous site set up to attack Ayers to the IP address of a Georgia Democratic consulting firm with informal ties to former governor and losing 2010 gubernatorial candidate Roy Barnes….

An email to the site was not answered — but an IP tracking tool in a …

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David Ralston puts his stamp on his House

One year after he rose to his position, Speaker David Ralston on Friday put his imprint on the Georgia House of Representatives, ousting two prominent social conservatives from their chairmanships, and installing his own choice to lead the House’s budget committee.

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House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge

You’ll remember that Ralston took office in the chaotic aftermath of Speaker Glenn Richardson’s resignation in late 2009. Ralston left most of Richardson’s leadership in place.

Twelve months later, with the state budget still in crisis, Ralston’s replacement of Ben Harbin, R-Evans, a former Richardson lieutenant, with Terry England, R-Auburn, as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee is the most far-reaching of his decisions.

But social conservatives within the GOP – those who give priority to issues such as abortion and embryonic stem cell research – are buzzing about the removal Bill Hembree, R-Winston, as chairman of the all-powerful Rules Committee, …

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State tax revenue jumps nearly 11 percent in December

A last, good word from the nearly former governor:

ATLANTA – Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that net revenue collections for the month of December 2010 (FY11) totaled $1,555,058,000 compared to $1,402,181,000 for December 2009 (FY10), an increase of $152,877,000 or 10.9 percent.

The percentage increase for FY11 compared to FY10 is 8.1 percent.

See the details here.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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The changing language of a newly minted Republican

Blake Aued of the Athens Banner-Herald has a worthwhile piece on the changing language of state Rep. Doug McKillip, the former House Democratic caucus chair who abruptly became a Republican late last year. A taste:

Here is McKillip as a Democrat writing about the state budget in a column last March: “We have cut all we can. We have furloughed teachers, we have reduced travel, and we have honestly eliminated all the possible ‘inefficiencies’ at the University of Georgia. We simply cannot cut any more. It is time to raise revenue and save higher education in Georgia.”

And this is McKillip speaking to local Rotary clubs and the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday: “Everybody doesn’t want to get cut, but everybody is going to get cut some.”

McKillip introduced a bill last year that would have raised taxes on cigarettes, raised income taxes on people making more than $400,000 per year and eliminated sales tax loopholes. He said Wednesday, though, that he would have to …

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Your morning jolt: Drunk-driving citations up by 37 percent

Drunk-driving citations by state troopers have jumped by well over a third in the last four years. But it may not be a matter of unemployed commuters trying to wash away their depression.

From Walter Jones and the Morris News Service:

Citations issued by the Georgia State Patrol for drunken driving have increased 37 percent in the four years since the start of the recession….

Tickets for drivers without insurance increased 29 percent in the same period. Seat-belt and child-restraint infractions are also higher. However, speeding tickets are down by 25 percent.

Drivers’ behavior might not explain all of it. The tight state budget might.

“We’ve asked troopers to conserve fuel where they can, and they have been good about doing so,” said Gordy Wright, a spokesman for the State Patrol.

Troopers are parking their cars and conducting more stationary roadblocks. The change trimmed the average car’s gas bill to $410 per month in the fiscal year that ended in June.

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A continuing …

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Your morning jolt: Keep the 3.0 for HOPE scholarships, says Nathan Deal

The Georgia Lottery can’t keep up with the demand as the HOPE scholarship enrollment and tuition costs keep rising.

Some lawmakers have suggested raising the minimum grade point average from 3.0 to 3.2 to winnow the number of eligible students.

But Nathan Deal, who takes office Monday, says no. From Paul Yates at Fox5:

Said Deal:

“I think keeping it at the 3.0 is a reasonable standard. If we raise it too much higher than that, we really do cut out some of those very deserving students who work very hard and deserve the opportunity to go to college.”

But the governor-elect did indicate he’s open to other fixes:

”We’ve got to look at the allocation. Some would suggest that perhaps we need to decouple it from the tuition cost. Just fix an amount. There are many options that are on the table.”

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Congressman-elect Rob Woodall, who replaces his old boss, U.S. Rep. John Linder, announced this morning that he’s won a spot on the all-powerful House Rules …

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Your morning jolt: Balking at the ‘bait-and-switch’ of fee increases

As well you know, Republicans in Georgia do not support tax increases. But fee increases are an entirely different matter.

This year’s $18 billion state budget includes $96 million in fee increases – many levied by the courts. Not to mention the unfortunately named $200 million hospital bed tax.

That same hat trick may not be so easy when the General Assembly convenes again this week. From Walter Jones of the Morris News Service:

Officials with the Association County Commissioners of Georgia said Monday that they intend to take a public stance against future fees until the state stops its practice of redirecting the revenue collected from existing fees.

Examples include fees on drunk-driving arrests for crime labs and on phone bills listed for 911 service even though none of the money winds up going to local emergency-dispatch services.

“The big issue here is when does a fee become a tax? Does it erode the public’s trust in our state government to deliver the services … …

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African-Americans provided 58 percent of Democratic primary votes — and 1 percent of GOP ballots

Over the Christmas break, Secretary of State Brian Kemp published a long-awaited, demographic breakdown of the state’s July 20 primary voters that shows the racial chasm that now dominates Georgia politics.

See the entire report here.

The numbers confirmed what many had suspected. For the first time in a general primary, African-Americans made up a majority of those picking up a Democratic ballot. In fact, black voters were 58.4 percent of the Democratic electorate. White voters amounted to 37.6 percent of Democratic voters.

On the Republican side, white voters accounted for 96 percent of 691,466 ballots cast – while only 7,224 African-American voters picked up GOP ballots, only 1 percent of the Republican total.

The demographics also indicated that gender, too, has become a political indicator. Of all those who voted in the Democratic primary, 58 percent were women. But on the Republican side, women voters made up only 48.7 percent of the total.

- By Jim Galloway, …

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Oaky Woods at double the price in a down market

The Political Insider blog is on hiatus until the new year.

Here’s something to ask yourself today: Is your house, and the land it sits on, worth twice as much today as it was in 2004? Probably not.

In fact, odds are that your little slice of heaven is worth a good deal less. No matter what your mortgage says.

But the real estate market can be a tricky thing.

On Wednesday, the Board of Natural Resources agreed to pay $28.7 million for 10,015 acres of Oaky Woods wilderness in middle Georgia. Six years ago, the price was roughly the same — for the entire 20,000-acre tract.

By passing on the property in 2004, over the protests of environmentalists, the state allowed the pristine black bear habitat to pass into the hands of Houston County developers — whose plans to build a private city did wonders for local land prices.

The assessed value of 101 acres adjacent to the Oaky Woods property, purchased by Gov. Sonny Perdue a year or so earlier, more than doubled to …

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