Archive for the ‘election2010’ Category

Your morning jolt: Oaky Woods at double the price in a down real estate market

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 property is worth much less.

Even so, the state Board of Natural Resources today will agree to pay $28.7 million for 9,595 acres of Oaky Woods wilderness in middle Georgia — nearly double the cost when the state was offered the land and passed on it in 2004.

Instead, most of the land went to developers – a move that boosted the value of a nearby tract owned by Gov. Sonny Perdue. But plans to create a private city on the land went bust with the housing market. With the DNR purchase, at least the developers, Oaky Woods Properties LLC, will be able to recoup their investment – and still hold onto half their purchase.

You will be happy to know that, according to one board member, no corruption was involved. Just greed. From my AJC colleague Jeremy Redmon, who attended the preliminaries on Tuesday:

Dwight Davis, another …

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No. 2 Democrat in Georgia House switches to GOP side

Not one month ago, state Rep. Doug McKillip of Athens was elected the No. 2 Democrat in the House, as caucus chair behind House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams.

State Rep. Doug McKillip, R-Athens

State Rep. Doug McKillip, R-Athens

Today, he became the latest Democrat – sixth in the House – to become a Republican after a devastating Nov. 2 election for his party.

The office of House Speaker David Ralston assures us that this is no early April Fool’s Day prank. Devastating to the already fragile morale of Democrats, yes. But not a prank.

In an interview just completed, Abrams said she learned of McKillip’s switch when he called her, just before 2 p.m. “He’s been making fund-raising calls for the caucus over the last few weeks. He’s been helping freshmen House members raise money,” the Democratic leader said.

While other Democrats who have switched in the last few weeks have a basically conservative philosophy, Abrams said McKillip does not. “By and large, Doug McKillip has been a fairly liberal Democrat. …

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With Jim Marshall gone, Sanford Bishop and John Barrow become the next GOP targets

Over at The Fix, Washington Post writer Aaron Blake has an excellent, lengthy take on the games Republicans might play with U.S. Reps. John Barrow, D-Savannah, and Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, when redistricting rolls around next year.

In part:

In a Republican dream scenario, they could try to draw both Barrow and Bishop tougher districts, by borrowing GOPers from strongly Republican districts held by Reps. Jack Kingston, Lynn Westmoreland and Paul Broun.

A more likely scenario, though, is that Republicans actually shore up Bishop, potentially turning his district into a majority-black district, and use the more Republican areas of his district to help shore up Rep.-elect Austin Scott (R), who just beat Marshall next door. Once they do that, they need to decide whether they want to go after Barrow.

The GOP could strengthen Bishop by moving the heavily black parts of Macon (from Scott’s 8th district) and Valdosta (from Kingston’s 1st district) into Bishop’s 2nd district in the …

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Catching up: Tommie Williams on his new job, and Sue Everhart on Michael Steele

Holidays get in the way, and occasionally the Internet fails to scoop up some of the better news tidbits. So consider this a bit of catching up.

Many in the state Capitol, including House Speaker David Ralston, have wondered out loud who in the Senate will be acting as the voice of the chamber, given Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s demotion.

They suspect that Senate President pro tem Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, will act as chairman of the newly empowered Committee on Assignments, and be the man in charge of one-on-one negotiations. However, nothing has been set down on paper.

But in the Nov. 13 edition of the Jesup Press-Sentinel, Williams indicated that a) he will run the Committee on Assignments, voting only to break a tie; and b) he will be the one that Gov. Nathan Deal and Ralston should phone when a deal is to be brokered.

From the article by Drew Davis:

[Williams] also said that, in negotiating with the governor and the speaker of the House on behalf of the Senate, he expects to …

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Jack Kingston wants investigation of ants-on-Jesus display

The D.C. arts community is slowly coming to grips with the new order of things in Washington.

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah, who just happens to be making his case to become chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, was on Fox News this morning, calling for an investigation into a decision by the National Portrait Gallery to exhibit a work of video art that depicts a small statute of a crucified Jesus with ants crawling over the figure.

The exhibit was removed Tuesday. Here’s Kingston:

Said Kingston:

“This is a museum that gets $5.8 million in taxpayer dollars and in the middle of a high deficit, 15 million unemployed Americans, they decide to have money to spend like this…..This is a museum that, by the way, has next to it a display of the American presidents, on the other side, Elvis, and then you go through this – which is really perverted sick stuff – ashes of an AIDS victim, in a self-portrait, eating himself. Male nudity, Ellen DeGeneres grabbing …

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Jack Kingston: Use debt ceiling vote to leverage economic reform

As mentioned this morning, U.S. Reps. Jack Kingston of Savannah and Jerry Lewis of California put themselves on a Monday evening conference call organized by Tea Party Patriots – a kind of campaign appearance in the race for chairman of the House Appropriation Committee.

Technical difficulties prevented my listening in, but David Weigel of Slate was more successful. He writes this afternoon that both Kingston and Lewis were asked if they’d support an increase in the federal debt ceiling.

Lewis said no. Kingston said no, but with a large “but.” A small increase in the debt ceiling would be worthwhile – if the price were right.

Said Kingston:

”[W]hat I think the Republican Party should do is say, if we get a spending cap, Gramm-Rudman type law in there; if we can get rid of all the unused stimulus funds, and if we get rid of all the used TARP funds, and if we can get private control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and root out some of these other government problems… …

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Your morning jolt: Jack Kingston advocates closer ties to anti-tax groups

The insurgent push to make U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah the next chairman of the House Appropriations Committee continues apace today with his appearance before the all-important steering committee.

On Monday evening, Tea Party Patriots held a telephone conference call that featured a bit of campaigning by two of the three candidates for the job. Reports

From a PowerPoint presentation by U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston/WSJ

From a PowerPoint presentation by U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston/WSJ

Tea partiers who listened to Reps. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) and Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) on a conference call Monday night overwhelmingly favored Kingston to head the House Appropriations panel.

81 percent of the members of the Tea Party Patriots group who voted on the call said they wanted to see Kingston as committee chair, while 15 percent said they supported Lewis. Just five percent of the callers said they wanted to see longtime earmarker Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) lead the panel.

The group’s leaders put out a glowing description of Kingston …

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Nathan Deal names Chris Cummiskey to head economic development

Gov.-elect Nathan Deal on Monday indicated that much of the state’s bureaucracy will remain in familiar hands once he takes office – but named a former aide to both Johnny Isakson and Glenn Richardson as the state’s top economic development agent.

Deal said named Chris Cummiskey, who now acts as a liaison between the state Capitol and the University of Georgia, as his choice for commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

Cummiskey would replace Heidi Green, a deputy commissioner recently elevated to the top slot by Gov. Sonny Perdue.

“Chris brings both private and public sector experience to the table. He knows how the state must balance good public services – particularly education – with the need to maintain a strong business climate,” Deal said.

Cummiskey served Richardson, the former House speaker, as chief of staff. He was also state director for Isakson, the U.S. senator.

But the governor-elect threw out several signs that continuity with the …

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The ‘retirement’ of a Sam Nunn Democrat

Tim Golden and I always had something in common. ‘Way back in 1977, within a few months of each other, both of us interned for U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn.

State Sen. Tim Golden, now R-Valdosta, in a 2006 photo. AP

State Sen. Tim Golden, now R-Valdosta, in a 2006 photo. AP

It was an academic internship, awarded by the University of Georgia, but Golden henceforth would always describe himself as a Sam Nunn Democrat. Until today.

On Monday, Golden became a Sam Nunn Republican.

Golden had served as chairman of the Senate Democratic caucus. Though unopposed in the November election, Golden dropped out of the caucus leadership two weeks ago. “I’m retiring,” the Valdosta lawmaker said at the time.

As a Democrat, it turns out. Not as a state senator.

“I am changing my party affiliation in order to better represent the views of the majority of my constituents and my own conservative, pro-business philosophy,” Golden announced this morning. “Our state continues to face great challenges. As a member of the majority caucus, I will be able …

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How Democrats can avoid the next fight over the Ga. flag

Is it possible for the upraised middle finger wielded by so many of you in metro Atlanta’s traffic lanes to become — in say, the next 100 years or so — a greeting of welcome and brotherhood?

Your answer to the question, believe it or not, could determine what kind of future Democrats have in Georgia. At least in the near term.

At the state Capitol, we are on the verge of yet another culture war over our state flag. Early this month, while they were emasculating Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in Macon, Senate Republicans took a spare moment to declare that all members of that chamber will be required to recite a daily pledge of allegiance to the Georgia flag.

The 1879 Georgia flag

The 1879 Georgia flag

The author of the proposal, state Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, said he had no intention of igniting a debate over state sovereignty. But inside and outside the Senate, those who would like to see the federal government shrink to its 19th-century waistline will certainly see it as a sign of favor.

Two …

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