Archive for the ‘Jeff Chapman’ Category

The income tax and the GOP race for governor

Straw polls are rarely useful, except as a measure of a candidate’s infrastructure – his or her ability to move a certain number of volunteers to a certain location at a certain time.

But the larger the event, and the closer to election day, the more meaning that kind of balloting has. On Saturday, the Cobb County Republican party had one of the largest straw polls in the state.

Roughly 1,200 people paid a $10 fee for entry into an auditorium at Jim Miller Park in Marietta, attended by virtually every statewide candidate on the July 20 GOP ballot.

Five candidates for governor were there: Jeff Chapman, Nathan Deal, Karen Handel, Eric Johnson and John Oxendine.

When asked who they want to see as the Republican nominee for governor, here’s what attendees said:

– Handel, 199;

–Johnson, 199;

– Deal, 140;

– Oxendine, 130;

– Chapman, 31;

– McBerry, 3;

–Putnam, 0.

Though they could barely be heard among the din of the crowd, a theme developed in short addresses from the …

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Your morning jolt: Ralph Hudgens returns $106k

On Wednesday, virtually every candidate in Georgia was sending out e-mail pleas for donations to pump up their three-month contribution reports that ended at midnight.

State Sen. Ralph Hudgens (R-Hull)/AJC

State Sen. Ralph Hudgens (R-Hull)/AJC

But state Sen. Ralph Hudgens (R-Hull), a candidate for state insurance commissioner, was one of the few pulling money out of his campaign treasury.

From Atlanta Unfiltered:

Ralph Hudgens‘ bid for Georgia insurance commissioner has returned $106,600 in contributions that were transferred improperly last year from his state Senate campaign fund.

The State Ethics Commission has been investigating the transaction since January. Hudgens said [Wednesday] he has signed a consent order, agreeing not to violate campaign finance laws in the future, that assesses no financial penalty.
“No fines, no anything,” he said.

State law prohibits a candidate from transferring contributions directly between campaign accounts for different offices. Hudgens said a commission staffer had told …

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On adopting a replica of the Arizona law in Georgia

Jekyll Island – Whether the children of illegal immigrants should be allowed into Georgia universities wasn’t a topic at a pair of debates among candidates for governor on Friday.

But whether Georgia should adopt a replica of the Arizona law – to identify and deport illegal immigrants – was a major topic among both Republicans and Democrats.

Georgia Governor

The debates were sponsored by the Georgia Press Association and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

As you might expect, all five candidates in the GOP debate,held first, favored adoption of a similar measure. (Karen Handel was absent.)

The entire answer of state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine:

“Yes.”

Eric Johnson said he’d go a step further, requiring all hospitals and public schools to ascertain the citizenship of the people they serve. The former state senator from Savannah said he would then sue the federal government to get back money spent on illegals.

He would also crack down on businesses that hire illegal aliens. The …

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Head games: Roy Barnes sits in on a GOP debate for governor

Jekyll Island – The Republican debate among the Republican candidates for governor, sponsored by the Georgia Press Association, has begun.

No great news has been made yet, but an interesting head game may be occurring.

Georgia Governor

Just before the five candidates sat down – Jeff Chapman, Nathan Deal, Eric Johnson, Ray McBerry, and John Oxendine – former Gov. Roy Barnes entered the room and began shaking hands with top-ranking editors and publishers throughout the state.

The Democratic debate doesn’t start until 2:30 p.m. Barnes has arrived 90 minutes early – a large chunk of time in campaign terms.

Barnes is now sitting in the sixth row, listening to the candidates.

(Update: “It was a little dry, to be quite frank with you,” Barnes said afterwards.)

Other points:

– Chapman, a Brunswick state senator, says Georgia has more illegal immigrants than Arizona. All agreed that we need to see legislation like that state has introduced;

– Johnson has said the state needs an immediate …

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The new, improved John Oxendine campaign

Republican candidate for governor John Oxendine works a Memorial Day crowd in Dacula. Vino Wong, vwong@ajc.com

Republican candidate for governor John Oxendine works a Memorial Day crowd in Dacula. Vino Wong, vwong@ajc.com

No one speaks of it — in the way that no one takes note of the dog that doesn’t bark or the child who doesn’t whine.

But one of the biggest changes in the Republican race for governor in the past three months has been the quiet transformation of the John Oxendine campaign.

This time last year, the state insurance commissioner was blithely tweeting his way across Georgia, desperate to engage voters on any topic, whether high or low.

“We just finished the nursery for baby Jake,” the Ox tapped out. “The room is Confederate gray. Reminds me of why I am running. …”

Though it may live elsewhere on the Internet, the hospital room video made only hours after baby Jake’s delivery — which featured Oxendine again making the connection to his campaign — no longer has a spot on the candidate’s YouTube channel.

More important, the campaign’s loud …

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Barnes campaign on closed meeting: ‘It will not happen again’

Over at Georgia Elections Central, my AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin posted the following this afternoon:

Many of the Republicans and Democrats who want to be the next governor of Georgia are at this moment discussing the state’s future at a candidates’ forum sponsored by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

But what is said there is apparently a secret as the Chamber has denied requests from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other outlets to cover the panel discussion at the Ritz-Carlton along Lake Oconee.

The closing of the forum to the media has prompted protests from the AJC and other publications that are part of the Georgia Newspaper Partnership. Thirteen daily newspapers from around the state have joined together to cover this year’s elections.

The newspaper outburst resulted in this immediate letter of contrition from the Democratic campaign of former Gov. Roy Barnes, who is in the midst of crafting a populist message:

contrition

Interesting tidbit: The spokeswoman for …

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Your morning jolt: Democrats condemn end of limits on class size, Republicans split

The state Board of Education on Monday voted to gut its limits on class sizes over the next year in response to a deepening school budget crisis that has already forced thousands of teacher layoffs and shorter school years across the state.

The move prompted criticism among a majority of candidates for governor, especially Democrats in hot competition for the public school constituency.

But Republicans were decidedly split in their reactions — Karen Handel and John Oxendine called it was a bad idea, Nathan Deal described himself as “disappointed,” Jeff Chapman declared it “the best thing,” and Eric Johnson said “vouchers.”

We asked the major candidates to send us a paragraph or so of commentary on the topic. In alphabetical order:

DEMOCRATS

Attorney General Thurbert Baker:

Baker

“For a decade, our leaders have been on a spending spree with a credit card. Now the bill has come due, but instead of cutting government waste to pay for their spending, the politicians are cutting …

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Your morning jolt: Abortion and the Democratic race for governor

DuBose Porter, the Democratic candidate for governor, called Saturday afternoon to discuss his acknowledgement that he considers himself “pro-life” in the abortion debate.

He had signaled as much already. Porter was the only Democratic candidate for governor to attend a forum hosted this winter by the Georgia Christian Alliance.

(By coincidence, while Porter and I were talking, Sadie Fields, leader of the Alliance, was telling supporters that she was retiring her group. But this is another topic.)

At the root of Porter’s call was a weekend piece by the Athens Banner-Herald, noting the collapse of a set of gubernatorial debates by GeorgiaBio and what it said about political attitudes toward embryonic stem cell research in Georgia.

It’s a big issue among the research community at the University of Georgia. But in the course of researching the article, ABH reporter Blake Aued had to ascertain Porter’s related position on abortion. Wrote Aued:

I prefaced a question about embryonic …

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A wave of teacher layoffs set to wash over Georgia politics

Cobb County school teachers protest budget cuts that resulted in 579 faculty layoffs. Hyosub Shin, hshin@ajc.com

Cobb County school teachers protest budget cuts that resulted in 579 faculty layoffs. Hyosub Shin, hshin@ajc.com

A wave that Georgia Republicans have feared for the better part of a year is approaching the shoreline.

This month, thousands of public school teachers across the state were formally notified that their services were no longer required. They will be joined in the unemployment line by thousands of others — school clerks, cafeteria workers and bus drivers.

Roughly 3,500 of the state’s 118,000 public school teachers are at risk, according to one estimate — although the state Department of Education says an exact count won’t be available until this fall.

State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond says his department has prepared for 8,000 school-related applications for jobless benefits this summer.

Even more teachers and school workers could lose their jobs next year, as federal stimulus funding is depleted.

Spread across the state’s 180 school systems, it’s …

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Four GOP candidates to debate in Gwinnett — Jeff Chapman, Ray McBerry left out

FreedomWorks and the Tea Party Patriots will host a pair of debates this evening in the ballroom of the Gwinnett Center on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth.

I’ll be moderating the 5:30 p.m. forum featuring the 7th District congressional race – though with seven candidates, “cat-herding” may be the better term. Send ideas for questions if you’ve got them.

A debate among the top four GOP candidates for governor – state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, former congressman Nathan Deal, former secretary of state Karen Handel, and former state Senator Eric Johnson – will follow.

The decision to exclude two candidates, Republicans Jeff Chapman and Ray McBerry, prompted tea party activist Debbie Dooley to send out an explanation this morning that included the following:

“They are polling below 2 percent two months out from the primary. We want to be focused on issues during this debate and not controversy. We feel strongly that two of the top four will go to a runoff and want …

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