Archive for the ‘John Linder’ Category

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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Tuesday’s lessons for Georgia for Republicans — and Democrats

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul and his family during his victory rally in Bowling Green, Ky., on  Tuesday. AP/Ed Reinke

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul and his family during his victory rally in Bowling Green, Ky., on Tuesday. AP/Ed Reinke

Note: This is Thursday’s print column, drawn in part from previous posts.

Tuesday’s lessons for Georgia aren’t exact.

We have no party-switcher like Pennsylvania’s elderly Arlen Specter, whose 30-year grip on a U.S. Senate seat slipped after he discovered that his inner child was a Democrat.

And Georgia Republicans will avoid an intra-party revolt like the one that afflicts Blanche Lincoln, the U.S. senator from Arkansas forced into a Democratic runoff by unhappy unions.

Kathy Cox, this state’s Republican school superintendent and its most vulnerable incumbent, pulled the ripcord Monday on a comfortable job in Washington, D.C. She will float to a graceful landing, away from a primary challenge and the summer anger of thousands of unemployed teachers.

But there are things to be learned:

Lesson No. 1: The victory of tea-party favorite Rand …

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Your morning jolt: Three Ga. lessons from Tuesday night

The lessons that Tuesday night might hold for Georgia aren’t exact.

We have no Arlen Specter-like party-switcher. No Blanche Lincoln-like challenge to an incumbent in either party.

But the lessons do exist:

LESSON NO. 1: The victory of tea-party favorite Rand Paul over hand-picked GOP establishment favorite Trey Grayson in the Kentucky race for U.S. Senate doesn’t bode well for former state senator Lee Hawkins of Gainesville.

In the special election to replace Nathan Deal in Congress, Hawkins faces a June 8 runoff with fellow Republican and former lawmaker Tom Graves of Ranger, who is backed by FreedomWorks, a financer of the tea party movement, and the conservative Washington group Club for Growth.

Hawkins in no way can be described as hand-picked by any GOP establishment, but he is running as a more traditional Republican with strong business ties.

LESSON NO. 2: Perhaps the happiest man in Georgia today is Rob Woodall, former chief of staff to U.S. Rep. John Linder and now a …

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‘Casino Jack’ the documentary, followed by the feature film

No doubt Ralph Reed, the former state GOP chairman, had many reasons not to jump into the 7th District congressional race to replace U.S. Rep. John Linder.

For one thing, Linder and Reed haven’t always gotten along. To the point that some think Linder would have rescinded his retirement if he thought Reed might replace him in Congress.

Then there’s the untimely, May 7 release of “Casino Jack and the United States of Money.” Here’s the new trailer from the documentary by Alex Gibney:

Hollywood also reports that the feature film on Abramoff’s doings, starring Kevin Spacey, is also nearing release. Christian Campbell will play Reed.

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

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John Linder endorses former chief of staff to replace him

You can’t categorize this as a surprise, but U.S. Rep. John Linder just endorsed his former chief of staff, Rob Woodall, as the man to replace him in Congress.

Woodall, who helped Linder and radio talk show host Neal Boortz write two books on the Fair Tax, said weeks ago that he entered the 7th District congressional race with Linder’s blessing.

(State Rep. Clay Cox of Lilburn, considered the other financially endowed Republican in the race, has been quietly collecting endorsements from his friends in the Legislature.)

But an endorsement from an 18-year congressman is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Said Linder in a press release:

“When deciding to retire from Congress, I had a fear that with all of the challenges facing our great nation, now would be the wrong time to change leadership in Washington. With Rob Woodall’s announcement that he would seek my current seat, that fear is gone. I am proud today to give Rob Woodall my unconditional endorsement in the race to be …

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A late jolt: Senate won’t budge on hospital bed tax

Majority Leader Chip Rogers this morning said the Senate will stick by the changes it made to a $216 million hospital bed tax needed to resolve next year’s state budget.

That will send the measure into conference. At the same time, Rogers said he expects the House to pass the budget by Wednesday, with or without a resolution on the hospital tax measure.

And possibly, without a Senate vote on HB 1055, the measure to raise $90 million in state fees.

“They’re going to have to, just because we’re running out of time. I don’t envy their position. I certainly don’t envy our position,” Rogers said.

The hospital tax bill, HB 307, provoked a large fight within the Senate Republican caucus when the Legislature last met on April 1.

To make the tax palatable to a necessary handful of GOP senators, the Senate tacked on an amendment lifting – and some future date – the sales tax on health insurance policies.

Asked if HB 1055 might also split GOP lawmakers, Rogers declined to make a …

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Your morning jolt: No contemplation of switch to GOP, says John Barrow — so kill that rumor

Contrary to what you may be reading elsewhere, U.S. Rep. John Barrow (D-Savannah) is not thinking about becoming a Republican.

“I am not switching parties, nor have I ever given any indication that I would. There is no truth to this rumor,” Barrow said through his spokeswoman this morning.

U.S. Rep. John Barrow of Savannah has been taking heat for his vote on health care reform. AP

U.S. Rep. John Barrow of Savannah has been taking heat for his vote on health care reform. AP

The table was set for speculation by Moveon.org’s purchase of TV time in Savannah, to punish Barrow for his vote against the Obama health care law. Moveon.org has been pumping up Reginia Thomas, who drew less than 24 percent in a 2008 primary contest against Barrow.

But the rumor itself was set off by this bit of timely disinformation from the Republican-oriented American Spectator:

The challenge from Thomas — now apparently backed by MoveOn.org, rumored to be prepared to spend a six-figure sum to defeat the incumbent in the July 20 Democratic primary — represents the left side of the political bind …

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Tom Price: Doctor-patient trust will be ‘permanently eroded, permanently damaged’

U.S. Rep. Tom Price of Roswell, so far, is the Republican who has been granted the most time in the House debate over health care:

“I recognized that there were more folks in Washington who affected what I could do for and with my patients than anybody I ever met in residency or medical school – and that was wrong. Health care, taking care of people is a moral endeavor and should be grounded in principle.

“And if the principles that we hold dear for health care are applied to this debate and this bill, the picture is not pretty. Accessibility – being able to receive care. Affordability – being able to afford care. Quality – receiving the best care available. Responsiveness – having a system that works for patients. And innovation – being certain that we have the newest and the best treatments and choices. Patients being able to choose their physicians and how and where they are treated. All of these are harmed by this bill. All of these principles are violated. …

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Don Balfour pulls out of race for Congress — and state Senate

Huge news. State Sen. Don Balfour (R-Snellville) just announced that, not only is he pulling out of the race for Congress, he’s done with the state Senate. Here’s the press release:

This afternoon, Senator Don Balfour, from the 9th District, announced that he will no longer run for John Linder’s 7th Congressional seat.

State Sen. Don Balfour

State Sen. Don Balfour

“Being a congressman has been something I thought I wanted to do. Needless to say, when John Linder announced that he was not running for re-election, I jumped at the opportunity to be the new voice of leadership. However, for the past three weeks, I have not been at peace about this decision. I feel this is an appropriate time to let all my supporters know that I will also not be seeking reelection for the 9th district senate seat.”

“You will be served well by whoever wins both the Senate seat from the 9th district and Congressional seat from the 7th district.”

“I want to offer my heart felt appreciation to all those who have …

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Your morning jolt: 7th District race may free up gun bills

The state Senate Special Judiciary Committee on Monday approved a complete overhaul of Georgia’s concealed-carry laws.

The major concession by the author, state Sen. Mitch Seabaugh (R-Sharpsburg): Georgia’s university system would be allowed to decide for itself where and when licensed concealed weapons could be carried on campus.

University officials are not pleased. They had demanded the status quo.

The Seabaugh bill, SB 308, now goes to the Senate Rules Committee, where resides another gun bill, SB 291, sponsored by state Sen. David Shafer. The Shafer bill simply permits the carrying of concealed weapons in vehicles picking up and dropping off passengers at Hartsfield International Airport.

For the last few years, the toughest fight for gun enthusiasts has been getting legislation out of the rules committee and onto the Senate floor for a vote.

That situation changed last week, when Senate Rules Chairman Don Balfour (R-Snellville) jumped into the 7th District race to …

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