Archive for the ‘Tom Graves’ Category

Georgia’s three horsemen of the Apocalypse Caucus

An insightful treatment of Congress from David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post:

On Capitol Hill, they are the apocalypse caucus. Twenty lawmakers, from both parties, who calculate that the best way to fix government is to act as if you wouldn’t mind if it burned down.

In April, the House needed to pass two budgets to prevent a government shutdown. They voted no and no. In August, the House needed to pass a debt-ceiling agreement to prevent a national default. No again.

Then, this fall, the House voted three times on bills to keep the government going until Nov. 18. No. No. No.

The group now includes 12 Republicans and eight Democrats…This unofficial caucus believes that power goes to those who seem least afraid of catastrophe.

The punchline: Georgia supplies three horsemen in the apocalypse caucus: Republicans Paul Broun of Athens and Tom Graves of Ranger, and Democrat John Lewis of Atlanta.

One suspects that the motivation for Broun and Graves is somewhat different from …

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Phil Gingrey: House GOP leadership ‘is not infallible’

So you know that Washington is staggering, zombie-like, toward another government shutdown today, as House Republicans – in late night session – approved a funding bill to keep the federal machine running.

Senate Democrats have vowed to reject it.

The House action, taken at 12:50 a.m. today, was virtually identical to the one that failed Wednesday – the product of some furious vote-whipping by House GOP leaders.

My AJC colleague Daniel Malloy in Washington points out that no Georgians were among the 23 Republicans to flip their votes and back the bill – despite the pressure of a closed GOP caucus meeting.

Malloy points to a few paragraphs at that recount the reaction of Phil Gingrey, one of four no votes from Georgia, to the arm-twisting:

Not all was so peaceful, as seen in this sometimes comical exchange — described by several Republicans in the meeting — between Reps. Phil Gingrey of Georgia and Virginia Foxx of North Carolina.

At one point, the outspoken …

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A Nathan Deal promise to defend Paul Broun

You’ll remember that after U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens, won his congressional seat in 2007, the GOP establishment in east Georgia made a pair of unsuccessful attempts to remove him.

That same GOP establishment may have been listening these last few weeks when, after the debut of Georgia’s new congressional maps, rumors abounded that Broun – whose 10th District was vastly changed – might run in the new 9th.

Where certain prominent Republicans had already identified their candidate.

Broun ultimately decided to stay put. But you have to wonder if Roll Call, the D.C. newspaper, might have stumbled upon one of the factors that kept Broun in place. From an assessment of Georgia’s congressional contests:

There’s considerable buzz about Broun facing a primary challenge. He is gaining a substantial amount of new territory under the redrawn lines, but the doctor will probably diagnose and dispatch any GOP rivals without too many complications. Broun has one of the better grass-roots …

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Jerry Shearin weighs a 2012 challenge to Tom Graves

I met Jerry Shearin at a Starbucks in west Cobb County this morning.

Shearin is the former chairman of the Paulding County Commission. He’s considering a Republican challenge next year against U.S. Rep. Tom Graves of Ranger, who has found himself in a vastly redrawn district – now called the 14th.

Graves, a tea party favorite who ran five races last year to secure his seat in Congress, finds himself a stranger (at least on the ballot) to 52 percent of his new district.

Among Graves’ new counties, Paulding will provide 25 percent of the vote in a GOP primary. Floyd would add another 13 percent. That’s a tempting start for anyone on the southern end of that district.

Shearin, a businessman, said he’s still weighing his options. “I’m talking to all the people I need to talk to right now,” he said.

But he added this thought. “It is my dream job,” Shearin said.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Your morning jolt: Senate Republicans uneasy about shifting T-SPLOST vote

With a deal struck among Republicans on congressional maps, attention is quickly turning to the remaining issue facing the Legislature during its special session – passage of a measure shifting next year’s regional T-SPLOST votes from the July primary to the November general election.

Last week, Gov. Nathan Deal met in private session with House Republican members to argue for passage. But he may need to do the same with GOP senators.

We’re told that – right now – the bill wouldn’t win a majority of the Senate Republican caucus vote. That’s especially important when Democrats in the chamber – specifically members of the Legislative Black Caucus – are still in a pique over the Senate Republican effort to take control of local legislation affecting Fulton and other counties.

No gubernatorial counseling session has yet been scheduled – but keep an eye out for it.

Regardless of when the regional transportation tax vote is held, proponents have their work cut out for them – …

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The fiction of a $2.2 million bank loan

Today’s lesson for would-be lawyers comes from Simon Bloom, attorney for two of the state’s top Republican political figures, U.S. Rep. Tom Graves of Ranger and Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers of Woodstock.

Under the name of a corporation they would abruptly hand off to a ne’er-do-well, the two gentlemen accepted a $2.2 million loan from the Bartow County Bank – to purchase and renovate a Calhoun, Ga., hotel off I-75.

They both signed personal guarantees that the loan would be paid back. It was not. Signs of a million-dollar renovation are scarce. The hotel is a wreck and fit for nothing but demolition, probably at taxpayer’s expense.

The bank sued. Then died. Hamilton State Bank, which absorbed the corpse, renewed the lawsuit – and in May filed for a hurry-up judgment from a Gordon County judge.

Graves and Rogers protested with a 31-page defense – which apparently persuaded the bank that it was faced with a long, expensive fight. A settlement was announced Wednesday. No …

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Of court records and a (now canceled) Senate GOP caucus meeting

Given the recent tensions, meetings of the Senate Republican Caucus have been clandestine affairs, held off the state Capitol campus on private ground — off limits to nosy reporters.

So it was something of a surprise to learn that, according to papers filed with the Gordon County Superior Court, GOP state senators were to gather Thursday. Presumably to talk about a new redistricting map for their members.

News of the meeting came in arguments that Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers made in an attempt to postpone an Aug. 11 hearing on the lawsuit filed against him – and U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger – by Hamilton State Bank.

The lawsuit concerns a dilapidated motel in Calhoun and $2 million or so the two political figures borrowed to fix it up.

Rogers, other state lawmakers, and many legislative staffers are immune from court summonses while the Legislature is in session. A special redistricting session begins next Monday – but apparently Rogers attempted to argue that …

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New congressional districts — and why Buckhead will remain Democratic territory

Fresh from rescuing the nation from economic calamity, Georgia’s members of Congress will spend the next few weeks indulging in self-preservation.

We are 10 days away from a special session of the Legislature assigned the task of redrawing Georgia’s political boundaries.

Georgia's congressional districts, as currently drawn

Georgia’s congressional districts, as currently drawn

Americans often think of democracy as the process by which voters pick their leaders. Redistricting is the B-side of that record —the once-in-a-decade chance for many incumbent politicians to pick their voters, and thus preserve their hold on power.

This is the first time in Georgia history that Republicans will have start-to-finish control of the process, which will be primarily, but not entirely, driven by last year’s census.

Under Democratic rule, GOP lawmakers criticized a process that was ruthless and secretive. Republicans promise to conduct themselves more openly. But score-settling will still be the rule — and the targets won’t always be …

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Your morning jolt: John Lewis joins six Republicans in vote against debt-ceiling bill

Last night’s vote in the U.S. House on a debt-ceiling deal ripped Georgia’s congressional delegation in two, with Democrat John Lewis of Atlanta joining six Republicans in a final condemnation.

In quoting Mohandas Gandhi, Lewis sounded not unlike some tea partyists we’ve run into: “’All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. All compromise on fundamentals is surrender. It is all give and no take.’ The Democrats gave and gave and gave, but we received nothing in return. This is not a fair deal. It is not a good deal. It is not a balanced compromise.”

Voting for the bill were two Republicans – Tom Price of Roswell, Rob Woodall of Lawrenceville – and four Democrats – David Scott of Atlanta, Sanford Bishop of Albany, John Barrow of Savannah, and Hank Johnson of Decatur.

Voting against the bill were congressmen with major military concerns in their districts: Phil Gingrey of Marietta, Austin Scott of Tifton, and Jack Kingston …

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Johnny Isakson, two House Republicans to vote for debt plan

Many members of Georgia’s congressional delegation – Democrat and Republican – still remain undecided about final passage of the debt-ceiling deal, but sides are being chosen in a hurry.

On Saturday, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson gave a passionate speech about the need to come to an agreement. This afternoon, has this line:

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said she was inclined to support the plan, as did Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)

We have yet to hear from Georgia’s Saxby Chambliss, but the two senators only rarely cancel out one another’s votes. The vote in the Senate is expected tomorrow morning.

In the House, where the vote will come this evening, we may have as many as three “no” votes cast by Georgia members. U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, and Paul Broun, R-Athens, are solid opponents. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta, is leaning that way.

“I took the pledge that I would not vote to increase the debt ceiling by one penny unless the balanced …

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