Archive for the ‘Zell Miller’ Category

Why the Atlanta stadium debate remains alive: Location, location, location

The latest Journal-Constitution poll now measures opposition to a new, $1 billion version of the Georgia Dome – and a new home for the Atlanta Falcons, its chief tenant – at 72 percent of all Georgians.

That level of unpopularity shouldn’t shock you. But you might be surprised by the fact that, despite an approval rating only slightly better than that of Congress, the issue will be very much alive when the Legislature opens this week.

State lawmakers will be asked to approve $300 million in public funding, through a hotel-motel tax on visitors to Atlanta. Mayor Kasim Reed remains confident of success. Gov. Nathan Deal and House Speaker David Ralston are less so, but neither has closed the door on the project.

Such a situation is sure to breed cynicism. Politicians doing the bidding of billionaire Falcons-owner Arthur Blank, one jaded voice in your head is saying. Another directs your attention to the much-vaunted friendship between the mayor of Atlanta and the …

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Your Daily Jolt: ‘Cool but not icy’ Falcons stadium reaction

After the Georgia World Congress Center Authority approved the outline for a new $1 billion downtown stadium for the Falcons on Monday morning, word spread quickly to Athens, where state legislators are holding their biennial summit. The AJC’s Greg Bluestein was on the scene and he described the reaction as “cool but not icy” as he surveyed lawmakers, who would need to vote to approve raising the GWCCA’s debt limit. From Bluestein:

House Speaker David Ralston said the stadium’s supporters need to make a forceful argument about why the new facility is needed – and he doesn’t think they’ve made that argument quite yet.

“This is more than about the Falcons. And because of that, we have to proceed very carefully,” Ralston said. “It’s a tough economic climate and for the state to undertake any sort of investment, I think we have to move cautiously.”

State Rep. Ed Lindsey, an Atlanta Republican and one of the House’s leading lawmakers, said he has to be convinced …

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Mountain vs. tea party, Zell Miller vs. Sarah Palin

Icons, it seems, are made for smashing. Or at least discarding.

Eight years after he became a GOP hero — especially in Georgia — for breaking ranks with his fellow Democrats and advocating a second term for President George W. Bush, Zell Miller stands an even chance of being deposed.

By the likes of Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and Rick Santorum, no less.

The Republican race for the new 9th Congressional District in North Georgia, drawn to be the most conservative in the state, has become a blistering mountain-vs.-tea party affair.

The 80-year-old former Georgia governor and U.S. senator from Young Harris stands behind state Rep. Doug Collins of Gainesville. “I felt I had a mountain relationship with him,” Miller said.

But that quartet of cable TV veterans, all popular preachers on the tea party circuit, has endorsed Martha Zoller, a former talk radio host in Gainesville. “Martha is running against the establishment, which, as we know, is an uphill …

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Your morning jolt: Sam Olens wins speaking role at GOP convention

Attorney General Sam Olens, Mitt Romney’s top elected supporter in the state, was rewarded this morning with a speaking role at this month’s Republican National Convention in Tampa.

His will be the most prominent Georgia face at the four-day launching of the fall presidential campaign. Olens was one of five convention speakers announced by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. Apparently intended to advertise the diversity of the GOP, they include:

Attorney General Sam Olens at the state Capitol in February. Jason Getz, jgetz@ajc.com.

Attorney General Sam Olens at the state Capitol in February. Jason Getz, jgetz@ajc.com.

– Pam Bondi, Florida’s first female attorney general;

– Ted Cruz, who was Texas’ first Hispanic solicitor general. Cruz just won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. Consider this a nod to tea party enthusiasts;

– Luis Fortuño, the first Republican elected governor of Puerto Rico since 1969;

– And Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, the first U.S. governor to beat a recall election.

Olens is identified as the former chairman of the Cobb County …

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Money frames a mountain vs. tea party race in the 9th

Since Tuesday’s vote, the tight Republican race for the new 9th congressional district has been a contest to frame the next 15 days of debate.

And the money is quickly following suit.

State Rep. Doug Collins, the frontrunner by 738 votes of 109,778 cast last week, wants to keep the race local. His new “We are the 9th” slogan and condemnations of “celebrity” interlopers such as Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich are aimed at blunting the momentum of his rival, former radio talk show host Martha Zoller.

On Thursday and Friday, the Collins campaign reported nearly $20,000 in new campaign contributions. The largest chunk — $5,000 – comes from former U.S. senator and governor Zell Miller and his wife Shirley. Miller remains the most influential political voice in northeast Georgia.

Another $11,000 comes from Georgia attorneys (Collins is one of their number), including $2,000 from Jim Butler in Columbus.

Zoller will attempt to generate a wave of tea party support, pointing …

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Your morning jolt: Mountain vs. tea party strategies in 9th District race

Within 48 hours of landing in a runoff, the 9th District congressional campaigns of Republicans Doug Collins and Martha Zoller found themselves in agreement over what the next three weeks will look like.

They just don’t agree on what to call it.

On Wednesday, the Collins campaign declared itself in a fight against interlopers – Alaskan ex-governors, celebrities from D.C. and such. By which it meant Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and Herman Cain. All have endorsed Zoller, a former radio talk show host, and were joined today by another GOP presidential candidate, Rick Santorum.

Call Collins approach a North Georgia mountain strategy that could require much input from former U.S. senator and governor Zell Miller, whose grandson Bryan Miller is running the Collins campaign.

Meanwhile, the Zoller campaign on Thursday fully embraced as precursor the tea party victory of Ted Cruz in Texas, who beat Gov. Rick Perry’s choice in the Republican race to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison in …

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Newt Gingrich endorses Martha Zoller in 9th District race

Two days after receiving a nod from Sarah Palin, 9th District congressional candidate Martha Zoller has picked up another big endorsement – this time from Newt Gingrich. From the press release:

“For years, Martha Zoller has been a clear, clarion voice for the conservative movement here in Georgia and around the United States,” said Gingrich. “In Congress, Martha will lead the force that fundamentally changes ‘business as usual’ in Washington and will work tirelessly to implement conservative solutions to our nation’s most pressing problems.

Zoller explains that Gingrich is a long-time friend who, in the past, often served as a guest on her radio talk show. This was no doubt important to Gingrich, especially when he was trying to make sure that Georgia didn’t stray during his GOP presidential primary bid.

But this must have been a difficult choice for Gingrich. Gov. Nathan Deal has made no public declaration in this race. One daughter has endorsed Zoller; another is …

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A rare word from Zell Miller: ‘I had a late life conversion’

Buford, Ga. – There was no mistaking the man who walked through the glass doors of the hotel complex on the shores of Lake Lanier.

The trademark shock of white hair remains neatly groomed. The hawk-like nose still juts out over a tight jaw. The eyes are clear and bright. But the stride is gone. Zell Miller walks gingerly now, always with a cane.

The former governor and U.S. senator describes himself as an 80-year-old man with 100-year-old legs. “I very, very seldom go anywhere,” Miller said in an interview.

Former governor and U.S. senator Zell Miller autographs copies of his 2005 book "A Deficit of Decency" at a Buford fundraiser for 9th District congressional candidate Doug Collins on Friday/SPECIAL

Former governor and U.S. senator Zell Miller autographs copies of his 2005 book "A Deficit of Decency" at a Buford fundraiser for 9th District congressional candidate Doug Collins on Friday/SPECIAL

In fact, Miller’s appearance on Friday was a rare return to a world he once commanded. He’d come down from the hills of Young Harris as the featured attraction at a fundraiser for state Rep. Doug Collins of Gainesville, now a Republican candidate in the 9th District …

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Your morning jolt: Zell Miller dips into 9th District race

Last night, Doug Collins sent out a list of endorsements in his GOP race for the new 9th District congressional seat.

Former U.S. senator Zell Miller, left, and state Rep. Doug Collins of Gainesville/SPECIAL

Former U.S. senator Zell Miller, left, and state Rep. Doug Collins of Gainesville/SPECIAL

Topping the roll call was 80-year-old Zell Miller, the former governor and U.S. senator, who now appears only rarely on the political circuit. Loree Thompson, spokeswoman for the Collins campaign, says Miller will appear with Collins at “a few events” before the July 31 primary.

But Thompson did toss us a photo of the pair, taken last week.

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At last night’s fund-raiser at Cobb Energy Centre, one pool reporter, Trip Gabriel of the New York Times, was allowed in to witness Newt Gingrich’s introduction of former Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney. Gingrich first flayed President Barack Obama, then patched things up with the man who skewered him in Iowa and Florida, according to Gabriel’s report:

“You have I think a tremendous nominee. I can say this from …

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Georgia Republicans prepare to change direction on crime

Inmates at Phillips State Prison make their way to the cafeteria. Vino Wong, vwong@ajc.com

Inmates at Phillips State Prison make their way to the cafeteria. Vino Wong, vwong@ajc.com

A new, hyphenated word is about to enter your political vocabulary. Say it with me: Over-criminalization.

For conservatives in particular, the word will introduce a concept both fresh and counter-intuitive — that the desire to mete out disproportionate punishment to some criminals, while highly satisfying and politically popular, is ultimately ineffective.

And not at all fiscally conservative.

Last week, the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform for Georgians released a report looking at the bill that has come due for doubling the state’s prison population.

It included a list of cost-cutting recommendations for the Legislature, which will return to Atlanta in January.

For most incumbent lawmakers in Georgia, whether Democratic or Republican, crime has always been a topic that required the gas pedal — never the brakes. Slamming jail cell doors makes for great TV ads.

Zell …

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