Thursday, April 30, 2009

GOP poll shows Dems have advantage on key issues

Republicans are widely viewed by the public as less competent than Democrats to handle issue ranging from health care to education and energy, according to internal polling presented to top GOP officials in Congress.

The same survey found President Barack Obama holds the support of a significant minority of self-described conservative, independent voters.

The Associated Press obtained partial results of the survey, which was conducted in late March by New Models, a firm with close ties to Republicans. GOP lawmakers in Congress have generally opposed Obama's early legislative agenda, voting with near unanimity against economic stimulus legislation and unanimously against a White House-backed budget that cleared Congress on Wednesday.

The survey found the public holds greater confidence in Democrats than in Republicans in handling most of the issues that are involved in Obama's legislative agenda.

Democrats were favored by a margin of 61 percent to 29 percent on education; 59 percent to 30 percent on health care and 59 percent to 31 percent on energy. Congress is expected to consider major legislation later this year in all three areas.

Democats were also viewed with more confidence in handling taxes, long a Republican strong suit. The only issue among nine in the survey where the two parties were rated as even was in the war on terror.

The survey found Obama's job approval at 62 percent, in line with other recent polls. Moderate Republicans disapproved of his job performance by a relatively narrow margin of 44-39 percent, and self-described conservative independents by a somewhat larger margin of 51-36 percent. Conservative Republicans overwhelmingly disapproved, 75-18.

Details of the polls timing and margin of error were not available.

Roy Barnes in Americus (Sumter County) Yesterday.

Roy Barnes enters a room with a booming voice, a greeting for everyone and a firm handshake for all he meets.

The 61-year-old Marietta lawyer may have left the office of Governor of the state of Georgia over six years, but he still has the look and thoughts of a politician.

This time around, according to Barnes, and local supporters, like City of Americus attorney, Jimmy Skipper, he has a new perspective about the state of the State and how things should operate.

He’s visiting areas all across the state, getting feedback from communities about their ideas and thoughts, and at the same time considering another run for the office of Governor in 2010.

While in Americus, Barnes visited: the local school system, met with teachers, and the school superintendent; the local fire and police departments; Georgia Southwestern State University; and county and city officials before making a final stop at the Americus Times — Recorder.

Barnes — his laid-back demeanor was evident with his casual, but well thought answers and genuine smile — first spoke about the education system in the state of Georgia.

The former Governor said, “I believe we have a a good group of teachers and administrators for the state, but they can’t deliver the services without adequate funding.”

He continued, “I believe we are progressing, but I don’t see how a school board has been able to run a school system over the last few years when they have had their funding cut — some even at $2 million. The greatest failure we have had in the education system is the lack of funding.

“We have a great foundation if we would lift it up and celebrate the great teachers that we already have, instead of criticizing everything,” said Barnes.

Barnes talked briefly of the current state of the economy for Georgia, and discussed the measures that Governor Sonny Perdue and the Georgia General Assembly have recently made to the upcoming budget.

“I think we are going about it the wrong way. I think our priorities are askew. We seem to think nothing below, really, Griffin, needs to be concentrated on as far as marketing and economic development. I think every member of the legislature should take a tour of the state of Georgia. I believe there are some members who are not aware that there is more to the state then the metro areas.

“Georgia is the largest state geographically east of the Mississippi. We have challenges to make sure that we spread growth throughout the state, instead of concentrating it in one part of the state,” Barnes said.

He added, “The part of the state that the growth is concentrated in, is the metro area. The growth has been so overwhelming in that area and taken away from the quality of life. You can’t drive anywhere. And the other part of the state is starving to death.

Barnes paused, and he added, “You have to remember that 57% of the population in the state is concentrated in and around Atlanta. I believe a large portion of the elected officials, state elected officials, probably have never heard of Americus, Dawson, Blakely or Ellaville.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Here's something to think about.

What if Michael Thurmond runs for governor instead? If Roy decline the race, Thurmond may just go for the govermor's race. He has expressed interest in the race. It may have changed by the entry of Thurbert Baker into the race. Thurmond would be the frontrunner for governor if you are going on just by Name I.D. Thurmond has a mix of great communication skills, charisma, knowledge of the issues.
He has a record as a Tax Cutter, moving people from welfare to work, putting folks back to work & his work as Labor Commissioner has been recognized Nationally.
If this becomes the case, a Michael Thurmond-DuBose Porter slate could be a possibility. Both men are about the same age, Thurmond, 56, Porter 55. Both are politically saavy men who knows what it would take to defeat the radical republicans in 2010. Thurmond with his appeal to the urban, & surburban communities & North Georgia.
Porter with his appeal to rural, small town voters would make a awsome combination. Hey, a DuBose Porter-Michael Thurmond is possible as well.
But Roy holds all the cards right now & until he makes a decision, nothing is definite. Things will be become clearer after he makes his decision.

Melvin Everson to challenge Michael Thurmond for state labor commissioner

State Rep. Melvin Emerson will run for Labor Commissioner according to Jim Galloway of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Emerson, who is one of two Black Republicans in the Statehouse was elected in 2005. Michael Thurmond hasn't made up his mind on whether or not he will run for Lt. Gov, Gov, of Stay at home at Laboe Commissioner.
It would not surprise me if Barnes decline the Gov's race, Thurmond runs for Governor instead. Not one bit.
One more tidbit: Former Barnes Press Secretary Gary Horlacher will run for Secretary of State as a democrat.

Seems people are forgetting about David Poythress


With all of the Roy Barnes talk, folks are forgetting about David Poythress, who is going bout his business stumping for support from all corners of the state. He has visited various democratic party chapters in each county, talked with numerous officials, & functions talking about his plans for Georgia. Poythress needs to be taken seriously. Once he gets his profile up, he's going to be a real threat.
His candidacy as a outsider will appeal to voters, whether they are Dems, Republicans, or Independents. And his appeal with military families & veterans should not be underestimated. Poythress is staying in the race regardless & he just might surprise some folks come July 2010. His only problem maybe Cash & Name Recognition. I'm keeping my eye on Mr. Poythress.

Move the State Forward, become involved, says Porter at the Macon County Chamber of Commerce Dinner.

State Rep, DuBose Porter a gubernatorial candidate for governor of Georgia encouraged Macon Countians to become more involved in politics, saying there's no better time than now. He was the Keynote speaker for the Macon County Chamber of Commerce Banquet held at the Preston Williams Center on Thursday Night.
Porter was introduced by State Rep. Lynmore James (D-Montezuma).Says Porter: Georgia is at a crossroads much like in the 1960s & the decision will make the difference as to whether the state moves forward. It matters to your businesses...... to the development of this community (Macon Co.) We need to look at what people actually do, not just what they say they will do.
He criticized the budgeting process at the state level. "When you cut every agency the same percentage, some important things don't get done", he said. When you look at the Georgia War Veterans Home, but built a Gold Fish Pond for Perry..... We need to be committed to make tough decisions. He also said the state needs "Family Values" & the legislature needs to stop partidan bickering & bring together rural, urban, black, white, male, female, upstate, downstate to resolve it's problems.
He talked about Transportation, Education, Public Safety. Also there was State Senator George Hooks (D-Americus)

Update on Army Vets that were forced out of the Georgia War Veterans Home because of Cuts.

MILLEDGEVILLE — Four months after they were pushed out of a state dormitory in a budget-cutting move, life is a mixed bag for Georgia veterans on their own.

Many have found more freedom and larger quarters, living in mobile homes or apartments instead of the 8-by-8 rooms they had at the Georgia War Veterans Home.

These aren’t mansions or even middle-class houses. But they have their own bathrooms and carpeted floors instead of a dormitory’s tile.

Others have simply scattered. Eighty-one veterans were told to leave the Wheeler Building at the home last fall. The war veterans home said it didn’t have hard numbers last week to show who went were.

But 27 of them were sick or old enough to be moved from the state’s dormitory-style units and into a government-funded veterans hospital or nursing home, a spokesman said shortly before final closure last year. As for the others, a department spokesman said staffers are keeping up with the ones “that want to be kept up with.”

Others simply “scattered like the wind,” McGee said. One man was found living in “the most nasty place I’ve ever been in my life,” she said. A group of local sorority women was sent in to clean.

The veterans themselves said a few of them have died since the move, though there’s nothing to show those deaths stemmed from leaving the war veterans home. Some said they are happier now than they were at the home. Still others are struggling outside the veterans home’s supervised walls.

“It seems like, since they left the vets home, their health is deteriorating,” Vietnam veteran Eleazar Elizalde said of some of the men he met in the two years he lived at the home. “It’s depression, you know? They’re not around people.”

When the state announced it was closing the Wheeler Building’s “domiciliary” floors to deal with dwindling state revenues, there was an outcry of bitterness, and much of that remains. Veterans, Milledgeville area residents and local politicians remain upset over the closure and the way the state went about it.

Veterans were given 90 days and help from state officials to find new places to live. The closure saved the Georgia Department of Veterans Service about $2.7 million a year — enough to hit its 10 percent cut target in one fell swoop, while affecting only one hundredth of a percent of the state’s veterans.

Many of the veterans qualified for vouchers, which help cover rent. Many get disability pay or some other form of government subsidy. The community reached out and filled in some holes, donating furniture, dishes and the other things some of these men hadn’t had to think about for years.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Georgia Democrats & gubernatorial candidates need to meet to discuss 2010.

I call for the Georgia Democratic Delegation, the democratic house & senate caucus as well as announced candidates to meet to discuss the 2010 race for Governor, Lt. Governor, etc. Georgia Democrats cannot mess this up in 2010. It's best we avoid a brusing & battered primary in order to take back the governor's mansion as well retain our other constitutional offies as well.
There are too many rumors & lots of speculation going on with who is going to run for what or who may or may not run.
I'm going to call out Thurbert Baker because I have no idea what he is doing. You have Poythress, Porter out campaigning right now, Barnes is on his listening tour across the state, but Baker is doing neither. I haven't heard him attending a event, speaking to business leaders, traveling across the state, nothing. If Baker is going to run for governor, he has got to get out of his office to talk to people, listen to their concerns, offer his plans for the future of Georgia. If his mindset is that he is African-American & that every Black vote os going to vote for him because of skin color, he better think again.
The Black vote should not be taken for granted. Baker in my opnion maybe the best positioned to win back the governorship for dems, but I don't see the fire in the belly from him to run for governor. He has no website up for a run for governor, no email address, will not take phone calls. DuBose Porter, David Poythress are already burning rubber, going to two or three events in one day. A press release is not enough to get voters excited about his candidacy. Democrats need a candidate that is going to take the GOP to the woodshed in 2010. No weak minded, soft, patsy is not going to cut it for the democrats in 2010 & it looks like that's what baker is right now. Porter, Poythress are tough politicians who got the fire & heart to make this thing winnable for the dems in 2010 as well as Roy Barnes who more than likely will run for governor as well.
If Baker doesn't start to show sigsn of life for his campaign, then he need to leave the governor's race & run for Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, or the U.S Senate. His style maybe be better suited for the Senate that Governor.
We still have unresolved races for U.S. Senate, Lt. Gov, AG Commissioner, possibly Labor Commissioner.
For Lt. Governor, it should be either State Senator Tim Golden (D-Valdosta), Labor Comm. Michael Thurmond (D-Athens), or someone else like Michael Meyer von Bremen (D-Albany), (although he might run for mayor of Albany in 2010.)
AG Commissioner, its Terry Coleman (D-Eastman), Dr. James Sutton (D-Griffin), Assistant Commissioner, Plant Industry Division, or Oscar Garrison (D-Jackson County) Consumer Protection Division, Assistant Commissioner.
U.S. Senate: Don't have a clue right now. Maybe around June this picture will become clear.
  • For Governor, I prefer it be a two man race, but that's highly unlikely. If Barnes runs, then Baker should run for the Senate, Porter for Lt. Governor, If Barnes doesn't run, then Porter for Governor, Baker for Lt. Governor, or Porter for Governor, Thurmond for Lt. Governor, Baker for Senate.
    But based on past primaries in Georgia, which African-Americans comprises about 45% of the primary vote I would say right now (if barnes doesn't enter the race):
    Thurbert Baker, Governor
    Tim Golden or DuBose Porter Lt. Governor
    If Barnes enters the race, based on early polls:
    Roy Barnes, Governor
    Michael Thurmond Lt. Governor
    The rest of the races, I'll take a wait & see approach.

Old article by Michael Thurmond that is worth the read. From the Democratic Leadership Council Blueprint Magazine.

By Michael Thurmond:

For Georgia Democrats, the 1998 election was a watershed. First, Democrats retained control of the governor's office, the legislature, and most statewide offices despite leadpipe-cinch predictions of a Republican landslide and realignment. Second, two African-Americans won statewide office, showing that message trumps race and that biracial coalitions trump polarized voting when the message is right.

Thurbert Baker, a former state legislator who had recently been appointed attorney general by Gov. Zell Miller, became the first African-American in any Deep South state to win a full term as a state's chief legal officer. And I was elected commissioner of labor. We were two of only nine blacks to win statewide executive branch office anywhere in America in 1998.

The race for labor commissioner is particularly instructive. My victory marked the first time that an African-American was elected statewide in Georgia without having been first appointed to the position. I had to fight my way through the Democratic primary and runoff against better financed white candidates. In the general election, my Republican opponent retained a consulting firm headed by Ralph Reed, the former Christian Coalition president who is now chairman of the Georgia Republican Party. Reed ran a campaign with the race-baiting slogan: "The difference is as clear as black and white."

How were we able to do it? Mainly because we shared a centrist message with the two leading white candidates for statewide office -- Roy Barnes (running for governor) and Mark Taylor (running for lieutenant governor). We ran on themes of personal responsibility, fiscal discipline, equal opportunity, education and training, and improvement of Georgia's quality of life (especially in Atlanta's gridlocked suburbs). We also ran on our records: I was able to talk about my success as a former state welfare director in initiating work-based welfare reform in Georgia. I promised that as labor commissioner, I would push for reductions in employer taxes, better unemployment insurance benefits, and a major upgrade of our training and retraining programs for the New Economy.

It is significant that in a Deep South state, where three out of every four voters are white, Republican attempts to polarize voters along racial lines failed or backfired. All four of us won solidly against the odds. Thanks to our common message, we each won roughly equal parts of the black and the white vote in every county in the state.

Voters did not simply reject racially divisive appeals; they responded positively to our centrist message. For starters, we energized the traditional Democratic core constituencies. The African-American vote jumped from 19 percent of the total in 1994 to 29 percent in 1998 -- a higher percentage than the African-American proportion of registered voters, and by far the largest increase in the country. The New Democrat ticket of Barnes, Taylor, Baker, and Thurmond won 90 percent of that dramatically increased black vote. But by campaigning as centrists, we also did well in the Republican-leaning suburbs (which themselves include a rapidly growing African-American middle class) and even in parts of conservative rural Georgia.

The existence of an informal "control group" in our election convinces me that our biracial voting coalition was driven by our centrist message. The "control" consisted of two statewide Democratic candidates -- one black, one white -- who ran on a more traditionally liberal message; they both lost.

More proof that message and record trumped race were the election results in the eight counties of the North Georgia mountains -- heavily white, and often Republican. I carried all of them, while our white "control" candidate -- running to our left -- lost all eight. Moreover, in 2000, Al Gore lost all eight as well -- four of them by better than a 2-1 margin.

What this means is that we were able to create that rarest of political phenomena: a two-way biracial coalition. Not only were black voters crossing over to support white candidates (as they have always done), but, for the first time at the statewide level, white voters were supporting black candidates -- in a very close election to boot. What appealed to people was a diverse, accomplished ticket united around a New Democrat message of opportunity, responsibility, and community.

Despite the presidential loss in 2000 -- Gore lost the state by 12 percent -- Georgia Democrats look strong for the 2002 elections. Those of us who were successful in 1998 are hard at work making good on our promise to extend the state's progress in directions that a majority of Georgians want to go.

The lesson Georgia offers the national Democratic Party is that you don't have to choose between the "base" and "swing voters" in the South or elsewhere -- a diverse New Democrat ticket appeals to both. And the lesson for Democrats in the South is even clearer: Aggressively recruit young, centrist African-Americans to run for office who will not only help energize and represent "the base" -- especially the growing ranks of African-American middle-class moderates -- but whose message has genuine appeal across racial lines. As we showed in Georgia, we can not only win elections; we can finally begin to banish the curse of racially divisive politics.

Now in his third term as the head of the state Labor Department, Athens native Michael Thurmond's job is to help Georgians find work. Thurmond, well-respected and a rising star in the Democratic Party, is focusing on some innovative ways to help people land gainful employment, even if they're not skilled at searching for a job.

Michael Thurmond was born in rural Clarke County, the youngest of the nine children of the late Sidney and Vanilla Thurmond. He graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in Philosophy and Religion from Paine College in 1975 and later earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law. In 1991, he completed the political executives program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

In 1978, Michael Thurmond returned to Athens to practice law and took an active role in that city's civic and political affairs. In 1986, he became the first African-American elected to the Georgia General Assembly from Clarke County since reconstruction. During his legislative tenure, he was the only African-American legislator elected from a majority white district.

While serving in the General Assembly, Representative Thurmond authored major legislation that has provided over 100 million dollars in tax refunds to senior citizens and low-income working families.

In 1994, then Governor Zell Miller selected him to direct Georgia's historic transition from welfare to work. He created the innovative "Workfirst" program, which has helped over 90,000 welfare-dependent Georgia families move into the workforce, saving Georgia taxpayers over 200 million dollars. These savings have been reinvested in childcare, training and other support services.

In 1997, he became the distinguished practitioner/lecturer at the University of Georgia's Carl Vinson Institute of Government. On November 3, 1998, Michael Thurmond was elected Georgia Labor Commissioner. Thurmond presently chairs the Martin Luther King, Jr. Georgia State Holiday Commission.

He is awaiting the publication of his second book entitled "Freedom: An African-American History of Georgia," and also serves on the Board of Curators of the Georgia Historical Society.

Commissioner Thurmond is a member of the Ebenezer Baptist Church West of Athens. He and his wife Zola are the proud parents of a daughter, Mikaya.

During his term as Labor Commissioner, Michael Thurmond has:

Led the effort to cut employer taxes by $1.4 billion while increasing weekly unemployment benefits from $240 to $320.

Transformed the state's old "unemployment offices" into modern, state-of-the-art career centers and increased productivity by deploying cutting edge information technology.

Established the Georgia Department of Labor as a national leader in putting the unemployed back to work and in preventing and detecting waste, fraud and abuse.

Early Years

Michael Thurmond was born in rural Clarke County, the youngest of nine children of the late Sidney and Vanilla Thurmond. He graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in Philosophy and Religion from Paine College in 1975 and later earned a Juris Doctorate degree form the University of South Carolina School of Law.
In 1978, Thurmond returned to Athens to practice law and took an active role in that city's civic and political affairs. In 1986, he became the first African-American elected to the Georgia General Assembly from Clarke County since Reconstruction. During his legislative tenure, he was the only African-American legislator elected from a majority white district.

Policy Maker
While serving in the General Assembly, Representative Thurmond authored major legislation that has provided over $200 million in tax refunds to Georgia's senior citizens and low-income working families.
In 1994, Governor Zell Miller called on Thurmond to direct Georgia's transition from welfare to work. He created the innovative "Workfirst" program, which has helped over 90,000 welfare-dependent families move into the workforce, saving Georgia taxpayers over $200 million. Thurmond was elected Labor Commissioner in November of 1998.

Scholar/Author
In 1997, Thurmond became the Distinguished Practitioner/Lecturer at the University of Georgia's Carl Vinson Institute of Government. In 2005, He published his acclaimed second book entitled "Freedom: An African-American History of Georgia."

Personal
Commissioner Thurmond is a member of the Ebenezer West Baptist Church of Athens. He and his wife Zola are the proud parents of a daughter Mikaya.

Thurmond future has a very bright future in the party. He has been mentioned as a candidate for Lt. Governor & that may still be the case. He also is mentioned for other races such as Secretary of State, U.S. Senate, or remain at Labor Commissioner. But if Roy Barnes does not run for governor, it wold not shock me if he ran for governor even though Thurbert Baker has already announced his intentions.

FSA provides direct loans to 2,636 farmers

David F. Laster, farm loan chief for USDA's Farm Service Agency in Georgia, announced that FSA has obligated all of the $173 million provided in the recovery act for its Direct Operating Farm Loan Program, which gave 2,636 farmers —almost 50 percent who were beginning farmers and 10 percent socially disadvantaged producers — direct loans from the agency. There were $8.040 million in loans made to 75 borrowers in Georgia.

"These loans were used to purchase items such as farm equipment, feed, seed, fuel and other operating expenses and will stimulate rural economies by providing American farmers funds to operate," said Laster.

Applications were considered on a first come, first served basis with special emphasis placed on beginning and socially disadvantaged applicants. The maximum loan amount was $300,000.

Here is a hypothetical example of purchases made with a $100,000 direct operating loan: used farm tractor, $45,000; livestock, $18,000; seed, $15,000; fertilizer, $10,000; fuel, $12,000.

The effect of this loan reaches the local implement dealership, sale barn, the grain seed distributor, the fertilizer distributor and a local fuel dealership.

In keeping with the president's goal for the recovery act, this loan funding was intended for proper investment into the agricultural sector, to benefit both family farmers and rural economies. The recovery act was designed to preserve or create millions of jobs throughout the country and these loans help ensure that recipients remain financially viable and local agribusinesses benefit from direct purchases.

Pennsylvania Republican to Switch Parties.

Arlen Spector (R-Pennsylvania) will switch parties & become a democrat says the Washington Post. He will run for re-election in 2010 as a democrat in the democratic primary.
I guess he finally figured that there isn't any room for a moderates in the Republican Party, which is going to the fringes of the party on a whole host of issues. They have gone from conservative to Arch-Conservative in my view, I'm talking the National Republicans.

We may have an open congressional seat in 2010.

With news that Nathan Deal forming a exploratory committee to run for Governor of Georgia, although it will become an open seat & heavily republican, democrats should not give up a chance of taking this seat from the republicans. Possible democratic contenders:
1992 Congressional Candidate & Attorney, U.S. Army Veteran & former State Rep. Wycliffe "Wyc" Orr (D-Gainesville)
1996 Congressional Candidate, Lawyer, Former State Rep. Ken Poston (D-Ringgold). Poston also donated money to the 2008 Obama Campaign.
Hall County Democratic Party Chairman Mike Freeman
Pickens County Democratic Party Chairman David Robinson

Strength & Weaknesses of the Democratic Candidates.

Democrats

Attorney General

Thurbert Baker

Background: Served in the state House (1989-1997) and as Gov. Zell Miller's floor leader; key supporter of the HOPE scholarship program and sentencing repeat felons to life without parole; appointed attorney General in 1997, elected three times.

Issues: Fighting violent crime and consumer fraud, open government.

Strengths: Experienced, knowledgeable; probably the second-best-known candidate for governor; will do well among fellow blacks - who typically compose about half of the turnout in the Democratic primary elections.

Weaknesses: Has not run in tough statewide races; some question whether Georgians would elect a black governor.

What would help: Roy Barnes doesn't run.

What would hurt: Barnes runs; any other Democratic black candidate runs.

Former Gov. Roy Barnes

Background: Served 24 years in the General Assembly before being elected governor in 1998 on his second try. Pushed through removal of the Confederate symbol from the state flag and a requirement that students pass a test before moving to the next grade. Lost to Perdue in 2002.

Issues: Has stressed reform of financial institutions in recent speeches.

Strengths: He has done the job; best-known candidate, vast knowledge of state government; prolific fundraiser, strong ties to Atlanta business community; widely seen as Democrats' best hope for a statewide comeback.

Weaknesses: Long record gives foes in both parties plenty of bones to pick.

What would help: Developments that make GOP-dominated state government look bad.

What would hurt: Teachers and their unions remember Barnes' statements blaming them for problems in Georgia schools.

House Minority Leader

DuBose Porter

Background: Editor and publisher, Dublin Herald; served in state House since 1982; was floor leader for Gov. Zell Miller; served as House speaker pro tem.

Issues: Improved transportation and water planning, more funding for schools and trauma care.

Strengths: Wide support among Democratic state House members; might run well in rural areas; publishes a newspaper, so he can endorse himself.

Weaknesses: DuBose who? (favored by 2 percent in recent statewide poll); will find it hard to bankroll a statewide campaign; long record gives foes in both parties plenty of bones to pick, though they're unlikely to bother unless he moves up.

What would help: President Barack Obama appoints one or more of his opponents to the U.S. Supreme Court.

What would hurt: At 2 percent, he's got nowhere to go but up.

David Poythress

Background: Lawyer and Vietnam War veteran has served as labor commissioner, secretary of state, deputy revenue commissioner and commander of the Georgia Army and Air National Guard; unsuccessfully sought party's nomination for governor in 1998.

Issues: Improving education, transportation, economic growth, air quality and access to health care.

Strengths: Has run statewide agencies; experienced campaigner at statewide level, wide and deep knowledge on Georgia issues; he's not Barnes.

Weaknesses: Despite having held statewide offices, he barely has made a dent in the public consciousness (favored by 4 percent in recent statewide poll).

What would help: President Obama appoints one or more of his opponents to the U.S. Supreme Court.

What would hurt: At 4 percent, he has almost nowhere to go but up.

Former Gov. Roy Barnes is the odds-on favorite for his party's nomination. But there's just one hitch: Barnes hasn't said yet whether he'll run.

He had a big lead over three other Democrats in a statewide Strategic Vision poll last week.

"Should Barnes enter the race, he appears unstoppable for the Democratic nomination," said Strategic Vision CEO David Johnson.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Falcons took 8 in NFL Draft over the weekend.


The Atlanta Falcons selected eight players in the 2009 NFL Draft, which included seven players on the defensive side of the ball. The Falcons also made a trade with Dallas, giving the Cowboys their fifth round (143rd overall) pick in exchange for Dallas’ fifth (156th overall) and seventh round (210th overall) selections.

With the 24th overall selection in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons selected defensive tackle Peria (pur-ray) Jerry from the University of Mississippi. Jerry became the Falcons first defensive tackle selected in the first round since Tony Casillas (Oklahoma) was drafted in 1986. Jerry is also the first player from Mississippi to be selected by Atlanta in the first round and only the third player from the university to be selected in franchise history.

Jerry was a first-team All-America selection by the Associated Press and ESPN following the 2008 season. He finished the year ranked first in the SEC in tackles for loss (18.0), fifth in quarterback sacks (7.0) and tied for sixth in forced fumbles (two). A consensus first-team All-SEC selection, Jerry also helped the Rebel defense rank second in the conference and fourth in the nation in rush defense (85.5 ypg.) last year.

“We are very excited about having Peria on board,” said Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff. “Peria is a big, strong, country guy. He is going to hold the point of attack. He also has the ability to be a one-gap guy and be disruptive behind the line of scrimmage.”

In his Ole Miss career, Jerry totaled 132 tackles (79 solo), 11.5 sacks, 33.0 tackles for loss, three passes defensed, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one interception. He also recorded his first career touchdown on a 13-yard fumble recovery against Vanderbilt in 2008.

“I think (Peria) is a guy that can be very disruptive,” said Atlanta Head Coach Mike Smith. “He creates plays in the backfield. I think that is very important when you have negative yardage plays presented by the defense. I like his work ethic and he did a great job this season at Ole Miss.”

In the second round, the Falcons drafted safety William Moore out of the University of Missouri. Moore finished his career with the Tigers having recorded 284 tackles (182 solo) and 11 interceptions for 162 yards. His eight interceptions in 2007 broke the old school season record of seven by Pro Football Hall of Fame safety, Roger Wehrli (1968). Moore also earned second-team All-America honors from the Associated Press in both 2007 and 2008.

“(William) is a strong safety/free safety which provides a lot of versatility for us,” said Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff. “He is a downhill, blow-you-up kind of tackler. He’s a guy that is very physical on the field, but he also has range. He is a mid 4.4 guy so he has speed for us. This guy definitely brings speed and urgency to our football team and this defense.”

The Falcons continued to focus on the defensive side with the selection of cornerback Chris Owens in the third round (90th overall). The San Jose State graduate started 38 contests and tallied 228 career tackles (132 solo), one sack, seven tackles for loss, 20 passes defensed and 13 interceptions. Owens finished his collegiate career ranked fourth on the school’s all-time interception list with his 13 picks, one shy of the top spot.

In the fourth round, Atlanta selected defensive end Lawrence Sidbury with the 125th overall selection. Sidbury started in 31 of 52 games recording 145 tackles, 20.5 sacks and 38 tackles for loss. His 20.5 sacks rank fourth in school history and his 11.5 quarterback takedowns in 2008 rank third on the school’s single-season records list. Sidbury helped Richmond earn the school’s first NCAA Championship in any sport with a win against Montana in the FCS title game and set a NCAA record for the most sacks in a playoff contest in that same game (four). For his efforts, he was named the Most Valuable Player of the game.

Following a trade with the St. Louis Rams in early April, the Falcons moved up in the fifth round and selected cornerback and Atlanta native William Middleton with the 138th overall pick. As a starter over the last three seasons at Furman, Middleton totaled 186 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, seven interceptions and 15 passes defensed. He graduated high school from Marist, located in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Falcons then traded their 143rd overall selection (fifth round) to Dallas in exchange for the Cowboys’ fifth (156th overall) and seventh round (210th overall) picks. With its second selection in the fifth round, Atlanta selected its first offensive player of the draft, huge offensive tackle Garrett Reynolds. A graduate of North Carolina, Reynolds was a second-team All-ACC selection by the Associated Press in 2008. He has notable size, agility and speed and started the last 26 games of his collegiate career at right tackle. Reynolds was also selected as the ACC Lineman of the Week following a performance against the Miami Hurricanes in 2007.

Atlanta moved back to defense once again in the sixth round with the selection of linebacker Spencer Adkins (156th overall). Adkins saw action in 31 collegiate games and finished his career at Miami (Fla.) having totaled 72 tackles (42 solo), 10 tackles for loss, five sacks and one interception. In 2007, he recorded a career-high 52 tackles. Of the five previous defensive selections, Adkins was the first linebacker taken by the Falcons.

With their final selection in the 2009 NFL Draft, the Falcons selected local collegiate product Vance Walker, a defensive tackle from Georgia Tech. Walker was voted a 2008 first-team All-ACC selection by the ACC Sports Journal after collecting 33 tackles, three sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss. His 8.5 sacks in 2007 is the 12th-highest total for a single season in Georgia Tech history.

AG Commissioner Tommy Irvin announces recall.

Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin is alerting consumers to the recall by Alternative Baking Company, Inc. of Sacramento, Calif. of several types of chocolate chip cookies with code dates of 015 through 036 stamped on the fold of the cellophane package in black

The chips appear to contain milk and have caused reactions in a few children who are highly allergic to milk according to reports to the company from parents of the affected children. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reactions if they consume these products.

The cookies are wrapped and sold individually in retail stores and on the company web site. All of the cookies have date codes 015 through 036 and are 4.25 ounces each. The names of the cookies and the UPC codes are listed below.

• Colossal Chocolate Chip 703741 000178
• Explosive Espresso Chocolate Chip 703741 001014
• Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip 703741 000635
• Double Chocolate Decadence 703741 000628
• Mac the Chip 703741 000352

Consumers may return the cookies with codes 015 through 036 to the place of purchase for a refund or exchange or mail their cookies with the proper codes to Alternative Baking Co., 3914 Kristi Court, Sacramento, CA 95827.

Terry Coleman: What will he do?



I endorsed Colemen for AG Commissioner a while back. There has been alot of chatter that he won't seek the AG post, that he will seek the State Insurance Commissioner post instead. Either way, Coleman has experience in both areas, Agriculture & Insurance.



Here are some of his accomplishments:



Considered one of Georgia’s foremost authorities on state government, Terry Coleman spent 34 years in the General Assembly. Early on he was recognized as a rising star by House leadership and was named over time to chair important committees such as Public Safety, Natural Resources and the Environment, and Ways and Means. He spent a dozen years as Chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee prior to being selected by his colleagues to serve as Speaker of the House.

Mr. Coleman maintains his varied interests and his commitment to good government as Deputy Commissioner for Agriculture with special emphasis on international trade, homeland security and legislative issues. He recently has been named to the Board of Trustees of Georgia Southern University. Beyond Georgia, he serves on the Board of The Tropics Foundation, whose mission is the financial stability of the Tropical Agricultural research and Higher Education Center located in Costa Rica.

A native of Dodge County, he has a BS in Criminal Justice from Brenau University and a JD from Woodrow Wilson College of Law. He has been awarded honorary degrees from Mercer University and the John Marshall School of Law.
He is a lifetime member of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association, the Georgia Chiefs of Police Association and the Georgia Firefighters’ Association. He was a member of the Eastman Volunteer Fire Department for 23 years and an emergency medical technician for 15 years.

Coleman is founder of Coleman and Company Benefits, Inc. He is a Life and Qualifying Member of the Million Dollar Round Table, the life insurance industry’s most prestigious organization. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Bank of Dodge County and the Colony Bank Corporation.

Coleman and his wife Carol have two children and three grandchildren.

Now I could see him running for Attorney General, given his background in Criminal Justice. Just waht will he do? Only he knows.

Nathan Deal for Governor?

U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal , who represents the 9th Congressional District up in north Georgia, may too may enter the race for governor.

Deal’s 12 years in the state Senate have been followed by 17 years in Congress. He was often mentioned as gubernatorial material back in the run-up to 2002.

There’s a meeting of Georgia’s team of House Republicans this afternoon to discuss the matter. Deal’s timetable calls for a decision by week’s end.

Savannah Republican to run for Governor.

ATLANTA, GA- State Senator Eric Johnson of Savannah announced today that he will seek the Republican nomination for Governor in 2010. Johnson intends to file paperwork for his candidacy tomorrow.

Senator Johnson, a longtime Republican leader in Georgia government has named Jamie Reynolds as Finance Chairman for the campaign and Steve Green was designated as Finance Co-Chairman. Derrick Dickey is the campaign’s General Consultant, and Ben Fry serves as Campaign Manager. Dave Simons will continue directing political operations in the coastal region. Doug Chalmers and Randy Evans will provide legal counsel.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

D.A. has concerns about proposed new Drug Unit.


The top law enforcement officer in the Southwest Georgia Judicial Circuit expressed doubt that a local drug squad would be effective under the management organization proposed by Grady County Sheriff Harry Young, Cairo Police Chief Keith Sandefur and Whigham Police Chief Tony Black.

District Attorney Joe Mulholland, (above) expressed his concerns with the proposed city-county drug unit to county commissioners Tuesday.

During a recent planning meeting, which included the sheriff and two police chiefs along with County Administrator Rusty Moye and Cairo City Manager Chris Addleton, Mulholland said he learned that after having been asked to serve on the proposed drug squad’s governing board, the county’s top law enforcement personnel thought it better if the district attorney served merely in an ex-officio role.

“If my name is going to be on the letterhead, I’m going to demand accountability. Otherwise, I’m not going to waste my time. I can’t have accountability without a vote,” Mulholland said.
County Administrator Moye emphasized that nothing had been decided and, ultimately, it would be the two city councils and the county commission who would decide the make-up of the governing board and not the sheriff and two police chiefs.


A South Georgia Tea Party.





There was a large "Tea Party" in Donalsonville Wednesday evening, April 15. It was national income tax day, and there were very few pleased taxpayers at the event with what our governments are doing with our taxes or the amounts taxed.
Even some democrats are outraged by the spending that is going on in Washington. I just hope that there will be no more bailouts of corporations & instead a bailout of regular folks like me.

New candidate for State School Superintendent


Brian Westlake (D) of Decatur has announced that he will run for State School Superintendent in 2010 for the democratic primary. Westlake served 4 years in the U.S. Marine Corps & a active member of the Georgia Association of Educators. He is the only democrat to publicly announced his candidacy. One other Jeff Scott of Chickamauga has expressed interest, but hasn't made any announcements yet.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Article from Congressional Quarterly Politics.

Georgia’s Democrats, who will be trying to reclaim a governor’s office they dominated for well more than a century before Perdue’s first win in 2002, face quite opposite political circumstances. Barnes, the potential favorite for their nomination, is still on the outside, mulling his decision about whether to run.

Referring to Barnes, University of Georgia political science professor Charles S. Bullock III said, “If he were to enter, he would immediately become the Democratic front-runner.”

Bullock’s analysis appeared to be backed by the InsiderAdvantage poll. It showed Barnes leading the Democratic field with 35 percent of the vote. Baker, who has won three elections for state attorney general and is bidding to become the state’s first black governor, ran a distant second at 11 percent. The other two announced candidates were in the low single digits, and 49 percent undecided. Read more at CQPolitics.com.

Barnes’ spokesman Chris Carpenter said the former governor, who practices law in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta, has received encouragement from business and community leaders to wage a campaign, but is still undecided.

“He’s hearing from lots of folks and he knows he’s got to make a decision,” said Carpenter, who added that Barnes will announce his decision “by the end of May.”

Yet even though Barnes’ past experience and name ID might push him to the head of the Democratic field, Bullock added that “it’s not clear that he could win the governorship.”

Barnes had been regarded as a solid favorite for re-election entering his 2002 campaign, but some controversies surfaced up during his term ended up costing him. Many white voters, especially in rural areas, voiced resentment in 2001 after Barnes ordered a redesign of the state flag, which had been dominated since 1956 by a representation of the the Confederate “stars and bars” battle flag. He also angered teachers and weakened his political base by pushing an education overhaul bill that required testing of students and teachers.

Perdue came from behind to defeat Barnes by 51 percent to 46 percent. Perdue won re-election in 2006 much more easily, defeating Democrat Mark Taylor, then the incumbent lieutenant governor, by 58 percent to 38 percent.

Among the candidates already in the field, Baker has by far the biggest political base from his previous statewide campaigns and his ties to an overwhelmingly Democratic African-American constituency that makes up more than a quarter of Georgia’s population.

But Towery of the InsiderAdvantage firm that produced the governor’s race poll said he expects that Baker and Barnes would campaign fairly evenly for support of black voters. “I don’t see Thurbert simply taking the African-American vote,” Towery said.

Political scientist Black also said “it’s not a foregone conclusion” that African-American voters will rally around Baker’s candidacy.

Black and Towery both said Baker’s standing with some African-American voters could be hurt by his strong defense of Georgia’s law that requires state residents to produce a state-issued form of identification in order to vote — a statute that critics say could complicate voting for poorer citizens who do not have driver’s licenses or alternative state identification — and his opposition in 2007 to the release of Genarlow Wilson, who had been sentenced to 10 years in jail for engaging in consensual oral sex with a 15-year old girl when he was 17.

Longtime Atlanta political columnist Tom Baxter, who is now the editor of the Southern Political Report, said transportation issues could give Democrats an opening to take back the governor’s mansion.

“The legislative session ended without any clarity about transportation funding,” Baxter said. “There’s a lot of widespread discontent in the Atlanta metro area with how the legislature has handled things.”

Gubernatorial candidate Porter, who leads the Democratic opposition in the state House, said Georgia Republicans “don’t have the commitment or political will” to address the transportation problems.

DuBose Porter may have said the statement that democrats are going to have to acknowledge:

A rural attorney and newspaper publisher, Porter took his critique further, accusing the Republicans of lacking leadership on education, conservation and health care issues. He said his positioning as a Democratic moderate and ties to both rural Georgia and the Atlanta business community give him an advantage over the other Democrats in the field.

“You have to have rural Georgia to win,” Porter said. “I’m the only one that can bring rural Georgia in a way that’s compatible with the needs of Atlanta.”

Poythress, a former commander of the Georgia National Guard and the first candidate to enter the race, said he considers himself a conservative Democrat in the mold of Zell Miller, a former governor and senator, and former Sen. Sam Nunn. He said he is not worried by the

success of statewide Republicans in the last few election cycles.

“Georgia is fundamentally a very conservative state,” Poythress said. “It is not fundamentally Republican.”

Longtime Atlanta political columnist Tom Baxter, who is now the editor of the Southern Political Report, said transportation issues could give Democrats an opening to take back the governor’s mansion.

Photos of gubernatorial candidates from the gathering up in Oconee County with Oconee Democrats.







Porter to speak to Macon County Chamber of Commerce Tommorrow.

State Rep. & 2010 candidate for governor DuBose Porter (D) will be the featured speaker at the Macon County Chamber of Commerce annual dinner on Thursday at 7:00 P.M. Porter replaces Casey Cagle. who originally supposed to be the speaker at the Banquet. Cagle dropped out the race for Governor last week due to health issues. Tickets are $20 bucks to this event.

New poll from Strategic Vision.

Poll From Strategic Vision: If the Democratic primary for Governor was held today, for whom would you vote, Thurbert Baker, Dubose Porter, or David Poythress? (Democrats Only)
Thurbert Baker 41%
David Poythress 8%
Dubose Porter 5%
Undecided 46%

But with Roy Barnes included in the poll, it has Barnes with 56%, Baker 29%, Poythress 4%, Porter 2% undecided 9%.
But this maybe even more important:

Do you approve or disapprove of President Barack Obama's overall job performance?
Approve 55%
Disapprove 39%
Undecided 6%

Do you approve or disapprove of President Obama's handling of the economy?
Approve 54%
Disapprove 41%
Undecided 5%

If President Obama can remain over 50% here in Georgia going into 2010, that bolds well for democrats & shows that Georgians are not as hostile to the new president as some may have thought.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Olens to run for Attorney General.


Cobb County Commission Chairman Sam Olens (R) will run for Attorney General instead of Governor as some had expected. Also State Senator Judson Hill (R) & Edward Lindsay (R) will run for the post as well.
For the Dems only State Rep. Rob Teilhet (D) has announced. Other possibilities are Albany Circuit D.A. Ken Hodges (D). The one guy who would be a force to be reckoned with for Attorney General is Jim Butler (D) of Columbus (picture on the right). Butler has been active in Georgia Politics for a long time. His record of taking on powerful corporations, etc, would make him the ideal candidate for the democrats for Attorney General. I like Teilhet, but he in my opinion would be better served running as Secretary of State.

Peanut Industry wants help too.



The battered peanut industry has a new message: Peanuts are safe to eat, and there's a law in the works to make them even safer. So have a handful.

With more than 3,400 peanut products recalled in the outbreak linked to Peanut Corp. of America, a rattled public is buying less of them. One analyst puts the economic damage at $1 billion.


The effort by farmers and food manufacturers is part of a delicate strategy: Backing new federal food safety rules to help reassure consumers, while opposing steps they think go too far. It also illustrates a hard lesson learned by groups that find themselves in Congress' crosshairs: It is better to help lawmakers shape regulations than to let others do it for you.


The nation's 10,000 peanut growers get nearly $1 billion a year for their crops, with products like peanut butter and candy generating billions more, according to Stanley Fletcher, a University of Georgia agriculture professor specializing in peanuts.


Fletcher estimates farmers alone could lose $500 million this year from the salmonella crisis, with an additional $500 million lost in overall economic activity. That makes tougher safety standards an easier sell to an industry which might otherwise resist.


"A safer product means higher consumer confidence. Higher consumer confidence means they sell more product," said Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., whose state is the nation's largest peanut producer.


Farmers have gone to Washington to lobby Congress and the Obama administration. They've asked them to buy more peanut butter for federal feeding programs and to change a government program they say is driving peanut prices down. But the main focus is on safety.


"If they really want to protect their industry, they should support tougher oversight," said Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives for Consumers Union.


Everyone's waiting on Roy.

Most political eyes will be turned on ex- Gov. Roy Barnes: Will he or won't he announce for a second term?

Barnes controls the big-money spigot in the governor's race. If he decides that being governor again is not in his future, voters might see as many as a dozen candidates may leap into the contest

If Barnes announces for another term, he would immediately soak up much of the money and pledges that would be available to Democrats. The field of candidates from both parties would shrink considerably.

Another Democrat or two — say, for example, former Adjutant General David Poythress — may stay in the Democratic race as the anti-Barnes alternative. With a solid record of public service, Poythress may find some political hedge cash.

Another interesting footnote: Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond, the first statewide black officeholder to win election as a nonincumbent, might run for lieutenant governor on a ticket with Barnes.

If you believe freelance writer Maria Saporta (and I never doubt her), think about this recent report: "Thurmond, who has strong name recognition across the state and has been a popular labor commissioner, would be able to bring out the African-American vote. And it's likely Thurmond is waiting to get a signal from Barnes."

Thurmond is no Obama when it comes to campaigning, but he is a skilled veteran of both the legislative and executive branches of government. The same forces that triggered a record turnout of African Americans last Nov. 4 would probably go to bat for a Barnes- Thurmond ticket.

Cody named FSA Director.




Freddie Cody of Blakely was named the the new county executive director for Early County Farm Service Agency March 30. Cody has 30 years experience with FSA.

Tennessee Governor to keynote Jefferson-Jackson Dinner


Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen will be the keynote speaker at the Democratic Party of Georgia's 2009 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, the party announced today. The dinner will be held in Atlanta on Tuesday, May 12 at 5:30 p.m.

Bredesen was inaugurated as Tennessee's 48th governor in 2003, running on a platform of accountability and open government. During his first year in office, Bredesen threw open the doors to administrative budget hearings, allowing taxpayers to see for the first time the decisions that are made on how their money is spent. The Governor also established the toughest ethics rules in the history of Tennessee's executive branch. During his first term, Bredesen reformed Tennessee's worker compensation system and invested in programs to recruit new industry and jobs to Tennessee.

"We 're excited to have a strong Democratic Southern Governor to deliver our keynote address this year," said Democratic Party of Georgia Chair Jane Kidd. "As we build our infrastructure and prepare to elect a Democratic governor in Georgia next year, Governor Bredesen is an example of where we can go as a state with Democratic leadership."

The Jefferson-Jackson Dinner is the Democratic Party of Georgia's premier annual fundraising event. This year's dinner will be held at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta on Tuesday, May 12. In addition to Governor Bredesen's keynote address, the party will continue it's tradition of honoring two outstanding homegrown Democratic statespersons with its "Georgia Giant" awards. This year's honorees are Former Governor Carl Sanders and Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin.

News from around the State.

It looks like Vernon Jones (D), a former 2008 candidate for the U.S. Senate maybe looking to run again in 2010. But noone knows if its for Secretary of State or maybe Lt. Governor, etc.
State Senator Tim Golden (D) looks like a go for the U.S. Senate in 2010.
Michael Thurmond (D), seems like a sure bet for Lt. Governor, now the rumor is that he may look at the U.S. Senate seat held by Johnny Isakson, or stay on as Labor Commissioner, or run for another statewide seat such as Secretary of State or Agriculture Commissioner.
Lynn Westmoreland (R) it seems is seriously looking at the governor's race. I hope he does run for governor because he is a ultra-conservative that can easily be defined by a democrat in the general election & will turn off independents.

Milledgeville state representative Parham resigns

Longtime Milledgeville area state Rep. Bobby Parham has resigned his seat in the Georgia House of Representatives to join the State Board of Transportation.

A special election will be held to find a new representative for House District 141, which Parham represented for some 35 years. Rusty Kidd has said he will seek Parham’s old seat, and The Milledgeville Union-Recorder reported that Kidd re-confirmed that decision friday.

Parham joins a transportation board beset by problems. Officials say the Georgia Department of Transportation doesn’t have enough money to complete needed road projects, but Gov. Sonny Perdue and others at the Capitol see deeper problems at the department. They passed legislation this session that took away much of the board’s decision-making power, allowing the governor to appoint a planning director that will have a lot to say about what projects do, and don’t, get built.

“I hope I haven’t put the community into too many ups and downs wondering whether I was running or not,” Parham told The Union-Recorder. “But it’s good to keep politics on the mind because changes can come by quite quickly if you’re not watching.”

Monday, April 20, 2009

‘Zero’ chance of a comeback says Cox.

Just a few years back, a lot of in-the-know people thought Bainbridge native Cathy Cox was destined to become Georgia’s first female governor.

The former high-profile Democratic secretary of state, Cox now presides over Young Harris College in Towns County, raising money for the United Methodist-affiliated school and overseeing its ambitious move from a two-year to a four-year institution.

“I think the good Lord had a hand in this, and I have absolutely loved it,” Cox said of her new life. “It’s nice to be out of the meanness and partisanship that permeates everything in state government today.”

Cox lost the 2006 Democratic primary to former Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor. Taylor subsequently was defeated by Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue, who leaves office next year after two terms.

With the 2010 governor’s race looming, supporters still approach Cox about getting back into the political fray. She would be a great governor, some tell her. The race is wide open this cycle, others point out. She politely tells them she has no interest.

“Is there any possibility she might return to the political stage?” Cox is asked repeatedly.

“Zero,” she tells a reporter during a recent interview.

Cox turned 50 this year. She and her lawyer husband, Mark Dehler, have sold their DeKalb County home and wake up these days in a place free of traffic and laced with mountain vistas. They are just a few miles south of the North Carolina border. The nearest grocery store is about 10 miles away. The nearest mall is more than an hour’s drive.

Marshall, Barrow fundraising numbers.

1st Quarter fundraising shows Congressman Jim Marshall (D-Macon) with $354,000 on hand, with $44,000 raised during the 1st quarter
John Barrow (D-Svannah) raised $167,000 for the 1st quarter with $140,000 on hand.
Both are apart of the DCCC'a frontline program, a program geared to help vulnerable democrats against GO

Four-term Jim Marshall in Georgia 8, who probably won’t face a tough challenge until after redistricting, still has some good insurance, with $354,000 on hand.

Great Analysis from the folks at The Insider Advantage Georgia.

A Republican consultant, not currently affiliated in the race, said, “Barnes concerns me. He’s a legitimate, viable contender. Republicans will be coming out of a brutal primary, a brutal runoff. Our nominee is going to be bloodied and broke. If Democrats face the same thing, we’re all in the same boat. But if Democrats are smart, they’d unite behind somebody.”

And the GOP may have handed Barnes the very issues he needs to run on, the GOP operative continued: “Republicans have played into his hands. He can go out and talk about property taxes, improving education, transportation. Meanwhile, Republicans have sent a convoluted message at the end of this session, with no clear message of what we’re for, and the governor’s offered little vision of where we’re going.”

A Democratic consultant had a completely different view. He, too, is unaffiliated so far in the race.

“Barnes is a great candidate, he can raise a lot of money and he’s a force to be reckoned with. But you’re not looking at a governor coming back from a race he barely lost. You’re looking at a governor who was thrown out by 100,000 votes by a candidate he outspent 10-1. That’s not a formula for a successful comeback. You can’t explain his loss away.”

And so far, it will be no cakewalk to the Democratic nomination for Barnes. There are three other candidates in the race, including Attorney General Thurbert Baker, who is an African-American in a primary in which African-American voters likely will constitute a majority of the vote.

While Barnes has strong relations with the African-American community and still is highly regarded for striking the Confederate battle emblem from Georgia’s flag, there are divergent opinions about how he would fare against an African-American candidate.

“That’s going to be the grand test in a post-Obama world,” said the Democratic consultant. “What does a qualified, competent, well-known African-American candidate do in a gubernatorial race? The answer is, nobody knows because we’ve never really seen it, not even when Andy Young ran (in 1990), because it was a completely different party. You’re now looking at a party in which 50 percent of the vote is black.”

Others, including an African-American leader, contend that Baker has problems among African-American voters because of stands he has taken on law enforcement issues, including the Genarlow Wilson case.

“He (Baker) isn’t reading the tea-leaves right,” the African-American leader said.

The Democratic consultant disagreed. “One of the great myths is that African-Americans are liberal on crime. The truth is, the most conservative attitudes on crime are found among African-American voters. The only time they will turn on you if you’re tough on crime is if they think you’re using it as a racial weapon.”

Barnes, meanwhile, is said to believe he can win the race if he decides to enter it, but that it still will be a hard fight. The calls he’s received from the business community have been instructive, but not necessarily determinative. Cagle’s withdrawal from the race doesn’t change his timetable for making a decision, but Barnes is said to believe that could make the general election race somewhat easier.

Towery added: “Roy Barnes is the toughest politician I have ever witnessed in statewide politics. Absent a true professional as his adversary, my guess is that he could easily roll over a GOP nominee leaving nothing but scorched earth behind him ... Let me warn everyone of this: I would rather have two root canals and open heart surgery than run against Roy Barnes for Governor."

In 2010, Barnes will have been out of office for eight years. But there are many who are anxious to see him run again, believing that, after eight years, the public will have had enough of Perdue’s vaunted “New Day in Georgia.”

This got me thinking, if Barnes does enter the race & it looks more & more likely he will, what will that do to Thurbert Baker & DuBose Porter? I agree that the GOP have given not only Barnes, but other democratic candidates issues to run on in 2010.
More & More I'm starting to get emails from folks hoping that Barnes runs because they think that he is the best candidate to put up against the GOP. I think very highly of Porter & Baker. I don't Poythress that well because he hasn't run statewide since 1998, so the jury is still out on him, but I would also like to see a unified democratic field.
DuBose Porter has waited for this moment for a long time & the only way I see him dropping out of the governor's race & running for Lt. Governor is if he feels it's in the best interest for the party. With the likelyhood of Tim Golden (D) running for Lt. Gov, beoming more & more of a reality, I don't see Porter running against for Lt. Gov at all.
Now I have various scenarios for a possible democratic slate of candidates:
DuBose Porter, Governor
Thurbert Baker Lt. Governor
Shyam Reddy or Darryl Hicks, Secretary of State
Rob Teilhet, Attorney General
Terry Coleman or Alan Powell, Agriculture Commissioner
Michael Thurmond, Labor Commissioner.
Or:
Roy Barnes, Governor
Michael Thurmond, Lt. Governor
Rob Teilhet, Attorney General
Darryl Hicks, Secretary of State
Mary Squires, Insurance Commissioner
DuBose Porter, Agriculture Commissioner
Thurbert Baker, U.S. Senate.
But if I had to say right now on what the slate would look like it probably would be this:
Thurbert Baker, Governor
Tim Golden, Lt. Governor
Rob Teilhet, Attorney General
Mary Squires, Insurance Commissioner
Darryl Hicks, Secretary of State
Terry Coleman, Agriculture Commissioner
Michael Thurmond, Labor Commissioner
Michael Meyer von Bremen (could run for mayor of Albany in 2010) or Jim Butler, U.S. Senate.

You cannot tell me Barnes isn't going to run.

One of the more important political events in south Georgia last week was the 22nd annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Cookout down in Glennville, south of I-16 - not far from the coast.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle was to be the featured speaker. His decision to cancel his appearance at the Thursday barbecue was one of the first hints that he would withdraw from the race for governor.

But look who did show up. These photos were posted on DeWayne and Lori Grice’s blog down in Statesboro:

DeWayne Grice, a Democrat, said Roy and Marie Barnes also showed up at the dedication of the new courthouse in nearby Reidsville earlier that day. Where Cagle was also to appear, but did not.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thurbert Baker has Finance Director.

Ely Abbott director of the law school's fundraising effort will become Thurbert Baker Finance Director for his gubernatorial bid for governor in 2010.

Here's an email sent out by Steven Kaminshine, dean & professor of law at Georgia State University:

Ely Abbott has advised me that he has decided to accept a special opportunity to become Finance Director of Attorney General Thurbert Baker’s gubernatorial campaign. Ely is an old political fund-raising junkie, having served in this arena previously on two congressional campaigns. He found the opportunity to run a potentially historic state-wide gubernatorial campaign too irresistible to pass up. Ely will need to join the Baker campaign and depart the COL by May 1. Until then, Ely will help launch our alumni giving effort through the final three months of the annual fund year, working closely with me and our Senior Director of Development, John Harrison.

Those of you who have worked with Ely over the past two years know what a gem the Baker campaign is getting. Ely is a class act, an incredibly hard worker, and the ultimate team player. He recognizes each day that a successful alumni program is all about relationships, and he has applied his talents to great success to advance the College of Law’s’ alumni program forward in so many important directions.

Greene gets Honor.

Gerald Greene (D-Cuthbert) has been named the 2008 Policy Maker of the year by the Georgia Association for Career & Technical Education. The award is given to legislators who have made a significant contribution to career & technical education. Congratulations to Representative Greene on this accomplishment.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Response from David Poythress.

Former Adjutant General David Poythress, a Democrat running for governor, said, “Casey Cagle would have been a formidable opponent in the general election but we all know that state-wide political campaigns can be volatile. Candidates may come and go, but I’m in the governor’s race until the last vote is counted and expect to be the next governor of Georgia.”

Former Gov. Roy Barnes, another likely candidate for governor, was unavailable for comment.

GOP Dominoes are starting to fall.

Rumor has it that State Sen. Eric Johnson (R-Savannah) will now run for Secretary of State & State Sen. David Schafer (R-Duluth) will now run for Insurance Commissioner now that Casey cagle has dropped out of the Lt. Governor's race.

House Majority Leader Jerry Keen of St. Simons Island, who had passed on the governor’s race months ago, has just scheduled a 10 a.m. Thursday press conference in the state capitol.

Word from the Sam Olens camp is that the withdrawal of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle makes it far more likely that the Cobb County Commission chairman will enter the 2010 Republican race for governor next week.

Cagle Quitting Governor's Race

Breaking news from Insider Advantage Georgia: According to the Insider Advantage Georgia, Casey Cagle is quitting the governor's race. He has scheduled a 1:30 press conference at the capitol. Cagel will instead run for Lt. Governor again in 2010. But he will have opposition as Senate President Eric Johnson & State Senator David Schafer will stay in the race for Lt. Governor.
Now with Cagle out of the gov's race, the republican field is now wide open for anyone to take the nomination. I won't be surprised to see Jack Kingston, who is also rumored to run for governor to jump in as well as Cobb County Commissioner Sam Olens who will make an announcement on friday to jump in as well. And watch out for Lynn Westmoreland who may give it a second look.
For now cagle will run for re-election, but if he does how will that affect the democrats? My opinion is Michael Thurmond may stay on as Labor Commissioner until 2014 to then challenge Saxby Chambliss for the U.S. Senate or run anyway for Lt. Governor, (that is if Roy Barmes does run for Governor).
I do think Tim Golden (D-Valdosta) will run for Lt. Governor. Judging by his actions the past two weeks, he's either leaning toward running or maybe close to running.
Two darkhorse dems to look out for are Cathy Cox, former Secretary of State & Trial Lawyer Jim Butler who has been mum on his intentions.

Barnes has early lead among dems: Cagle leads GOP FIELD.

from The Insider Advantage Georgia: (4/15/09) What’s in a name? Plenty, if the 2010 race for Georgia governor is still more than a year away. A new InsiderAdvantage poll shows that Republican Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and former Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes easily lead the fields among candidates in their respective primaries.

Q: If the Republican primary for governor in 2010 were being held today, who would you vote for if the choices were:

Casey Cagle (28%)
John Oxendine (14%)
Karen Handle (6%)
Austin Scott (4%)
Sam Olens (2%)
Undecided/No opinion (46%)

The poll was conducted April 13 by InsiderAdvantage among 650 registered voters, for a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6%. Respondents were screened for whether they would vote in the Republican or Democratic primaries. All data have been weighted for age, race, gender and political affiliation.

Q: If you were voting in the Democratic primary, who would you vote for if the choices were:

Roy Barnes (35%)
Thurbert Baker (11%)
Dubose Porter (3%)
David Poythress (2%)
Undecided/No opinion (49%)

This question was conducted among 490 registered voters, for a margin of error of plus or minus 4%.

Among Republicans, Cagle’s stature as lieutenant governor clearly boosts him ahead of his nearest rival, Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine. All the more is Cagle boosted by whatever statewide publicity was generated by the recent regular session of the General Assembly.

One might doubt how prominent the legislature’s recent activities made Cagle, but the mystery is lifted somewhat when it’s considered that nearly half of the poll respondents have yet to decide. That means that despite Cagle’s statistical two-to-one lead, the race for the GOP nomination for governor is wide open as the bell rings to get it underway.

Karen Handel earns her 6% largely from the name ID she has in her native Fulton County and environs. Whether top-level support will boost her into serious contention remains to be seen.

On the Democratic side, Roy Barnes’ decision whether to run is the wheel that is turning the cart of the 2010 governor’s race. He has far more name ID than any Democrat or Republican running, and it shows in his numbers. Were he to run, he would be the clear favorite on the Democratic side. The only negative for him is that half of the respondents were unwilling to commit to him – or anyone – despite the knowledge of Barnes they have from his four years as governor.

Thurbert Baker’s chances would seem to hinge on cobbling together a coalition of black voters and those unhappy with Barnes. But black voters, like white and other ones, aren’t paying much attention to the race right now. If and when the time comes, Baker’s race will become more widely known among blacks, and his percentage of the vote would rise correspondingly. If Barnes does not run, Baker could dramatically become the favorite, thanks largely to the huge proportion of blacks that make up the Democratic electorate in this state.

The minimal early support shown for Dubose Porter and David Poythress say less about their qualifications than it does about the relative obscurity that lesser state officials operate under. If Barnes does not run, Porter and Poythress could probably be expected to split the white vote, potentially leaving Baker victorious in the primary.

Marshall: Getting an education is a service to one's country.



MOULTRIE — U.S. Representative Jim Marshall told a packed house of students at Withers Auditorium Tuesday about the value of education and service. His theme was to not drop out of school — that getting an education is actually a service to the country as well as one’s self.


Marshall told the group of high school freshmen and sophomores he realized the need to speak with high school students about education and service about three weeks ago. It was then his son, Robert, said he wanted to join the U.S. Army and get into the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.


When he was a senior in high school, Marshall said he almost went to West Point Academy to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. His father, however, told him not to enroll there if he did not want a career in the military, which he explained to Robert and looked at all of his options.


It was because of that decision that Marshall went instead to Princeton University but did join the U.S. Army while there, serving a tour in Vietnam, he said. It was the decision then after the talk with his own son that Marshall knew he had to speak to his young constituents about their future.


“I couldn’t say at 17 what I would do with the rest of my life,” Marshall said.


Taking the lead from President Barack Obama, Marshall said he found education was the most important issue Obama discussed in his State of the Union address. He believed, like the president, that students need to stay in school, which is beneficial to both the student and the country.


“You’ve got a lot of decisions to make,” Marshall said, “but it’s a big mistake to drop out. You should see this all the way through. It’s not only a failure to yourself but to your country to drop out.”


Along with obtaining an education, Marshall told the students it is also very important to find a way to serve others, whether it be in the military or other avenues. It was through his own military service that Marshall learned about himself and that there is much more out there than what he wanted for just himself, which he passed on to the students.


“It’s not really a me, me, me world,” Marshall said. “What’s important is how people view you. It starts with not dropping out & embracing the idael of service.


After speaking to the students, the students were given a chance to ask Marshall questions, and he received a wide variety of requests. Several students asked him about his political career, including his salary, and about serving in the military, should they decide to enlist.


One student asked Marshall about his position on Iraq and how he felt about talking to students about joining the military and going to war. He said he went to Vietnam voluntarily because he felt it was what he needed to do, and he feels the same way about his son. He would not want his son, or any young person, to get involved in something if he did not think it was a worthwhile cause, he said.


“If democracy doesn’t have the support of its youth and are willing to serve,” Marshall said, “it won’t last.”


One student asked Marshall about our society becoming socialist because more and more people are supporting that kind of move. Marshall said the U.S. will never became a socialist country because history has shown that type of society and economy does not work.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Longtime Dublin resident to seek Porter's House 143 seat.

Attorney Mitch Warnock has announced that he will seek the seat being vacated by House Minority Leader DuBose Porter (D) who is running for governor.

Warnock, 40, has been practicing law in Dublin since 1997.

After more than a decade as an attorney, Warnock said he felt like now was the time to broaden his ability to help others.

I just think there are too many things that are wrong, he said. It seems like the legislature and representatives forget who they work for. Number one, I like advocating for my clients as an attorney. (And) I feel like I can advocate for our residents in Atlanta, and exercise the same good judgment and common sense.

The list of potential candidates is expected to grow in the coming weeks and months, with several prominent Dubliners still debating runs for the soon to be vacant seat

Many of the issues in these types of cases, such as healthcare, transportation, education and jobs, are the kind that the citizens of our district will face, Warnock said. My experience with these issues will serve our district well.

According to the release, he has extensive courtroom experience and represents clients in both state and federal courts. His practice includes contract disputes, insurance claims, property disputes and acquisitions.

Warnock graduated from Charlton County High School. He received a B.B.A. in Finance from Georgia Southern University prior to obtaining his Juris Doctorate from Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University.

.

With degrees in finance and law I am equipped to represent our district, and I will be a faithful steward of our taxpayers dollars during these tough economic times, Warnock said. I intend to use my skills as a lawyer to stand up for the needs of all the citizens of our district.

In 2007, Warnock was elected to the State Bar Board of Governors by members of the Dublin Circuit Bar Association where he served as a delegate. He currently serves as the President of the Dublin Circuit Bar Association.

My work ethic is recognized state wide, and I intend to continue that same dedication as a representative. I'm asking for your support and help in becoming your next State Representative with a promise that I will stand up for District 143.”

Warnock is the son of Barbara and Charles M. Warnock. He and his wife, Karen Carswell Warnock, attend Pine Forest United Methodist Church.

Teilhet may have company for AG. Hodges considers AG run

ALBANY — Ken Hodges of Atlanta, former district attorney for the Dougherty Judicial Circuit, says he is "99 percent sure" he going to seek to become Georgia's top lawyer.

Hodges said in a telephone interview late Saturday that he was close to making a decision to replace Thurbert E. Baker, who plans to run for governor, as attorney general.

"I am very close to making the decision," Hodges said. "I’m probably 99 percent sure I am going to do it. There was no consideration until Thurbert said he would run for governor. I would not have run against him."

Hodges says he has been gauging support from around the state the past few days.

"It’s been very positive so far," he said. "There are other calls to make and people I want to talk with. If it continues as it has so far, I expect to make a formal announcement in the not too distant future."

Hodges was D.A. in Albany for about 12 years before he left for Atlanta late in 2008 to become managing partner of the Atlanta office of Baudino Law Group, a health care litigation firm based in Des Moines, Iowa.

Hodges is in charge of the Atlanta office for Baudino and the recently-opened Albany office.

"I’ll do like I did when I ran for district attorney the first time. I’ll work during the day & campaign at night & on weelends.

Hodges said the attorney general is "an important position."

"You need some have somebody in there that is going to protect the laws of the state and look out for the people.," he said. "I view this as a logical progression from what I did as district attorney there."

Hodges says he was aggressive in his role regarding death penalty decisions.

"The attorney general has to represent state agencies in a civil capacity, and I had done that prior to becoming a D.A. and am doing that now," he said. "It’s an easy transition for me to make."

Hodges noted that he and Baker have always had an "outstanding" relationship and that Baker had endorsed him in his last contested race.

The opening has already attracted several people with interest in the job.

Rob Teilhet of Smyrna, a Democrat, has already announced his plans to seek the job.

Also, State Rep. Ed Lindsey (R-Atlanta) is considering a run for the office.

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