Sonny Perdue and Tom Price To Stump For Karen Handel

Republican Karen Handel has had some high-profile visitors to help her campaign to become the Congresswoman from Georgia’s 6th District including Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

This weekend, according to the AJC’s Political Insider, Georgia’s own Sonny Perdue and Tom Price will be featured guests at a campaign rally for Handel this Saturday at 9:30a at the Peachtree-DeKalb Airport.

As the AJC points out, cabinet members are allowed under the Hatch Act to engage in political activities as long as they aren’t using their official titles…hence, “special guests”.

With a tight race, the appearance of both Perdue and Price at the GAGOP-sponsored rally is a campaign push to help energize the Republican base of the suburban Atlanta District before next Tuesday’s election:

But this one holds a more local flair for voters of the suburban district. Price won the seat in 2004 and notched commanding victories every two years until Trump tapped him as his health secretary. Perdue, now the agriculture secretary, was elected in 2002 the state’s first Republican governor since Reconstruction.

Tom Price was popular in his district.  He and Handel are friends, but he hasn’t dipped his toe into the race since his appointment by President Donald Trump.  The visit looks to capitalize on that popularity as the big push comes to get Handel over the finish line Tuesday night.

Lessons from the Convention (and how we failed the test)

After three rounds of votes by over 1500 delegates (though the number lessened to 1420 by the third round), the delegates to the Georgia GOP State Convention elected John Watson as Chairman. The final round came down to Watson and Alex Johnson.

After the final vote, I immediately sought out the candidates or their campaign staff for quotes. Unable to find Mr. Johnson at first, I asked Brandt Frost V to either text Alex and ask for a quote or give me one himself in whatever role he played in the campaign. This was the quote I was given (emphasis mine):

“Alex cut 76 votes, or more than half off his margin of defeat in 2015. The fact that a political outsider with no party office almost upset the party’s favorite son, shows the level of discontent with the party’s internal decision making.” 

Continue reading “Lessons from the Convention (and how we failed the test)”

Ossoff: I Was For Debating Handel As Much As Possible Before I Was Against It

So is Jon Ossoff now afraid of debating Karen Handel as much as possible or just afraid of how he will look on CNN? 

That’s the question to ask now that he’s ducking a tete-a-tete with Handel. Ossoff won’t agree to participate in the Atlanta Press Club debate, scheduled to be broadcast on CNN. (Really, dude? EVERYONE does the Press Club debates…maybe you’ve forgotten that in D.C.)

You, dear reader, will recall that Ossoff proposed six debates with Handel. For some reason, the venerable APC series was deemed beneath Ossoff. (Spare me the tripe of wanting only debates moderated by “the metro Atlanta press corps”).

This also follows a barrage of attacks from Ossoff acolytes against Handel for not agreeing to the upstart Democrat’s first debate proposal.

At the end of the day, Ossoff now is afraid of debating Handel; plain and simple.

Michael Williams Will Aim for Governor in 2018

Donald Trump has entered the 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary. Well kind of. State Senator Michael Williams announced his run on Thursday. And it looks like he will base a large part of his run on his connection with the man on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Michael Williams is someone who supported Donald Trump before it was socially acceptable to support him. He’s a second-term senator from Forsyth County who hasn’t made too much of a name for himself at the state capitol yet, but he did have the foresight to see that Trump would do well in Georgia and beyond. He is always quick to remind us that he was the first elected official in Georgia to endorse Trump. He even ran a robocall back in February saying as much.

Williams has been publicly flirting with a run since the beginning of the year. He seemed like a good bet to run for Secretary of State for a while, but he has since turned his attention to West Paces Ferry (the SOS race looks to be more of a House affair anyway).

Williams has a high bar to climb. He’ll have to beat out establishment favorite Casey Cagle and fellow Trumpite Brian Kemp. He’s already gone at it with state Senator Hunter Hill on Twitter about who loves the Donald more. If he beats the odds and wins the primary, he’ll most likely face Stacey Abrams or Stacey Evans, two Democratic women who will have strong anti-Trump messages to attack him on.

Williams has a considerable amount of money from owning a chain of Sports Clip barber shops. He used his fortune to unseat incumbent Jack Murphy when he first won his Forsyth County state Senate seat in 2014. But he’ll have to spend a lot more or draw off a pro-Trump network if he is going to defeat Cagle and company. As the GOP primary fills up, candidates will likely begin plotting strategies to end up in one of the two runoff spots in the summer of 2018. Williams has a lot of votes to earn before then.

But rest assured. At the very least, he’ll have the support of Dog the Bounty Hunter.

I Like Mike (McNeely)

I won’t be in Augusta this weekend, but if I were a delegate, I would proudly cast my vote for Michael McNeely to be the next chairman of the Georgia Republican Party.

Michael has worked his way up through the ranks of the Republican Party to become 1st Vice Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, so I believe he has the understanding of what challenges counties face when trying to grow the grassroots.  He has also worked diligently on minority outreach through his work as chairman of the Black Republican Council.

The Georgia Republican Party is facing a tough challenge in 2018 of defending the seats held by Republicans.  We need a someone with the talent and temperament to not just help bring our Party together but to also help communicate the Republican message of smaller, responsible government to a changing demographic in Georgia.  I believe Michael is up to that task.

If you’re a delegate to the Georgia Republican state convention, I urge you to cast your ballot for Michael McNeely on Saturday.

This endorsement is a personal one made by me and does not reflect the thoughts and opinions of other contributors on GeorgiaPol.com.

A #GAGOP Resolution That May Actually Be Productive

Next weekend, Georgia Republicans will flock to Augusta to elect new officers, hobnob with candidates for statewide office, and pass resolutions (as well as other things).  Some resolutions are to honor those who are no longer with us, but a lot of times they are a statement of principle or to “send a message” to elected officials.

Sometimes they make good fodder and get picked up by the press, especially those that chastise an elected official, but most of the time they get forgotten a couple of weeks after the final gavel of the convention falls.

On occasion, we see resolutions that look to change the operation of the Party.  A resolution submitted to the GAGOP Resolutions Committee by the Georgia Young Republicans looks to do just that.

Continue reading “A #GAGOP Resolution That May Actually Be Productive”

About That “Draft Westmoreland” Campaign….Nevermind

Lynn Westmoreland has withdrawn his name from a list of potential candidates for the 2018 Governor’s race.  We were just forwarded this statement:

“After much prayer and consideration, Joan and I have decided that I will not be a candidate for Governor in 2018. While I am humbled by the kind words and encouragement that we have received from so many over the last few months, I think the best contribution that I can make to our state is outside of elected office. I’ve always thought of public service as a noble cause and it was truly an honor of a lifetime to represent so many hard working Georgians for so many years in both in the legislature and then later in congress. I look forward to doing all I can to support the Republican nominee for Governor and the entire Republican ticket in 2018.”

Just this week House Speaker David Ralston also indicated he’ll be running for re-election, and not seeking the Governor’s mansion. That’s two high profiled candidates down, with Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, and State Senator Hunter Hill officially in the mix. Maybe a few others have announced (I’ve been busy). Y’all discuss who this helps, and who still may get in the mix in the comments.

Getting To Know The #GAGOP Chairman Candidates – Part 3: John Watson

This is part 3 in a series. You can read the responses of Alex Johnson and Michael McNeely from last week.

Nathan Smith (GeorgiaPol.com): Tell me a little about yourself. (e.g., where you live, what you do outside of politics (professionally and hobbies, if you will), etc.)

John Watson: Born in Virginia, I began accruing my Georgia credentials after marrying my wife Kimberly, a Cobb county native. We have two daughters, ages 16 and 14, and a girl dog named Georgia. Needless to say, the only “guy time” I get is when I go hunting on the weekends. I’ve spent my life career fundraising, managing political campaigns, and helping elect Republican candidates – and I’d be honored to continue doing so as Chairman of the Georgia GOP.
Continue reading “Getting To Know The #GAGOP Chairman Candidates – Part 3: John Watson”

Setting The House On Fire Doesn’t Help Drain The Bathtub

Social media has been active with questioning the motives and the person behind the anonymous emails and website “Drain the Georgia S.W.A.M.P.”  S.W.A.M.P. being an acronym for “Spenders Without Any Moral Principles”.  The website and emails (there have been five so far) have targeted those of us who have served on the Georgia Republican Party executive committee condemning us for not doing anything to address the financial situation of the GAGOP.  Of course, they forget that a number of us did call for a special executive committee meeting to discuss our financial situation back in February 2016.

Yes, the GAGOP should have more money in the coffers for a state our size.  The GAGOP also competes along with PACs including one who wants you to “donate” money to fax letters to Members of Congress to revive a bill to prohibit Members to solicit donations over the phone while in session.  Yes, the GAGOP didn’t do a bang up job of fundraising to replenish the coffers over the past few years and exhausted the bubble of cash from the beginning of the current decade.

The next Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party has a tough road ahead.  A single person won’t fix the problems we have in the Party, but they’ll lay out a vision to guide the party for the next two years.  A lot the the work to “fix” the problems will require cooperation from the factions currently at war with each other.  That means growing up, putting on the big boy pants, and not hiding behind “anonymous” websites lobbing grenades at leaders.

Continue reading “Setting The House On Fire Doesn’t Help Drain The Bathtub”

Five Georgias: Atlanta’s Urban Core

This week’s Courier Herald Column. This is the third installment of this series. You can track back to the beginning starting with the previous installment here.

In this, the third in a series explaining the regions that make up Georgia’s political factions, we’re going begin to take a look at each region one by one, beginning today with Atlanta’s Urban Core. For purposes of review, the other regions are Suburban Atlanta, The Mountains, South Georgia, and Coastal Georgia. This is an exploration into the economic and cultural forces that enable each region to form political coalitions as no individual region has dominant power to stand alone on any legislative matter.

We’re going to start with Urban Atlanta to help illustrate what we’re not talking about with respect to dividing lines, in order to later help illustrate where those lines likely are. The Urban Core is a land of haves and have nots. It encompasses neighborhoods that are among the most prosperous in the state. It also has Georgians suffering from some of the state’s worst poverty. The majority of the region is non-white, but there are many neighborhoods that are mostly white.

Because of all of these differences, there was quite a bit of feedback from last week’s column suggesting that this region should be further divided. Such division may be in Urban Atlanta’s future. But for now, this region elects almost exclusively Democratic legislators in a state where Republicans are dominant. It remains one region not because of its political power, but for lack of it.

This is not to say that the Urban Core lacks political power. The political power in this region lies in the economic engines contained within, and the Republicans’ belief that local control is nearly infallible. Continue reading “Five Georgias: Atlanta’s Urban Core”