Senator Michael Williams (R-Cumming) was one of the, if not *the*, first elected officials to hitch his wagon to the #TrumpTrain. His loyalty hasn’t earned him a cabinet position, but perhaps he’s banking that the #TrumpTrain will have a stop somewhere over on West Paces Ferry Road.
Earlier this week, Mike Hassinger mentioned how Duane Chapman, a.k.a Dog the Bounty Hunter, has been hounding Georgians to back Senator Williams’ SB 254 that (as of legislative day 38) is stuck in committee.
It’s been speculated that the Senator is aspiring for higher office of some sort. The “some sort” has been assumed to be governor, but nothing concrete…until this picture from yesterday afternoon popped up on Facebook:
Today is the day when the counties who didn’t host their county conventions earlier to hold them. With the train wreck change in leadership in the Cobb County GOP last weekend, we’ll see what today holds. To those who will be attending today’s precinct mass meetings (those under 80K, like my home county of Walker, will have them both today) and county conventions across our great state, this may be apropos:
As I mentioned in a previous post, “a few” counties were holding their county conventions this past Saturday. Among those were Cobb and Bulloch Counties who saw respective conventions change out the leadership.
Former 11th District GOP Chairman Jason Shepherd won his challenge against incumbent Cobb GOP Chairwoman Rose Wing who beat Shepherd in 2015 for the position. According the Political Insider at the AJC, he and the ticket he led worked to unify the #LIBERTY folks and the Donald Trump faithful to promising to “Make Cobb Red Again”…or something. Seems like odd bedfellows, but good luck with that Cobb GOP. I have a feeling this will be a preview of coming attractions…
Although it’s not “official” yet and has declined to comment on it, Secretary Kemp has been dropping hints and his on-going battle against the federal Department of Justice regarding hacking claims against the Georgia Secretary of State’s office under the Obama administration has kept Kemp’s name in front of the eyeballs of potential voters. From the AJC:
“I am uniquely positioned to understand the challenges you face when it comes to running your business and, most importantly, having to deal with government red tape,” he said in recent remarks to the National Federation of Independent Businesses. “There are too few business-minded people in office, and you can see how that impacts our government.”
The 2018 GOP gubernatorial field will be crowded with speculation that Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, Speaker David Ralston, former Congressmen Jack Kingston, Lynn Westmoreland, current Congressmen Doug Collins and Tom Graves may jump into the fray. With the legislative session drawing to a close fairly soon, expect other announcements to drop.
There was a time in recent Georgia history when it was impolite to talk about the concept of “Two Georgias”. There was the thriving and growing Atlanta – the economic engine of the state.
Then, there was everything else. The “Other Georgia”. The people that could see the writing on the wall. The people who knew their rural grip on power was slipping. The people who could see that economic and population trends were shifting against them. The people who liked things the way they were, but knew times were changing whether they liked it or not.
With the assistance of UGA professor and Georgia political master Dr. Charles Bullock, we believe the term was popularized during the administration of Governor Joe Frank Harris by the late Doug Bachtel. “Two Georgias” was not a term of endearment. It was, in essence, perceived as a threat to those at the Capitol that they were spending too much time courting the favor of the business interests of Atlanta, and not the greater population that lived outside the area.
As most folks know, the GAGOP convention cycle is here. Counties with over 80,000 in population have already held their precinct mass meetings, and the bulk of counties will hold their conventions next weekend. However, a change in the call allows for counties to change the date and time of their convention within a certain window, so there are a smattering of counties who have chosen to do it prior to next Saturday. Check with your local GOP to see when and where.
Since this is a year we elect new leadership, I believe it’s an obligation of chairmen of both county and district Republican Party organizations to allow declared candidates, or their surrogates, for the state GOP chairmanship be allowed to address the convention if they so desire. It’s especially important since it’s at the county convention where delegates to the state convention are elected.
I have heard from a friend of mine who is a surrogate for Michael McNeely that at least one county chairman, Ron Johnson in Jackson County, won’t let other candidates or surrogates, other than his preferred pick of John Watson, address the county convention. Although, I’m sure that my friend will have the ability to talk to delegates and alternates at the county convention during recesses (it is a public meeting), I believe it does the county convention a disservice by not allowing other candidates or surrogates to address them and present their ideas to grow the Georgia Republican Party in a more formal manner.
As a county chairman and now as district chairman, I have tried to be fair when it comes to elections and give candidates equal billing when I could. County and district chairmen should work to give access to candidates for their local Republicans so that they can make an informed decision when voting for chairman. I believe it’s the right thing to do.
Former Secretary of State Karen Handel continues to hold a lead among the Republican contenders with 17.98% of those polled. Former Johns Creek City Councilman Bob Gray is in 3rd place with 13.42%, former State Senator Judson Hill with 7.98% landed him in 4th place, 5th place: Amy Kremer with 3.05%, 7th place: Former State Senator Dan Moody with 2.11%, and 8th place: Bruce LeVell with 0.45%.
Over a third of those polled (33.9%) are still undecided.
Another interesting tidbit of data is the first question that they asked the poll respondents: their approval of Donald Trump’s job as president so far. Over half of likely voters (51.47%) responded that they approved of the job the President was doing, 41.18% disapproved, and 7.35% had no opinion. In a Republican district, that can be quite concerning. It’s also why we’re seeing the NRCC targeting Ossoff early on by seeing what they can hang on him. It’s also something that Senior Strategist at Trafalgar noticed:
Cahaly also stated, “We’ve already seen outside play a major role. Last week the Congressional Leadership Fund, (GOP) SuperPac, placed a 7-figure media-buy attempting to knock Ossoff off of his lead, and it appears to be working. Their theory in this game of Congressional special election Whac-A-Mole, is to hit the leading Dem enough to set an all-Republican runoff, but not so much that another Dem is elevated enough to contend. So far the Congressional Leadership Fund folks appear to be exceptional whackers.”
With just a little over a month before the election, we’ll see how variables in DC (including the continuing drama of President Trump, the newly released Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, and the general sentiment of Washington) will play in the GA-06 race. At this point, it may end up in a run-off between a Republican and a Democrat.
Congressman Barry Loudermilk (R-GA-11) has quietly left the House Freedom Caucus according to the Political Insider over at the AJC. He assures that it’s not because of political differences. In fact, he still agrees with a lot of their ideology. From the AJC:
“I don’t disagree with the principles and the ideas of the Freedom Caucus, it’s just I felt that I could actually take my principles and values and help lead on the Study Committee at this point,” he said.
“I ran out of time. And until somebody puts in a bill that extends the day from 24 to 48 hours, there’s only so much I can do,” he said in an interview.
It seems that Congressman Loudermilk wants to focus his energy where he can make the most impact and apply his conservative principles. I’m sure that there will be calls of #RINO and questioning the Congressman’s conservative reputation, but I believe it’s more about being an effective congressman.
So, hearing that former Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA-01), who was a surrogate for the President during the 2016 election, was hired by CNN as a part-time political commentator was somewhat surprising (fake news!!!). Here’s the presser sent out by Kingston’s office posted below the fold:
US Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) praised the appointment of Stefan Passantino as deputy assistant to the president and deputy counsel by President Donald Trump. From a press release:
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today congratulated Stefan Passantino and applauded his appointment to the position of deputy assistant to the president and deputy counsel by President Donald J. Trump.
At the White House, Passantino will focus on compliance and ethics matters.
“The incoming president has made a very wise choice in his decision to appoint Stefan Passantino, a great Georgian who over the course of two decades has earned a reputation for excellence in advising corporations, elected officials and political organizations on ethics and compliance issues,” said Isakson, who is one of Passantino’s clients and who serves as chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics. “This is a win for our country and a win for Georgia. From his work as special assistant to the Georgia attorney general to his legal advice to the state Republican party and to my own campaigns for U.S. Senate, Stefan brings a depth of knowledge and dedication to service that few could match.”
Passantino has served as Isakson’s campaign counsel for more than 10 years as well as counsel to the Georgia Republican Party. Passantino is leaving his role as a member of Dentons’ public policy and regulation practice and head of the firm’s political law practice. He is an expert in state and federal election law, political contributions, pay-to-play, state and federal lobbying laws and ethics issues. He has been recognized by Washingtonian Magazine as one of the “Best Legal Minds in Washington” in the field of campaign and election law every year since 2011.
Stefan also served as the 14th District GOP’s legal counsel. We are incredibly proud of Stefan’s service to our Party and this well-deserved appointment. On behalf of the 14th District GOP, I wish him luck in Washington.