Category: Primaries

Kemp: SEC primary means road to White House runs through South

The so-called SEC primary now has six states holding their presidential primaries on March 1, 2016. is reporting that Arkansas is the latest state to join Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s effort to give the South a larger voice in choosing the Republican and Democratic White House candidates.

Arkansas joins Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Other Southern states holding primaries around the same time next year are Louisiana (March 5); Mississippi (likely March 8); Florida and Missouri (March 15); South Carolina (Feb. 20); and Kentucky (possibly May 17).

“It is now clear that the road to the White House runs through the South,” Kemp said in a statement.

The SEC primary has also spawned a website,, reportedly the work of young Alabama Republican Jordan Doufexis, and a companion Twitter feed, @SECPrimary, with almost 300 followers.

Will an SEC Primary Take Away the Power of Blue State Republicans?

This morning, Nate Cohn of the New York Times Upshot tries to answer the question asked by many Tea Party leaning Republicans in southern states: Why does it seem that the GOP presidential candidate always ends up being a moderate, rather than a ‘true conservative?’ And, he finds some interesting data about the power of the GOP in the states won by President Obama:

But the blue-state Republicans still possess the delegates, voters and resources to decide the nomination. In 2012, there were more Romney voters in California than in Texas, and in Chicago’s Cook County than in West Virginia. Mr. Romney won three times as many voters in overwhelmingly Democratic New York City than in Republican-leaning Alaska.

Overall, 59 percent of Romney voters in the Republican primaries lived in the states carried by President Obama. Those states hold 50 percent of the delegates to the Republican National Convention, even though they contain just 19 percent of Republican senators. Just 11 percent of House Republicans hail from districts that voted for President Obama.

The article, which is well worth reading in its entirety, talks about the difficulties a conservative such as Ted Cruz or Mike Huckabee would have trying to win the presidential nomination, especially because Republican voters in states represented by and large by Democrats tend to be more moderate than those from the south.

It concludes by bringing up Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s effort to organize an SEC Primary, which would let the states with SEC schools, along with some others, vote on March 1st, 2016–the first date states other than the traditional four early primary states can have a primary election. The goal is to give the redder GOP states a bigger voice in selecting the party’s nominee.

In a Sunday AJC story by Greg Bluestein and Kristina Torres, Kemp says he’s aiming to have Georgia influence the choice of nominee.

“We’re on the national map, and that’s really what we wanted,” said Kemp, who next week will update his colleagues and brainstorm on how to move ahead with the plan while attending a national conference in Washington. “We wanted the candidates to know this was going to happen: The SEC primary is going to be a happening event. And our voters here will be able to participate in that process.”

Already, supporters say they are seeing ripple effects. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a potential GOP candidate who won Georgia’s 2008 primary, visited Georgia last week to meet with voters. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, another potential contender, met with Republican-leaning business leaders and donors last week in Atlanta. And state Republican officials expect a slew of presidential candidates at the party’s May convention in Athens.

Would an SEC primary succeed in nominating a more conservative candidate for president? Perhaps, but as the AJC story points out, that will depend on whether voters in the SEC Primary unify around a single candidate, or whether they split their votes among several candidates.

Widow Of Calvin Hill Endorses Wes Cantrell

Wes Cantrell, who is facing Meagan Biello in a Republican primary run-off race, earned the support of the late Calvin Hill’s wife: Cheryl Hill. From a press release:

CANTON, Ga. — Wes Cantrell, Republican candidate for Georgia House District 22, received the endorsement of Cheryl Hill today. Mrs. Hill is the widow of the late Representative Calvin Hill, who previously represented House District 22 until his untimely passing in late 2013.

“The main reason I decided to run for this office is because of the legacy of Calvin Hill. I became very concerned after the special election that Representative Hill’s legacy was not being fulfilled,” said Cantrell. “I want to lead in the same way that Calvin Hill led – as a representative that people respect and enjoy working with to find solutions to the issues facing Georgia. That’s why it is extremely gratifying and humbling to have the endorsement of Calvin’s widow Cheryl, and of his children Matt and Amanda.”

Cheryl Hill expressed her excitement at supporting Wes Cantrell and his campaign. Hill said, “I am honored that Wes looks to my husband as a guiding light for his actions while serving us. I know Calvin always had the best interests of this district at heart, and I feel confident in supporting Wes because I know he will lead the same way.”

The endorsement from the Hill family comes on the heels of Cantrell garnering the most votes in the primary on May 20, despite campaigning for a quarter of the time his two opponents did. Hill’s support follows the endorsements of Representatives Michael Caldwell and Scot Turner, and State Senator Bruce Thompson – all representatives of Cherokee County in the state legislature.

Cantrell continued, “I want this district to once again have the representation it has come to expect from its public servants. My promise to the Hill family, and most importantly to all families in House District 22, is that I will honor that legacy of public service. I don’t take any support for granted, and I will continue to visit with as many residents as possible.”

The Republican Runoff in Georgia will take place on July 22. Wes Cantrell garnered 38.01% of the vote in the three way primary on May 20.

Col. Oscar Poole Rebukes, Recants, and Repents

I received an anonymous tip this morning telling me to check out Oscar Poole’s Facebook page (Col. Poole is the owner of Poole’s BBQ in Gilmer County and is known across). I did and saw this:

Poole's Recant

Col. Poole has rescinded his endorsement of former Dalton Mayor David Pennington, denounced Phil Neff’s remarks concerning Speaker David Ralston’s late father, and endorsed both Governor Nathan Deal and Speaker Ralston. That’s a pretty deal…especially when we’re less than a week away from primary election day. Have both the Pennington and Snider (or anti-Ralston) campaigns gone too negative to recover?


Perdue Hints at a Tax Increase?

There are two words no candidate should ever utter in any campaign, especially one as tight as next week’s GOP Senate primary: tax increase.

But front-running David Perdue may have done just that during a meeting with The Macon Telegraph’s editorial board.

As reported by The AJC’s Jim Galloway, a Telegraph board member asked Perdue whether it would be better to get out of the economic “ditch” by cutting spending or increasing revenue.

“Both,” Perdue said.

The questioner then said, “And that’s a euphemism for some kind of tax increase, of course.”

Perdue answered:

“Well here’s the reality: If you go into a business, and I keep coming back to my background, it’s how I know how to relate is to refer back to it — I was never able to turn around a company just by cutting spending. You had to figure out a way to get revenue growing. And what I just said, there are five people in the U.S. Senate who understand what I just said. You know revenue is not something they think about.”

Perdue spokesman Derrick Dickey later said the candidate was talking about growing the economy in general.

Here’s an audio transcript of the entire meeting. The exchange is around the 49-minute mark.

Secretary Of State Says Candidate’s Contest Is Illegal

Chip Flanegan, Republican candidate hoping to unseat incumbent Republican Congressman Lynn Westmoreland in Georgia’s 3rd District, has a contest on his website. He’s not giving away a gun, but rather $10,000 cash for folks who take his “simple ten question survey”. The only problem is, the Secretary of State’s office has said that Mr. Flanegan could be committing a felony. From WBRC-TV:

“Each question is worth $1,000 and two of them are really throw away questions. It doesn’t matter how you answer them so we will give away at least $2,000 to whoever the lucky winner is. The whole reason we are doing this is to get people to know the candidates and that is at the top part of my card,” Flanegan said.

But a spokesperson with the Georgia Secretary of State said Flanegan’s contest is illegal because of the following language from a state law OCGA 21-2-570.

“Any person who gives or receives, offers to give or receive, or participates in the giving or receiving of money or gifts for the purpose of registering as a voter, voting, or voting for a particular candidate in any primary or election shall be guilty of a felony.”

Flanegan insists that he is not breaking the law and has said that the Federal Election Commission does not prohibit contests.

Ten Georgia Sheriffs Endorse Gingrey

Ten Georgia sheriffs announced their endorsement of U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey in his U.S. Senate bid on Thursday.

Here’s a list of the endorsements: 

  • Neil Warren – Cobb County
  • Tim Burkhalter – Floyd
  • Johnny Moates – Polk
  • Jud Smith – Barrow
  • Mike Yeager – Coweta
  • Gary Gullege – Paulding
  • Clark Milsaps – Bartow
  • Homer Bell – Candler
  • Terry Langley – Carroll
  • Phil Miller – Douglas

New Group Sends Out Mailers Against Sam Moore, For Meagan Biello

We were sent images a couple of mail pieces by a reader one juicy attack piece against Representative Sam Moore and in support of Meagan Biello. The mailers were sent out by The Georgia Coalition for Job Creation and was formed in early April according to the Secretary of State’s office. Are folks close to Speaker Ralston driving this organization, or could be some independent folks who are concerned about a representative who would rather destroy his colleagues to make a point rather than working to make substantive changes for Georgians? We’re not sure, but maybe we’ll find out after the primary. We’ll for sure find out how successful they are on May 20th.

Feel free to make your own speculations in the comments.

Deal Gets NRA Seal of Approval

The NRA – arguably the nation’s most influential and effective single-interest organization – has released its scorecard for the upcoming Georgia primaries.

Gov. Nathan Deal received an A+ from the NRA, while his primary opponents, John Barge and David Pennington, received a question mark.

The NRA also released its list of endorsements for state House and state Senate races.


Kingston Announces 39 North Georgia Endorsements

Jack Kingston’s campaign for U.S. Senate today released the names of 39 North Georgia elected officials who have endorsed his candidacy.

The list includes state legislators, sheriffs, county commissioners, and municipal officials.

::Update:: The list of North Georgia endorsers can be found here. A similar list of South Georgia elected officials released on Monday can be found here.

RCP Says Georgia Governor’s Race a Toss Up

Real Clear Politics says Georgia’s gubernatorial contest is now a toss up between incumbent Nathan Deal and Democrat Jason Carter.

It looks as if the site isn’t counting on an upset in the upcoming GOP primary, in which Deal is being challenged by state school superintendent John Barge and David Pennington.

A Survey USA poll cited by the website has Deal at 41 percent over Carter’s 37 percent, which is somewhat of a thin margin for an incumbent, this far out from November.

Former Newt Aide Launches TV Ad in Georgia 1st District

Former Newt Gingrich aide John McCallum, a GOP candidate in Georgia’s First Congressional District, launched an anti-Obamacare TV ad on Tuesday.

“As a result of Obamacare, millions of Americans have seen their policies cancelled, premiums increase, and choices disappear,” said McCallum. “This big government boondoggle is Washington’s latest attempt to apply a one-size-fits-all solution to every challenge facing America … At the end of the day, Obamacare has got to go.”

Release Your Tax Returns, Handel Says

On the same day that her first TV commercial hits the airwaves, Georgia U.S. senate hopeful Karen Handel called on the other Republicans in the race to release their tax returns from the last five years.

“Throughout her career, Karen has been a leader in ethics reform and government transparency,” says campaign manager Corry Bliss. “In an effort to promote government transparency, The Handel for Senate Campaign is making available the last five years of Karen’s tax returns and challenging all other US Senate campaigns to do the same today.”

While as secretary of state, Handel’s campaign says she set limits on gifts to employees (including herself); established a nepotism policy to address cronyism; and required a one-year “cooling off” period before employees could take lobbying positions with companies seeking to do business with the agency he or she worked for previously.

Nosy reporters can check out her tax returns at her campaign office.

Morals, Medicaid, and Middle Ground

Moral Mondays has organized a petition to be delivered to the Governor today at 5pm regarding the expansion of Medicaid.  My church, Northside Drive Baptist Church, made the decision to be a part of this organized petition delivery/ protest via a vote per church council, on which I have the privilege of sitting.

The video of Dr. Warnock’s call to action may be found here.

He is the Senior Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church.

I’m not big on moral arguments, and it would appear that Dr. Warnock is not either.    But, sometimes the issue has both moral and measureable arguments.  I will speak to the economic arguments. Read more