Governor Nathan Deal seems to be making a conscious effort to actively engage with African Americans and Young Adults / Millennials, two voter demographics for which the GOP is generally considered to lack appeal. The Governor made two back-to-back campaign stops Tuesday night to address a few voters from these groups, Young Professionals for Deal and Political Cocktails.
While Young Professionals for Deal was an event affiliated with the Deal campaign, Political Cocktails was hosted by Cory Ruth, a young African American businessman in Atlanta and a former candidate for US Congress and the Fulton County Commission’s 3rd District. This event saw a good number of prominent African American business owners, entrepreneurs and community leaders in attendance. The Governor answered questions from the attendees on minority-owned small business growth, jobs, school choice and criminal justice reform.
Governor Deal’s stances on school choice and criminal justice reform drew a lot of positive feedback from his audience. Last week, Deal announced his support for exploring the adoption of a state-wide charter school district similar to Louisiana’s Recovery School District. Eric did a break-down analysis of what this model could look like in Georgia. Moreover, a recent poll conducted by the Economics of Education Policy Center at Georgia College and State University shows that African American support for School Choice programs in Georgia is slightly higher than that of the rest of the state (especially among lower and middle-income African Americans).
As far as Criminal Justice is concerned, a recent Atlanta Daily World article notes black incarceration rates have dramatically fallen (19% for males and 33% for females) under Governor Deal’s tenure.
Do you think the Governor’s efforts to engage with African Americans will pay off come November? If not, what will it take from him to win over a significant amount of the African American voter base in Georgia?
Governor Bobby Jindal (R-Louisiana) was in the Peach State today to headline a fundraiser for the Republican Governors Association at the Georgian Terrace Hotel in Midtown Atlanta. After Governor Nathan Deal introduced Jindal as a “dear friend” from his congressional days who was “smart enough to get out of there (Congress) early, he praised Jindal for his commitment to school choice and education reform in Louisiana.
Following Governor Deal’s remarks, Governor Jindal expressed his admiration for Governor Deal’s leadership in Georgia, particularly in economic development, criminal justice reform and education.
Jindal also commended the work of the Republican Governors Association in other states, particularly Florida where he praised Governor Rick Scott for his leadership and called Charlie Crist, “just another flip-flopper who has been everything from Republican to Independent to Democrat.”
Senator Jason Carter vowed his support today for a Medicaid expansion plan that’s even more expensive than the one offered by President Obama. The so-called “Private Option,” adopted by Arkansas, would saddle taxpayers with higher costs and limit patient access to quality care.
“Despite Obamacare proponents’ claims, the Medicaid expansion ‘deal’ Arkansas struck with the federal government is an unmitigated disaster,” said Jen Talaber, Deal campaign spokeswoman. “In fact, the Arkansas legislature had to vote five times before narrowly agreeing to continue to fund expansion this year. Billed as an alternative to ‘traditional’ Medicaid expansion, the plan provides no meaningful flexibility, no true private coverage, and higher costs for taxpayers now and well into the future.
“Worse, Arkansas is responsible for all cost overruns. So much for claims the federal government would foot 100 percent of the bill. The Private Option is already so over-budget, some projections show the program costing tens of millions above federal spending caps this year alone.
“In order to cope with the price tag and balance the state budget (something Washington, D.C., doesn’t worry about), Arkansans must choose between tax hikes or cuts to education and public safety.
“Coverage doesn’t equal access to care. Senator Carter is doubling down on a broken system. Many health care providers won’t see Medicaid patients because it reimburses them below the cost of care. Under the Carter plan, our most vulnerable populations will compete with hundreds of thousands more people for those limited number of slots.
“Senator Carter also criticizes any discussion of Obamacare’s harmful longterm effects as “the worst of Washington politics.” In reality, Arkansans are the ones living with the worst of Washington politics, and patients and taxpayers paying the price. We’ve only begun to see the consequences of this costly mistake. It is one that Georgians can’t-and won’t-repeat.”
Former Justice Leah Ward Sears says she doesn’t think Governor Deal can issue an executive order to give Georgians with seizure disorders the ability to legally use an oil based form of marijuana.
She says it’s because gubernatorial executive powers appear limited in the Georgia Constitution.
“And it seems to me that this kind of thing would be invading the province of the legislature, and I don’t think the executive can do that.”
But Ward Sears says it’s possible something can be done through a state agency.
“Perhaps. He would have to get with his lawyers and get with the agencies. He’d have to be very creative, but creative things often pass muster, maybe an experimental pilot project. There might be other things in other state laws that allow a governor to do something temporarily.”
Don’t get me wrong, I fully support HB 60, which expands gun rights in the Peach State, but passing that measure while stalling on medical marijuana is just the latest example of poor messaging that continues to plague Georgia Republicans.
An InsiderAdvantage survey of 486 voters in Georgia has Governor Nathan Deal trailing Democrat Jason Carter in the race for governor, with Carter at 41% and Deal at 38%. The survey’s margin of error is 4.3%, which means the two are statistically tied in the poll. This is the fourth survey InsiderAdvantage has conducted recently in the race. All of the surveys have shown the race as extremely tight.
While I’m not exactly a fan of our Governor, his record on the Second Amendment in Congress wasn’t terrible. He received an “A” from the National Rifle Association in 2010, his last year in Congress, and a score of 91% from Gun Owners of America, a group that bills itself as the “only no compromise gun lobby in Washington.”
With that said, however, the Associated Press noted back in April that Deal’s office “worked quietly with opponents [of pro-gun bills] to make their concerns known.”
There were several good pieces of gun legislation introduced in the last session. But the failure to pass SB 101 is, perhaps, the most interesting story. Read more
Governor Nathan Deal pulled the plug Wednesday on efforts to move the state’s various regional referendums to fund localized lists of transportation projects. While the bill would have affected all votes statewide, the bill was designed to spur participation in the Atlanta region. The 10 county area contains roughly half the state’s population and a gridlocked transportation infrastructure. It also casts the future of North Georgia’s transportation future in doubt, a region which has lacked a coherent growth plan since Governor Purdue killed the northern Arc to fulfill one of his earliest campaign promises.
Local polling suggests that the proposal may have as little as 30% support in the Atlanta region, though most were taken prior to developing the targeted projects list or before the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce has initiated an expected campaign to promote the benefits of infrastructure improvements to both the region and the state as a whole.
Opponents, however, have wasted no time in launching opposition to an extra one percent sales tax, with Georgia’s TEA Party Patriots and Atlanta TEA Party leaders mobilizing efforts to persuade legislators to block the measure. A compromise was reached on moving the TSPLOSTs to November 2012 by the Governor agreeing to push for all other future local referendums to be held on the November general election date as opposed to either special elections or summer primaries with thin participation. While Senate leaders signed on to the compromise, House Speaker David Ralston indicated his members feared that stepped on the concept of local control, and that they would need more time to reflect on the issue.
They now have plenty of time, as the bill has been suspended from further consideration. Legislators will now try to finish their work on passing new Congressional district maps by Saturday, and then adjourn until January.
What’s next for the transportation referendums is less than certain. Read more
One of the oldest axioms of government is that “all politics is local.” Elections are generally won or lost on issues that directly affect voters where they live, work, and spend. The more recent trend, however, is to “nationalize” elections, moving politics at every level to a team sport. Voters are told they either want Hope and Change or must put their Country First. They either support radical socialism or TEA Party extremism.
Partisanship now trumps policy, and the politics in Washington D.C. sets the tone for most political races all the way down the chain to the local level. There was hardly a Georgia Republican candidate that could afford direct mail during the last election who didn’t link his Democratic opponent to Barack Obama. It’s always interesting watching a candidate for county tax commissioner discuss how he’s going to stop Obamacare, or to defend his pro-life views. Yet voters identify with these issues as litmus tests, and choose to judge the character of those seeking office based on core issues they understand. It is, after all, easier than actually learning what a tax commissioner or clerk of court actually does, or how the individuals running for these offices have capabilities to perform these functions.
A problem exists within this form of identity politics in that Washington is famous for great speeches, full of sound and fury, which signify nothing. An entire D.C. career can be made by being against anyone and everything without ever crafting a single piece of legislation. The legislative branch of government requires only strong opinions, without even a hint of skill required to implement policy as is required by the executive branch.
In Washington, we have now witnessed the culmination of hyper-partisanship combined with a lack of executive experience. The two parties are gridlocked on every major issue of the day, and it now appears whatever “compromise” will be worked out, it may be too little to avert a downgrade of U.S. debt. The unquestionable full faith and credit of the United States Government is about to be questioned.
Larry Sabato, the political guru from the University of Virginia, summed up the situation this weekend saying “For anybody who teaches the American system & believes in it, this has been an extremely discouraging week.” And, in all realities, it has. Read more
Stocking up for his 2014 re-election bid, Gov. Nathan Deal has reported raising $559,425 during the first half of the year.
After expenses, Deal disclosed Friday night to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission he had banked $421,139.
The $559,425 includes an estimated $200,000 the GOP governor collected at a June 16 reception in Savannah.
Most of the total was rounded up after April 14 — when the General Assembly adjourned.
“If you figure he basically had a couple of months to do it,” said University of Georgia political science professor Charles Bullock, “you’re looking at about $275,000 a month.
“That’s pretty good in a non-election year. This far out from the election, it’s impressive.”
Bullock and other experts say such early fundraising by new office holders gives them a leg up over potential challengers.
“It might dissuade some people from running,” Bullock said. “If you’re some Democratic senator no one outside your district knows and have to spend millions to get known statewide, you might say, ‘Oh, my gosh.’’’
A couple of weeks ago, the state of Georgia’s budget was so tight that there was no other choice to save money than to eliminate one of the remaining employees at the State Ethics Commission and cut the salary of the Commission’s director 30% to $85,000. The fact that Stacey Kalberman had prepared subpoenas to investigate ethics complaints filed against Governor Nathan Deal was just an unfortunate coincidence.
Today, Georgia is flush with cash again. AJC reporter Aaron Gould Sheinin is reporting that a scheduler for former Governor Sonny Perdue, Corinna Magelund, has been promoted to the state’s mental health ombudsman, doubling her salary from $53,000 to $107,000. The Governor’s office is adamant that her relationship with Deal campaign advisor and now Deputy Chief of Staff Brian Robinson had no part in her promotion, despite the fact that Magelund has no background in mental health. The AJC story indicates that Robinson and Magelund are dating.
Magelund, now earning over six figures, has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Valdosta State. Kalberman, who Deal’s supporters argued was living above the wages of average Georgians, has a law degree from Emory with over 10 years corporate law experience. While Kalberman was told to accept a pay cut from $120,000 to $85,000 or resign, Magelund’s new salary is $25,000 higher than that of the person who last held the job, Jewel Norman. Norman has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology.
The Deal leadership team continues to demonstrate political tone deafness when it comes to public perception of their actions. At the root of this problem are trust issues, but ones not originating from the public, but from within. Read more
Even according to many of his critics, Governor Nathan Deal had an excellent first legislative session of the General Assembly. He managed to walk a fine line of appealing to his partisan base with immigration reform, while demonstrating he could be bi-partisan in solving problems, as he did with House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams and reforming the Hope Scholarship. He has been joined at the hip with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to address problems of traffic, Savannah Port expansion, and making sure the Atlanta Public School System maintains its accreditation. His signature legislation to jumpstart development of reservoirs to buttress North Georgia water resources sailed through the legislature with little discussion or fanfare.
Critics were few. And then came May.
On the Thursday prior to the state convention, Fox5 Atlanta investigative reporter Dale Russell ran a story on Governor Deal’s Daughter-in-law Denise Deal working as a fundraiser for the Governor’s campaign. She did so under the company Southern Magnolia Capital, whose publicly available information did not identify any relationships with Deal. Russell’s report made no charges of illegal or even unethical behavior, but the Governor’s office responded with a rookie mistake. Fox5 reporters were banned from the bill signing ceremony for immigration reform the next day, with two Georgia State Patrol officers denying Fox’s reporters access on camera.
Instead of trumpeting legislation important to the Republican base, the next 24 hours of news cycle was dedicated to a rookie mistake made by the Governor’s staff as the story went national. Worse for the governor, it quickly unwound much of the goodwill he and his administration had fostered with the Captiol press corps. The scent of fresh blood in the water was still strong when Deal was booed the following day in Macon as he made his case for his pick for GOP Chairman. Hours later, his candidate was defeated.
June is not faring much better for the Governor on a public relations front. Read more
Yesterday, Governor Deal announced preliminary findings in the review of reports of farm labor shortages throughout South Georgia. Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and Labor Commissioner Mark Butler estimate that there are 11,000 employment opportunities currently unfilled, with the duration of those jobs range from one day to several months.
The first proposed solution to fill the labor gap is to explore outreach to the state’s base of probationers.
Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner Brian Owens estimates that there are 100,000 probationers statewide, with 8,000 in the core Southwest region of the state. Probationer status equates to some sort of jail or prison record, and thus means more difficulties finding employment. The Governor’s office reports this group faces a 25% unemployment rate, as employers are often reluctant to hire those without a clear criminal background.
Deal calls the matching of unemployed probationers with farmers needing labor “a great partial solution” and further stated “I want to encourage Georgia’s agriculture community to continue working with Commissioner Black. In the meantime, Commissioner Butler will continue to publicize the availability of agricultural employment opportunities and Commissioner Owens will work to potentially fill jobs on farms.” Read more
Newt Gingrich returned from his summer vacation cruise to find that almost his entire campaign staff had resigned, including his Georgia headquarters team and his frontline personnel in Iowa. It was yet another blow, perhaps a terminal one, to a campaign that has not caught a positive break since it began at the Georgia Republican convention less than one month ago.
Gingrich managed to stop the public hemorrhaging by lowering his profile and getting out of the country for more than half his official time as a candidate. His decision to seek sun and solitude instead of doubling down on lackluster fundraising efforts is being frequently cited as a key source of frustration that motivated the staff exodus.
For his part, Gingrich says his campaign will begin anew this weekend in Los Angeles and that he will appear in a debate in New Hampshire on Monday. Georgia and national pundits, however, have already written an obituary for Gingrich 2012. Gingrich and his remaining supporters may find solace in the 2008 campaign of John McCain, also written off as viable when he had to slash most staff and traveled to and from events solo, flying coach.
For now, however, Gingrich’s severe troubles are presenting opportunities for other candidates. Read more
Try to forget for a moment that the Presidential election is in 2012, and the next scheduled election for Governor of Georgia is in 2014. After all, we’re dealing with the logic of someone who believes is it more dangerous for you and your soul to buy alcohol at a store on Sundays then take it home to drink, rather than to drive to a restaurant, drink there, then drive home.
Such is the logic of Christian Coalition President Jerry Luquire, who has decided that since Herman Cain has flubbed a few questions on foreign policy, he should be running against antichrist Governor Nathan Deal rather than Barack Obama.
At the heart of the issue is the notion that Deal isn’t conservative enough. As a Democrat early in his congressional career, he voted for some programs that rankle social conservatives. And during his gubernatorial campaign last year he expressed some openness to legalizing casino gambling, a position he later retracted.
What about Cain’s views on those issues?
“I have no idea where he stands,” Luquire said. “I know where Mr. Deal stands.”
Please discuss the brilliance of replacing someone you don’t agree with on your issues with someone you don’t know how they stand on your issues in the space below.