“That’s actually less than he spent on bumper stickers and lapel pins in the first month-and-a-half of his campaign. Sounds like Hayworth really could use some of that free government money he hawked in his infomercial.”
Last week, Charlie Cook gave us the following bit of gossip:
A fellow who oversees lobbying in all 50 states for a major corporation recently told me about a certain Republican U.S. senator up for re-election in 2010, someone generally regarded as fairly conservative who might face a serious challenge from a very conservative fellow Republican. The incumbent has not been tainted by scandal, has never embarrassed himself by making a major mistake, is highly regarded in Washington, and is considered a very effective senator.
Blake Aued of the Athens Banner-Herald’s blog speculates that Cook may have caught wind of a brewing battle between GOP Rep. Paul Broun and Sen. Johnny Isakson:
Team Broun denies that their man is looking to move up. But Broun recently hired a new chief of staff and communications director – giving him a three-person press team, unusually large for a back-bench congressman – and has ambitions to become a national figure. And one usually reliable source told me that Broun has already informed Isakson he’s coming after him in 2010.
This sounds like it could be pretty plausible — Broun never endeared himself to the Georgia GOP establishment, and had to endure a primary challenge in 2008, so he may be just the kind of guy who’d be inclined to move on up in a fratricidal primary. A notoriously controversial dude, Broun may just be nutty enough to actually do this.
Rick Goddard is a retired general running as a Republican against Democrat Jim Marshall in GA-08. Bill Gillespie is a retired Lt. Col. running as a Democrat against Republican Jack Kingston in GA-01. The Republican party is pouring cash into the GA-08 race, and Marshall is having to fight for political survival. In GA-01 the national Democratic party has done nothing, zip, nada. If you realize Jack Kingston is chief propagandist for the Rpublican party, you might think kicking Kingston out would be as important as keeping Marshall in.
Georgia news media are finally catching on to five military veterans are running for Congress as Democrats this year. This is old news to bloggers (dailykos, like getting the newspaper six months in advance!). Here’s somebody finally connecting the dots:
In Georgia, at least four of the 2008 “Band of Brothers” (Bobby Saxon, Bill Gillespie, Bill Jones, and Doug Heckman) are running uphill battles against Republican incumbents (Broun, Kingston, Price and Linder, respectively). If any one of them (especially Saxon) received the type of national party support that the GOP is giving to veteran Rick Goddard to oust Democratic Party Congressman Jim Marshall, these districts could become competitive.
Add to this the five to one ratio of retired military officers running as Democrats rather than Republicans, and think about what that means about political sentiment among the military and military families and towns with military bases, of which there are four major ones in GA-01. Add to that the massive Obama GOTV, especially in GA-01. Bill Gillespie polled more votes in his primary than Kingston did in his. Bill has twice debated Kingston and fought him to a draw. Gillespie is on the air with his TV ads, and Bill Gillespie can beat Jack Kingston.
There’s still time, DCCC, swingstate project, openleft, dailykos! If RCCC can do it for Rick Goddard, you can do it for Bill Gillespie.
Polls have closed in Georgia as of about 40 minutes ago. We’ll be using this thread to track the results for the GA-Sen (D), GA-10 (R), and GA-12 (D) primary elections.
Results: Associated Press
[Update by Crisitunity]: If you’re looking for county-by-county results, here are the Georgia SoS pages for each of the three big races: GA-Sen, GA-10, and GA-12. They might also be a smidge faster than the AP.
For GA-12, the county to watch is Chatham (home of Savannah). This is where Thomas lives; she has to post huge numbers here to have any hope. Also watch Richmond (home of Augusta), where she’s mostly unknown; if she’s running even or close there, it’s probably a good sign too.
For the Senate primary, the state’s population centers are Fulton, De Kalb, Cobb, and Gwinnett counties. Vernon Jones’s power base is De Kalb, so look for big numbers for him there.
7:57PM ET: With 1% reporting, Martin holds a 41-32 lead over Jones. Over in GA-10, with just a handful of precincts reporting, Broun holds a big 76-24 lead. No numbers yet from GA-12.
9:04 ET: Things are becoming pretty clear in the House races. In GA-12, with 36% reporting, Barrow has 80.5%, Thomas has 19.5%. One caveat: no votes reported yet from Chatham County, where Thomas is from. But she’s way down everywhere else, so this one looks DOA. In GA-10, with 45% reporting, Broun has 73.5%, Fleming has 26.5%. Looks like the local GOP establishment wound up with egg on their faces over this one.
Shades of an upset in the making in the Senate primary? With 23% reporting, Martin is in the lead, with 39.3%. Jones would make the runoff, with 35.5% reporting. Lagging behind it’s Cardwell at 14.8%, Lanier at 5.5%, and Knight at 4.9%. Bear in mind, though: no votes from Fulton or DeKalb counties, so the Atlanta area hasn’t weighed in yet.
10:00 PM ET: In GA-Sen 57% are reporting. The Atlanta area votes are starting to come in, and Jones has pulled into the lead, with 38%. Martin is close at 35%; it’s pretty clear they’ll be in the runoff together. (Cardwell is 3rd at 16%.) Jones is up big in DeKalb and Clayton counties (black-majority burbs), but Martin is holding even with Jones in Fulton (Atlanta) and Cobb, so that bodes well for Martin in the runoff.
AP has called GA-10 for Broun, 72% to 28% with 86% reporting. GA-12 isn’t called yet, but Barrow is up 76% to 24% with 62% reporting. Thomas is even with Barrow in Chatham and getting swamped everywhere else, so this one’s over too.
11:05 PM ET: OK, we’re about done here. AP has called GA-Sen (runoff between Jones and Martin) and GA-12 (Barrow). As more Atlanta area ballots come in, Jones is a little further ahead at 41%, with Martin at 34%. Interestingly, Jones did better in black-majority downstate counties (like Chatham (Savannah) and Dougherty (Albany)) than in DeKalb, indicating that maybe the more people know him, the less likely they are to vote for him.
A few other minor notes: Jim Marshall won his primary in GA-08 easily, beating Robert Nowak 86% to 14%. The winner of the GOP primary in GA-12, who’ll get flattened by Barrow in November, is former congressional aide John Stone, who escaped a runoff by winning the three-way race with 59%. And the closest primary challenges were actually the lowest profile ones (the ‘you supported Clinton!’ ones): in GA-05 John Lewis got 68% against Markel Hutchins (17%) and Mable Thomas (15%). In GA-13 David Scott got only 64% against Donzella James (36%); Scott faces off against Deborah “The Defrauder” Honeycutt’s vast resources in November.
Another month, another round of elections. Let’s check in with all the races worth watching.
- AL-02: A runoff will be held here for the GOP nomination for the seat of retiring Rep. Terry Everett. Jay Love, a state representative from the Montgomery area, lead Dothan-based state Sen. Harri Anne Smith by a 35%-22% margin in the first round of voting. Republicans in DC have closed ranks around Love, but Smith is not going down without a fight, and has released a series of blistering attack ads against Love over tax hikes and — in a possible preview of Democratic attacks to come — using the words of Gov. Bob Riley to hit Love for being tied to “Big Oil”. GOP division? I’m loving it.
A source close to the campaign of Democrat Bobby Bright says that some in the campaign believe that Smith would be the more formidable opponent, but I suspect that Love’s strength in suburban Montgomery might give him the extra edge he would need in a general election match-up. We’ll see.
- AL-05: The GOP fell just shy of avoiding a runoff for the nomination to contest the seat of retiring Democrat Bud Cramer, with insurance executive and ’94/’96 candidate Wayne Parker scoring 49% to businesswoman Cheryl Baswell Guthrie’s 19%. Baswell Guthrie’s campaign has quite clearly run out of steam, and I don’t expect that Parker will have any difficulty dispatching her in the runoff.
- GA-Sen: The Democratic primary to take on GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss is a bit of a mess. To run down the cast of characters, you’ve got: DeKalb Co. CEO Vernon Jones, a controversial and self-proclaimed Bush Democrat with the worst kind of personal baggage; Dale Cardwell, a former Atlanta broadcast journalist, pole-sitter, and all-around weirdo; businessman and scientist Rand Knight, who has impressed some on the stump but has not raised any significant cash; Josh Lanier, a former senatorial aide and Vietnam vet who is taking a hard-line stance against campaign fundraising; and former state Rep. Jim Martin, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for Lt. Governor in 2006 but is the only candidate in the race who has raised any significant cash.
Jones would clearly be a disastrous choice for Democrats, and I think he’d hurt Democratic candidates both up and down the ballot if he somehow wins the nomination. Indeed, the most recent poll of the race shows that Jones is in the worst position of all the candidates in a head-to-head match-up with Chambliss. However, his name recognition is high and he’s the only African-American candidate in the crowded field, so chances are that he’ll at least make the run-off, which will be held on August 5th.
- GA-10: Another nutty GOP primary. Many Republicans have not abandoned their distrust of Rep. Paul Broun, who was elected in a run-off last summer over the much better-known state Sen. Jim Whitehead with the help of crossover votes from Democrats. Unsurprisingly, Broun has picked up a challenge from state Rep. Barry Fleming. Crisitunity explains:
The inference that Broun isn’t a ‘real’ Republican because Democrats helped him beat the establishment candidate is laughable, as Broun has one of the most conservative records of all House members. But Broun has established himself as more of a libertarian-leaning maverick, so the local GOP would probably prefer to see a more housebroken representative. Democrat and Iraq War vet Bobby Saxon awaits the victor, although this is an R+13 district where the GOP has to be favored.
Much like the Cannon-Chaffetz race in Utah, this is one pits an ultra-conservative against another “almost as” ultra-conservative.
- GA-12: For many in the netroots, this is the big event. Crisitunity frames the race as follows:
This is the primary that has garnered the most netroots attention (if a bit belatedly). While this race turns primarily on the demographics of GA-12, there’s also an ideological component, as John Barrow is one of the most conservative Democrats in the House… and unlike the other most conservative House Dems, he’s in a D+2 seat and doesn’t have the excuse of a deep red district.
State Senator Regina Thomas from Savannah is challenging Barrow from the left. Thomas is African-American and Barrow is white; this is significant in a district that’s 45% African-American and where at least two-thirds of the Democratic electorate is African-American. While that might seem to give Thomas an inherent advantage, most of the local political figures (and some national figures, including Obama) have endorsed Barrow, and Thomas’s money situation is a mystery (we’re still awaiting her first FEC report). Her main impediment is simply low name recognition, especially in Augusta, the other city at the other end of the district. Her strategy seems to be to focus on word of mouth via black churches to get the word out, which will be interesting to see if it works in the face of Barrow’s big bank account.
Regardless of who wins the primary, this should be a likely hold this cycle, as the Dems face third-tier Republican opposition (either former congressional aide John Stone or former radio talk show host Ben Crystal). This district has been very competitive at the general election level since its creation, though; Barrow won by only 864 votes in 2006, although that’s largely because he was facing Max Burns, the previous GOP representative that Barrow unseated in 2004.
We should find out Thomas’ pre-primary fundraising soon. If it turns out that most of her money raised is from Democrats.com, then I’d be concerned about her viability.
Pretty interesting observation from CQ Politics. Four veterans, three of whom fought in Iraq, are all running as Democrats in four different districts in Georgia. (And actually, First Coast News shows there are five, not four.)
The five are:
First Coast News has more on the candidates.
“When you add all of the guys up together, we’ve probably got close to 75 years of combined military service,” said Bill Jones, a former Air Force officer from Marietta who is planning to launch a campaign this week against Rep. Tom Price of Roswell. “I’m excited about the idea of veterans stepping up and representing the Democratic Party.”
Along with Jones, 53, an Air Force Academy graduate and former commercial airline pilot who is now an executive at a technology firm, the candidates are:
— Doug Heckman, 48, of Norcross, a West Point graduate and former Army colonel who served as a senior adviser to the Iraqi military in east Baghdad in 2006 and 2007. Heckman is trying to unseat eight-term Rep. John Linder of Duluth.
— Bill Gillespie, 44, of Tybee Island, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who was a senior logistician during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Gillespie is challenging eight-term Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah.
— Bobby Saxon, 46, of Nicholson, an Army veteran and Georgia National Guard major who served with the 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq in 2005. Saxon, who runs a software consulting firm, is challenging freshman Rep. Paul Broun of Athens.
— Bud Gammon, 57, of Rome, an Air Force Academy graduate and pilot during the tail end of the Vietnam War. Gammon, now a commercial airline pilot. Gammon is running against three-term Rep. Phil Gingrey of Marietta.
And since we live in the reality-based community, and not the pie-in-the-sky one…
Despite public dissatisfaction with the war, Democratic veterans have not fared well as congressional candidates. In 2006 only a handful won seats, including just one Iraq veteran, Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania — despite the party’s boasting that more than 50 veterans were running.
Let’s keep that in mind before going overboard with optimism.
Still, it is rather interesting that so many Iraq War vets are returning home and running for Congress as Democrats, isn’t it?
Now, for those that have issues outlined on their webpages, I do like what I’ve seen so far, for the most part. I’m under no illusions that these are Democrats running in the reddest of red districts, and in Georgia, no less. We shouldn’t expect “liberals”, and if you really want to apply those kinds of litmus tests, then here’s a gun for you to shoot yourself in the foot.
But on the major issues, and on what the Republican Party now stands for, these people get it.
Gillespie said Republicans are trying to capitalize on emotion and patriotism while ignoring the huge costs to the military.
“They are playing the politics of fear, and Americans are tired of it,” said Gillespie. “We’ve been training Iraqi forces for five years. I do not believe the Iraqis cannot stand up and defend themselves.”
Aside from Iraq, the candidates say Georgia’s Republicans — among the most conservative in Congress — are too partisan and, as a result, ineffective.
Heckman, who compares his politics to that of former conservative Democratic Sen. Sam Nunn, says his opponent, Linder, has done little over a 16-year career other than push for a long-shot “Fair Tax” plan to eliminate the IRS and shift to a consumption tax.
“He’s written a couple of books and it’s been a profitable endeavor for him … but can anybody name anything this guy has ever done?” Heckman said, referencing Linder’s books with conservative radio commentator Neal Boortz.
Heckman, especially, is really trying to draw contrasts between himself and incumbent John Linder. I don’t think many Kossacks will be enamored with Heckman’s calling for a Balanced Budget Amendment, but his explanation for it is a pretty good one, focusing on what we’re doing to our children.
The new budget – the Fiscal 2009 budget – has been submitted by the President and is already in deficit by over $400 BILLION dollars. Unacceptable. Collectively, we can not do this to our children. Or to rephrase, we can, but SHOULD not. The bill will come due someday. Current politicians know they will probably be gone by then. I say stop it NOW.
Heckman, while saying he’s “generally” a free market kind of guy, does talk about the uneven playing field, and highlights China as a prime example. He also chides Linder for not believing in man-made global warming.
Bill Gillespie still has a bare bones issues page, but one thing that caught my eye was his calling for the repeal of No Child Left Behind. Reminds me of Jon Tester calling for the repeal of the Patriot Act. No fiddling around with it at the borders, just repeal the entire damn thing. And the environmentalist in me is intrigued by his “South Georgia Alternative Energy Initiative”.
Saxon talks about providing all Georgia children with healthcare, and making it affordable for everyone else. Reminds me of what a certain presidential candidate is saying…. He also calls for more Alternative Energy industries working with our top research universities in creating green jobs and making our country more energy independent.
Gammon and Jones don’t have an actual issues page set up yet, so I can’t comment on those.
All in all, yes, these are going to be pretty ridiculous longshots for the Democrats, but this is Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy in action. Challenge EVERY seat, no matter how red, with credible candidates. And these veterans are most certainly credible.
In the all republican election to fill Charlie norwoods seat, Paul Broun has an oh so slim lead over whitehead, Norwood’s heir apparent. Broun managed to win 90% of Clark county, the fighting tenth’s democratic stronghold. In the first special election held on June 19th (oh discordia!) Broun took a good chunk or Clarke away from democrat Marlow. While Broun was probably able to 90% because of support from democrats as the lesser of two evils and support from moderate republicans, it shows there might be a window. It might be tough if he gets a base in Clarke, but if we can get a stronger candidate in ’08, and can make the race a clear republican versus democrat thing, we can take back Clarke county. If Broun turns out to be too liberal for the tenth, then there might be a republican primary. In such an event, with Broun either defeated by a more conservative republican, or forced to the right, we could win.
The folks over at Tondee’s Tavern are saying that Democrat James Marlow has conceded the race for Georgia’s 10th Congressional District. But if you look at the statement they actually link to, Marlow doesn’t quite do that. Rather, he says:
We will watch as the final official returns come in, and once all of the votes are in, we will make an assessment about whether further action is appropriate.
That’s because state law permits Marlow – who trails Republican Paul Broun by 187 votes in the official count – to seek a recount so long as the margin separating the two is less than 1%. Right now it’s 0.4%, but that number is only likely to increase, given that the few outstanding precincts are almost all in counties which favored Broun. And no matter what the final tally, there’s no reason to believe a recount could make up the difference.
Ultimately, this is a pretty frustrating outcome, given that two other lesser-known Democrats in the race took 8% between them – more than enough to have put Marlow comfortably in second place. Then again, an overall Dem performance of 28.3% is pretty appalling, given that even John Kerry managed to take 35% in this district. (Of course, in a low-turnout special election, this isn’t much of a surprise.) So even if Marlow were to advance to the run-off, it’s difficult to envision any way in which he could win. Repeating that Hackett magic is hard.
(Bumped. – promoted by James L.)
Check out the results from the Georgia SoS, or tune in to the gripping liveblog delivered by Tondee’s Tavern. Right now, Marlow is four points down from Whitehead (R), the Republican frontrunner, and three points ahead of Republican Paul Broun. Marlow will need to hold this position in order to advance to the run-off. Fingers crossed!
8:15PM: Marlowe’s slipped to 3rd place with 27% of precincts reporting:
Whitehead (R): 31.7%
Broun (R): 25.2%
Marlow (D): 23.2%
Freeman (D): 7.2%
8:18PM: Neck and neck with 31% in.
Whitehead (R): 28.5%
Marlow (D): 28.4%
Broun (R): 24.5%
Freeman (D): 6.7%
8:34PM: Whoops. Here’s the real SoS link. Don’t drink and blog, folks.
Anyway, Columbia, Whitehead’s home county, has yet to report–and it’s gonna be a bloodbath there.
8:42PM: For a taste of the carnage to come from Columbia county, check this out. Whitehead is beating Marlow by an
9-to-1 8-to-1 margin here, and Broun is limping ahead of him.
8:50PM: The SoS is starting to report returns from Columbia. 67% in.
Whitehead (R): 39.2%
Marlow (D): 23.3%
Broun (R): 20.8%
Freeman (D): 5.6%
Marlow is lagging behind Broun and Freeman in Columbia–but let’s hope it won’t be enough to put Broun over the edge.
9:12PM: 79% in. With lots more red turf left to report in Columbia and Habersham, Marlow will need to perform exceptionally in the remaining Athens precinct and hope that Broun performs poorly in Wilkes. This one is looking ugly.
Whitehead (R): 40.7%
Marlow (D): 22.3%
Broun (R): 21.4%
Freeman (D): 4.9%
10:19PM: 94% in.
Whitehead (R): 43.7%
Marlow (D): 20.5%
Broun (R): 20.4%
Freeman (D): 4.8%
32 votes difference between second and third. With precincts left in Banks, Columbia, Greene, Habersham, Madison, Morgan, and Putnam (all counties that favored Broun over Marlow), I don’t see how Marlow advances to the run-off.
11:29PM: With 96% in, Marlow is down by nearly 200 votes.
Those were the bold, courageous words of Jim Whitehead, the Republican frontrunner in the June 19th special election to fill the seat of the late Rep. Charlie Norwood of Georgia. It should be no surprise, then, that Whitehead is doing the best that he can to avoid the tough questions from his potential constituents by ducking as many debates as he can. After all, he might have to get grilled by people like retired Col. Robert Thomas:
Jim Whitehead’s comment that “Iraq has not been a big thing in our district” because it’s not in our back yard is disturbing.
As a retired soldier and parent of a soldier serving in Iraq, I am very concerned about the war. The Iraq war and 3,422 American dead (as of May 21) may not be a front-burner issue for Mr. Whitehead – he apparently thinks voter fraud is more important – but most of us are very concerned. He says he supports our troops. However, his words suggest he is more concerned about protecting tax dollars. He avoids discussing Iraq and portrays the war as only “another issue.”
Does he realize that virtually all of the Army’s equipment is worn out and needs replaced to maintain readiness in a dangerous world? Does he know what this will cost? With each additional tour in Iraq, soldiers face increased risks of post-traumatic stress and other emotional disorders, and many are on their fourth tour. Post-concussion syndrome from constant exposure to improvised explosive devices often results in permanent brain damage. We are saving more wounded soldiers than ever before, but many are coming home with severe disabilities. We must care for these self-sacrificing veterans for years to come.
Does Mr. Whitehead realize how much this will cost? Where will this money come from? Our soldiers are enduring unspeakable hardships for our freedom, and need our real support! We must put our money where our mouths are. Mr. Whitehead waves the flag and supports our troops as long as it doesn’t cause a tax increase. He talks about ending special projects, but he wants to fight to return the money to us instead of rebuilding our army and caring for soldiers.
Supporting our military and maintaining a safe and free America requires sacrifice and money. Jim Whitehead doesn’t get it, and we need someone who does.
Robert W. Thomas, Evans
(Editor’s note: The writer is a retired U.S. Army colonel.)
James Marlow, the Democratic front-runner, on the other hand, supports the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group and would have voted to override the President’s veto of the recent Iraq supplemental bill containing withdrawal language. The dichotomy couldn’t be clearer than that. While Whitehead has outraised Marlow by a nearly 5-to-1 ratio, it could be very interesting to see to what extent the better-funded Republican vote fractures next week, and if Marlow can slip himself into a run-off.
Race Tracker: GA-10