Posted: 12:22 pm Monday, July 21st, 2014

Rain may not be the only thing that dampens GOP runoff fervor 

By Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

The weather gods are forecasting a 50 percent chance of rain on Tuesday, which is likely to depress voter turnout beyond already meager expectations for tomorrow’s runoff contests. A single-digit showing is possible.

But something else may be sprinkling cold water on GOP excitement.

Your daily jolt on politics from the AJC's Political insider blogThis morning, Gov. Nathan Deal held a conference call with a small group of Republican state senators – and one of your Insiders, who listened in.

See the full report here. A taste:

[Deal] told more than 50 GOP legislators that they would suffer if Carter, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, were to wrest control of the governor’s mansion. Said Deal:

“He will use the bully pulpit of the governor’s office to beat you into the ground and you will have no opportunity to respond. He will pick you off, one by one if necessary, until he regains control of the Legislature … He will set you up as the target of demagoguery.”

The brimstone message was sharp, but keeps the storyline of his troubles alive for yet another day – perhaps to the detriment of Republican candidates in runoffs.

Here’s what GOP consultant Eric Tanenblatt had to say on the topic on Friday’s “Political Rewind,” the new radio show hosted by Bill Nigut on WRAS (88.5FM):

“We have next Tuesday, a runoff that will likely select who I believe will be the next U.S. senator from Georgia. That doesn’t happen very often. We should have been spending this past week talking about the differences between Jack Kingston and David Perdue.

“Instead, the media has been dominated – and we can talk about what the reasons are – but it’s been focused on this ethics issue. And I think it’s been a total distraction from what I think should be on the top of the minds of Georgia voters now.”

***

Last week’s WSB/Landmark Communications poll showing Democrat Jason Carter (49 percent) ahead of Republican incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal (41 percent) and Libertarian Andrew Hunt (4 percent) surprised not only many Republicans, but quite a few Democrats.

Part of Carter’s upward movement can be attributed to the media storm over a revived ethics scandal involving Deal’s staff.

But there’s more to his levitation than that. Last month, the SurveyUSA poll used by 11Alive in Atlanta put Deal at 44 percent, Carter at 38 percent, and Hunt at 7 percent. But that poll also had a turnout model that set the African-American vote at 24 percent.

I asked Mark Rountree of the Republican-oriented Landmark Communications how he weighted last week’s survey. Here’s his reply:

“One difference between polling companies is that the Landmark poll more correctly gauges likely black turnout based on historical modeling, which also historically increases the likely voting support for Democratic candidates.

“Landmark believes that polls conducted by other companies have understated the likely black turnout, with more recent ones setting it at just 24% of the electorate, but ours more accurately gauge it at 30% of the electorate.”

Rountree added to his explanation this morning:

“The percentage of the black vote has increased from around 19 percent in 1996 (Bob Dole vs. Clinton) to about 30 percent today, steadily increasing an average of a little more than a percentage point (net) per each election cycle.

“While there was obviously an uptick in 2008 with Obama’s election, the trend line was already in place prior to that.”

By coincidence, Alan Abramowitz of Emory University on Sunday sent these stats that underlined Georgia’s shifting demographics – and reinforces Rountree’s point of view:

abramowitzchart2In addition to affecting surveys conducted in Georgia, these numbers also make the state GOP effort to regroup in every county from the bottom up all the more understandable.

***Carter Backdrop

The bespectacled man looking over his shoulder in the above picture is a public school teacher named Dana Kling. And he’s none too happy about being used in a GOP ad targeting Democrat Jason Carter’s stance on education.

Kling said the irony of the image is that it was taken at a question-and-answer session regarding the 2012 charter school amendment, which passed easily over Democratic objection. He said he was surprised – to say the least – that his likeness was used and praised Carter as the candidate who is “good for teachers and good for Georgia families.”

***

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston last week left the door open to pursuing the impeachment of President Barack Obama. His runoff rival David Perdue did the same over the weekend.

Perdue told WMAZ in Macon that he could back Obama’s impeachment if the offense was “egregious enough.”

Said Perdue:

“I’m not up there, I don’t have the facts. But right now, one thing I know, is if he is violating his oath of office to a degree that is egregious enough to do that, I’ll be involved in that. But right now, my focus, if i were to be elected would be to do the things I’m talking to people about doing right here in the real world.”

Perdue spokesman Derrick Dickey had earlier told the Washington Post he was opposed to impeachment.

vernonpic***

This morning, interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May, Clerk of Superior Court Debra DeBerry, former DeKalb County sheriff Thomas Brown, Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis and several others held an event to underline their support for Jeff Mann in the county’s nonpartisan runoff for sheriff.

Their appearance was in part a response to this bit of racially charged bit of artwork (at right) being sent around by the Vernon Jones camp. Who knew that the Georgia Gang’s Dick Williams was a puppetmaster?

***

Speaking of bitter local contests, former Cobb County commission chairman Bill Byrne is in a runoff with Bob Weatherford, the Acworth city councilman, for the western District 1 spot on the county commission.

Back in the 1990s, when Byrne headed up Cobb County government, he and other commissioners passed a resolution condemning “the gay lifestyle.” The 1996 Olympic movement bypassed the county as a result.

But times change. From the Marietta Daily Journal:

“When asked whether he would vote for the resolution today, Byrne said he would not, saying it was a “nasty point in time” for those involved and citing the resulting strained relationship with his openly gay daughter.

“It was something that was hurtful personally. It hurt my family, and it has followed me for years; to the point that two of you are asking me questions about it for something that happened 22 years ago,” he told a panel of journalists who asked the candidates questions during the debate. “No, I would not support something of that nature today.”

30 comments
CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

But, but, but, according to our conservative bloggers, blacks don't turn out to vote unless there are black folks on the ballot.


Obviously Mr. Rountree didn't consult with some of our experts here.....

hamiltonAZ
hamiltonAZ

Urge all U.S. Senate candidates to back the $104 million increase in resources for Alzheimer's research, education, outreach and caregiver support.

LHardingDawg
LHardingDawg

Different week, same crap. It's time to find something new to write about.

Red_GA
Red_GA

Nothing like invoking fear tactics to spur your base to help bail you out. You cannot run on a squeaky clean image or major accomplishments so just bully, intimidate, and scare to win. Isn't that what Republicans say Democrats do to win when they have nothing else to go on?

dreluv
dreluv

The whole country will be watching Georgia election in November..Seem like Nathan Deal running scare he telling republican that Jason Carter going take them out one by one..Georgia is turning blue because of the minority moving here by the thousands...Jason Carter and Michelle Nunn have a good chance turning Georgia blue..African America will come out strong to vote.

AvailableName
AvailableName

“'Instead, the media has been dominated – and we can talk about what the reasons are – but it’s been focused on this ethics issue.'"


Seems to me that one of the reasons the Governor's lawyer's threatening of Holly LaBarge is in the news daily is that the Governor or one of his minions is giving an interview about it daily.

EdUktr
EdUktr

The longer Jim & Company try to keep to Democrat Party talking points—the more trivial the "ethics" story will seem to readers. There just isn't any "there" there!

Meanwhile, Georgia's recovering economy (example: tax receipts up by over 11%) under Governor Deal will increasingly catch the attention of voters.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

"“Instead, the media has been dominated..."

No the candidates are just trying to "out conservative" each other without defining specific programs and actions/visions they have for our future.

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

Deal: "He will do to you,  what I'm doing to you"  Now mind me.

honested
honested

Now ask bill byrne how he feels about adequate public transit?


The answer is about as predictable as asking nathan how he feels about following the law.

DS
DS

Great scoop, Greg, getting Roundtree's explanation of how he modeled the Landmark poll. Thanks for that.

hobbit57
hobbit57

My, my terrible how those cold hard fingers of demographics are closing their fingers around the throat of Republican domination in this state.  I can remember when conservative Democrats made something out of this state.  Say what you will about Tom Murphy, he took care of Georgia.  In the last couple of decades of Republican rule we have seen this state in a decidedly downward trajectory.  That will change soon though.  This election will be the Republicans last hurrah, from here on out their slide into national irrelevance turns into an avalanche.

AuntieChrist
AuntieChrist

@eLBarkingDawg I hear ted cruz is giving another reading of "Sam I am" which no doubt kept you transfixed with it's flowery prose and abstract literary devices during his first reading of it.  Get your tickets now! Based on reviews from breitbart, pox, and the daily caller, this offer won't last long.!

td1234
td1234

@Red_GA You mean kind of like running not on whom your really are like Carter and Nunn and then running away for Obama (your party leader) when he comes to town? 

honested
honested

@EdUktr 

Recovering economy:

Yep, another two or three republican administrations and we might get back up to where we were when Roy Barnes was Governor, a dozen years ago!

Now that's progress (to a republican).

Red_GA
Red_GA

@EdUktr If you think there are no ethics issues there, you are either a Deal staffer or a low information type with his head wedged in his glutes. 


And using a stat like more tax money coming out of the pockets of the people is not exactly a hard sell on a conservative.

Charles50
Charles50

@hobbit57 I agree with you.  Republicans may have felt like outsiders, but everyone was getting what they needed.  I mean minus the fact that our schools are still in the toilet.  But life didn't seem as taxing (no pun intended) under the Dems.  There definitely wasn't this sense of being ruled by an iron fist and the mean spirit that Repubs have taken on over the past few years.  

honested
honested

@td1234 

Or making stuff up about Candidates who you know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT?

td1234
td1234

@honested Lets see a few things I know about Carter:


1: He was raised and graduated HS in Chicago in an elite progressive school.


2: He moved to Ga. less than 8 years ago. 


3: He is the state Senator from the most elite white progressive district in the state. 


4: He led the Senate progressive effort to turn the HOPE from a scholarship for the best brightest and hardest working children to just another means tested welfare program. 


5: He is backed by the money of all the NY and DC progressives that support his Grandfather.


6: He wants to expand Obamacare in the state. 


7: He want to increase Education spending but will not tax us "NOW". 


What am I forgetting to mention?  

PoliticalOutsider
PoliticalOutsider

td

What did you forgetting to mention?

1) That you are clearly intimidated by elite whîte people

2) That you draw your own conclusions, usually not supported by the facts

3) That facts really make no difference to you.

4) That you would vote for Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin or any other nut job as long as they promise more guns and more Jesus in schools.

5) That you believe in Agenda 21, micro chips in the brain, and that you're a Doomsday Prepper

6) That you write the same garbage, day after friggin day, and that you are incredibly boring and narrow-minded.

That's a pretty good start.

Kamchak
Kamchak

What am I forgetting to mention? 

Newt Gingrich says, "What?"

C Kent
C Kent

@td1234 @honested  What are you forgetting to mention? How about that it is a lie that Jason Carter "moved to Ga. less than 8 years ago"?


He graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law in 2004 (10 years ago). Law school is 3 years so that means he started in 2001 (13 years ago). 

AuntieChrist
AuntieChrist

@td1234   As I recall, you applied the "carpetbagger" stigma to Perdue a coupla weeks ago also.

Looks like from your remarks that no one is qualified to run for office in Jawja, unless they were born here, in a shotgun clapboard hovel, never ever left the state, has no contact whatsoever with them hated 'yankees' of NY, Chicago, and DC. They must absolutely live, work, eat and bathe outside the perimeter. If said candidate is successful financially and professionally, and a Dem, they are a 'liberal elitist,' if they are a financially successful repuppy, and an experienced CEO living in a gated community they better damn well have never left the state, otherwise you view them as a carpetbagger, and not a real "Georgian."

Yep, let's get us more of them inbred, country boys, whose 'world view' consists of how far down that dirt road they can see, who aint been to one of them uppity yankee universities, and makes his money the ol' fashioned Jawja way, through corruption, graft, and coercion.


What am I fergittin' to mention?

Eustis
Eustis

1- He probably had little say in where he was raised or the school he attended. 

2- Good move. Come back to your roots.

3- You have something against elite white progressives? They probably aren't moochers.

4- Not really. You still have to meet the academic standards. Don't make the best and brightest from wealthy families moochers.

5- You got something against out of state money? Perdue and Kingston benefit from that same kind of money.

6- A good idea. Leverage State money to help citizens of Georgia. You're not against that, I hope.

7- Another good idea and never say never.

You forgot to mention you're an Elite Conservative in the Helmsley form. 

td1234
td1234

@C Kent If you graduated from HS in NYC, Chicago, DC, SF, LA, Boston or Phili then IMHO you are unqualified to represent the good citizens of the state of Ga. 

td1234
td1234

@AuntieChrist Sounds just about right to me. You could also mention that they should be a graduate of a Ga. HS and UGA before holding a statewide office. 

NWGAL
NWGAL

Why is it that anyone who has lived any place out of the South is suspect? What are Southerners so afraid of? People move around. We are lucky. Some countries prohibit that mobility. Having different experiences should be a good thing.

honested
honested

@td1234 @C Kent 

tiny dog,

If there were any grounds to that lunatic postulate it would be part of the State Candidate Qualification.

I'm glad those who wrote the rules are a bit more enlightened than you.

NWGAL
NWGAL

If he went to high school in a big city out of the Deep South, he is somehow contaminated? What a ludicrous comment, td. Truly stupid, small minded, and provincial.