Coke bottling CEO aims to take the fizz out of Michelle Nunn

The CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises is spending $100,000 to try and knock out Democrat Michelle Nunn. From National Journal:

“Georgia One PAC, registered early this past August, just made $215,000 independent expenditure for a TV ad that links Nunn to President Obama. The semi-animated 30-second spot that labels Nunn a fan of Obama, Obamacare and higher taxes. It’s running in the Albany, Columbus and Chattanooga markets.

Your daily jolt on politics from the AJC's Political insider blog“Pre-general election reports paint a partial figure of where Georgia One is getting its funding. The group had raised $125,000 as of Oct. 15—$100,000 of which came from John Brock, Chairman and CEO of Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Enterprises. It’s only other donor was a private equity firm Phoenix Financial Holdings Inc., which specializes in leveraged buyouts and secondary direct investments.”

Our AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin points out that Brock makes a good six-figure foil for former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who gave $350,000 to a pro-Nunn Super PAC that has attacked Republican David Perdue.

You may recall that Bloomberg is no friend to soda, or as it’s called in these parts, Coke. Here’s the ad in question:

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The 76-year-old chairman of the Union County Republican party, Billy Joe Turnage, has been arrested and charged with aggravated sexual battery and criminal attempt to commit rape, according to weekly North Georgia News. The arrest was Friday. The article includes these lines:

“Oct. 22, dispatch received a 911 call at approximately 4 p.m. of what was believed to be an assault and rape,” Sgt. Osborn said. “It was being viewed via Skype. Deputies responded and I responded as well.”

Ryan Mahoney, a spokesman for the state GOP, said state party officials have received no communication regarding Turnage’s status. Any effort to remove him would require action at the local level, Mahoney said. A picture of Turnage and David Perdue, the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate, is on the Union County GOP Facebook page. It’s not likely to be there long.

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Count Gov. Nathan Deal among the Georgia residents ticked off at the news that tailback Todd Gurley’s suspension was extended two games.

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From an NRCC attack ad aimed at U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta.

From an NRCC attack ad aimed at U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta.

We told you earlier this week of a TV spot from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee that hit David Perdue, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate for outsourcing jobs to China. The criticism has prompted Perdue to complain that Democrats don’t understand business. But Republicans apparently understand the strength of the argument. The National Republican Congressional Committee has launched yet another 30-second TV attack on U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta. Among the charges: “Barrow voted for Obama’s wasteful stimulus that spent our tax dollars creating jobs – in China!”

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A New York Times article on lobbyists who target attorneys generals across the country includes this single sentence that’s likely to get more scrutiny:

In Georgia, the attorney general, after receiving a request from a former attorney general who had become a lobbyist, disregarded written advice from the state’s environmental regulators, the emails show.

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Thanks to their ability to pick their own voters through redistricting, Republicans in the state House are a generally secure lot. But if you want to know where their few trouble spots are, keep track of their leader. From the Albany Herald:

Georgia House Speaker David Ralston flew into the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport Monday, marking the first of what is expected to be numerous visits or fly-ins by candidates in the next few days as the 2014 election grinds down to next Tuesday’s general election.

More specifically, Ralston was in town to throw his support behind Gerald Greene’s House 151 reelection bid against Democratic political newcomer Ezekiel Holley of Dawson.

“Gerald Greene is a great representative for the region and if Gerald Greene loses Southwest Georgia, the area will also lose a lot of clout in Atlanta,” the Speaker said. “The region will not be able to influence bills as easily as in the past.”

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The state Legislature has 236 members. Only 27 filled out a questionnaire pitched to them by Peachtree NORML, your friendly marijuana legalization advocate. The only Republican to declare himself in favor of legalized, taxable marijuana for use by anyone 21 or older? State Rep. Jason Spencer of Woodbine, who is decidedly libertarianish.

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A New York Times political blog adds another brick to a wall of consensus that Georgia’s race for U.S. Senate is headed to a runoff:

The Upshot model now includes an explicit forecast for the likelihood that neither Michelle Nunn nor David Perdue crosses the 50 percent threshold, sending the race to a runoff election in January. As the margin in Georgia has shrunk over the past few weeks, the possibility of a runoff has grown. Our latest forecast puts the chance of a runoff at 66 percent.

From a forecasting perspective, the probability of a runoff is only half the question. The hard part is how we ought to assess the major-party candidates’ chances in a runoff election.

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In other Senate news, conservative Americans For Prosperity — part of the network of the billionaire Koch Brothers — spent another $154,000 on mailers and phone banking against Michelle Nunn, bringing its total to $300,000 for the race.

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San Diego Gay and Lesbian News reports that Chad Griffin, the head of the Human Rights Campaign, will campaign for Michelle Nunn in Georgia on Thursday, with the following message on LGBT issues:

Georgia: Michelle Nunn – With nearly 40,000 HRC members and supporters in Georgia, on Thursday, Oct. 30, Griffin will travel to Atlanta for one of the ongoing phone banks to help elect Michelle Nunn to the U.S. Senate. There are stark differences between Nunn and her opponent David Purdue, and her strong positions on issues of great importance to LGBT Georgians make her the clear choice for equality.

Griffin is apparently undeterred by GA Voice’s non-endorsement of Nunn.

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During Sunday’s debate, Michelle Nunn took a shot at the FairTax, the conservative plan to scrap the IRS and put in place a 23 percent national sales tax instead.

“I do differ with David and Amanda about the FairTax. The FairTax would mean 30 percent-plus tax on things like your groceries, milk, everything. It would also mean that 50 percent — more than 50 percent — of Georgians would end up paying $4,000 more in taxes.

“And now people at the very top, at the top 1 percent would be paying less, $200,000 estimated less. But I just don’t think that’s the right way to go. I think we need revenue neutral tax reform. But I think the so-called FairTax is actually just not fair to the majority of Georgians.”

Nunn’s statistics come from a 2004 paper by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a left-leaning think tank. And they riled up the FairTax crowd. A press release from Georgians for Fair Taxation said Nunn: “failed to mention that the prebate feature would untax people on their basic needs and significantly reduce the tax liability on poor and middle income Americans.”

And FairTax lead sponsor Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Lawrenceville, had this to say:

“It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Democrat in this race is critical of the only tax plan that shifts power away from Washington and back to Georgia.  David Perdue wants create jobs, he wants to put more money in the pockets of middle class families, and most importantly, he wants to provide freedom for his neighbors from a burdensome and costly tax code, and he knows that the FairTax bill is the only bill that can accomplish these goals.  I’m proud to have him as a partner on this issue, and I know a lot of other Georgians are as well.”

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Another talking point in Georgia’s race for governor, from our AJC colleague James Salzer:

When Gov. Nathan Deal announced that a major manufacturer would expand in Hall County, nobody mentioned that it would happen on land connected to his campaign chairman and other backers.

Deal announced Monday that Kubota, a leading manufacturer of small tractors, lawn mowers and recreational vehicles, would expand in his home county, bringing 650 good-paying jobs to 180 acres located in the Gateway Industrial Centre.

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In 2013, state Rep. Stacey Evans, D-Smyrna, worked closely with Gov. Nathan Deal to repair damage done to Georgia’s technical colleges by 2011 legislation that required a 3.0 grade-point average, rather than a 2.0, for HOPE grants. Thousands of students left job-training programs

But now Evans is being employed by the Democrat gubernatorial campaign of Jason Carter to push back on accusations that he’s “trying to destroy HOPE.”

“I’m here to tell you that that is a blatant lie,” Evans says. But note that the Smyrna lawmaker blames “supporters of Governor Deal” for the misinformation. Not the governor himself:

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It isn’t easy being a Jason Carter supporter in Gov. Nathan Deal’s hometown. We told you yesterday how the Democrat candidate for governor made a campaign swing into Gainesville, the governor’s hometown and the epicenter of GOP power in Georgia. Our colleague Jeremy Redmon talked to a few local residents who showed up to greet Carter:

Larry Duttweiler, a public defender from Clermont, was among several people who greeted Carter as he stepped off his campaign bus in Gainesville. Duttweiler said he voted for Deal for governor in the last election and sometimes handles cases before Deal’s son Jason, a local judge.“I can’t have Judge Deal thinking…” he said before trailing off. “It’s tough being here.”

But Duttweiler said he was impressed with Carter’s connections and then mentioned some of the issues he is campaigning on.

“I’m all about kids and education,” said Duttweiler, who voted for Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter for president. “And I’m all about ethics.”

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Our story in Tuesday’s print/premium edition on the 12th Congressional District race included this quote from Republican Rick Allen:

“He’s even got the NRA fooled,” Allen said. “I hate to say that, but I asked them. They said, ‘Well, he votes with us 70 percent of the time.’ I said, ‘Why do you want a “C” congressman when you can have an “A” congressman? I’m going to vote with you 100 percent of the time.’ But anyway, that’s what they said.”

The Barrow campaign pointed us to an email from the NRA that includes the following:

“On behalf of our five million members across the country, The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) is proud to endorse John Barrow for U.S. House of Representatives in Georgia’s 12th Congressional District. John Barrow has earned an “A+” rating from NRA-PVF and has voted with the NRA and Georgia gun owners 100% of the time!”

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U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss — remember him? — talked ISIS and the prospect of homegrown terrorism with CNN on Tuesday. His verdict: “That’s why controlling them, containing is not an option. Killing them is the only option we’ve got.”

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Agricultural Commissioner Gary Black, a Republican up for re-election, has quite a set of pipes, as can be seen below. Black and his voice are fast becoming a staple of Gov. Nathan Deal’s campaign events:

 


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