Johnny Isakson wants there to be no doubt he’s running for re-election.
Georgia’s soon-to-be senior senator is formally announcing he will seek a third term at 11 a.m. on Monday at the state capitol. Expect Gov. Nathan Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and House Speaker David Ralston to attend in a show of GOP unity behind his bid.
Isakson has been eager to put to rest rumors that he wouldn’t run for another term – and scare off any potential GOP rivals. Among them is former Florida Rep. Allen West, though he has dismissed such talk, and a gaggle of ambitious up-and-coming Republicans.
Several rising Democratic contenders are also closely watching the race, though it’s unclear whether a marquee candidate would risk challenging Isakson. He handily defeated Rep. Denise Majette in 2004 after surviving a tough GOP primary, and trounced Democrat Michael Thurmond six years later.
Isakson, who will turn 70 in December, told us earlier that he’s hired key campaign staff and is prepared for the long road ahead.
“Georgia’s been good to me,” he said. “And I’ve tried to be good to Georgia.”
Update: Check out our full story on Isakson’s run here.
We already knew Democrats were readying for a fight over their next state leader. Georgia GOP chair John Padgett has let it be known he also is seeking another term.
So a federal judge charged with slugging his wife changes the landscape for a convicted former Alabama governor. From Chuck Williams of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer:
After all of the federal judges in the Middle District of Alabama recused themselves, Judge Clay Land of the Middle District of Georgia has been appointed to hear the appeal by former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.
Land, according to an order issued Monday, has set a Dec. 15 hearing for 10:30 a.m. in Columbus. The order says Siegelman will be present. Siegelman’s attorneys are asking the court that he be released on bond pending the appeal.
The case had been assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller. All of Fuller’s cases have been reassigned by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals following his arrest this year on domestic battery charges in Atlanta.
Siegelman was convicted of bribery and mail fraud in 2006. He was released in 2008, pending the outcome of an appeal.
Signs of changing times: At Monday’s Atlanta Rotary Club meeting, where an address by Southern Co. CEO Tom Fanning was the main event, a well-to-do and bejeweled, somewhat elderly white woman was handing out fistbumps as greetings. “It’s flu season,” she said. ‘Twasn’t so long ago she would have been accused of making a “terrorist fist jab.”
Then there is Kennesaw State University, one of the fastest-growing learning intstitutions in the state. Only three years ago, KSU found itself taken to task by the local newspaper for recruiting as provost a professor for his citation of Karl Marx in academic works. The recruitee decided that the area wasn’t a good fit.
Flash forward to 7:30 p.m. Friday, when KSU and one of its resident groups, Atheists United, present a lecture by Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist and noted atheist. Tickets are $55.
The major-party campaigns always dismissed the polls showing Libertarian support higher than 5 percent. But few expected the third-party support to drop off as sharply as it did last week.
Andrew Hunt received about 60,000 votes — 40,000 fewer votes than fellow Libertarian John Monds did when he ran for governor in 2010. Amanda Swafford, the party’s candidate for Senate, fared even worse, tallying about 48,000 votes. Both their totals equaled a scant 2 percent of the vote.
What’s the reason for the decline? The most likely answer is voters didn’t want to risk a runoff. Some supporting evidence: The Libertarian share of the vote rose sharply in down-ballot races.
Ted Metz, a candidate for insurance commissioner, received more votes than both Swafford and Hunt. So did Robin Gilmer, who attracted roughly 5 percent of the vote in a contested Public Service Commission seat. And none could compare to Monds, who earned more than 700,000 votes in a head-to-head PSC race against Republican Doug Everett.