One day before Republicans gather in Georgia to pick their first delegates to the GOP presidential convention in Cleveland, frontrunner Donald Trump has accused U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of colluding with party insiders to rob him of delegates. From a blistering op-ed piece in today’s Wall Street Journal:
… Mr. Cruz loudly boasts every time party insiders disenfranchise voters in a congressional district by appointing delegates who will vote the opposite of the expressed will of the people who live in that district…
The great irony of this campaign is that the “Washington cartel” that Mr. Cruz rails against is the very group he is relying upon in his voter-nullification scheme…
What we are seeing now is not a proper use of the rules, but a flagrant abuse of the rules. Delegates are supposed to reflect the decisions of voters, but the system is being rigged by party operatives with “double-agent” delegates who reject the decision of voters.
For those of you who couldn’t stay up long enough to watch Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton tangle in Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate on CNN, we offer these catch-up clips. From the Washington Post:
Senator Bernie Sanders, seizing on potential vulnerabilities for Hillary Clinton in the coming New York primary, repeatedly savaged her ties to wealthy donors and Wall Street banks during their debate on Thursday night, delivering a ferocious performance that Mrs. Clinton countered with steely confidence and her own sharp elbows.
Mr. Sanders, hoping to humiliate Mrs. Clinton in her adopted home state in Tuesday’s primary, bluntly challenged her fitness for the presidency, saying she had the experience and intelligence for the job but adding, “I do question her judgment.”
He listed her most controversial actions over the years, from voting to authorize the American invasion of Iraq to supporting some free-trade deals and taking $675,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs. While he did not repeat his recent remark that she was unqualified to be president, he constantly edged up to the line.
State Rep. Tom Taylor, R-Dunwoody, chairman of the Legislature’s MARTA oversight committee, didn’t give any sign of withdrawing his bid for re-election on Tuesday, following news of his arrest for DUI with four juveniles in his car. Quite the opposite, in fact, according to one of your Insiders, Aaron Gould Sheinin:
Taylor, who was first elected in 2010, said in a statement to the AJC that “I profoundly regret this serious mistake. There’s no one to blame but me, and I greatly appreciate the professionalism of the officers involved. This was my first run-in with the law in my life, and it will also be my last.”
Taylor said he will work to regain the trust of the people of his district and will seek re-election.
However, should the incumbent withdraw from the contest, the state GOP executive committee – if it chose – could reopen qualifying, according to David Dove, chief of staff to Secretary of State Brian Kemp.
“If an incumbent withdraws that has qualified for the primary election, and withdraws prior to the primary election, the state executive committee of a party can reopen qualifying,” Dove said. It is at the party’s discretion. Qualifying must last at least one day, but cannot extend more than three days.
Absentee ballots in the contest have already been going out for a week, but there is still time to make adjustments in the ballot before early voting formally begins, Dove said.
This was a head-spinning turn of events: The Georgia Secretary of State’s office announced Thursday that three of the four contenders running for an open north Georgia House seat were disqualified, days after Republicans reopened qualifying for the seat. The office said the Georgia GOP failed to provide proper paperwork on time for the seat held by state Rep. Tom Weldon, R-Ringold.
The race was only reopened after outrage over Weldon, who initially qualified for the seat and then withdrew after one other rival jumped in.
For a moment, the decision left only Dewayne Hill, a former Catoosa County Commissioner, in the race. But the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported late last night another turn of events:
Catoosa County Republican Party Chair Denise Burns said that candidates seeking the House District 3 seat can fill out paperwork to qualify again. An official from the state party informed her that the GOP Executive Committee voted around 6 p.m. to re-open the qualifying process.
Interested candidates can fill out the necessary paperwork in Atlanta between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday.