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Jim Galloway

Shirley Franklin steps up for Jim Barksdale in U.S. Senate primary

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In this 2015 file photo, Jim Barksdale examines the star chart on the ground at the feet of the new Albert Einstein monument at Georgia Tech. John Spink, jspink@ajc.com

In this 2015 file photo, Jim Barksdale examines the star chart on the ground at the feet of the new Albert Einstein monument at Georgia Tech. John Spink, jspink@ajc.com

The machinery intended to push political novice Jim Barksdale across the finish line in the Democratic race for U.S. Senate has begun to stir.

Below is the one-minute radio ad cut by former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin endorsing both Barksdale and his hat, which he’s attempting to turn into a signature symbol of his campaign:

Barksdale is self-funding this phase of his campaign and faces two unfunded primary rivals, John Coyne and Cheryl Copeland. The winner, of course, faces Republican incumbent Johnny Isakson.logo-all

Look for the Franklin endorsement to get heavy play across the state on radio frequencies with African-American audiences. In the ad, Franklin touches on the Barksdale bio but quickly gets to the essentials. A partial transcript:

“Jim started out cutting grass and delivering newspapers, and worked his way up to become an investment manager. Jim Barksdale believes in taking responsibility for his employees. When things got bad, he even took out loans and put himself in debt, so he wouldn’t have to lay off anybody.

“Jim Barksdale will take the same approach in the Senate: Invest in people to create more good jobs. Education, job training, and higher wages. And he’ll never cut Social Security or Medicare. Please join me in supporting Democrat Jim Barksdale for the U.S. Senate. And Jim, nice hat.”

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We confirmed that Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office has opened an investigation into the manner in which the city of Sandy Springs is conducting the Tuesday special election to replace Councilman Graham McDonald, who resigned to compete for the vacant House District 52 seat.

To weigh in on other primary contests, Sandy Springs voters are to report to their normal precincts. But to vote in the special council race, they must go to a separate, single voting location.

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In that House District 52, being vacated by state Rep. Joe Wilkinson, R-Sandy Springs, Graham McDonald faces Deborah Silcox. On Thursday, Silcox received the endorsement of state Rep. Beth Beskin, a Republican who occupies the neighboring House seat that includes Buckhead and Brookhaven. Beskin, from the press release:

“I have known Deborah for over 20 years, since we first worked together on the Public Affairs Committee of the Junior League of Atlanta; in that capacity, we advocated at the Georgia General Assembly for issues of concern to families and children in the Atlanta area.  Deborah was invaluable to me in both my 2010 campaign and 2014 campaign, in which she served as my campaign chair.”

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Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has endorsed Republican incumbent Tim Echols in his primary bid for re-election to the state Public Service Commission:

“Tim’s innovative vision for the future of Georgia utility markets is unrivaled and truly remarkable. He is a valuable teammate in the effort to further bring Georgia into the ever evolving 21st century economy.”

Look for the favor to be returned if Cagle runs for governor in 2018.

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By way of pointing us to a New York Times op-ed that he and Norm Ornstein have penned on this year’s erratic polling in the presidential contest, Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz sends us this note:

In the past 12 months, according to Real Clear Politics, there have been 72 national polls matching Clinton with Trump—16 polls conducted by Fox News or Rasmussen and 56 polls conducted by other polling organizations.  Here are the results:

— Trump has led or been tied with Clinton in 44 percent (7 of 16) of Fox and Rasmussen Polls: 3 of 5 Rasmussen Polls and 4 of 11 Fox News Polls.

— Trump has led or been tied with Clinton in 7 percent (4 of 56) of polls conducted by other polling organizations.

— To put it another way, Fox and Rasmussen together have accounted for 22 percent of all national polls in the past year, but they have accounted for 64 percent of the polls in which Trump has been leading or tied with Clinton.

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The sole Democrat challenging a Republican incumbent in a swing district in South Georgia has been disqualified from running in Tuesday’s primary.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office said Thursday that James Williams could no longer run for the seat held by Republican state Rep. Gerald Greene, R-Cuthbert. The decision gives Greene a clear path to re-election.

State officials blamed local officials for the problem. A spokeswoman for the office said that Dougherty County officials incorrectly labeled Williams as living in House District 151 when actually he lives in an adjoining district, and said the state has launched an investigation into the county’s elections procedures.

“This entire situation is very unfortunate,” Kemp said. “Mr. Williams relied on his precinct card and voter information to qualify for the state House, but due to county error, his information was incorrect.”

Democrats had lined up a back-up candidate and lobbied unsuccessfully for Kemp to reopen qualifying for the seat. Party Chairman DuBose Porter earlier accused Kemp of playing politics with electoral rules.

“We strongly disagree with the judge’s decision to prevent the voters of HD 151 from having a choice on Election Day,” party spokesman Michael Smith said. “Brian Kemp continues to abdicate responsibility for his egregious mismanagement of Georgia’s electoral process, but the buck stops with him.”

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Three Pinocchios.  That’s what Washington Post fact-checkers rated a recent Johnny Isakson campaign ad on the Iran nuclear deal. The Post critique has prompted what we think is the first attack on the Republican incumbent from Democrat Jim Barksdale. From the press release:

“Senator Isakson is trying to distract Georgians from what will really keep America strong and secure – a strong, broad economy that is growing, where incomes are going up,” said Dave Hoffman, campaign manager for Jim Barksdale’s U.S. Senate campaign. “But instead, thanks to Senator Isakson, we have trade deals that have killed jobs and tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas, weakening our nation by sapping our economic strength. With that kind of record, it’s no wonder why Senator Isakson is running misleading television ads.”

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It looks like House Speaker David Ralston’s opponents have a little payback in store for the Blue Ridge Republican. They’ve set up a phony website – www.voteralston.info – slamming the incumbent with spurious claims. Among the tamer accusations: He’s a “Non!Conservative.”

It’s modeled after a site Ralston’s supporters set up to mock wrestling coach Sam Snider, his primary opponent in Tuesday’s election.

***

Retiring U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Coweta County, is well-known among the Washington press corps for giving golden quotes — and occasionally golden gaffes.

But Westmoreland was put in damage-control mode for something a top aide said after the staffer’s email to a House GOP listserv was forwarded to a reporter. This came as the chamber debated whether to restrict the Confederate flag in federal cemeteries. Here’s more from The Hill newspaper: 

A top staffer for Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) compared the effort to ban the Confederate flag to Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorists engaging in cultural cleansing.

“You know who else supports destroying history so that they can advance their own agenda? ISIL. Don’t be like ISIL. I urge you to vote NO,” Westmoreland’s legislative director, Pete Sanborn, wrote in a missive provided to The Hill, using an alternate acronym for ISIS.

He signed the email as “Yours in freedom from the PC police.”

Westmoreland immediately distanced himself from his aide’s comments in a statement:

“I hold my staff to the highest standards and I am deeply disappointed by my staffer’s poor judgment. This unprofessional language is not tolerated and is distracting from the real issues Congress is working on. The staffer has been reprimanded and I assure you it will not happen again.”

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And now, the hard part.  Both chambers of Congress this week approved their own funding plans for combating the Zika virus. But now the two sides face a daunting task: meld their two drastically different bills together, all while Southern states anxiously watch the clock with the summer mosquito season fast approaching.

Once again, U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Johnny Isakson split their votes on Thursday as their chamber took a final vote on a $1.1 billion spending package that would designate the funding as “emergency” — which means it would add money to the deficit. (Perdue voted against and Isakson in favor.)

The vote came less than 24 hours after the House passed its own $622 million version, which offsets its costs in part by cutting Ebola funding. Click here for more from The Associated Press. 

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Capitol Hill’s black market of free snacks is well-documented. It’s common for congressional offices to be stocked with free home-state goodies for visitors — in Georgia’s case, it’s peanuts and Coca-Cola products.

Sounds yummy, but Sen. David Perdue may need to put some of those provisions under lock and key to protect against certain hungry Senate neighbors:

What does Perdue’s office make of the daily raids?

“We’re a hospitable Southern office and welcome all visitors, including the Senator’s colleagues, to share our home state products anytime.”

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Egads. That’s about all we can say.