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Posts tagged "Georgia"

FLASHBACK: In the 2002 #GASen election, outgoing Senator Saxby Chambliss (R) distastefully smeared triple amputee veteran and then occupant Max Cleland (D) in an ad by comparing him to Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.  Sadly, Chambliss’s smear propelled him to a victory.

Thankfully, this rotten asshole’s leaving office after this year, and better yet, this seat should hopefully go back to the Blue column with a Michelle Nunn win this November as just desserts for this ad in 2002. 

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Let’s go, Ms. Nunn this November!!!!’


Jody Hice is a pastor running to replace Rep. Paul Broun in Georgia’s 10th Congressional district. He also hosts The Jody Hice Show, a local radio show in Georgia “that is centered around defending liberty.”

Jody Hice is a pastor running to replace Rep. Paul Broun in Georgia's 10th Congressional district. He also hosts The Jody Hice Show , a local radio show in Georgia "that is centered around defending liberty."

Hice previously ran for Congress in 2010, losing to current Rep. Rob Woodall in a runoff. He is likely to make a runoff again in a crowded field to replace Broun. Jody Hice Facebook

On one episode of Hice’s radio show, the topic of marriage equality came up. Hice had a few thoughts.

Hice says marriage equality will have an “enormous, erosive effect on marriage and family.”

He says “homosexuals have the right to be married” just not “to one another.”

And that children need two parents of different genders to grow up in the most “healthy, psychological, emotional, spiritual, physical” environment.

Hice calls it “totally unreasonable” to compare marriage equality with the Civil Rights struggle because “you cannot change your race” but “thousands and thousands of people” have chosen not to be gay.

He adds that “our Constitution does not protect sexual preference,” and compares the lack of a parent of one gender in same-sex couple with children to “losing mom or dad in a car accident.”

Source: Andrew Kaczynski for Buzzfeed


nunn obama

In a poll by Landmark Communications released Sunday, Democrat Michelle Nunn has a commanding lead against both of her potential challengers in Georgia’s US Senate race. Against Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) Nunn is up by eight points, 49% to 41%. The poll also shows her with a nice lead against businessman David Perdue as Nunn leads him 48% to 42%. Perdue and Kingston are heading into a GOP primary runoff this coming Tuesday. The survey shows Kingston with a sizable lead as he is ahead by seven points, 48% to 41%.

While Nunn holds leads against both men, the thought is that she’d prefer to face Kingston in the general election. Atlanta-based political analyst Bill Crane had the following to say after this poll was released.

“I think Michelle Nunn would prefer to run against Jack Kingston. Twenty-two year incumbent, PAC money, special interest, her preferred race is the race that I think she’s going to get.”

Nunn taking the Georgia Senate seat would put a huge crimp in the plans of Republicans who feel they can take over the US Senate this November. Currently, the GOP needs to net six seats in the midterm to become the majority party in the Upper Chamber. Losing a Senate seat in a deep-red state that was previously held by a Republican will almost certainly prevent Republicans from taking over the Senate. While it is nearly a given that Democrats will lose seats this November, it is looking more and more promising that they will be able to retain control of the Senate.

Besides this race, Dems have a very good chance of flipping another Republican-held seat. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is in real danger of losing to Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes this November. Polls show the race in a virtual tie and Grimes has been able to energize Democrats in Kentucky. Also, McConnell’s insistence on running against Obamacare is likely to backfire as the health care law has been a raging success in Kentucky. Toss in the fact that Grimes has attracted national attention, with big names coming to Kentucky to campaign for her, and all the arrows point to an embarrassing loss for McConnell.

h/t: Joan McCarter at Daily Kos

H/T: David Nir at Daily Kos Elections

h/t: Tim Murphy at Mother Jones

Karen Handel’s toast.
It’s Kingston v. Perdue in the July runoff for the right to face off against Michelle Nunn in November. 

Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey are out of a job at the end of the 113th Congress. 


attribution: Jody Hice for Congress (screenshot)
Jody Hice wearing camo, holding rifle
Rifle? Check. Pickup? Check. Giving away guns as prizes? Check.

Please stop.

Jody Hice, a Baptist preacher and radio host who’s one of several hard-right candidates running for Paul Broun’s (R-GA) congressional seat, recently sounded off on same sex marriage on The Jody Hice Show.

You know, there are other professions in the world other than radio show host. There are plumbers and gardeners and cheesemakers and kayak salesmen. But no, the history books on this era will write that, presuming the Republican candidates for national office were representative of the whole, over half of America’s post-millennial population were employed as talk show hosts. He’s also a “TEA Party Speaker,” which means that he is firmly and proudly and very predictably batshit insane.

“If a child loses a mom or dad in a car accident, we all think that’s a tragedy,” Hice said. “And yet in a same-sex relationship, there is an intentional, deliberate doing away with one gender or another.”

Well, nobody’s dying in the second case, so … yeah, I have no idea where to go with that. Jody Hice apparently considers being gay to be equivalent to euthanizing the other gender outright. That does seem to be a common theme among religious talk show hosts running for national office.

Hice also said that gay people retained the right to marry.

“Government doesn’t determine what gender a person is attracted to in order to allow them to be married,” he said. “Homosexuals have the right to be married, they just don’t have the right to be married to one another.”

Each and every Republican running for Congress in 2014 is insane. I really don’t think this is an arguable point anymore.

Source: Hunter for Daily Kos


Battle In Georgia: An All-Out War in Georgia’s GOP Senate Primary Race

ROME, Ga. — The once-peaceful Georgia GOP Senate primary has devolved into an all-out brawl in its final days, ripe with charges of sexism, arrogance, lying, distortion and even “promoting teenage homosexuality” — and that’s just a taste of the venom.

Three candidates — businessman David Perdue, former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel and Rep. Jack Kingston — have emerged as the leading contenders ahead of Tuesday’s low-turnout primary, scrapping for every vote to make it into what promises to be an even nastier two-person runoff lasting nine weeks.

It had appeared in recent weeks that the Georgia race was the latest example of the GOP establishment having its way in critical Republican primaries over tea party foes. Two far-right candidates who worried establishment types faded in the polls, a sign that perhaps the GOP was ready to move past the intraparty wars that have cost Republicans the Senate majority time and again.

So much for that.

(Also on POLITICO:Romneycare shadows Brown ACA protest)

The fight here underscores a larger dynamic this midterm year: While the environment is ripe for a Senate GOP majority, one or two missteps could leave Republicans frustratingly short for a third straight election cycle. Party officials insist they won’t let that happen, but the vitriol among the candidates — and their efforts to outrun one another to the right — are precisely what Democratic hopeful Michelle Nunn and her allies were hoping for.

“I’m a girl, that means I fight like a girl,” Handel told about 50 supporters enjoying Southern barbecue in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta. “And there ain’t nothing meaner. They better watch out.”

Perdue, a wealthy former CEO of Dollar General and Reebok, has endured weeks of attacks from Handel that he’s an “elitist” and a liberal masquerading as a conservative.

So, when he was asked about Handel during an interview here in Northern Georgia aboard his spacious campaign RV, he had this to say: “She ran five times for five different races, got elected twice, didn’t finish either term.” Perdue was referring to Handel leaving the Fulton County Board of Commissioners to run for secretary of state, then cutting that term short to seek the governorship in 2010. “I just believe that defines self-interest over the interests in serving the constituents.”

(Also on POLITICO: Paul struggles with hawkish GOP donors)

Handel seethed at those comments. “Would we be having this conversation if I were a man?” she said. “I would argue not.”

And on and on it goes.

Sprint to the right

The candidates are simultaneously running to the right — questioning the science of climate change, vowing to privatize entitlement programs for future beneficiaries and, in some cases, calling for the self-deportation of undocumented immigrants — and dubbing their opponents sellouts to the conservative cause. It’s the only way to win a crowded GOP primary. But the winner will have to account for those stances in the general election — in a state that favors Republicans but not prohibitively so.

The Georgia seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss is one of just two Republican seats that Democrats have a serious shot at winning this fall, making the race a must-win for the GOP if it wants to take back the Senate for the first time since 2006.

(Also on POLITICO: Report: Abramson salary $100K below male editor)

Republicans are confident that President Barack Obama’s deep unpopularity and the entrenched GOP power base in the state will ultimately make it impossible for Democrats to steal the seat.

The final weeks of the primary have narrowed the race to three top contenders, polls show. But there are no neat dividing lines.

With the support of Sarah Palin and conservative pundit Erick Erickson, Handel is making an aggressive play for the tea party wing — though grass-roots activists here are split and big-spending conservative outside groups like the Club for Growth and Senate Conservatives Fund have sat out the primary. Kingston boasts the backing of Sean Hannity, while Perdue touts his support from Georgia native Herman Cain.

(PHOTOS: Georgia’s Senate race)

If that’s not enough to flummox a GOP voter trying to sort out the field, just listen to the rhetoric.

“I’m a hard-core conservative,” Perdue said when asked about his political ideology. To which Kingston responds: “I think if you’re conservative — at some point in your life — you voted in a number of Republican primaries and participated in some Republican events. … There’s not much evidence to convict David Perdue of being a lifelong Republican.”

Meanwhile, Handel gasped and chuckled upon hearing that the 11-term Kingston boasted of being a staunch conservative.

“Come on!” she exclaimed, listing a series of controversial votes the congressman has cast, most involving spending bills and earmarks. “He’s a seat warmer.”

At the same time, Rep. Phil Gingrey, a six-term congressman from the northern Atlanta suburbs who is falling in the polls, unleashed an ad this week dubbing the three leading contenders as “moderates” — and accusing Handel of “promoting teenage homosexuality” when she backed funding for an LGBT group on the Fulton County commission in 2006.

Her camp roundly dismissed it as a cheap shot by a flailing candidate.

Democrats are sitting back and hoping this is the same movie they’ve seen before: brutal primary wars that spell GOP disaster, much like 2010 and 2012. Nunn, a political novice whose father is the former Sen. Sam Nunn, is skating to her party’s nomination pretty much unscathed.

“I think the [Republican] primary has become a race to the extremes,” Nunn said in an interview in Atlanta.

Republicans, certainly, recognize the risks. Addressing a group of police officers at the Gordon County sheriff’s office in Calhoun, Ga., the 59-year-old Kingston said: “How many of y’all have seen that the conservative family might be a little bit divided right now? … And how many of y’all know, divided we fall?”

“Amen!” a man yelled out.

The Perdue pile-on

Many Republicans view Perdue as the ideal type of candidate for the GOP. He’s a telegenic businessman who can boast of creating jobs and turning around Fortune 500 companies. He lacks the baggage of a voting record and can pump millions of his own cash into his campaign. Plus he has a famous last name — his cousin is former two-term Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, who left office only three years ago.

David Perdue barnstorms the state in a blue RV bearing his slogan, “The Outsider,” arguing to voters it’s time to send a nonpolitician to Washington.

At his campaign events, a volunteer is designated to blast music from his mobile phone whenever there’s a video tracker nearby, to prevent an opponent from catching Perdue in an unscripted moment with voters. But that can only do so much: In recent weeks Perdue’s unscripted moments have allowed his GOP critics to argue he’s not a true Republican.

Speaking to the Macon Telegraph editorial board, Perdue was asked whether raising revenue or cutting spending is the best way to slice the deficit. “Both,” he interjected. His opponents seized on the comment and claimed he was endorsing a tax increase. (He later said it was a reference to increasing revenue through economic growth, not tax increases, which he’s signed a pledge to oppose as a senator.)

Perdue, 64, says that as one of a handful of senators with business experience, he would be able to break perpetual gridlock over legislation to stem the budget deficit and bolster economic growth. But every time Perdue offers a whiff of compromise, he gets pounded by his opponents, so it’s unclear exactly where he’d bend. In the interview, he doubted the science of climate change and said he wouldn’t bother to fix Obamacare, saying the whole law needs to be scrapped. He called talk of raising the minimum wage “backward thinking.”

“There’s very little difference between these five candidates, honestly,” Perdue said, referring to their ideology.

To fight back against charges of “elitism,” Perdue — whose minimum net worth is estimated at $11.9 million, and who has pumped $2.7 million of his own cash into the race so far, with more likely to come if he makes the runoff — points out how his parents were both public schoolteachers and says he earned his money by being a risk-taker in business.

But his rivals are trying to undermine that very record in the corporate world. Kingston accuses Perdue of “bankrupting” a company in the early 2000s, a reference to a North Carolina-based textile firm, Pillowtex, which laid off nearly 8,000 workers soon after he stepped aside as CEO. He disputes Perdue’s central selling point that he helped turn around Dollar General, saying he “didn’t do a very good job.” And he says Democrats will pound Perdue for his work with Haggar Clothing Co. that cut jobs in Texas and outsourced them in the late 1990s.

“I think it’s very important to have a nominee who has been fully vetted,” Kingston said to about 30 voters at the home of Ronald Reagan’s former Georgia campaign chairman, nestled in the woods of Ellijay. “We got some folks in this race that I think the Democrats would just eat alive in the general election.”

Perdue accuses Kingston of spewing “lies” about his business record like a typical politician. He says he was brought on board at Pillowtex as it was going into bankruptcy proceedings, decimated as manufacturing sectors were struggling nationwide. As for Haggar, he says free trade agreements endorsed by Congress forced companies like it to move jobs offshore to compete.

“There’s a little desperation,” Perdue said of Kingston.

Handel vs. ‘good old boys’

A few weeks ago, Handel was seen as fading. Then Perdue dismissed her as “the high school graduate in this race.” The condescending comment — Perdue now says he “overreached” — went viral. And Handel has used it to reinvigorate her campaign.

“There are some who may think I’m not smart enough,” she told a gathering of supporters at a Flying Biscuit restaurant in her hometown of Roswell. “I’m proud of the fact that I was able to overcome long odds.”

Handel, who left home at the age of 17 from an abusive family, has made her mark in Georgia as a scrappy campaigner who’s unafraid of controversy. During the 2010 gubernatorial primary, she vowed repeatedly to clean up the “good old boy” network in Georgia politics and accused her opponents of ethical improprieties. She finished first in the primary, then barely lost to Nathan Deal in a bitter runoff that is still resonating today.

Several GOP sources said that Deal allies have quietly moved to shut down the money spigot to Handel, which helps account for the meager $337,000 in her campaign account. Moreover, the network of Sonny Perdue donors who helped Handel in the 2010 governor’s run are now firmly on David Perdue’s side. A Deal spokeswoman and Handel both downplayed the past disputes, but others say the ill will still lingers.

If Handel wins the nomination, her critics say she’ll have a hard time uniting the party given her scorched-earth campaigning.

“The anti-Handel people aren’t going to come out and support Nunn, but they are probably not going to send [Handel] any more money,” said Eric Johnson, who lost the 2010 gubernatorial primary against Handel and now backs Kingston. “They are going to let the outside forces run the race, and let the chips fall where they may.”

Handel, 52, insists she’s an “unwavering conservative fighter” rather than a “go along to get along” Republican like Kingston or Perdue. She claims she would take that same battle to the Senate in the mold of Ted Cruz, arguing in an interview that it’s time for Mitch McConnell to go and that there should be “new leadership” atop the Senate GOP Conference.

But while Handel is running like a Palin-style conservative, her critics say she was groomed by the party establishment — having once worked for Sonny Perdue — and took a sharp turn to the right after falling in the governor’s race. Her profile grew in 2012 when, as a senior executive for Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure foundation, she tried to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood.

But her opponents are quick to note that she supported a contract for the organization seven years earlier when serving on the county commission, around the same time as she backed funding for the gay rights organization at the heart of the Gingrey attack.

Handel dismisses the criticism, noting her staunch social conservative stands, like opposing federal benefits for gay and lesbian domestic partners. In the interview, she wouldn’t say whether she believes homosexuality is a choice.

“I’m not going to get into the science,” she said, “about any of that.”

h/t: Ian Millhiser at Think Progress Justice

h/t: Cameron Joseph at The Hill


Almost every week, a new one appears.

At first it made sense. Colorado. Oregon. Wisconsin. But then, wait—Mississippi? Florida? Alabama? Marriage equality lawsuits have been filed now in all but five states in the nation—the final five that remain out of the game are North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Alaska and, yes, Georgia.

In 2004, Georgia voters approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as only between a man and woman. But since that time a sea-change has taken place in the nation with polls showing more than 50 percent of the country supporting same-sex marriage.

So the dockets are full with same-sex marriage suits almost everywhere else in the country, and everywhere else in the south, but here—this despite wins in every federal court case since the United States v. Windsor decision last June when a major portion of the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down.

“I’m just as befuddled as everyone else,” says constitutional scholar Anthony Kreis who has done political work for Georgia Equality and HRC-Atlanta. “I don’t think there’s any strong reason why Georgia shouldn’t have a challenge to the marriage amendment.”

Nashville attorney Abby Rubenfeld knows about the challenges of fighting a same-sex marriage suit in the south, but that didn’t stop her from filing. She is the lead attorney on Tanco v. Haslam, the district court case in Tennessee that led the judge to rule last month that three gay couples’ marriages performed out of state are legal. The case is currently under appeal.

“I did not wait for anyone to tell me what they thought about the Sixth Circuit or Tennessee or anything else,” Rubenfeld tells GA Voice. “I thought that the Windsor ruling means all such discriminatory laws and constitutional amendments are unconstitutional, and why should the south be any different?”

“I think that change will come here when we all push it, so I push it in Tennessee,” she continues. “I think our movement is going to win these cases wherever we bring them and the time is now.”

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t an enormous amount of movement happening behind the scenes by people and organizations across the country to find a judicial solution to make same-sex marriage a reality in Georgia. And one national organization is closer to filing than you think.

Beth Littrell, senior attorney in the Southern Regional Office of Lambda Legal, says marriage announcement coming "very soon." (photo via Lambda Legal)

Beth Littrell, senior attorney in the Southern Regional Office of Lambda Legal, says marriage lawsuit announcement coming “very soon.” (photo via Lambda Legal)

When filing a same-sex marriage lawsuit, it’s possible to do so with a private attorney, but typically the suit is arranged or at least backed up by a major national organization like Lambda Legal, the ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center or Freedom To Marry. All four and more have been at work identifying the right situation in which to file in Georgia, but one of them hints about how close they are to filing.

“We have been working to identify the best course of action to bring marriage equality to Georgia,” Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Beth Littrell tells GA Voice. “We will be announcing the result of that work very soon. I can assure you Georgia won’t be left behind when it comes to marriage equality.”

The primary challenge most often cited by Lambda Legal and others who are looking to file suit is a 2004 decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit based in Atlanta that banned gay adoption in Florida—Lofton v. Secretary of the Department of Children and Family Services.

That ruling was based on now widely discredited evidence that straight couples make better parents than gay ones. The Eleventh Circuit includes Georgia, Florida and Alabama. A Florida district court of appeals later overturned the adoption ban, but the Lofton case and all testimony and findings regarding how fit gay people are to be parents remains on the books in the higher court.

However, doubts remain about the danger posed by the Lofton case.

“I think it’s highly implausible that the circuit court will give that 2004 decision a lot of weight,” Kreis says. “The legal landscape has dramatically shifted in favor of same-sex couples’ rights.”

Kreis points out that the Lofton decision came just six months after Lawrence v. Texas, which made same-sex sexual activity legal across the country, and just a few months before Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage.

“I think [Lofton] was made at a time when the court may not have understood where the trajectory of the law was going. That’s further factored by the Windsor decision last June,” Kreis says. “I understand the caution that some folks have because the Eleventh Circuit is very conservative, but that hasn’t stopped other people from filing suit.”

ACLU of Georgia Executive Director Debbie Seagraves says, “There is no denying that the situation that folks are in right now is unjust. Unfortunately, the law and justice are not always the same thing. What we want to do is get justice through the courts, but we have to do it right.”

Lambda Legal says they are hearing from gay couples throughout Georgia willing to file suit, but that it’s not that simple.

“Having outraged couples willing to be plaintiffs has never been the problem,” Littrell says. “There are lots of folks willing to put themselves out there to help move the ball along and win marriage equality in all states. But the calculus is just a little more complex than, ‘Can you find someone that’s willing to sue?’”

While mostly it’s the merits of the case and past case law that factor into whether to file or not, the experts say there are many other factors at play.

“Certainly compelling narratives are helpful in convincing a court. Longevity in terms of relationship and commitment are helpful. Edie Windsor’s story reflects that,” Littrell says. “But at the same time she had a very identifiable harm which allowed her to sue. You need an identifiable harm and a state official who is causing that harm.”

Technically, anyone could walk into district court right now with their lawyer and file a same-sex marriage lawsuit. But it’s not recommended. The amount of time, money and resources needed to undertake a successful case are large enough, but there’s also an enormous loss of privacy.

“That’s the difficult thing about constitutional litigation is folks just want to live their lives and be left alone,” says Kreis. “But in order to conserve those rights, you have to give up that privacy.”

“Some couples think they want to be the plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit and have second thoughts,” Lambda Legal’s Littrell says.

The ACLU of Georgia’s Seagraves points out that in addition to those factors, you have to look at the wording and the scope of the particular marriage ban in place in each particular state.

“If you don’t do that, you run a danger of making bad law and making the next case that someone else brings harder,” Seagraves tells GA Voice.

Lambda Legal’s Littrell concurs, saying, “It could stop the momentum, and we want to keep building on that. That’s a fear—a case brought haphazardly or just based on principle and not thought through.”

That kind of case, by all accounts, could set the fight back by years. But while many disagree on the timing of such a lawsuit, everyone agrees on one thing.

“There will be people that challenge the Georgia law,” Kreis says. “I think that, especially in the legal and academic community, a clear understanding of the Windsor decision is that all these state marriage bans have to fall. It’s just a matter of time.”

Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Source: Freedom to Marry

Source for Article: Patrick Saunders for The GA Voice