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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

6/3/14 AL, IA, MS, MT, NJ, NM, & SD Primary Preview


AL Governor GOP: Governor Robert Bentley is favoured to win over State Correctional Officer and former Morgan County Commissioner Stacy George.

AL Governor DEM: Based soley upon name recognition, former Congressman and legendary turncoat(he started out Democrat before switching to Republican, to Independent, and back to Democrat again) Parker Griffifth is modestly favoured over former pro-Basketball player Kevin Bass, though an upset cannot be ruled out.

AL Secretary of State GOP: This race features former Montgomery County Probate Judge Reese McKinney, Crenshaw County Probate Judge Jim Perdue, and State Representative John Merrill. Based upon geography alone, McKinney would seem to have an edge, but I'll cop to having no clue the true dynamics behind this one.

AL Auditor GOP: This race features colourful businessman Dale "cattle prod" Peterson, former Public Service Commissioner Jim Zeigler, former Assistant State Conservation Commissioner Hobbie Sealey, and Secretary of State Aide Adam Thompson. My hunch is that there will be a Runoff between Peterson, who has both enthusiasm and name recognition(for better or for worse) propelling his campaign, and Zeigler, who has mere name recognition behind his.

AL-5 GOP: Incumbent Republican Mo Brooks faces a challenge from former Athens, AL, City Councillor Jerry Hill. Brooks is heavily favoured going into tonight.

AL-6 GOP: The leading contenders for the seat of retiring Republican Spencer Bachus are Tea Party-backed Surgeon Chad Mathis, Corporate Executive Will Brooke, State Representative Paul DeMarco, and former State Senator and 2012 runner-up Scott Beason. This race will head to a certain Runoff, with Mathis and either DeMarco or Beason advancing.

AL-7 DEM: Incumbent Democrat Terri Sewell is facing a challenge from former Birmingham City Attorney Tamara Harris-Johnson. Sewell will win, but with maybe a little more difficulty than most expect.


IA Senate GOP: This competitive Primary features State Senator Joni Ernst, Energy Executive Mark Jacobs, Radio Talk Show Host Sam Clovis, and former US Attorney Matt Whitaker. If no one candidate gets over 35% of the vote, the Primary will then be decided at a Convention, a scenario which is unlikely to transpir, as Ernst has the momentum and recent polling has her only just short of the pivotal 35% threshold. Prediction: Ernst 39%, Clovis 28%, Whitaker 17%, and Jacobs 14%.

IA Governor GOP: Governor Terry Branstad is heavily favoured over Conservative activist Tom Hoefling.

IA-1 DEM: This one is a multi-car pileup between former State House Speaker Pat Murphy, former US Labour Department Official and 1988 nominee Dave O'Brien, Cedar Rapids City Councillor Monica Vernon, State Representative Anesa Kajtazovic, and former State Utilities Board Member Swati Dandekar. Murphy has the narrowest of advantages going into tonight.

IA-1 GOP: This one's a 3-way fight between 2008 Senate candidate and gun rights activist Steve Rathje, Software Company Owner Rod Blum, and Marshalltown School Board Member Gail Boliver. Rathje must be considered the favourite.

IA-2 GOP: This race appears to be a fight between State Representative Mark Lofgren and former State Public Health Director and 2008/2010 nominee Marianette Miller-Meeks. This one is very much a coin flip.

IA-3 GOP: The three main contenders for this race are State Senator and 2010 nominee Brad Zaun, Secretary of State Matt Schultz, and former Chief of Staff to Senator Chuck Grassley David Young. I give Schultz an advantage based on name recognition, though Zaun cannot be completely counted out.


MS Senate GOP: The battle royale of the night pits six term US Senator Thad Cochran against Tea Party-backed State Senator Chris McDaniel. Recent polling has shown both men exchanging narrow leads, whilst remaining mired in the low forties. In comes the third, and perhaps defining, factor: The candidacy of Realtor Tom Carey. While he is a sure loser tonight, he has been drawing a high enough level of support that he could trigger a Runoff. At this point, a Runoff seems very likely. Prediction: McDaniel 46%, Cochran 43%, Carey 11%.

MS Senate DEM: This is a decidedly low-key affair, but it has the potential to be interesting nonetheless. This race pits former Congressman Travis Childers against Tea Party Democrat, former Republican, and 2010/2012 MS-2 nominee Bill Marcy. This one could get interesting if there are enough Conservatives so disillusioned with both Cochran and McDaniel that they choose to vote for Marcy in the Democratic Primary. It is doubtful such will take place, though, and Childers is a solid favourite going into tonight.

MS-4 GOP: Centrist Republican Congressman Steven Palazzo faces a challenge from the Right in Hancock County Port Commissioner and former Democratic Congressman Gene Taylor. There is a decent likelihood that this race goes to a Runoff, as there are quite a few other Republicans running. Prediction: Taylor 47%, Palazzo 44%, Others 9%.


MT Senate DEM: The main contenders are interim Senator John Walsh and former Lieutenant Governor(and Walsh's predecessor in that office) John Bohlinger. Prediction: Walsh 52%, Bohlinger 43%, Rancher Dirk Adams 5%.

MT Senate GOP: This race pits Congressman and 2004 Gubernatorial nominee Steve Daines against State Representative Champ Edmunds. While Edmunds may poll formidably(read: 30s), Daines is still the solid favourite.

MT-AL GOP: The main contenders for this wide open race are former State Senate Minority Leader 2012 Gubernatorial runner-up Corey Stapleton, former State Senator Ryan Zinke, and State Senator Matt Rosendale. Stapleton probably is favoured based on name recognition.

MT-AL DEM: Former State House Speaker, former Public Service Commissioner, and 2008 nominee John "backpacking to nowhere" Driscoll and former Congressional staffer John Lewis are battling it out for this race. Driscoll seems to be the favourite based on name recognition.


NJ Senate GOP: The leading candidates are Consultant and 1978 nominee Jeff Bell and Professor, Ron Paul activist, and 2008 Senate candidate Murray Sabrin. This one is a coin flip, as Bell's been out of the scene for over 3 decades and Sabrin may have residual name recognition from his 2008 run, though Republicans are usually pretty averse to nominative Libertarian types.

NJ-1 DEM: In the race to succeed resigned Democratic Congressman Rob Andrews, State Senator and political scion Donald Norcross is the solid favourite over Logan Mayor Frank Minor.

NJ-1 GOP: Locally-renown Sportscaster Gary Cobb is in a tight fight with former Collingswood School Board Member Claire Gustafson for the right to lose to Donald Norcross in both the Special Election and the General Election.

NJ-2 GOP: Centrist Republican incumbent Frank LoBiondo faces a Primary challenge former Absecon School Board Member Mike Assad. LoBiondo is a certain victor.

NJ-2 DEM: Attorney and political scion Bill Hughes Jr. faces a test from former Obama White House Aide Dave Cole, a test he should pass with only marginal difficulty.

NJ-3 GOP: This one is trench warfare between two carpetbaggers: Former Bogota, NJ, Mayor, 2013 US Senate nominee, and 2009 Gubernatorial Primary runner-up Steve Lonegan and former Randolph, NJ, Mayor Tom MacArthur. This one is going to be really tight. Name recognition and enthusiasm favours Lonegan, while advertising and polling would seem to favour MacArthur.

NJ-12 DEM: This free-for-all for the seat of retiring Democrat Rush "my Congressman IS a Rocket Scientist" Holt has centred around two State Legislators: 2012 NJ-7 nominee Upendra Chivukula and Linda Greenstein. Given that it takes a stinker of a campaign to lose a center-left district in a Liberal banner year the likes of 2012, I would say Greenstein has the edge going into tonight.


NM Senate GOP: Former State GOP Chairman and 2010 Gubernatorial runner-up Allen Weh and former Dona Ana County GOP Chairman David Clements are running for the right to defeat Democratic Senator Tom Udall in November. This race may be somewhat close, but Weh has an advantage due to residual name recognition from his 2010 campaign.

NM Governor DEM: This bloody brawl pits Attorney General and political scion Gary King against State Senators Howie Morales and Linda Lopez, former Magazine Publisher and racist Alan Webber, and former Albuquerque, NM, Chief Administrative Officer Lawrence Rael. The two leaders of the pack are King, with his own name recognition plus that of his father, the late former New Mexico Governor Bruce King, and Webber, with his self-funding capabilities. This one could be an all-nighter.

NM-1 GOP: This race, between Businessmen Mike Frese and Richard Priem for the right to take down Democratic Congresswoman Michelle Lujan-Grisham, is hard to call one way or another. We'll just wait and see.


SD Senate GOP: Former Governor Mike Rounds is heavily favoured over State Senate majority Whip Larry Rhoden, State Representative Stace Nelson, and Physician Annette Bosworth.

SD Governor GOP: Governor Dennis Daugaard is solidly favoured to win over former State Representative Lora Hubbel.

SD Governor DEM: This race, for the right to lose in November, pits State Representative Susan Wismer against carpetbagging retired State Wildland Fire Suppression Director and former Mission Viejo, CA, Mayor Joe Lowe. Wismer is a modest favourite.

SD Secretary of State GOP: This race features State Senate Majority Whip Shantel Krebs and Deputy Secretary of State and former First Lady Pat Miller. Miller is at least a narrow favourite going into tonight.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

5/20/14 Primary Roundup(AR, GA, ID, KY, OR PA)


Arkansas Governor: Republican Asa Hitchinson and Democrat Mike Ross easily won their respective primaries.

Arkansas Lieutenant Governor: Republican Congressman Tim Griffin easily blew out his opposition and is favoured in November.

AR-2: Republican Businessman French Hill won his Primary by a surprisingly large margin and is favoured in November.

AR-4: Republican State House Majority Leader Bruce Westerman prevailed by a modest margin and will most likely win in November.


Georgia Senate: As was expected from looking at the polls, Millionaire Businessman and political scion David Perdue and Congressman Jack Kingston will advance to a costly(and, judging by their respective advertisements, a childish and tacky one at that) Runoff which will determine who stares down Democratic political scion Michelle Nunn in November.

Georgia Governor: Incumbent Republican Governor Nathan Deal easily beat back two minor opponents for the right to take on Democratic political scion Jason Carter in November.

Georgia Secretary of State: Democrat Doreen Carter easily won the right to lose to incumbent Republican Brian Kemp in November.

Georgia School Superintendent: In very crowded fields, Republicans Mike Buck and Richard Woods and Democrats Valarie Wilson and Alisha Morgan will advance to a Runoff.

Georgia Insurance Commissioner: Democrat Liz Johnson easily won the right to lose to incumbent Republican Ralph Hudgens in November.

Georgia Public Service Commissioner: Incumbent Republican Lauren 'Bubba' McDonald beat out his nearest Primary opponent by a nearly 3-1 margin, and is the heavy favourite in November.

GA-3, 4, 9, 13, 14-Incumbent Republicans Lynn Westmoreland, Doug Collins, and Tom Graves, as well as incumbent Democrats Hank Johnson and David Scott, easily defeated their Primary opposition. They are all unopposed in November.

GA-1: Republican State Senator Buddy Carter and Physician Bob Johnson will advance to a Runoff in this dark red district.

GA-2: Republican Greg Duke easily won the right to face Democratic Congressman Sanford Bishop in November.

GA-10: Republican Minister Jody Hice and Trucking Executive and political scion Mike Collins will advance to a Runoff in this dark red district.

GA-11: Republican State Senator Barry Loudermilk and former Congressman and 2008 Libertarian Presidential nominee Bob Barr will advance to a Runoff in this dark red district.

GA-12: Rick Allen won the Republican Primary without a Runoff and will face Democratic Congressman John Barrow in a competitive November election.


Idaho Senate: Incumbent Republican Senator Jim Risch and Democrat Nels Mitchell easily won their respective Primaries. Risch is heavily favoured for re-election.

Idaho Governor: Incumbent Republican Governor Butch Otter won by a narrower than expected margin of 51-44. Given the deep red hue of Idaho, Otter is heavily favoured for re-election.

ID-2: Incumbent Republican Congressman Mike Simpson easily beat back his Tea Party-fuelled Primary opposition, and he has a sizable edge over former Democratic Congressman Richard Stallings in November.


Kentucky Senator: Senate Minority Leader and leading 2016 VP prospect  Mitch McConnell handily defeated Tea Party-backed opposition 60-35, and will go on to face a bitter and costly battle with Democrat Allison Grimes.

KY-6: Democrat Elizabeth Jensen easily won her Primary, and will face Republican Congressman Andy Barr in what could shape up to be a competative race in November.


Oregon Senate: In spite of recent scandals, Republican Monica Wehby prevailed 51-37 and will face vulnerable Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley in November/

OR-1: The latest Republican Primary tallies, with 170/199 precincts reporting, show Jason Yates ahead of Delinda Morgan 43-40. The winner will face Democratic Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici in November.

OR-2: Republican Congressman Greg Walden steamrolled a Tea Party-backed challenger, and will face little difficulty holding his seat in November.

OR-5: Republican Tootie Smith romped in her Primary and will face vulnerable Democratic Congressman Kurt Schrader in November.


Pennsylvania Governor: Tom Wolf creamed all of his Democratic opposition and will go on to face vulnerable Republican Governor Tom Corbett in November.

Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor: Democrat Mike Stack blew away his nearest opposition by a 3-1 margin. He will face incumbent Republican Jim Cawley in November.

PA-8: Democrat Kevin Strouse narrowly won his Primary and will go on to face Republican Congressman Mike FitzPatrick in November.

PA-9: Republican Congressman Bill Shuster won re-nomination over Tea Party-backed opposition by 18 points, a narrower than expected margin. He is a lock for re-election.

PA-13: In an upset, Democratic State Senator Brendan Boyle blew away all his Primary opposition and is a lock in November's election.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

5/20/14 Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Oregon, & Pennsylvania Primaries: Races to Watch


AR Governor GOP: This race features former Congressman and 2006 Gubernatorial nominee Asa Hutchinson and Businessman and 2010 US Senate candidate Curtis Coleman. Hutchinson has a decent edge going into tonight.

AR Lieutenant Governor GOP: Congressman Tim Griffin faces State Representatives Debra Hobbs and Andy Mayberry. While we cannot rule out the possibility of an upset, Griffin should be considered the favourite as of now.

AR-2 GOP: The big contest out of this state tonight pits self-funding Banker and the NRCC's choice cut French Hill against the more Conservative State Representative Ann Clemmer and Tea Party-backed retired Army officer Conrad Reynolds. Hill may have a financial edge, but the outcome is anyone's to guess.

AR-4 GOP: State House Majority Leader Bruce Westerman is facing off against Energy Executive Tommy Moll for the right to run in Arkansas' most Conservative district. Westerman has a distinctive edge going into tonight.


ID Governor GOP: This cartoonish Primary features incumbent Governor Butch Otter going up against State Representative Russ Fulcher, retiree and street preacher Walt Bayes, and Engineer and Motorcyclist Harley Brown. The four of them recently met for a debate, which was largely memorable for its striking resemblance to an audition for 'The Village People on Broadway.' Fulcher will poll formidably(as the only serious alternative to Otter), but Otter will still win 57-31.

ID Senate DEM: This race, for the right to lose to Republican Senator Jim Risch, features Attorney and frequent multi-state candidate William Bryk(who will also lose his Primary to Senator Jeff Merkley in Oregon tonight), Attorney Nels Mitchell, and Website Developer Jeffrey Anderson. Mitchell is the probable favourite for tonight.

ID-2 GOP: This one will get the most attention of all the Congressional races tonight. Incumbent Congressman Mike Simpson faces the fight for his political life against Tea Party-backed Trial Lawyer Bryan Smith. This is the Congressional Primary where outside groups have spent the most, indicating the closeness of the race. Right now, I give Smith the advantage going into tonight based on grassroots enthusiasm.


KY Senate GOP: The marquee contest of the night features Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell going up against Tea Party-backed Investment Executive Matt Bevin. Polls have indicated McConnell is ahead by modest margins, and he is indeed the favourite tonight. That said, do not be surprised if this turns into a sleeper race.

KY-6 DEM: Non-Profit Education Group CEO Elizabeth Jensen is facing 2012 State Representative nominee Geoffrey Young for the right to take on freshman Congressman Andy Barr. Jensen is heavily favoured.


OR Senate GOP: Surgeon Monica Wehby and State Representative Jason Conger are the main contenders duelling it out for the right to face vulnerable freshman Senator Jeff Merkley in November. Wehby has been hit in recent days with accusations stating that she harassed her husband during divorce proceedings. Normally this would help Conger, but it has also come to light that he was a proud supporter of Cover Oregon(the failed statewide exchange for ObamaCare) and a local bridge project which went nowhere after many millions of taxpayer dollars were spent promoting and planning it. Given the nature of Oregon voting(the state does vote by mail), Wehby should still retain enough of an edge to beat Conger. I'm thinking around 40-37 Wehby.

OR-1 GOP: This race features Vineyard owner Delinda Morgan, Mechanical Engineer Bob Niemeyer, and Pest Control Service Manager Jason Yates. Sources on the ground tell me that Yates has decent odds going into tonight.

OR-2 GOP: Congressman and NRCC Chairman Greg Walden faces a Primary challenge from Tea Party-backed Klamath County Commissioner Dennis Linthicum. Walden should be able to hold on.

OR-5 GOP: This race features a brawl between Clackamas County Commissioner Tootie Smith and former Congressional aide Ben Pollack for the right to take on Congressman Kurt Schrader. Smith has name recognition on her side, while Pollack has grassroots support. This will be very close.


PA Governor DEM: This one will be the most closely watched Gubernatorial Primary of the night. Former State Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf, State Treasurer Rob McCord, Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, and former State Environmental Protection Secretary Katie McGinty are in the running to take on unpopular GOP Governor Tom Corbett. Wolf has maintained a sizable lead in the Primary, and should win with ease tonight. Prediction: 48% Wolf, 25% McCord, 16% McGinty, 11% Schwartz.

PA Lieutenant Governor DEM: This race features 5 heavyweights vying to take on GOP Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley. Former Congressman Mark Critz, Harrisburg City Commissioner Brad Koplinski, State Representative Brandon Neuman, Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith, and State Senator Mike Stack are all running. Everything I've heard says Critz and Stack are the leaders of the pack, and that Critz is the narrow favourite for the nomination.

PA-8 DEM: This race features Publishing Company Executive Shaughnessy Naughton going up against Afghan/Iraq War Veteran Kevin Strouse, the choice of national Democrats, for the right to take on GOP Congressman Mike FitzPatrick. Strouse has maintained fundraising advantages, and should be able to put this one away.

PA-9 GOP: Congressman Bill Shuster is facing a Tea Party-backed challenge from Businessman Art Halverson. Shuster is heavily favoured to win.

PA-13 DEM: This one is a 4-car pileup, with former Congresswoman and Clinton in-law Marjorie Margolies, State Senator Daylin Leach, State Representative Brendan Boyle, and Physician Val Arkoosh running to replace Gubernatorial hopeful Allyson Schwartz. The Clinton association should be enough to guide Margolies to a narrow win in this Suburban Philadelphia district.

5/20/14 Georgia Primary Rundown

GA Senate GOP: This is where all the statewide and most of the national action will be taking place tonight. In the running are Congressmen Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey, and Jack Kingston, self-funding Businessman and political scion David Perdue, and former Secretary of State and 2010 GOP Gubernatorial Primary runner-up Karen Handel. This race has been very fluid and the 'battle lines' rather muddled. Kingston started out the frontrunner, with the more Conservative candidates(Broun/Gingrey) polling formidably. Since then, Perdue has gained a solid foothold and seems likely to coast to a Runoff. Kingston, who seems to be imploding, and Handel, who is remarkably incapable of selling her product to a Primary electorate, are bashing each other to pieces for the coveted second place slot, which leaves open the possibility of one of the more Conservative candidates(again, Broun/Gingrey) slipping into the second slot. The only guarantee is that there will be a Runoff with David Perdue and his many millions of dollars on July 22.

GA Governor GOP: This one has not gotten the attention it deserves. Not surprising, given that this and every other Primary race has take a back seat to the Senate Primary. This race pits incumbent Governor Nathan Deal against Tea Party-backed Dalton Mayor David Pennington and State School Superintendent John Barge. While Pennington has been running a very issues oriented campaign, Barge's run has been quite inexplicable, seeming mainly to serve as a candidate for that rare breed of Republican educator who dislikes Governor Deal(both Barge and Deal supported and presided over the implementation of Common Core). All this having been said, neither man has caught on with the voting public, and Deal is likely to coast to re-nomination with over 60% of the vote.

GA Secretary of State DEM: This race pits Oglethorpe Mayor Gerald Beckup and former Lithonia City Councillor Doreen Carter. Polling gives Carter a sizable edge, and that it how the race should go tonight. Carter 62-38.

GA State School Superintendent GOP and DEM: This race, on both sides, is an electoral equivalent to a multi-car pileup on Spaghetti Junction. These races is the fluidest of the fluid. The leaders of the GOP pack seem to be Ashley Bell, Mike Buck, Nancy Jester, Fitz Johnson, Kira Willis, and Richard Woods. The seeming leaders of the Democratic pack seem to be Denise Freeman, Alisha Morgan, and Valarie Wilson. Who emerges and advances to the Runoff is literally anyone's guess.

GA Insurance Commissioner DEM: This race pits former State Representative Keith Heard against former DNC official Liz Johnson. Polling has given Johnson an edge, but that edge has narrowed a bit. I expect Heard to pull an upset tonight.

GA Public Service Commission GOP: Incumbent Lauren 'Bubba' McDonald faces strong challenges from Lavonia lawyer Doug Kidd and Hall County Commissioner Craig Lutz. Kidd is guaranteed a first place slot, and McDonald might not even make it to a Runoff.

GA-1 GOP: This race pits State Senator Buddy Carter against State Representative and 2010 GOP Gubernatorial candidate Jeff Chapman, former USDA official and 2010 GOP Agriculture Commissioner candidate Darwin Carter, Surgeon Bob Johnson, Physician Earl Martin, and Venture Capitalist John McCallum in a race to succeed Senate candidate Jack Kingston. Buddy Carter is a virtual lock on first place. The question is who will get second place and advance to the Runoff with him. The likeliest bets seem to be Chapman, Johnson, and McCallum.

GA-2 GOP: Former Lee County School Board Member Greg Duke and retired educator Vivian Childs are fighting for the right to take on Democratic Congressman Sanford Bishop. Duke appears to be a modest favourite right now.

GA-3 GOP: Congressman Lynn Westmoreland is facing a challenge from Businessman Chip Flanegan. Westmoreland is favoured, but an upset is not out of the question.

GA-4 DEM: Congressman Hank Johnson faces a strong challenge from former DeKalb County Sheriff Thomas Brown. Johnson has not been posting impressive fundraising numbers lately, which leads me to believe that Johnson's support going into tonight is softened. I would say there's a slightly better than even chance Brown pulls off an upset over Johnson.

GA-9 GOP: Congressman Doug Collins faces a challenge from retired Army Brigadier General Bernie Fontaine. While Fontaine may get more support than people expect, Collins remains a heavy favourite going into tonight.

GA-10 GOP: This race pits Trucking Executive and political scion Mike Collins against Baptist Minister and 2010 7th district GOP Congressional runner-up Jody Hice, State Representative Donna Sheldon, Attorney Gary Gerrard, Businessman and 2012 Primary loser Stephen Simpson, former Columbia County GOP Chairman Brian Slowinski, and USMC Reserves Colonel S. Mitchell Swan in a race to succeed Senate candidate Paul Broun. The race is essentially a 3-way fight between Collins, Hice, and Sheldon. The only certainty about the runoff is that Collins will be in it.

GA-11 GOP: This race pits former Congressman and 2008 Libertarian Presidential nominee Bob Barr against State Senator Barry Loudermilk, State House Majority Whip Ed Lindsey, former State Workforce Development Evecutive Director Tricia Pridemore, Businessman Allan Levene, and retired Army officer Larry Mrozinski in a race to succeed Senate candidate Phil Gingrey. This race seems to be a 4-car pileup between Barr, Lindsey, Loudermilk, and Pridemore. It is unclear who will emerge for a near-guaranteed July Runoff. My prediction is the 2 will be Loudermilk and Pridemore.

GA-12 GOP: 2012 runner-up Rick Allen is facing off against 2008 nominee John Stone(who, with inflated AA turnout under old district lines, lost 66-34), State Representative Delvis Dutton(the candidate of national Republicans), Businessman Eugene Yu(who dropped down from the Senate race to this one), and Nurse and 2010 Primary candidate Diane Vann for the right to challenge Democratic Congressman John Barrow, a top target for Republicans in 2014. The 2 who will likely advance to the Runoff are Allen and Stone, as neither Dutton nor Vann has caught on and Yu has had some egregious campaign finance violations come to light in recent weeks.

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Day at the Races(4/18/14), Part 2: Endorsing David Pennington for Georgia Governor

On Friday, April 18, 2014, I had the opportunity to attend two political meet-and-greets held around my area. The first one was hosted by Republican Congressman and US Senate candidate Phil Gingrey. The second one, which I will now document, was hosted by former Republican Mayor of Dalton, GA, and Gubernatorial candidate David Pennington, who is primarying incumbent Republican Governor Nathan Deal.

This meeting was held at a local restaurant. I arrived a little before the meeting started. I sat apart from the crowd, as I was planning to eat dinner and hadn't any questions I really wanted to ask(was more there to listen and observe). After some opening remarks from campaign workers, Mr. Pennington got up and introduced himself.

One of the first things he talked about was our states' population growth, which is one of the fastest rates of growth in the country. He also brought up the fact that we have one of the highest tax rates and unemployment rates in the country and are also rated near the bottom of the pack with regards to education quality. He emphasized his opposition to Common Core(which Governor Deal and State School Superintendent John Barge both support and implemented statewide), adding that education is up to local school boards, teachers, and parents. He pointed out that schools today have gotten so bad that students grade-watch their professors and teachers change the answers on kids' tests and pass them.

These education practices leave future members of our work-force sorely lacking in skills, which translates into higher rates of unemployment and poverty. A statistic he cited was the employment-to-population ratio in Metro Atlanta counties over the past 20 years. Citing the counties of Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett, he pointed out that the employment-to-population percentage averaged from in the high forties to 50% 2 decades ago, while they now average in the low forties and high thirties. An observation Pennington noted in his jobs and employment discussion was the fact that, with a majority of the 'quality' jobs centred in and around Atlanta, the lack of jobs in the rural, outlying parts of the state is the reason that Atlanta traffic is amongst the worst in the nation. One of his major points was that Atlanta moved Georgia's economy forward from the 70s to the 90s, and that Georgia's economy has suffered with Atlanta's economic atrophy.

At this point, somebody asked Mr. Pennington a question regarding the Chamber of Commerce. Pennington emphatically stated that, as a small businessman, he did not associate himself with the CoC. Teeing off of that, he emphasized the fact that he is not a professional politician. He is a small business owner who put himself forward to the Citizens of Dalton when he saw a failure of leadership in the city. He talked about how he, over the past 6 years, cut taxes and licensing fees city-wide and gave his salary to charitable purposes(which he promised he would do as Governor. He credited his policies with i,proving Dalton's economy, even as the rest of Whitfield County lagged behind.

Mr. Pennington also referenced a recent quote from Governor Deal which stated that tax reform in GA was 'dangerous.' This quote runs contrary to Deal's claims while campaigning in 2010. In 2010, he campaigned as a supporter of the FairTax(a tax system Mr. Pennington is supportive of), complete with the endorsement of then-Congressman and FairTax mastermind John Linder. Sometime in the past 9 months, Georgia became one of the few states to enact the 'Amazon Sales Tax,' which taxes items sold on the world's largest online shopping venue. This is in addition to all the other high tax rates Deal has enacted and retained in his tenure. Another quote, perhaps unsurprising, from Governor Deal which was cited was one, spoken at a rally at the local 'Achasta' golf course, which bashed the Conservative grassroots(a comment made as 'Conservative' Senate candidate Karen Handel looked on).

The final points Pennington made pertained to the political ramifications of the Primary Election. He proclaimed that the Conservative movement is dead of Republicans re-nominate Deal and that Democrats will win if Deal is re-nominated. He cited the fact that Democrat Jason Carter has his grandfather Jimmy's friends, Hollywood, the mainstream media, and national Democratic organizations behind him. He has a near-infinite money supply trucking in, and he can go on the air attacking Deal over ethical issues, including, but not limited to, his associations with the car auctioning company Copart(which Pennington has stated is to Deal what Watergate was to Richard Nixon). He also said that Georgia is gone if a Democrat wins because of the population growth, mainly in the minority community, and the fact that Republicans will be seen as having been given their chance{even though the last two GOP Governors(including the cousin of leading GOP Senate contender David Perdue) are former Democrats}. In explaining why the Conservative movement would win by nominating him, he touted his record as Dalton's Mayor as a tax-cutting, ethical Conservative, which is a stark contrast to Governor Nathan Deal. He emphasized his belief that, by articulating his Conservative beliefs before the state electorate, he would be able to, with the energy of the grassroots behind him, defeat Democrat Jason Carter in November.

After the meeting ended, I got the chance to pick up campaign literature and meet both the candidate and his supporters. I mentioned being impressed with what I had heard and indicated I would be supportive of the campaign. About a week and a half ago, I cast my early votes for Pennington, Paul Broun, School Superintendent candidate Mary Kay Baccallo, and Public Service Commission candidate Craig Lutz. I hope that people will consider supporting Pennington as the Conservative and electable alternative to Deal and John Barge.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Day at the Races(4/18/14), Part 1

On Friday, I had the opportunity to attend two political meet-and-greets held around my area. The first one was hosted by Republican Congressman and US Senate candidate Phil Gingrey, and the second one was hosted by former Republican Mayor of Dalton, GA, and Gubernatorial candidate David Pennington, who is primarying incumbent Republican Governor Nathan Deal.

I arrived about a half-hour after the Gingrey meeting commenced, so I missed most of the introduction. The only thing I learned from those last few minutes of the introduction was what I saw from my seat, which was fairly close behind the speaker: That he dyes his hair black. After completing his introduction, he opened himself up to questions. The first serious question pertained to ObamaCare, which he vowed his every effort to repeal, and, on this subject and throughout the meet-and-greet, voiced his commitment to the rights of the states, local municipalities, and businesses to choose.

When asked about term-limits, he indicated his support for term limits, though expressed some question as to how many terms representatives and senators should be limited to, mentioning maybe 6 terms for representatives and 2 for senators. He also said that he is going to Washington to work, and if he has not worked in his first term, then he will go home. If he has worked, then, as he said "Lord willing," he might seek a second term. Asked about tax reform, he affirmed his support for the "Fair Tax."

The most pointed question asked was one regarding House Republican leadership and how they are not digging in against Obama. Gingrey started off by talking about the likable personality of John Bohener and what a nice guy he is, equating him with the popular kid at a college fraternity who all the kids want to be like. He emphasized the need for real leadership, citing Tom DeLay as an example. According to Gingrey, DeLay wasn't dubbed 'The Hammer' for nothing, and that sometimes you don't need nice guys on your team if you want to get things done. Gingrey also expressed both his elation over DeLay's recent exoneration and sadness for the fact that he is now broke and has to start his life over again.

Teeing off of his remarks alluding to college fraternities, he reminisced over his college days, talking about how he and some friends of his got to see then-Senator Barry Goldwater speak and how this was a political revelation for him. He added that while his Liberal professors may have flunked him for his views, they never tried to warp his mind. He also explained what kind of a candidate he would be. He would try to be honest and straightforward with the people. He emphasized where he stood on issues, and also joked about how various news and media outlets have misrepresented things he has said. He concluded by saying that politics is not about whining about how one is treated by the media, and that people must stand firm and fight.

Around this time, somebody who had a child with cancer and was fighting with her insurance company was brought in to tell her story and to ask Mr. Gingrey questions about ObamaCare. Mr. Gingrey expressed his sincerest sympathies to her, re-affirmed his commitment to repealing ObamaCare, and gave her his card(he is a medical doctor) in case she needed to see a doctor in the state. I roughly and perhaps vaguely summarized because I don't really feel right airing one's personal information in a public forum.

Mr. Gingrey was asked about the prospect of a Constitutional Convention and whether or not he thought such would be hijacked by un-Constitutional types. He stated that he was encouraged by what he was seeing out of the move to force a convention and that he would be supportive of such. He also expressed favourable sentiments toward Dr. Ben Carson.

A lady asked him about foreign policy, and he was pretty well schooled on the subject. She talked extensively about the Muslim Brotherhood and the many threats posed by that organization. Mentioned was the fact that the government has members working for and advising them on various matters, which would explain the government's labelling these military base shootings as being "workplace violence." Political correctness was also brought up, as well as the nostrums about Christianity and Islam co-existing together, which, for that to happen, would involve one religion fundamentally changing its principles to conform with the other. In responding, Gingrey acknowledged the concerns broached and emphasized the need to strike a fine balance between maintaining the civil liberties of Americans and taking necessary actions against the terrorists.

Soon afterwards, the meet-and-greet concluded, with Mr. Gingrey thanking all of us for coming out to ask questions. I picked up a few stickers and soon had the opportunity to shake Congressman Gingrey's hand. I asked him if it was OK if I quickly asked a question{I had been silent throughout so I could hear him speak and listen to his answering of questions(which narrowed my prospective questions down considerably)} He obliged, and I asked for his stance on the education initiative "Common Core." He stated his complete opposition to Common Core, emphasizing the need for local control of school curriculum. He also said students should spend at least an hour-and-a-half on homework. After answering my question, I wished him good luck and went on my merry way.

Before the meet-and-greet, I was firmly supportive of Paul Broun. After listening to Gingrey speak, I am giving the most thorough consideration to both men(I will not support Karen Handel, Jack Kingston, or David Perdue). Stay tuned for part 2, where I chronicle the David Pennington meet-and-greet, which was held later that day.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Jeb Bush to Univision: "Hispanics Go Great With Chicken and Creamed Corn."

Earlier this morning, riding high on his recent claim that Hispanic people illegally immigrate to the US as a show of love, former Florida Governor and 2016 GOP Presidential frontrunner Jeb Bush stumbled and made what has been perceived as a major gaffe in an interview with Univision's Jorge Ramos on the Spanish-language Sunday morning talk show 'Al Punto.'

When talking about job opportunities for illegal aliens in the Obama economy, Bush stated "With stifling tax rates and ObamaCare requirements for businesses, it's no wonder people are not hiring. It's no wonder people have given up in their search for work and have instead elected to go on Unemployment. So to answer your question, Mr. Ramos, there isn't a whole lot of opportunity at this time for these people to find work." "Not even small-time jobs?" asked Mr. Ramos, to which Bush replied "Well, of course there will always be small-time jobs out there for our immigrants. Herding cows, chickens, goats, and such is one. Cleaning the aisles and mopping the floors at Wal-Mart is another. Dishing out the creamed corn, the fried chicken, the pork and beans, the mashed potatoes and gravy, and the mac and cheese at these Southern slop shops is a third. There are many opportunities for small-time jobs. More than I can count. And one would think that, given their experiences down south of the border, they would be ideal for such jobs." When asked if he had any regrets about his previous remarks regarding Hispanics, Mr. Bush replied "No sir, Mr. Ramos. I am living proof of the fact that love can drive you to pursue nerve-racking endeavours. Those six weeks between the day I placed that fateful order and the day my wife came in the mail weren't all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, kiddies. It was some kind of torture. It's because of that experience that I have the fullest and most complete understanding of what the families of our troops go through on a day-to-day basis." Concluding the interview, Bush projected an aire of optimism, proclaiming that he "looks forward to meeting with and taking my case to voters across these blessed lands."

Immediately, the various news outlets pounced on the story with such headlines as "Bush: Hispanic People Go Great with Chicken and Creamed Corn," "Jeb Bush: Pro-Hispanic or Pro-Restaurant Association of America?," "Leading GOP Candidate Salivates at Opportunity to Meet with Voters," "Uncle Jeb: I Want You(Right Next to the Mashed Potatoes)!," "GOP Strategy to Solve Demographic Problem? Eat Them!," "Eat or Be Eaten," and "It's a Dog Eat Dog World out There."

From top Democrats, the response was swift and unanimous. Leading 2016 Presidential prospect, former Secretary of State, and former First Lady Hillary Clinton called the remarks an "outrage." Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, coming out of a film shoot for his role in the Cookie Jar weight loss commercials, decried Bush's comments as being "profoundly racist" and "the kind of thing you'd hear from Southern good-ole-boys." Senate Majority Leader and Nevada Senator Harry Reid declared the remarks "an abomination" and promptly called for him to release his tax returns.

Several top Republicans were also quick to condemn Jeb Bush for his remarks. From his home in Belmont, MA, 2012 Republican Presidential nominee and former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney called the remarks "unfair," citing his experiences with the Hispanics he's hired for household help and his intimate knowledge of the process of 'self-deportation.' Florida Senator and 2016 Presidential prospect Marco Rubio decried the remarks as being "racially insensitive" and "damaging to our party's future prospects." Kentucky Senator and 2016 Presidential prospect Rand Paul condemned the "profiling language" used by Bush, while praising him for "his unflinching desire to knock down the Iron Curtain that is our Southern border fence and its enforcement." Texas Senator Ted Cruz, while dismissing outright the newsworthy aspect of the quote, slammed Governor Bush for "endorsing the failed Barack Obama policy of open borders, which is anathema to our country." Real estate magnate and potential 2016 GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump, in an interview for "Fox News Sunday," called for both Bush and his Hispanic wife to release their long-form birth certificates. "I want names. I want dates. I want addresses. I want numbers. I want to know why Governor Bush is espousing such anti-American sentiments. My team of presently Hawii-based investigators and I await the unveiling of all the sordid details."

Some Conservatives were willing to defend Mr. Bush in the face of such harsh criticism. Former Alaska Governor and 2008 GOP Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin dismissed everything as being a "creation of the mainstream media." Paul Broun, a Georgia GOP Congressman and a leading US Senate candidate, dubbed the criticism "gross exaggeration" and "lies straight from the pit of hell." Wisconsin Congressman and 2012 Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan wholeheartedly endorsed the comments and reminisced over his younger days operating the grill at McDonalds. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich attacked the media for "despicably" exaggerating and over-blowing Bush's remarks, while praising Bush for "his eloquent defense of our system of free enterprise." "There is no greater pride a man can have than to receive his first paycheck. I remember mine as though it were just yesterday. Dwight Eisenhower was President, and times were good. We always had enough money to put food on the table. 'Gay' only meant one who was bright and merry. Fond memories." Before leaving for the senior special at IHOP, Gingrich also expressed some personal sympathy for Governor Bush: "I know what kind of pain he went through. I went through that same torturous proceeding when I placed the order for Callista. The government of Lego Land isn't nearly as lenient as the Mexican government. It's not fun, and I never had half the connections who were pulling strings for him." RNC Chairman Reince Priebus weighed in: "While we wish that the Governor could have been more polished and artful in his choice of words, he raises the points we have been trying to make for many years. The Obama economy has stifled job creation with burdensome tax rates and regulations. ObamaCare has caused people to stop hiring, cut back hours and workers, and eventually close businesses. The opportunities for an immigrant to find work here have been rapidly diminishing these past few years. These are the issues we need to be talking about, and not whether or not Jeb Bush wants to eat you."

Overshadowed by today's news was the unveiling of former President George W. Bush's artwork at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The largely formally attired gala was uneventful until a lieutenant of the Hispanic gay mafia crashed the reception and threw a shoe at President Bush. He missed, but ultimately nailed a portrait of the late PLO leader Yasser Arafat, a move which radio host Alex Jones proclaimed to be a 'Zionist conspiracy.' Bush took it all in stride, and joked about his having received 'the Hillary treatment.' Down in Florida, members of a Mexican biker gang were arrested for defacing property when toilet paper found in the trees on property owned by Jeb Bush was traced back to them. A court date has not yet been announced.

In another surprising twist sure to shake up the state of the 2016 race, embattled New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has not only announced his decision to run, but that he will be selecting Florida Senator Marco Rubio as his running mate in the event that the Governor wins the party's Presidential nomination. In an interview with "Face the Nation," Christie told host Bob Schieffer that "Marco is an excellent leader for our party, and I have the fullest confidence that he can help to both deliver me Hispanic support in November, 2016, and lead the country for the next 4 years." When asked why it came down to Rubio regarding a Hispanic running mate, Christie hesitated before coming right out: "George P. Bush hasn't yet been elected to anything and Twinkie the Kid was neither available nor eligible."