Political Notes: September 2010

Game On: Nathan Deal’s reward for defeating – just barely – Karen Handel in the rough and tough Republican primary runoff was that he got to jump headfirst into a three-month-long battle with another tough campaigner, Demo-cratic candidate and former Gov. Roy Barnes. That one will end on Tuesday, Nov. 2.

Despite the fact that Handel conceded the close race without asking for a recount and urged her fellow Republicans to support the nominee, she skipped the “Unity Breakfast” that was held in Buckhead shortly after the runoff election. It attracted U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, who’s running for his second term against Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond, a Democrat, and Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston, who knows a thing or two about difficult campaigns.

New International Trade Sheriff In Town: Pat Wilson, former director of government affairs for Gov. Sonny Perdue, is the new Deputy Commis-sioner for Global Commerce at the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

Heidi Green, now the department’s commissioner, previously had that job.



The Perils Of Being An Independent: Keith Tompkins learned the same lesson in Coweta County that Mary Norwood learned in Fulton County: It’s hard to get on the ballot as an Independent.

Tompkins was planning a run against Rep. Lynn Smith, a Newnan Republican, but failed to collect enough valid signatures. Smith, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee and a force behind the water conservation measure that passed the 2010 session, now has no opposition in November. She was first elected to the House in 1997.

Norwood, who lost the Atlanta mayoral election to Kasim Reed last November, was hoping to unseat Fulton Commission Chair John Eaves this year, but missed a crucial filing deadline.



Portsmanship: If the name of one new member of the Georgia Ports Authority board, businessman David A. Perdue, Jr., has a familiar ring to it, it’s because he shares a surname with the man who appointed him, Gov. Sonny Perdue, and is the governor’s cousin. The new board member lives on Sea Island and is head of investment firm Aquila Group LLC and a former Reebok executive.

Also named to the board is Joe Rogers, Jr., of Atlanta, who is chairman and CEO of Waffle House, Inc. Rogers co-chaired the governor’s successful Commission for A New Georgia.

The ports authority board has elected Bainbridge businessman Alec Poitevint as its chairman. He is a former chairman of the State GOP and was the governor’s 2002 campaign manager. Former state COO Jim Lientz, now a partner in SafeHarbor Consulting, has been elected vice-chairman of the board.

Roy Fickling of Macon, president of Fickling & Company, a real estate development and consulting firm, is the new secretary and treasurer.

Georgia’s ports, an economic powerhouse, are responsible for many thousands of jobs throughout the state.



Top Honor for DA: DeKalb County District Attorney Gwen Keyes Fleming was honored by the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys with its Leah Ward Sears Award of Distinction. The award is named after Georgia’s first female Supreme Court Chief Justice.

Keyes Fleming has been DeKalb’s DA since 2004. Before that, she was the county’s first African-American and first woman Solicitor General and the youngest individual elected to that position.



Let The Sunshine In: The Georgia Press Bulletin reports that all the gubernatorial candidates who spoke at the group’s annual summer meeting on Jekyll Island expressed support for legislation to require state and local governments to record the parts of meetings they close to the public.

Nathan Deal, according to the paper, at the time one of a large field of Republican candidates and now the GOP nominee, expressed some concern that sunshine laws are hurting economic development efforts. He believes states competing with Georgia to recruit new businesses might be able to find out what financial incentives the state is offering.

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