Political Notes: September 2014

On to November: Once he bested veteran 1st District Congressman Jack Kingston in the Republican primary runoff, David Perdue – who had a particularly strong showing in Metro Atlanta – had to jump immediately back into the fray. He is battling Democrat Michele Nunn in a clash of political newcomers with familiar names.

Perdue is a cousin of former Gov. Sonny Perdue, and Nunn is the daughter of former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn. The race is drawing considerable national attention.

Race for the Top Job: In the gubernatorial race, there were no runoffs required. But in the contest that has Democrat and former State Sen. Jason Carter challenging incumbent Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, the heat was on over the summer.

Carter had some good fundraising news about the same time the State Ethics Commission’s troubles were back in the news, something Deal and his supporters can’t have been happy about.

Doing the Math: Georgia lost three Republican congressmen in the primary and runoff elections for U.S. Senate. Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey failed in their primary bids to be the Republican candidate replacing retiring U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss; Jack Kingston lost the runoff to David Perdue.

If you are counting, that’s a total of 41 years of experience serving in the House of Representatives that the state is losing. Kingston served 22 years; Gingrey, 12; and Broun, 7. That leaves 3rd District Rep. Lynn Westmoreland and 6th District Rep. Tom Price as the senior GOP congressmen from Georgia. Both were elected in 2004.

Democratic Coordinators: With an optimistic eye toward the top November races – U.S. senator and state governor – Democratic Party of Georgia Chair DuBose Porter named four co-chairs of the party’s 2014 co-ordinated campaign.

They are David Cooke, district attorney for the Macon Circuit; Tharon Johnson, managing director at McKenna Long & Aldridge law firm; Veronica Maldonado, head of BizMaven Insights and program director for the Georgia Mentor Protégé Connection; and state Rep. Dewey McClain, president of the Atlanta North Georgia Labor Council AFL-CIO.

Around the State: Drawing more attention than usual this year is the race for State School Superintendent. Former City of Decatur School Superintendent Valarie Wilson beat former State. Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan in the Democratic primary runoff. Morgan was generally seen as friendlier to charter schools.

Wilson faces Republican Richard Woods, who defeated his opponent Mike Buck by only 700 votes.

Meanwhile, in the 1st District Republican congressional runoff, former State Sen. Buddy Carter defeated Robert Johnson; he will face Democrat Brian Corwin Reese in the race for Jack Kingston’s old seat.

In District 11, former State Sen. Barry Loudermilk is headed to Washington. He defeated fellow Republican and former Congressman Bob Barr and has no Democratic opposition in November.

Ports Authority Appointments: Gov. Nathan Deal appointed Dublin’s Ben H. Hall Jr. and Augusta’s William D. McKnight to the Georgia Ports Authority Board.

Both are in the construction industry. Hall is chairman of Dublin Construction Co. Inc., and B.H. Hall Ready Mixed Concrete Inc., and has served on the boards of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and Associated General Contractors of Georgia.

McKnight is president of McKnight Construction Co. and a former president of both the Augusta Country Club and Augusta Golf Association.

Deal reappointed ports authority board members Joe Rogers Jr., CEO of Waffle House Inc. in Atlanta, and Joel O. Wooten, an attorney with Butler Wooten, Cheeley & Peak in Columbus. Wooten is a former chair of the Uni-versity System of Georgia Board of Regents.

Handel on ShePAC Board: Former Secretary of State Karen Handel, who lost her bid to become the Republican U.S. Senate candidate, has joined the advisory board of ShePAC, a sort of EMILY’S List for conservatives. The organization is dedicated to supporting and electing conservative women to office.

School Boards Association Slate: Nath Morris, chair of the Hall County School Board, is the new president of the Georgia School Boards Association. Doug Roper of the Vidalia City School Board is president-elect; William Wade of the Dawson County School Board is vice-president; and Georgia Bevels of the Floyd County School Board is treasurer.

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