Mike Klein Online

Georgia Republicans Finish the Drill; Trauma Care Amendment Loses

This article was published by StatehouseNewsOnline.Com and Watchdog.Org.

Georgia voters provided Republicans arguably their greatest statewide victory ever Tuesday as the GOP administered a whipping to Democrats like nothing they had seen, literally, since Reconstruction after the Civil War.  This was the political equivalent of what football coaches preach:  Finish the Drill!

Republicans won every state constitutional office starting with Governor.  Retired nine-term congressman Nathan Deal ended Democratic former Governor Roy Barnes’ comeback bid by 53% to 43%.  Georgia requires a majority margin to win.  Georgia sent Republican U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson back to Washington by an even wider margin, 58% to 39%.

That was just the beginning of a great night for Republicans, a fright night for Democrats.

Republicans retained seven Congressional seats and took one from Democrats.  Former GOP state legislator Austin Scott defeated four-term Democrat Jim Marshall 53% to 47% in central Georgia’s 8th Congressional district.  Republicans will hold both Senate seats and eight of the state’s 13 House seats in the next Congress.

Republicans seized three state executive offices from Democrats:  attorney general, agriculture commissioner and labor commissioner.  The GOP retained lieutenant governor, secretary of state, insurance commissioner, state school superintendent and public service commissioner.

As Wednesday dawned over Georgia, Democrats could only wonder, what now?

Historians will consider whether Tuesday was more significant than eight years ago when Sonny Perdue became Georgia’s first Republican governor in 130 years.  Democrats held many state offices after 2002 and 2006 elections.  Now the GOP will hold every state government office for the next four years.  The party retained state Senate and House majorities.

The evening began with many predictions Deal and Barnes would face a gubernatorial run-off on Tuesday November 30.  Analysts predicted African-American support would break to Barnes and Libertarian candidate John Monds would take votes from Deal.  Barnes did carry the African-American vote but Monds could not get over 4% and Barnes conceded just before midnight.

Deal told supporters, “Georgia has placed its faith in the Republican Party and we are not going to let them down.” Barnes quoted the Apostle Paul, “I have fought the good fight.   I have run the good race.  I have finished the course.  I have kept the faith and so have you.”

An amendment to fund trauma care with a special $10 tax that would be added to annual vehicle registration was defeated 53% to 47%.   This high-profile measure was supported by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the state’s major medical organizations.  A major final weekend media blitz was not enough to save it from voters who rejected the new tax.

Mike Klein is Editor at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.

November 3, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Georgia Early Vote Should Pass 800,000; Far Less Than 2008 Election

Georgia early voting seems certain to pass 800,000 ballots cast, a sizable number by its own merits, but still down from nearly 2.1 million in the presidential election two years ago.

More than three-quarter million early ballots have been cast, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s elections division.   Total ballots cast were 761,042 with 643,936 voted in person, 117,106 mail-in ballots and 58,606 mail-in ballots outstanding.  General voters can return mail-in ballots through Tuesday.  Military personnel ballots will be counted through Friday.

This is the second general election and the first mid-term in which all eligible Georgians are permitted to vote early in-person or by mail-in without having to provide a reason or excuse.

Two years ago the state recorded 2,084,1279 early ballots and that represented 53% of total ballots, said Matt Carrothers, director of media relations for the Secretary of State’s office.

Presidential election years generate more voters than mid-term elections.  Georgia turnout in the three most recent presidential elections was 69% in 2000 when Texas Governor George W. Bush defeated Vice President Al Gore, 77% four years later when President Bush defeated Massachusetts Sen.  John Kerry and 76% two years ago when Illinois Sen.  Barack Obama defeated Arizona Sen. John McCain.

Fewer Georgians vote in mid-term election years.  Governor Sonny Perdue upset incumbent Governor Roy Barnes in 2002 with 54% of eligible Georgians voting.  The total voter percentage declined to 48% when Perdue won re-election over Democratic challenger Mark Taylor in 2006.

Election history dating to 1988 is available on the Secretary of State website, www.sos.ga.gov/elections.

Mike Klein is Editor at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.

November 1, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Losing Job Leaves Colleague “Feeling Bruised”

This past week two more colleagues joined the half million plus Georgians who are out of work.   They toiled for big companies, Coca-Cola and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who apparently have not heard we are in an economic rebound made possible by the Barack Obama administration.

They entered the ranks of newly laid off professionals the same week the White House admitted the inevitable:  Official unemployment will remain around 10% nationally all year and that is not good news for any politician, Republican, Democrat or Tea Party.   One told me she is “feeling bruised.”

Perhaps they are just a bit fortunate.  Now they can reinvent.  Think about all the poor folks back in the office who sit around all day, fearful someone has painted a target on them.  The best part is they no longer have to get up in the morning and wonder, is this the day they send me home? Continue reading

February 15, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

GOP Power Play, Obamacare, Space Taxis and Newt!

Friday morning’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution headline that screamed “Governor seeks a shake-up” was counter-punched by the next morning’s headline “Critics pound Perdue plan.”  The November headline should say “Voters KO GOP Power Grab Plan.”  This was a bad idea from the start.  And if it’s such a good idea now, why didn’t we hear about this until Sonny Perdue’s eighth year in office?

The basic plan goes like this: Perdue proposed that starting after 2014 elections the governor would appoint four currently elected officials: commissioners at labor, education and insurance, along with state superintendent of education.  This will ostensibly make for better, more efficient government and ensure that really good people hold those jobs. Continue reading

February 7, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment