Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

John Barrow pulls out his granddaddy's anti-lynchin' pistol again


Rep. John Barrow's ad two years ago about how "my grandfather used this little Smith and Wesson here to help stop a lynching" was widely recognized as one of the best of the cycle. The Augusta Democrat is out today with a sequel in which he bears his grandfather's gun again, and pulls out his concealed carry permit along with it.

The kicker: "Like my daddy used to say, you never really need a gun unless you need it bad."

The second new spot from Barrow today swings to attack Republican Rick Allen from the right on immigration.

The main critique of Allen is that he supported, and Barrow voted against, a supplemental appropriations bill passed in early August to focus on the children coming across the Mexican border. It included a lot of money for border security as well as about $200 million for temporary housing for the kids. In the ad's retelling, that means Allen supports using "tax dollars to keep illegal immigrants in the United States."

The ad also singles out a quote from Allen, who owns a construction business, that it is a "burden" to certify that his workers are legal. Here's the full quote from a debate last month (starts around the 45:45 mark).

"I'm a small businessman and I'm going to tell you the most frustrating thing we've ever tried to do is the E-Verify. I mean because you have to be careful because you can end up in a lawsuit for discrimination. And So it's quite a burden on our small businesses by the way. You know, yes, businesses do not need to be hiring illegal immigrants. I agree with that 100 percent. But guess what, the business community can't deal with this until we close our border."

Allen's public statements show he has kept the line that House Republicans -- and Barrow -- have used on immigration: Certify that the southern border is "secure" and then let's talk about reform.

Barrow has a serious financial advantage in the race, but Allen put in another $110,000 in personal money two days ago.

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A new 11Alive/Survey USA poll is out, showing a slight contraction nearly all the way around in the races for U.S. Senate and governor – likely the result of the negative ads that are pounding your TV set. From the station’s website:

Democrat Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn holds 46 percent of the vote, while Republican David Perdue has 44 percent. SurveyUSA said support for Perdue has steadily, yet slightly declined over the past six weeks, while Nunn has gained ground, albeit not consistently.

Libertarian Senate candidate Amanda Swafford polled at 4 percent, and 7 percent of the 606 voters polled said they are still undecided. In the race for governor:

[I]ncumbent Nathan Deal, a Republican, is down one point from last week, to 45 percent. Challenger Jason Carter, a Democrat, is down three points, to 43 percent. Libertarian Andrew Hunt has 4 percent, and 8 percent of voters are undecided.

SurveyUSA says Carter had 59 percent of the vote in the greater Atlanta area last week, but now has only 49 percent -- a significant drop that could account for the recent Democrat slippage.

The 11Alive poll also has Republican Richard Woods slightly ahead of Democrat Valarie Wilson, 46 to 44 percent.

None of these races has anyone escaping the margin of error. The poll is a combination of robo-calls and online surveys. Full results here. The predicted electorate is 63 percent white and 28 percent black.

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Good line from Tim Bryant of WGAU (1340AM) in Athens: “These Georgia elections are tighter than Renee Zellwegger’s new face.”

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The images were stark. Here’s the explanation from Michael Smith, the Democratic spokesman:

"The fight for the right to vote and for every vote to be counted is part of our state’s history, a part of the fabric that makes Georgia what it is today. Our state and our democracy is stronger when more people participate. And we have seen what happens in places like Ferguson, Missouri, when voices are silenced. We must make exercise our right to vote."

On the opposite side, here’s the “Fox and Friends” take from this morning:

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Over at the National Journal, Charlie Cook explains why Georgia has complicated Election Day for Republicans out to gain a U.S. Senate majority:

With Republicans' advantage in each of …six Democratic-held seats, the thinking has been that the GOP might need only to either beat Sen. Mark Udall in Colorado, or win the open seat in Iowa—both of which look to be no worse than 50-50 for Republicans—to offset a GOP loss in either Georgia or Kansas….

This all being the case, with the GOP potentially needing to gross eight seats to net six, Republican efforts are now reenergized in North Carolina against Sen. Kay Hagan, and in New Hampshire against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, just in case they lose both Georgia and Kansas and either Colorado or Iowa come up short.

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What do you do when you're a president who would probably do more harm than good if you show up for a favored candidate? Call into a radio show. Our AJC colleague Rodney Ho has the story of President Barack Obama calling up Atlanta's V105 on Tuesday and talking up Democrat Michelle Nunn -- and flu shots:

“Michelle Nunn will win the Senate if there’s a high turnout among Democrats,” Obama told [morning host Ryan] Cameron. “If there’s low or ordinary turnout, she won’t win… If folks in Georgia vote at the same rate in the midterms as they do in the presidential election, Michelle Nunn will win.”

Obama noted that fewer than half of registered Georgia voters vote during the mid-term elections.

“When you think about the tradition of Georgia, when you think about Dr. King and you think about John Lewis and you think about what the civil rights movement meant in Georgia, the notion that less than half of your people vote doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.”

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David Perdue picked up an endorsement Tuesday from the Georgia Life Alliance, the group that formed this year as a less confrontational rival to Georgia Right to Life and took over as the state affiliate to National Right to Life. Martha Zoller, the former radio host now working for the Perdue campaign, is on the group's board.

The statement attacked Michelle Nunn for receiving big support from Emily's List, which backs women who support abortion rights:

“Emily’s List has referred to Michelle Nunn as their ‘perfect candidate’. Based upon the track record of Emily’s List endorsements, this means Michelle Nunn likely supports legal protection for late term abortions, partial birth abortions, and abortions performed on unborn fetuses at a stage during which the baby is capable of feeling the pain and torment being inflicted,” [executive director Emily] Matson said.

Nunn has not spoken much about abortion, aside from an Associated Press interview last year in which she said they should be "safe, legal and rare."

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A group called Feminist Majority is pouring $21,000 into ground game and mail efforts for Michelle Nunn, according to a new Federal Election Commission filing.

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The Georgia Faith Forum will host Gov. Nathan Deal and Democrat Jason Carter tonight for a Q&A with clergy members that offers a novel platform - and tricky timing - for the two rivals.

Expect questions on gun policy, on immigration crackdowns and on social issues that have divided faith leaders as well as politicians. Each candidate will be peppered with an hour's worth of questions from the 45 religious leaders arrayed at Trinity Presbyterian Church.

For Deal, the event could be a showcase to tout his recent trade mission to the Holy Land and outreach to Jewish voters. It could also offer Carter another chance to distance himself from the controversial views held by his grandfather, former President Jimmy Carter, on the Middle East peace efforts.

And both will likely be under scrutiny for their support of a gun rights expansion that provoked a backlash from some clergy members.

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Rep. John Lewis is on the campaign trail -- in Louisiana.

According to a local news account, the Atlanta Democrat spoke at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge on Tuesday about his new graphic novel and will appear at an early vote rally today. The race between Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu and Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy is almost certain to go to a runoff.

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We told you yesterday that Kyle Jackson, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business on Monday demanded that state Sen. John McKoon, R-Columbus, edit his latest campaign commercial, which contained the organization’s “Guardian of Small Business Award” – a combination paperweight/statue that sat on McKoon’s desk in the video.

McKoon has not received that award. On Tuesday, Jackson said the campaign told him that the use of the prop was inadvertent, that it had been removed from the ad, and everyone was happy.

“I guess that’s really kind of the end of the story,” Jackson said.

***

The Augusta Chronicle reports that state Sen. Jesse Stone, responding to a demand from Democratic rival Diane Evans, has promised to withdraw his bid for a Burke County state court judgeship.


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