By Greg Bluestein, Jim Galloway, Daniel Malloy
Gov. Nathan Deal may have more than a GOP primary challenge on his hands next year.
We’re told that state Sen. Jason Carter, a Decatur Democrat and grandson of the former president, has commissioned a poll to "test the political environment, given recent events," for a 2014 run for governor.
Those events include a fresh round of allegations that Deal's office played a heavy-handed role in picking the ethics chief who helped weigh complaints against him, and some pushback on Republican efforts to obstruct the Affordable Care Act in Georgia.
Former state senator Connie Stokes of Lithonia has already announced her plans as a gubernatorial candidate in the Democratic primary.
But a Carter candidacy – not unlike the current U.S. Senate run by Michelle Nunn -- would instantly offer statewide name recognition and national fundraising ability to the once-sleepy gubernatorial contest.
Carter could also short-circuit what's likely to be a more crowded Democratic race for governor in 2018 that could feature Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and several other next-generation candidates.
Before he became president, Jimmy Carter was a state senator who served as governor from 1971 to 1975.
If you’re a pariah, if you’re out there on the edge, it’s not unusual for your social calendar look like the Mojave Desert. People would just rather not be seen with you.
U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., disagreeing with his Georgia colleagues in the House, dislikes Obamacare – but doesn’t think its elimination to be worth a shutdown of the federal government.
Within some sectors of the Georgia GOP, Isakson’s radical preference for economic stability has cost him dearly. But he’s not a total outcast. Certain people are still willing to shake his hand.
Gov. Nathan Deal, for instance, who has named Isakson as his “special invited guest” at a University of Georgia tailgate party, just before Saturday’s Bulldog game against Missouri.
Meanwhile, the New York Times was in the 14th Congressional District, interviewing sword-and-knife shop owner Jeff Epperson about U.S. Rep. Tom Graves and his role in bringing about the federal shutdown:
“If he backs off, then I would say absolutely I’d be inclined to look for someone else,” said Mr. Epperson, whose store flew a Don’t Tread on Me flag.
Michelle Nunn, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, has an op-ed on the D.C. shutdown in this morning’s Macon Telegraph. The article includes these paragraphs:
People in Georgia don’t shut down or take issues to the brink. Instead, they apply innovation, hard work, empathy and determination to get the hard work done and make lives better.
The current budget crisis in Washington is a failure to apply these values, and it is a failure of leadership. We are not at this point by accident. We are here because neither side has been serious about cutting government spending and making the hard choices necessary to reduce our national debt.
In addition to passing annual budgets, we need to focus on long-term fiscal stewardship. Make no mistake: our national debt threatens future generations. We must solve it through a deliberative and thoughtful process that recognizes that hard choices and shared sacrifice will be necessary. If we do nothing, we risk rising interest rates, increased cost of living, lower wages and slower job growth.
House Speaker John Boehner made a rare Sunday TV appearance on ABC’s “This Week.” From the Washington Post:
Sitting for his first television interview since congressional gridlock shut down most federal agencies nearly a week ago, Boehner sought to dispel the perception that he has been cornered by right-wing rebels and is desperately looking for a way out. In recent days, rank-and-file Republicans have said Boehner has told them he will not let the nation default on its obligations, even if that means raising the nation’s borrowing limit primarily with Democratic votes.
On Sunday, Boehner said he has no intention of collapsing in unconditional surrender. “We are not going to pass a ‘clean’ debt-limit increase” — one without additional concessions from Democrats — he said.
“I told the president, there’s no way we’re going to pass one. The votes are not in the House to pass a clean debt limit,” Boehner said. “And the president is risking default by not having a conversation with us.”
Actually, the votes are there, according to this Post headcount.
To that point: On Friday, 195 House Democrats sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner demanding an immediate vote on a “clean” continuing resolution to reopen the government, without policy changes such as those dealing with Obamacare. If all Democrats can hang together, they would only need about 20 Republican votes to pass such a bill.
But there were a handful of Democrats who did not sign on, including Augusta’s John Barrow. The Blue Dog has voted with Republicans a handful of times on piecemeal efforts to reopen small slices of the government and a pre-shutdown continuing resolution to delay the Obamacare individual mandate and repeal the medical device tax.
Still, we asked Barrow last week for his thoughts on a “clean CR,” and he indicated he might support it. Said Barrow:
“A clean CR wouldn’t be the most comprehensive solution. It wouldn’t solve all our problems. It wouldn’t resolve all our arguments. … It would take the pressure off of the federal civil service, DOD employees, civil servants, folks who are running the ports and the like. Folks who aren’t the cause of all this, they’re paying the price for Congress’ failure to do its job.”
The Huffington Post reports this morning that a key part of HealthCare.gov, the Obamacare presence on the Internet, will go dark this weekend as programmers work to fix major glitches.
Reuters is pointing to cumbersome and overly complicated programming:
For instance, when a user tries to create an account on HealthCare.gov, which serves insurance exchanges in 36 states, it prompts the computer to load an unusually large amount of files and software, overwhelming the browser, experts said.
If they are right, then just bringing more servers online, as officials say they are doing, will not fix the site.
"Adding capacity sounds great until you realize that if you didn't design it right that won't help," said Bill Curtis, chief scientist at CAST, a software quality analysis firm, and director of the Consortium for IT Software Quality. "The architecture of the software may limit how much you can add on to it. I suspect they'll have to reconfigure a lot of it."
Just in time for his re-election bid, Atlanta City Councilman Lamar Willis has been ordered struck from the rolls of those who can practice law in Georgia.
The Georgia Supreme Court decision to disbar was unanimous. You can find the decision here.
The at-large councilman is accused of improperly pocketing a $30,000 he won for a young client. Backed by Mayor Kasim Reed, Willis is being challenged by Andre Dickens, a program administrator at Georgia Tech. Dickens, in turn, is backed by former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin.
Today’s the deadline for voter registration for the Nov. 5 elections, which will include the city of Atlanta and several special elections for legislative seats across the state.
State School Superintendent John Barge says he doesn’t expect the Legislature to demand that the state educational machine withdraw from Common Core, according to this morning’s Marietta Daily Journal:
Barge said what he hopes comes from any legislation is that the process for how the state adopts new standards is codified into state law. The process for adopting standards is only governed by policy now.
“It makes sense that we have a lot of folks who want to have input. We can live with it,” Barge said. “But at this point they are not looking at putting language into that legislation that pulls Georgia from the Common Core. So that’s good. Things could change between now and then, though. So we’ve been able to charter those waters pretty well.”
Republicans now have a third candidate in the race to replace state School Superintendent John Barge, who is running for governor.
In a GOP context, Fitz Johnson, a Cobb County businessman, has two intriguing characteristics. He’s a potential self-funder, and he’s African-American. From the press release:
After serving in the military and briefly practicing law, Fitz joined his brother and his father, Brigadier General (Ret) Walter F. Johnson, at Eagle Group International, a defense contracting company. Fitz helped grow this small business into a thriving enterprise that they eventually sold to Lockheed Martin.
Johnson launched the women’s professional soccer team, “The Atlanta Beat,” playing their home games at the new stadium at Kennesaw State University. Today, Fitz is a partner at Georgetown Capital, a private equity firm in Atlanta. He is also the CEO of Broadrange Logistics.