A Contrast in Victories

Two elections were won by Republicans last night.  Neither went the way people expected.

While everyone was fixated on Georgia last night, there was a near Hindenburg-level catastrophe for conservatives in South Carolina.  Republican Ralph Norman nearly suffered defeat at the hands of Democrat Archie Parnell in the 5th District.  He only squeaked past by 3 percent – that’s about 2,800 votes.  This is a district that former Rep. Mike Mulvaney won by more than 20 points last fall before resigning to become Director of the OMB under Trump.  Trump also won this district by a similar amount as Mulvaney and remains more popular in South Carolina than the nation as a whole.

Norman is a well-known conservative state legislator, hailing from the most populous part of the 5th District.  He won a close primary over his establishment-backed colleague Tommy Pope back in May, winning by only 200 votes.  Norman has a strong conservative record in office and promised to join the Freedom Caucus if he won.

To lose him in Congress would have been a disaster.

Even though the primary was close, no one thought the general election would be.  Norman led Parnell by double-digits in the sparse polling available.  Hence, the Left ignored Archie Parnell, because he seemed to have no chance.

While this race flew under the radar, the special election in Georgia’s 6th District drew over $50 million in spending.  The Georgia district was seemingly better turf for Democrats, because of Trump’s unpopularity and his previous electoral struggles there.  Republican Karen Handel initially struggled to gain her foothold.  So the Democrats went all in for Jon Ossoff, which may have been their biggest mistake.  Liberals drew national attention to Ossoff and trumpeted leftist ideology in a conservative district election.

San Francisco liberals wanted to nationalize the Georgia race in order to validate their agenda.  They nationalized it alright and obliterated Ossoff’s lead that he held at the beginning of June.  They ginned up their base, but they also awoke GOP voters afraid of Nancy Pelosi.  Even though those Republican voters are wary of Trump, they are still more afraid of Pelosi’s ilk, so they showed up in huge numbers for Karen Handel.

Back across state lines was the opposite story.  Because no outside attention was brought to bear in South Carolina, turnout was light.  Only about $2 million was spent.  Roughly in line with normal Congressional races.  The DCCC spent $300,000 while the NRCC didn’t even spend that much.

Unlike Jon Ossoff trying to knock on the doors of Trump voters in Georgia, the Democrat Archie Parnell focused on turning out his base.  According to Politico:

The DCCC’s money was aimed at turning out black voters, and much of the money went towards ads on African-American radio and canvassing in heavily black parts of the district. Other national Democrats, many with their eyes on an early 2020 primary state, also campaigned for Parnell, including former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan. Biden recorded a get-out-the-vote robocall.

Ralph Norman ran a good race, following a tough primary, and he is a strong favorite for re-election.  But there are other districts out there much more reachable for liberals, including the one I live in.  The Left only needs 24 seats to take control of the House of Representatives.  It’s more of a threat than many conservatives want to believe.

The Democrat base is already energized while Republicans are more placid.  You see this in the Congressional Generic Ballot, Right Track – Wrong Track, and Trump’s low approval numbers.  Last night we saw the Democrats underperform in Georgia with high turnout and overperform in South Carolina with low turnout.  This difference in turnout was whether GOP voters showed up.  When turnout dropped, it saw a disproportionately higher drop in GOP voters compared to Democrat voters.  It took massive spending and national attention to get conservatives to the polls in Georgia.  Without that in South Carolina, the river of votes nearly dried up for Ralph Norman.

The turnout variations from district to district is one reason we see some funny outcomes in wave elections.  People survive who you think are toast, because the base rallies to them when threatened.  But then others lose sleeper races even though they look safe.  Safety breeds complacency.  Safe districts thus lose their security.

It doesn’t matter how much some in Congressional Republican leadership are congratulating themselves today.  If GOP voters are lethargic in the future as they were in the 5th District, there could be storm clouds on the horizon for 2018.  GOP leadership needs to give conservative voters real conservative legislation to be excited about.  They need to give them a reason to show up, and they need to do it quickly – before next year’s campaigning starts apace.  There is no certainty that “Stop Pelosi” will always be enough.

Another $15M Raised in GA6 Runoff

 

Ex-congressional aide Democrat Jon Ossoff has reported another record fundraising haul of an additional $15.3 million over the last two months in the runoff phase of Georgia’s 6th Congressional District special election to succeed now-HHS Secretary Tom Price.

Ossoff has now raised a total of $23 million. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that it was not clear how much of the donations came from out-of-state, but Ossoff’s last report showed only about 1 in 20 contributions were from Georgia residents.

The runoff between Ossoff and former Georgia Secretary of State Republican Karen Handel is by far the most expensive U.S. House election ever, costing more than $40 million so far. Democrats have outspent Republicans by nearly $2 million in the runoff phase.

Georgia’s 6th District, has also long been a GOP stronghold. But Trump won the district by less than two points, and Democrats, desperate to score a win, are pulling out all the stops to elect a Democrat who doesn’t even live in the district he is running in.

The latest polling shows the race too close to call with Ossoff  slightly ahead of Handel – 49.1 percent to 47.6 percent, well within the poll’s 4.4 percent margin of error. Yes it’s a garbage poll.

Early voting began last week and continues through June 16. Almost 70,000 people have already voted and the number could top 100,000 before it ends next week — nearly double the 55,000 early ballots cast in the original April 18 special election,

Early voting for the runoff began last week and runs through June 16. Select polling locations will additionally be open Saturday in all three counties with areas in the 6th District, including Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton.

The totals in the runoff have already surpassed the early voting numbers ahead of the original April 18 special election, when about 55,000 people cast early ballots.

Montana, Georgia Prove Laws of Politics in the Age of Trump

For seventeen months, I’ve heard how all the rules of politics have been thrown out the window. Polling, pundits and poobahs no longer rule. Now it’s the Age of Trump, where 4D chess is played between tweetstorms and threats of violence (or actual violence), they said.

But I’m ever more convinced it’s not really true. Montana, and the upcoming Georgia special elections have restored my confidence that nothing under the political sun has really changed.

We’re just measuring things wrong because we’re asking the wrong questions. The rules of politics still apply. If you’re a bad candidate running a poor campaign, you will lose. If you run against the popular will on “we care” issues of the electorate, you will lose. If nobody knows who you are and you let your opponent define you, you will lose.

If you don’t connect with voters in some meaningful way, you will lose. Whether that’s knocking on doors, going on television, sending mail pieces, or appearing in the media, a candidate has to get the word out, and stay on (some kind of) message.

What I’ve learned from Trump is that his message is Trump. Donald Trump sold and continues to sell himself, and he never stops selling. Hillary Clinton was a bad candidate who ran an insular, smug, and overall bad campaign. She couldn’t beat a candidate with more defects than a “Rolex” bought from a street vendor in Times Square.

I’ve been involved with running losing campaigns because the candidate wouldn’t listen to sound advice. Go out and knock on doors, listen to the internal polling, choose a message and stick to it. No, no and no. Even with lots of name recognition, the result is inevitable…they lose.

The media is attempting to paint a picture that big outside GOP money won the race for Greg Gianforte. A lot of outside money was spent on Ryan Zincke’s former seat–it set a record with about $12 million combined inside and outside money spent. But that didn’t win the race for Gianforte. Plenty of money was spent on Democrat Rob Quist, who decidedly lost.

Quist lost because he was not a viable candidate. He was the love child of Arlo Guthrie and Bernie Sanders–a socialist folk singer who appealed to the country liberals up in Big Sky. But he wasn’t going to win with that. In fact, without all the outside money, Quist would have lost even bigger.

He could have been helped by Gianforte’s terrible mauling of reporter Ben Jacobs, but two-thirds of the vote was locked in by mail before Election Day. It’s unclear even if the mail-in vote wasn’t a factor that Gianforte would have lost. Quist was just a non-viable candidate.

In Georgia, another record is about to be set for spending on a Congressional seat. Karen Handel is behind by about 7 points in the polls. Her Democrat opponent, Jon Ossoff, is a nobody supported by millions of Democrat dollars from outside. He should not be ahead, never mind outside the margin of error.

Handel has lost every race she’s run since she was Georgia Secretary of State. For this race, in her own home district, where she’s lived for 25 years, she has kept the same crew that lost her bid for governor, and for the U.S. Senate. They are making the same mistakes they made before. She’s running a poor campaign, which is unfortunate because she’s the better candidate. Not listening to advice, not connecting with voters will lose you the race.

So nothing has changed. It’s not about the outside money. It’s about about the violent Age of Trump. Trump ran a campaign only Trump could run. He was a unique black swan candidate, with 40 years experience selling himself, an incredible relationship with the media (for good or bad), and unsurpassed name recognition. He won because he ran against a terrible candidate who ran a terrible campaign.

Greg Gianforte won because he was a better candidate than Rob Quist, and he ran a fairly good campaign, beating his 2016 bid for governor numbers by 5 to 6 percent in most precincts. If Jon Ossoff wins in Georgia, it’s because he connected with younger voters and had a better message, and ran a more effective campaign than Karen Handel.

Handel may still win, and I hope she does. But ignoring the laws of politics, believing that the Age of Trump has changed everything, is a recipe for losing.

 

After Flip-Flop, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal Signs Campus Carry into Law

Georgia is the latest state to pass legislation allowing for campus carry on its public universities and colleges. Along with the Peach State, Arkansas passed similar legislation earlier this year that also permits campus carry on its public colleges and universities.

On Thursday, Governor Nathan Deal (R-GA) signed House Bill 280  into law. It will also go into effect on July 1, 2017.

“At the present time, assailants can, and do, target these students knowing full well that their victims are not permitted to carry protection,” Deal said, “even those who are weapons carry license holders, because they are either going to or coming from a campus where no weapons are allowed.”

This is a 180 degree shift from last year when Deal vetoed similar legislation. What explains his change of heart? Likely the 2016 election and perhaps the realization that campus carry will make campuses a safer place. Here’s more on the legislation that was passed:

House Bill 280 would allow anyone with a concealed weapons permit to carry firearms on public college and university campuses, with exceptions that include dormitories, fraternity and sorority houses, and buildings used for athletic events. On-campus child care centers would also be excluded, as would areas on some college campuses where high school students attend class.

Current law in Georgia states that anyone in possession of a gun outside their vehicle on public universities – even with concealed carry permits in tow — is subject to a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail. When this law goes into effect on July 1, 2017, anyone in possession of a gun in gun-free zones, they’ll only face a misdemeanor and be fined fined $25 for their first offense.

Georgia is the tenth state to permit campus carry in the U.S. Here’s more on the current status of firearms on American campuses:

Because of  recent state legislation and court rulings, 10 states now have provisions allowing the carrying of concealed weapons on public postsecondary campuses. These states are Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin. Not included in above list, Tennessee allows faculty members with licenses to carry weapons on campus but the law does not extend to students or the general public.

Utah remains the only state to have statute specifically naming public colleges and universities as public entities that do not have the authority to ban concealed carry, and thus, all 10 public institutions in Utah allow concealed weapons on their property.

Glad Governor Nathan Deal came to his senses and signed this important legislation into law. Hopefully more states can witness similar legislation.

Georgians can put action to pro-life views Saturday

Georgia Right To Life will host a “Pillars of Personhood” training event Saturday at Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, Georgia. The event is free and lunch will be provided.

Pillars of Personhood “addresses the impact abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, assisted-suicide and emerging technology have on personhood” according to the GRTL website.

“I have witnessed personally the effects of The Pillars training,” said GRTL Executive Director Zemmie Fleck, “not only that it equips individuals to promote and defend personhood of all innocent human beings, but also that it has forever changed hearts and lives in the approach to abortion, euthanasia, physician assisted suicide, and all other methods of legally killing a person.”

The event will be held in Room 121 of the Miller Building on the TMC campus, and is set to begin at 10 am.

For more information, contact Gen Wilson at 404-285-4218 or check out the GRTL website.

Information about other upcoming Pillars of Personhood events may be obtained by contacting Fleck at [email protected] or by calling 770-339-6880.

Georgia Republicans Oppose a Casino

At noon today, the Georgia House of Representatives’ Regulated Industries Committee is going to consider legislation authorizing the creation of a casino in downtown Atlanta. There are a number of people, myself included, who do not oppose a casino particularly, but do oppose this legislation.

Last night, I pre-recorded my radio program so I could spend time with my kids and keep a promise to take them to Lego Batman. But my phone started going nuts in the theater. I stepped out to see what was going on and discovered the casino legislation would be up for a vote today. This is important because on Monday the Republican leaders in the state legislature announced the casino legislation was dead for the year. Now, on the last possible day that the legislation can be considered, they have resurrected it and are trying to rush it through.

I left the theater and pre-empted my own taped show to go live. I told my listeners they could use The Resurgent’s online activism portal to reach out to members of the Georgia House of Representatives to oppose the casino. The graphic above shows every point of contact, including a few people who were out of state who listened online (the system would only work with Georgia addresses).

The problems with the present casino legislation are enormous.

First, they cannot be honest about it. They are calling it a “destination resort” to tamp down opposition.

Second, they are requiring it to have an entertainment venue. This new, government mandated venue, will compete with existing for profit and non-profit Atlanta entertainment venues like the Verizon amphitheater, Lakewood Arena, the Fox Theater, the Tabernacle, etc. This government mandate has strong potential to jeopardize existing businesses.

Third, the studies of this casino’s effect show it will not bring in new revenue, but will just transfer revenue from other areas. In particular, the Georgia lottery that funds the statewide Hope scholarship would suffer. The lottery fund is already underfunding that scholarship and this casino would jeopardize it further. In order to get votes for the legislation, casino profits paid to the state will be divided between rural healthcare, trauma care, schools, and the Hope scholarship, thereby further reducing scholarship funding.

Fourth, almost every outside study not funded by casinos shows that urban casinos increase bankruptcies, addiction, human trafficking, divorce, crime, and other social ills while not doing all the glorious things promised. On top of that, local businesses tend to suffer and new businesses tend to avoid the area, thereby lowering the status of the property around the casino.

Since 6:38pm last night when I went on air, Georgians have generated over 24,000 messages in opposition to this legislation. The question remains whether the legislature will listen to its voters or check writers.

Should You Be Ruined by Government For What You Said After Apologizing?

Tommy Hunter is a Gwinnett County Commissioner in Lawrenceville, GA. More than a month ago, after Congressman John Lewis called Donald Trump an illegitimate President and announced he would not go to the inauguration, Tommy Hunter made a bad decision. He took to his personal Facebook page and called the congressman a “racist pig.”

The outrage was swift.

The commissioner deleted the post and subsequently apologized for his poor choice of words, admitting he had let his anger get the best of him.

That was more than a month ago. Since then, protestors organized by the local Democratic Party have shown up at every meeting of the Gwinnett County Commission seeking to force Hunter’s resignation. They have filed ethics complaints against him. They have consumed the public portion of the commission meetings to demand his ouster. Citizens who have business before the commission are having to wait hours to address the commission while protestor after protestor filibusters at the microphone to demand Hunter resign. He says he will not.

But now something more menacing is happening.

More than a month after the incident, after his apology, and after his appearance at an NAACP meeting to further apologize (a meeting disrupted by protestors), the Mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed, is threatening Mr. Hunter’s employer.

The employer, United Consulting, has a long time business relationship with the City of Atlanta. Kasim Reed, the Mayor, wrote

“As Mayor, I am writing personally to let you know that the City of Atlanta finds Mr. Hunter’s toxic remark to be insulting, reprehensible and unacceptable to this administration…Please let me know by close of business Monday, February 27 how you plan to resolve this matter.”

Mr. Hunter has already apologized. He has gone to an NAACP meeting to apologize.

Must he now lose him job? Should his employer be punished for not firing him for making a political statement on his own time on his personal Facebook page?

This is a dangerous precedent to set as our public discourse coarsens and people become more and more tribal. The Mayor of Atlanta threatening a private employer, demanding that the employer discipline an employee to the Mayor’s satisfaction seems to me to be an abuse of power.

The Mayor has no complaints with the performance of the business. There has never been an issue with the relationship. To target one employee for public shaming is not just reckless, but it sets a dangerous precedent that others will follow. This comes, I should note, after the FBI raided Atlanta City Hall in an investigation over procurement contracts.

What happens when the Republican mayor of another city goes after Democrat employees of a city contractor who participated in the Women’s March? Where does the line end.

Should Tommy Hunter kill himself? Would that then satisfy Mayor Reed and the protestors? Must they have blood, or will just his scalp be acceptable? He apologized. He admitted he should not have done it. He deleted the post.

If we have moved to a point where we get to exact revenge on political opponents by destroying their livelihoods, we are going to see an escalation of violence and public discord. Mayor Reed is behaving irresponsibly in getting involved here.

Pray For Albany. Help Them if You Can.

Overnight Saturday, storms hit Albany, GA spinning off tornados for the second time in three weeks. The local community there is devastated. The Marine Corps Logistics Base located there sustained heavy damage as did the neighborhood around it. Marines in the local community and others in the community have been displaced due to the devastation. “Pure destruction” is how local officials are describing the damage.

This is a rural part of a Southern state and consequently does not get a lot of national exposure, but the damage and devastation is both extreme and costly. A lot of people are without homes. Those who have homes have no power and, consequently, have lost all the perishable items in their refrigerators and freezers.

You can donate here to the Salvation Army in Georgia. You can donate here to the Red Cross in Southwest Georgia.

Thank you.