As I said in the beginning…29 days until the election.
What took you so long?
That was the sentiment broadcast by many metro Atlanta Republicans on Saturday as the Senate prepared to cast a final vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination.
At a pair of county GOP meetings in Atlanta’s northern suburbs, the party faithful cheered the news that the D.C. circuit court judge appeared on the cusp of confirmation, and they vowed to use that hard-fought win to galvanize Republican voters ahead of a midterm election that’s viewed as favorable to Democrats.
Democrats have “lost another battle, but that is not getting them down and out,” said Jason Shepherd, chairman of the Cobb County GOP. “Which means we have to fight double hard in order to get out the vote in 31 days.”
Shepherd was urging the more than 120 people assembled for a party breakfast in Marietta to get involved on behalf of a slate of Republican candidates assembled that morning, which included U.S. Rep. Karen Handel to lieutenant gov. nominee Geoff Duncan.
Roughly 30 miles to the Northeast, at a canvass launch for U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall in Cumming, Paul Stykitus didn’t need any help getting motivated.
“I think the Kavanaugh nonsense has just turned any fair-minded individual to say, ‘enough’s enough,’” said the 69-year-old sales director. “I think he should have been confirmed earlier.”
As dozens of protesters assembled in Atlanta’s Woodruff Park to voice their opposition to Kavanaugh’s confirmation, many local Republicans blamed Democrats for smearing the judge’s reputation even before California professor Christine Blasey Ford accused him of sexual assault.
“It’s just a witch hunt,” said Paul Frank, a Cumming retiree, adopting the refrain President Trump has used to describe the ongoing Russia investigation. “It’s another Democratic ploy to try and get their people in.”
Kelli Warren, president of the Republican Women of Forsyth County, said she was pleased about Kavanaugh’s nomination advancing.
“To me, the most important thing is the presumption of innocence,” she said. “With Dr. Ford, where were her witnesses? … And I say that being the mother of a daughter who recently, I found out, is a victim of domestic violence. I’m totally empathetic to that situation, but we can’t persecute or blame someone if we don’t have proof behind it.”
Local GOP officials expressed confidence that Kavanaugh’s confirmation would drive GOP voters to the polls in November.
Patrick Bell, chairman of the Forsyth County GOP, said many voters have come up to him upset with the “lack of decorum” surrounding the confirmation process, and especially the way anti-Kavanaugh protesters have swarmed Republican senators on Capitol Hill, at the airport and at a D.C. restaurant in the case of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. He predicted the tactics will “backfire” on Democrats in November.
Many GOP voters who had not been paying much attention to politics until recently, he said, “are fed up with everything, and I think that the mob rule is bringing them out,” Bell said. “They’re tired of it.”
Georgia’s U.S. Sen. David Perdue, who had a contentious run-in with protesters in a northern Virginia airport on Monday, similarly criticized such protesters in a fiery Senate floor speech on Wednesday in which he accused his Democratic colleagues of inciting overzealous activism.
“When the paid activists who support you attack my wife, you have gone too far,” the first-term Republican said. “You are inciting this disrespect of our law.”
Perdue and his Georgia GOP colleague Johnny Isakson both recently announced their intent to support Kavanaugh.
Democrats similarly vowed to use Kavanaugh’s promotion to drive their voters to the polls next month.
“We are going to get so damn engaged in the political process in this country they’re not going to know what hit them,” state Sen. Nan Orrock, D-Atlanta, said at the Woodruff Park rally. “We will win.”
Staff writer Meris Lutz contributed to this article.
Investors Business Daily hit th at issue in April, ” The CBO claims that the economy will experience only 1.9% annual growth for the next decade. (This is up a smidgeon from its 1.8% prediction at the start of the Trump presidency.) To be fair, CBO’s growth estimate is in line with most of the blue-chip forecasters’ estimates. But that prediction makes no sense. GDP growth averaged 1.95 % annually under Obama – and nearly everything he did on the economy was anti-growth.”
State and local officials in Georgia and Cobb have offered condolences and issued statements regarding Arizona U.S. Sen. John McCains’s death on Saturday.
From U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, an East Cobb Republican who served with McCain on the Senate Armed Services Committee since 2005:
“John McCain has left an example for all of us of what it takes to be an American patriot. His willingness to reach out to all to do what is right inspires us to work to find common ground. His life and work have left their indelible mark on history, and we all owe John a lot. May God bless John and his family.”
From David Perdue, a Republican from Warner Robins and Georgia’s junior senator:
“American patriot is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of John McCain. He dedicated his life to serving the country he loved so much & for that we will be eternally grateful.
“John’s wit, wisdom, and leadership will be missed in the United States Senate – especially on the Armed Services Committee.”
U.S. Congressman John Lewis, a Democrat from Atlanta:
“We have lost a great warrior who defended this nation’s honor in times of war and peace. He risked his life for America as a soldier, guarded our integrity as a prisoner of war, and dedicated his entire life to public service. Only a few will ever be remembered for standing on the courage of their convictions.
“Sen. John McCain was one of those rare people who was never afraid to do what he believed was right. Our nation is forever indebted to men and women of conscience who struggle—in their own way, according to the dictates of their own hearts—to act on the ideals of democracy and work to build a more perfect union. I send my deepest condolences to his family. They are in my thoughts and prayers.”
Jason Shepherd, chairman of the Cobb County Republican Party:
“For more than a century, his family has served our nation. His grandfather entered the Navy in 1906 and died an Admiral 4 days after witnessing with his son the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay on September 4. He, along with his father and grandfather before him, has left his mark on American history.“His passing at 81 means an era in American politics is over. While each of us had our opinion of the man who lived a very public life, privately, he was still also a husband, a father, a grandfather, a brother, and a son.”
U.S. Sen Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, wants to rename the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington after McCain. Richard Russell was a longtime senator from Georgia, serving from 1933 to 1971.
Republican Party Chairman Jason Shepherd recognized elected officials in the audience during Saturday’s Cobb GOP breakfast, as is the custom, referring to Commissioner JoAnn Birrell as one of two dissenting votes on the commission’s tax hike, which prompted applause from the crowd.
“I tried,” responded Birrell, to which Shepherd said, “Thank you for the effort. Maybe there will be a little help in a couple months,” a reference to Keli Gambrill ousting Commissioner Bob Weatherford in the July 24 runoff.
“Right now it looks like starting next year we’ll have a majority female county commission. What we need to do is work on possibly getting a majority conservative female commission,” Shepherd said.
Birrell congratulated Gambrill on her win.
“Welcome aboard,” Birrell said, adding that if Birrell lost in November to Democratic challenger Caroline Holko, “We’ll have a female majority, but not conservative.”
In his remarks to the audience, Republican Travis Klavohn, who is challenging state Sen. Horacena Tate, D-Atlanta, this fall, said his district, which includes South Cobb and Fulton County, doesn’t get the kind of economic development that it should.
“And the scary thing is that economic development is now happening in our part of the state, and it’s not good economic development,” he said. “If you live in a neighborhood, you do not want to live next to a 24-hour truck depot, let me tell you. That wrecks your quality of life.”
Klavohn also decried what he believes is a lack of interaction between the different ethnicities living in the district.
“We have a 1,000 homes in our neighborhood. We have black families, Hispanic families, Asian families, white families that all live next to each other, but we don’t necessarily have friendships. We don’t have trust. And let me tell you folks, we are one nation under God. And if we don’t fix that problem, we are not going to have a successful nation for very long,” Klavohn said.
It was from Democrats that Klavohn said he first heard of his opponent’s nickname “Horacena Haven’t Seen Ya,” a nickname he’s borrowed.
“In reality, every person in this world has two names, one they’re given at birth and that is always a good name. Every child is born a good soul, I believe that. But a second name is earned through deeds and through the choices you make in life, and she has earned her name ‘Horacena Haven’t Seen Ya.’”
Yet while Tate is his opponent in the race, she is not his enemy, Klavohn said.
“My enemy in this race is a different ideology, and we’re seeing it in the Democrat Party. Intersectionalism is what it’s called. They are subdividing the human race into different categories that petition the government for rights and benefits really, special privileges that are paid for by other people and this can only end badly. The successful outcome of my campaign must be to reinforce the values that have always made our nation very strong, that individual rights come from God, and we must be able to see each other as children of God.”
Also speaking was Republican attorney Matt Bentley, who is running against Democrat Erick Allen to fill retiring state Rep. Rich Golick’s seat.
“This seat has been Republican for 20 years, and over the course of that 20 years it’s gotten more and more difficult to keep it Republican,” Bentley said. “With that being said, with your help, we have a legitimate chance to make sure we keep this in Republican hands for a long time.”
One of the reasons it’s crucial to win is that redistricting comes up in 2020, he said.
Bentley said he thought about how he could prove to the audience how he was in fact a conservative Republican. Examples he used were campaign t-shirts and signs he had recycled from his failed bid in the 2017 special election to fill the seat vacated by former state Sen. Hunter Hill, R-Smyrna.
Another example was his first day at Emory Law School where his constitutional law professor gave a talk about how more gun restrictions would help reduce gun violence, inquiring if anyone disagreed. Bentley rose to the challenge, mentioning that when Kennesaw’s gun law went into effect, requiring the head of every household to own a gun, gun violence in that city plummeted.
“Of course she disagreed and told me whoever wrote that law was a crazy redneck,” Bentley said. “To make sure that I didn’t fail the class on Day 1, I decided to sit down and not tell her that my grandfather wrote that law and my dad over here made sure that it stayed constitutional,” Bentley said.
Cobb school board member Scott Sweeney warned of his Democratic opposition, Charisse Davis. Neither were challenged in the primary, where Sweeney received 4,844 votes and Davis received 4,562.
“Most people consider Cobb County, east Cobb County particularly as a very, very conservative area, probably about a 60-40 split on the conservative side,” Sweeney said. “Would it surprise you to know that my Democrat opponent and I were separated by a mere 300 votes in the primary? The importance of getting out the vote as Jason so clearly articulated … cannot be underestimated.”
Sweeney said he would endorse any Republican on the ballot and asked them to return the favor.
Republican Leah Aldridge, who is challenging state Sen. Jen Jordan, D-Buckhead, this November, was another breakfast speaker, pointing out her endorsement by Commissioner Bob Ott, who joined Birrell in voting against the county tax hike. Aldridge launched into criticism of Jordan, saying, “She thinks that it takes government to achieve dreams, to educate our children, take a loan, to start a business. She voted to make it easier for teens to achieve abortions in Georgia. She voted against free speech on college campuses. She voted to raise your taxes last session. She has spent her position of power ridiculing our Republican leaders.”
Republican DeAnna Harris, who is challenging state Rep. Michael Smith, D-Marietta, was another speaker, telling the crowd, “We cannot let these Democrats and Stacey Abrams win with their liberal views. My family has instilled in me the values that we all share, which is God, faith, hard work, honesty and leadership. …
Harris said her district will have about 15,000 voters in the general election.
“And contrary to the belief there are not as many Democrats as expected. I have a large population of swing voters. And really it’s about getting out our message, showing what we really stand for.”
In June, the Cobb GOP held a special committee meeting where it officially passed a resolution in honor of Barbara Hickey. Part of that resolution says it will be permanently displayed in the front of the GOP headquarters, which will henceforth be known as the Barbara Hickey Hospitality Area, Shepherd said, presenting Mrs. Hickey with the resolution as the crowd rose to give her a standing ovation.
Speaking of former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s September 18 visit to Cobb County, a man Shepherd described as “an old friend of mine from my days when I was a Young Republican,” Shepherd observed that President Donald Trump had tweeted out his endorsement of Spicer’s new book, entitled, “The Briefing: Politics, the Press, and the President.”
“We all know how powerful an endorsement from Donald Trump is,” Shepherd said.
“Casey knows,” quipped state Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, referring to Trump’s endorsement of Secretary of State Brian Kemp in the runoff election for the GOP nomination for governor against Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, which Kemp won.
The Spicer event is from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 18 at the Cobb Galleria Center. For information, call 770-265-5268.
THE COBB GOP on Tuesday passed a resolution prompted by Cobb Chairman Mike Boyce’s plan to increase the county’s tax rate that not only encourages the commission to keep taxes low, but to lower them further.
The resolution points out that the majority of commissioners identify as Republican, “a party whose platform endorses fiscal restraint and free market competition in the marketplace, and discourages increasing taxes.”
It also notes “there have been several examples identified of waste in Cobb County Government spending, and no operational audit of the county government has been performed, nor have any reductions in spending been proposed at the town hall meetings hosted by the Chairman, but many increases in spending have been proposed, including new spending on a ‘tent city’ concept, and a tax increase would be an undue burden on the community.”