Political Notes: Pearson, Lunsford drop out

State Rep. John Lunsford (R-McDonough) and Sen. Chip Pearson (R-Dawsonville) have made late-breaking decisions not to run for another term in the General Assembly after initially qualifying to run this year.

Lunsford, a five-term House member, qualified last week to run for the Senate seat that Sen. John Douglas is vacating to pursue a seat on the Public Service Commission.  The Henry County lawmaker later changed his mind and said he would run for the House again if the other candidates who had qualified to replace him would drop out of the race.

Friday morning, Lunsford said he wasn’t running for any seat, House or Senate.

Pearson, a three-term senator from North Georgia, qualified last week to run for another term and his name was still on the list of qualified candidates Monday morning.  He said Friday he will not run again, however.

Pearson had already drawn serious primary opposition from Steve Gooch, a former Lumpkin County commissioner who now sits on the State Transportation Board.  Gooch now emerges as the frontrunner in the race to replace Pearson (Democrat Joseph Mann has also qualified).

Pearson had come under some criticism this session from the media and from other legislators for his role in forming a consulting business with two prominent capitol lobbyists.   He denied that there was a conflict of interest in his being a legislator and being involved in a lobbying business at the same time.

Caught on camera

The tales of two state legislators were caught on tape, as it were, by Atlanta TV reporters last week on two unrelated news stories.

Jodie Fleischer of WSB-TV reported on an ethics complaint filed against Sen. Judson Hill (R-Marietta) that alleges he received more than $30,000 in “loan repayments” from his campaign bank account without properly documenting that he had ever actually loaned money to his campaign.

Fleischer said WSB had been looking into Hill’s campaign records for several weeks before the ethics complaint was filed.  Her on-air report included footage of her knocking on the door of Hill’s Marietta residence, with Hill apparently refusing to come to the door.

Hill has serious primary opposition from Lynda Coker, a Cobb County sheriff’s deputy.

Fox 5 Atlanta ran out a report later in the week on a DUI citation involving Rep. Chuck Sims (R-Ambrose).  Sims, who apologized after being stopped for a DUI by Atlanta police, has no opposition for reelection.

Libertarian slate

Libertarian Party officials are miffed that the Dunwoody Journal-Constitution, in a wrapup article on qualifying week, didn’t mention the slate of Libertarian candidates who will be on the ballot this year.

“I’m disappointed that a major metropolitan newspaper in the home of one of the strongest state affiliates of the Libertarian Party would pass on listing our candidates, especially since every single one of them is guaranteed to appear on the November general election ballot,” said Daniel Adams, the state party chairman, in a news release.

What Adams did not say is that every Libertarian candidate on the November general election ballot will be defeated, which has been the fate of Libertarians who run for statewide office in Georgia.  With the exception of races where one of the major parties doesn’t bother to field a candidate, Libertarians usually get 5 percent of the vote or less in statewide races.

The Libertarian slate for this year:

U.S. Senate: Chuck Donovan

Governor: John Monds

Lt. Governor: Rhonda Martini

Attorney General: Don Smart

Secretary of State: David Chastain

School Superintendent: Kira Willis

Insurance Commissioner: Shane Bruce

Agriculture Commissioner: Kevin Cherry

Labor Commissioner: William Costa

PSC: Jim Sendelbach

Are you smarter than a school superintendent?

The Macon Telegraph reports that the money state school Supt. Kathy Cox won on the TV show “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader”  is still tied up in her personal bankruptcy proceedings:

State school Superintendent Kathy Cox’s $1 million game show winnings from “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” have been released from the Fox Television Network game show, her spokesman Matt Cardoza said Friday.

The winnings have yet to go to the three state schools for the blind and deaf, however.

One of the schools, The Academy for the Blind, is in Macon.

Cardoza said the winnings are in holding. Cox and her husband, a homebuilder hit by the recession, filed for bankruptcy shortly after she won on the game show in September 2008.

Creditors have since argued they should get those assets.

The state Attorney General’s Office is representing Cox to get the winnings for the schools, however, because they argue she was on the show representing the state’s behalf, not as an individual, Cardoza said.

100 GOP seats?

Political pundits are predicting that Democrats will lose as many as 40 or 50 seats to Republicans in the U.S. House come November, but no one has been quite as bold in their prediction as Ohio Rep. John Boehner, the House minority leader.

Boehner said last week that “at least 100 seats” will flip from Democratic to Republican control.

“If Scott Brown can win in America, there isn’t a seat in America that Republicans can’t win,” Boehner boasted.

That would be a political wave even larger than the one that swept Democrats back into control of Congress in the 2006 and 2008 elections.   If the GOP actually won that many Democratic seats, that would mean Blue Dog Democrats like Jim Marshall and John Barrow in Georgia were being ousted.

© 2010 by The Georgia Report

Tags: politics