Political Notes — Barrow’s in the zone

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Rep. John Barrow is out of the Senate race, but he’s still lined up in the cross-hairs of Beltway Republicans who want to take another shot at trying to knock him out of Congress in 2014.

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which has been maintaining a steady drumbeat of attacks on Barrow for months, said this week that Georgia’s 12th District congressman has been placed in the NRCC’s “Red Zone.”

This red zone does not refer to the area between the 20-yard-line and the goal line, as it does in football. It is a group of seven Democratic House members who represent conservative districts.

In addition to Barrow, the “Red Zone” Democrats targeted by the NRCC include Utah’s Jim Matheson, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, Ann Kirkpatrick and Ron Barber of Arizona, Nick Rahall of West Virginia and Collin Peterson of Minnesota.

As reported by Politico:

“It’s not a secret that we’ve gone after these guys, and they keep finding ways to elude us even if they’re in conservative districts. They’re strong defensive players,” said Annie Kelly, a regional political director for the NRCC who is overseeing Red Zone. “We’re starting early and putting these guys on notice that just because they’ve gotten away doesn’t mean we’re giving up.”

Politico is also reporting the leaked results of a poll that supposedly shows Michelle Nunn would be a stronger Democratic candidate than Barrow in a hypothetical Senate matchup against Republican Jack Kingston:

Democrat Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn, performed slightly better than Democratic Rep. John Barrow in a head-to-head matchup against Republican Jack Kingston in the Georgia Senate race, according to a poll conducted for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in March. . . .

The internal survey of 800, obtained by Politico, found that Barrow would have started off a general election down 4 points against Rep. Jack Kingston, 33 percent to 29 percent. Nunn, the CEO of the non-profit Points of Light Institute which encourages volunteerism, would have begun down just 1 point, 33 percent to 32 percent.

Kingston is among several candidates expected to run in the GOP primary. The poll assumed he would be the Republican nominee because Democrats view him potentially as the strongest opponent.

Deal has ‘confidence’ in the EPD

The Environmental Protection Division (EPD) has taken a pounding from residents of southeast Georgia over its handling of a massive fish kill in the Ogeechee River in 2011 that was linked to a chemical discharge from a textile finishing plant.

Despite the criticism of EPD that has surfaced at public hearings on the Ogeechee situation, Gov. Nathan Deal said this week he still has confidence in the agency and its director, Jud Turner.

As reported by WSAV in Savannah:

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal told reporters in Savannah that he has confidence in the Environmental Protection Division and says he believes the state agency has worked to resolve issues involving an illegal discharge into the Ogeechee River.

“Yes,” was the governor’s reply when asked if he has confidence in the EPD. “I think we have a great director of our Environmental Protection Division and we have a great board and I think they’re all conscious of this problem and hopefully, are working to resolve it.” . . .

Governor Deal told reporters, “we don’t want anything that’s going to pollute our waterways, we don’t want anything that’s going to make our state a worse place from the standpoint of environmental degradation. So, I think our state agency and our board’s working very hard to try to make sure they’re monitoring that appropriately and making sure corrections that need to take place are in fact taking place.”

More woes in Wilcox

Wilcox County has been the focus of media attention in recent weeks because of the local high school’s plans to hold an integrated senior prom.

The Middle Georgia county finds itself in the media spotlight again with the sentencing of its former sheriff, Stacy Bloodsworth, to 10 years in federal prison for assaulting an inmate inside the county jail and then conspiring to cover up the assault.

Bloodsworth pleaded guilty to the charges in October and was sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Ashley Royal in Macon.

“We expect our law enforcement officers to protect and serve the public, but in this case the defendants did neither,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Moore. “The sentences handed down today bring closure to an alarming case, where those sworn to uphold the law now feel the full weight of it.”

Four other people were also sentenced for their roles in the 2009 assault and coverup. Bloodsworth’s son, Austin Bloodsworth, was sentenced to 18 months in prison; former Wilcox County inmate-trustee Willie James Caruthers was sentenced to 18 months in prison; former South Central Georgia Drug Task Force Agent Timothy King Jr. was sentenced to six months in prison and former Wilcox County Jailer Casey Owens was sentenced to probation.

Honors

Alan Kent, chief executive officer of the Meadows Regional Medical Center in Vidalia, has been given the Grassroots Champion Award for 2013 by the American Hospital Association and the Georgia Hospital Association.

The award is given to hospital leaders who effectively educate elected officials on how major issues affect hospitals’ roles in the community and have done an exemplary job of broadening the base of community support for hospitals.

Julie Ralston, the Atlanta Regional Commission’s communications director for 28 years, has been selected as the first director of ARC’s new Center for Strategic Relations, which will try to build stronger networks for regional action in the metro area.

 © 2013 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Alan Kent , ARC , EPD , GHA , Jack Kingston , John Barrow , Julie Ralston , Michelle Nunn , Nathan Deal , NRCC , Ogeechee River , Senate race , Stacy Bloodsworth , Wilcox County