On the campaign trail: Carter goes up with his first ad in 1st District runoff

One of the strangest runoff races has been taking place down in the 1st Congressional District where state Sen. Buddy Carter (R-Pooler) and Savannah physician Bob Johnson are slugging it out for the Republican nomination to replace Rep. Jack Kingston.

Both candidates have taken strongly conservative positions on most issues, with Johnson adding a bit of zest by making the comment that he’d “rather see another terrorist attack, truly I would” than undergo an airport search by TSA security employees.

The runoff election has devolved into accusations from the two camps that the other side just isn’t conservative enough, although it’s difficult to see how either side could be any more conservative.

Johnson released a radio spot two weeks ago that contended Carter had been “too liberal for too long” in the coastal district.

Carter now has gone up with his first TV commercial (view it here) in which he makes essentially the same charge against Johnson.

“Bob Johnson claims he’ll never back down from Obama?” the narrator says. “Bob Johnson is a dues-paying member of a group and received funding from groups that support Obamacare.” (That’s a reference to the fact that Johnson, like thousands of other physicians, is a member of the American Medical Association.)

The narrator continues: “And Bob has a history of supporting Democrats. The only thing Bob Johnson is backing down from is our conservative values. The real conservative? Pharmacist and small business owner Buddy Carter. Buddy has never wavered from his conservative principles and will fight to repeal Obamacare.”

In addition to his new TV spot, Carter has also announced an endorsement from the Business Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC).

“During his time as a state senator, Carter voted on measures to cut government spending rather than raising taxes,” said Greg Casey, the head of the business-oriented PAC. “Buddy works for the interests of the state of Georgia and the economy, including immigration reform, support of Georgia’s coastal ports and tax relief for farmers.”

A lack of finesse on women’s issues

In another hotly contested GOP runoff race in the 11th Congressional District, two staunchly conservative male candidates demonstrated recently why a significant gender gap among women voters has developed between the Democratic and Republican parties.

Former congressman Bob Barr and former legislator Barry Loudermilk were asked twice in a runoff debate what sort of message they might want to send to women voters. As reported by the Marietta Daily Journal, both candidates struggled and largely failed to come up with a compelling answer:

[Moderator Randy] Evans asked the two to “talk to us about the issues that are important to women, who are at least 50 percent of the voters. What is the message you have for them?”

Loudermilk began by noting that his wife and daughters say that “if there’s a ‘war on women,’ it’s coming from the left, not the right.” But he went on to say that he doesn’t “segregate the issues because we hear the same things over and over again from men and women.” He then listed the top such issues as Obamacare, overspending and overregulation.

Barr began his answer by referencing recently released Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and the six soldiers killed while trying to recover the apparent deserter and talked about how the mothers of those six must have felt. He then went on to talk about how Obama’s policies are “destroying our future.”

Dissatisfied with the answers, Evans tried again with a follow-up question. He said that well-known pollster Frank Luntz has noted that when asked, 70 percent of men judge the success of their lives by how their career went. On the other hand, 70 percent of women answer the question by saying they judge the success of their own lives by those of their children. That is, are their children able to find jobs, have good homes and find someone to love?

“So what, specifically, would you do to jump start the economy and help people find jobs and otherwise help those women understand that their children will have better lives than we did?” Evans asked.

Barr answered, saying “We have to stop looking to the government to solve every problem. . . . We need to stop the regulatory stranglehold . . . It’s a monstrosity that’s killing us.”

Loudermilk mentioned the need to repeal parts of Obamacare, then diverged into talk about the national debt and the need to pass a balanced-budget amendment.

Those arguably are good solutions to the challenges cited by Evans — but neither was “packaged” in a way to appeal to anyone other than the wonkiest of policy wonks or to the kind of woman who reads her Pocket Version of the U.S. Constitution for fun during breakfast.

Unfortunate timing

Timing is everything in politics, and bad timing can damage the value of what a campaign would normally see as good news.

That was the case last week when it was announced that Augusta contractor Rick Allen, the Republican challenger to Rep. John Barrow in the 12th Congressional District, had received the coveted designation of “Young Gun” status from the NRCC (National Republican Congressional Committee) as a top-tier congressional candidate.

“Our job as a committee is to help elect Republicans to office that will serve as a check and balance on the Obama administration,” NRCC Chairman Greg Walden said.

The “Young Guns” campaign group is the brainchild of such Republican eminences as Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority leader.

The announcement about Allen was released last Monday, June 9. Some 24 hours later, Cantor, the Young Guns founder, got it right between the eyes in his Republican primary race, losing in a shocking upset to David Brat.

Unfortunate timing for everyone.

Legislative endorsements

Former Gwinnett County commissioner Mike Beaudreau has received endorsements from six of Gwinnett’s Republican House members in his GOP runoff race against P. K. Martin for the Senate District 9 seat: Timothy Barr, Buzz Brockway, David Casas, Joyce Chandler, Josh Clark and Tom Kirby.

Beaudreau and Martin eliminated the current state senator, Don Balfour, in the primary election.

State Rep. Ed Lindsey (R-Atlanta) has endorsed Atlanta attorney Beth Beskin in the Republican runoff for Lindsey’s legislative seat:

My good friend Beth Beskin finished first only 3 votes shy of a clear majority in the May 20th primary. John McCloskey finished second with 30 percent. John has publically announced that he is suspending his runoff campaign and is now urging his supporters to back Beth. I applaud this selfless action by John giving Buckhead residents a chance to immediately rally around Beth and prepare for the fall campaign.

Beskin will be running against Democrat Bob Gibeling and independent Bill Bozarth in the general election.

In the Democratic runoff for state school superintendent, nearly two dozen legislators are backing Valarie Wilson, a former member of the Decatur city school board, over state Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan (D-Austell).

Wilson’s endorsers include state Sens. Vincent Fort, Ed Harbison, Emanuel Jones, David Lucas, Nan Orrock, Freddie Powell Sims, Gloria Butler, Ron Ramsey, and Steve Henson.

On the House side, Wilson received endorsements from Reps. Simone Bell, Carolyn Hugley, Sharon Beasley-Teague, Debbie Buckner, Roger Bruce, Pam Dickerson, Gloria Frazier, Mary Margaret Oliver, Henry Howard, Nikki Randall, Earnest Smith, Mickey Stephens, David Wilkerson, and Coach Williams.

© 2014 by The Georgia Report


Tags: 11th Congressional District , 1st Congressional District , Barry Loudermilk , Beth Beskin , Bob Barr , Bob Johnson , Buddy Carter , Ed Lindsey , Eric Cantor , John Barrow , Mike Beaudreau , P. K. Martin , Rick Allen , women's issues , Young Guns