Political Notes – Trump, Cruz still far out in front of GOP field

[private]Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz are pulling away from the pack of GOP presidential candidates in the latest national poll by Quinnipiac University.

Just six weeks before the Iowa caucuses are to be held, Trump is at 28 percent and Cruz at 24 percent among Republican primary voters, according to the Quinnipiac poll.

Sen. Marco Rubio has 12 percent support, Ben Carson 10 percent, Chris Christie 6 percent, Jeb Bush 4 percent, Rand Paul 2 percent and Carly Fiorina 2 percent.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton held a 61-30 percent lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders in the latest poll.

In hypothetical head-to-head matchups, Clinton held a 47-40 percent lead over Trump and Sanders did even better, polling 51-38 percent against Trump.

Fix the parole board?

Gov. Nathan Deal generally gets high marks for his support of legislation revamping the state’s criminal justice system, but not with the Savannah Morning News.

The News editorialized this week that the state’s parole process is “broken” and demanded that Deal fix it:

Twice in a week, local prosecutors were forced to go to extraordinary lengths to prevent the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles from releasing two dangerous convicted felons back onto the streets of Savannah and aggravating this community’s violent crime problem.

The five-member parole board, which is appointed by the governor, must be more aware of the consequences of their actions, which has been outrageous of late. While state prison inmates may be entitled to parole hearings and reviews, that doesn’t mean they are entitled to parole. That’s a privilege, not a right. Yet board members seem oblivious to facts, reality and their job duties. There’s no other way to explain their recent alarming decisions to free two dangerous felons . . .

Law-abiding and crime-weary Georgians must wonder about the type of people that Gov. Deal is appointing to this executive level board. Either a thorough house-cleaning is in order, or board members must be reschooled on their responsibilities.

Not in Brunswick

State Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) is pushing for the legalization of casino gambling with an eye towards having one of those casino complexes located near the Georgia coast.

That coastal location, however, will not be Brunswick, Stephens told the Brunswick News:

“I was thinking more like Savannah or Kingsland,” said Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah, chief sponsor of the casino bill. “There’s been some interest in Savannah close to the South Carolina line, and there’s some interest in being close to Jacksonville.

“The best possibility is going to be somewhere close to (the Savannah) end.”

His measure calls for dividing Georgia up into five defined districts and six potential locations for casinos. Because of its size, Atlanta would be eligible for more than one.

In the coastal district, somewhere close to the I-95 and the neighboring states of South Carolina or Florida would be the preferable for a casino, he said.

Deal appoints senior Superior Court judges

Gov. Nathan Deal has appointed two long-retired judges as senior judges in the state’s Superior Court system, effective Dec. 1. The new senior judges:

G. Bryant Culpepper was a member of the Georgia House for eight years before being elected a Superior Court judge for Macon Judicial Circuit in 1982. He retired from the bench in 2007.

Richard T. Winegarden was a Superior Court judge in Gwinnett County for more than 20 years before losing his reelection bid to Karen Beyers in 2008. Winegarden ran for a Gwinnett State Court judgeship in 2012 but fell short in the primary.

Reed appoints Greenlee

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has named Kanika Greenlee as the new executive director of Keep Atlanta Beautiful. Greenlee previously was the director of programs and development at the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation.

© 2015 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Board of Pardons and Paroles , casinos , Donald Trump , GOP primary , Hillary Clinton , Kasim Reed , Nathan Deal , Ron Stephens , senior judges , Ted Cruz