Prominent Dems have also made appearances on the campaign trail — including former First Lady Hillary Clinton and former Atlanta Hawks center Dikembe Mutombo — but none more prominent than former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
Packed inside Paschal's Restaurant in Castleberry Hill, Clinton this afternoon gave a hearty endorsement to Nunn and a nod to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter, four days before Election Day. He said Nunn, former CEO of Atlanta-based international organization Points of Light, would be the candidate in Georgia's U.S. Senate race most fit to help the nation's economy following the end of Great Recession. And she would do so in way that would help more than just affluent Americans, Clinton said.
"Michelle Nunn is what the whole country needs, she's what Georgia needs," the former president said. "One guy wants you to cast a protest vote. She wants you to cast a progress vote. One guy wants you to vote in anger, the other wants you to vote on the promise of our future."
Clinton said Nunn would push for more education initiatives, bring back jobs to Georgia, and strengthen the military if elected. More importantly, he said, Nunn would be willing to work across the aisle — much like her father, former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn — to help improve the country. He jabbed at Perdue for wanting "a six-year job for the pleasure of a two-year protest" of President Barack Obama's administration.
Introduced by Mayor Kasim Reed, Nunn and Carter also made short stump speeches. Carter told the crowd that Georgia needed new leadership given that Deal had "taken us to the bottom" in terms of economic growth. Nunn spoke briefly about the importance of increasing the minimum wage, reducing long-term debt, and expanding universal pre-K programs. She also attacked Perdue for his refusal to work with Democrats on any proposals and even opposing current legislation with bipartisan support such as the farm and immigration bills.
Some of Atlanta's civil rights leaders, both past and present, were in attendance including Rev. Joseph Lowery, C.T. Vivian, and Ebenezer Baptist Church Rev. Raphael Warnock. Before the event kicked off, Warnock echoed poet Toni Morrison's line that "Bill Clinton was the first black president." He said the former president's support mattered not just because of the office he held, but because "he's a white Southern politician whose own political biography is inextricably connected to the civil rights movement." His return to Georgia could convince a diverse group of voters to cast ballots for Carter and Nunn.
There was no shortage of local Democratic politicians on hand for Clinton's appearance. To name a few: Congressmen John Lewis and Hank Johnson; former Atlanta Mayor and U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young; Fulton County Chairman John Eaves; former Georgia U.S. Sen. Max Cleland; state Reps. Stacey Abrams and Scott Holcomb; state Sens. Simone Bell, Vincent Fort, and Nan Orrock; Democratic State School Superintendent candidate Valarie Wilson, and Atlanta City Councilmen Kwanza Hall and Andre Dickens.
"This is the best ticket," Young says. "And we didn't put it together, nobody sat down and organized it, it's just that all of the sudden you have two really good people at the top with Michelle and Jason. They have good name recognition, strong family ties."
Nunn and Perdue will face each other and Libertarian candidate Amanda Swafford once more at WSB-TV's debate on Sunday.
More photos after the break
There's one week left until Georgia's General Election. By now, you're probably familiar with the gubernatorial candidates (GOP incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal, Democratic state Sen. Jason Carter, and Libertarian nanotech entrepreneur Andrew Hunter) and U.S. Senate nominees (Democratic nonprofit veteran Michelle Nunn, GOP corporate honcho David Perdue, and Libertarian paralegal Amanda Swafford). But there are other options if you're not a fan of those six individuals.
Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp has certified 14 write-in candidates for the state's upcoming elections. Among those individuals are three different choices for governor and three alternatives for U.S. Senate. There's not much information available about these candidates. But here's what we know.
David C. Byrne, a telecommunications technician and military vet, is running for governor again after receiving 76 votes as a candidate in 2010. He's up against an Atlanta minister named Matthew Jamison who wants to champion the interests of the homeless, unemployed and underemployed Georgians, and "poor and black children in poverty." Then there's Atlanta minister Chancey Andrell Porter, who according to his website says his platform is the "TEN COMMANDMENTS OF GOD OF THE HOLY BIBLE."
"JEHOVAH GOD CHANCEY ANDRELL PORTER I CHANCEY ANDRELL PORTER AM A WRITE-IN CANDIDATE IN GEORGIA’S 83RD 2014 GOVERNORSHIP RACE U S.A IF YOU THE VOTER IN GEORGIA’S 83RD 2014 GOVERNORSHIP RACE U.S.A IS INTERESTED IN CHANGING THE HISTORY AND FUTURE OF THE STATE OF GEORGIA U.S.A. WRITE-IN MY CHANCEY ANDRELL PORTER NAME WHEN CONSIDERING WHO TO VOTE FOR IN GEORGIA’S 83RD 2014 GOVERNORSHIP RACE U.S.A.," Porter writes on his campaign website.
According to the Augusta Chronicle, Brian Russell Brown is seeking a U.S. Senate seat. It's his third time running for the statewide seat after unsuccessfully running in 2008 and 2012. Democratic candidate Mary H. Schroder is an eight-generation Georgian who's following through on a promise made to her late mother that she would run for public office. She announced her campaign in an AJC classified ad. Finally, Cumming resident Anantha Muscu, who immigrated from India to the U.S. 25 years ago, has multiple college degrees including ones in computer science and strategic management. He bills himself as a political outsider who would focus on issues such as national security, community harmony, and debt reduction.
“I am a complete outsider to the current currency-political system and previously had no career or interest in politics; however, I always wanted to serve America and be more than an individual citizen,” Muscu writes on his website. “I like serving you and the country and getting the job done and not the politics for self service.”
A number of other folks are running for congress, state school superintendent, and Gold Dome seats. We've included the full list of certified write-in candidates after the jump:
Instead of waiting for the court's decision, dozens of activists this afternoon took their fight to Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp's office. Approximately 10 people, who were delivering a letter from Moral Monday Georgia to the secretary of state's office regarding the voter registration applications, staged a sit-in protest inside his office that led to eight arrests.
The sit-in followed a larger press conference where the group attacked Kemp for using "voter suppression" tactics to prevent more than 40,000 Georgians from casting ballots. Georgia NAACP President and Statesboro lawyer Dr. Francys Johnson said the activists needed to fight against voter suppression "to stop an election from being stolen."
Members of several groups including Moral Monday Georgia and New Georgia Project planned to leave the Gold Dome only once Kemp agreed to enter each name in question onto the voter rolls.
But Capitol Police officers arrested eight protesters after asking them to leave Kemp's office before the Gold Dome's 5 p.m. closing time. Authorities read the activists a statement warning them about possible arrests. When they didn't leave the secretary of state's office, Capitol Police officers placed plastic restraints on their hands and escorted them to a holding room.
"It is very inconvenient and scary for me to be arrested," activist Molly Swan says. "But I am forcing myself to do it because somebody needs to stand up and say this is unacceptable."
Georgia State Police spokeswoman Tracey Watson said all eight arrests, which occurred due to protesters refusing to leave the Capitol, were made “without further incident.” We've asked for a list of the arrested individuals and accompanying charges. If we hear back, we'll post an update.
According to Nse Ufot of New Georgia Project, the nonprofit has checked the names on the applications they submitted with the secretary of state’s registered and pending lists. Ufot says the 40,000 applications in question have not appeared on either list.
Georgia residents can check to see if they’re registered to vote at mvp.sos.ga.gov. Check out more photos from the voting rights demonstration after the jump:
But on Sunday night, Nunn and Perdue pressed pause on the campaign rallies, moved past the outrage, and returned to the issues in the penultimate U.S. Senate debate. Libertarian paralegal Amanda Swafford, who many political analysts say will force the race into a runoff, joined the two frontrunners at Georgia Public Broadcasting's Midtown headquarters.
Nunn, who carried a slight lead into the Atlanta Press Club event, attacked Perdue's professional business record of outsourcing jobs to boost companies' bottom lines. She said that the former exec of Dollar General, Reebok, and other corporations built his career through reoccurring efforts to move American jobs overseas.
"David, your experience would be unique," Nunn said. "You would be the only one in the Senate that has said they've spent the majority of their career outsourcing jobs."
Perdue called Nunn's attacks "misleading" and said that job cuts at some companies happened in different divisions that he wasn't responsible for as an executive. Both candidates got into a heated exchanged about whether his 2005 legal deposition about his nine-month stint as CEO for Pillowtex said he outsourced jobs. Perdue outright denied that he made those outsourcing remarks — a sharp change from his past defense of his business decisions.
"[It's] a misquote," Perdue said. In that deposition, it never says I outsourced jobs. Not one time. [Nunn] has repeated that three times tonight. That's the same bill of goods that we got from Obama in '08 and '12. That's the sleight of hand we're getting in this race."
In most of his remarks, Perdue similarly attempted to make the connection that Nunn would be a "rubber stamp" to President Barack Obama and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Like past debates, he said Nunn's candidacy would be a referendum on Obama. In response, Nunn spent much of the evening, when she wasn't talking about Perdue's outsourcing, pointing to issues such as the Keystone Pipeline, military cuts, and debt reduction - areas where her platform deviated from the president's agenda.
"I've maybe spent maybe 45 minutes of my life with President Obama," Nunn said. "I spent seven years running President George H.W. Bush's Points of Light organization. I spent 47 years with my father as an advisor and someone who deeply understands that bipartisanship and statesmanship and that working together across party lines is at the very heart of getting something done. The accusations of [being a] rubber stamp are just completely distortions."
Both major candidates danced around directly answering numerous questions. Nunn sidestepped a question from Libertarian candidate Amanda Swafford about the controversial Ferguson voter outreach mailer sent out by the Democratic Party of Georgia. Meanwhile, Perdue avoided criticism brought up about his controversial ad that has accused Nunn of using Points of Light to fund terrorist activities.
In a surprising moment, debate moderator Russ Spencer of Fox 5 read a viewer's question asking if the three candidates could say something nice about their opponents. How touching! Swafford received praise from the leading candidates for running while holding down a full-time job. Perdue complimented Nunn's "heart, brain, and family" and her nonprofit career. And Nunn pointed out Perdue's "commitment to public service," strong family ties, and his golf swing.
"Somebody recently told me something about you that I didn't know about you, which is that you have a very good golf game," Nunn told Perdue, drawing laughs from the nearly silent crowd.
The GOP candidate quipped in response: "Her dad's lying again."
The final Georgia U.S. Senate debate is scheduled to take place on WSB-TV.
Check out a photo gallery of images from the debate
The Democratic Party of Georgia and Georgia Republicans have been working hard to get residents to vote early prior to Election Day on Nov. 4. But the DPG might have now taken the title for most controversial voter turnout effort with a mailer evoking the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
The AJC this afternoon posted a copy of a mailer containing a picture of two young African-American kids holding up signs that say "don't shoot." On the other side, it shows a person kneeling on the ground with his hands up and includes the following text:
On August 9, 2014, an unarmed 18-year-old African-American named Michael Brown was fatally shot six times and killed by a white police officer, his body left in a pool of blood in the streets for four hours.
Ferguson, Missouri's population is 67% African-American. But the city's Mayor, 5 of its 6 city council members, and 94% of its police force are white.
What are we going to do about it?
If we want a better, safer future for our children, it's up to us to vote for change.
The choices may not always be perfect, but the cost of inaction is simply too great.
The backlash has already started on Twitter from some conservatives:
Disgusting RT @WesleyLowery: Georgia Dems invoke Ferguson in attempt to drive voter turnout http://t.co/IHs3hV2kvF pic.twitter.com/hwKgnMlUuI
— Fariha Alam (@currybunny) October 21, 2014
Disgusting. MT @daveweigel: Georgia Democratic Party mailer: http://t.co/R58H8VO7fn pic.twitter.com/R7mbpzgk8o
— Mr. Plunge (@DailyPlunge) October 21, 2014
Vomit, forever. “@politicalinsidr: Georgia Democratic turnout flyer: ‘If you want to prevent another Ferguson…’ http://t.co/flY8v7khR2”
— Seth Pierson (@mfpseth) October 21, 2014
This is from the Democrat Party of Georgia. Like, the actual party. Not some fringe wackos (wait). http://t.co/a185DIYDip
— RB (@RBPundit) October 21, 2014
Well that’s not at all despicable. RT @daveweigel: From a Georgia Democratic Party mailer: http://t.co/cRqUFjo59b pic.twitter.com/QWFzeSCQSd
— T. Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) October 21, 2014
Vote Nunn or white cops will shoot your kids! MT @daveweigel: Georgia Democratic Party mailer: http://t.co/n1WfDGcaU0 pic.twitter.com/ZoNEa6GQJf
— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) October 21, 2014
We've reached out to spokespeople from both state parties for comment. If we hear back, we'll post an update.
UPDATE, 5:54 p.m.: DPG Spokesman Michael Smith has sent along a statement about the Ferguson mailer that offers an explanation, but doesn't really address the uproar that's emerged.
"The fight for the right to vote and for every vote to be counted is part of our state’s history, a part of the fabric that makes Georgia what it is today," Smith tells CL. "Our state and our democracy is stronger when more people participate. And we have seen what happens in places like Ferguson, Missouri, when voices are silenced. We must make sure to exercise our right to vote."
Georgia's unemployment rate continues to hover around 8 percent. So expect Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter to keep attacking Gov. Nathan Deal's economic policies that he says have "driven Georgia to the very bottom."
However, Deal has repeatedly brushed aside the BLS figures during campaign stops and debates as "outliers." He's instead pointed to more than 80,000 jobs created throughout the state. That's good enough, he said during the Atlanta Press Club debate, for Georgia to have the sixth-best job growth rate in the country.
“Unemployment rates are only good for political advertising,” Deal said at the APC debate, jabbing at Carter. “Economists don’t pay any attention to them.” Carter's campaign has subsequently tried to use Deal's words against him:
If @NathanDeal can’t see that thousands of Georgians out of work is a problem, why should we trust him to fix it? https://t.co/fiLlpjQmRV
— Jason Carter (@carter4governor) October 21, 2014
The battle over economic indicators will likely continue to be waged up through Nov. 4. Whoever wins that key argument may very well be Georgia's next governor. For now, though, check out the Sept. 2014 unemployment figures after the jump:
The three candidates running to become Georgia's next governor made their cases to voters, all while attacking one another's policies and characters, in the second major debate of the 2014 gubernatorial race.
On the heels of a raucous Oct. 7 debate in Perry, Ga., Republican incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal, Democratic state Sen. Jason Carter, and Libertarian nanotech entrepreneur Andrew Hunt last night sparred in a more subdued setting inside Georgia Public Broadcasting's Midtown studios as part of the Atlanta Press Club debate series.
The debate, similar to many other stops on the campaign trail, focused on Georgia's economy and education system. Deal claimed that the state has weathered an economic recession, created jobs faster than the national average, and grown increasingly attractive to employers under his leadership during the past four years. He said Georgia's public schools, on the heels of a more than $500 million education funding increase, were improving.
"We believe we have set the course in the right direction," Deal said. "We have emphasized education. We have made reforms there both at the K-12 system level as well as at our tech local schools and our colleges and universities. We believe we've set a pattern that is very important for the future of our state."
But his opponents attempted to cast a different light on Georgia's current position. Hunt, who chided Deal for his "very smooth" talking points, asked voters to turn away from career politicians with failed economic and education policies. Carter blasted the governor for leading the state to become one with both the highest unemployment rate in the nation and a "languishing" public education system that lags behind much of the rest of the country. He noted that the state's public education system remains underfunded by $750 million each year, which hurts students and teachers. In the process, he said that many Georgia residents have watched their taxes climb while receiving a lower quality of education.
"No one in this state believes that we're properly funding education," Carter said, calling for the full restoration of the HOPE Scholarship. "I don't even think Gov. Deal believes that."
The APC debate also veered into new ground for the gubernatorial race. Minutes before the event started, Deal's office announced the formation of an Ebola response team to "combat the risks of Ebola should the need arise." That group, which he promised to provide more details about at a subsequent press conference, would be comprised of public and private officials. Later in the debate, Carter and Hunt slammed Deal's recent remarks that "water kills the Ebola virus" as a sign of his poor leadership. The governor placed blame on Brenda Fitzgerald, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, for mistakenly conveying that message to him about Ebola. But moving forward, Deal said state officials would continue to take the necessary steps to prepare for a potential outbreak.
Beyond those topics, all three candidates expressed some degree of support for a proposed law in the wake of University of Georgia running back Todd Gurley's suspension that would toughen civil and criminal punishments against adults who convince NCAA student-athletes to violate the terms of their athletic scholarship. They all also strongly backed the state's current gun laws and expressed reservations about limiting free speech in most cases - two other topics that have been rarely discussed on the campaign trail.
The APC debate ultimately boiled down to the perception of leadership for Carter and Deal. The governor portrayed Carter as a young, inexperienced politician who has never been the primary sponsor of a bill or held a leadership position under the Gold Dome. Meanwhile, Carter pointed to Deal's track record and ethical foibles over the past several years in office. Both candidates took turns dismissing each other's claims, all while in hopes of landing the final punch.
The two frontrunners made a clear distinction throughout the debate: A vote for Deal will lead to more of the same GOP policies seen during the past four years. Carter promised a new direction that would be a changing of the guard. Cast your ballot accordingly.
Not sure what I like better about this video? Whoopi as Lil Jon's auntie (what? whaat??) or Fred Armisen vowing to vote just to impress his friends, because "that's the only reason to ever do anything."
Rock the Vote has caught a lot of flack over the years for dumbing down the electoral process through pop endorsements designed to drive young people to the polls. Diddy's 2004 Vote or Die campaign also comes to mind as an example of a somewhat clueless push to politically galvanize the hip-hop generation. Our lives were at stake, Diddy proclaimed in emotional appeals that ran high on octane but failed to parse out the issues. But it's hard to hate on Lil Jon, whose club anthem with DJ Snake, "Turn Down For What," got revamped last week into RtV's latest campaign theme, #TURNOUTFORWHAT.
And then this week, First Lady Obama appropriates Lil Jon's joint to add cool points to her veggie-eating campaign. After the King of Crunk fell back from his zeitgeisty moment several years ago, it's kind of cool to see making buzz, and royalties, in the political arena.
Of course, hip-hop and electoral politics have a history as odd bedfellows. Atlanta rap stars are certainly no stranger to the awkward political endorsement. Back in July, Waka Flocka Flame deleted a Tweet in support of GOP senatorial candidate David Perdue. When the former Dollar General exec. pulled out an upset victory, they FaceTimed. Hard to imagine either of their constituencies found that cute.
In 2008, when young voters across the country were still hyped off that hope Obama was slingin', Ludacris, T.I. and Young Jeezy beat the stump on behalf of then-senatorial candidate, Democrat Jim Martin.
But mid-term elections are a different story. And this latest RtV commercial strikes me as less half-hearted attempt to reach an uninformed electorate than a coy way to sneak in some actual issues using celebrity cachet. Lena Dunham's turning out for reproductive rights. Devendra Banhart's against deforestation. And Lil Jon is down for legalizing weed. If none of those are to your liking, try immigration, racial equality, fair wages, student loan debt, veterans' rights, etc. etc. Good luck on finding candidates willing to openly support all those hyper-liberal issues despite Obama's hyper-low approval rating. At the very least, it could help peer pressure new voters into educating themselves. Though I'm thinking somebody should take the time to walk Waka Flocka through it on Nov. 4.
Cause the only thing worse than not voting is stupid voting.
As CL reported on Friday, several groups including voter registration nonprofit New Georgia Project, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, and the NAACP's national and state chapters have sued Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp and five counties. They want to force the immediate processing of more than 40,000 voter registration applications submitted to local county election offices but which have yet to appear on the pending voter list or voter rolls.
Standing outside Ebenezer Baptist Church on Sunday, House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, who founded the nonprofit organization aimed at registering minority men and women, told reporters the lawsuit followed Kemp's failure to meet with her group twice to discuss the latest status of tens of thousands of unprocessed voter applications. She blasted the secretary of state's office for its "deeply disturbing" lack of urgency over the matter.
Ebenezer Baptist Church Senior Pastor Raphael Warnock, a frequent spokesman for NGP, doubled down on recent accusations of voter suppression and criticized Kemp's office of already disenfranchising hundreds of Georgia voters. Rather than acting as voters' "chief advocate," Warnock said, Kemp had engaged in a "pattern of disingenuous activity" consistent with his entire time in office.
Abrams says the NGP lawsuit is asking a Fulton County judge to issue a writ of mandamus, a ruling that would order Kemp to process the voter applications before the election by any means necessary. She says that could force Kemp's office to hire more election officials and provide additional resources to ensure those voters are able to cast ballots on Nov. 4. With less than a month before Election Day, plus early voting beginning today, she expects that court proceeding will move faster than most cases.
We've reached out to the secretary of state's office for comment. If we hear back, we'll post an update. Over the weekend, Kemp spokesman Jared Thomas told Politico that state officials have followed the law "just as it always has" in years past. "Any lawsuit to the contrary is frivolous," Thomas said, adding that the voter applications are in the hands of county election officials, not Kemp's office.
The press conference about NGP's lawsuit wasn't the only effort this weekend to encourage minority voters to head to the polls. Downstate in Albany, Ga., former President Jimmy Carter made the first of many anticipated appearances in support of his grandson Jason Carter on the gubernatorial campaign trail. According to the AJC, he spoke to a predominantly African-American congregation at Mt. Zion Baptist Church about the way that Georgia Republicans have systemically made voting more difficult, including restrictive Voter ID requirements.
“We were blessed by the fact that there were very few Republicans,” the former president said. “The point is, 12 years ago that trend was changed. And since then, the Legislature and the governor have been determined to put every obstacle in the way for African Americans, mentally retarded people and elderly people to vote.”
The impact of Georgia's voting rights fight could extend beyond the state's borders. The race between Republican businessman David Perdue and Democratic nonprofit executive Michelle Nunn is one of a handful of races expected to determine which party gains control in the U.S. Senate. Perdue has held the slightest of leads in recent polls. Minority voters tend to vote for Democratic candidates. That means the final status of those unprocessed NGP applications could be key to determining who wins the race.
And we're off! With less than one month until the 2014 election, the first gubernatorial and U.S. Senate debates took place last night. Thousands of raucous Georgians turned out to the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry, Ga., to watch Democrats and Republicans joust with each other the first time this year. Little ground was gained in the two competitive races, but the evening provided an opportunity to rile up supporters.
In the U.S. Senate debate, Republican corporate businessman David Perdue and Democratic nonprofit exec Michelle Nunn waged war against each other with their biting remarks. The debate also included Libertarian candidate Amanda Swafford. Earlier this week, Perdue defended recent remarks about his outsourcing track record. He attempted to sidestep some of those comments last night, instead arguing the need for tax reforms and regulation reductions. Nunn took advantage of Perdue's gaffe by attacking his four-decade business career and pressing him on whether he supports a national minimum wage (he sidestepped that question entirely as well). Meanwhile, Perdue went after Nunn for her ties to President Barack Obama, lack of support for Georgia's rural farmers, and her support of the Affordable Care Act.
Slightly cooler heads prevailed in the gubernatorial debate featuring Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, Democratic state Sen. Jason Carter of Atlanta, and Libertarian nanotechnology entrepreneur Andrew Hunt. Deal portrayed the state as one that has rebounded from the depths of an economic recession and has turned the corner on job growth, now becoming the "best state to do business with" in the nation. But Carter once again challenged that argument by attacking the governor for forgetting about the middle class and leading Georgia to its current 8.1 percent unemployment rate, the worst in the nation. Carter also took jabs at Deal's ties to the state's ongoing ethic scandals. And Deal questioned the Atlanta trial attorney's leadership credentials.
For the most part, Carter, Deal, Nunn, and Perdue reiterated the talking points they've made countless times on the campaign trail. But the punch of their rhetoric hints at what lies ahead in the coming weeks. We've included a series of tweets summarizing the action from last night's debate. Check 'em out after the jump:
Seems legit... but I did worry when I visited their website and saw one WalMart…
I don't think the 13 years we spent in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban counts as…
Nad I share your devotion to mathematics...however...it is not only myself that I care about...nor…
Seth Rogen...tool of the CIA...sure Man....
I live a block from MLK and what we need is better lighting... better policing..…
Let's get GSU and Tyler Perry together and make a bunch of promises about a…