Friday, October 31, 2008

What are They Afraid Of?

I thought this got resolved last week as we sorted through the whole Staton email flap, but no. I'm hearing that the Bibb County Republican Party has made an official request of the City of Macon for extra security for their downtown election night party. If the election goes like I think it might, a DUI task force might make sense, but extra security?

I have three questions.

1) Really?? Is this really true?

2) If so, what, exactly, are they afraid of?

3) Could I get extra security in Rivoli Downs to check out who stole our Obama sign tonight?

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Saxby's abortion calls push mamas to Martin

This a comment from joybaby promoted from Tina's post about robo calls for Saxby paid for by the Chamber of Commerce (thought they were supposed to be non-partisan).

I received a call from the CoC today AND from the Saxby campaign. Both were on
abortion. That makes 4 abortion calls and 4 abortion mailers. I can't let my
kids answer the phone anymore or even listen to the incoming message. I can't
even let them go to the mailbox. On the first call I got, I was pounced on by 2
kids with Mama, what's abortion? Why are they calling you about it, Mama? Why is abortion bad, Mama? Yeah, not a conversation I was ready to have. I'm very upset by these calls and have left messages and emails with Sen Saxby's office. . . AND we voted for Jim Martin!

Using abortion as a wedge is not pro-child or pro-family.

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Perdue, Obama and Bubber Epps

Allen Freeman has a rather casual relationship with the truth, especially when it comes to his campaign mailers, radio spots and television ads. In one recent mailer, Allen was anxious to alert voters that "Bubber (Epps) gave major contributions to Barack Obama for President." Actually, Epps gave $250.00, as did his wife, to the DNC's Obama Victory Fund - can't imagine that's a major contribution in Freeman's world of $23,000 radio ad buys and $6,500 Atlanta condos paid for with campaign contributions, but whatever. Frankly, this cycle, Freeman is running so fast from the "R" beside his name, I'm shocked that he didn't give to Obama, too.

But Freeman only told half the truth. (Kind of like when he talks about "deploying" for Desert Storm when in fact he never left the country.) Epps Brothers (Bubber's business) gave $500.00 to Perdue for a New Georgia on 10/17/2006. I believe that contribution makes Epps the only candidate in this race to make significant contributions to candidates of both parties. Allen has spent so much time supposedly making himself an expert on Bubber's business, I'm shocked that he missed that tidbit. The bottom line? While Allen likes to talk about being an independent representative for the district and bends himself into a pretzel to avoid mentioning his own party affiliation, he's really just a lapdog for Atlanta Republicans who are literally sucking the lifeblood out of the Middle Georgia economy.

Did I mention that Allen used campaign contributions to pay $6,500 for an Atlanta condo (State Ethics Commission, March 2008 campaign finance disclosure) for the legislative session? I'd love to know exactly what "campaign activity" goes on in that condo and whether he also took per diem from the state for that period.

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Thrills, chills and things that go bump in the night

I am all about grass roots campaigning. Anything that can get voters energized and working for a particular candidate is a great thing. However, I received an email today from Republican candidate for Governor, John Oxendine that seemed to get a little silly with his tips on grass roots organizing. On a side note, I get emails from Oxendine on a regular basis and why he continues to send me these emails I do not know!

In addition to encouraging me to make my homemade McCain/Palin sign - sorry John, no can do - he encouraged us to use Halloween as another opportunity to campaign saying, "With Halloween right around the corner...encourage parents who are trick or treating with their kids to vote Republican or drop a note in the candy bags to asking for their parent's support. You can also dress up your candy bars with Republican stickers."

Now I know that this holiday is all about thrills, chills and things that go bump in the night, but that's just too big a fright for the kiddies and parents. I also think it is a bit much to drag small children into what has become an increasingly vitriolic campaign when they are trick or treating. One thing's for sure, I'll be checking my god children's candy for that scary paraphernalia!

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Robocalls from US Chamber of Commerce

The US Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring robocalls on behalf of Saxby Chambliss.
I got one this morning (in Perry) and so did my sister-in-law (in Montezuma).
It would seem that the C of C could at least make a pretense of being nonpartisan, particularly since there are plenty of Chamber members in GA who are NOT Republicans.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

DPG Chair Jane Kidd calls on Karen Handel to extend Advance Voting period

Democratic Party of Georgia Chair Jane Kidd sent the below letter to Secretary of State Karen Handel, expressing her concerns about problems with the advance voting process. With the long lines we have seen here in Bibb County and across the State, Karen Handel should do the right thing and work to extend voting hours so that all Georgians have the opportunity to vote.


October 28, 2008

The Honorable Karen C. Handel
Secretary of State
214 State Capitol
Atlanta, Georgia 30334

Dear Secretary Handel:

I am writing to share my concerns about the early voting process with you. I am sure that you've seen the widespread reports about long lines, six to eight hour wait times, and other major problems at the polls yesterday. As you can imagine, these shortcomings raise serious concerns for the Democratic Party, as I am sure they will for Republicans, Libertarians, and independent voters as well.

We have known for months, since before Georgia's record-setting Presidential primary in February, that turnout would be extremely high. We have known that both the Democratic and Republican parties, their candidates, and even your office itself are encouraging voters to avail themselves of advance and early voting. And, we have known since advance voting began that large numbers of voters are doing just that. I am just mystified that your elections division is seemingly so unprepared for the wave of voters we all knew was coming.

Since the voting process began, our office has received numerous reports indicating that a major source of the problem is that, in many precincts, only two computers are allotted for checking in voters and verifying their identification and eligibility. Beyond the widely-reported problems yesterday with your statewide database, we believe that the number of check-in computers is inadequate. There is simply no reason for voters to wait in line, often outside a polling place with no place for seniors or disabled persons to sit and rest, because the Elections Division failed to provide the necessary resources for a turnout that has been predicted by both the Republican and Democratic Parties, the media, outside groups, and your office itself, to be extremely heavy.

I would also like to commend those county Boards of Elections which showed leadership and initiative by moving to keep early and advance voting locations open later, and opening additional voting locations. But their leadership and initiative is not enough.

No one wants to see Georgia's failed processes become a national news story. But today, it is clear that we are in a crisis, and it is unclear even if there is enough time for the remaining four million-plus Georgia voters to cast their votes in an efficient and timely manner. With that in mind, and on behalf of the Democratic Party of Georgia, I urge you to contact the Department of Justice immediately and request clearance to keep the polls open longer during the week and over the weekend, as well as on Monday, November 3.

In closing, I am certain that you understand that the right to vote is not a partisan issue. Long lines at polling locations affect all voters, regardless of their party. I hope you will act immediately and on behalf of all of Georgia's voters to ease the strain at the polls.

With kindest regards,

Jane V. Kidd
Chair, Democratic Party of Georgia

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Absolutely NOT Okay

I don't care that it's near Halloween. I don't care that I apparently have no sense of humor. I don't care what the "other side" has done. This is absolutely out of bounds, and EVERYONE, not just Republicans, should be outraged. Mr. Morisette must not be an Obama supporter, because this certainly does not help Obama.

"A Halloween decoration showing a mannequin dressed as vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin hanging by a noose from the roof of a Los Angeles house has sparked outrage among Republican supporters. The mannequin, which is dressed in brown wig, glasses and a red business suit, has been reported to police as a hate crime. However, officers said the mannequin could not be considered a hate crime because it was part of a Halloween display. Chad Michael Morisette, who lives in the house,defended the effigy, claiming it was art. Mr Morisette admitted it would be out of bounds at any other time of year. He said: "It should be seen as art, and as within the month of October. It's Halloween, it's time to be scary...."

This election is set upon the tinderbox of race, anger and fear. We should all leave the matches in our pockets.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Yappy Hour!!

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The Road to Change is Rolling Into Macon

The Road to Change Bus Tour, featuring Democratic Senatorial Candidate Jim Martin, will roll into Macon on Wednesday, October 29th. At 9 a.m., either outside or inside City Hall-depending on the weather-Martin will gather with other Democratic Candidates for a GOTV rally. We're about to make history in this election, and you're invited to be a part. Plan now to come out to the rally on Wednesday.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Clinton Makes Case for Martin

Clinton Stresses the Importance of the Race
Clinton and Martin Salute the Crowd

President Clinton with Ambassador Wyche Fowler

Clinton Makes a Point as Martin Looks On

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Clinton in Georgia!

(Photo Credit: Lauren Benedict)

What charisma and wisdom. President Bill Clinton was in Atlanta tonight for Jim Martin. The event at Trois was sold out by late yesterday, and at least 450 people packed the room tonight.

The Martin Campaign brought in some serious cash tonight as President Clinton energized the crowd, reminding anyone who might've forgotten what Chambliss did to his friend of 20 years Max Cleland. (To laughter, Clinton pointed out that he and Max were friends long before anyone thought either would amount to what they ultimately became.) Clinton said that he wished he had done more when Chambliss launched the awful ads against Max. Today, he stressed the importance of this race in determining the direction of the country.

I can tell you this, as David Worley said in introduction, Bill Clinton could've been anywhere in the country tonight, stumping for dozens of candidates. But he was in Georgia. And that should tell us something about the state of this race.

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Bill Clinton is Awesome!

More to follow about President Clinton's event for Jim Martin from Amy!
Lauren Logan Benedict

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Coming Full Circle

In the heart of the Civil Rights Movement, John Kennedy was elected President in 1960. When Kennedy took office, the Governor of Georgia was Ernest Vandier, father of current Democratic Party of Georgia Chair, Jane Kidd. The Lt. Governor was Garland Byrd, the father of Democratic Party of Georgia Parliamentarian, Chuck Byrd. Now both Jane Kidd and Chuck Byrd are outspoken supporters of Barack Obama whose candidacy would not have been possible except for that fight for equality and suffrage for all Americans. And, on election day - and all days between now and then - both Jane and Chuck will be fighting to protect that hard-won right for every Georgian to cast a ballot and to have their vote counted.

Last night, Chuck Byrd addressed the Warner Robins Chamber of Commerce as a surrogate for Barack Obama- not exactly friendly Democratic territory. His remarks below are well worth the read:

Remarks of Chuck Byrd
Obama Surrogate
Warner Robins Chamber of Commerce
October 23, 2008

Yesterday in Richmond, Virginia Barack Obama held two events -- one a campaign rally – the other a meeting with his advisors on national security and foreign policy. After that meeting these advisors stood with Barack Obama before the American public and the world.Standing with Barack Obama was a great American - a great Georgian – a son of middle Georgia – a son of Houston county. Standing by Barack Obama was Sam Nunn.

Sam Nunn said when endorsing Sen. Obama that he “will have the sound judgment to put together an outstanding governing team, bringing people across old boundaries.” Sen. Obama doesn’t just show sound judgment in taking counsel from Sam Nunn – he shows great and wise judgment. Sen. Obama continues to cross old boundaries. Colin Powell, a Republican Secretary of State, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a war hero, when endorsing Barack Obama said that Sen. Obama was “a transformational figure.” He went on to say that Sen. Obama “is a new generation coming into the world, onto the world stage.”

Sam Nunn and Colin Powell know both candidates for President. They have known Sen. McCain for many, many years. Their respective judgments in this race speak volumes ---- most importantly they speak for and too our children and grandchildren.

I both respect and admire Sen. McCain. While I may disagree with him on many issues I never question his love of country and his patriotism. – my respect for Sen. McCain grew even more when he publicly stated that he has never questioned or doubted Barack Obama’s love of country and his patriotism.

We live in perilous times – two wars – economic bad times we have not seen since the great depression – hardworking people in this state and all over the country losing their jobs – losing their pensions – our international standing is in tatters. The way we respond to these challenges will forever set the direction of our children’s and grandchildren’s lives. Listen to the words of Barack Obama spoken yesterday at the campaign rally in Richmond, Virginia:

With the challenges and crises we face right now, we cannot afford to divide this country by race or class or region; by who we are or what policies we support. There are no real or fake parts of this country. We are not separated by the pro-America and anti-America parts of this nation - we all love this country, no matter where we live or where we come from.

I ask you ----- how will the United States of America respond to these great challenges?

We need change. We need change.

As Sam Nunn said Barack Obama will cross old boundaries.

As Colin Powell said Barack Obama is a transformational figure.

As Barack Obama crosses these old boundaries he will forever change this country in a positive way for our children and grandchildren.

I thank the Warner Robins Chamber of Commerce for bringing us together. Five minutes is not enough time to address all of the issues but it is a good start -- now is the time for us to come together not only to discuss our differences but also too reason together. It is biblical. We only have twelve days until election day -- now more than ever --- we need positive discussions – we – and certainly our children and grandchildren – should not be exposed to scurrilous e-mails and campaign flyers. Certainly we have passed those old boundaries of lies and hate.

Join with us on this Campaign for Change. Vote for Barack Obama.

Let everyone within the sound of my voice understand that on the night of November the fourth when we elect a new President that the enemies of freedom will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are not divided as a country and that we are the United States of America.

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Pat Dooley Needs Your Help TODAY

Pat Dooley, Candidate for Georgia House District 38

Pat Dooley needs your help TODAY!

In House District 38, Pat, endorsed by Georgia's WIN List and EMILY's List, is poised to WIN as voters reject the failed policies and negative campaign of Republican, anti-choice incumbent, "Thunder" Tumlin.

How does "Thunder" respond? By spending tens of thousands of dollars on spiteful mail attacking women and working families. Now it's time for us to fight back, and you can do that by making a contribution of $25, $50 or $100 or more to Pat today. With your help, we can take this seat back and send a woman to Atlanta who will fight for Georgia women, not attack them.

Show "Thunder" Tumlin that women in Georgia won't stand for this shameful display. Please make a contribution today to help Pat win. Give her the support she needs to WIN!

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

The REAL Threat to Security

CNN reports that the economy is forcing police departments across the country to cut budgets and therefore staff. That sounds like the real threat to security, on election day or any other day.

On the other hand, to update the previous post about the email from Staton's aide, I have this:

From: Zachary Johnson

Sent: Thu Oct 23 07:31:56 2008
Subject: Good morning

Hello, Amy. Having never met you before, my name is Zach Johnson and I am one of your constituents. I woke up this morning to realize that my email to you was now on the web for all to see. You should know that despite my dumb mistake to send it from my work account it had nothing to do with my boss, Sen. Staton who is in fact out of the county. A gmail account would have made more sense but you live and learn. I am concerned however that you found it a good idea to forward one of your voter's emails to a media outlet? But that is your choice. Just know that this came from me and me alone and had NO CONNECTION with Senator Staton. I don't know Ms. Morton so would you please forward this to her. Thanks and hope you're doing well.

Zach Johnson

Now, Zach's a little confused about who's who, and makes some assumptions about who forward what, but his bottom line is that he says his original email, one I would still call ill-advised-is from him alone and is not connected to Sen. Staton. I do find his concern about the email being forwarded interesting. Such emails are considered an open record-you know those pesky sunshine laws- and any citizen or media outlet could request copies of emails to these city council members accounts-and from Sen. Staton's account, for that matter. Something a staffer might want to remember.

And this from the AJC:

The e-mail was sent on the Republican senator’s account, and time-stamped at 1:26 p.m. Wednesday. But Staton left for China on Tuesday, to look at that country’s mag-lev rail system, and had no hand in it, his wife Catherine Staton assured the Insider this morning. He still doesn’t know, she said, and certainly does not approve.

An apology from Johnson followed. Several people have emailed me to say that Johnson is new to politics. Welcome, but remember what Roy Barnes famously said - it's a blood sport. In fact, if Zach thinks he's had a rough day, he should check the new RNC mailer that basically calls Obama a terrorist. That's right, go there now, and contribute.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Staton Aide Warns of Election Night "Security Issues"

I don't know whether it's the comparison to Jack Ellis, the idea that an aide (or at least someone with a email account) thinks they need to come down from on high to advise local law enforcement regarding possible security risks on election day (implying that local law enforcement is incompetent, living under a rock or both), or the fact that an increased police presence could intimidate some voters- see Florida 2000- but something about this email is just plain wrong. Of course the fact that it comes from the office of Mr. Voter ID himself, Cecil Staton, is enough to make me suspect of the purpose:

From: Zach Johnson []
Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 1:26 PM


Subject: Election night issues

Good afternoon,

As a strict precautionary measure I want to bring the possibility of election night issues to your attention. With this being one of the most heavily followed elections in history, I strongly feel that which ever way the election goes the city of Macon could be faced with potential security issues on election night. If you remember, following the election of Mayor Jack Ellis downtown Macon faced substantial celebratory damage and it is my fear that if Obama/McCain wins or loses we could face even greater issues this election. With the City’s recent crime issues, I strongly feel that you all need to huddle with the Mayor, The Chief of Police and well as the Sheriff to put together a contingency plan for potential election night issues. Thank you for your leadership!

Best regards,
Zach Johnson

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Veteran in Freeman Mailer Endorses Epps


MACON, Ga. - Today, retired U.S. Marine and resident of the Georgia War Veterans’ Home Dale Parham announced his endorsement of Democrat James “Bubber” Epps for the Georgia House of Representatives. Epps, who is running against Republican Allen Freeman, has made support of veterans a centerpiece of his campaign. “On my watch, said Epps, “the needs of veterans, and the protection of their benefits will be a top priority.”

Freeman used Mr. Parham’s name in a mailing to thousands of voters in the district, so Mr. Parham wants to make it crystal clear that he is supporting Mr. Epps. “Make no mistake, I stand with Bubber Epps because he’ll stand up for veterans,” Parham said, “I have already voted for Mr. Epps, and I am actively working to encourage others to do the same.”

“I am honored to have Dale’s support,” said Epps. “Veterans and others who live in the district deserve to have a representative who will fight for them in Atlanta, and unlike Mr. Freeman, I will do just that. Despite serving as co-chairman of the Defense and Veteran’s Affairs Committee, Mr. Freeman failed to stand up for local veterans and prevent the closure of the Georgia War Veteran’s Home in Milledgeville. On Allen’s watch, veterans who served our country honorably face eviction from the only home they have. That’s unacceptable.”

“When I am elected, I will make sure that the values and priorities of Middle Georgia are at the top of the agenda, and that includes honoring and respecting-not evicting-our war veterans,” said Epps.

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Blitz to remove blight.

One of the best parts of my job as a member of Macon's City Council is to serve on the Community Resources and Development Committee which reviews and supports the work of the Economic and Community Development Department. ECDD works on numeorous issues in our community including neighborhood stabilization and revitalization. The following is a press release from ECDD regarding the demolition blitz that begins this Friday in the Bartlett Crossing Community. I urge everyone to come out and celebrate as we move forward toward improvement of that community and all of Macon.

On Friday October 24, the City of Macon through its Economic and Community Development Department (ECD) will take a bold step to eradicate blight and decline in the Bartlett Crossing Community. In partnership with the City’s environmental contractor, Geotechnical Environmental Consultants (GEC) and the Department of Public Works, ECD will demolish 35 open and dilapidated units in the two block area adjacent to the intersection of Bartlett Street and Ernest Street. The public is invited to attend the press conference at 9:00 a.m. located on the 1100 block of Ernest Street. Demolition of the dilapidated structures will commence shortly thereafter and continue for next several weeks.

Community Leaders from the Manna Community Housing and Development Organization, Lizzie Chapel Baptist Church and the City are working on a plan to revitalize the Bartlett Crossing Community. In response to their efforts, ECD has agreed to take down as many abandoned properties in the area as possible. ECD has identified over 100 units of abandoned housing units within the Bartlett Crossing Community. “I made a promise to Manna and the Bartlett Crossing community that I would do something about blight in Bartlett Crossing once I became Mayor.” says Mayor Robert A.B. Reichert. “I am pleased that we are able to this in my first year in office.”

Once these 35 properties have been removed, the City demolition total for the year will be 70 units, nearly doubling last years pace. Kevin DuBose, the Director of Economic and Community Development cites the creation of the Neighborhoods Division with his department as the biggest reason for the increased production. “The City is well on its way of making its commitment of tearing down 100 dilapidated housing units this year. We are using new tools to fight blight and we are getting results.”

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Georgia Sheriff's Race Goes National

Making the case that even Republicans in red states are grabbing for Obama's coattails, this San Francisco Chronicle piece by Chip Johnson references our sheriff's race right here in the heart of Georgia, my sister's dinner party in North Carolina and your's truly. Here's a bit:

While some angry voters have chanted Obama's middle name, "Hussein," as an insult at Republican rallies, local candidates on the Nov. 4 ballot are using his well-known name on their campaign signs, mailers and Web sites to improve their chances of winning.The tactic has been seen in races from the Bay Area, which is serious Obama country, to Georgia, where a law-and-order Republican for sheriff in the liberal enclave of Macon is using the name as a political prop.

Macon, where we have more churches than restaurants, "liberal enclave." Ha! Tongue-in-cheek, I'm sure.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Freeman Flyer Flap

Rep. Allen Freeman (R-Macon) is in trouble with a veteran for misleading voters about his own military service, and this is not the first time. In today's Telegraph, a local veteran, Jerry Fincher, calls Freeman's hand for a misleading campaign mailer that he says implies Freeman was deployed to the Middle East during Operation Desert Storm. He was not. He was in the National Guard but did not go to the region. The mailer says that Freeman is a "decorated veteran of Operation Desert Storm" and includes a photograph of him in uniform in the desert-the California desert. It's printed on the picture, if you look closely. Most people do not look closely-most spend less than 20 seconds looking at a piece of campaign mail.

As I said, this is not Freeman's first trip around this rose bush. I recall seeing the exactly same picture-or one very, very similar-in his campaign material before. I believe that it was during the 2004 cycle, and he drew very similar criticism. It seems that either he did not learn, or he decided the potential political benefit was worth the risk.

Frankly, I have never understood his approach on this issue. It just makes no sense. Serving in the National guard is an honorable thing to do, but it's not honorable to fuzzy-up the truth about what the service included. Why not just be proud enough of what you did to be completely clear about it?

What's the truth? This is what I found, and much of it is from his own biography. After high school, Freeman initially attended North Georgia Military College and then attended Georgia Southern. Freeman served in the Georgia Army National Guard from 1988 until 1993, the same year he graduated from Georgia Southern. According to his "Certificate of Release or Discharge From Active Duty" he had "Foreign Service...0 Years, 0 Months, 0 Days" and "Sea Service...0 Years, O Months, 0 Days. Freeman was a Medical Supply Specialist and his highest ranking was Private First Class.

His claims of being a "decorated" "veteran of Operation Desert Storm" are misleading. He was never deployed to the Middle East, or anywhere else out of the country. He did receive two ribbons: the Army Service Ribbon, a ribbon given to any member of the U.S. Army, including ROTC or the Army National Guard, who complete initial entry training-as in, basic training. He also received the National Defense Service Medal. According to Wikipedia:

The National Defense Service Medal is awarded to anyone who serves on active duty in the United States military during the above time periods. For service in the Gulf War and War on Terrorism, it is also authorized for members of the Reserves or National Guard ordered to active duty or who are performing "reserve service in good standing" which normally translates as regular attendance at monthly drills and performance in yearly training.

Fincher also takes issue with Freeman's claim in the mailer that he "stood up" to members of his own party regarding the War Veteran's Home closure. Freeman claims to have called the Governor to "protest how the matter was handled." Call the Governor? He couldn't even call a press conference, and we know he knows how to call a press conference for really important things, like attacking his opponent. Now, he wants the vets there to just be happy that they won't be homeless before Christmas. Maybe he figures that in 2009, this is going to be someone else's problem, and the way this race is shaping up, he might be just about right about that.

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And We Reap the Whirlwind

This election cannot come fast enough. Last week, I wrote that the McCain campaign, along with supporters, were, to borrow a phrase from the Old Testament, "sowing the wind." With every day that passes, I fear more and more that we will all reap the whirlwind. I am worried about violence as election day approaches, and worried that an Obama victory will leave many people believing that a socialist-terrorist-anti-American who they should fear occupies the White House. All courtesy of John McCain and the RNC.

On Thursday night, on Letterman, McCain awkwardly interjected that regarding the financial crisis, the American people had been victims of "a drive by shooting" by Washington and Wall Street. Just a random statement, of course.

Last night, I listened in absolute shock as Rep. Michelle Bachman, a United States Congresswomen, questioned whether or not Sen. Barack Obama was "anti-American." Really?

I listened to network after network replay the vile robocall to swing state voters, warning them, essentially, that Obama and his terrorist friends plotted to kill Americans. Despicable. All paid for by McCain and the RNC-the same McCain who for a minute last week seemed to be tamping down the incendiary speech that has marked and marred his campaign in recent weeks. No more.

Yesterday, Republican women distributed fake food stamps with Obama's picture. And, today, McCain called Obama a "socialist."

And, tonight, this, a racist flyer, threatening Obama's life , distributed in mailboxes of an Atlanta subdivision. No idea who did this. Whether it is the KKK as the piece claims, or a group or individual seeking to influence the election. The Secret Service is investigating-and no matter who did it, they should go to jail.

I no longer believe that John McCain is a victim of this strategy, simply unable to lead. With his words today, it is clear, John McCain has sold his soul.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

No Drama: Obama

That's my commentary on the debate tonight. Before I saw the polls, I told my family that I thought this was McCain's worst debate. Why? Politics at this point is tonal. The few who listen to every word have long since stopped. Voters look at demeanor and listen for tone. Tonight, McCain sounded mad; Obama sounded calm and confident. It comes back to who do I want addressing the nation if the worst has happened. Not McCain. Listening to him makes me feel anxious. Certainly not Palin. I'll take Mr. No Drama: Obama.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Saxby's Worried

And, with the quality of these two ads, he should be. With any ad from Chambliss, you have to simply consider the source. This is the same guy who used a football injury as an excuse for avoiding serving his country in Vietnam, and then called into question the patriotism of a veteran who gave three limbs for his country.

What do we know about Saxby? He'll approve ANY message in order to win.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

GOP Candidate in Georgia Invokes Obama's Name

When a Republican candidate in the middle of Red Georgia invokes Obama's name in his ads, you know that the Obama Tsunami will likely not leave the South untouched. In a half page, full color ad in Sunday's Telegraph (not cheap beans), Scotty Shepherd (R), who is running for Sheriff of Bibb County against incumbent Jerry Modena (D), had a photo and endorsement from Bill Lucas (Modena's Democratic Primary challenger) that said, in part:

"I am voting for Senator Obama, the Democratic candidate for President in this election. I would like you to vote for my friend, Scotty Shepherd, the Republican candidate for Sheriff of Bibb County."

Could Shepherd (R) now be required to file with the FEC since his paid advertisement included an endorsement for Sen. Obama? Perhaps. It matters not that the endorsement is attributed to Lucas. The issue is who paid for the ad. I understand that Lucas has done robo-calls for Shepherd, and I don't know if he invokes Obama's name in the calls, if so...even more money has been spent.

Back to the point. While this strategy is interesting, I doubt it will work. Voters are choosing between Modena and Shepherd, not Modena and Obama. The last Georgia candidate I recall using Obama's name in an ad without permission was Vernon Jones. That strategy did not go well for Jones, and I suspect Shepherd will get a similar result. Let me make a prediction: Modena will defeat Scotty Shepherd by at least as wide a margin as he did in 2004, back when Scotty claimed to be a Democrat. In that race, Modena got more than 70% of the vote. This one is SO over.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Dow Soars Nearly 1000 Points

I don't know about you, but I'm going with:

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A First for U.S. Senate Campaign in Georgia

I've done some checking, and near as I can tell, this has never been done before in a U.S. Senate Campaign in Georgia. Tomorrow evening, the Martin Campaign is coordinating a statewide "Virtual Town Hall" event for women. Women attending the event will have an opportunity to ask questions of the candidate, unscripted, in real time, and the media is invited to participate.

This Virtual Town Hall Meeting will also be streamed live. Follow this link. Only those attending one of several parties around the state will be able to ask questions of Jim, but everyone can watch the live stream. And, lucky you in Middle Georgia, Lauren Benedict is hosting one of the parties at her home, and YOU are invited to attend. Here's the info:

Media Advisory: October 13, 2008
Contacts: Lauren Benedict - (478) 973-0630, , or
Amy Morton – (478) 747-7450

Middle Georgia Women to Participate in “Virtual Town Hall” With Jim Martin

Macon, Ga. – Women from around Middle Georgia will participate in a virtual town hall on Tuesday, October 14th with Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Jim Martin. Supporters and undecided voters will gather at the home of Lauren Benedict Tuesday evening at 6:30 to call in and ask Martin Questions about the issues on their minds.

The gathering is free and open to the press.

WHO: Democratic and undecided women; Jim Martin, Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate.

WHAT: Virtual Town Hall, participants will call in to Martin’s campaign headquarters for an open question and answer session.

WHEN: Tuesday, October 14th, 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: 360-A Vista Circle
Macon Georgia 31204

PARKING: Please, park in the blank or unnumbered spaces.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pennsylvania Pundit

I sometimes forget that one of our own Georgia Peaches in Macon really has her roots in Philly. Wendy Sullivan Boston sent me the following email which I think sums up the McCain/Palin chances in Pennsylvania.

Two things I know about Philly: #1 we love our Flyers. #2: we are a superstitious lot (makes sense when you figure we are a bunch of Irish and Italian working class union people).......So what does the Flyers owner (a big repub donor) do? Has Palin the Hockey Mom drop the puck on opening night against the Rangers (apparently to resounding boo's).....and then the Flyers go on to get annihilated. Any Pennsylvanians who were undecided and many who were planning to vote for Palin have now changed their minds, mark my words!!
Wendy Sullivan Boston

Wendy, I hope these prove to be sage words. Just in case, I'm throwing a little salt over my shoulder and making sure I don't break any mirrors, walk under any ladders or let any black cats cross my path!

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

They Have Sown the Wind

For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk; the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up. Hosea 8:7 (KJV)

A stuffed monkey doll with an Obama sticker on the forehead-CBS News reports that's what one McCain supporter felt at liberty to show off at a rally this morning in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, where Sarah Palin was speaking. Initially, other supporters grinned as he showed off the monkey, but when the man realized a video camera was trained on him, he quickly ripped the sticker from the toy and gave the monkey to a random child in the crowd. This offensive display happened the day after John McCain finally either found his soul or checked his polls and began to try to calm the crowds that have become decidedly more like lynch mobs since Sarah Palin began repeatedly accusing Obama of "palling around with terrorists" and pressing the message: "We don't know who Obama really is, but what we do know is that he's not like us." It's easier to hate someone you believe is not like you. It's easier to fear someone you believe is not like you. The belief that the someone or something is not like us, is dangerous, and should be feared facilitates objectification that frees a mob, fueled by anger and fear, to act. This week, all of three messages-(1) he is not like us; (2) he is dangerous, and (3) he should be feared-have been front and center in the messages of Palin, McCain and their surrogates even as the crowds became more and more agitated. Ultimately, John McCain took a microphone from a women who was convinced Obama was "Arab" and was forced to defend his opponent to the very unhappy crowd.

Palin and McCain did not have to create this anger, these misconceptions about Obama. Palin simply planted her Naughty Monkey Double Dare pumps on the fire ant bed that has been growing on the Internet for over a year. And, despite what has happened, and McCain's desire to now reign in the hatred, today, Palin went after Obama on abortion, yet another emotional issue that has a history of inspiring violence. And, she went further than just saying he favored choice (he does), further even than saying he is pro-abortion (he is not). Palin cobbled together words and votes taken out of context and made the case that Barack Obama sees babies as a "punishment" and favors withholding medical care from babies, even special needs babies, born alive. The message? Obama hates babies. And that's not like us.

I do not believe that either John McCain or Sarah Palin want harm to come to Barack Obama. Palin, for her part, is reading what McCain's folks put in front of her. But if he is shocked, either by the reaction of the crowds or the response of civil right heroes like Congressman John Lewis, then it is, again, McCain's judgement that is in question.

There is a profound disconnect between the person I believe John McCain to be-a good and honest man who is a true American hero-and the campaign he fails to control. Every day ads run that advance the theme that Obama is not like us, every day campaign surrogates invoke Obama's middle name as if it is a slur, and every day the talking heads are unleashed to say what the candidate dare not, that dangerous disconnect continues and McCain's own legacy is threatened. This is no doubt a perilous moment in history. We are at war, and just as those buildings collapsed on 9/11, we are watching as our economy struggles to stand. One of these two men will be President in January, and the first task, for whoever is elected, will be to become a President for all of us, especially those who did not vote for them. For either McCain or Obama to spend the next three weeks trying to convince the electorate that the other is dangerous, cannot be trusted and is not like us does not serve that mission or this nation well.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

A Message to Saxby - From Me

Several weeks ago, the DPG began filming spots with "real Georgians" who were talking about the issues that impact them in their day to day life. I did a spot for them, and though I missed it, it apparently went out in email. So, why don't Georgia children deserve the same health coverage Sen. Chambliss has?

Saxby Chambliss on Healthcare

Saxby Chambliss has a history of selling out to the big insurance companies and leaving everyday Georgians behind. This week we hear from Amy Morton, a family therapist who's seen first-hand the difficulties families have in finding affordable health and mental health services. Unfortunately, Chambliss has done little to help those families in need.

No help with expensive prescription drugs

Chambliss voted against preventing a severe reduction in the Federal medical assistance percentage and extending rebates for prescription drugs to enrollees in Medicaid managed organizations [Vote 291, 11/3/05]

Voted against making generic drugs more affordable for seniors [Vote 299, 11/3/05]

Voted against allowing seniors access to cheaper imported prescriptions drugs [Vote 150, 5/3/07]

No help for Georgia's Kids

Chambliss voted against a bill that reauthorizes and expands the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) through 2012. [Vote 403, 11/1/07] Many members of the Republican party crossed over to join Democrats in voting for health care for children, but not Senator Chambliss.

Chambliss voted twice in the same year against reauthorizing and expanding children's health care by voting against HR 976 [Vote 353 on 9/27/9, Vote 307 on 8/2/07]

No help for rural Georgian families

Chambliss voted against helping rural health care providers and hospitals receiving fair reimbursement for their services under Medicare [Vote 89, 3/25/03]

No help for victims of natural disasters

Chambliss even voted against Disaster Relief Medicaid (DRM) health care for Hurricane Katrina victims. [Vote 285 on 11/3/05]

No help for AIDS victims

Chambliss voted against increased funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance program by $74 million. [Vote 178, 10/27/05]

Always a great handout for HMO's and big insurance companies

Fact: Chambliss has taken over $250,000 from the insurance industry in campaign contributions. (Source: Center for Responsive Politics)

Fact: Chambliss' own Chief of Staff is a former insurance company lobbyist (Source: Center for Responsive Politics)

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Voter Suppression

PAY ATTENTION. The election could turn on this single issue.

Just call this WWKHD? (What Would Katherine Harris Do?) installment #gadzillion. Karen Handel is at it again. If you read ONE article this political season, read this piece in today's AJC by Aaron Gould Sheinin. More than two million Georgia voters were referred to the Social Security Administration to check identity. That compares to three such referrals from Colorado and is about a million more voters than have registered in the state since 2004, and 25% of the national total for such requests. Turns out, in September, Karen Handel-who has been asked by feds to investigate-sent a letter to all local boards of election directing them to submit all new registrations to Social Security for verification. Ahem. Isn't that like asking a suspect to investigate a crime? Next thing you know, there will be threats of citizenship checks at polling places.

You will probably not be shocked to learn that the other states on the list of frequent fliers include Ohio, North Carolina, Indiana and Nevada-all swing states in this election.

This much is clear: Karen Handel will shamelessly continue use the Secretary of State's office like a campaign headquarters for Republicans and will work to suppress the votes of likely Democrats (though they're getting tougher to identify by the minute). We are going to have to fight for ballot access for our candidates and our voters.

And, in 2010, there is no more important office for Georgia Democrats to take back than hers. We must replace her with someone who is willing to serve the public and the law before serving her party.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

McCain's "Emergency"

I get email. Today the one from the McCain campaign dropped into my Blackberry with only one word of the subject line visible; "Emergency." While that pretty much summarizes the desperate posture of his campaign right now, I thought, incorrectly, that the email might be about the financial precipice where our nation struggles to find a foothold, but I should've know better. The sinking economy is last thing John McCain wants to discuss. The email, about the RNC's "emergency" voter registration drive, is just the latest example of the too little, too late politics of yesterday that have become the hallmark of the McCain team. In key swing states like North Carolina (who'd have thought it?!), Deus Lo Vult says:

Democrats have added 184,113 new voters, while the Republicans have only brought in a new 24,614 voters. Right now, after checking the N.C. State Board of Elections website, the current registration levels sit at 2,698,293 for the Democrats, 1,945,086 for the Republicans, for a difference of 753,207.

Here in Georgia alone, since 2004 nearly 577K new voters have registered and as many as 300K registrations are currently in the pipeline. And, polling indicates that those new voters overwhelmingly favor Barack Obama and Jim Martin. Some polls show Martin leading Chambliss by as much as 25 points among those newly registered voters.

The bottom line? Our senate race in Georgia is up for grabs. Expect Chambliss to now begin to employee the same desperate politics of personal destruction that McCain has telegraphed will be his October strategy (or is that a tactic?). Jim Martin needs money, he needs volunteers and he needs your support. And, Obama? The race is his to lose, but lose it he can. Time for all hands on deck!

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Friday, October 03, 2008

Thin Ice

Okay, here are a couple of post-debate must-reads and one must see.

1) E.J. Dionne writing for the Washington Post sums it up well in "Hockey Mom on Thin Ice." He says, in part:

Palin has also brought out the very worst in McCain, forcing him to -- and I do not use this word lightly -- lie about her. In an interview broadcast Wednesday, National Public Radio's Steve Inskeep asked McCain if there would be "an occasion where you could imagine turning to Governor Palin for advice in a foreign policy crisis?" McCain replied: "I've turned to her advice many times in the past. I can't imagine turning to Senator Obama or Senator Biden, because they've been wrong." " Many times in the past?" McCain met Palin only twice before he selected her. What McCain said could not be true. And would anyone who listened to her last night really consult Palin on foreign policy?

2) And, Arianna Huffington wrote a good piece about watching the debate with a group of accomplished, though politically diverse women. It is both humorous and on point:

Watching Biden and Palin on the same stage was like watching a tennis champion walk onto Centre Court at Wimbledon only to find himself facing an over-eager amateur from the local high school. Or as Pat Mitchell told me, "Biden was taking part in a vice presidential debate; Palin was taking part in a junior high debate."

3) Finally, this YouTube of Alaskans watching the debate last night at Anchorage's Beartooth Theater is telling. Apparently, not all Alaskans drank Palin-Aide.

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Obama Uses Palin Footage In New Ad

Good ad:

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

We Are Ticked Off, Sarah

Unless Tina Fey actually shows up at the debate tonight, don't expect the event to be "Thursday Night Live" as some pundits suggest. Sarah Palin will do just fine tonight. At this point, all she has to do is show up and not cuss, and she'll be crowned the winner. After all, the neo-cons have spent two weeks lowering expectations to the point that most Americans are turning on the evening news just to hear the latest Palin gaff. I mean, seriously, I watched the CBS Evening News last night for the first time in years. If Obama is elected, Katie Couric should get a gift basket from the campaign-at least a tee shirt.

And, they've been working the ref, now suggesting that Gwen Iffil is biased because of a book she has written. Give me a break. Even McCain knows about "a google." Apparently Iffil was fine until McCain began to tank. And tank, he has, with the economy now tied to his ankle like an anchor. I am sitting in the reddest of states, Georgia, where the latest polls have McCain up by single digits. That has to have the McCain team working the Tums dispenser, not because it means that Obama will win Georgia, but because it reflects what is happening nationally. The combination of McCain's own blunders (see "suspending my campaign" and his testy interview with the Des Moines Register), the dire economic situation, the unending war in Iraq and the proclamation by David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, that we urgently need more troops in Afghanistan have now made McCain's judgement the central issue of this election.

No where was that judgement more flawed than in McCain's selection of "Joe Six Pack" Palin for his Vice Presidential nominee, a choice that is increasingly driving even conservatives from his side. Yesterday, Palin who refuses to list what she reads and who stubbornly clings to her claim that she's an expert on foreign policy because of Alaska's geography, said, "It's time that a normal Joe Six-Pack American is finally represented in the position of vice presidency, and I think that that's kind of taken some people off guard, and they're out of sorts, and they're ticked off about it."

Damn right we're ticked off about it, Sarah. This is not the time to elect an "average" president. I don't know what papers they have been putting in front of you, but, if you've been reading anything other than your briefing book, then you know that we need the brightest and the best at the helm, especially now. Joe Six-Pack needs a voice, a vote and most of all a President who cares about the middle class-not the guy and gal who want to give $174 billion annually in tax breaks to large corporations while the middle class picks up the scraps. If there are any scraps. If there still is a middle class.

It is indeed now the neocons left defending Gov. Palin, individuals who clearly value party and power over the good of the nation and who launch wholesale attacks on those whose ideas are not in line with their own. Calling for a "cease fire in the war of unwelcome ideas" conservative columnist Kathleen Parker, who has been the focus of neocon ire after being openly critical of the Palin choice, said today in the Washington Post:

Readers have every right to reject my opinion. But when we decide that a person is a traitor and should die for having an opinion different from one's own, we cross into territory that puts all freedoms at risk. (I hear you, Dixie Chicks.) I'm sure it is coincidence that, upon the Palin column's publication, a conservative organization canceled a speech I was scheduled to deliver in a few days. If I were as paranoid as the conspiracy theorists are, I might wonder whether I was being punished for speaking incorrectly. Unfortunately, that's the way one begins to think when party loyalty is given a higher value than loyalty to bedrock principles.
Our day of reckoning may indeed be upon us. Between war and economic collapse, we have enormous challenges. It will take the best of everyone to solve them. That process begins minimally with a commitment to engage in civil discourse and a cease-fire in the war against unwelcome ideas.

Parker's right. Party loyalty is not a reason to cast a vote in this election. The time is too short, the stakes are too high. In the end, while tonight may be interesting political theater, it cannot erase the weeks of silence, scripts and vacant responses that have marked Palin's introduction to the American people. There is increasing evidence that John McCain cannot administer an effective campaign, much less a country in crisis. We are ticked off, Sarah, not at you, but at John McCain, who in choosing you demonstrated that "County First" is nothing but an empty slogan.

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We Need the Smart Dude

H/T RH: This pretty well sums up our choice:

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Stop It!!!

Look, this is a note to whomever is trying to hack into my cell phone and email accounts. Stop it. Stop it now. What you are doing is illegal-but we all know you don't care because you think you won't be caught, though you may be too stupid to understand that repeated attempts leave a nice cyber-trail. And frankly, what you'll find is just not all that interesting.

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Poor Allen Freeman

Poor Allen Freeman, his yard signs have gone missing, and he's stopped just short of calling out the National Guard (a group he was a part of when he did not leave U.S. soil during the Gulf War) in a effort to hold the evil robbers accountable. He's issued a press release (something he could not manage to do when the veterans were getting evicted) and called on the sheriff's departments in Bibb and Jones County to investigate. Hey, if the signs were taken over county lines, then maybe he should get the GBI involved, too. Clearly, none of these law enforcement agencies have anything else to do.

Do I have to say it? There is a story like this EVERY campaign cycle. Last cycle, Lauren Benedict's signs mysteriously went missing, yet, alas, there was no call to arms. Why? Because crying about this is just plain silly. On Allen Freeman's watch, 1.5 billion has been cut from education, the state faces a deficit of up to 2 billion dollars, and DOT appears to be handling their bills like a drunken college student, and what does Rep. Freeman want to talk about? Yard signs.

Anyway, I'm not sure how or whether Epps will respond, but it turns out that a slight modification of Freeman's own press release makes a pretty good argument. Here's my version-a spoof the Epps campaign has neither seen nor endorsed, by the way:

Epps Calls On Freeman to Condemn Reckless Spending in Atlanta

(Bibb Co.) – Today, James "Bubber" Epps called on his opponent, State Representative Allen Freeman (R- Macon), to condemn the reckless spending of Atlanta politicians that has created a budget deficit totaling almost two billion dollars.

Jobs in Middle Georgia began disappearing years ago – however, the empty factories have remained, and homes have been covered with foreclosure notices. Now, many of the very best jobs – having a value of $70,000 a year each - have simply disappeared. Plus, on Rep. Freeman's watch, more than 1.5 billion dollars has been taken from our children's schools. A report would have been filed with the Bibb and Jones County Sheriff's Office for theft, but Rep. Freeman was responsible for protecting the money. He has yet to apologize and, remarkably, expects voters to send him back to Atlanta again, with the keys to the coffers.

"I have endured many heated campaigns. But, never have I seen anything like this. This kind of pettiness and childish behavior is exactly why voters are turned off by our electoral process" said Epps who urges a campaign run on issues and the candidates' integrity.

"Although I give my opponent the benefit of the doubt – the fact that his votes have contributed to the missing money makes it clear that he is responsible. We can no longer allow Freeman and the vandals in Atlanta to manage our state's economy. I call on "Allen" to publicly denounce this behavior and give the voters names of anyone he knows to be involved" Epps added. Anyone who has information about the money missing from the state treasury or from our schools is encouraged to VOTE for Bubber Epps.

The total loss to Georgia schools has exceeded $1.5 billion dollars-funds that are desperately needed all four counties Bibb, Twiggs, Wilkinson, and Jones of House District 140.


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