Monday, July 24, 2006
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Cagle wins, awaits challengerReed concedes;
Hecht, Martin in Democratic runoff Aug. 8
By HARRIS BLACKWOODThe Times
Paula Stuhr The Times
Sen. Casey Cagle, with wife Nita Cagle, acknowledges the crowd before his victory speech Tuesday night at the Arena at Gwinnett Center. The Chestnut Mountain Republican defeated Ralph Reed for the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor.
Paula Stuhr The Times
Sen. Casey Cagle greets the crowd as he steps onto the podium to give his victory speech Tuesday night at the Arena at Gwinnett Center. The Chestnut Mountain Republican will face the winner of a Democratic run-off election for the state's lieutenant governor post.
Paula Stuhr The Times
Sen. Casey Cagle, seated, and Sen. Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, watch the returns on television from Cagle's suite Tuesday night in the Arena at Gwinnett Center. Cagle, who has represented Hall County for six terms in the state Senate, earned the GOP's nomination for lieutenant governor.
Lt. governor* - Republican
Casey Cagle, 222,523 votes, 56.1 percent,
Ralph Reed, 173,938 votes, 43.9 percent
Winner faces Democratic runoff winner in Nov. 7 general election.
* Results are with 94 percent of precincts reporting statewide.
Casey Cagle (R)
Occupation: State senator. Member of board of directors of Gainesville Bank & Trust. Owns various real estate investments. Former tuxedo rental store owner and weight-lifting instructor.
Personal: Wife Nita, three sons.
Education: Attended Georgia Southern University in 1984, where he was a redshirt football player but dropped out after repeatedly tearing his Achilles tendon. Attended Gainesville College, 1985-1986.
Political experience: Campaign manager for state House candidate James Mills in 1992. First elected to state senate in 1994 at age 28, defeating an incumbent Democrat. Re-elected in 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2002.
Religious affiliation: Blackshear Place Baptist, Flowery Branch.
Web site: http://www.caseycagle.com/
Casey Cagle, a 40-year-old state senator from Hall County, defeated former Christian Coalition director Ralph Reed on Tuesday to become the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor.
Cagle, beaming brightly, came to the podium just before 10:15 p.m. and thanked God, then his family and his supporters for his victory.
"This is a humbling experience," said Cagle to the crowd assembled in the concourse of the Arena at Gwinnett Center. He said that Reed had called earlier in the evening to concede and pledged to help Cagle in his general election bid.
"But the good guys won tonight," said Cagle.
The rumors of the concession began swirling around 9:45 p.m. and the excitement of the crowd reached a fever pitch as Cagle and his family came to the podium amidst chants of "Ca-sey, Ca-sey." With 94 percent of precincts reporting, Cagle had 56 percent of the vote to Reed's 44 percent. In Hall County, Cagle took 78.67 percent.
While cordial in his comments about Reed, Cagle seized an opportunity to take a gentle jab at his opponent.
"I remember the first meeting I had with (Reed) in my office, when he informed me he was going to be the next lieutenant governor," said Cagle.
Cagle said that despite being the lesser-known candidate, he eclipsed fundraising goals throughout the campaign.
Tom Pridemore, a former player for the Atlanta Falcons who lives in South Hall, said Cagle's victory is positive for Hall.
"This is a big night for Hall County," said Pridemore, formerly a member of the West Virginia legislature. "Georgia has now got a great man to serve as lieutenant governor with integrity."
State Sen. Eugene "Chip" Pearson, R-Dawsonville, said that he was not surprised by Cagle's strong showing on Tuesday.
"We thought it was either going to be big for Casey or narrow for Ralph," said Pearson, who is chairman of Cagle's campaign. Pearson and 22 of his senate colleagues supported Cagle in the race.
"Each one of us (senators) represents 150,000 people, and when they are undecided and we make a personal appeal, they trust us," said Pearson.
Friday, July 14, 2006
From star foot soldier for the religious right to GOP lobbyist with questionable ties to Jack Abramoff, Ralph Reed is finally losing his Teflon luster
The morning begins with a prayer in Jason’s Deli, a strip-mall joint in Atlanta, and we all bow our heads and say amen. We—me, the Atlanta reporter, and all the Buck Springs Republicans—stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and the ﬁne a cappella rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and then we—me and the other reporter—sit down in our booth and scribble notes throughout the short, civil debate between the two candidates who are seeking the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor of Georgia. One of the candidates is state senator Casey Cagle, who was a businessman before he was first elected twelve years ago. The other is Ralph Reed.
Remember Ralph Reed? Executive director of the Christian Coalition. Hardball Republican operative. Cherubic embodiment of the religious right. He may not have created the movement, but he was the one who mainstreamed it. After a decade of TV-preacher scandals and jowly old scolds wagging moralizing ﬁngers, Reed was slick and sensible. He was young and smart and erudite, and he had that face, that unlined diamond under a swoop of Big Boy hair that had writers struggling for something, anything, other than choirboy or altar boy or angelic to describe it. Time magazine put that face on its cover in 1995 next to the words THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD. Just 33 years old, and Reed was an icon.
But that was eleven years ago, a lifetime in politics.
No one then would have guessed that Ralph Reed would end up chasing a second-tier office in a down-ballot race in an off year in Georgia. Or that he might lose.
The debate ends. The BuckSprings Republicans are pushing back from their tables, and Reed is right there in the aisle next to our booth, shaking hands and clapping shoulders. He’s slight, maybe ﬁve eight in the cowboy boots he’s taken to wearing. The hair has calmed down since the ’90s, but he still has that face. Reed’s 44 now, but in his blue blazer and open collar, he could pass for a graduate student. He’s smiling and friendly, and we start to stand up so we can say hello and begin with our questions.
At which point, a guy appears at the edge of our table. His name is Art Morris, and he’s Reed’s ﬁnance chairman. Chatty fellow. Loves Reed. Says lots of nice and not particularly interesting things about him. But mainly, he’s got us pinned in our booth, and he keeps us there until Reed has worked his way up the aisle to the front of the room and into a thick, insulating knot of Republicans.
Art’s a blocker. Maybe it’s an eager coincidence—his timing, his body placement—but it works out well. Because Reed doesn’t talk to reporters anymore. His campaign manager, a boyish redhead in a turquoise golf shirt named Jared, has already made that clear. “We don’t do anything with out-of-state press,” he said earlier, striding across the parking lot with a can of Tab in his hand.
Read the rest
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Watchdog Group Blasts Reed For Using Christian Groups As Fronts For Abramoff's Clients
WASHINGTON, July 11 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Today Campaign Money Watch questioned Ralph Reed about where the $500,000 he loaned his campaign for lieutenant governor of Georgia came from.
According to Campaign Money Watch, Reed made millions of dollars as a lobbyist for American Indian casinos and the Northern Marianas Islands, where employers forced female employees to become prostitutes and to have abortions if they became pregnant. He used Christian organizations as front groups for his lobbying activity paid for by disgraced, convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his clients.
"Ralph Reed spun his relationships with Christian organizations into personal gold by using them as fronts for convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff's sleazy clients," said David Donnelly, director of Campaign Money Watch. "Now he's taken that money to try to buy the election. Campaign Money Watch will tell voters exactly where he got it: Lobbying against legislation that would have protected female workers from being forced to have abortions and to become prostitutes."
"Thousands of Georgia voters have already responded to our demand that Reed once and for all release the complete list of who he lobbied for and how much he made. But what is already known should be evidence enough: Ralph Reed values cash and little else," said Donnelly.
Campaign Money Watch is a national nonpartisan watchdog group that holds politicians publicly accountable for doing favors for their big money supporters. It ran a radio ad linking Reed to Abramoff's casino clients earlier this election.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Published by Erick of the Peach Pundit
July 7th, 2006 in Primaries, Republicans, Lt. Governor
There are many other things I could have given as the title to this post, but that seems to be the most objective. There are many interpretations one could give to the information herein, but it seems they all come down to one thing — more than once has Ralph Reed been opposed to tightening immigration laws and it appears that this is another example of Ralph Reed following Grover Norquist and getting into trouble.
In 1996, it was actually the Democrats who were pushing to curtail immigration levels. Democratic heroine Barbara Jordan, on behalf of Bill Clinton, chaired a bipartisan commission and concluded that immigrants were taking jobs poor Americans actually would do, were doing them cheaper, and consequently were hurting the abilities of poor Americans to get gainful employment.
A bipartisan coalition gathered around the idea that illegal immigration must be stopped and legal immigration must be curtailed. A Wired Magazine article described the situation this way:
On Capitol Hill, Congress was poised to pass the most severe anti immigration legislation since the 1920s. Significantly, measures designed to crack down on illegals were paired with plans to slash legal immigration by 40 percent. Senator Alan Simpson and Representative Lamar Smith, the two leading Republican voices on immigration, were pushing the bills hard. The White House was sounding supportive, having been given cover to back the cuts by a set of similarly restrictive recommendations from a bipartisan commission chaired by the late, famously liberal Barbara Jordan. It was a powerful, if unlikely, alliance. And with no politician daring to risk being called “weak” on immigration in an election year, it seemed an unstoppable one as well.
Six months after the measure made it to Capitol Hill, Ralph Reed helped kill it.
The proposal was supported by every Republican in the Georgia delegation. Unfortunately, a lot of tech companies, including Microsoft, were opposed to the law. Grover Norquist, then on Microsoft’s payroll, set about rallying conservatives to oppose the law. Congressman Dick Chrysler was proposing an amendment to the proposal that would gut it. He wanted to split the bill into multiple components dealing with different areas of immigration — one of which would have dealt with “chain migration,” the issue of whole families immigrating together.