Spotted among the full-house crowd at the Cobb Galleria Centre were U.S. Reps. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) and Jack Kingston (R-Savannah), who are running to succeed Georgia’s senior Senator, Saxby Chambliss. Also on hand were state Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R-Bartow/Cherokee) and Georgia House Majority Whip Ed Lindsey (R-Buckhead), who are running for Gingrey’s congressional seat. Our apologies to any other Senate or House aspirants present that we might have overlooked in the throng that turned out to hear the ever-popular Isakson, main speaker at the breakfast.
Kingston is less well known in this area than some of his rivals and thus is spending every Friday-through-Monday in the metro Atlanta area for the foreseeable future to help correct that. He’s also no doubt aware that 80 percent of the GOP Primary vote typically comes from north of I-20. He’ll have to be competitive in counties like Cobb, Gwinnett and Cherokee to have a realistic hope of winning the primary.
Insiders say he’s also hopeful that conservatives “put off” by recent controversial remarks by fellow Senate hopefuls U.S. Rep. Paul Broun (R-Athens) and Gingrey will give him a closer look than they would have before.
The well-liked Kingston was elected to Congress in 1992 and serves on the prestigious House Finance Committee, chairing its Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee.
Kingston has brought on Phil Wilhite Jr. of Gainesville as his North Georgia campaign treasurer. (Ben Tarbutton is filling that role for South Georgia.)
Whilhite’s father, Phil Wilhite Sr., is one of Gov. Nathan Deal’s closest associates — which some take as an indication that Deal is likely to favor Kingston in the race.
THE CLOCK IS TICKING for others thinking of seeking Chambliss’ seat. A well-known politico tells Around Town that, “Anybody who can’t write a seven-figure check to jump-start his campaign needs to be in the race by Memorial Day if he wants to have a chance. Those who can write a seven-figure check can wait, but only until the end of the summer.”
That second category would include former Dollar General CEO David Perdue (cousin of former Gov. Sonny Perdue), who’s said to be weighing a race; and Kelly Loeffler, VP of Intercontinental Exchange, which operates global commodity and financial markets. Loeffler, who also is co-owner of the Atlanta Dream women’s basketball team, reportedly is in final negotiations to purchase the New York Stock Exchange. Now that would be a coup for Georgia.
THIS YEAR’S prestigious Glass Ceiling Award from Cobb Executive Women was presented at the breakfast to Dr. Kathy Schwaig, Dean and Dinos Eminent Scholar Chair of Entrepreneurial Management and professor of information systems in the Michael J. Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University.
Previous recipients include President Lisa Rossbacher of Southern Poly, Joe Daniell of United Community Bank, Fred Bentley Jr. of Bentley, Bentley & Bentley, Bonnie Cole of the United Way, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, Jeri Barr of the Center for Family Resources and Lisa Crossman of Cobb & Douglas Public Health. Bill Kinney of the Marietta Daily Journal is a past winner of the group’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
PEOPLE: Congratulations to Georgia Supreme Court Justice P. Harris Hines of Marietta, who was elected by his fellow justices last week to serve as the High Court’s new Presiding Justice, who serves in the absence of the chief justice. The justices also elected current Presiding Justice Hugh P. Thompson of Milledgeville as new chief justice, succeeding Carol W. Hunstein. The swearing-in of Thompson and Hines will take place Aug. 15. Hines was appointed to the Court by then-Gov. Zell Miller in 1995. ...
Marietta native Shuler Hensley will co-star on Broadway this fall with Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in the upcoming repertoire revivals of Harold Pinter’s “No Man’s Land” and Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” at the Cort Theatre. Hensley recently played The Monster in the Broadway version of Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein” and earlier won a Tony Award for his role in “Oklahoma!” ... Marietta businessman Larry Ceminsky is out after an 11-day stay at WellStar Kennestone caused by diabetic complications. His slow recovery is continuing at home. …
THE COBB BAR ASSOCIATION handed out awards at its annual Law Day Lunch on Thursday. Recipients were: Richard L. Moore Volunteer Award — Dawn Levine; CCTLA Justice Award — Judge Maria Golick; Liberty Bell Award — Tommy Nobis and Connie Kirk of the Tommy Nobis Center; Public Safety Officer of the Year Award — Cobb Police Officer Robert J. Littler; Administrative Professionalism Award — Brenda Jordan; the Ross Adams Younger Lawyer Award — Rob Swartwood; the Bobby Cleveland Award — Diane Woods; and the Champion of Justice Award went to Jimmy Berry, long known as one of Cobb’s most effective defense attorneys.
SATURDAY’S Around Town item regarding Mayor Steve Tumlin’s “official announcement” that he would seek another term elicited this response from his only opponent thus far, Charles Levinson: “We welcome Tumlin to the race and wish him well. Since our announcement in February, we have looked forward to this race and the clear contrast it will offer. We are both decent men who care deeply for Marietta, yet one candidate is an entrenched politician with timeworn ideas; the other an outsider with a fresh, people-based perspective on our community’s challenges. We are confident voters will embrace real change at the ballot box come November.”
THE MARIETTA and Lost Mountain Golden K Kiwanis clubs will hold their 18th annual youth charity golf tournament May 15 at Eagle Watch Golf Club in Woodstock, with 100 percent of proceeds going to local youth organizations.
For more info call Joe Van Horn at (404) 358-1432.
DEMOCRATS will soon be competitive for statewide races again in Georgia, former Gov. Roy Barnes predicted last week to an MDJ reporter.
“Now it will take longer for the Legislature to change back, but look, Barack Obama, who is probably the toughest candidate to win in the South, got 46 percent of the vote in Georgia. Of all the states he lost, he lost North Carolina and Georgia by the smallest margins. ... And Georgia and North Carolina, by the way, are twin sisters. Our populations are almost the same. They don’t have quite as many African Americans, but it’s close. And our budgets are very close. And so what’s happening is the state is changing, it’s not because of Hispanic voters as most think it is, but they’re a factor. It’s because Republicans, particularly independent voters, women, under 40 years of age, they’re fed up with the far right.”
Asked if he was referring to the “legitimate rape” comments by Republicans like former U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin of Missouri, Barnes answered “Absolutely, and even Phil Gingrey.”
Gingrey got himself needlessly tangled up when he offered a muddled explanation of Akin’s reasoning to a chamber of commerce crowd in Smyrna back in January.
Continued Barnes: “I often say and I used to preach this at the Capitol with legislators trying to convince them, I said, you know, a husband and wife, both are working, they’re tired, they get in, they’ve had to drive in this traffic, they may have gotten their child to a soccer game, they come in, they eat supper, they have about 15 minutes after they get the kids down that they sit down and talk at the kitchen table. Do you think they say, ‘Let’s talk about when life begins’ or all this other stuff? I said what they talk about is ‘Are we going to be able to afford to send our child to college?’ ‘What kind of school system do we have?’ or ‘Our insurance is running out.’ That’s the things they talk about. I said don’t talk about the rest of this stuff, it matters just to a small group of nuts, and I said center in on things that really make a difference.”