The four “top-tier” candidates in the race — Lindsey, former Congressman Bob Barr, former state Sen. Barry Loudermilk of Cassville and Tricia Pridemore of Marietta — have been raising funds at a furious pace, the expectation being that they were hoarding the proceeds for last-minute ad blitzes. With the May 20 Republican Primary less than a month away, that time has now arrived.
Lindsey’s ad touts his record in the state Legislature fighting to lower taxes, block Obamacare in Georgia, cut illegal immigration and curb Medicaid fraud. Among other things, it depicts him blocking a basketball shot (i.e., working to block Obamacare) and concludes with him delivering a pair of pizzas, part of the ad’s “conservative who delivers” theme.
Fundraising reports showed Lindsey with $168,334 cash on hand as of March 31, trailing Pridemore’s $238,645, but ahead of Barr’s $124,963 and Loudermilk’s $77,162.
THE FOUR so-called “top-tier” candidates for the 11th seat met in a “panel discussion” Wednesday hosted by the Cobb Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Club and moderated by the MDJ’s Dick Yarbrough. The Club chose not to invite the other two candidates, Larry Mrozinski and Allen Levine. As reported in Thursday’s MDJ, much of the focus was on how best to try to protect Dobbins Air Reserve Base from the upcoming round of Base Realignment and Closure cuts.
Other odds and ends from the event:
Loudermilk offered up the oddest twist heard yet on immigration reform, commenting that, “We needed ‘immigrant labor’ from the French to help win the American Revolution,” and then explaining that we need “a visa program that works.”
For what it’s worth, the French soldiers fighting on our side in that war were pawns of the French crown and had no choice as to where they “labored.”
All four candidates criticized Obama’s downsizing of the military. Lindsey noted that we are obligated by treaty to defend Taiwan from attack by China, but said that in order to afford such a war we’d have to borrow money from China.
“Think how ridiculous that is,” he mused.
The four avoided direct attacks, but got in a few little digs.
Discussing the fight to save Dobbins, Barr — a former congressman from the 1990s — told the audience that “We can’t afford to have a neophyte congressional delegation representing us in Washington. The stakes are too high to think we can (save it) otherwise.”
Later, Lindsey referred to Barr’s past dalliance with the Libertarian Party, adding that, “I did not leave the party when I wasn’t happy about things. I’ve been fighting for Georgia.”
Barr, though, said he’d proven his loyalty to the district and his independence from party leaders in the past.
“When I was in Congress there were times when I made (House Speaker) Newt Gingrich very unhappy because I voted the way my heart and my constituents told me to,” he said.
COMMISSION BATTLE: Northwest Cobb District 1 Commission candidate Bill Byrne contends the Cobb Chamber is overtly backing candidate Bob Weatherford of Acworth as part of an “anybody but Byrne” campaign. So when Chamber Vice Chair of Government Affairs Don Barbour sent questionnaires to the candidates recently on the Chamber’s behalf, Byrne replied they were wasting their time.
“With the unprecedented ‘OPEN’ support and endorsement of Bob Weatherford by the Cobb Chamber, including Chairman Ben Mathis and President David Connell, I will not respond to your questionnaire nor will I participate in any Chamber sponsored event, now or in the future,” he emailed Barbour.
Among the Chamber’s questions were: “What is your position on offering tax abatements to attract new businesses to Cobb County?” and “What should be the level of the School Board’s engagement in economic development incentives offered to attract new businesses to Cobb County?”
Tax abatements and subsidies became a hot-button issue for the Chamber and the Development Authority of Cobb County after school officials refused to go along with the DACC’s proposed 10-year property tax abatement for developer John Williams’ “Riverwalk” project.
FELLOW DISTRICT 1 Commission Candidate Glenn Melson says the county should use “priority-based budgeting” to identify non-payroll and debt service expenditures in the county’s $814 million budget that can be reallocated to public safety. He’s also proposed giving each of the county’s 1,600 public safety workers a $6,000 annual raise. Priority-based budgeting is a formula used by business and government to allocate funds to programs identified as being most important to stakeholders and taxpayers.
MORE FORUMS: Oliver Halle and Don Jenacova of east Cobb are hosting their 10th annual non-partisan candidate forum from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Parc at Piedmont. The outdoor event typically attracts 300 people and a heavy dose of candidates, although there are no speeches or debates, just mingling. ...
The Kennesaw Business Association plans a candidate forum at 6:30 p.m. May 6 at the Robertson Community Center in Kennesaw. Moderator will be Pete Combs of WSB. The KBA has invited candidates for the 11th, county commission, school board Post 4 (David Chastain and Bill Scott) and State House District 34 (Rep. Charles Gregory and Bert Reeves), reports spokesman George Olney.
BOB BARR, who’s never been known for levity on the campaign trail, or anywhere else for that matter, put on a new face at Thursday’s forum –— literally.
Around Town had noted in its April 12 edition Barr had failed to crack even a glimmer of a smile during a similar forum two weeks ago. And Barr noted at one point Thursday his wife, Jeri, once complained to him as they left a political event, “you just managed to make Newt Gingrich look warm and fuzzy.”
But Barr wasted no time addressing his reported humor deficiency at Thursday’s forum hosted by the Cobb Chamber’s Chairman’s Club.
“The last forum I was at, Joe Kirby was in the audience and he made an interesting observation,” said Barr the very first time he was called on by moderator Yarbrough. “He said that during the entire program Bob Barr never smiled. Well ….”
Barr then broke into an exaggerated ear-to-ear grin as he looked at Kirby, drawing a big laugh from the crowd of 80 or so at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center.
That prompted a crack in turn from Yarbrough, who deadpanned, “Bob, if it’s any consolation, Joe never smiles when I turn in my column.”
Not so, Dick.
As for Barr, he apparently enjoyed the smile enough to smile again, sort of, after the forum while posing for a photo.
PRIDEMORE had a moment of mirth as well, after Yarbrough asked each candidate to describe what sets them apart from the other three.
Quipped Pridemore, “My shoes.”