Advice from Indiana Republicans on gay marriage fight: Walk away

Longtime pollster Peter Hart and associate Corrie Hunt have sent out a report on a focus group they conducted in Indiana last week.

Nine-tenths of the report, part of an effort by the Annenberg Center for Public Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, focused on the Republican presidential contest and attitudes toward Donald Trump and Ben Carson. Read the entire paper here.

But the very last section notes that the focus group was also asked about the fight over “religious liberty” and gay marriage. You’ll remember that Indiana had a meltdown over the issue earlier this year – which caused a similar effort in Georgia to be shelved. Here’s what Hart and Hunt wrote:

In light of the myriad other pressing issues facing the country, when asked which issues they believe Republicans should stay quiet about and just move on from, Republican primary voters decisively choose gay marriage.

Eight in 12 focus group participants say they want Republicans to “just shut up” about same-sex marriage. In a state that has seen its share of controversy around gay marriage, these Republican primary voters say we have so many other bigger problems to fix, such as healthcare, terrorism, and the economy.

There is a sense that for the most part it does not affect their lives directly and there is no point in arguing about it anymore.

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Seems as if there may be some things more embarrassing than signing up for an Ashley Madison account. From RT:

Through a Twitter account formerly associated with the KKK but compromised by Anons earlier this month, hacktivists posted on Wednesday this week a trove of data purported to pertain to Frank Ancona, the self-described Imperial Wizard of the Missouri-based Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

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The House revived the Export-Import Bank by a big margin last night, with Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Lawrenceville, joining Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, on board (Carter backed a procedural motion on Monday) with the state's Democrats. Here's a piece of what Woodall had to say:

"F‎ailure to reform and reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank leaves our domestic producers with only two options: miss out on willing buyers or move their manufacturing facilities and jobs overseas and pursue financing eligibility from another nation’s [Export Credit Agency]. The decision to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank guarantees that America’s manufacturers have a seat at the table and that America's workers have a family paycheck.”

And Carter:

“In the First District, the Ex-Im Bank facilitates exports for 17 companies resulting in $501 million in exports and 3,208 jobs. With the recent expiration of the Ex-Im Bank, many of these companies have suffered the loss of millions of dollars in new business growth and market access. I supported reauthorization today because I refuse to sit idly as these jobs, and many others, are lost due to Washington’s failure to act.”

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Funding highway construction is entering the all-time annals of congressional can-kicking.

The House unanimously passed a bill to fund transportation projects through Nov. 20 and the Senate is expected to follow suit before the highway trust fund runs out of money on Friday. The stated hope is to pass a multi-year funding bill before Thanksgiving, but that has been the stated hope with every short term extension.

The Georgia Department of Transportation already has shown its skepticism, delaying projects for bid in December.

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Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will head to Paris next month to participate in international climate talks, Molly Samuel of WABE (90.1FM) reported Tuesday – focusing on Reed’s role as a blue mayor in a red state. You can listen to him explain his role here.

But honestly, Reed was upstaged by Neil Herring, the longtime environmental lobbyist at the state Capitol, who compared Reed to one of his predecessors, Ivan Allen. ‘Twas Mayor Allen who bucked Georgia’s political structure and testified before Congress in favor of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

“I hope Mayor Reed can drag us into the current century,” Herring said.

Does Atlanta have the power to lead the state? Samuel asked.

“My verb is ‘drag,’” Herring emphasized. “The state doesn’t get led. The state gets drug.”

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On Tuesday, former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich, along with former national Democratic chairman Howard Dean, was on an Atlanta panel organized by the Dentons mega-law firm.

Gingrich had some kind words for the man who today is poised to take up the gavel he once wielded. Paul Ryan, he said, has the "potential to be someone historically important." Said the one-time Georgian:

"I think that Ryan potentially can put together a very positive agenda which could lead us both in 2016 and define how we govern in 2017. I'm very optimistic and positive about Paul Ryan ...

"I think he'll pull together the party by offering big ideas that people like and by being prepared to pick fights carefully that he has a pretty good chance of winning. He will also communicate a lot. Ryan understands that you can't lead a free society unless you communicate all the time."

The ex-Speaker was also asked about another issue: His political benefactor's recent interest in Georgia. Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegans Sands mogul who bankrolled Gingrich's presidential campaign, has ruffled some feathers here. Said Gingrich:

"If the people of Georgia decide for some reason they want a casino, I assume they'll have an open bidding process, and it's pretty hard to imagine that Sands isn't one of the places that will at least look at it."

Is legalizing gambling a good idea? "I think it creates a lot of jobs," Gingrich said.

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Speaking of gambling: Over at InsiderAdvantage, Phil Kent reports that an unidentified state House committee chairman (there are 38, so guess away) as saying that he received and returned “an unsolicited $500 corporate check in the mail for his campaign re-election fund from the Fortune 500 casino giant MGM.”

Those late December campaign cash reports will make for some great reading come January.

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Former three-term state House member Paul Jennings has died of leukemia. He was 83. Jennings represented the Lakeside/Tucker area, and was a top executive with Decatur Federal. The Republican retired from the state Capitol in 2006. Visitation will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Milligan Hall of Clairmont Presbyterian Church, followed by a noon memorial service, also at the church.

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Bloomberg Businessweek traveled to Burke County for a deep dive into the Plant Vogtle saga. A taste:

The tortuous history of Plant Vogtle—of public safety concerns, budget overruns, lawsuits, and seemingly self-defeating politics—explains why it’s so hard to get nuclear done and illuminates the strange paradox of nuclear power today. “The only way we significantly reduce carbon in the short run is if projects like Vogtle come online,” says Josh Freed, vice president for clean energy at Third Way, a centrist Democratic think tank in Washington. Yet, he adds, “just when we need to preserve and expand nuclear in order to meet the president’s ambitious climate goals, we’re actually in danger of losing a substantial percentage of carbon-free generation.”

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The Rev. Raphael Warnock decided against a U.S. Senate race. But his spot in an upcoming political forum telegraphs his intentions to stay on the scene.

The Ebenezer Baptist Church leader will participate in a Nov. 6 discussion at Winthrop University before the First in the South Democratic presidential forum in Rock Hill, S.C. The topic: “The New South: Shifting Cultural Norms.”

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