A Dallas health care worker stricken with the Ebola virus arrived last night at Emory University hospital, and panic continues apace.
As such, an increasing number of members of Congress is calling for a travel ban to the countries where the disease is rampant -- Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head Dr. Tom Frieden has strenuously opposed such a ban, because it would make it harder for U.S. health workers to get over there and stop the outbreak, but Frieden will face a hostile crowd at a U.S. House hearing today.
"Today we learned that one individual who has contracted the virus flew to Ohio through the Cleveland airport in the last few days. A temporary ban on travel to the United States from countries afflicted with the virus is something that the president should absolutely consider along with any other appropriate actions as doubts about the security of our air travel systems grow."
Likewise on Wednesday, David Perdue, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, joined in:
“Georgia is now at the forefront of our national response to Ebola. President Obama once again failed to lead and took a serious threat far too lightly....Georgians deserve to know their government is handling our domestic response to Ebola with a sense of urgency. The Obama administration must protect Americans with an aggressive comprehensive plan to stop the spread of this deadly disease, including immediate flight and travel restrictions to prevent additional individuals from entering the United States from Ebola-stricken countries.”
And this morning, U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta, in a tight contest with Republican Rick Allen, added his voice:
It seems we are reaching a tipping point in our efforts to combat the Ebola virus around the world and to keep it from becoming a full blown catastrophe in the United States. The American people have grave concerns about the U.S. government’s handling of this crisis so far....
First, we must stop direct flights from countries with out-of-control Ebola infection rates. This is basic, with no real unmanageable consequences, and just makes too much common sense not to do. We can easily make safe, secure, alternative accommodations for aid workers and those who have justifiable emergencies. But I fear that, for someone infected with Ebola, it is too great a temptation to hop on a direct flight to the United States in hopes of being treated in an American hospital. We can’t risk it.
A travel ban isn't the only facet of the issue. Democrats are hitting Republicans for cuts to the CDC and National Institutes of Health in the sequester.
Democrat Michelle Nunn will have to address the government response to the virus at some point. We guess she will avoid saying she defers to Obama's judgment.
Michelle Nunn's newest television ad deploys a businessman against David Perdue's business record. Think of it as the inverse to Perdue's ad featuring women speaking straight to camera about Nunn:
Roy Richards, former chairman of Georgia's Chamber of Commerce and owner of Carrollton power cable manufacturer Southwire, tells viewers the following:
"When I hear David Perdue say he's proud to have outsourced jobs to other parts of the world, I have to wonder. Every time we invest in Georgia workers, they can compete with anyone in the world, so I don't know how you can be proud to have sent American jobs overseas."
A quick look at political donations shows that Richards has supported both Democrats and Republicans over the years, from John Kerry's presidential campaign and U.S. Sen. Max Cleland, to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson. Richards also gave more than $100,000 to joint fundraising committees to President Barack Obama in his two victories.
When it comes to Georgia's Senate race, Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball has sentenced politicians and journalists alike to a glum holiday season:
Democrats and Republicans still seem to be holding out hope that they can get their respective candidate over 50% on Election Day (Perdue still has the better shot). But we’re not so sure either will make it. So we’re giving this race the same designation we have in Louisiana: Toss-up/Leans Runoff.
By the way, the runoff would be on Jan. 6, 2015, a month after the possible Louisiana overtime and three days after the technical start of the 114th Congress. Pardon us, but Georgia’s runoff law is just this side of insane.
Amen and amen.
Zell Miller has joined the battle in the governor's race over the future of HOPE. Republican incumbent Nathan Deal's camp is out with a new ad this morning featuring the father of the program:
We told you earlier that Miller is Georgia's most prominent ticket-splitter. The Democratic maverick endorsed Michelle Nunn's Senate bid and backed Deal over state Sen. Jason Carter.
Jason Carter, the Democratic candidate for governor, must be feeling a bit lonely right now. The Republican Governors Association is pumping more resources and money into Gov. Nathan Deal's campaign, including a visit later today from New Jersey's Chris Christie, the group's chair, to wring a few more dollars from GOP donors.
And across the ledger, fellow Democrat Michelle Nunn is getting another $1 million from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to wage her campaign against David Perdue.
The cavalry hasn't come for Carter. Aside from Better Georgia, the Athens-based group that's championing his cause, no substantial outside groups have yet come to his aid. And some Democratic strategists aren't betting on that changing any time soon.
President Barack Obama is headed to a range of mostly blue states - Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Maine, Michigan, Maryland and Illinois - in the final stretch to boost gubernatorial candidates. And the Democratic Governors Association, still largely focused on protecting incumbents, has so far stayed on the sidelines.
An analysis out Thursday by the Center for Public Integrity paints the picture: About $13 million has been spent on ads in the governor's race so far, including roughly $6 million by Carter's camp and $4.6 million from Deal's side. But the RGA has already pumped more than $1.7 million into the ad wars, mostly on negative spots. Better Georgia's PAC, by comparison, has spent about $70,000 on TV spots boosting Carter.
On that note, the Republican Governors Association has a new attack ad targeting Jason Carter's "no" vote on the education budget.
In it, the narrator intones that the Democrat candidate for governor "put politics ahead of kids, his own ambition ahead of education" before introducing Deal as the candidate with "real results for education."
Deal has attacked Carter for months on his budget vote. The Democrat said he voted against the spending plan after touring rural Georgia schools as part of a special Senate task force; Deal has called his travels an "epiphany tour."
Six African-American Democrats are running for statewide office in Georgia: Connie Stokes for lieutenant governor; Valarie Wilson for school superintendent; Liz Johnson for insurance commissioner; Robbin Shipp for secretary of state; and Daniel Blackman for Public Service Commission (Northern District).
According to the Associated Press, they’re part of a historic record:
More than 100 black candidates will be on the ballot in statewide and congressional races next month, a post-Reconstruction record that some observers say is a byproduct of Barack Obama's historic presidency.
At least 83 black Republicans and Democrats are running for the House, a modern era high, according to political scientist David Bositis, who has tracked black politicians for years. They include Mia Love in Utah, who is trying to become the first black Republican woman elected to Congress.
Four other black women — Democrats Bonnie Watson Coleman in New Jersey, Brenda Lawrence in Michigan, Alma Adams in North Carolina and Stacey Plaskett in the Virgin Islands — are expected to win, Bositis said. If they all win, and no black female incumbents lose, there should be a record 20 black women among House members, Bositis said.
There are at least 25 African-Americans running for statewide offices, including senator, governor or lieutenant governor, also a record.
The previous record for black candidates seeking House seats was 72 in 2012, the year Obama, the nation's first black president, was re-elected to a second term.
The previous record for statewide contests was 17 in 2002, said Bositis, formerly of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a think tank in Washington that focuses primarily on issues affecting African-Americans.
Apparently, the right arms have been twisted. Dougherty County will have Sunday voting, according to the Albany Herald:
After being asked by the Dougherty County Commission to reconsider the issue, the Dougherty County Elections Board has just voted to allow advance voting from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 26.
The Elections Board had earlier decided to not have Sunday voting, but reversed that decision in a 3-2 vote [Wednesday].
By our count, Georgia now has nine counties that will be giving Sunday voting a try this month.
Gov. Nathan Deal returns to the campaign trail today after taking off a day to mourn the death of Mack Burgess, the 25-year-old GOP aide who died in a car wreck Tuesday.
Tricia Pridemore, the former Deal appointee who ran for a U.S. House seat, knew Burgess better than most. He managed Pridemore's campaign. She said in a Peach Pundit post that he was her "friend, advisor and sidekick." She said his friends will gather in Roswell for Deal's campaign event with Chris Christie and his funeral Friday in Johns Creek.
Mack Burgess was a constant part of our lives these last two years. He spoke for me, wrote for me, and was a fixture of my life during the campaign and supported me this summer through the loss of my Dad. More importantly, Mack loved his Mom and Dad with everything he had. He treated honest people with respect, was proud of his country, strived to make a difference, played a wicked-good guitar and respected the God who made him. In Mack’s short 25 years, he made many people better and Mike and I are grateful that we are two of them.
Republicans immediately seized upon the news that a pro-Michelle Nunn Super PAC got a whopping $350,000 check from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Said the Georgia GOP's Leslie Shedd: "Wondering where Nunn stands on Georgians’ Second Amendment rights? Look no further than the company she keeps."
On Wednesday, a Republican-oriented tracker shouted the question at Michelle Nunn: Did you vote for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012? Nunn smiled and kept walking. Video showed up on the Weekly Standard website, pronouncing it an Alison Lundergan Grimes moment.
Two things: First, candidates -- whether Democrat or Republican -- do not answer questions from trackers. A legitimate journalist will pose the question to her between now and Oct. 26, when she is scheduled to debate rivals David Perdue and Amanda Swafford.
Secondly, Nunn's answer is fairly predictable. Her father, former U.S. senator Sam Nunn, endorsed Obama in 2008. Obama has leaned on Sam Nunn when it comes to U.S. nuclear policy. And here's what Michelle Nunn said during an Atlanta Press Club debate last May:
"I’m proud to have worked with President Obama and I’ve had a really fortune, the great fortune to have worked with all of our presidents. But I am very grateful for my service with President Obama and Michelle Obama and I am excited to advance the things that I think are for Georgia and would work with President Obama to accomplish that and if we have disagreements we would work on those areas as well."
We told you Wednesday about the new Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee ad knocking David Perdue. The National Republican Senatorial Committee is back up on the air, too, in markets outside Atlanta with the same ad it ran in the metro area back in September about Michelle Nunn deferring to the president's judgment.
The NRSC is set to return to Atlanta next week. Perhaps we'll see a new ad, too.
Georgians are not alone in hearing loads of outsourcing talk about a Republican businessman running for high office. As National Journal reports, it's part of the Democratic playbook from Illinois to Connecticut to Massachusetts. Here's one reason why it's appearing to be effective:
"Businessmen look at their economic contributions as net positives. They find it hard to put themselves in the economic frame of a 50-year-old guy who used to be an electrical engineer but is now doing software support because his line of work was shifted overseas," said veteran Republican media strategist Rick Wilson. "It's a throwback to the economic insecurity argument. Economic disruptions have led to immense anxiety by ordinary folks. A lot of Republicans have been slow off the mark to that challenge."
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