The exodus from Jim Barksdale's Senate campaign continues

The exodus from Democrat Jim Barksdale's Senate campaign hasn't ended yet.

We've gotten word that two more senior staffers are no longer with the campaign: Communications Director Emily Oh and Political Director Lacey Morrison.

Their departure comes shortly after Barksdale cut ties with Campaign Manager Dave Hoffman, replacing him with Bernie Sanders alumna René Spellman. All of this comes on the heels of a tough couple of weeks that showed the investment manager with dipping poll numbers and middling support from top Georgia Democrats.

Spellman wouldn't say why Oh and Morrison departed:

"In short, Jim believes this is a move that gives us the best chance to win. He's looking to bring energy and experience to all of these roles." 

The campaign is in the process of hiring new staffers, but it'll be a tough road ahead for Barksdale, who only has 40-odd days to close the yawning polling and name-recognition gap with Republican incumbent Johnny Isakson. Spellman said the new staff and a refocused message puts them in "striking distance":

"This campaign performed well in the primary. It's already up on the air from a robust TV ad buy. It's where it wants to be and is within striking distance of an incumbent that is not consistently over 50 percent in the polls weeks out from Election Day. We just want to build on that."  


"Education Unleashed." That's not the code-name for a mass invasion of teachers. It's the title of a 160-page book authored by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle that's out next week.

The summary promises it will be about "reforming our schools and rethinking the premise behind how we set and measure goals for student achievement." And it's yet another sign that the Gainesville Republican is readying a campaign for governor.

From the synopsis on Amazon:

Seeking to remove the obstacles that impede student achievement, while eliminating any justification for complacency in our schools, Cagle explains a thoughtful vision for the future of public education, turning the status quo on its head in favor of leading individual systems, schools, teachers, students, and communities to educational excellence--today and for future generations.

One other aspect that caught our eye was a certain celebrity endorser:

"Usher's New Look recognized Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle as our 2015 'Igniter of Education,'" read the review from Usher Raymond. "Presenting him with this honor was a way for me and UNL to express our sincere appreciation for the work he does daily. We look forward to continuing our work together as we challenge and empower our youth to become global influencers of tomorrow."


If you want to rile Gov. Nathan Deal up, ask him about the teacher groups and school boards that oppose his school takeover constitutional amendment.

That’s what happened Monday when he was asked about the PTA’s opposition to his Opportunity School District vote.

“How many parents do they have whose children go to chronically failing schools that actually belong to the PTA? And if they don’t have very many, which I suspect they don’t, I would encourage the PTA to go back and get the parents of those children who have to go to these chronically failing schools to get involved.”

He added:

“If you truly believe that the quality of education for all children in Georgia is important, then don’t just go to the schools that have the parents who are more affluent.”


Attorney General Sam Olens is on hand in Washington, D.C., this morning as a federal court hears oral arguments in a high-profile case against President Barack Obama's signature climate regulations.

Georgia was one of roughly two-dozen states that sued the Obama administration last year seeking to block sweeping EPA regulations aimed at cutting down on global warming-causing greenhouse gas emissions.

Olens will be joined by six other attorneys general and several coal state lawmakers for a press conference in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol following the arguments. Olens previously argued that the climate regulations were a “classic example of the Obama Administration’s pattern of attempting to accomplish with regulation what it cannot achieve with legislation.”


Congress looks like it's on track for a first this week: Successfully overriding a Barack Obama veto.

The Senate is scheduled to vote Wednesday to override Obama's veto of a bill that would let the families of 9/11 victims sue the government of Saudi Arabia. The measure is expected to win the two-thirds support necessary for the override in both chambers of Congress by the end of the week.

Obama in his veto message warned the legislation would undermine the country's interests abroad and potentially open up the U.S. to litigation from foreign countries.

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman is a senior reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's enterprise team, where she covers gender, the urban-rural divide and other...