Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle shakes hands with GOP nominee for governor Brian Kemp, left to right, at a unity rally following the July primary runoff. Jenna Eason / Jenna.Eason@coxinc.com
Photo: Jenna Eason/Jenna.Eason@coxinc.com
Photo: Jenna Eason/Jenna.Eason@coxinc.com

The Jolt: Senate Republicans bury the hatchet -- for now

Two important things happened at a weekend round of meetings involving state GOP lawmakers. 

The first is that House and Senate Republicans who backed other gubernatorial candidates apparently let bygones be bygones and, in a fit of comity, pledged their support to Brian Kemp, their party’s nominee for governor.

Many in the House already supported the secretary of state, tacitly or otherwise. 

But we’re told that Senate Republicans -- who had overwhelmingly backed Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in the governor’s race -- were reminded of Kemp’s service to that chamber (he was a former state senator before being appointed secretary of state) and his conservative record. 

As if to make the hatchet burial official, each Republican senator signed a Kemp campaign sign with sparkling silver marker. 

The second involved an Insider post published as the weekend broke, on talk among Senate Republicans of a post-election effort to restrict the authority of whoever is elected to the office of lieutenant governor, whether Republican Geoff Duncan, a former House member who upset state Sen. David Shafer of Duluth, or Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico.

We’re still trying to get the particulars, but we’re told the early signs are encouraging for Duncan. One close ally of Duncan said the ex-House lawmaker has little doubt he will be “good with the Senate.”

One GOP official said the marching orders are to stand “solidly behind our nominee.” 

For now, at least.

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On that last topic, last night we received a note from Bob Irvin, the former leader of the state House Republican caucus. It included this:

“Every modern lieutenant governor, except Pierre Howard, has been subject to at least an attempt to strip him of his powers. Lester Maddox avoided being stripped by two votes in January 1973 -- ironically provided by two Republicans who lost the next election, Armstrong Smith and Tom Moore…

“Not all lieutenant governors nationwide are presiding officers of the Senate. And, as I'm sure you realize, no lieutenant governor in Georgia has ever succeeded on the death or resignation of a governor since the very first one -- M.E. Thompson. Furthermore, only one lieutenant governor (Zell Miller) has been elected governor since 1958 (Ernest Vandiver), though all except Peter Zack Geer have run. So, it isn't even all that useful as a stepping stone.

“All of which tends to raise the question asked by John Savage, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in 1974: Do we really actually need a lieutenant governor? Savage promised to abolish the office if he were elected -- an admittedly quirky but eminently sensible promise. Maybe the current situation will provide an opportunity to actually do that.”

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Here’s a line we thought we’d never have to write: A one-time Georgia congressional candidate was charged with murder ahead of the weekend. Kellie Collins turned herself into McDuffie County sheriff’s office on Friday, our colleagues at Channel 2 Action News report

The arrest came after police in Aiken County, S.C., found the body of her former campaign treasurer, Curtis Cain, in his apartment with an apparent gunshot wound. 

Collins briefly challenged U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Monroe, for his 10th District congressional seat last year -- with a pledge to support new gun regulations, no less -- before dropping out ahead of the Democratic primary. 

The news of Collins’ arrest came only a few days after dash-cam footage surfaced of another Democratic congressional candidate having an eyebrow-raising run-in with the law in north Georgia. 

***

How’s this for a novel way of raising small-dollar campaign cash: Stacey Abrams is teasing the debut of a comic book - er, graphic novel - made by a supporter about her campaign for governor. 

But to read on, donors have to chip in at least $3. It’s the latest technique to raise cash from a campaign that has already attracts an unprecedented amount of low-level donations for a Georgia gubernatorial bid.

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