When the congressional candidate is a convicted felon

You'd think that being called “Lucifer in the flesh” by a former speaker of the U.S. House might allow Ted Cruz to claim the Worst Week in Politics Award. But you’d be wrong.

That trophy goes to Billy Davis, one of several GOP primary challengers to U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville. Yesterday evening, as the Davis campaign sent out a robocall asking voters to give him a buzz on his cellphone, Dale Russell at WAGA-TV rolled out a backgrounder on Davis. It wasn’t pretty.

Multiple bankruptcies, an ethics slap dating to his days as an Arizona state senator, and some big-dollar civil court judgments. But topping the list was a year in federal prison, stemming from a conviction for lying about his net worth on a loan application:

Davis, a Kennesaw resident, filed for a restoration of his voting rights in 2000, which was granted, according to the report. A helpful tip for you future politicians out there: When confronted with bad news on camera, avoid the F-word. It gets bleeped, but voters can still read your lips.


A slice of Georgia within a Washington Post piece on the inevitability of Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee:

“Trump has become a fact rather than a problem,” said Newt Gingrich, a former House speaker who has offered informal advice to Trump but has not endorsed him. “Show me mathematically how you’re going to stop him. This all assumes, by the way, that the guy who wrote ‘The Art of the Deal’ can’t figure out a way to make a deal with the undecided delegates.”

Republican consultants across the country are singing the same tune. Reed Galen in Southern California said: “Is it a done deal? It’s certainly looking that way.” In Georgia, Tom Perdue said, “If you go to barbershops in Atlanta, you’ll hear people say they never thought he’d end up being the nominee, but for the most part people think he will be the nominee.”


We told you yesterday about how U.S. Sen. David Perdue still isn’t pleased with changes recently made to bipartisan criminal justice legislation in order to win more support.

Now the freshman senator is being pressured by the influential tea party group FreedomWorks to change his mind.

Jason Pye, the group’s communications director and a native Georgian, called out Perdue for not backing the measure, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, since it includes many of the sentencing reforms the senator supported last year as part of a separate criminal justice effort. From the press release:

“It’s disappointing to see Sen. Perdue make such misleading and hypocritical statements about the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act. The changes unveiled Thursday are reasonable and will promote public safety, which is why conservatives like Sens. Mike Lee, Tim Scott, and Rand Paul support this bill,” Pye said.

A bipartisan group of senators unveiled the retooled measure Thursday. Read the AP’s dispatch here.

Perdue blasted the bill in a statement Thursday. He said that even with the new changes, which were designed to assuage concerns that violent criminals could be released early, there is still a loophole that could allow “serious felons to slip through the system.”

“Proponents of this criminal leniency bill have waged a disinformation campaign because they simply want to reduce the number of people in federal prison,” Perdue said. “The idea that we are only allowing low-level criminals out of jail is a smoke screen.”

This isn't the first time Perdue has been called out for his position on overhauling the federal criminal justice system. Read the back story here.


How much do Bibb County Republicans loathe former Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis? So much so that many are risking being tagged as RINOs to vote against him in the May 24 Democratic primary.

State Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, went public with his call Thursday for fellow conservatives to hold their nose and vote in the Democratic race for county tax commissioner. He urged GOPers to vote for Wade McCord, who is running against Ellis. Peake also expressed his picks in the sheriff's race and a range of other local contests with no Republican candidate.

"Yes, it is insane that the Sheriff and Tax Commissioner are partisan elections (as well as County Clerk, District Attorney, and Solicitor General) ... Crazy, but that’s why I’m voting in the Democratic Primary," he wrote.

As to why Republicans fear an Ellis return, this will give you a taste.


A state transparency group wants to recruit an independent candidate to challenge state Rep. Tom Taylor, R-Dunwoody, who is facing DUI charges.

William Perry of Georgia Ethics Watchdogs has asked Taylor to resign -- he won't. Perry has also asked Taylor's opponent Tom Owens to withdraw from the race -- he's declined -- in hopes of forcing a special election. Short of that, Perry is sounding the call for an independent candidate to step forward and said he'd be on hand to help collect signatures needed to get on the ballot.

"I'm all for second chances, and Representative Taylor should pursue his second chance in an honorable way. He claims he wants to earn the trust of his constituents back. He can do so by stepping out of the race and re-entering it if he wishes," Perry said. "That would allow credible choices for the voters in his district. If  he wins an open race, then people would have had the choice to give him a second chance, not forced to do so by default."


Georgia Congressmen Jody Hice and Barry Loudermilk were named "defenders of economic freedom" by the Club for Growth for voting with the conservative nonprofit on major legislation more than 90 percent of the time in 2015.

Hice, R-Monroe, and Loudermilk, R-Cassville, both ranked within the top 40 lawmakers who voted with the group on 29 "key" votes that year, according to its annual scorecard released Thursday. Both men are members of the House Freedom Caucus, which includes some of the chamber's most conservative lawmakers. The endorsement is especially important to Loudermilk, who faces several GOP primary challengers this year. Hice is unopposed.

In the Senate, Johnny Isakson scored a 66 percent rating and Perdue an 88 percent against the group's 25 "key" votes last year.


Democrats in the U.S. House renewed their push for federal LGBT nondiscrimination legislation Thursday in the wake of recent action on "religious liberty" bills in several Southern states.

The legislation, which was introduced last summer and is co-sponsored by Georgia Democrats John Lewis and Hank Johnson, would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include sex, sexual orientation and gender identity in the categories that can't be discriminated against in places of public accommodation. It has yet to see action in the chamber.

"In recent weeks, we’ve seen North Carolina and Mississippi enact discriminatory laws ... Other states are considering similar laws as well. That is why this legislation is so timely and so needed," Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the House's No. 2 Democrat, said at a press conference.

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that...