By: Randy Evans
No fight is worse than a family fight. In some part, it is because family members know the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of each other better than anyone else. And so, intraparty political fights are often the worst.
Probably no better illustration exists than the primary runoff election between incumbent Republican Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran and Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel. By every definition, the primary runoff election was a political street fight of the worst kind – the kind where all of the rules get thrown out the window.
By: Randy Evans
In 1989, then-Congressman Dick Cheney left the U.S. House of Representatives to become the secretary of defense for President George H. W. Bush. At the time, he was the minority whip for the House GOP Caucus.
Then 6th District Congressman Newt Gingrich, with no leadership position or experience, surprised all of the Washington, D.C., establishment when he ran for and was elected as Cheney’s successor as the minority whip. In the months that followed, then-Whip Gingrich spent endless hours campaigning for Republicans around the country, especially those who had helped with his upset victory in the House leadership race.
Meanwhile, back at home in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, he again faced Democratic opposition. Indeed, since Gingrich’s election in 1978, then-Georgia House Speaker Tom Murphy remained committed to defeating Georgia’s Republican congressman and the 1990 election was no different. In 1990, the opponent was attorney David Worley, a talented politician with the connections, resources and political skills to mount a serious campaign.
Early polls always showed that Minority Whip Gingrich should easily win against the unknown and underfunded challenger. Yet, Congressman Gingrich’s absence from the district took its toll. Challenger David Worley turned Whip Gingrich’s leadership into a potential liability with limousines traveling the district with “NEWT” signs in the windows highlighting a significant perk of leadership – a private chauffeured limousine.
Fortunately for Gingrich, others involved in the campaign laid it out on the line and Congressman Gingrich spent the final days working in his district nonstop for re-election. After CBS News called the race for challenger David Worley based on early returns, Congressman Gingrich was re-elected by a margin of 974 votes out of 156,562 votes (78,768 to 77,794). The rest is history.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor was not so fortunate. In what has been the shocker of the 2014 election season, a political unknown, professor Dave Brat, handily defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the Republican primary for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District. Although Cantor’s campaign spent millions to Brat’s thousands, Virginia voters decided that it was time for someone new.
Leader Cantor’s loss is not the first time that a member of House leadership has lost. In 1992, the election cycle after Gingrich’s near loss, longtime National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Guy Vander Jagt lost his primary bid for re-election in western Michigan. Like Cantor, Vander Jagt had no clue what was coming until after it was too late.
Much has been made of Congressman Cantor’s defeat with Democrats celebrating and Republicans pondering. After all, if a candidate has money, name recognition, incumbency and leadership, then most agree that the candidate should win – especially in their own party’s primary.
Of course, all of these factors are not enough. U. S. House Speaker Tom Foley (in 1994) and Georgia House Speaker Tom Murphy both lost re-election bids. Notwithstanding incumbency and an overwhelming campaign fundraising advantage, former Gov. Roy Barnes lost his reelection bid. In the end, professor Brat was right – voters vote, not money or position or power.
Many have credited the Tea Party with Congressman Cantor’s defeat. Certainly, Tea Party support was a factor in Congressman Cantor’s race. Yet, Cantor garnered only 44 percent of the vote with professor Brat getting 55 percent. While the Tea Party is no doubt a significant player in Republican politics, it has not yet reached those kinds of levels in competitive primaries – especially in Virginia. Indeed, Sens. Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell cruised to renomination notwithstanding Tea Party primary opponents.
“Make no mistake, the Tea Party does provide an important platform for challengers against established candidates and office holders … But for a candidate to lose 55 percent of the vote of their own party, much more was wrong … the core causes of his defeat have become clear – and familiar. At the end of the day, voters have little loyalty to candidates who they believe have little loyalty to them. Eric Cantor is a good man, an effective leader, and was a good congressman. His is also soon to be a former member of Congress.”
Make no mistake, the Tea Party does provide an important platform for challengers against established candidates and officeholders. In addition to Cantor’s loss, Mississippi’s Senate race is proof positive of what impact the Tea Party can have with the backing of some high-profile names.
But, for a candidate to lose 55 percent of the vote of their own party, much more was wrong. Indeed, as time has passed and the political analysts have started to dissect Cantor’s campaign, the core causes of his defeat have become clear – and familiar.
At the end of the day, voters have little loyalty to candidates who they believe have little loyalty to them. Eric Cantor is a good man, an effective leader, and was a good congressman. He is also soon to be a former member of Congress.
No doubt, Sen. Saxby Chambliss saw all of this as the 2014 election cycle approached and recognized just what it would take to compete in the current political environment. While no
one will know whether he would have faced the kinds of challenges that Mississippi’s senior senator, Thad Cochran, faces, he certainly had to consider the possibility.
The fact is that in today’s political world, there are no safe seats and all politics remains decidedly local. It is an important lesson for every incumbent in 2014. Like Cantor, politicians who forget it could find themselves looking back wondering just what happened.
By: Paul Nally
The query has been posed, “Which Liberty may you yield and still claim to be free?”
The Second Amendment is an archaic hold-over from a time when ideas such as security and justice necessitated its use. Today it is useless as a means to such ends. Try using it to enforce an individual’s, or his family’s, security from an oppressive government agent or to enforce your, or your neighbor’s, right to speak and be heard. Immediately you’re labeled a terrorist. Then all your neighbors think you a fool and a criminal.
Any threat to that right, though, does serve to divert the attention of most voters away from other, more devastatingly real, and evil, deprivations. The reason for this is simple. This particular threat to this particular right is successful in that it relies upon two obvious shortcomings of man (the common herd, the peasant, the peons, as most all politician view their constituents, even those with PhDs) … their indifference to their ignorance and their irrational passions.
Corruption in any government can only exist through the violation of a criminal statute. If that violation is immediately brought to the attention of “those vested with the power of government” for a redress of that grievance, how could corruption perpetuate itself, how could it grow? It could not. All that would be required to stop corruption in its tracks would be for one person to exercise his right to be heard and his right to speech in the form of his testimony and his evidence to those empowered to order a trial of the accused.
The common notion for prosecuting crime is to report it to the sheriff or the police, but there are other methods still available. For example; you could tell your story to a judge who could issue a warrant, or you could tell a district attorney who could launch an investigation possibly leading to a warrant and a trial. But those are minor routes to the ending of corruption. There is one greater, however, which has been with us from the Common Law stretching back to at least 1368 in the reign of Edward III.
Though we, as ordinary citizens, tend to keep a mental image of our local elected officials as fine upstanding people who have dedicated themselves as public servants, the reality is, and both present circumstances and history teach us, that there are occasions when that is not the case. Sadly, if left untreated, corruption grows to be so pervasive that even an otherwise good and well intentioned person must yield or suffer the consequences. The next thing you know, you have corrupt county executives, law enforcement officers, district attorneys, and judges. Then where do you go to end the corruption … The Second Amendment?? After all, that was tried in Athens, Tennessee back in 1946. Though initially successful, it just didn’t have a lasting effect.
There is, however, yet another way, and as a matter of constitutional and statutory law it supposedly still exists. When one studies the law, the history and evolution of the Common Law, one soon realizes that our founding fathers had the wisdom to leave the ultimate power of government in the hands of the people. They adopted it from the Common Law, and made it a part of the Supreme Law of the Land, and it may rightly be termed The Fourth Branch of Government. Virtually every Supreme Court of every State has acknowledged that Branch as the “Conscience of the Community”
In performing the duties of this Fourth Branch, that power and its exercise is never in the same hands all the time. Every citizen is subject, absent legal excuse, to service therein for a period of time set by law which varies among the jurisdictions. That Fourth Branch, though not addressed in a separate Article of a Constitution, is referenced in virtually every other Article or is made applicable to them, its duties made plain in both Constitutions and the Statutes.
But, what most citizens don’t know, even some practitioners of the legal profession, is that this Fourth Branch, in Georgia and 3 other States, is acknowledged in those Constitutions, as having a power so great that tyrants the world over writhe in envy that they do not possess it. The depth, the breadth, the sheer magnitude of this power strikes fear in every office holder in every other branch of government, at least, in those who understand that power.
That is the power “to judge the law” in criminal matters, not just the facts!
Imagine for a moment that the language of a law passed by Congress creates a requirement that every citizen pay a tax for which not all citizens receive a benefit (Affordable Health Care seems to be one recent example). In such a case, that “law” would create an unlawful taking in violation of Georgia’s Theft by Taking statute, O.C.G.A. 16-8-2. Since Congress has no authority in the Supreme Law of the Land to take any property without just compensation, they would have a problem. If a local grand jury in Georgia should hold that the language of such a law was an instrument of plunder, and therefore a violation of the lawful powers of Congress, that Grand Jury could notify the President and/or the Speaker of the house, and the Justices of the Supreme Court, that if that law were not repealed and all monies returned, that Grand Jury would issue a special presentment indicting every politician who voted it into law, signed it into law, or subverted the laws of practice and procedures in an attempt to give such a law the appearance of propriety and bind them all over for trial in a Georgia Court on a charge of Felony Theft!
If a Grand Jury in this State should have evidence derived from their own inquiry or a case presented to them alleging acts of corruption on the part of any elected official (President or Governor, State or Federal Legislator, State or Federal Supreme Court Judge) and that official should claim an immunity under the law, that Grand Jury has the power to invalidate that law of immunity and proceed to inquisition and indictment through a special presentment if the facts permit a finding of probable cause. And, in Georgia, no court has the authority to rule otherwise. Only a Grand Jury and a criminal trial jury have the power to “judge the law”!!! Any court judge attempting to overturn that power would immediately face a presentment and indictment to trial, and would probably go to jail for such an attempt. Any wonder that a fully informed Grand Jury is such a feared body in this Republic?? In the proper performance of their sworn duties, they answer to none, and all, without exception, answer to them.
United States v. Williams, 504 U.S. 36, 47, 112 S.Ct. 1735, 118 L.Ed.2d 352 (1992), “… the grand jury is an institution separate from the courts, over whose functioning the courts do not preside, we think it clear that, as a general matter at least, no such “supervisory” judicial authority exists, …” … “[R]ooted in long centuries of Anglo-American history,” Hannah v. Larche, 363 U. S. 420, 490 (1960) (Frankfurter, J., concurring in result), the grand jury is mentioned in the Bill of Rights, but not in the body of the Constitution. It has not been textually assigned, therefore, to any of the branches described in the first three Articles. It “`is a constitutional fixture in its own right.’ “United States v. Chanen, 549 F. 2d 1306, 1312 (CA9) (quoting Nixon v. Sirica, 159 U. S. App. D. C. 58, 70, n. 54, 487 F. 2d 700, 712, n. 54 (1973)), cert. denied, 434 U. S. 825 (1977). In fact the whole theory of its function is that it belongs to no branch of the institutional Government, serving as a kind of buffer or referee between the Government and the people.
And, with the case of In Re: Lester, 77 GA 143 on page 148 we read that every citizen has the authority to stand in the place of a State’s prosecutor. “It is the right of any citizen or any individual of lawful age to come forward and prosecute for offenses against the state, or when he does not wish to become the prosecutor, he may give information of the fact to the grand jury, or any member of the body, and in either case, it will become their duty to investigate the matter thus communicated to them, or made known to one of them, whose obligation it would be to lay his information before that body.”My God, how wonderful thy Works!
How awesome the power left in the hands of the peasants!!! With the magnitude of that power, coupled with their oath of office to “diligently inquire and true presentment make of all matters touching upon their present service”, what use has any free people for a Second Amendment??
Because of a Grand Jury’s power to judge the law and its absolute independence from control by a District Attorney and a Judge and its power to present anyone who obstructs its inquisitorial power in the proper performance of its duties, there is no force in any of the other Branches which might overcome or obstruct their inquiry and presentment rendered in compliance with their oath of office.
Sadly, though, the other branches have seen to it, and most effectively, that this generation has been educated to the maximum level of acceptable ignorance, and because of it, present day Grand Jurors are dumber than dirt as to the power they possess and the bastion of Liberty that they are. They willingly allow judges and district attorneys to lie to them, to treat them as mushrooms, keeping them in the dark and feeding them manure; doing only what they are told and taking no initiative. If a citizen seeks to inform the Grand Jury in this State, that citizen is set upon by the corrupt judges, district attorneys and sheriffs; and all of this proving again for history that the people are plainly to damnably ignorant or just plain cowardly to govern themselves, that they are willingly giving their lives over to government control from cradle to grave, that they are sheep to be shorn and slaughtered at the whelm of any willing to satiate their desires fueled by avarice.
And, so it goes into history, another lesson to follow the democracy of Athens and the republic of the Romans; and now the United States. We have squandered our birthright given by God, our gift of insuring freedom from the enemies within.
To what fate have we consigned our progeny? It looks like the Second Amendment, or perpetual slavery, even if we are kept for a time in gilded cages!
This 4th of July shall be no time to celebrate that which we have yielded for a want of the courage to possess.
And corrupt Presidents, legislators, commissioners, judges, sheriffs, and district attorneys, our Constitutional inferiors, simply smile.
By: Randy Evans
As the primary election results in Georgia came in on May 20, Republicans in Washington, D.C., heaved a collective sigh of relief.
As they watched Georgia’s Republican primary election in progress, they were haunted by flashbacks of lost opportunities in the past when weaker challengers defeated stronger potential Republican nominees only to then lose to Democrats in the general election.
But, the consensus seems to be that the GOP primary election results putting businessman David Perdue in a runoff with Congressman Jack Kingston put those fears to rest. GOP insiders consider either candidate to be a much safer bet against Democratic challenger Michelle Nunn – even with the fundraising prowess of an incumbent Democratic president and the legacy and influence of her father, former Democratic Sen. Sam Nunn.
Unfortunately, this “relief” likely translates into an even weaker turnout for the July 22 primary runoff election than the anemic less-than-19 percent voter turnout for the primary election. Indeed, voter turnout in the runoff election in the dead of summer with most Republicans comfortable with either choice for their Senate nominee could drop well below 10 percent. If that happens, just a few motivated Republicans could decide their Senate nominee.
With mounting endorsements, including fellow members of the congressional delegation, former Secretary of State Karen Handel and former Speaker Newt Gingrich, Congressman Kingston appears to have started to open up a sizable and notable lead in the primary election runoff polls. But the race is far from over with such a low voter turnout expected, especially if David Perdue decides to spend more of his wealth on his campaign. After all, endorsements from current or former officeholders (often dubbed as the “establishment”) can cut both ways. On the one hand, unity among Republican Party stalwarts and fellow 2014 GOP primary opponents could actually lock in businessman David Perdue’s campaign positioning as the outsider running against the insiders, including an unpopular Congress and a dysfunctional Washington, D.C. On the other hand, in a low voter turnout primary election runoff election, every vote counts big. If endorsements and existing Congressional campaign organizations translate into votes, then it could be all the difference that Congressman Jack Kingston needs to win.
Interestingly, while all eyes remained fixed on the Senate Republican primary, the biggest winner of the primary election night actually had to be the Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s election results website. While the results were slow coming in from the counties, the website was easy to use, appeared reliable, and remained up and running. By the time the election results were in, no one was even talking about the website. When it comes to the often unpredictable world of computers and the Internet, that was a huge success.
No one was surprised that Gov. Nathan Deal cruised to victory with over 70 percent of the vote. Incumbent governors typically do well in their re-election bids. Incumbent governors seeking renomination by their political party do even better.
Interestingly, notwithstanding the abysmal approval ratings for the Congress, not a single incumbent member of Congress lost. This included members from both political parties facing primary challenges.
It does tend to confirm the notion that general disapproval of Congress does not translate into serious problems for individual members of Congress seeking re-election.
One thing that the primary election confirmed is that money matters in midterm elections when there is no single dominant hot issue.
Even with an impressive ground operation and ample support from some heavy hitters, former Secretary of State Karen Handel simply did not have the resources (money) to compete in the final days of the primary election.
As Perdue and Kingston pounded the airwaves with television advertisements, the needle started to move and then settled with the two biggest spenders in the runoff election.
Money still matters.
This pattern extended beyond just the Senatorial primary election.
Even in the Congressional primary elections, virtually all of the candidates making runoffs were also the ones who raised and spent the most money. The net effect will be many more fundraisers and television advertisements as the primary election runoff and general election approach.
Notably, the petri dish of primary election night was the state school superintendent race – a down ballot race among many largely unknown candidates with no serious money to spend.
Contrary to long-held opinions that the alphabetic order, gender or some other factor limited to just the information discernible from the ballot itself (i.e., the name) impact the outcome, none of that appeared controlling from the state superintendent election results. Indeed, names beginning with the letter “W” appeared to do better, with Richard Woods (in the Republican primary) and Valerie Wilson (in the Democratic primary) making the runoff election.
The name of the runoff game will be voter turnout. As a result, 2014 primary voters can expect a steady drumbeat of mail, email, social media and robocalls as the runoff approaches. Mailboxes, inboxes and voicemails will overflow. The best way to make it stop, or at least slow it down, is just go vote early and get off the list of 2014 primary voters who have yet to vote in the runoff election.
Then, it starts all over with a general election contest that will be the focus of the nation.
By: Randy Evans
As the money continues to roll in for the 2014 Georgia senatorial and gubernatorial candidates, Georgia media outlets must be smiling big. At the end of the day, most contenders and independent expenditure committees will use that money to either promote or attack candidates in the 2014 elections.