Tuesday, March 02, 2010

2 MAR 10: Deal Them In

There was little doubt in Columbus Monday that "March Madness" has arrived. Lobbying for number-one seeds took place in two different locations. And for a change, it did NOT come from the men's basketball locker room at Columbus State University.

Two candidates for Georgia Governor visited Columbus. I'm not sure who showed up first, but Nathan Deal made one of those "fly-around" tours which took him to airports around the state. Some candidates need frequent flier miles more than others....

Rep. Nathan Deal announced he'll resign from Congress next Monday, so he can "dedicate my energies" to running for Governor. Being dedicated to energy work doesn't seem to be working in Washington - not with gas prices around $2.60 a gallon.

But uh-oh - the Atlanta Journal-Constitution remembered a statement Nathan Deal issued last December, after Karen Handel resigned as Georgia Secretary of State. It said the Congressman "has a clear record of completing his terms." Now Deal can claim to be the record-breaking candidate from northeast Georgia.

(Another Atlanta newspaper article noted Deal has missed about half the recorded votes in the U.S. House this year. And we certainly don't want a candidate for Governor to be distracted by something trivial, like health care reform.)

Nathan Deal explained he needs to campaign full-time for Governor because "this is an important election." Excuse me for asking this - but are there any UN-important elections? Well, maybe if you're State Rep. Carolyn Hugley and you've been unopposed for years....

A Columbus reporter put Nathan Deal on the defensive - apparently bringing up reports that he was under an ethics investigation in Washington. Deal denied that had anything to do with his resignation. And the fact that he traveled around the state shows Deal is in better health than Judge Robert Johnston.

Until I searched online Monday night, I forgot Rep. Nathan Deal is a party-switcher. He was elected to Congress as a Democrat, then switched to the Republicans. So Deal is a little like Governor Sonny Perdue - and we'd know how much he matches Perdue, if someone would ask about the state flag.

Nathan Deal's resignation comes only days after fellow Georgia Rep. John Linder revealed he'll retire at the end of his current term. And both these men are Republicans - which makes you wonder if the "Tea Party" has plans to dump all the old bags.

The other candidate for Georgia Governor to visit Columbus Monday was Democrat David Poythress. He's held several state offices, including "Adjutant General." If Kaffie Sledge had a political title in Columbus, some would label her Agitate General.

David Poythress is promising NOT to take any salary as Governor until Georgia's unemployment rate drops below seven percent. This bold promise led me to ask two obvious questions. Who's the person in charge of his investments -- and can he adjust mine?

David Poythress says he wants to open bidding on state contracts to smaller businesses, so the work doesn't go to out-of-state companies. Yet at the same time, he claimed he wants to open Georgia to the world. So maybe Poythress plans to recommend changes in the University of Georgia football schedule.

In other political news: baseball pitcher John Smoltz said Monday he does NOT plans to run for a Georgia Congressional seat. The only "hardball" he wants to play this spring does NOT involve Chris Matthews....

And in Columbus, Richard Hyatt's web site reports realtor Shep Mullin will run for the open at-large Columbus Council seat. He probably won't need a campaign headquarters - because any vacant home on the market will do.

E-MAIL UPDATE: We posted a new BIG BLOG QUESTION Monday about a possible change in the Georgia state bird. That inspired another local blogger to write us....

I offered my suggestions (on my blog, and on IMAO) and got some comments about this over the weekend:...

Nobody ... including me ... thought of the Aflac duck. I am so embarrassed.


There, there -- you're obviously a target of those new commercials encouraging you to "know quack."

Voting remains open on our question -- and now we open the floor for other Monday business:

+ Columbus received late-night rain, as forecasters issued a winter storm warning for areas north of LaGrange. WTVM's Kurt Schmitz discussed our "only chance of seeing any flakes around here...." - but he stopped short of recommending viewers visit Fourth Street Baptist Church.

+ WLTZ showed the annual "Rosa Parks Women of Courage" breakfast in Columbus. It appeared two of this year's awards went to Assistant City Manager Lisa Goodwin and Elections Board Director Nancy Boren. But no one was named - and you'd think the reporter would have had the courage to ask who won.

+ A Sergeant First Class from Camp Bullock, Texas was named the winner of Fort Benning's U.S. Army Marksmanship contest. If the organizers on post are thinking, they'll offer the champion two fitting prizes -- an application to join the Columbus Police, and a gift card from Target.

+ The Troup County School Board voted to reduce the next school year by 15 days. To stay within current state law, each school day will be longer - with grade-school children spending 45 extra minutes in class. This will provide parents a great "Be There" moment, teaching children how to set DVR's to the Cartoon Network.

+ GPB Radio reported Georgia's University System could balance its budget if all colleges increased their tuition 77 percent. If that actually happens, OPEC will have new meaning - for Outrageously Priced Expensive Colleges.

+ The Macon County, Alabama District Attorney announced he's inspected all the electronic bingo games at Victoryland, and all of them seem to be legal. As if John Tyson's Anti-Gambling Task Force was consulting with him in the first place?!

+ The Columbus Lions opened training camp at McClung Memorial Stadium. The indoor football team has to practice outside the Civic Center for a few days - because if the Cottonmouths held their "Snake Eyes" casino night at the Trade Center, Alabama state agents might sneak across the state line and arrest players.

+ Instant Message to WLTZ: Now I know your news has a liberal bias. Monday night's "11 @ 11" showed the same video clip of President Obama three times - so I guess he's to blame for Troup County shortening the next school year.

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