Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Palin campaigns for chamblis in runoff

2012, Elections, Politics Palin Rallies Georgia's Base, Early Black Turn out Low

“We all have Georgia on our mind,” declared governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin as she kicked off an early morning Dec. 1 rally in Augusta, Georgia, on behalf of first-term incumbent U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

It was the first of four rallies yesterday, each featuring thousands of cheering crowds brandishing “Palin 2012” shirts and buttons -- along with, of course, Chambliss signs. (My favorite anti-Barack Obama sign read: “Keep the change.”)

The Alaska governor was firing up the faithful to hold a critical GOP seat since Georgia is the only state that mandates an election runoff if a Senate candidate doesn’t receive 50 percent-plus-one of the popular vote. Palin was also countering earlier appearances on behalf of Democratic candidate Jim Martin by several liberal “big guns” led by former President Bill Clinton and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.

Tracking polls released on the eve of the vote show Chambliss with a three to four point lead over Martin going into today’s runoff. The early voting numbers also reveal excellent promise for the incumbent. The secretary of state’s office released figures showing over 70 percent of whites had voted early. (The Voting Rights Act requires a racial breakdown of votes.) The early black voter turnout, fueled during the Nov. 4 general election campaign with Obama at the top of the Democratic ticket, has dropped significantly,

Alexis Scott, publisher of the state’s prominent African-American newspaper in Atlanta, glumly predicts a Chambliss win because of a low black turnout. In fact, Obama advisors made a conscious decision not to have the president-elect come to Georgia to campaign because, after all, the state supported McCain by four points and the state GOP has a history of getting its absentee ballots sent in and its faithful conservative base to the polls. Pundits of all political stripes basically agree there was no need for Obama, who is busy getting positive headlines by introducing his new Cabinet members and preparing for his January inauguration, to be tagged a “loser” with no clout in a runoff election in a decidedly “Red” state.

Democrats are worrying, too, that the Palin appearances are attracting more blue collar votes to their opponents. The final Pain rally at the Gwinnett County Arena drew some 3,000 people -- well over half of them blue collar workers and young people under the age of 30. A large truck parked outside the arena sported a “Mechanic for Chambliss and Palin” sign, and dozens of construction workers – some of them wearing their hard hats-- had obviously come straight from their worksites.

Palin didn’t disappoint, hitting familiar themes from the general election campaign such as the need to fight for lower taxes, smaller government, a redoubling of our national security efforts and  “government reform”  -- all of which she said Chambliss would stand for. One of the biggest roars from the crowd came when the plucky governor flatly declared that the senator would say “no” to any infringement on Second Amendment firearms rights. She also repeatedly underscored Chambliss’ longtime commitment to “the right to life of the unborn.” By contrast, former state legislator Martin had maintained an anti-gun and pro-choice record -- and he has been reeling in rural areas from a barrage of attacks by the National Rifle Association over the past two weeks.

Palin concluded every appearance by calling for a “rebuilding of the Republican Party starting in Georgia” with the re-election of Chambliss. She reminded Republican candidates that they must appeal to “the working class” -- which elicited another big round of applause from those hard harts and mechanics.

The return of Chambliss to the Senate chamber in January, of course, would deny the Democrats a filibuster-breaking majority. If the tracking polls are accurate, and a Palin-energized base turns out, it appears that Georgia’s Republicans will have built a firewall to protect their incumbent and their party’s ability to filibuster radical Obama policies.


Contrast--Franken may seek Senate's help to win race  


Al Franken’s (D) campaign may ask the Democratic-led Senate to intervene on his behalf to allow some disqualified absentee ballots to be counted in his quest to unseat Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.).

Franken attorney Marc Elias made the case to reporters Monday that as many as 1,000 absentee ballots were improperly disqualified and that the Senate or the courts may need to step in to resolve the issue.

“No recount can be considered accurate or complete until all the ballots cast by lawful voters are counted,” Elias said of the recount that became necessary when only about 200 votes separated the two candidates on Nov. 4.

Minnesota's Board of Canvassers ruled last Wednesday that it would not revisit the improperly disqualified ballots. The bipartisan board ruled unanimously that it did not have the authority to order that the ballots be reviewed and counted.

Elias said that of the 12,000 disqualified absentee ballots in the race, “as many as 1,000” ballots were improperly excluded, and should be counted. He added that the campaign would appeal to the Board of Canvassers, courts or the U.S. Senate to ensure those ballots are counted. Last week, Elias had indicated that the campaign would not directly appeal the board’s ruling.

The U.S. Constitution allows each congressional chamber to be the "Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called the Board of Canvassers’ decision to not count the absentee ballots “a cause for great concern” last week, fueling speculation that the Senate would explore the legality of the Minnesota recount’s results.

“If ultimately there is no remedy before the canvassing board or before the courts, then that is certainly an option,” Elias said of the Senate’s potential intervention in the election results.

“The Franken campaign has made it clear that the recounted votes and will of Minnesotans matter little to them, and that they intend to take their campaign to change the outcome of this election on to the United States Senate,” said Coleman campaign spokesman Mark Drake. “Al Franken should personally reject this strategy outright, and honor the right of Minnesotans to choose who their senator should be — and not allow lawsuits and the strong-arm tactics of the majority leader of the United States Senate to intervene in this process."

According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's recount tally, Coleman leads Franken by 282 votes with 86 percent of the recount complete. In total, 5,623 ballots have been challenged, with the Franken campaign having challenged 67 more votes than Coleman's campaign. The Franken campaign said it would announce withdrawn challenges later this week.

The Franken campaign maintained that Coleman only led by 73 votes, citing its tally, which includes determinations of a voter's intent made by neutral observers. Those determinations are not final until certified by the Board of Canvassers, and are not included in the Secretary of State's official tally.


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