Kerwin Swint

Democrat and Republican ballots contain questions this election

Name of Publication: 
The Cherokee Ledger-News
Excerpt of Article: 

Posted: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 12:00 am

As early voting gets under way this week, many will be casting their ballots early to avoid long lines on the day of the primary election.

Voters in the May 20 Primary will be asked to choose a Republican or a Democrat ballot, and on those, they can expect to see ballot questions.

 

“On May 20, both party primary ballots will have questions approved by each state party committee,” said Dr. Kerwin Swint, professor of political science and interim chair of the Department of Political Science and International Affairs at Kennesaw State University. “The purpose of these primary election ballot questions is to gauge the level of party members’ support for various ideas and initiatives the party is interested in pursuing. It can also be used to build support and momentum for policies the party is pushing.” ...

Gubernatorial campaign strategy could pose risk for Carter

Name of Publication: 
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Excerpt of Article: 

The Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionApril 28, 2014

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/04/28/225808/gubernatorial-campaign-strategy.html#storylink=cpy

 — The actor William H. Macy has a problem. He's trying to come up with a song to play at an upcoming fundraiser for Democrat Jason Carter's campaign, and now he's learned that former President Jimmy Carter may also attend. Suddenly, that ukulele tune has become more important. "Need courage and better rhymes," he wrote on Twitter.

That hint last week about the Los Angeles fundraiser is the latest sign of the former president's growing role in his grandson's bid for governor. The elder Carter has access to a donor network and the media that few can rival. But his involvement also opens the younger Carter to attacks from conservatives who view his grandfather's one-term presidency with disdain.

Jason Carter, a state senator from Atlanta, has long tried to veer the conversation away from his famous relative in interviews on the campaign trail, saying he's proud of his grandfather's legacy but the race is "about the future and not my family." Yet as November nears, the candidate is increasingly tapping his grandfather's network.

The elder Carter has headlined fundraisers with Democratic bigwigs in New York. He's sent email blasts soliciting donations from the party faithful. And he's hosting a June weekend retreat for the campaign at his Plains compound - at a cost of $20,000 a couple.

This support helps the state senator, who otherwise wouldn't attract national press, keep pace with Republican Gov. Nathan Deal's fundraising machine. In his last campaign finance report, Carter outraised Deal by a 5-to-1 clip, thanks partly to gifts from out-of-state donors, who made up 16 percent of the total.

It's also fuel for Carter's critics, who have seized the chance to link the two. While the elder Carter may be personally popular in the state - the candidate's campaign has him polling at a 59 percent favorability rating - Republicans are confident his liberal leanings only hurt his grandson in a state that is now firmly in GOP control.

"This is a rare circumstance in politics where a candidate must embrace his most prominent supporter in order to raise the money necessary to distance himself from his most prominent supporter," said Joel McElhannon, a veteran GOP strategist.

The younger Carter often only mentions his name-brand heritage in passing at speeches and events. During a Thursday evening Democratic fundraiser, he said his family's Georgia roots date to the 1760s and noted that his two children are 10th-generation Georgians. His granddad's name was not invoked. ...

To some analysts, though, Jason Carter's pivot toward his grandfather is no surprise. Kerwin Swint, a Kennesaw State University political scientist, said comparisons between the two are "unavoidable" and that the help is likely needed for an "all-out fundraising blitz."

 

Early voting starts Monday

Name of Publication: 
The Marietta Daily Journal
Excerpt of Article: 
by Jon Gillooly
April 27, 2014 04:00 AM | 1564 views |

MARIETTA — Early voting for the May 20 primary begins Monday with many competitive races from Phil Gingrey’s successor in the U.S. House to who will represent residents on the Cobb Board of Education. 

Kerwin Swint, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University, believes the most talked about race in Cobb County is the one for the 11th Congressional District seat. 

Based on poll numbers, money, endorsements and community buzz, Swint listed former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr of Smyrna, former state Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville) and state Rep. Ed Lindsey (R-Buckhead) as the frontrunners. 


“I would say in that race you have at least three candidates: Barr, with his high name recognition, Loudermilk has done really well, has got a lot of support, and you can’t count out Lindsey either,” Swint said. ...


 

Little political fallout expected from new Georgia gun bill

Name of Publication: 
11 Alive
Excerpt of Article: 

ATLANTA – It was no surprise that the majority of Georgia's Republican-controlled, mostly conservative state Legislature passed House Bill 60 last month.

And it was no surprise that Republican Governor Nathan Deal signed the sweeping gun carry bill into law Wednesday.

It was delayed a couple of years thanks only to the politically powerful state university system's successful fight to eliminate a section that would have allowed guns on college campuses.

"Georgia is such a strong pro-gun state that candidates are expected to take the side that most Second Amendment advocates are gonna be on," said Political Science Professor Dr. Kerwin Swint of Kennesaw State University.

Swint told 11Alive that, "as a political candidate, whether you're an incumbent or not, it's pretty dangerous to go up against a very well organized, very well funded pro gun lobby in this state."

Let’s talk about taxes: Congressional candidates give their take on tax plans

Name of Publication: 
The Marietta Daily Journal
Excerpt of Article: 
by Jon Gillooly
April 08, 2014 04:00 AM

CUMBERLAND — Is it time to give up on the Fair Tax, the proposal that would replace federal income taxes with a consumption tax? 

That’s a question the six Republican candidates hoping to fill the 11th Congressional District seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) were asked during a debate Saturday. 
 

Kerwin Swint, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University, said while conservatives like to talk about the Fair Tax, realistically it’s not going anywhere, with no movement in Congress. 


Many independent analysts, Swint went on to say, from the University of Virginia to a Money Magazine study, have raised serious questions about implementing such a tax. 



“Is it time to admit the Fair Tax is not all it’s cracked up to be and move on to more fertile areas of tax reform?” he asked. ...


 

11th Congressional District GOP Debate Saturday in Cobb

Name of Publication: 
Kennesaw Patch
Excerpt of Article: 

Georgia’s 11th District Republican Party will partner with other groups to host a debate at the Cobb Galleria between the candidates who qualified in the Republican Primary to be held on May 20.

patch
Patch Staff Report

Georgia’s 11th District Republican Party will partner with the AtlantaBuckhead,Cherokee County and Cobb County Young Republicans to host a debate between the Republican candidates for the 11th Congressional District on Saturday, April 5. 

it will be held from 7– 8:30 p.m. at the Cobb Galleria Center, located at 2 Galleria Parkway.

Invitations were extended to each of the candidates who qualified in the Republican Primary to be held on May 20.

The debate will be moderated by Kennesaw State University Professor of Political Science Kerwin Swint, Ph.D, and Georgia Republican Party National Committeeman Randy Evans.  

Scheduled to attend are Republican candidates for the 11th Congressional District including Bob Barr; Allan Levene; Edward Lindsey; Barry Loudermilk; Col. Larry Mrozinski, USA, Ret.; and Tricia Pridemore. 

Questions for the candidates may be submitted via Twitter using @cd11debate and #cd11debate.

The event is free to attend, but all guests must pre-register. Tickets will be available on Wednesday, April 2.

Located in the northwestern portion of metro Atlanta, the district includes portions of Cobb, Bartow, Fulton and Cherokee counties

Incumbents’ financial advantage + friendly redistricting = long odds for challengers

Name of Publication: 
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Excerpt of Article: 

  Posted: 12:00 a.m. Saturday, March 8, 2014

BY GREG BLUESTEIN AND JAMES SALZER - THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

The crowds began gathering early Monday in the Capitol’s expansive lobby, and they didn’t stop filing in until four days later. By the week’s end, hundreds of candidates had qualified for political office. And for most incumbents, a cakewalk awaits to another term.

Qualifying week brought a cascade of candidates with their eyes on November. But despite hundreds of offices up for grabs, most candidates face no opposition. Redrawn political districts have etched out safe zones for most incumbents. And those who have managed to get elected wield an almost insurmountable financial advantage.

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis found that incumbent state lawmakers together have roughly $11 million in campaign cash ready to unload against anyone with the temerity to mount a challenge. A fund aimed at protecting House incumbents has raised an additional $762,000.

That may help explain why only about one-third of incumbents seeking re-election in the Legislature face opponents.

The challenges only stiffen for those seeking higher offices. Republicans, who won every statewide post four years ago, have amassed nearly $8.5 million to maintain their foothold. All told, statewide and legislative incumbents have raised nearly $20 million to protect their offices. 

The lack of competitive down-ticket races is a perennial one. The Republican majority in the Legislature redrew the political lines after the 2010 census, making most districts virtually unwinnable by Democrats. Meanwhile, minority Democratic districts were reworked to make them largely impossible for a Republican to prevail.

The perks of incumbency, and the campaign cash that goes along with it, only complicate a would-be challenger’s strategy. ...

A ‘security blanket’ for officeholders

Analysts point to several reasons for the lack of challenges. Redistricting and financial advantages have surely given incumbents a “security blanket,” but the media attention on marquee races at the top of the ticket also doesn’t help, said Kerwin Swint, a Kennesaw State University political analyst.

“Legislative races are taking a back seat to all the statewide activity this year — the open U.S. Senate seat and the governor’s race,” said Swint, a former political operative who studies campaign rhetoric. “That can sometimes drain the fundraising pool, as well as party commitments and other resources.”

Handel hopes 2010 bid leads to 2014 victory

Name of Publication: 
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Excerpt of Article: 

(Subscription required to link to full article) 

Handel hopes 2010 bid leads to 2014 victory

Karen Handel says she learned a valuable lesson from her 2010 bid for governor.

“Yeah,” she said. “Don’t lose.”

The former Georgia secretary of state lost by 2,500 votes in a Republican primary runoff to now-Gov. Nathan Deal.

The loss stung. But now, Handel believes her experience will help her in the race for the U.S. Senate. Seven candidates are vying for the GOP nomination for the seat now held by fellow Republican Saxby Chambliss, who plans to retire when his term ends in 2014. The field includes three sitting congressmen and a business executive who is a cousin to former Gov. Sonny Perdue.

But Handel is the only candidate who has won, or even run for, statewide office, which is largely an advantage. She is well known to Republican primary voters, nearly 300,000 of whom voted for her in 2010. She has worked to maintain her statewide network of supporters. And in the time between campaigns she also managed to shore up support among anti-abortion activists, a sizable contingent of the GOP base.

Yet, a question about her 2010 campaign lingers. She struggled to raise money then, and the trend continues in the Senate race.

 ...  --    ... Thus far in the Senate race, Handel has maintained her sharp edge. She’s lambasted Broun, Gingrey and Kingston as double-dealers on Obamacare, saying they stood to benefit from special congressional perks in the law.

“Only in Washington can congressmen campaign against Obamacare — while receiving special treatment and thousands in taxpayer subsidies that the rest of us don’t get,” she said in a radio ad released in September.

That message — that she’s the outsider facing veteran politicians — is smart, said Kerwin Swint, a Kennesaw State University political scientist.

“She’s trying to carve out a niche for herself, that non-incumbent candidate,” he said. “The one not tarnished by holding public office.”

But, Swint said, the challenges of fundraising will be significant, and she’ll likely face questions about 2010.

“She might have to defend how she ran that runoff against Nathan Deal, which was a winnable runoff,” he said. ...

 

 

 

Three weeks later, no ethics investigation yet

Name of Publication: 
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Excerpt of Article: 

Updated: 6:07 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, 2013  |  Posted: 5:06 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 

By Aaron Gould Sheinin  

Three weeks after the state ethics commission voted to ask for a special investigation of problems at the agency, no investigator has been appointed because none has officially been requested.

The commission voted Sept. 30 to request what’s known as a special assistant attorney general — typically a private lawyer temporarily given state investigative powers — to conduct an independent probe of the agency. But before Attorney General Sam Olens can do so, the commission must make a formal request. That hasn’t happened, Olens’ office confirmed Monday. 

Why not? Good question, say ethics observers who are concerned that the commission’s deliberate pace raises doubts about its commitment to finding the truth. 

The commission is vetting candidates to investigate the agency and is also “reviewing and determining the scope and nature of the investigation,” commission vice chairwoman Hillary S. Stringfellow said in a statement.

“Numerous candidates have been and continue to be reviewed and considered to serve in this role,” the statement said. “At such time as the commission has reached a final decision, such decision will be announced.”

Days after the Sept. 30 meeting, commission Chairman Kevin Abernethy told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the board was “still working through the precise parameters” of the investigation. ...

....                     ...Kerwin Swint, the interim chairman of the department of political science and international affairs at Kennesaw State University, said the commission’s window is closing.

“We’re almost into an election year,” said Swint, a member of the Common Cause Georgia board and a former GOP activist. “I can understand three weeks, but if you give it a month and there’s been no major efforts, I would say time’s up or it’s time for some action.” 

 

 

Election changes may affect Georgia fundraising ban

Name of Publication: 
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Excerpt of Article: 

Posted: 12:00 a.m. Monday, Sept. 2, 2013

By Aaron Gould Sheinin and Kristina Torres - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A fundraising ban during the legislative session may be broadened or even lifted in the wake of Georgia’s shift to a May 20 federal primary next year, with changes also possible to required campaign disclosures.

Why? The ban exempts challengers who, starting March 3, could benefit from an earlier-than-ever qualifying period to grab cash weeks ahead of incumbents who have name recognition but want more dollars in the bank. ...

The move would carry risk for legislators. Any changes could anger voters who helped push through this year’s historic ethics rules limiting the influence of special interests in the state Legislature.

The shift to May 20 came with the acquiescence of state officials, who had been ordered by a federal judge to give overseas voters more time to return their ballots. The regular state elections calendar for local races was left unaltered and is now about two months behind. Not for long.

House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, said he expects nearly unanimous support from lawmakers for moving the state primaries up to May 20, too. And he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he supported “having a vigorous discussion” about the ban because, with the changes to the elections calendar, “the whole landscape changes.”

State law says no elected state official — including legislators, the governor and others who face statewide election — may raise money while the General Assembly is in session starting in January. That includes legislators running for Congress.

In normal years, that has led to a rush of fundraising by incumbents immediately before and immediately after the session, which lasts up to 40 non-consecutive days. Moving state primaries from July to May 20 would severely limit incumbents’ time to solicit contributions.

That’s because legislators sometimes finish the session in mid-to-late March, but have worked as long as late April. In 2010, Ralston’s first session as speaker, lawmakers didn’t finish work until April 29.

Ralston would not rule out also extending the ban on fundraising to challengers. ...  .....

Kerwin Swint, a Kennesaw State University political scientist and former GOP consultant, acknowledged the change in calendar will be a “culture shock” for state politics.

But, he said, lawmakers should be careful because if they move to lift the ban, they risk angering voters.

“I’m sure most Georgia voters would rather the prohibition on fundraising during session remain in place,” said Swint, who is also on the board of the government watchdog group Common Cause Georgia. 

 

 

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