Kerwin Swint

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. 

 

 

Lefties and libertarians unite against common foe: Georgia Power

Name of Publication: 
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Excerpt of Article: 

By Greg Bluestein and Kristi E. Swartz - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Politics makes strange, if fleeting, bedfellows. But now a fling between tea party loyalists and green groups suddenly has the makings of a permanent union.

Emboldened by wins over business leaders and the state’s most powerful utility, the odd allies formed the Green Tea Coalition this month with plans to unite behind other common causes. Organizers envision the group shaping policy in next year’s legislative session and the political season that follows.

The partnership was born two years ago in the fight against the T-SPLOST plan and energized last month by a win that forced Georgia Power to significantly expand its solar energy plans. But, with Tea Party usually taking a conservative stance and green groups typically supporting a leftist agenda, the most vexing challenge may be withstanding internal divisions that have undone other such partnerships. ...

There’s no guarantee that Green Tea will claim another victory or even survive the year. But with Georgia’s GOP hierarchy wary of upsetting tea party supporters, some analysts advise not to count the upstart out. ...

“It’s a potentially creative way to get things done,” said Kerwin Swint, a Kennesaw State University political scientist. “Maybe it’s one way to break through these partisan lockdowns that frustrate us so much.” 

 

David Perdue’s business background looms large in Senate run

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

By Greg Bluestein

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

David Perdue hopes his business experience will distinguish him among the crowded Republican field running for a U.S. Senate seat. But his boardroom background poses challenges that will test his campaign like no other this election cycle.

He’s known on Wall Street as a turnaround specialist who helps revive brands and reap rewards for investors. But his rivals will try to depict the former Fortune 500 leader as out-of-touch with regular citizens. And he’ll face questions about his business setbacks.

Perdue also will confront the same problem facing Michelle Nunn, the only big-name Democratic contender running for retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ seat: Not since Mack Mattingly’s victory in 1980 has a candidate without public electoral experience won a Senate seat in Georgia.

He’s put together a formidable team of strategists, made up of some people who worked for his famous first cousin, former Gov. Sonny Perdue. But competition looms large from veteran politicians: Reps. Phil Gingrey, Paul Broun and Jack Kingston and former Secretary of State Karen Handel.  ...        ...

Political analysts say discontent with veteran lawmakers and Perdue’s famous pedigree could help him succeed where others failed. Said Kerwin Swint, a Kennesaw State University political scientist: “He’s an outsider yet his name has so much power to it.”

Expect rivals to portray him as a jet-setting globetrotter with a Sea Island mansion and a checking account sizable enough to float his campaign. And expect Perdue to counter with stories of his Middle Georgia upbringing and homespun wisdom from his 87-year-old mom, the now-retired teacher.

“I’m not embarrassed by my success as a business person,” he said. “And I won’t run away from it.” 

Isakson under pressure: GOP eyes senator on immigration vote

Name of Publication: 
Marietta Daily Journal
Excerpt of Article: 
by Jon Gillooly
May 12, 2013 12:21 AM | 1359 views | 6  | 2  |  | 

As Congress takes up a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s immigration system, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) has come under pressure from a divided Republican Party on how he will vote on the topic.

“He is under pressure from both sides,” said Kerwin Swint, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University. “The stalwarts that don’t want any kind of immigration package or the others who say we’ve got to do something, so he’s just kind of caught in the middle a little bit.”

When asked Friday about how he intends to vote on the bill, Isakson said, “We’re not going to prejudge what the final version is going to be until it’s marked up, debated and amended — so any question that precludes that process taking place is premature.”

A pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants who are already here is going to be highly controversial in certain key circles of the Republican Party, Swint said.

“The tea party and others are going to resist anything like that tooth-and-nail. They’re going to fight it tooth-and-nail, and that’s the kind of pressure that he’s under,” Swint said. “He’s a smart guy. He’s a reasonable guy, and I think he knows that the Republican Party is at a real crossroads, and they’ve got to do something, but doing something comes at a cost, and a lot of people on the right are going to say doing anything like that is unacceptable. You know, it’s ‘selling out’ or ‘giving up’ or whatever you call it.”

But, at the same time, the Republican Party must start winning at least a portion of Hispanic and female votes if it wants to be competitive, Swint said.

 

Blacks, Latinos, Asians bent on breaking glass ceiling of Gwinnett County politics

Name of Publication: 
The Atlanta Voice
Excerpt of Article: 

Posted: Friday, May 3, 2013 11:50 am | Updated: 7:11 pm, Fri May 3, 2013.

The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners is all white. The Gwinnett County School Board is all white. So are the judges elected to Gwinnett County’s State and Superior Courts.

 The lack of diversity in county politics has many Gwinnettians asking why, in this day and age, nonwhites have been unable to penetrate the glass ceiling. Gwinnett is Georgia’s most diverse county with a melting pot of more than 842,000 people, according to the U.S. Census. ...

Diversity hasn’t translated into political power for the county’s growing African American and immigrant communities. Minorities in Gwinnett have been hard hit by unemployment, crime, and the fallout of failing schools, which in Gwinnett serve mostly low-income African American, Asian and Hispanic students, statistics show. Two-thirds of those living in poverty in Gwinnett are nonwhite.

But minorities in Gwinnett frustrated with county politics want change now.

A movement is growing to improve the plight of diverse communities that are struggling for economic opportunities and political representation. A network of African-American, Asian and Hispanic community leaders are working to make sure future county boards are more reflective of diverse neighborhoods they represent. They see numbers as their greatest strength and are building allegiances with each other to gain political clout.

One group, Gwinnett Citizens-United, a political action committee launched by a coalition of African-American pastors, has signed up more than 4,000 people pledging to become politically active in upcoming races by either voting, running for office or contributing to campaigns. The nonpartisan group will offer a platform to those candidates that support minority community issues. Members include a network of black church congregations and Hispanic community leaders. The group also is reaching out to Asians.

“Democracy works best when people feel that they are represented,” said Kerwin Swint, professor of Political Science at Kennesaw State University. “Unfortunately, what happens in local politics is the old guard hangs on as long as it can. They have an advantage a lot of time with campaign contributions and business networks that keep electing the same people. It may take time for others to break through.”

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