Kerwin Swint

Crowded GOP field waits to replace Chambliss

Name of Publication: 
Channel 11 Alive News
Excerpt of Article: 

"I have no doubt that had I decided to be a candidate, I would have won re-election," Chambliss said in a statement. "Instead, this (retirement announcement) is about frustration, both at a lack of leadership from the White House and at the dearth of meaningful action from Congress."

RELATED | Sen. Sexby Chambliss to retire at end of term

Chambliss sometimes tangled with the Tea Party movement. The race to replace Chambliss will present an opportunity for the tea party to flex its conservative muscle.

"I think it's an opportunity to strengthen not only the tea party movement but to strengthen to the Republican Party," said Julianne Thompson of the Atlanta Tea Party. Despite their disagreements, Thompson says she liked and respected Chambliss.

Republicans considering the 2014 race to replace Chambliss will come from a who's who of elected leaders past and present -- from former Governor Sonny Perdue and former Secretary of State Karen Handel -- to members of Congress like Tom Price, Tom Graves, Paul Broun, Lynn Westmoreland and Jack Kingston.

"You could have a domino effect if you have two, three, maybe four House Republicans running for the Senate," said Dr. Kerwin Swint of Kennesaw State University. "That opens up their House seats for other Republicans to get involved in. So there could be a real scramble, a real shaking out here in the next 18 months." Swint said it is unlikely a Democrat could compete for the seat. Democrats haven't won a statewide race in Georgia since 2006.

For Gov. Deal, 2013 poses risks, rewards

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

Posted: 6:13 a.m. Monday, Jan. 14, 2013

By Greg Bluestein

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

This year is arguably the most important of Gov. Nathan Deal’s term.

A strong showing could discourage potential rivals from running against the Republican when he seeks another term in 2014. But the road to re-election is already lined with fiscal pitfalls and political traps that could complicate his agenda and echo beyond.

As lawmakers convene on Monday for the start of this year’s 40-day session, the governor faces a gantlet of pressing challenges that offer few easy solutions.

His role in the debate over the proposed new $1 billion Falcons stadium will be scrutinized. His relationship with the state’s growing tea party caucus will be watched. And his possible solution to a looming health-care budget shortfall could shape the state’s finances for years to come. ...

This is a crucial time for the governor. A poll commissioned by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows a narrow majority of voters - about 51 percent - give Deal a favorable approval rating. About 5 percent of those voters say they strongly approve of his first term in office. Twenty-one percent disapprove of his performance - 4 percent of them do so strongly - and the remaining respondents said they didn’t know.

Deal’s most solid support came from fellow Republicans, voters from his North Georgia base and, perhaps surprisingly, those between age 18 and 24. They gave him a 63 percent approval rating. The groups least impressed with the governor are black voters, Democrats and those who labeled their race as “other,” according to the poll conducted in December by Kennesaw State University’s Survey Research Laboratory. ...

The tea party movement also could test Deal’s political capital. The governor has so far enjoyed a smoother relationship than his predecessor with the legislative branch, and many lawmakers praise his negotiating skills. While tea party leaders have yet to gain much traction under the Gold Dome, the growing band of lawmakers who identify with the fiscally conservative movement could prove to be an obstacle to Republican leaders who push for new taxes or fees.

“The tea party is emboldened and very engaged on the issues,” said Kerwin Swint, a political scientist at Kennesaw State University. “They’re not going anywhere, and he and everyone else is going to have to deal with them.”

Atlanta mayor announces his support of gay marriage

Name of Publication: 
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Excerpt of Article: 

Posted: 7:19 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012 

By Jeremiah McWilliams

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced his support of gay marriage Tuesday, reversing a position from his first mayoral campaign.

Reed said he went through considerable personal reflection on the issue and changed his mind after discussions with Atlanta’s lesbian and gay communities, as well as his own father and chief of staff.

“This seems to me to be a natural place to be,” Reed said. “Candidly, I didn’t feel any pressure. … If I wanted to play politics, I would have done it when I was in third place in the mayoral election [in 2009] and in front of the gay and lesbian community saying I was not supportive of marriage equality. … As a result of that, I suffered great political harm.” ...... ...

The U.S. Supreme Court announced last week that it would take up cases involving the federal Defense of Marriage Act and a California law that bans same-sex marriage.

Reed affirmed his support Tuesday by signing a City Council resolution backing gay marriage. The resolution was drawn up by councilman Alex Wan, who is openly gay, and passed by council members a week ago.

“Atlanta, being as big a city as it is, a city in a very conservative state … I wanted our position to be in the conversation” as the Supreme Court takes up the issue, Wan said Tuesday.

Though same-sex marriage is banned in Georgia, the City of Atlanta extends benefits to domestic partners.

Reed is running for re-election next year. He is eyed as a potential statewide candidate for the Democrats, but Kennesaw State University political science professor Kerwin Swint said this announcement makes it harder for Reed to win a statewide race right now.

“I think it’s for the long term,” Swint said. “One thing I would take from it is he’s not interested in running for statewide office in Georgia anytime soon, but he’s looking to the future.” 

Lawmaker: Time to re-sharpen watchdog's teeth

Name of Publication: 
Savannah Morning News
Excerpt of Article: 
Posted: December 3, 2012 - 12:03am  |  Updated: December 3, 2012 - 7:02am 

State Rep. Ron Stephens wants to re-sharpen the teeth of Georgia’s official campaign finance watchdog.

Stephens says he has a plan to restore the effectiveness of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission.

The Savannah Republican and others are gearing up to make political ethics a hot topic at the 2013 legislative session.

“I think he’s onto something,” said Kennesaw State University political scientist Kerwin Swint. “I think a lot of what’s he’s saying make perfect sense.” 

Will Georgia become a swing state?

Name of Publication: 
FOX 5 News
Excerpt of Article: 

Posted: Nov 14, 2012 4:09 PM EST Updated: Nov 14, 2012 5:56 PM EST

Senators lament Romney’s loss

Name of Publication: 
Marietta Daily Journal
Excerpt of Article: 
by Jon Gillooly
November 07, 2012 03:33 AM
MARIETTA — U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-Moultrie) and Johnny Isakson (R-east Cobb) were not in the highest of spirits when reached a little after 10 p.m. Tuesday.

“The country continues to be a very much divided America,” said Chambliss, who watched the returns from his hometown in Moultrie. “We’ve got to figure out a way to solve our problems that don’t move us down the road of a socialist America, that we figure out some way to make sure that true American values are still represented in the policies that come out of Washington, but with a President Obama, that’s going to be very, very difficult.”

Obama’s victory, Chambliss said, “shows that conservatives have got a lot of work to do. We still have a strong voice. We’re still going to have in excess of 40 members in the Senate, but we’ve got to figure out a way to move Hispanics and move all the minorities in the direction of Republican values.”

Chambliss attributed Obama’s victory to his ability to paint Romney as an elitist early in the race. ...

Kerwin Swint, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University who specializes in elections, weighed in at about quarter to 11 p.m., saying he assumed Obama would win.

“An Obama win means that a majority of Americans are comfortable with sluggish economic growth, high unemployment and higher taxes,” Swint said. “It also means that most Americans are not particularly concerned with the money spent in the stimulus program, the auto bailouts and Obamacare. This election means that a majority do not hold President Obama responsible for the tough times we are experiencing as a country. Evidently, most are not ready to give up on him. His performance has not been great, but it has been ‘good enough.’”

Swint said Obama’s approval rating of 49 percent is about where George W. Bush’s was in 2004 and is about 10 points higher than the approval ratings of previous incumbents who were defeated for re-election (Carter in 1980, Bush in 1992).

“The President will look at this as a major victory,” Swint said. “Republicans will have to regroup. In the short term, the President will have to negotiate an agreement with Congress over the financial future of the country. Look for both sides to search for areas of agreement to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff that the country could face in the next two years. John Boehner once again becomes the face of the national Republican Party and its highest-ranking elected official.”

VIDEO: U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston faces political novice Lesli Messinger in 1st Congressional District

Name of Publication: 
Savannah Morning News
Excerpt of Article: 
Posted: October 28, 2012 - 12:29am  |  Updated: October 28, 2012 - 9:08am 

When U.S. Rep. Lindsay Thomas retired in 1992, the “smart money” was on fellow Democrat Barbara Christmas to replace him.

The New York Times glowingly portrayed the St. Marys school principal as heiress-apparent in South Georgia’s 1st Congressional District.

But on Nov. 3, Republican Jack Kingston, a Savannah insurance man and state House member, took 58 percent of the vote.

With a record of voting conservative and a knack for pleasing constituents, Kingston has barely looked back.

He’s shepherded legislation to promote deepening of Savannah’s harbor and to fund projects at the district’s four major military bases.

Twice he’s had no challenger for re-election, and when he’s had one, has always drawn at least 66 percent of the vote.

This year, Lesli Messinger, a Skidaway Island businesswoman and first-time candidate, is trying to block his way to an 11th term.

Messinger, who moved to Georgia from New Jersey about four years ago, beat Nathan Russo of St. Simons Island in the Democratic primary.

She’s running in a district that still tilts toward the GOP even after the rest of Democrat-friendly Savannah was added last year. 

Courting the middle class

Long active in school-related groups, Messinger, 57, is a vigorous supporter of President Barack Obama. She bills herself as a champion of the middle class, which she says Kingston has betrayed.

She says Kingston perennially wins re-election by “default” because no Democrat steps up to give him a real challenge.

“I am bringing it, however,” she said.

But that doesn’t have experts on state politics on the edges of their chairs.

“I don’t see how,” said Kennesaw State University political scientist Kerwin Swint when asked whether there might be an upset.

On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the best, Swint rated her chances as a “two or a three” at most.

He cited name recognition, the political makeup of the 1st and — at least as much as anything else — money. 

Debates could impact undecided voters

Name of Publication: 
Fox 5 News
Excerpt of Article: 

Posted: Oct 22, 2012 4:58 PM EDT Updated: Oct 22, 2012 5:47 PM EDT

Close races bring out the mudslinging worst in political campaigns

Name of Publication: 
Herald-Review (Decatur, Ill.)
Excerpt of Article: 
September 30, 2012 12:01 am

SPRINGFIELD — You don’t have to look far to hear candidates pledging to run clean campaigns focusing on the issues.

But how many put that in writing?

According to a review of state election records, just 99 of the more than 740 candidates running in the 2012 election in Illinois signed their names to the Illinois Fair Campaign Practices Act, which calls on office-seekers to “follow the basic principles of decency, honesty and fair play.”

“I will not use or permit the use of character defamation, whispering campaigns, libel, slander, or scurrilous attacks on any candidate or his personal or family life,” the pledge notes.

As the nation heads toward the Nov. 6 deadline, voters may be getting a taste of why so many candidates ignored what is known as Article 29B in the state election code.

Mudslinging is commonplace in national and local races because the stakes are so high. The winners — candidates and parties — get control and power. Losers go to the sidelines to begin plotting their rise in the next election. ...  

Kerwin Swint, a political scientist at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, told CNN in August he believes the presidential race will get progressively nastier as November approaches.

Swint, author of “Mudslingers: The 25 Dirtiest Political Campaigns of All Time,” also said negative campaigns are not new.

In particular, he pointed to the Lyndon Johnson-Barry Goldwater match-up in 1964 that kicked off the television age of negative campaigning with what became known as the “Daisy” ad.

The advertisement, actually called “Peace, Little Girl,” shows a girl pulling petals from a flower. A male announcer then begins counting down from 10. At zero, the image of the girl is replaced by the mushroom cloud of a nuclear blast, suggesting that Goldwater’s election could lead to nuclear war.

“That’s the one that set the modern standard,” Swint said. 

Preview of Wednesday's Presidential Debate

Name of Publication: 
Fox 5
Excerpt of Article: 

Posted: Oct 01, 2012 12:26 AM EDT

Updated: Oct 01, 2012 12:27 AM EDT


The Presidential Election is a little over a month away. President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romeny got in some debate preps as they campaigned this weekend.

Recent polls show the President with a steady lead in key states and his GOP challenger looks to shift the dynamics of the race during the candidate's first debate this week. Both prepared for Wednesday's showdown amid weekend campaigning.

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich weighed in this weekend on the topic. He believes the debate could prove crucial for Gov. Romney.

Kennesaw State University political science professor Kerwin Swint says it is still possible for Romney to shake up the race with a strong performance Wednesday night.

Domestic policy is the focus of the first debate and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, an Obama supporter, says both men have the opportunity to lay out their plans for economic recovery.

The first debate will be aired on FOX 5 Atlanta with coverage starting at 9 p.m. 


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