Welcome to the race for the 11th District seat in Congress.
Former Rep. Barr (R-Smyrna) is seen by many as the front-runner in the crowded field, thanks in large part to the name recognition carrying over from his decade in Washington in the 1990s and his work as a high-profile spokesman for gun rights, courtesy of his seat on the board of the National Rifle Association.
Also running for the GOP nomination in the heavily conservative 11th are software company cofounder Tricia Pridemore of Marietta, state Sen. Barry Loudermilk of Bartow County and Buckhead’s Lindsey. Incumbent Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) has announced plans to run for U.S. Senate rather than another term in the House.
PRIMARY DAY is not until May 20 (to which it was moved on Monday from June 3 by federal Judge Steve Jones), but the sniping has already been underway and ramped up a notch on Monday, courtesy of a fundraising letter sent out by Lindsey’s campaign that takes direct aim at Barr.
Barr wrote in an Aug. 14 column on Townhall.com, headlined “It’s Time Conservatives Show Christie the Door,” that it would be a mistake for Republicans to nominate Christie for president in 2016.
“There should be no room in the GOP for Christie’s nebulous, if not disingenuous, political games,” Barr wrote, “and, it is time conservatives show him the door before his carefully self-nurtured image as the GOP ‘tough guy’ … destroys any remaining semblance of the conservative GOP base first constructed by Ronald Reagan two generations ago.”
Said Barr of Christie, “He is a liberal masquerading as a conservative.”
ANSWERED LINDSEY, “Like Alice tumbling through the rabbit hole into a realm of the contrary and grotesque, there are those curious moments in politics when absurdity has the edge. For Bob Barr, a Republican defector, demanding our party kick out a popular governor is one of those moments.”
Lindsey noted that Barr had deserted the Republican Party in a fruitless bid for higher office, describing him as “the failed 2008 Libertarian presidential candidate-cum-Mad Hatter.”
Barr has been called many things by his political opponents through the years, but this is probably a first for “Mad Hatter.”
Added Lindsey, “The irony is almost too great. This is the same Bob Barr who bolted from the GOP, abandoning many of the policies he once held, and campaigned for president as a Libertarian in 2008 to peel away GOP votes, knowing such a move would help Barack Obama win the White House. The same Bob Barr who now, believing his old party was again politically ascendant, wants Republicans to return him to Congress.”
Lindsey went on to rattle off a series of issues on which he says Barr has changed sides, including legalization of marijuana, gay marriage and illegal immigration.
“Republican-turned-libertarian-turned-Republican Bob Barr may think Ronald Reagan would disapprove of Christie, whom he believes is a ‘liberal masquerading as a conservative,’ but it was the former president who famously lectured unfit political gatekeepers that his “80 percent friend is not my 20 percent enemy,” Lindsey said.
“We Republicans are savvy enough to spot a phony, and certainly savvy enough to do so without the political revolving door Bob Barr lecturing us,” he concluded.
BARR told Around Town on Monday afternoon that he had not seen the release in question, although he’d heard about it.
“Frankly, I have been focusing on real issues important to voters and businesses in the 11th District — including Obamacare, tax reform, cutting the deficit, reducing regulations, and government spying. I will continue to focus on these issues.”
THURSDAY’S LUNCHTIME TALK to Marietta Kiwanians by Georgia Supreme Court Justice Keith Blackwell of Smyrna drew at least one unexpected guest: Glynn County Superior Court Judge Stephen D. Kelley, who is in Marietta trying the case of accused baby-killer De’Marquise Elkins. The trial was moved to Cobb because of pre-trial publicity. …
Blackwell was squired around the club by fellow Justice and longtime Marietta Kiwanian Harris Hines. When he took the podium, Blackwell was quick to point out that Hines was sworn in this month by former Gov. Zell Miller as that court’s “presiding justice,” after having been selected as such by vote of the other justices.
Added Blackwell, “And I’m sure that when Chief Justice Hugh Thompson retires, we’ll vote Judge Hines in as Chief Justice.”
COBB STATE COURT Solicitor Barry Morgan showed off his musical chops at Friday’s meeting of the Cobb Republican Women, playing the National Anthem on the trumpet. Morgan was a high school band director years ago before going into the law.
THE MDJ’S Don McKee will devote his column Wednesday to his first-person recollections of covering the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a reporter for The Associated Press. McKee heard King deliver earlier versions of the “I Have a Dream” speech on several occasions that year while covering civil-rights demonstrations led by King in Albany, and elsewhere. McKee, who had covered King during his leadership of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1956, later went on to write the first-ever biography of King.
FORMER WellStar CEO Dr. Greg Simone has opened a “Personalized Cardiology” private practice in the Kennestone East office park in Marietta. Its retainer-based business model will translate to enhanced personal consultation and assistance monitoring the work of the patient’s other doctors, among other things, he says.
THE DEDICATION AND FACILITY TOUR for the new Marietta Performing Arts Center will be at 6 p.m. Sept. 7 and are open to all. They will be followed by an invitation-only concert by The Georgia Symphony Orchestra at 7.
HAPPY HUNDREDTH! Marietta Rotarians have a party planned for their meeting Wednesday at the Marietta Conference Center to help longtime member John Strother celebrate his birthday, which comes around Sunday for the 100th time.
Lockheed retiree Strother is a former member of the Cobb school board and served as an Army major in England in the Quartermaster’s Corps during the lead-up to D-Day during World War II. Strother looks a good three decades younger than his actual age and married last year for the third time.
Happy birthday, John!