The Scan — December 17, 2013

National Journal
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Dec. 16, 2013, 3:09 p.m.

AT­LANTA: A Group In Each Corner

Rev. Joseph Lowery, who gave the be­ne­dic­tion at Pres. Obama’s in­aug­ur­al ce­re­mony, en­dorsed state Sen. Kasim Reed (D) on 11/18 while Coun­cilor Mary Nor­wood “met with gay and les­bi­an com­munity lead­ers as” both camps “try to en­cour­age sup­port­ers to come back to the polls” on 12/1. “Lowery said he was dis­mayed by” the 30% turnout on 11/3. gen­er­al elec­tion. Lowery: “This is the home of Mar­tin Luth­er King. This is the home of the civil rights move­ment.”

Turnout “will be key” for both camps, “since polls sug­gests there are few un­de­cided voters. … The run­off is five days after Thanks­giv­ing and some At­lantans may be more fo­cused on Christ­mas shop­ping.”

Lowery “said he’s sup­port­ing Reed … be­cause of his ties at the state Cap­it­ol and be­cause he be­lieves Reed can bet­ter handle the city’s fin­an­cial chal­lenges. Reed said he was grate­ful for the en­dorse­ment.” Reed: “It is our time to ac­cept re­spons­ib­il­ity. The torch has been passed.”

In Midtown, “Nor­wood was greeted by about 200 mem­bers of the LGBT com­munity at Am­s­ter­dam At­lanta.” Nor­wood: “To­night’s event shows how in­clus­ive my cam­paign is. We can be a city that is fun and without fear. When I say I am go­ing to be there for you on the state, loc­al and na­tion­al level, I am go­ing to be there.”

Nor­wood “has gained strong sup­port in the LGBT com­munity for her sup­port of same-sex mar­riage. It is es­tim­ated that” up to 15% of “At­lantans are in the LGBT com­munity. They could rep­res­ent a key swing vote, said” Ex-GA Equal­ity polit­ic­al dir. Kyle Bailey. Bailey: “She is the only can­did­ate who is for 100% equal­ity and sup­ports mar­riage equal­ity. She has been there for our com­munit­ies and our neigh­bor­hoods, and she has been a staunch ad­voc­ate for the LGBT com­munity.”

That “might start at home.” Nor­wood’s step­daugh­ter in­tro­duced her at the LGBT event. Dorsey Nor­wood: “Mary Nor­wood is my step­moth­er. And I am gay.”

Later, “GL­B­TATL an­nounced on its web­site their sup­port of Nor­wood. The loc­al gay ad­vocacy group was at the fore­front of protests against the” po­lice dep. “after the raid of the At­lanta Eagle, a loc­al gay club” (Stir­gus/Sug­gs, At­lanta Journ­al-Con­sti­tu­tion, 11/18).

An At­tempt Street Cred

Nor­wood’s camp “un­veiled a sup­port­er-cre­ated GOTV rap video” on 11/19.

HOU­S­TON: Step To The Right

“Hop­ing to tap a po­ten­tial bloc of swing voters” in the run­off, Cont. An­nise Park­er and ex-City Atty Gene Locke “cour­ted con­ser­vat­ive voters” 11/17 at the Great­er Hou­s­ton Pa­chy­derm Club for­um, “prom­ising not to raise prop­erty taxes while stream­lin­ing” gov’t and “im­prov­ing pub­lic safety.”

Har­ris Co. GOP chair Jared Wood­fill “said the GOP ad­vis­ory board de­cided not to make an en­dorse­ment in the … run­off. But sup­port from the GOP faith­ful will be crit­ic­al to the next may­or, he pre­dicted.” Wood­fill: “It will make or break the race. Who­ever at­tracts those voters will win. Be­cause who­ever voted for them the first go-round, will stick with them. But the Roy Mor­ales folks, however they split, will be the dif­fer­ence between be­ing the next may­or or the run­ner-up.”

United GOP­ers of Har­ris Co. chair Bob Shults: “What con­ser­vat­ive voters have to do now is, look at which of these folks would be the most fisc­ally re­spons­ible, both in terms of tax­ing, spend­ing and how they man­age the fin­ances of city gov­ern­ment. Both of them have is­sues that may not play to a lot of so­cially con­ser­vat­ive voters very well, but a lot of so­cial con­ser­vat­ives are real­iz­ing this isn’t the time to stay home.”

Park­er de­par­ted the for­um “early to in­tro­duce” George H.W. Bush “and wife Bar­bara at a ce­re­mony mark­ing the 40th an­niversary of George Bush In­ter­con­tin­ent­al Air­port. Be­fore leav­ing, Park­er out­lined her pub­lic safety ini­ti­at­ive to al­low any cer­ti­fied peace of­ficer to re­spond to ser­i­ous crime, re­gard­less of jur­is­dic­tion. She also ex­pressed sup­port for the city’s af­firm­at­ive ac­tion pro­gram, but got her loudest ap­plause when she re­it­er­ated her pledge to not raise taxes.”

Park­er: “I have stated on a num­ber oc­ca­sions on the cam­paign trail that I don’t plan to raise taxes in this eco­nomy — that’s the wrong thing to do to strug­gling tax­pay­ers and busi­ness. My pledge is not to raise the tax rate — cer­tainly not in the near term. That’s not ne­ces­sary.”

Locke “re­coun­ted his” East TX “roots, where his fath­er was a farm­er and his moth­er a school teach­er, and in­tro­duced his wife of 27 years. He told the group he was a de­vout Chris­ti­an who had raised five chil­dren.” Locke: “I’m not go­ing to raise any­body’s prop­erty taxes. We’ve got to find a way to give prop­erty tax re­lief.”

Pa­chy­derm Club pres. J.D. Joyce: “They seemed to be really straight­for­ward and forth­right, and I didn’t get the idea they were pan­der­ing to our group to get votes” (Pinker­ton, Hou­s­ton Chron­icle, 11/17).

Mean­while, anti-gay act­iv­ist Dave Wilson “said he has sent out” 35K fli­ers “op­pos­ing … Park­er in part be­cause of her sexu­al ori­ent­a­tion. The front of the fli­er has” a ‘04 photo “of Park­er be­ing sworn in­to of­fice … while her part­ner, Kathy Hub­bard, looks on, ac­com­pan­ied by the head­line: ‘Is this the im­age Hou­s­ton wants to por­tray?’ On the back is writ­ten, ‘Just be­cause An­nise Park­er is a les­bi­an doesn’t make her qual­i­fied to be may­or of Hou­s­ton.’

Wilson “also chal­lenges Park­er’s re­cord, … say­ing she failed to alert the city to” a $1.5B “op­er­a­tion­al de­fi­cit.”

Park­er mgr. Adam Har­ris: “In terms of the only real is­sue fa­cing the city the fli­er ad­dresses, that claim has already been met with a blunt re­but­tal by May­or Bill White.”

Wilson’s “fli­er states that he has ‘noth­ing but com­pas­sion, re­spect and sens­it­iv­ity’ for ho­mo­sexu­als, but de­cried ‘be­ha­vi­or that will stifle re­li­gious free­dom and trap mil­lions of more people in its deadly grip.’ Wilson said he tried to word his fli­er as a com­pas­sion­ate Chris­ti­an, al­beit one who be­lieves ho­mo­sexu­al­ity is a sin. He said it was not in­ten­ded to be a per­son­al at­tack on Park­er, and that he has sym­pathy for ho­mo­sexu­als be­cause two of his uncles were gay and died of AIDS and a broth­er-in-law is gay.”

Wilson “said he is con­cerned that Park­er, if elec­ted, would be­come a gay and les­bi­an cul­tur­al icon and an in­spir­a­tion to oth­ers to enter polit­ics.” Wilson: “I think she is kind of a poster child for that move­ment” (Tolson, Hou­s­ton Chron­icle, 11/18).

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