News / USA

Grandson Wants to Follow in Jimmy Carter's Footsteps as Georgia Governor

Georgia state senator and gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter hugs a supporter after speaking at a private event in Tucker, Georgia, May 23, 2014.
Georgia state senator and gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter hugs a supporter after speaking at a private event in Tucker, Georgia, May 23, 2014.
Reuters
While a Bush and a Clinton consider whether to run for the White House in 2016, in Georgia another U.S. presidential surname from decades past is already on a ballot.
 
Blessed with his forebear's famous smile and mellow manner, state Sen. Jason Carter is trying to emulate grandfather Jimmy in November by winning election as governor.
 
Unlike the former president, who has moved further to the left with age, Jason, 38, is carving out room on the right as he campaigns as a Democrat against an incumbent in a conservative state. Polls show a tight race.
 
In March he voted for legislation known to its detractors as the "guns everywhere law," which the National Rifle Association boasts is the most comprehensive of its type ever passed by a state. The law, which takes effect in July, makes it easier for Georgians to carry guns in bars, churches and airports.
 
FILE - Former President Jimmy Carter, right, smiles after being introduced by grandson Jason Carter during a symposium on South Africa sponsored by the Peace Corps at Emory University in Atlanta.FILE - Former President Jimmy Carter, right, smiles after being introduced by grandson Jason Carter during a symposium on South Africa sponsored by the Peace Corps at Emory University in Atlanta.
x
FILE - Former President Jimmy Carter, right, smiles after being introduced by grandson Jason Carter during a symposium on South Africa sponsored by the Peace Corps at Emory University in Atlanta.
FILE - Former President Jimmy Carter, right, smiles after being introduced by grandson Jason Carter during a symposium on South Africa sponsored by the Peace Corps at Emory University in Atlanta.

Carter courted another controversy last month when he said Georgia's drivers had the right to license plates that display the Confederate flag.
 
Jason's support for the death penalty also puts him at odds with his grandfather, a longtime opponent.
 
"Are there issues that he and I disagree on? Of course there are. But those issues are not as important as the fact that he is my grandfather and I love him," Jason said after a recent campaign event.
 
To defeat Republican Governor Nathan Deal, Carter needs to extend his appeal beyond his base of liberal whites, African-Americans and Hispanics in the Atlanta area. And among conservatives in the state's small towns, gun rights are sacrosanct.
 
"It is conventional wisdom among local legislators going back for two decades that you don't oppose the NRA (in those areas)," said Nan Orrock, a Democratic state senator.
 
Gun rights

In the town of Kennesaw, a 1982 law that makes it mandatory for all households to maintain a gun and ammunition is still on the books.
 
One local, Dent "Wildman" Myers, carries a pistol in a holster as he putters about his Civil War surplus store, which sells Confederate memorabilia and right-wing writings. A mannequin dressed in a Ku Klux Klan hood and draped in a noose stands in the corner.
 
Jarring as those remnants of the South's past are, Kennesaw has become a diverse, vibrant town over the past 15 years, little different from the encroaching Atlanta metro area, with new shopping malls and expensive ethnic restaurants. Many residents work at United Parcel Service's headquarters some 20 miles away or the Lockheed aircraft plant in nearby Marietta.
 
Resident Joyce Cox, who runs a hospice business with her husband, is the sort of middle-of-the-road voter Carter hopes to win over. But she put her chances of voting for him at "slim to none.”
 
The recipient of a semi-automatic rifle for Christmas in 2012, Cox has considered voting Democrat. But since Carter's stance on guns is little different from that of his rival, she is focused on the Democrat's business record and fears Carter will favor more taxes and regulations.
 
Carter said his campaign is about Deal's underfunding of education and his refusal to expand Medicaid coverage to low-income Georgians, but the gun law has overshadowed early campaigning.
 
Carter helped water down the gun bill by opposing an effort to allow arms on college campuses and by insisting that churches that want worshippers to bring weapons to services must explicitly inform authorities.
 
High NRA rating

The NRA gives Carter a high rating, 92 percent, as he has long been pro-gun.
 
"My record is completely consistent on guns throughout my time at the state senate,'' he said. "You can look at the history of our state and what people believe, I think my views on this are consistent with the majority of people in our state."
 
The younger Carter has learned a lesson that other Democrats are heeding this year: To win in the South, you may need to take positions more associated with Republicans.
 
In Louisiana, Sen. Mary Landrieu is a champion of the Keystone pipeline. Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, a critic of the Obama administration's coal policy, is also a member of the pack of conservative Southern Democrats.
 
Emory University political scientist Merle Black sees similarities between Carter's campaign and his grandfather's strategy 44 years ago.
 
“He is trying to recreate the kind of coalition that elected his grandfather governor of Georgia back in 1970,'' Black said.
 
Then, Jimmy Carter sought to win over white voters wary of integration. He kept campaign appearances with black groups to a minimum and sought the endorsement of well-known segregationists.
 
After winning, he surprised many in his inaugural address by calling for an end to segregation.
 
Jimmy Carter's notoriety among Republicans as a weak liberal is one that Jason will want to distance himself from. But the former president is still popular in his home state as a man of integrity and Christian faith. He is also useful as a fundraiser among national Democrats.
 
The Jason Carter campaign will host a weekend in June in his grandfather's hometown of Plains, where donors can spend time with Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, for $20,000 a couple.
 
“Will I call him for advice? Of course. Will he participate in the campaign? Absolutely. But the campaign is going to be about the future of our state … and not about my grandparents," Jason Carter said.

You May Like

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid