Boot the incumbents!

Out with the lazy and the lackluster

Everyone (even us!) is fixated on Deal, Carter, Nunn, and Perdue. But don't forget about the races further down the ballot, which includes a dysfunctional gang of entrenched Republicans running for re-election. This oddball crew is up against some relatively unknown and underfunded Democratic challengers that, at times, look like they belong more on the Island of Misfit Toys than the statewide ticket. Nevertheless, poll-bound Georgians are well-advised to vote against these GOP ne'er-do-wells who are driving the state in the wrong direction, collecting a paycheck for doing nothing, and/or lacking in vision.

SECRETARY OF STATE BRIAN KEMP has routinely failed to ensure residents easy access to polls. He claims to have protected the state from voter fraud at all costs. Starting in 2010, he wasted taxpayer dollars by leading an unsuccessful four-year voter fraud investigation into Quitman, Ga. residents. He refused to comply with the National Voter Registration Act until he got slapped with a federal lawsuit. Most recently, he launched another investigation into a few dozen voter applications from a group trying to register minority voters, effectively stalling the processing of 51,000 voter applications. His wrong-headed move might have prevented unregistered minority voters from casting ballots in a historic election and, in many ways, worked against the mission of the very office he holds. And his new website? It sucks.

Meanwhile, ATTORNEY GENERAL SAM OLENS has trampled the limited rights of death-row inmates, defended Georgia's gay marriage ban, and failed to investigate Gov. Nathan Deal's alleged attempts to oust several state ethics employees who were probing his 2010 campaign. Later it came out that he helped withhold documents in a major whistleblower lawsuit that cost taxpayers more than $1 million. A Fulton judge later slapped his office with a $10,000 fine. Olens' conservative legal stances fall on the wrong side of history. Don't make the same mistake.

Down the ticket you've got INSURANCE COMMISSIONER RALPH HUDGENS, who proclaimed his agency was doing "[http://clatl.com/atlanta/trying-to-fail/Content?oid=9411048|everything in our power to be an obstructionist to the Affordable Care Act.]" That meant rejecting Medicaid expansion, resulting in more than 400,000 low-income residents being denied access to health care. As the Senate's top dawg, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has done next to nothing, even for his own party, aside from standing at a dais for 40 days out of the year. The same goes for Labor Commissioner Mark Butler and Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black — what have they done for you lately?

We're not necessarily saying you should vote for Connie Stokes (lieutenant governor), Doreen Carter (secretary of state), Greg Hecht (attorney general) Christopher Irvin (agriculture commissioner), Liz Johnson (insurance commissioner), or Robbin Shipp (labor commissioner). But at this point, just about anyone can serve Georgia better than the GOP incumbents who hold those lower-profile but equally important statewide positions.

While you're at it, don't let Bible-beating, right-wing favorites Jody Hice and Barry Loudermilk become members of Georgia's congressional delegation. We rejoiced at voters' decision to send five-term creationist wacko Paul Broun and six-term Marietta blowhard Phil Gingrey home from Capitol Hill. We don't need more of the same — or worse. Stop them now.

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