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Political notebook: RNC chairman visits Gwinnett

He's no Sarah Palin, but the local Republicans said they were honored to have the chairman of the Republican National Convention visit Lawrenceville on Tuesday.

Mike Duncan and vice chairwoman Jo Ann Davidson had encouraging words for the couple dozen people at the local GOP office, as they prepared for the final week in a contentious runoff between incumbent Republican Saxby Chambliss and Democrat Jim Martin for U.S. Senate.

"Gwinnett County is the center of the political universe," Duncan said. "We will make thousands of phone calls. We will knock on thousands of doors."

The GOP sent campaign workers from Ohio to work on Chambliss' campaign, since a Martin victory, combined with a Democratic victory in the Minnesota Senate race, could give Democrats a filibuster-proof 60 votes in the Senate.

"If we don't have that 41st vote, it starts the very first day," Duncan said of legislation from the left. "This could be the vote that stands between you and the Democrats steamrolling through everything they want."

Davidson said grassroots campaigning is essential in a runoff, when turnout will decide the winner.

"We are resilient and we can deliver the vote in a runoff," she said. "The eyes are focused on you."

Among the crowd turning out to meet Duncan and Davidson were Commissioner Mike Beaudreau, Rep. Melvin Everson, R-Snellville, and Ralph Reed, the Duluth man who was former head of the Georgia GOP and the Christian Coalition.

On Monday, Palin is expected to attend several rallies for Chambliss, including a 4 p.m. event at the Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth.

Carter endorses Powell

While Bill Clinton has campaigned for Martin, Jim Powell, the Democrat in Tuesday's runoff for Public Service Commission, has the support of another former president.

President Jimmy Carter has endorsed the former executive for the U.S. Department of Energy.

"I am impressed with Jim Powell's knowledge of the issues that will be addressed by the Georgia Public Service Commission in the coming years," Carter said. "His vision of energy policy for our state reflects the forward-thinking approach we need, both in the near future and in the long term.

"With Jim Powell, the people of Georgia have a unique opportunity to elect a Public Service Commissioner with solid professional experience for this important position."

Powell said he was honored to have the support of the only Georgian to be elected president.

"During his term in the White House, President Carter foresaw the importance of managing our energy resources and established the U.S. Department of Energy," Powell said. "He understands what is at stake in this election, and I am humbled that he would endorse my candidacy."

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.