Political Notebook: Sam Nunn gives endorsement to Doug Heckman

Congressional candidate Doug Heckman has support from a legend in Georgia politics.

Former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn endorsed Heckman, the Democrat running against John Linder in the 7th District, which includes most of Gwinnett.

"Washington needs more representatives with your military background, business experience and dedication to public service," Nunn said to Heckman, a West Point graduate who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan. "We also need more representatives who seek common sense solutions to the important challenges facing our nation by bringing people together rather than by dividing them through partisan politics."

Nunn represented Georgia in Washington from 1972 to 1996, serving the last nine years as chairman of the Armed Services Committee.

"I am deeply grateful for your service to our nation as a member of our Armed Forces," Nunn said to Heckman, "and I applaud your willingness to offer yourself as a candidate to represent the people of the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia in the United States House of Representatives."

The praise from a conservative Democrat was just what Heckman was looking for with just a few days before challenging the popular incumbent.

"When I decided to run for the U.S. Congress, Sen. Nunn was the model for nonpartisan politics I sought - and still seek - to emulate," Heckman said. "Having his support means the world to me as I try to bring more balanced representation and leadership to the U.S. Congress."

Nunn is an adviser to presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama on national security and foreign affairs, but in a press conference Wednesday Nunn said he has had no talks with the campaign about a spot on the Cabinet in an Obama administration.

Conway endorses Winegarden

Sheriff Butch Conway has once again gotten involved in the election.

Conway, whose support of challenger Lorraine Green during the Republican primary for chairman caused a rift with incumbent Charles Bannister, is now siding with the incumbent - Judge Richard Winegarden.

"I am fully supporting the re-election of Judge Richard Winegarden," Conway said in a statement. "He is fair but tough and demands the facts in his courtroom. I work hard to get the bad guys off our streets in Gwinnett County. But, we need good judges like Winegarden to finish the job."

Winegarden, a Superior Court judge since 1987, is challenged by attorney Karen Beyers.

"I am honored to have Sheriff Conway's support," Winegarden said. "For 11 years we have placed our faith in Sheriff Conway's abilities to keep the Sheriff's office one step ahead of the criminals. He has not let us down. The Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department should be a model for fast growing counties facing new challenges."

Martin, Chambliss make campaign stops in Lawrenceville

Senatorial hopeful Jim Martin kicked off a campaign tour Monday, stopping by a Lawrenceville law firm to speak to a group of about 50 supporters.

Joined by fellow Democratic candidates Jim Powell, Heckman, state Rep. Pedro Marin, Lee Thompson and Vincent Passariello, Martin talked about the need for politicians to work together across party lines. The group also discussed the need for change and their hope that Democrats will take Gwinnett on Tuesday.

About 15 people representing Americans for Fair Taxation, however, showed up to protest the rally and tout what they called a nonpartisan issue, the FairTax.

Steve Arnold, a district director for the group, said they protested the event because of campaign ads that tell "half-truths" about the FairTax.

"If you're going to talk about something, talk about something fairly and honestly," Arnold said. "All we're asking Mr. Martin to do is tell the truth. The truth is this right here (the FairTax) can save America."

Arnold said the tax plan is not a political issue; it's an American issue.

Arnold also showed up Tuesday morning at U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss' campaign stop in Lawrenceville, but not in protest. The Republican, whose campaign stop drew about eight times as many supporters as the Democratic rally, supports the tax plan.

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.