Political Insider blog 

AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns
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Clues over what led to Chip Rogers’ GPB departure

  • 5:12 pm Thursday, April 24th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Gov. Nathan Deal

Chris Riley, the governor’s chief of staff, said in an April 17 note he received an anonymous email at his personal account with a link that showed Rogers was also holding down an outside job as government affairs guru for the Asian American Hotel Owners Association.

“This is the flyer we discussed this am,” he said in an email sent to COO Bart Gobeil around 10 a.m. that morning. He added: “I am not sure of the validity of the information so it will need to be verified but I thought Teya should be made aware,” [More]

Jan Brewer to rally for Karen Handel — but what about those vetoes?

  • 4:48 pm Thursday, April 24th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

The U.S. Senate campaign of Karen Handel put out word this afternoon that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer will be the featured speaker at a Monday rally in Canton.

Which means April will have been bookended with the in-person endorsements of Handel by two high-profile Republican women. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin showed up for Handel in a Union City affair early this month.

But Brewer’s appearance could raise a pair of unintended questions for the Handel campaign. There is, of course, the topic of guns. From the Associated Press this week:

PHOENIX – To the surprise of the bill’s sponsor, Gov. Jan Brewer [More]

David Pennington on why ‘politics is not real good for my income’

  • 4:15 pm Thursday, April 24th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Former Dalton Mayor David Pennington released the last five years of his tax returns on Thursday. And it’s clear the mayor’s office didn’t exactly help his bottom line.

The insurance executive, who is challenging Gov. Nathan Deal in the GOP primary next month, took in about $430,000 in 2009 and roughly tripled his take in 2010 after he sold one of his insurance firms.

But his income dwindled as his job as Dalton’s mayor grew and he began campaigning around the state as a conservative reformer. His earnings the last three years hovered between $160,000 and $170,000.

Put simply, said Pennington, “politics [More]

Fallout from the new gun law — and remembering Zell Miller’s advice

  • 9:58 am Thursday, April 24th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

The race for Gov. Nathan Deal’s job may not pivot Former Dalton Mayor David Pennington, who seeks to outflank Deal on the right, made exactly that argument before the ink was even dry. Said Pennington:

“I don’t believe that giving up our freedoms makes us any safer. The crime rates in this country have proven that. As a leader, I will not rest until we are the freest nation on earth again. While Nathan touts this one bill, he purposely forgets to mention the failure of campus carry and other bills that protect our Second Amendment rights.”

State Superintendent John Barge, another GOP rival, [More]

A House speaker under siege by tea party forces

  • 6:06 pm Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Ellijay, Ga. — On Wednesday, Gov. Nathan Deal and his extensive entourage could have trekked to any one of 180 House districts to sign HB 60, the gun bill – now law – that will greatly expand where concealed weaponry can be carried.

But as a favor to one of his most important allies in the state Capitol, Deal chose the picturesque banks of the Coosawattee River here in House District 7.

That’s because Speaker David Ralston of Blue Ridge, the second Republican to hold that position and the first from north Georgia, is under siege.

Among the high crimes and misdemeanors allegedly [More]

Democratic Party has slight trust edge in Georgia poll

  • 9:06 am Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

There’s lots to dig into from this State of the State

About 51% of whites polled said they trusted the Republican Party, and only 24.6% of whites trusted the Democratic Party. But 77.9% of blacks supported the Democrats, and only 9.3% of blacks backed the GOP. Hispanic voters, a fast-growing part of the Georgia electorate, were split, with 30.4% backing the GOP and 29.9% backing the Democratic Party. Almost 40% of Hispanics polled supported third parties.

The Democratic advantage is within the poll’s margin of error.

More interesting numbers: Gov. Nathan Deal is the most trusted Republican, with 16.7 percent tapping him. [More]

Nathan Deal signs broad gun rights expansion

  • 6:00 am Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Ellijay – Gov. Nathan Deal signed legislation today that would vastly expand where Georgians can legally carry firearms, a proposal that has drawn heaps of praise and scorn from outside groups.

“People who follow the rules can protect themselves and their families from people who don’t follow the rules,” said Deal, adding: “The Second Amendment should never be an afterthought. It should reside at the forefronts of our minds.”

House Bill 60, which passed in the final hours of this year’s legislative session, allows Georgians to legally carry firearms in a wide range of new places, including schools, bars, churches and [More]

EPD celebrates Earth Day – by easing restrictions on development on Georgia coast

  • 2:51 pm Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 by Jim Galloway

The state Environmental Protection Division has a unique way of celebrating Earth Day.

The department announced a revision of regulations that environmentalists say will greatly increase development along the Georgia coastline.

This explanatory note comes from Neil Herring of the Sierra Club:

Under the [old] policy, which was promulgated by the biologist EPD Director Dr. Carol Couch, a line was drawn where the salt marsh reaches the “hill,” the more or less dry ground, determined by the presence of plants that will grow at that point but not in the marsh.

From that line, to another line, 25 feet inland from the first appearance [More]

Tom Graves takes airlines’ side in ticket-pricing fight

  • 10:22 am Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 by Greg Bluestein


U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, is siding with the airline industry in what could be a nasty fight with the people who buy their tickets.

Graves is the third signature on the Graves’ explanation when the bill was introduced in March:

“The cost of airline tickets will never be transparent as long as the Department of Transportation requires airlines to hide taxes, surcharges, and fees from consumers. In fact, this regulation means airlines may unfairly shoulder the blame for price increases, even if it’s a government tax hike that’s responsible.”

Consumer advocates, who pushed through the bundling requirement several years ago, disagree.Mere geography [More]

Michelle Nunn’s second ad marks another step to the center

  • 5:00 am Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Democratic Senate candidate Michelle Nunn is up with her second ad this morning, an homage to her “five ways to fix Washington” message that has fast become a key part of her stump speech.

It’s part of Nunn’s strategy of tacking toward the center even as the crowded field competing for the GOP nomination rush to the right. Notably, like Nunn’s first ad, the new 30-second spot doesn’t once mention that she’s a Democrat.

It’s not immediately clear how much money is behind the ad buy, though records show her campaign snapped up more than $70,000 [More]

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