Political Insider blog 

AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns
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Michelle Nunn calls for five debates against David Perdue in Senate contest

  • 2:03 pm Friday, August 1st, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Democrat Michelle Nunn is calling for five debates against GOP nominee David Perdue to be held across the state in the runup to the general election.

Perdue went through a gauntlet of debates and forums almost every week in the months before the GOP’s May 20 primary, but he only had one face-to-face debate with his runoff challenger, Rep. Jack Kingston, ahead of last week’s vote.

Cynics would say this is Nunn’s attempt to shift the conversation away from the 144-page series of memos  leaked from her Senate campaign. But we’ll leave that to the cynics.

Perdue spokesman Derrick Dickey said the Republican participated [More]

Michelle Nunn targeted with first attack ad on leaked memo

  • 12:46 pm Friday, August 1st, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

The above ad represents what every political observer in Georgia figured was coming: The first of many attack ads targeting Democrat Michelle Nunn using phrases gleaned from the 144-page series of memos  leaked from her Senate campaign.

The ad, backed by a seven-figure buy from the conservative Ending Spending Action Fund, quotes the memo’s use of the words “too liberal” and “lightweight” in addressing the nonprofit executive’s potential vulnerabilities. And it highlights the Nunn campaign’s concerns about a Points of Light connection to a charity that has ties to Hamas, the militant group now at war with Israel.

With that latter argument, [More]

A wave of outside spending hits Ga. to fight … outside spending

  • 8:56 am Friday, August 1st, 2014 by Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

Get ready for a wave of outside spending to hit Georgia to fight — that’s right — the proliferation of outside spending.

A political action committee called

CounterPAC rolled out a full-page ad in the AJC’s pages as part of a campaign calling on full disclosure of campaign spending. The same group also ran ads targeting competitive Senate races in Alaska and West Virginia as part of their campaign.

Jim Greer, the group’s co-founder and a former CEO of the online gaming site Kongregate, said the pledge is “about restoring accountability for voters and agreeing to elections that aren’t manipulated by a [More]

The story behind Gov. Nathan Deal’s suddenly expanded newsletter

  • 6:00 am Friday, August 1st, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Bertis Downs was surprised to open his inbox one morning a few weeks ago and see Gov. Nathan Deal’s newsletter staring back at him.

The longtime R.E.M. manager is a Democratic donor and supporter of Deal’s opponent, state Sen. Jason Carter. And he doesn’t remember signing up to get any details about the Republican incumbent.

“No idea why – unless a friend was pranking me,” he said.

He’s not the only one we heard from, so we figured we’d track down an answer. It turns out, Deal’s office has dramatically expanded its official newsletter list in recent weeks. Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said the [More]

Michelle Nunn pokes fun at campaign memo leak

  • 11:51 am Thursday, July 31st, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Macon – Democrat Michelle Nunn poked a little fun at her campaign – and previewed a new line of attack against her Republican opponent – in her first extensive interview since the release of a 144-page series of memos  outlining her electoral strategy.

“I always thought I wanted to run an open and transparent campaign but this has gone beyond what I anticipated or intended,” she said during a stop in Macon.

The memo lays out Nunn’s campaign strategy in stark terms, including detailed fundraising plans, an in-depth public relations strategy and pushback to planned GOP attacks on some of [More]

David Perdue reportedly pledges to be a ‘team player’ for Mitch McConnell

  • 9:42 am Thursday, July 31st, 2014 by Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

David Perdue had to run against Washington and its dreaded “career politicians” in order to capture his party’s U.S. Senate nomination.

But he needs them to win in the fall and become an effective senator, which is why he made the rounds Wednesday on Capitol Hill for a series of possibly awkward meetings, starting with the man he defeated in a rough nine-week runoff, Jack Kingston. The Perdue campaign passed along the accompanying photographic evidence of the meeting.

We’re unaware of any visuals from Perdue’s sit-down with Georgia Republican Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. In [More]

On the timing of a Sam Olens charter flight

  • 6:00 am Thursday, July 31st, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Attorney General Sam Olens was in Savannah for meetings in May 2011 when he took a charter flight back to Atlanta for a meeting with Gov. Nathan Deal.

That wouldn’t be all that noteworthy if not for the timing of the May 4, 2011 trip. It took place a day after the then-head of the ethics commission, Stacey Kalberman, presented commissioners with draft subpoenas seeking records related to complaints into his 2010 complaints.

A document obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution lists the reason for the flight, which cost about $1,295, as a “mandatory meeting called by Gov. Deal.”

Olens’ staff, when asked about the trip, indicated [More]

New poll: David Perdue 49, Michelle Nunn 40

  • 12:34 pm Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

Republican firm Vox Populi polling is out with a new survey showing Republican David Perdue claiming 49 percent of the vote in Georgia’s U.S. Senate race, compared to 40 percent for Democrat Michelle Nunn.

The poll was conducted Sunday and Monday. The news started to spread about the Nunn campaign’s internal memo Monday afternoon.

Among the other findings were: 56 percent disapprove of President Barack Obama’s job performance; 23 percent believe Obamacare is a success, compared to 48 percent who say failure and 28 percent say something in between; and 52 percent say the fact that Nunn “has refused [More]

Michelle Nunn team launches pushback on ‘old news’ memo

  • 9:05 am Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

A flurry of calls from Michelle Nunn’s supporters came a One caller was the Rev. Raphael Warnock, the leader of Ebenezer Baptist Church and one of Nunn’s most prominent black supporters. He said he wasn’t surprised that “people are trying to make hay out of it.”

“But the notion that somebody who is trying to run for the Senate actually has a plan to run for the Senate is not interesting or news to me. It’s not news – and it’s old news at best.”

Of course, this isn’t just any memo. It lays out Nunn’s campaign strategy, as of December [More]

On Super PACs, ‘firewalls,’ Nick Ayers and David Perdue

  • 4:28 pm Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

The OpenSecrets Blog is out this week with a winding tale of dark money, consultants and the Georgia U.S. Senate race.

The article from the follow-the-money nonprofit website looks particularly at Nick Ayers, the wunderkind who helped Sonny Perdue to his gubernatorial victories. Ayers went on to be the executive director to the Republican Governors Association and into the GOP consulting world, with a stint working for Tim Pawlenty’s brief presidential campaign.

Ayers is an adviser to Citizens for Working America, the PAC that attacked Jack Kingston during the Senate primary and runoff, accusing him of being the “King [More]

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