Political Insider blog 

AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns
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A link between probation company and senator who wants to be a judge

  • 10:57 am Sunday, April 20th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Good read here from Sandy Hodson and the Augusta Chronicle. Don’t be satisfied with these introductory paragraphs:

Less than a week before a Senate committee stripped a bill of provisions that limited the fees private probation companies can charge, the owner of such a firm wrote a letter of recommendation for the Waynesboro state senator who headed the committee and is in line for a judgeship that will supervise people affected by the legislation.

In addition, three days before the legislative session began, state Sen. Jesse Stone received his largest single campaign contribution from the Georgia Association of Professional Bondsmen, according [More]

Chip Rogers awaits ‘next challenge’ after splitting with GPB

  • 4:09 pm Saturday, April 19th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Former state Sen. Chip Rogers on Saturday confirmed our report that he was let go from Georgia Public Broadcasting. His high-paying gig there had been the source of controversy from critics who said his hire smacked of political cronyism.

“I enjoyed my time with GPB,” Rogers said in a statement. “Our show had great ratings and my blog was the most widely read on the site. I look forward to my next challenge and wish the best for everyone at GPB.”

Rogers, a Woodstock Republican, was elected to the Legislature in 2002 and rose to be one of the Senate’s [More]

You can lead a governor to cameras, but you can’t make him debate

  • 9:00 am Saturday, April 19th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Instances are scarce, perhaps as rare as a cop doing the speed limit, but every now and then, you come across a politician who would just rather not talk.

Gov. Nathan Deal has become one of them. It is only an occasional affliction. Our governor is an easy conversationalist in front of small groups, and large ones, too. TV cameras provoke nothing but calm and a smooth river of words.

But offer Deal a chance to appear on stage with his two Republican primary opponents, and the governor becomes as halting as a greenhorn at his first Toastmasters meeting.

The GOP incumbent this [More]

A new Super PAC salvo against Jack Kingston

  • 6:03 pm Friday, April 18th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

WASHINGTON – The above started airing on Atlanta TV stations this morning courtesy of Citizens for a Working America PAC, which has put $500,000 behind the effort.

It’s the first direct televised attack on Rep. Jack Kingston, and it follows some of the similar themes of Ending Spending PAC’s hit on Rep. Phil Gingrey, including earmarks, the debt ceiling and, interestingly enough, Cash for Clunkers.

The South Carolina-based Citizens for a Working America started in 2010 attacking then-Rep. John Spratt, D-S.C., and was going to be Michele Bachmann’s Super PAC in the 2012 presidential race before switching to Mitt [More]

Sources: Chip Rogers is out at GPB

  • 5:00 pm Friday, April 18th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Former state Sen. Chip Rogers, who was given a cushy job and a

Three people with knowledge of the situation tell us that Rogers, who was making a lofty $150,000 as an executive producer on an economic development program, is being let go.  Rogers didn’t return several calls seeking comment and GPB executives didn’t return repeated calls throughout the day.

One person with direct knowledge of the situation said Rogers was “blindsided” by the news when he was told Friday.

Rogers’ position, like others at GPB, was paid solely through state taxpayers’ money and he was paid more than several higher-ranking executives.

Rogers was [More]

Nathan Deal to sign sweeping gun bill next week

  • 4:05 pm Friday, April 18th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Gov. Nathan Deal plans to sign legislation next week that would vastly expand where Georgians can legally carry firearms.

House Bill 60, which passed in the final hours of this year’s legislative session, would expand where Georgians may legally carry firearms, including schools, bars, churches and government buildings. A recent analysis also said it could let felons use the state’s “stand your ground” rules to claim self-defense if they feel threatened.

Gun rights groups cheered the news that Deal would sign the measure, which critics have dubbed the “guns everywhere” bill, on Wednesday at a north Georgia event. GeorgiaCarry.org, which [More]

In which possession of a MARTA card becomes grounds for a GOP attack

  • 1:02 pm Friday, April 18th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

A Republican governor and one Democratic candidate for Senate have indicated a certain reluctance to appear on-stage with their primary opponents. House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, doesn’t share their concern.

On Tuesday night, the third most powerful figure in the state Capitol debated Sam Snider, a tea partyist and Gilmer County high school wrestling coach. Video has been posted by fetchyournews.com.

An accompanying write-up includes this paragraph:

Things got heated quickly when Snider showed he was not intimidated by his opponent. Snider went after Ralston for his support of TSPLOST and even went so far as to point out that Ralston [More]

Phil Gingrey to Super PAC: ‘Leave Georgia alone’

  • 9:09 am Friday, April 18th, 2014 by Jim Galloway, Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

Republican Phil Gingrey is trying to make the best of the fact that he is now drawing the brunt of the attacks from the powerful Ending Spending Action Fund.

The super PAC is spending much of the $1.3 million in airtime it reserves ahead of the May 20 primary against Gingrey, and it’s beginning to chafe the Marietta Republican.

“Go figure. I don’t know who’s behind it but I guess that’s freedom of speech,” Gingrey told us. “But as my dad told me one time a long time ago, a knock is a boost and somebody must be worried about me [More]

U.S. Chamber backs Jack Kingston in Senate race

  • 4:47 pm Thursday, April 17th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today endorsed Rep. Jack Kingston in the Georgia U.S. Senate race, solidifying his position as the choice of the business establishment and representing a blow to businessman David Perdue, who is fighting in the same space of the Republican primary electorate.

The Chamber can back up its endorsement with independent spending, though political director Rob Engstrom would not reveal any plans for a buy. The group has already spent $500,000 each backing Sens. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Thad Cochran, R-Miss., in their primaries against tea party insurgents.

Word is Perdue had a testy interview [More]

Sue Everhart steps out for Ashley Bell

  • 3:56 pm Thursday, April 17th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Former state GOP chairman Sue Everhart has declared herself an ally of former Hall County commissioner Ashley Bell in the primary race for state school superintendent.

While not unexpected, the endorsement is important. To use a spy thriller metaphor, Everhart was one of those who helped bring Bell in from the Democratic cold – and into the embrace of the GOP in 2010.

The hugs haven’t always been warm. From Everhart:

“I stood by Ashley Bell when he announced he was switching to the Republican Party after his local GOP Chair took note of his conservative voting record on the commission and recruited [More]

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