Political Insider blog 

AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns

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]

Report: Ray McBerry seeks out 18-year-old for bikini-clad photo shoot

  • 11:59 am Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

Also-ran gubernatorial candidate Ray McBerry is back in the news, via Fox 5 News, for inviting an 18-year-old to wear a bikini for him in a supposed modeling shoot — sparking a confrontation with the girl’s mother.

You may recall McBerry, 46, was accused of an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old during his 2010 run for governor. The full Randy Travis story is here, including a Facebook message exchange between McBerry and 18-year-old Kayla Gooch. McBerry found Gooch through an intermediary named Tara O’Neill — who may not exist — and a McBerry-created “Girls of Dixie Modeling” company.

The Michelle Nunn media relations strategy

  • 9:00 am Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy and Greg Bluestein

The Michelle

First, here’s the big picture view on us ravenous, gaffe-hungry beasts:

“The communications department’s first and foremost responsibility is to ensure that the candidate and all parts of the campaign adhere to the message that the senior team has agreed upon. In the zero sum game of elections, resources that a campaign spends advancing a message different from the one that will persuade the most voters is time and resources wasted. In fact – in 21st century campaigns with wall-to-wall media coverage and super-pacs able to put millions of dollars behind video behind a single cell-phone video – a [More]

Gov. Nathan Deal makes a (very limited) exception to his stance against Medicaid expansion

  • 6:00 am Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Gov. Nathan Deal has gone to great lengths to assure his supporters that he’s against the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. But he carved out one exception this week.

It has to do with the more than 1,100 unaccompanied immigrant children transferred by the feds this year to the care of sponsors living in Georgia. The influx comes amid a surge of Central American children fleeing instability and violence at home to illegally cross the southwest border.

The governor said in an interview he expects their number to grow, and that he’s hearing they could be granted [More]

Leaked doc: Michelle Nunn non-profit validated grants to charity with Hamas-tied affiliate

  • 1:33 pm Monday, July 28th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

The National Review got hold of a 144-page internal document drafted for the Michelle Nunn campaign in December. It includes plenty of juicy revelations on campaign strategy, including a potentially serious issue with a Points of Light connection to a charity that has ties to Hamas, which is now at war with Israel.

The revelation came from an internal examination of the nascent campaign’s potential weaknesses and how Republicans could attack them.

Points of Light, through a service called MissionFish, helped validate thousands of charities for EBay users who wanted to auction items and donate the proceeds to a specific charity. [More]

Whistleblower lawsuit targets ‘unethical’ behavior of Ga. National Guard head

  • 9:15 am Monday, July 28th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

Another whistleblower case is rocking state government. This one targets Adjutant General Jim Butterworth, Gov. Nathan Deal’s pick to head the Georgia National Guard.

The Georgia National Guard sent us a statement that said Grabowski “was not fired for any behavior protected by the whistleblower statute or other state or federal laws,” but rather after refusing a reassignment. It didn’t respond to the specific allegations.

Grabowski makes a series of claims in the lawsuit. Among them:

She questions Butterworth’s participation in a 2012 AFLAC Cancer Center charity drive in which he offered donors an invite to an “exclusive” barbecue and open house at Clay [More]