Posted: 9:58 am Monday, January 20th, 2014
By Greg Bluestein
We’re at the Martin Luther King Jr. commemorative service where Gov. Nathan Deal is expected to announce plans to add a certain civil rights leader’s name to a prominent spot on the Capitol grounds.
Deal’s expected announcement, whether intentional or not, injects an extra dose of politics into a ceremony already tinged with it. Also scheduled to make remarks are Sen. Johnny Isakson, Rep. Hank Johnson and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.
A flurry of candidates have sent out pitches tied to the holiday. We just got one from Rev. Raphael Warnock, who will be delivering the keynote address in a few minutes at Ebenezer, urging support for Democrat Michelle Nunn’s Senate run.
Democratic Party of Georgia chair DuBose Porter told partisans that the struggle for King’s “beloved community” still rages and urged Democrats to “set aside our own interests and instead labor to build one another up, working as a community for the common good.”
And the Georgia GOP released its own statement commemorating King’s life, with minority engagement director Leo Smith imploring supporters to “work to ensure that Dr. King’s legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of us all.”
We received a different sort of plea from former State Sen. Steen Miles, who is invoking King’s name to try to get an invite to a Senate debate next week.
The organizers of the Georgia Municipal Association’s Jan. 27 forum are only allowing candidates who have raised at least $100,000 to attend. For the Democrats, that means only Dr. Branko Radulovacki and front-runner Michelle Nunn. And Nunn told us last week she won’t participate.
Miles, a Democrat who is far from meeting that threshold, sent us a statement that evokes Dr. King’s stance on “economic justice” and warns of too much focus on the money game.
“Dr. King spoke of the twin evils of discrimination and economic deprivation. We are guilty of both when we exclude rather than include based on money alone. Part of Dr. King’s solution to the twin evils was to appeal to the conscience of the nation. I appeal to conscience of the GMA and all Georgians to cease to anointing political leaders based on wealth.”
About the Author
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He joined the newspaper in June 2012 after spending seven years with the Atlanta bureau of The Associated Press. He also contributes to the AJC's Political Insider blog. Bluestein has traveled to Haiti with President Jimmy Carter, journeyed to Panama with Gov. Nathan Deal and tracked down a suspected Ponzi schemer in suburban Kansas. He spent weeks in Louisiana covering the Gulf Oil Spill, became an unwitting expert on capital punishment after witnessing almost a dozen executions in Georgia's death chamber and was part of award-winning teams that descended upon the biggest breaking news events in the Southeast. Bluestein has covered a range of beats, including environment, legal affairs and economic development. He's now the AJC's political writer, charged with covering the intricacies of Georgia's lively government on the newspaper's front pages and in the Political Insider blog. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and two daughters.