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Jim Galloway, Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

A $10,000 lunch with Chris Christie in Atlanta

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Cue the traffic jokes. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will be in Atlanta on March 7 to raise money for the Republican Governors Association alongside Gov. Nathan Deal.

According to the above invitation obtained by the Insider, a ticket for the luncheon reception at East Lake Golf Club will set you back $10,000, or if you have real change to spare you can pick up two tickets and become a co-chair for $25,000.

Christie, fighting to regain his political footing amid the Fort Lee traffic scandal, held the first town hall meeting of his second term Thursday.

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Your daily jolt on politics from the AJC's Political insider blogBuried within the poll of the GOP base we told you about Thursday was a ballot test for the U.S. Senate race. In keeping with other surveys, it shows no one jumping in front or falling behind among the top-tier candidates.

David Perdue is slightly ahead with 12.7 percent, followed by Jack Kingston and Paul Broun at 10.9 percent, Phil Gingrey at 10.4 percent and Karen Handel at 10.2 percent.

“Undecided,” at 42.7 percent, is winning in a romp.

Handel is setting the stage for Saturday’s GAGOP debate in Gainesville with a web video casting her as “different” from the congressmen in the race.

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National Journal has a piece looking at Kingston’s health care plan. If you live in Georgia, you help pay for it:

“Jack,” his campaign wrote in a memo last fall, “is the only candidate in this race that has voted to eliminate taxpayer-funded insurance subsidies for Members of Congress and their staffs.”

But what the memo didn’t mention—and what Kingston doesn’t talk about on the trail—is that Georgia taxpayers are footing as much as 75 percent of the bill for his own health insurance. That’s because Kingston, 58, receives health coverage through a plush package that has allowed him access to a lifetime of subsidized health benefits due to his past service in the Georgia statehouse.

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Following up on Thursday’s franking discussion, Kingston actually called for banning most franking privileges when he first ran for Congress in 1992.

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The fight by liberal groups against Georgia federal judicial nominee Michael Boggs escalated Thursday with a letter to Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee from 27 groups running the gamut from NARAL Pro-Choice America to MoveOn.org. The inclusion of the Human Rights Campaign in formally denouncing Boggs amounts to a big move by the LGBT community.

The theme unifying the left, from the letter:

“During his time as a legislator in the Georgia General Assembly, Boggs demonstrated a troubling lack of concern for individuals whose experience and personal history differ from his own, creating a record that lacks a demonstrated commitment to fairness and equal justice with respect to issues of reproductive freedom, civil rights, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality.”

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What a difference a couple of years makes.

During his first mayoral campaign in 2009, Kasim Reed did not support gay marriage. By May 2012 President Barack Obama was on board, but Reed was “still wrestling” with the issue. Then in December 2012 he came around to support it.

On Monday he will rally for it.

Reed is joining in a news conference with the group Freedom to Marry to serve as an honorary co-chair for Southerners, along with Rep. John Lewis, as the group mounts a “a first-of-its-kind major public education effort” to change marriage laws in the South.

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Want another sign that the House bill to strip Gov. Nathan Deal of the power to expand Medicaid will loom large during his re-election campaign?

The Georgia GOP dispatched a robocall Thursday afternoon to voters in Democrat Jason Carter’s district. Carter, of course, is challenging Deal in the election and has blasted Deal for supporting a measure that would require legislative approval to expand Medicaid rolls by 600,000 or so.

In the robocall, a female narrator urges listeners to call Carter’s office to register their discontent with his opposition to the bill:

“It will allow your elected state legislators to decide if we should expand Medicaid health coverage in Georgia. Your state senator Jason Carter is adamantly opposed to this legislation. He wants the governor, not the Legislature, to decide. Clearly Jason Carter is more concerned with running for higher office than representing you.”

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Year end fundraising tallies are out for both of the state’s political parties.

The Georgia GOP is sitting on roughly $367,000 after spending more money than it raised in 2013. Their counterparts in the state Democratic Party, meanwhile, had a little over $200,000 in cash at year’s end. It’s a far cry from the party’s grievous situation about eight months ago when it had about $15,000 in the bank.

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Remember Georgia’s attempt last year at grabbing disputed territory that could give the state coveted access to the Tennessee River?

It hasn’t earned much attention in the state Legislature this year, but the folks in Tennessee haven’t forgotten. The Chattanooga Times-Free Press wonders if the resolution is a “ticking bomb” that could lead to a larger legal battle.
From the Feb. 18 article:

“If I were a legislator in Tennessee, I would say, ‘These people are giving us a gift. We should take it and run with it,” said state Rep. Harry Geisinger, R-Roswell, who wrote the resolution that would let Tennessee keep the disputed land in exchange for water.

“I’m a little bit surprised that Tennessee hasn’t taken some action,” he said recently.

Geisinger’s resolution made headlines last year, but it isn’t on the Tennessee General Assembly’s radar now.

“We’re clearly not too worried about it, because I haven’t heard about it,” said state House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga.

Attorney General Sam Olens’ office wouldn’t comment for the story, but Geisinger told the paper he believed the state would have to sue if Tennessee didn’t accept the deal.

“Do you ignore the Georgia Assembly if you’re the attorney general?” he asked.

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Darden and Pelosi

The above photo is former Georgia U.S. Rep. Buddy Darden palling around with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who was in town Thursday.

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