Posted: 6:00 am Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
By Daniel Malloy
Atlanta TV viewers will get a steady diet of Michelle Nunn for the next week as she makes her first foray into television advertising in the U.S. Senate race.
Nunn is the likely Democratic nominee, but the ad does not mention her party, instead promoting her centrist, problem-solver image with a photo of her with George H.W. Bush, the founder of the Points of Light Foundation. Nunn declares that she’s running for Senate because she’s “optimistic about Georgia’s future.”
The introductory salvo comes as Republican primary contestants David Perdue and Jack Kingston continue to shell out large sums on the airwaves, and as a conservative Super PAC launches a $150,000 attack on Nunn.
We’ve tracked down $55,000 worth of Nunn ads on Atlanta broadcast stations in the next week via Federal Communications Commission filings, but the buy could include other markets and cable TV as well. The campaign would not reveal any details, beyond to say this was a long-planned move and in no way related to the Ending Spending PAC buy.
(An earlier version of this post erroneously said Nunn couldn’t spend money earmarked for the primary after May 20. Not so.)
It will be interesting to see if the TV burst has any effect on Nunn’s polling numbers, which show her neck-and-neck with the GOP field. A Channel 2 Action News survey out Wednesday evening showed David Perdue with the best numbers against Nunn. The results:
- Perdue 37.5 percent, Nunn 33 percent
- Rep. Phil Gingrey 40.5 percent, Nunn 37.6 percent
- Rep. Jack Kingston 37.7 percent, Nunn 37 percent
- Rep. Paul Broun 38.5 percent, Nunn 38.2 percent
- Nunn 38.1 percent, Karen Handel 37 percent
The Landmark Communications/Rosetta Stone poll has a margin of error of 4 percent.
A look at census data for Georgia shows this could resonate with voters. Among Georgians 25 years and older, 64.7 percent do not have a college degree — associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s.
The left-leaning Better Georgia group is raising questions about Gov. Nathan Deal’s sale of a salvage company to Copart last year.
The group produced emails obtained by an Open Records request that showed Deal chief of staff Chris Riley wanted to alter a company press release announcing the sale to “remove Gainesville as much as possible and make [the sale] appear more metro Atlanta.”
Better Georgia head Bryan Long said the public “deserves to know why the Governor’s Chief of Staff wanted to hide the sale of Gainesville Salvage.”
Deal’s attorney announced on July 3, 2013 that the Texas-based car auction firm had agreed to pay $3.2 million each to Deal and his business partner Ken Cronan and days later the AJC reported that Copart was battling the state over nearly $74 million in disputed back taxes.
Company records show the Department of Revenue inquest is still ongoing, but the agency has cited astronomic prices to the AJC when seeking public records on the review. Better Georgia says it was told an even broader request for documents would cost close to $4 million.
“The timing of the audit of Copart, Inc, the fact that the tax remains unpaid and the ability of Gov. Deal to become an overnight millionaire from the sale … are all facts that deserve scrutiny,” said Long. “Better Georgia calls on Gov. Deal to direct his political appointees at the Georgia Department of Revenue to make the requested documents available for public view.”
Deal, by the way, posted in his financial disclosure last month that the sale helped reduce his overall debt by about $1.8 million. His net worth is listed at nearly $4 million, an increase of about $1 million thanks partly to the Copart sale.
Another deadly shooting at Fort Hood, Texas on Wednesday shook the nation. Bob Barr, the former Congressman mounting a comeback bid in the 11th District, offered his prayers on Twitter, followed quickly with some pr0-gun advice.
On WGAU 1340-AM this morning, Martha Zoller and Tim Bryant posed an interesting question to Democratic strategist and Kasim Reed confidant Tharon Johnson: Would Reed support Jason Carter in the governor’s race? The two have a bit of an icy relationship, but there aren’t any other Democrats running for governor.
“He hasn’t said that he’s not going to support Jason Carter. He’s just said right now he just thinks Jason needs to continue doing what he’s doing, which Jason is doing, and that’s raising money and talking to voters. I think the mayor’s definitely excited about some of the things he’s saying, but he’s the mayor of Atlanta. And we know that he’s got a great working relationship with Governor Deal.
“They have a wonderful partnership. And when you have a governor and a mayor in the capital city working together, I think everyone in the city and the state wins. So he’s going to continue to work with the governor in his capacity as mayor, and when it comes time to make a decision about the race, he will. But I think he’s definitely a Democrat. He wants Democrats to be successful and he’s very happy with some of the momentum that we’re seeing out in the field.”
Bryant followed up by pointing out that a Carter win would throw a wrench into any plans Reed had to be governor in 2018, so does really Reed want Carter to triumph? Johnson’s reply:
“Kasim Reed is going to continue to be Mayor of Atlanta. That’s something that he’s totally focused on until 2017. Who knows how 2014 is going to shape out. But I will tell you that I think the sky’s the limit for the mayor and whatever he decides to do after he’s done being Mayor of Atlanta, and we’ll just deal with it when we get there.”
If you’re scanning the previous paragraph for “yes,” it ain’t there.
We now know where Georgia House Speaker David Ralston falls in the Georgia Right to Life/Georgia Life Alliance split. Here’s what Ralston had to say in a video interview with Fetch Your News when asked about GRTL’s endorsement of Ralston’s tea party-allied primary challenger, Sam Snider:
“Look, they are a special interest group. They have been now disenfranchised by their parent organization, which means they’re basically now a illegitimate group. They’re there for a reason. That’s because they have lost their credibility as as special interest group at the state capitol because it’s their way or the highway.
“They sided with pro-choice, pro-abortion groups when they were trying to pass a pro-life measure in Washington. You know, I believe if you can save 1,200 unborn children a year through passing the fetal pain bill, you do it. You don’t say, ‘Well, no, we’re not going to do that bill because it don’t go far enough.’
“Because if you can’t pass one that goes as far as you want or if it’s not your idea, then those 1,200 lives would never have been born. That’s their problem. They value their political relevance more than they do the cause that they should be about. That’s my problem with them.”
Former President Jimmy Carter is going to a play tonight in Washington. This is interesting because the play is about Carter. From the New York Times:
The occasion is the opening of “Camp David,” a play about the 13 historic, maddening days Mr. Carter spent at the presidential retreat on Catoctin Mountain in 1978, his presidency in the balance, negotiating the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.
Both Mr. Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, cooperated in its making, with many hours of interviews; Mr. Carter told the playwright and the producer that he felt “God wanted him to play a role” in Middle East peace. Mrs. Carter handed over a private diary that chronicled her intense highs and lows at the time.
Acolytes of Mr. Carter hope that “Camp David” — produced by a longtime Carter confidante, Gerald Rafshoon, and written by Lawrence Wright, a Pulitzer Prize winner — will be a powerful reminder of the signature triumph of the Carter presidency and perhaps revive the decades-long effort to rehabilitate him.
“That would be nice, I think,” Mr. Carter, who turns 90 in October, said in an interview. “I’m not going to be coy about it.”
The Washington Post has video of U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, performing a song he co-wrote at the “Grammy’s on the Hill” awards Wednesday night in D.C.
Turns out the man can carry a tune.
About the Author
I'm the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington Correspondent, covering the Georgia Congressional delegation and other D.C. goings-on that affect the state. I'm a zealous fan and proud graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, I've been at the AJC since 2011. Before that, I worked for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in Pittsburgh and Washington.