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Greg BluesteinDaniel Malloy
Jim Galloway

Democratic Party has slight trust edge in Georgia poll

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There’s lots to dig into from this State of the State poll from the folks at Georgia College. Cam McWhirter at the Wall Street Journal has the headline that could cause Georgia’s GOP leadership some concern:

When asked which party they trusted most to lead the state in the next four years, 40.2% chose the Democratic Party while 36.9% chose the GOP. More than 15% chose other parties and 7.6% didn’t give an answer.

“You could read that as a response to a party that has been dominating and maybe we are getting close to shifting,” said Costas Spirou, who is chairman of the college’s Department of Government and Sociology.

Your daily jolt on politics from the AJC's Political insider blog

About 51% of whites polled said they trusted the Republican Party, and only 24.6% of whites trusted the Democratic Party. But 77.9% of blacks supported the Democrats, and only 9.3% of blacks backed the GOP. Hispanic voters, a fast-growing part of the Georgia electorate, were split, with 30.4% backing the GOP and 29.9% backing the Democratic Party. Almost 40% of Hispanics polled supported third parties.

The Democratic advantage is within the poll’s margin of error.

More interesting numbers: Gov. Nathan Deal is the most trusted Republican, with 16.7 percent tapping him. Silver medal to Saxby Chambliss at 13.2 percent.

Former Gov. Roy Barnes is the most trusted Democrat at 20.1 percent, followed by John Lewis at 11.9 percent.

Georgians also trust the federal government slightly more than governments closer to home. And 59.6 percent disagree with the decision not to expand Medicaid (38.8 percent strongly disagree). But 50.8 percent oppose Obamacare — with 41 percent strongly opposed.

There’s agreement that public money should not go to pro sports stadiums (76.2 percent no) while it should go to deepening the Savannah Port (56.3 percent yes).

Full results here. The poll was conducted in February of 500 adults via landline and cell phone interviews, with a 4.4 percentage point margin of error.

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Rep. Phil Gingrey ditches the lab coat in his new ad and lets Patti Saylor do the talking. Saylor’s son, Paul, drowned in Iraq after his Humvee ran off the road, but by the time his body got back to Bremen it was decomposed and not viewable.

Gingrey and other members of the Georgia delegation worked to change the process on embalming soldiers. Saylor praises him in the spot for helping get answers about what happened to her son. The 30-second TV spot is below and the longer web version is here.

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Businessman David Perdue is putting more of his personal wealth on the line ahead of the May 20 primary. His full disclosure with the Federal Election Commission reveals that Perdue moved $250,000 that he had loaned his campaign for the runoff into a donation to the primary campaign.

That changes his cash on hand at the end of March to $950,000 (instead of the $700,000 Perdue’s camp told us at the filing deadline, before the decision to move the money around). Perdue’s personal contribution to the race, in combined contributions and loans, stood at $1.6 million.

Another interesting nugget from the disclosure: Professional golfer Matt Kuchar chipped in $2,600 to the Perdue campaign.

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It’s considered the longest of long shots. But Atlanta is still in the running to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

The DNC has asked Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and 14 other city leaders to submit formal bids to host the event, which could cost as much as $60 million.

Our fair town faces stiff competition, chief among them Columbus, in the heart of the swing state of Ohio. CNN reports that Columbus has been “lobbying hard” to land the convention:

At a DNC meeting in February, Columbus officials hosted a reception highlighting reasons why the city should be the site for the Democratic National Convention. While 15 cities received RFPs on Monday, a DNC official noted that other cities could request an RFP and be considered as a host city.

No love for Atlanta on the GOP side. Republicans narrowed their list of potential host cities to six earlier this month. Two Ohio cities, Cincinnati and Cleveland, are also among those finalists.

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Republicans are taking advantage of the latest Supreme Court decision tearing down limits on campaign donations. Politico has more:

According to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission, the newly formed Republican Victory Fund is a joint fundraising committee composed of the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

The new entity will allow Republicans to host fundraising events soliciting checks of nearly $100,000 from wealthy donors. …

Previously, joint fundraising efforts haven’t been able to solicit more than about $70,000 — which about the maximum amount a donor could give to parties and candidates prior to the McCutcheon decision.

With the limit gone, joint fundraising is poised to become a new tool in the fundraising arsenal for campaigns and parties.

There’s also the Senators Classic Committee — originally founded by Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss and his buddy Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C. — that the Washington Post points out is raising max checks for 19 GOP Senate candidates at once.

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Former Democratic Party of Georgia chair Mike Berlon’s legal troubles didn’t end when he resigned from office last year amid growing criticism.

The Daily Report says he’s under criminal investigation and has filed for bankruptcy. From the story:

A Gwinnett County attorney who chaired the Georgia Democratic Party has admitted he took nearly $1 million from former clients, faces a trial against another former client this month—and may face criminal charges.

Gwinnett District Attorney Danny Porter said this week that his office is investigating Michael Berlon, though Porter would not disclose what specific criminal accusations are involved.

“There is a pending investigation based on a referral from the State Bar that we received about two months ago,” Porter said.

Berlon was head of the Georgia Democrats from 2011 until mid-2013. He stepped down after the AJC documented his mounting legal issues, including a reprimand by the Georgia Supreme Court and lawsuits by former clients. His replacement, DuBose Porter, will be front and center on Thursday evening with the party’s marquee Jefferson-Jackson fundraising dinner.

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State Superintendent John Barge wants to remind voters why he’s challenging Gov. Nathan Deal in the GOP primary. He sent out a two-page open letter saying he gets questioned about his longshot bid virtually every day.

His answer:

“Because I am tired. I am tired of the same old politics; leadership whose morals, values and principles are for sale to the highest bidder and leadership that lines its own pockets while the most vulnerable in the state suffer. I believe the people of Georgia deserve a leader who will actually lead, and do so from a foundation of moral integrity and a desire to do what is right.”

You can read the entire dispatch here.

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In the Savannah-based First District Congressional race, GOP surgeon Bob Johnson is up with a new ad that features his bio and desire to “end this liberal nightmare.”

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Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams has been tapped as a rising star by Emily’s List, a group that backs women who support abortion rights. Click here for more from our colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin:

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U.S. Rep. John Lewis is in Dublin today. Not the South Georgia one.

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