Posted: 9:54 am Tuesday, May 13th, 2014
By Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway
At least one of Cobb County’s GOP primary contests could turn on the deal that lured professional baseball out of Atlanta – and it doesn’t involve any of the county commissioners who voted for the Braves incentive package.
State Rep. Charles Gregory of Kennesaw, a libertarian-minded Republican who has figured big in recent gun legislation, is facing a tough challenge from business-backed Bert Reeves, a Marietta attorney.
In the days after the Cobb County Commission sprung its news about the Atlanta Braves, Gregory was critical of the use of public funds. He repeated himself at a recent forum. From the Marietta Daily Journal:
Gregory said in a free market, everyone votes on whether a product or service is useful every time they make a purchase.
“So what I would say to the Atlanta Braves is, ‘We would love to have you. You, just like any other business, you take out your loan. You build your stadium. You buy your land. You make your investment. You take the risk, and you keep all the profits,’” Gregory said. “We don’t need to be putting or socializing the risk on the backs of taxpayers. It really is legal plunder, corporate welfare, corporatism, whatever you want to call it. The taxpayers don’t need to fund private business.”
… [WSB Radio’s Pete] Combs turned to Reeves to comment on the question.
“One of the key differences between Mr. Gregory and myself is his absolute point of view about the complete exclusion of government involved in private enterprise,” Reeves said. “He and I disagree, and I believe there are certain partnerships that certainly provide economic growth and jobs, and that’s what I’m all about.”
To that particular point, Gregory is also being targeted by a new, independent committee, the Georgia Coalition for Job Creation that we understand is being bank-rolled by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Metro Chamber of Commerce of Atlanta.
This flyer has begun arriving in Kennesaw mail boxes, accusing Gregory of pursing a “liberal” agenda with votes against drug tests for food stamp recipients, legislation to prohibit government officials from advocating for Medicaid expansion, and support for a fellow Republican who introduced an ill-written bill that would have removed loitering prohibitions against sex offenders.
We do not think liberals would agree that the last item is on their to-do list. Click here to examine the whole thing.
The coalition is targeting a dozen or so state legislative races, Republican and Democrat, in an effort “to elect leaders who have demonstrated a willingness to fight to grow jobs and expand economic opportunity for all Georgians,” according to its website.
Which races we don’t know — except that the business group has also placed itself opposite state Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, by supporting GOP challenger Nancy Stasinis of St. Marys.
With this Twitter message below, the U.S. Senate campaign of David Perdue acknowledged late Monday that the candidate has never voted in a general GOP primary in Georgia:
Spokesman Derrick Dickey explained this morning that Perdue lived in Tennessee in 2008, and voted in that state’s GOP presidential primary – making moot rival Jack Kingston’s comment from Sunday’s APC/GPB debate: “You did not even vote for Saxby Chambliss.”
Perdue also cast a ballot in the 2012 Georgia GOP presidential primary, but not in the general primary that summer.
Dickey said Perdue has never been shy about calling himself a Republican, and pointed to an Insider post from Monday, which named Perdue as one of two GOP candidates in the contest whose TV ads identify them as Republican.
We climbed aboard David Perdue’s fancy RV over the weekend as he launched his statewide tour. This is the result.
Paul Broun on Monday accused GOP rival Jack Kingston of being a closet immigration reformist.
The Athens congressman took issue with what he called an “ultimatum” from Tom Donohue, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who told House Republicans that if they didn’t pass an immigration bill this year, they needn’t bother running a GOP presidential candidate in 2016.
Kingston, Broun pointed out, has been endorsed by the U.S. Chamber and so: “must either accept the embrace of the U.S. Chamber and their top priority of passing immigration reform or publicly denounce both.
“When you walk through a barn, you’re bound to get something on your boots,” Broun said.
Former state Sen. Barry Loudermilk is going after former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr and state Rep. Ed Lindsey in the GOP 11th Congressional District primary with a mailer that has Barr crying foul.
Barr was a friend of Eric Holder before Holder became the Attorney General conservatives love to hate. Barr even wrote a nice recommendation letter for Holder in 2009. Loudermilk quotes from this letter in the mail piece, including:
“In the best of times, Eric Holder would be an excellent choice to serve as Attorney General. However, in these times of tremendous international and domestic turmoil, in which the line between military operations and law enforcement actions has become blurred to the point our precious civil liberties are at great risk, the choice of Mr. Holder could not be timelier or more crucial.”
Barr pointed out that he has since recanted his support for Holder. From a 2013 column on Townhall.com:
“Eric Holder was a man of high reputation when he was sworn in as our nation’s 82nd Attorney General in February 2009. However,the unraveling of credibility that has stretched to the highest reaches of the once-vaunted Department of Justice, has now so weakened Holder that resignation is the only honorable and timely option.”
Barr’s son and campaign manager Derek Barr said the mailer is “full of half-truths and distortions.” Loudermilk consultant Dan McLagan sent a rather McLagan-esque reply to our Jeremy Redmon:
“If it’s full of ‘half truths and distortions,’ I want to know what they are since this was written by Bob Barr himself and he should be held accountable if he was not telling the truth about his man-crush on Eric Holder.
“Oh, you can quote me on all of that — even this last part about quoting me.”
Also, the attached mailer was sent to Barr’s house — addressed to his wife.
Gov. Nathan Deal sounds pretty confident that a House-Senate deal on a bill to authorize the Port of Savannah deepening is the last hurdle facing the project. Said Deal:
“I believe we’re going to hear in the next week or two that the conference committee report will be passed and then the president will sign. That must be the last technical objection they could possibly think of. Now we must make sure the federal government lives up to its obligation.”
It could come at an opportune time. The earliest it could head to President Barack Obama’s desk is next week. Just in time for the May 20 primary.
Atlanta Democratic Rep. John Lewis says Georgia’s only representative on the special committee to investigate the Benghazi attack should be booted for mixing campaigning and investigating. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, a Coweta County Republican, is one of the leaders of House Republicans’ campaign arm — a group that has taken heat for fundraising off of Benghazi.
Lewis said Westmoreland himself is mixing Benghazi and campaigning since he spoke about the investigation during a GOP meeting in his district. Said Lewis in a prepared statement:
“Based on his comments this weekend at a political meeting, it seems Rep. Lynn Westmoreland will work to enable House Republicans to further politicize a supposedly sober investigation in an effort to rally the rightwing base. His participation on such a committee is as inappropriate as it is revealing.
“I am calling on Rep. Westmoreland to step down from the Select Committee on Benghazi immediately.”
It may surprise you to learn that Westmoreland is not following Lewis’ advice. Said spokeswoman Leigh Claffey:
“Congressman Westmoreland’s role on the Benghazi Select Committee is a reflection of his hard work on both the House Intelligence Committee and his informal working group. He, along with the other committee members and Chairman [Trey] Gowdy, have said the only mission of this committee is to find the facts, that’s it.”
House Democrats, meanwhile, are still trying to figure out if they will participate in the committee at all.
This morning, Judge Michael Boggs and six other Georgians face a committee hearing to see if their federal judge nominations move forward. Boggs, whose conservative record in the state House, is under a microscope from the Democrat-led Senate Judiciary Committee.
Here’s our take from last week. The Huffington Post has the latest rundown of the increasing heat from the left on Senate Democrats to block Boggs that includes this gem of a quote from Rep. David Scott, D-Atlanta, to the Tom Joyner Morning Show:
“I’m telling you, there’s something rotten in this cotton,” Scott said during the interview. “It’s stinking and it’s a foul odor that’s coming out of that Senate.”
The Georgia Life Alliance, an anti-abortion group meant to counter the influence of Georgia Right to Life, is out with the results of its candidate questionnaire for state House and state Senate races. The buzz around its formation was that GLA would come to Karen Handel’s aid in the U.S. Senate race, but that has not been the case so far.
“Mrs. Robinson you can seduce me now.”
With those words, Gov. Nathan Deal’s resident communications strategist (and snark master) Brian Robinson popped the question yesterday to his longtime girlfriend.
Congrats to both of them.
The Washington Post is reporting a red-blue divide when it comes to hospital patients – and income — in the U.S.:
The Hospital Corporation of America, which has facilities in 20 states, reported a big gap in Medicaid and uninsured admissions between expansion and non-expansion states.
In the four states it operates where Medicaid expanded under the ACA, the company saw a 22.3 percent growth in Medicaid admissions, compared to a 1.3 percent decline in non-expansion states.
The company also had a 29 percent decline in uninsured admissions in the expansion states, while non-expansion states experienced 5.9 percent growth in uninsured admissions, chief financial officer William Rutherford said.
In a letter to Atlanta school board chairman Courtney English, state Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, has demanded to know who is putting up cash to pad the salary of Meria Carstarphen, the new superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools. In part:
It is my understanding from media reports that it is your intent to receive donations from the business community to pay for the transition of the new superintendent. It is my further understanding that you do not plan to release the names and organizations that donate money to the transition. I am very concerned with any such lack of transparency on the part of the Atlanta Public Schools regarding the identities and amounts of money donated to the superintendent’s transition.
I will remind you that APS entered into a memorandum of understanding in 2011 with the Attorney General’s office over APS’ violation of the state’s Open Meetings and Open Records laws. For APS to continue a pattern which prevents the public and media from knowing information about the school system’s activities is very disconcerting. The people and organizations who make donations could very well expect control over APS’ policies.
Therefore, please consider this letter a formal Freedom of Information request. I want information regarding donations for the superintendent transition made to APS including the names of donors-individuals and organizations, amounts of donations and the date of donations. You should not try to bypass the law by passing the funds through a third party. I expect the information I have requested for the original donors. If you have not solicited funds yet I would like to know so that I may submit another FOI request, if necessary.
Just in case you’d planned on a trip to Brazil for the World Cup, a word from the Washington Post:
Rio police have compiled a list of tips on navigating the city’s violence, including asking tourists to refrain from screaming if someone robs them.
About the Authors
Daniel Malloy is the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington Correspondent, covering the Georgia Congressional delegation and other D.C. goings-on that affect the state since 2011. He's a zealous fan and proud graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
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.