Posted: 8:45 am Friday, July 25th, 2014

As border kids come to Georgia, Nathan Deal and Jason Carter clash 

By Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

Protesters push for immigration reform in Phoenix. AP Photo/Matt York

Protesters push for immigration reform in Phoenix. AP Photo/Matt York

The screaming letter that Gov. Nathan Deal fired off to the White House was meant to express more than his surprise that federal authorities released more than 1,100 unaccompanied immigrant children to sponsors here in Georgia. It was also aimed at exposing a new rift in the campaign for his job.Your daily jolt on politics from the AJC's Political Insider Blog

Shortly after Deal’s office announced the letter, his campaign spokesman Jen Talaber sent out her own missive declaring the children are “victims of misguided federal policy implemented by President Obama” and criticizing his rival, state Sen. Jason Carter, for voting against an immigration crackdown.

Wrote Talaber:

“Where does he stand now that he knows the humanitarian crisis this has sparked? Does he think the Obama administration is handling this well? Does he think the administration should continue sending unaccompanied minors to Georgia without informing the state?”

Carter spokesman Bryan Thomas initially sent over a statement calling on Congress to “act quickly to secure our border and fix our broken immigration system.”

Carter’s camp later questioned why Deal, when in Congress, didn’t aggressively challenge the 2008 law that’s seen as the reason behind the wave of refugees. That law, which passed unanimously, required judges to hold hearings for young immigrant children from countries outside of Mexico and Canada to protect them from sex traffickers. From the Carter campaign:

“Why did Gov. Deal not object to this legislation when it came before the House of Representatives? Will he accept the consequences of his own actions, or lack-thereof?”

The governor vowed this week he wouldn’t “leave anything on the table” in his re-election fight against Carter. Get ready for more highly-charged political back and forth through November.

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When one hosts a radio show, it provides a lot of opposition research material. Here’s the newly nominated minister Jody Hice, who prevailed in a Republican runoff in the 10th Congressional District to replace Rep. Paul Broun, talking about bazookas and the second amendment after the 2012 Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting:

“We’ve got to keep vigilant in having the right to defend ourselves and to possess any weapon that we want to possess —  be it a so-called assault weapon or not. It is my belief that any, any, any, any weapon that our government and law enforcement possesses ought to be allowed for individuals to possess in this country provided they can afford it, obviously, but provided that they have a clean record.

“You know because right now, we have the militarization of America, we have a government armed with bazookas compared to BB guns that we’re allowed to have. And the Second Amendment is about us defending ourselves against potentially tyrannical government. You cannot defend yourself with a BB gun if your opponent has cannons and bazookas and missiles.”

The audio was published Thursday by a website called Right Wing Watch, which is funded by the liberal nonprofit People for the American Way. Hice, as we have noted, will likely cruise to victory in his district but his rhetoric could be used against fellow Republicans.

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There’s a lot of frustration Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss will leave behind when he departs the U.S. Senate in January. But there are parts he will probably miss.

The Washington Post’s Al Kamen and Colby Itkowitz discovered an upcoming taxpayer-funded European fact-finding mission for Chambliss and some colleagues:

His swan-song junket with six of his Senate friends will take them — and spouses — to Belgium, Portugal, Spain and, of course, Italy.

We hear there’s a stop at Lake Como on the tentative itinerary. Seriously. If they get there, may we recommend Ristorante Il Gatto Nero, with its breathtaking views of the water. And say hi to Clooney for us.

The male-only group of senators on Codel Chambliss, which includes Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and a token Dem, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), heads over on the obligatory military jet with staff and escorts at the end of the August recess for some serious fact-finding. And what better time to find those elusive facts than a late-summer excursion to Europe?

Chambliss’s office confirmed the trip but said the “exact itinerary of the trip has yet to be finalized as it is over a month out.” The primary purpose is to visit NATO headquarters in Brussels to “discuss the ongoing conflict in the Ukraine with our European allies, and urge them to condemn Russian involvement, among other topics.” Until the end of the year, Chambliss is the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee and also sits on the Armed Services Committee.

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The Post also has a cool breakdown in map form of the Georgia Senate runoff — and how the vote share remained geographically similar but Jack Kingston’s voters dropped off more than David Perdue’s.

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The Democratic nominee for attorney general wants to amp up the pressure on Sam Olens for not releasing the infamous Holly LaBerge ethics memo earlier.

Greg Hecht sent out a press release quoting a pair of legal experts who questioned Olens, the Republican AG, for not turning over the memo to plaintiffs representing whistleblowers. Hecht’s campaign said Olens “continues to refuse to do his job.”

Olens has stuck to a statement he released last week, saying that the department’s attorneys “determined it was not responsive to the discovery request in the civil litigation.”

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A Libertarian candidate for a suburban Atlanta state House seat may take legal action after he was left off the ballot.

Jeff Amason said he was left off the ballot after 225 of 228 pages of his petition was disqualified by the Secretary of State’s office. He was to be the sole November challenger to Rep. Scot Turner, R-Holly Springs.

Elections officials told the  Cherokee Tribune that Amason’s wife served as a notary on many of the pages of the petition and helped circulate it – a no-no under state law.

Amason’s camp told our AJC colleague Nicholas Fouriezos he was considering a lawsuit and that it was “another example of Georgia trying to keep third-party candidates off the ballot.”

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On that note, here’s one of the more unusual campaign videos you’ll see this season – or ever. It boosts Libertarian Andrew Hunt, a candidate for governor, and reveals some of his strategy through strained stanzas. An example:

Hunt for Governor
Shouldn’t we elect a freedom-lover?
Engineering cost effective small-government solutions
Restoration of the Constitution
We’ll get in the run-off and then we’ll win,
If you vote Libertar-ian. 

Go ahead, watch.