Posted: 6:00 am Friday, August 8th, 2014
By Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy
Georgia’s Democrats are poised to put even more emphasis on the ethics questions trailing Gov. Nathan Deal.
The party’s top leaders will gather in Dublin over the weekend, and among their duties will be a quartet of resolutions aimed at solidifying the party’s message. The wording is still under wraps, but the most significant proposal calls on Deal to dip into his own wallet to pay nearly $3 million the state agreed to spend to settle whistleblower lawsuits from former ethics staffers.
The resolutions are largely symbolic, but they offer a glimpse of the party’s platform. You’ll recall that Georgia Republicans carved out their own priorities at a meeting last year, including a unanimous decision to urge state leaders to withdraw from Common Core.
The other resolutions would urge the lifting of finance regulations seen as limiting the party’s growth, promote the importance of education and celebrate women’s engagement in politics.
Open government advocates can rejoice. Sort of.
As promised, Gov. Nathan Deal’s aides restored dozens of executive orders to his website that were taken offline months ago for “administrative” reasons. The plan was in the works since last week, we’re told, but seem to have been hastened by a wave of negative publicity about the move.
Yet it’s still a work in process. A check late Thursday revealed gaps of a few months where executive orders weren’t displayed.
More TV air cover for the summer doldrums is on the way for David Perdue in the Senate race. The American Chemistry Council has launched a roughly $700,000 buy promoting Georgia’s Republican nominee for U.S. Senate.
The Washington-based trade association for chemical companies is going on the air in Macon and Savannah, and on cable in Atlanta, said president and CEO Cal Dooley.
The group has weighed in on several other races around the country, and not always for the GOP. The group backed Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Mark Begich, D-Alaska, this year because they are friendly to the oil and gas industry, and ran ads for Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta, last year.
Dooley told us Thursday he has not met Perdue and only knows him by reputation.
“Usually what we find is people that have that business background are really problem solvers, and that’s what certainly our member companies in our industry want to see more of in the U.S. Senate,” Dooley said.
Add this to the $2.5 million over the next five weeks from the National Republican Senatorial Committee and $750,000 spent since mid-July by Ending Spending Action Fund bashing Democrat Michelle Nunn.
We haven’t seen the ad yet, but ACC’s other work has been positive spots about the group’s champions for job creation, kind of like what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce did for Jack Kingston. And we’re not expecting the Chamber to embrace Perdue anytime soon.
The head of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control testified on Capitol Hill about the Ebola outbreak on Thursday. Our premium/dead tree piece looks at the experimental ZMapp serum the two patients at Emory University Hospital have received.
In a Q-and-A with the press after he testified, Dr. Tom Frieden was asked about the assertion by “some lawmakers” — including Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta — that the Central American children crossing the Mexican border could be bringing Ebola with them. Frieden was unable to suppress a smirk. He replied:
“That is not happening. As far as we know, the two patients flown in from Liberia are the first two patients ever in this hemisphere to have Ebola.”
The latest fundraising pitch for Gov. Nathan Deal zeroes in on Democrat Jason Carter’s missed votes in the state Senate as a sign he’s “afraid” to make tough decisions. But it also debuted a new line of attack against his gubernatorial challenger.
“When DeKalb County nearly lost its accreditation, Jason Carter was nowhere to be found,” said the fundraising letter, penned by Deal campaign manager Tom Willis.
We’ll let Politifact debate the merits of this line, but during those heady times we reported that Carter, who represents a chunk of DeKalb, met privately with Deal to help smooth over the governor’s decision.
Here’s a few paragraphs from a story we wrote at the height of that 2013 political battle:
Even as the legal fight thickens, some lawmakers are pressing Deal to back a compromise that would avoid a court battle. Under their plan, the governor’s office would monitor the school board’s progress in a “tightly controlled agreement” if the legal challenges were abandoned.
“There are options other than removal,” said Democratic state Sen. Jason Carter of Decatur, who favors the compromise. “Otherwise, the problem he faces is that there’s fallout in both directions. If he doesn’t remove the board, there’s criticism from people who want them removed. And if he does, you’re removing people who are duly elected.”
Several high-ranking members of DeKalb’s legislative delegation have called for the suspension of several school board members, but others are torn. Carter said he put forth his compromise because although he believes the board’s credibility is shot, he’s troubled at the prospect that elected officials can be ousted.
“The governor and I may have policy differences, but I believe in my heart that he would take very seriously the constitutional questions about this law,” Carter said. “It’s a very tough task to ask the governor to remove people who are duly elected.”
We’re not sure how they’re going to pull this off, but an off-Broadway show to debut this month features former President Jimmy Carter as a time-traveling peacenik who ventures back more than 40 years to prove his UFO sighting was real.
Atlanta Magazine reports that a UGA junior named Isaac Hopkins wrote “Jimmy! A Musical Fable with Almost No Historical Basis” after reading a Wikipedia entry about the UFO sighting.
Hopkins plans to extend an invitation to Carter for the premiere, but he isn’t counting on the former commander in chief taking a spot in the audience.
About the Authors
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.
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.