Posted: 10:03 am Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
By Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway
With the prospect of taking over the U.S. Senate now in sight, Republicans are now thinking about what they’ll do with the car once they catch it.
More threats to shut the federal government down are a distinct possibility, suggests Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. From Politico:
In an extensive interview here, the typically reserved McConnell laid out his clearest thinking yet of how he would lead the Senate if Republicans gain control of the chamber. The emerging strategy: Attach riders to spending bills that would limit Obama policies on everything from the environment to health care, consider using an arcane budget tactic to circumvent Democratic filibusters and force the president to “move to the center” if he wants to get any new legislation through Congress.
In short, it’s a recipe for a confrontational end to the Obama presidency.
“We’re going to pass spending bills, and they’re going to have a lot of restrictions on the activities of the bureaucracy,” McConnell said in an interview aboard his campaign bus traveling through Western Kentucky coal country. “That’s something he won’t like, but that will be done. I guarantee it.”
But it’s not just McConnell talking tough.
At a Cobb County rally on Tuesday that featured Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, the name of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was mentioned more times that of Michelle Nunn, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.
Here’s what her GOP rival, David Perdue, told the crowd:
“We will win the Senate back. We will put forth an agenda that will force this president to either veto or get in line and let’s move forward. Because the status quo is unacceptable.”
McConnell’s office notes that the Kentucky Republican didn’t mention a federal government shut-down in the interview, but the specter remains. If McConnell uses spending bills as the lever for his confrontation, and if Obama vetoes those, then the government would likely have to shutter.
State Rep.-elect Michael Brown, a Republican who won his Gwinnett County seat in the May 20 primary, has died, reports Seth Weathers, who managed that campaign. Cause of the sudden death has not been determined.
Brown won 61 percent of the vote in his primary contest against David Hancock. A third potential candidate, Suwanee businessman James Sanford, deferred to Brown’s candidacy.
Gov. Nathan Deal did his best to spin the jobs report that showed Georgia has the nation’s second-highest unemployment rate.
The governor told reporters that nearly 300,000 private sector jobs were created since he took office – “a remarkable number” and that the state is “holding its own” in the economic development arena.
“I haven’t heard Sen. Carter suggest any solutions for any of these things. It’s easy for people to criticize,” said Deal, who said he was confident that the state’s 7.8 percent jobless rate will drop now that the summer is over.
(Carter, we should note, said that more targeted incentives and a boost in education funding would pay economic dividends in the long run.)
Deal pointed to Bureau of Labor Statistics figures that showed Georgia added more than 70,000 jobs last year.
“You’ve got to keep in mind that there are states that have lower unemployment rates than ours, but their workforce drops. We are a growing state and people continue to come here.”
He added: “I certainly don’t like the ranking. I would much rather be ranked 50 than be ranked higher up the scale and see my labor force shrinking and have no new jobs to show for it.”
Deal got some help from Reince Priebus, the RNC chairman, who was in Atlanta on Tuesday. At a rally at Cobb County GOP headquarters in Marietta, Priebus pointed to awards naming Georgia as a top place to do business. Asked later to comment on Georgia’s high unemployment, which he had not mentioned, the RNC chairman blamed President Barack Obama.
“Nathan Deal’s been working uphill with this president,” Priebus said.
Carter spokesman Bryan Thomas said the governor is grasping for excuses.
“His latest excuse is flat wrong. Not only did Georgia have the largest increase in unemployed workers in July, the labor force actually decreased by more than 4,800 people,” he said. “That’s thousands of workers who just gave up looking for jobs in Gov. Deal’s economy.”
We told you yesterday that Michelle Nunn’s new Pillowtex ad — which slams GOP Senate rival David Perdue — reminded us of the Super PAC hits on Mitt Romney in 2012. The Washington Post explains just how familiar it is — almost a shot-by-shot replica of an ad called “Stage.” paid for by Priorities USA.
The firm behind both of the ads is Shorr Johnson Magnus, of Philadelphia. The Nunn campaign had paid the firm $237,059 for media consulting and ad production as of the end of June.
Counter PAC, a Super PAC that hopes to combat the influence of dark money Super PACs, is going on the air in Atlanta — but the first buy we’ve seen is a small one. It’s buying six spots on WXIA-Atlanta starting tomorrow for about $4,000.
The ad asks viewers to call Michelle Nunn and David Perdue and ask them to reject untraceable outside money in the campaign.
The organization said, in all, it’s a five-figure buy more about “sparking the conversation about the pledge” than saturating the market.
Nunn offered a “Peach Pact” of getting the Republican side to swear off outside money altogether, but Perdue and Kingston dismissed it as a stunt. Perdue was the beneficiary of a Super PAC during primary season, Citizens for a Working America, that did not disclose its donors.
Jason Carter, the Democratic candidate for governor, released the names of his ruling campaign committee on Tuesday. It is a demographic and geographic work of art notable for its absence of any close ally of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, and the presence of a prominent board member of the American Jewish Committee:
– Chairman Michael Coles, co-founder of Great American Cookie Company and the former chairman and CEO of Caribou Coffee Company;
– B.J. Blackwood of Augusta, an accounting lecturer at Georgia Regents University;
– Ken Britt, retired executive director the law firm of Alston & Bird and former lobbyist for Georgia Equality;
– State Rep. Debbie Buckner of Talbot County;
– Former U.S. senator Max Cleland;
– Dr. Monique Davis-Smith of Macon, the family medicine residency program director at the Mercer University School of Medicine;
– State Rep. Stacey Evans, a Cobb County Democrat;
– Lois Frank of Atlanta, a national board member of the American Jewish Committee;
– Alfreda J. Goldwire of Chatham County, president of the Savannah Federation of Teachers/Paraprofessionals and School Related Personnel;
– State Rep. Scott Holcomb, an Atlanta Democrat;
– State Rep. Pedro Marin of Gwinnett County;
– DeKalb County CEO Lee May;
– Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell.
– Richard Oden, the first African-American chairman of the Rockdale County Commission;
– Former state representative Barbara Massey Reece of Chattooga County;
– State Sen. Freddie Powell Sims of Albany;
– Jeff Turner, chairman of the Clayton County Commission;
– The Rev. Raphael Warnock, senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta;
– Former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young;
– Carolyn Young, a former teacher.
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.