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Greg BluesteinTamar Hallerman
Jim Galloway

In Georgia, Donald Trump supporters sound the alarm — perhaps too late

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to a Pittsburgh, Pa., audience on Thursday. Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to a Pittsburgh, Pa., audience on Thursday. Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s soldiers in Georgia are waking up — perhaps too late — to what’s at stake on Saturday, when Republicans gather by congressional district to pick more than half of the 76 delegates and alternates who will attend July’s presidential nominating convention in Cleveland.logo-all

This morning, Trump state director Brandon Phillips sent out an email that was one-half alarm bell and one-half plea. It included this paragraph:

Mr. Trump won Georgia by more than 14 points, almost 200,000 more votes than his next closest rival. He also carried 155 counties out of 159. Ted Cruz didn’t win a single county. Because of this landslide victory, Mr. Trump was awarded 42 delegates. We’re asking that the Republican officials honor his victory this Saturday with fair representation.

The email goes on to list Trump coordinators in the 14 congressional districts, with this message:

If you are willing to attend one of these meetings this Saturday morning and show your support for Mr. Trump, please contact the volunteer coordinator nearest you.

Here’s the thing: The selection of delegates who will represent Trump in Cleveland, as well as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, is now a closed process. If you weren’t selected as a congressional convention delegate last month at the county-level meetings, you will have no standing at Saturday’s gatherings. Other than as a spectator.

Moreover, in most congressional districts, the processing of applications to be a delegate in Cleveland is nearly over. For instance, in the 11th District, interviews for potential delegates were held on Saturday and Tuesday. A final session will be held tonight. More than likely, if you haven’t applied to be a delegate by now, you’re out of luck.

The fear, of course, is that Trump’s 42 delegates from Georgia are being chosen according their willingness to desert the billionaire as quickly as possible in Cleveland. You can sense the anxiety of Trump’s supporters on his Georgia Facebook site.

One post warned of a district chair who is “stonewalling” anyone asking for rules.

“The establishment likes to say we don’t know the rules and yet they won’t give them out when people ask,” it reads. “She is also not allowing known Trump supporters to interview as a delegate for Cleveland.”

Another implores Trump supporters to call another district chair and implore him to “stop dragging his feet on providing the necessary paperwork for Trump supporters to attend the convention.”

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WSB Radio provocateur and sworn Donald Trump opponent Erick Erickson reports that his Conservatives Against Trump group has held a second meeting. Talk of a third-party challenge is again played down in his communique, but it ends on this note:

We will vote. Sitting out an election is not an option. The Republican Party has before it several candidates with the record and ability to serve as president with honor and distinction. In the coming months, we will devote ourselves to ensuring the nomination goes to a candidate who will strengthen our economy, national security and, above all, the conservative values on which all else depends. Should this effort fail, we will join with other faithful conservatives to find new candidates and institutions to carry on the fight for conservative principles and policies.

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The National Rifle Association sent out an alert to its supporters Wednesday, calling on supporters to urge Gov. Nathan Deal to sign the “campus carry” legislation now before him.

The email includes a link to a story from BearingArms.com questioning whether Deal’s “noted pause” – he hasn’t yet signed or vetoed the measure and has until May 3 to do so – “could be a sign that gun control groups have pressured him to rethink his support for the Second Amendment.” Click here for much more on the “campus carry” debate.

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Yeah, the Atlanta Braves are 0 and 8, and the club’s star outfielder just finished an involuntary tour of a Virginia hoosegow. But Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee has made “wait til next year” the foundation of his Republican re-election campaign.

Here’s the cover of the flyer he’s stuffing in Cobb mailboxes:

timlee

Pardon the mutilation. The dog got to it first.

***

We’ll get our first indication today whether Georgia’s congressional delegation will need to sweat about the water wars in the same way that led to a last-minute scramble last year.

The Senate Appropriations Committee will unveil the text of its draft spending bill that funds the U.W. Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Energy. We’ll be looking to see if it has any language that could alter the playing field on Georgia’s long-standing water feud with Alabama and Florida.

Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, a senior Republican appropriator, inserted language into last year’s version of the bill that was seen by Georgia officials as tipping the balance of power in ongoing water battle. The skirmish reached a crescendo in December, when the Georgia delegation threatened to withdraw their support for a massive final spending bill if it included Shelby’s water language. Party leaders eventually pulled the provision.

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We’ve received word from CEO Phil Kent that Walter Jones, the former president of the Atlanta Press Club who was recently laid off by Morris News Service, has joined InsiderAdvantage Georgia and James magazine as a staff writer.

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The White House Correspondents Dinner is already shaping up to have a Southern flavor. From our AJC colleague Jill Vejnoska:

Or as they’re better known, Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell, R.E.M founding member Mike Mills, Widespread Panic founder/lead singer John “JB” Bell and and Paul Riddle, the drummer for the Marshall Tucker Band.

All major rockers in their own right. And all proud Georgia natives or residents (execpt for Riddle, though the MTB recorded in Macon).

The Jam is being thrown by Mother Nature Network, the online environmental news and information site co-founded by Leavell. He’s just recently back from Havana, where the Stones played a historic free concert in March.

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It’s virtually guaranteed that Congress will miss its deadline to complete action on a budget blueprint by April 15.

Yes, it’s a non-binding deadline. But it’s certainly a glaring one given the political premium U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, a former Budget Committee chairman, and Georgia’s own Tom Price, the current head of the panel, put on advancing such a proposal.

“A budget is so much more than just numbers. It is how we advance the cause of responsible fiscal stewardship by shining a broad, bright spotlight on the key drivers of our debt, the key failures of government, and begin to build a mandate for fundamental reform,” Price, R-Roswell, and Indiana Republican Todd Rokita wrote in an op-ed on the importance of the budget in Real Clear Politics on Wednesday.

In fact, the GOP’s intraparty feud over government spending levels has made it more than possible that neither chamber can pass a budget proposal before the election.

Here’s more from Politico:

The reality lays bare a few critical dynamics. Republicans have undermined one of their core arguments for governing. On key fiscal matters, they have not been able to normalize legislating and hopes for regular order have been dashed. And that Congress can completely forgo a budget without consequence shows that the non-binding process means little and proves to be just an annoyance for the party in power.

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Despite the deep freeze on the budget resolution, the House and Senate Appropriations committees, which write the spending bills that collectively fund every corner of the federal government, are moving ahead with their work for the budget year that begins October 1.

The House panel on Wednesday advanced a draft bill that funds military bases and veterans’ health care that Georgia appropriators said would help many of the Peach State’s military installations.

Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, the top Democrat who oversees the bill, said the draft measure would set aside $90 million for a cyber protection team operations facility and $25 million for a replacement medical clinic at Fort Gordon. He said there’s also nearly $15 million for a training range at Fort Stewart and $4.8 million for a hangar for special operations tactical unmanned aerial vehicles at Fort Benning.

Ranger Republican Tom Graves, another member of the committee, highlighted a provision that would direct the Army to offer a plan to modernize and replace aging hangars at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah in addition to other military installations.

“It’s long past time to support the mission at Hunter with funding for a new hangar. Our nation has made a significant investment in the personnel and equipment at Hunter, and it only makes sense to house them in appropriate facilities,” Graves said in a statement.