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Tamar Hallerman
Jim GallowayGreg Bluestein

A first sign of anti-Donald Trump dissent in Georgia’s GOP delegation

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Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump addresses the audience at a campaign event at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh, N.C. Earlier in the day Hillary Clinton campaigned in Charlotte with President Barack Obama. Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump addresses the audience at a campaign event at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh, N.C. Earlier in the day Hillary Clinton campaigned in Charlotte with President Barack Obama. Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

We have our first sign of dissent within Georgia’s 76-member delegation to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Late Tuesday, Bobby Booth, 59, a political newcomer from Marietta, sent a note to us explaining that, under no circumstances, would he be able to support Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee (his emphasis):logo-all

I am one Georgia delegate that has expressed to my family and friends my inability to ever vote for Donald Trump.  Not only that I am willing to do what I can to see that he does not get the nomination much to the chagrin of some who seem to think he is the only option.  I am looking for door number 3.

 Mr. Trump does not fit Mr. Samuel Adams description of what is best for a public servant, namely wisdom and virtue.  Mr. Trump has lived a life contrary to both.  I could elaborate if necessary but I believe it is obvious.

Based on Mr. Adams very sound wisdom I would be doing my country, and yours, my liberty and yours a disfavor by helping in anyway Mr. Trump get the nomination and I have no intention of doing so.   Some say then you are helping Hillary.  I am looking for that third door, another option.  I believe in miracles.  For just as I cannot support Mr. Trump, neither can I Mrs. Clinton for the same root reasons.   Some say I am turning the election over to Mrs. Clinton, but not really, I am simply adhering to my principles and convictions and seeking to vote for someone I think will do the most good for our country.

Booth was selected as a delegate from the 13th Congressional District, and is pledged to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas on the first ballot. Nonetheless, his position is significant. Depending on whether he’s judged to be a lone wolf or one of several, dissent could have an impact on where the Georgia delegation is placed in the convention hall in two weeks. Organizers will want only unbridled enthusiasm in front of the cameras.

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Tuesday night offered a prime example of how Donald Trump’s talent for making news can actually hurt the Republican presidential candidate. The day was a very bad one for Hillary Clinton, what with the FBI recommendation that the Democratic presumptive shouldn’t be prosecuted. If you’re a Republican presidential candidate, that’s what you want the public to focus on. Instead, The Associated Press has this from a Trump rally in Raleigh, N.C.:

Donald Trump, who frequently criticizes U.S. foreign policy under President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is praising Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s ruthlessness.

“Saddam Hussein was a bad guy, right? … But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good,” Trump told supporters at a campaign rally Tuesday night in Raleigh, North Carolina. “They didn’t read ’em the rights, they didn’t talk. They were a terrorist, it was over.”

Trump has previously said the world would be “100 percent better” if dictators like Hussein and Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi were still in power. Prior to the U.S. invasion, Iraq was listed by the U.S. as a state sponsor of terrorism. Hussein suppressed dissent in his country and used poison gas against 5,000 Iraqi Kurds.

Jake Sullivan, a Clinton senior policy adviser, said Trump’s “praise for brutal strongmen seemingly knows no bounds.”

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Anti-Donald Trump forces had a conference call on Tuesday that, of course, was infiltrated by pro-Trumpers. Here’s one assessment that was being passed around the Georgia delegation from abroad:

It is my opinion, that while the call quality is very poor and the call was a little disorganized, they are clearly getting the attention they want. Also they were very wise in creating a three-pronged approach:

  • The judicial approach where they challenge a state statute binding the delegates
  • The Rules Committee Approach – Where a resolution before the Rules Committee (as a minority report) is approved by the body, unbinding delegates Note: they have been speaking to state delegates on that committee
  • The Floor Approach – Where there is a challenge from the floor, questioning the legality of a state delegations vote for the nominee of President

It would be best to assume that they have the strength necessary and certainly not underestimate this movement. The growing national attention is all the fuel they need to start a fire in this convention. Lastly, I learned from this call and the previous that the SUPER PAC’s that were created to support previous candidates are now diverting their funds to support this movement and derail Trump…

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We’ve already told you that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will campaign with Republican presidential presumptive Donald Trump today – which has prompted some to characterize the teaming as a Gingrich audition. In The Washington Post, Republican consultant Ed Rogers was highly complimentary of the idea of Gingrich as Trump’s running mate – in a backhanded sort of way:

Gingrich is also the best of Trump’s surrogates I have seen at being able to make some sense of what The Donald says. Gingrich can take Trump’s grunts, slurs, rants, thought fragments, conspiracy theories, wacky accusations and half-baked, uninformed observations and distill them into some lucid policy positions. It is a wonder to behold, and it shows just how mentally adroit Gingrich really is. Somebody needs to be able to articulate what a Trump presidency would actually be about and what it might realistically seek to accomplish, and Newt Gingrich has the capacity to do this – while Trump himself obviously does not.

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On Tuesday, we told you that Georgia had four delegates with seats on the platform committee of the Democratic National Convention: Former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, who is co-chairwoman, former DeKalb County school Superintendent Michael Thurmond, Democratic activist Verna Cleveland, and union executive Steve Lomax.

We were a beat behind. Last week, former Georgia Democratic chairman David Worley was selected to replace Lomax.

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Despite state warnings that it has no authority to do so, the Clarkston City Council on Tuesday moved to decriminalize the possession of marijuana. From the 11Alive website:

With the new rules, a person who possessed one ounce or less of the drug would only receive a fine of $75 with no arrest. Clarkston’s desire for less stringent marijuana laws has been well-documented. Many city council members have been vocal about changing the laws surrounding the drugs.

After the meeting, Mayor Ted Terry sent us a lengthy text that included the following:

Our city made a bold move tonight. We deliberately lowered a municipal court fine from a $660 average to $75, in regards to possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, potentially costing the budget $30,000+ annual. But we did it because government should not punitively fleece their citizens over non-violent, non-threatening, violations.

The blowback from 30+ years of a failed “war on drugs” has cost too many lives and too much money. We have to work with the Governor to achieve his legacy goals of true criminal justice reform. I believe that our city is complimenting the principles of Governor Deals prison reform measures.

We are tackling the issue from the lower end but still impactful. Indeed this is the only power granted to a municipality under the 1983 statue. We hope that other mayors, Councilmembers and county commissioners will consider a thoughtful review of their marijuana ticket fine rates. “

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At least one Democrat wants to take the operation of the cameras on the House floor out of the hands of the chamber’s leaders. U.S. Rep. Ami Bera of California introduced a resolution last night that would change one of the chamber’s rules in order to allow independent broadcasts of floor proceedings, per Politico.

The proposal comes weeks after Democrats’ gun control sit-in on the House floor prompted a social media firestorm when GOP leaders cut the feed to C-SPAN cameras. House members resorted to the use of social video-sharing apps, such as Periscope.

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Our AJC colleagues are out with a new national investigation this morning that uncovers a broken system in which sexually abusive doctors are forgiven in every state, including Georgia. Read it here.