Among the contingent going to Philadelphia who self-identify as LGBT and agreed to be be named publicly are Hillary Clinton supporter James Dustin Baker of Athens (who is making his second trip as a delegate after going in 2012) and Bernie Sanders supporters Michael David Smith of Columbus, Khalid Kamau of Atlanta (an organizer for the Atlanta chapter of Black Lives Matter), and Javier Brown of Atlanta (legislative assistant to state Sen. Vincent Fort [D-Atlanta] and state Sen. Curt Thompson [D-Tucker]). Georgia Democratic Party spokesman Michael Smith also identifies as LGBT and will be a convention page.
As vice presidential fodder, former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich’s stock appears to be falling, despite that Indiana consultation with Donald Trump on Tuesday, made possible by Sean Hannity’s wings. Several arguments have against a Trump-Gingrich partnership. They would make up the oldest ticket in U.S. presidential history, for instance.
Both are unpredictable and loquacious, which would be fun for journalists, but aggravating for many others. But one of the most compelling arguments against Gingrich as a running mate is that the former speaker isn’t given to deference, which appears to be a Trump mandate, and a very sharp tongue.
Witness a piece that ProPublica published just last night, quoting the former Georgia lawmaker at a closed-door meeting with Republicans from back in February, before Gingrich began angling for the VP slot. The remarks are, well, quintessential Newt:
His comments were a mix of pointed criticism and awe at Trump’s political skills. He likened Trump’s approach to “some weird combination of the Kardashians” soliciting hearty laughs from the audience. “I mean think about it, the whole tweeting, the whole continuous noise.”
…At one point, Gingrich suggested he was shocked to hear of a highly educated supporter of Trump’s. “I had a very sophisticated medical doctor in Des Moines write me two days ago and say he sent a thousand dollar check to Trump. And I wrote back and said what are you doing?” Gingrich said to laughs. “He said I have finally concluded that we have to kick over the table in Washington.”
Gingrich also agreed with what many Republicans during the primary process feared: “National Review’s right. Donald Trump’s not a conservative.” Instead, Gingrich characterized him as “an American nationalist” who uses a deliberately unpredictable mix of hostility against “stupidity,” liberals and political correctness.
In Cleveland, the rules committee of the Republican National Convention has convened this morning to begin deliberations over the fate of the never-Trump movement. Alec Poitevint of Georgia is counsel. He has chaired the committee several times, and was a member from 1989 to 2012, when he left to run the national Republican convention in Tampa.
In an op-ed sent our way this morning, former congressman Jack Kingston, a longtime ally of the former House speaker, voices his support for Gingrich as Veep:
I knew Newt when he had jet black hair like Ronald Reagan. He wasn’t afraid of being a conservative republican in deep in the heart of Democrat Georgia. In those days, no one took our party seriously. We had no Republicans in Congress and less than 20 in the state legislature.
As Newt made his way up leadership in the House of Representatives, he redefined – and reenergized – the modern conservative movement. That’s right when I got to Congress. And I looked up to a man who stood on his principles but still managed to work with colleagues from every corner and political viewpoint.
When Newt wrote the Contract for America, we were still in the minority. As he ushered in the Republican majority and inched closer toward concretely defining our party’s platform, he had to put out his fair share of fires. What was always there in those long days of passing the Contract was the divide between the hard right and moderate left of our party.
Still, somehow, he pulled them together – coalescing Republicans from the northeast, Deep South and West Coast. And as promised, the Contract with America was passed out of the House within 100 days of Republicans regained the majority.
That happened for no other reason than because of the leadership of Newt Gingrich.
Here’s an interesting snippet: At least 12 LGBT delegates from Georgia are headed to the Democratic National Convention. From the Georgia Voice:
Expect Democrats to eagerly contrast this with the Republican shindig, where delegates recently voted to strike even the mention of the acronym “LGBT” from the platform that will be presented to their convention next week.
Attack ads continue to blanket the 3rd congressional district ahead of the July 26th GOP runoff.
The campaign of Drew Ferguson today is out with its second police-themed spot against opponent Mike Crane in less than a week. It’s titled “Shoot You Dead” and once again hammers the Newnan state senator for past remarks on no-knock warrants:
Speaking of Mike Crane, the Republican would want to join the House’s most conservative group of lawmakers if he’s elected to Congress.
Crane on Wednesday scooped up an endorsement from U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus. Later on Wednesday, Crane’s camp said the legislator would love to join the group of Capitol Hill rebels should he win the 3rd district seat.
Founded last year, the invite-only Freedom Caucus of roughly 40 conservative Republicans helped sow the seeds that eventually led to then-Speaker John Boehner’s departure. They’ve also opposed GOP leaders’ plans on issues such as the budget and, most recently, guns in order to nudge the discussion further to the right. Georgians Barry Loudermilk and Jody Hice are currently members.
“I have been watching the great work of the House Freedom Caucus under Jim’s leadership and I am very excited to have his endorsement,” Crane said in a statement about Jordan’s endorsement.
U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., will be headlining the Democrats’ latest gun control effort this evening, effectively the party’s last stand in Washington before Congress leaves town for a seven-week recess.
Lewis, members of the Congressional Black Caucus and other Democratic leaders be on the west front of the U.S. Capitol tonight pushing for votes on several bills that would expand background checks for gun purchasers and bar people on the national “no fly” list from buying firearms, among other changes.
Speaker Paul Ryan has resisted calls for votes on the bills, despite the Democrats’ 26-hour sit-in last month. The Wisconsin Republican was planning for floor consideration of a much narrower NRA-backed proposal but pulled the bill due to divisions within the GOP and concerns that it could stoke more national tension following the recent string of police-related violence.
U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s Veterans’ Affairs overhaul bill has its share of critics, including fellow Senate Republicans John McCain and Marco Rubio. Now the fight over the legislation has made it from Capitol Hill to Isakson’s front door.
The vets group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America placed an ad in The Marietta Dailey Journal calling on Isakson, the chairman of the Senate VA Committee, to refrain from making any cuts to the post-9/11 GI bill. The group said the VA overhaul advanced by Isakson’s panel would slash $3.4 billion from the popular program.
A portion of the ad reads:
“This disgusting attack on our earned benefits would hurt our military recruiting, retention and morale. Its stupid. And, it’s wrong.”
Isakson, who is seeking a third term in the Senate this November, disputed the content of the ad. The details get wonky, but he had this to say in a statement:
“The claims in these ads are false. As chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I am committed to ensuring that our men and women who put their lives on the line to serve our country get the benefits that they earned. That’s why I’ve introduced the Veterans First Act, which expands education benefits to more veterans and their families and protects veterans at risk of losing their education benefits.”
Starting in Iowa and New Hampshire, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has brought you every key moment in the 2016 presidential race. A team of AJC journalists will be at this month’s Republican and Democratic national conventions, continuing to provide that deep coverage.