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Greg BluesteinTamar Hallerman

Nathan Deal monitors storm from afar as Hermine barrels in on Georgia

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Tropical Storm Hermine is headed for Georgia. AP Photo.

Tropical Storm Hermine is headed for Georgia. AP Photo.

As Tropical Storm Hermine wobbles toward Georgia, officials have closed down government offices, canceled classes and braced for flooding and gale-force winds across the southern stretch of the state. And in a quirk of bad timing, Gov. Nathan Deal finds himself overseeing the response from almost 4,000 miles away.

The governor, who declared a state of emergency in 56 counties on Thursday, left that day for a four-day trade mission to Ireland where he will meet with local businesses and take in the Georgia Tech-Boston College season opener. He has a tough decision to make: Whether to cut short his trade mission to Ireland, which is set to end on Sunday.

His office said Friday he is being constantly updated by his top aide and closely monitoring the storm, which made landfall early Friday in Florida as a hurricane but has weakened to a tropical storm. Georgia Emergency Management Agency head Jim Butterworth is readying the state’s response to flooding and power outages.

“We estimate just under a million people could be impacted in Georgia by this storm,” Butterworth said.

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Donald Trump is leaving nothing to chance on Saturday with his visit to a black church in Detroit. jolt

The New York Times got hold of the Republican nominee’s script for his private meeting with the congregation at Great Faith Ministries International, which it said was vetted by black Republicans working for the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee. Recall that Georgian Ashley Bell was recently tapped by the RNC to help with messaging to black voters.

From The Times:

The document includes the exact wording of answers the aides are proposing for Mr. Trump to give to questions about police killings, racial tension and the perception among many black voters that he and the Republican Party are racist, among other topics.

The official said the answers could change based on feedback from the black Republicans they are consulting with.

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U.S. Rep. David Scott, one of Congress’ last remaining centrist Democrats, has been unafraid to break with his party when it suits him politically.

He’s criticized President Barack Obama’s handling of Islamic terrorism and disclosed his plans to vote for Republican Johnny Isakson in Georgia’s U.S. Senate race.

The latest evidence of the Atlantan’s willingness to cross the aisle popped up in The Salt Lake Tribune, of all places. The newspaper reports that Scott gave $1,000 to colleague Mia Love, the first and only black female Republican in the U.S. House.

Here’s the Tribune’s recounting of what went down: 

Love looked at the check, then looked around to see if this was a joke, and finally she asked her Democratic colleague why he would donate to her campaign when it would likely get him in trouble with his party. “First, I think it is important for us to have people of color on both sides of the aisle and, second, I want Utah to know I’m proud of what they have done.”

….Reached by phone, Scott, a seven-term congressman who represents part of Atlanta and its suburbs, said Love’s retelling was “very accurate.”

“Mia has proven herself. She is very smart, very talented,” he said. “It is very important for us as African-Americans to look at the big picture and realize that we are in a big game here and we have to have alliances.”

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State Sen. Michael Williams, one of Donald Trump’s earliest elected endorsers, is warning of a “sneak attack” in his Cumming-based district – one of the reddest in the state.

“I have already spent several hundred thousand dollars of my own money running for office,” he said in a fundraising pitch. “It will be put to good use fighting back the Democrat Party of Georgia’s attempt to slip into our Republican district.”

He’s writing of a piece in DailyKos penned by one-time Democratic Party of Georgia staffer Paul Glaze that lamented conservatives who “howl from their porches and keyboards and city council meetings of the dangers of ‘big government’” but ignore bloated criminal justice budgets.

That piece, since-deleted from the site, praises Daniel Blackman, the Democrat running against Williams in November. Democratic Party of Georgia spokesman Michael Smith said Glaze hasn’t worked for the organization since August.

“From day one, our campaign has been committed to finding common ground throughout our district, and I will not allow our campaign to be distracted by this sideshow,” Blackman said in a statement. “Our office remains committed to the tremendous task of maintaining the integrity of our communities and the competiveness of our schools, combating heroin and prescription drug abuse, and promoting Forsyth as the ‘Gateway to North Georgia’, through economic growth and opportunity.”

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Ouch.

Donald Trump’s Georgia director had a quick response to the news that the Democratic National Committee was staffing up in Georgia.