Margaret Kaiser opts out of race for mayor of Atlanta

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State Rep. Margaret Kaiser, D-Atl., and the daughter of Athens Mayor Elect Nancy Denson, gets some help with her coat from Georgia Power's Scott Draper during a break at the University of Georgia's Biennial Legislative Institute in 2010. (David Tulis, Athens Banner-Herald)

She was one of the first in the race, and now she’s one of the first out of it. State Rep. Margaret Kaiser had already given up her House race to make the run for mayor of Atlanta next year. But she told supporters on Monday that she was dropping out of the crowded race. Creative Loafing has the details:

In a message to supporters, the Grant Park business owner says she has “struggled to stay focused on the campaign, continue to help run our family’s small businesses, serve out my last year as a member of the Georgia Legislature, and enjoy time with my wonderful husband and two sons. I cannot dedicate the necessary time to this campaign while also being the business owner and mother that I want to be and that my staff and sons deserve.”logo-all

Kaiser, a restaurateur, had little room to maneuver in the increasingly crowded race to succeed Kasim Reed. Former City Council president Cathy Woolard and current City Council President Ceasar Mitchell ate into her base of support, but at-large Councilwoman Mary Norwood’s entry into the contest earlier this month was probably the final straw.

Kaiser’s withdrawal removes any chance for what would surely have been Georgia’s first mother-daughter mayoral tandem. Kaiser’s mother, Nancy Denson, is mayor of Athens.

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It may still be October, but we’re only an eye blink away from the 2017 session of the Legislature. And it looks like craft beer brewers, who still want the right to sell their product on site, have picked up an important ally.

The Georgia Municipal Association has signed onto the cause – as a matter of economic development. The GMA’s new position:

GMA supports local control in granting permission for tasting, pouring and package sales of wine, beer and liquor. Furthermore, GMA supports examining the economic development opportunities provided by craft brewers and distilleries.

 

Explanation: Communities across the state have varying perspectives relating to tastings, pouring, and package sales in their cities. Decisions relating to beer, wine and liquor should be made at the local level. GMA supports legislation that provides flexibility to cities to make decisions about alcohol sales and opposes legislation that imposes state law or circumvents local decisions about alcohol licenses. Studies indicate that craft breweries bring jobs and economic development to downtowns and craft breweries and distilleries should be encouraged to locate in Georgia.

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President Barack Obama is throwing his support behind more than 150 statehouse candidates across 20 states. And a Georgia lawmaker is among the recipients of his late splash.

Obama recorded a robocall for state Rep. Kimberly Alexander, a Douglasville Democrat who defeated a Republican incumbent in 2012 to win her seat. The call tells voters that Alexander “has my back and yours” before urging them to “go vote.”

Alexander faces a challenge next month from Republican businessman Bruce Emory, who is running as the pro-business candidate in the race.

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Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams is getting more national attention for her effort to turn Georgia blue. But she also adds a dose of realism in her latest interview.

Here’s Abrams in the New York Magazine:

So how’s it going?

I think it is … going. We’re moving in the right direction. It will always be a heavy lift because until you’ve proved it’s possible then it’s always potentially impossible. And Georgia has not had the level of investment in our elections that you would need to see since the 1990s, since the last President Clinton.

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A slate of faith and civil rights leaders is backing Democrat Jim Barksdale’s bid for Georgia’s U.S. Senate seat. A few of the marquee names on the list: Rainbow PUSH Coalition founder Jesse Jackson and former Atlanta mayor and United Nations ambassador Andrew Young.

Also endorsing the Democrat is the Rev. Raphael Warnock, senior pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, who himself passed on the opportunity to challenge Johnny Isakson. Still missing from the list: longtime Georgia congressman and civil rights hero John Lewis.

The Barksdale campaign announced Monday it was also embarking on a statewide ‘jobs and justice’ tour. The swing has the Democrat, who’s trailing Isakson by double digits in the latest AJC poll, meeting with unions, small business owners and social justice groups to discuss issues such as inequality, discrimination and social justice.

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Barksdale’s first stop on that ‘jobs and justice’ tour was a speech yesterday in front of Albany union machinists during a shift change. The group that represents the bosses, though, the Georgia Association of Manufacturers, announced it’s backing Isakson.

“From his work in education – particularly technical education to ensure a quality pool of talent to fill important jobs, to battling government regulations that add to the cost of products and business – Johnny Isakson has wholeheartedly earned our support,” Georgia Association of Manufacturers President G.L. “Roy” Bowen III said in a statement.

Isakson’s campaign also began airing a new television ad, this time about Obamacare:

Barksdale’s campaign was quick to shoot back: “Senator Isakson’s new ad on the Affordable Care Act titled ‘Disaster’ should really be renamed for what the ad is: ‘Pathetic,'” said spokesman Gregory Minchak.

 


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