Political Insider blog 

AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns

What that VA whistleblower from Atlanta will say

  • 9:59 am Tuesday, July 8th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

A local whistleblower from the Veterans Affairs administration will testify this evening at a congressional hearing in Atlanta.

Scott Davis, an employee at the VA Health Eligibility Center, will speak about wrongdoing within the agency and an alleged pattern of retaliation against those who speak out. Davis drew the attention of the committee following How do we know what Davis will say? BecauseWith all the talk about growing numbers of minority voters in metro Atlanta, the Asian community is flexing its muscles.

The Asian American Legal Advocacy will launch a “10,000 Korean Votes” campaign that targets Gwinnett County. The numerics of the goal [More]

David Perdue on his ‘outsider’ status — and licking envelopes

  • 5:40 pm Wednesday, June 25th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

The month of May was good to David Perdue. He was the cool but non-threatening rebel, a Fonzie who predicted happy days if only Republicans would elect an outsider to the U.S. Senate.

He was the top vote-getter in a seven-candidate field.

But a funny thing has happened on the nine-week road to a July runoff. GOP rival Jack Kingston and his allies have given Perdue – he of the turned-up, denim-jacketed collar – an involuntary makeover.

They have turned The Outsider into The Renegade. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are being spent to portray the former Dollar General CEO as the dangerous [More]

When it comes to college tuition hikes, Georgia gets silver

  • 9:55 am Thursday, June 19th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

Looks like Georgia’s unofficial state motto, “Deo gratias, quia Mississippi,” needs updating. Only in New Mexico, where net tuition and fees rose a remarkable 188 percent, did state officials shift the cost of college from government to students more than legislators in Georgia. Here, net tuition revenue per student went up by 93 percent as legislators cut education appropriations and reduced the value of the HOPE Scholarship many students depend on for college expenses…

Even though Georgia students pay a lot more in tuition now than five years ago, the average tuition paid by a full-time Georgia student, $4,484, is still [More]

A top GOP lawmaker picks a side in state school superintendent race

  • 10:25 am Wednesday, June 18th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

Because the GOP runoff for state school superintendent has boiled down to a pro-con debate over Common Core, top figures in the Republican camp have been hesitant to take sides.

That may be changing. Mike Buck, the frontrunner in the May 20 primary and chief of staff to exiting Superintendent John Barge, on Tuesday released a list of endorsements.

Topping it was Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, chairman of the powerful Senate Rules Committee and a key ally of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.

No other state lawmakers or office-holders were listed. Buck, a resident of Rome, is backing the continued implementation [More]

GOP candidates for school superintendent lay out their differences

  • 5:08 pm Saturday, June 7th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Below you will find an excellent report by AJC staff writer Nick Fouriezos, on Saturday’s debate between the two Republican runoff candidates for state school superintendent:

It may have been name-recognition that pushed the two Republican superintendent candidates through a crowded nine-person primary, but now their stances on the pivotal issues facing education – Common Core, charter schools and testing practices – will decide their fate.

Luckily for voters, the candidates have pretty different views on each of those areas.

Mike Buck, a political neophyte but 33-year school system veteran, established himself in the May 20 Republican primary as the frontrunner with 91,435 [More]

Georgia business launches a sudden campaign aimed at the state Capitol

  • 9:00 am Saturday, May 17th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

This winter, the state Capitol erupted in a sudden and unexpected fight over a set of “religious liberty” bills that were interpreted as a hostile reaction to the ground that gay marriage has gained through the courts.

Tea party supporters sought protection for the Christian wedding photographer who, out of conscience, refuses to snap pictures of a same-sex couple exchanging vows.

But Georgia’s corporate giants saw something else: Legislation that would open their businesses to boycotts and lawsuits, trapping them in unwanted disputes perhaps generated by their own workers – the UPS driver who won’t deliver a package to a gay bar, [More]

Phil Gingrey goes after ‘the moderates’

  • 4:06 pm Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

In his latest television ad, a tougher U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey of Marietta  positions himself to the right of David Perdue, Jack Kingston and Karen Handel in the Senate race.

Notice the revival of a charge against Handel that was originally leveled in the 2010 race for governor — that, as chairman of the Fulton County Commission, she approved funding for an organization aimed at gay youth.

Port of Savannah expansion nears as Congress strikes water bill deal

  • 6:00 am Friday, May 9th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

Congressional leaders in both parties and chambers are set to move forward next week on a bill to authorize water projects across the nation — including the Port of Savannah deepening.

After nearly seven months of wrangling, the House-Senate negotiators announced Thursday night that they had agreed on a conference committee report which will be filed next week, and should clear both chambers easily. The House is gone next week, though, so the earliest it can head to President Barack Obama’s desk is the week of the 19th.

A Congressional authorization is the last step, according to the Obama administration, before the [More]

Common Core and the GOP effort to keep a lid on red-zone rhetoric

  • 6:00 pm Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

If you’ll pardon an off-season sports metaphor, we’ve entered the red zone of the Republican primary season.

With only a dozen days before final ballots are cast, the temptation to make risky plays for hardcore voters becomes ever stronger. Opportunities for fumbles, whether forced or unforced, likewise increase.

If a dominant theme can be assigned to this nerve-wracking, inside-the-20 yard-line period, it’s likely to be the effort among some Republicans to keep November in mind, and put a lid on the extreme language once encouraged as necessary to rally the troops.

On Tuesday, video surfaced in which Bob Johnson, a surgeon and conservative, [More]

GOP pollster: Temper anti-Common Core language, or pay in November

  • 4:39 pm Monday, May 5th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

John McLaughlin, the Republican pollster, is well known in Georgia.

He generates data for Gov. Nathan Deal, and others as well. Last week, when another poll put David Perdue and Karen Handel at the front of the GOP race for U.S. Senate, Jack Kingston pulled out a McLaughlin poll that had him at the top.

This morning, Deal and Kingston’s pollster advised Republicans across the nation to temper their denunciations of Common Core – or else, in November general elections, the issue could come back and bite them in the fanny
You can read the entire polling memo below, but here’s the [More]