Political Insider blog 

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

South Georgia withers on the vine: We’ve got three of nation’s top 10 shrinking cities

  • 10:10 am Monday, July 7th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

If you want to know why both David Perdue and Jack Kingston see north Georgia as the key to their U.S. Senate races, just look at the drain that is south Georgia.

According to both No. 4: Albany (- 1.42 percent, current population 76,185)

No. 7 Macon (-1.31 percent, current population 89,981)

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Gov. Nathan Deal and his Democratic challenger Jason Carter traded barbs in the Opinion pages of Sunday’s AJC. In case you missed it, here are some of the highlights.

Deal stuck to the familiar trope of highlighting this year’s increase in K-12 funding and his championing of the charter school amendment [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]

Former Gov. Roy Barnes steps into row between Elena Parent and Kyle Williams

  • 4:15 pm Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

If you’re Kyle Williams, you’re feeling particularly lonely today.

The grand old man of the Georgia Democratic party, former Gov. Roy Barnes, is the star of a very tough robocall hitting answering machines in Senate District 42, which on Tuesday will pick a successor to Jason Carter.

Barnes treats Williams’ only rival, Elena Parent, as an incumbent: “She’s a progressive Democrat, and we should keep her.”

And the former governor slams Williams, a Decatur attorney: “Shame on her opponent….I hope you’ll join me in rejecting these Karl Rove-style dirty tricks.” Click here to listen:

The row began with a Williams mailer that lodged this [More]

Superintendent proposes volunteer security outfit at Ga. schools

  • 1:10 pm Thursday, May 1st, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Georgia’s new gun law allows school districts to decide whether to arm teachers and other staffers. State Superintendent John Barge has a different idea aimed at protecting the state’s schools.

Barge, who is challenging Gov. Nathan Deal in the GOP primary, proposes a School Marshal Program that would provide onsite security and video surveillance during school hours and other campus events. He plans to start implementing the program in a handful of schools by the start of the next school year.

It’s part of a volunteer organization called the School Marshal Association, a nonprofit group which said its members include [More]

In Cherokee County, proof that the truth isn’t everything you imagine it to be

  • 5:58 pm Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Over the past few years, Cherokee County has been a breeding ground for a style of politics that rewards the intensity of one’s beliefs, even in the face of actual facts on the ground.

If you believe passionately enough, and loudly enough, this line of thinking goes, then truth can be ignored as a mere inconvenience. Purity of heart and the higher cause trump all.

It is a philosophy that will be dealt a harsh setback Thursday, when a local school board member, her Republican political adviser and a Cherokee County GOP secretary are sentenced for trying to bend reality to their [More]

Jason Carter as an ‘NRA Democrat’

  • 9:30 am Friday, March 28th, 2014 by Jim Galloway, Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

Last week, when the state Senate had its final vote on The bill is now before Gov. Nathan Deal. We’ll let Jeanne Bonner with Georgia Public Broadcasting pick up the thread:

Deal has said pointedly that the legislation is not “part of his agenda” but he’s expected to sign it. Carter, whose family has South Georgia roots, brushed off questions about the bill by saying he’s an “NRA Democrat.”

GPB reached out to several long-term Democrats who said they’re not familiar with that phrase. One political expert mused that Carter may be taking his cue from an ad Democratic Congressman John [More]

John Barge: ‘Folks who can donate money are afraid to’

  • 11:43 am Thursday, March 6th, 2014 by Jim Galloway, Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

A fourth candidate for governor signed up on Thursday. Any more will officially qualify as a surprise.

State School Superintendent John Barge, who has raised hardly any money for the contest, wrote a personal check for $5,220 to join former Dalton mayor David Pennington in the primary contest to oust Republican incumbent Nathan Deal.

Barge admitted that he doesn’t have much cash. “Fundraising is a challenge. Frankly, a lot of folks who can donate money are afraid to. They’ll tell you they’re afraid to be on record. So we’re using a lot of social media,” he said.

But Barge said he does have [More]

Deal predicts changes coming to Common Core legislation

  • 2:09 pm Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

That Common Core legislation that has so infuriated educators? Expect some big changes to it before the session is out.

Gov. Nathan Deal, whose staff helped draft the controversial legislation, said it is “not a finished product” and that revisions were on the way.

Senate Bill 167 calls for a review of whether the state should stay within Common Core, the national education standards that have ticked off tea party members and other conservatives who fear a takeover of education policy. But educators also fear the language would prevent students from being tested on material tied to the [More]

Legislative tip sheet: House takes up Common Core

  • 8:06 am Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

The House and Senate gavel in at 10 a.m. today.

The chambers aren’t tackling anything too heavy so soon after Crossover Day, but action is picking up in committees as each side begins to work through the bills that are now in their court.

One of the biggest questions remains how the Senate will handle the hot potato that is the gun bill. It could come up in a Senate judiciary committee as soon as today.

House committees will consider bills delving into the operation of the Georgia High School Association, which governs Friday night football in Georgia, and Common Core.

On the latter [More]

Legislative tip sheet: Pocket knives and Joe Biden

  • 8:04 am Tuesday, March 4th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

After a frenzied Crossover Day, lawmakers will be back at the state Capitol on Tuesday, working at a more leisurely pace. The Senate, having wrapped up its business by dinner time Monday, will be in at 10 a.m.  House members will start at 1 p.m.

Day 31 is typically a subdued affair.  The calendars in both chambers are expected to be light (House Rules won’t meet to set the calendar until 12:20 p.m.) In committees, Senate Appropriations will take up the budget. Passage of the measure will set up negotiations between the House and Senate and is a sure sign that [More]