Political Insider blog 

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

Signs point to John Barge endorsement of Valarie Wilson for school superintendent

  • 11:37 am Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 by Jim Galloway

John Barge and Democrat Valarie Wilson have scheduled a joint appearance for Thursday in Tucker, and there’s every indication that the Republican state school superintendent will endorse her as his successor.

Barge, since he lost his Republican primary challenge to Gov. Nathan Deal, has been something of a free agent. And there’s a bit of history, too. Barge defeated Republican Richard Woods, now the GOP nominee, for the job in the  2010 primary. The incumbent disagrees with Woods on such issues as Common Core — which Woods opposes.

At this point, Wilson’s campaign is promising only a “special announcement,” that will also [More]

Looking for a Democratic upset? The race for school superintendent has possibilities

  • 5:48 pm Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Todd Rehm writes the blog known as GeorgiaPundit.com and is a Republican consultant who sometimes joins me in front of a TV camera. Michael Thurmond is the DeKalb County school superintendent and owner of a long Democratic resume.

The two men live in separate worlds and have never met, so far as I know. But they agree on at least one thing:

If you want to lay a wager on the Democrat who might be celebrating election to a statewide office on the first Tuesday in November, don’t place your money on Michelle Nunn or Jason Carter.

It will be difficult for [More]

The policy behind a Nathan Deal childhood mystery

  • 6:07 pm Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Because biography is often destiny, politicians tend to keep an iron grip on their life stories.

So when 72-year-old Nathan Deal parts the curtains on a bit of family history, back to when he was still in the womb in 1942, it is time to pay attention.

The governor has often told friends that he was nearly a native of Soperton, a small town in southeast Georgia that now lies just south of I-16. Instead, Baby Deal was born 54 miles north, in Millen, Ga.

It seems that the governor’s schoolteacher father-to-be, Noah Deal, had run afoul of the Gillis family, which then [More]

Nathan Deal: Talk of gas tax hike is ‘premature’

  • 10:21 am Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

State lawmakers are wrestling with ways to Y0u can assume it won’t be a tax hike. So what other methods could they be examining?

One possibility could involve directing the fourth penny of that fuel tax, about $180 million that’s now diverted to the general fund, toward transportation projects. Another could give local governments more power to raise sales taxes for transportation.


Former state lawmaker Edward Lindsey of Atlanta, a member of that transportation task force in search of dollars, has an argument posted on GeorgiaPundit.com with a biblical beginning:

Two thousand years ago there was a thriving commercial center and port [More]

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)


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]