Political Insider blog 

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

David Perdue reportedly pledges to be a ‘team player’ for Mitch McConnell

  • 9:42 am Thursday, July 31st, 2014 by Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

David Perdue had to run against Washington and its dreaded “career politicians” in order to capture his party’s U.S. Senate nomination.

But he needs them to win in the fall and become an effective senator, which is why he made the rounds Wednesday on Capitol Hill for a series of possibly awkward meetings, starting with the man he defeated in a rough nine-week runoff, Jack Kingston. The Perdue campaign passed along the accompanying photographic evidence of the meeting.

We’re unaware of any visuals from Perdue’s sit-down with Georgia Republican Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. In [More]

On the timing of a Sam Olens charter flight

  • 6:00 am Thursday, July 31st, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Attorney General Sam Olens was in Savannah for meetings in May 2011 when he took a charter flight back to Atlanta for a meeting with Gov. Nathan Deal.

That wouldn’t be all that noteworthy if not for the timing of the May 4, 2011 trip. It took place a day after the then-head of the ethics commission, Stacey Kalberman, presented commissioners with draft subpoenas seeking records related to complaints into his 2010 complaints.

A document obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution lists the reason for the flight, which cost about $1,295, as a “mandatory meeting called by Gov. Deal.”

Olens’ staff, when asked about the trip, indicated [More]

Michelle Nunn team launches pushback on ‘old news’ memo

  • 9:05 am Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

A flurry of calls from Michelle Nunn’s supporters came a One caller was the Rev. Raphael Warnock, the leader of Ebenezer Baptist Church and one of Nunn’s most prominent black supporters. He said he wasn’t surprised that “people are trying to make hay out of it.”

“But the notion that somebody who is trying to run for the Senate actually has a plan to run for the Senate is not interesting or news to me. It’s not news – and it’s old news at best.”

Of course, this isn’t just any memo. It lays out Nunn’s campaign strategy, as of December [More]

On Super PACs, ‘firewalls,’ Nick Ayers and David Perdue

  • 4:28 pm Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

The OpenSecrets Blog is out this week with a winding tale of dark money, consultants and the Georgia U.S. Senate race.

The article from the follow-the-money nonprofit website looks particularly at Nick Ayers, the wunderkind who helped Sonny Perdue to his gubernatorial victories. Ayers went on to be the executive director to the Republican Governors Association and into the GOP consulting world, with a stint working for Tim Pawlenty’s brief presidential campaign.

Ayers is an adviser to Citizens for Working America, the PAC that attacked Jack Kingston during the Senate primary and runoff, accusing him of being the “King [More]

Gov. Nathan Deal makes a (very limited) exception to his stance against Medicaid expansion

  • 6:00 am Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Gov. Nathan Deal has gone to great lengths to assure his supporters that he’s against the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. But he carved out one exception this week.

It has to do with the more than 1,100 unaccompanied immigrant children transferred by the feds this year to the care of sponsors living in Georgia. The influx comes amid a surge of Central American children fleeing instability and violence at home to illegally cross the southwest border.

The governor said in an interview he expects their number to grow, and that he’s hearing they could be granted [More]

Whistleblower lawsuit targets ‘unethical’ behavior of Ga. National Guard head

  • 9:15 am Monday, July 28th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

Another whistleblower case is rocking state government. This one targets Adjutant General Jim Butterworth, Gov. Nathan Deal’s pick to head the Georgia National Guard.

The Georgia National Guard sent us a statement that said Grabowski “was not fired for any behavior protected by the whistleblower statute or other state or federal laws,” but rather after refusing a reassignment. It didn’t respond to the specific allegations.

Grabowski makes a series of claims in the lawsuit. Among them:

She questions Butterworth’s participation in a 2012 AFLAC Cancer Center charity drive in which he offered donors an invite to an “exclusive” barbecue and open house at Clay [More]

Jimmy Carter: Battle for governor’s office will not hinge on ethics

  • 6:00 am Monday, July 28th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

In the printed pages of the AJC today, you’ll find former President Jimmy Carter’s most extensive remarks about his grandson, Jason Carter, and his run for governor. But we wanted to break out the elder Carter’s take on the ethics questions swirling around incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal.

The former president said while the drip-drip of ethics news about the troubled aftermath of the ethics commission’s probe of Deal’s 2010 campaign would help, his grandson will ultimately win or lose on larger questions of economy and education.

“I don’t think so,” he said, when asked if the young Carter’s election hopes hinge on [More]

Nathan Deal’s office targeted with #weknownathan complaint

  • 12:18 pm Friday, July 25th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

The social media fundraising campaign this week by Gov. Nathan Deal’s boosters attracted plenty of attention by Democrats who hijacked the message for their own. Now it has also earned a call for an internal investigation.

Clint Murphy, a former GOP operative turned critic of his party, filed a request with the Office of Inspector General on Friday to look into the activities of Sasha Dlugolenski, a press aide who works for Deal’s government office.

In the complaint, Murphy claims that Dlugolenski violated a state ban on political activity during work time through a series of tweets she sent [More]

As border kids come to Georgia, Nathan Deal and Jason Carter clash

  • 8:45 am Friday, July 25th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

The screaming letter that Gov. Nathan Deal fired off to the White House was

Shortly after Deal’s office announced the letter, his campaign spokesman Jen Talaber sent out her own missive declaring the children are “victims of misguided federal policy implemented by President Obama” and criticizing his rival, state Sen. Jason Carter, for voting against an immigration crackdown.

Wrote Talaber:

“Where does he stand now that he knows the humanitarian crisis this has sparked? Does he think the Obama administration is handling this well? Does he think the administration should continue sending unaccompanied minors to Georgia without informing the state?”

Carter spokesman Bryan Thomas [More]

Complaint claims Jason Carter held ‘illegal’ fundraiser; Democrat punches back

  • 6:00 am Friday, July 25th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

A former Republican lawmaker filed an ethics complaint claiming a star-studded fundraiser boosting Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter is “grossly unethical and illegal.”

Carter’s staff later counterpunched by leveling two ethics charges against Deal’s campaign.

The initial complaint, dated July 17, contends that Carter, a state senator, violated rules barring lawmakers and statewide officers from accepting contributions or pledges for campaign cash while the Legislature is in session. It was filed by John Douglas, a former state senator.

The fundraiser in question was held March 23 in New York, three days after the legislative session ended, and featured Carter’s grandfather, former president Jimmy Carter, [More]