Political Insider blog 

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

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]

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]

Pulling out the stops: Nathan Deal brings first lady into the picture

  • 9:49 am Thursday, July 24th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

Early this week, Gov. Nathan Deal got on the phone with more than a few nervous Republican state lawmakers and promised to pull out all the stops in the upcoming election.

Proof arrived Wednesday morning in the inboxes of laptops and smartphones across Georgia: A re-introduction to Sandra Deal, the First Lady of Georgia.

It wasn’t a campaign piece, but an official communication from the Office of the Governor in its weekly newsletter. (If you didn’t get one, see it here.)

And contentwise, the most controversial part of the message was a recipe for gluten-free almond cookies.

But the post-Election Day timing was [More]

A hair-pin turn in U.S. Senate race puts the focus on Michelle Nunn

  • 10:24 am Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

Georgia’s first – and perhaps last – nine-week primary runoff concludes today. A hair-pin turn in the race to replace U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss is already underway.

Republicans Jack Kingston and David Perdue have thrown millions of dollars’ worth of insults at each other. Kingston has accused Perdue of consorting with the French. Perdue, on slightly firmer ground, has accused Kingston of being a member of Congress.

In Washington, The Hill newspaper has found someone willing to offer a highly technical assessment of the situation:

They’ve been beating the crap out of each other,” said Georgia-based Republican strategist Chip Lake, who [More]

The hijacking of #weknownathan

  • 6:25 pm Monday, July 21st, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

On the Monday after a week of brutal media scrutiny over a 3-year-old ethics case, the campaign of Republican incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal really, really wanted to win the Internet. So far, it’s not working out.

The governor’s morning

Carter spokesman Bryan Thomas piled on:

These Republicans tried to fight back……

But the conversation remained largely critical:

Topping it off, late Monday, the Democratic hit squad Better Georgia quickly snapped up WeKnowNathan.com and put a top 10 list about the governor with this headline: “We know Nathan…We just wish we didn’t.

Oof. @GaRepublicans may be 'smarter than Carter,' but they didn't buy the URL [More]

Rain may not be the only thing that dampens GOP runoff fervor

  • 12:22 pm Monday, July 21st, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

The weather gods are forecasting a 50 percent chance of rain on Tuesday, which is likely to depress voter turnout beyond already meager expectations for tomorrow’s runoff contests. A single-digit showing is possible.

But something else may be sprinkling cold water on GOP excitement.

This morning, Gov. Nathan Deal held a conference call with a small group of Republican state senators – and one of your Insiders, who listened in.

In addition to affecting surveys conducted in Georgia, these numbers also make the state GOP effort to regroup in every county f***

This morning, interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May, Clerk of Superior Court [More]

Nathan Deal says he won’t ‘leave anything on table’ in re-elect bid

  • 9:50 am Monday, July 21st, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Gov. Nathan Deal’s conference call with GOP lawmakers this morning was less of a defense of his office’s role in the fallout over the ethics memo and more of an impassioned plea for fellow Republicans to regroup against Democrats mounting a growing threat to their political supremacy.

Trailing in fundraising and lagging in a recent poll behind Democrat Jason Carter, Deal suggested that the ethics memo has given his campaign a jolt. He said he’s been “somewhat deferential” during the long runoff period to avoid distracting attention from GOP races for Senate and superintendent, but that will [More]

For Georgia Democrats, Act One has barely begun — but so has Act Two

  • 9:00 am Saturday, July 19th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

To understand Thomas Jefferson and his lifelong suspicion of all things British, biographer Jon Meacham writes, you have to stop thinking of the American Revolution as the brief episode that began July 4, 1776, and ended with the Battle of Yorktown five years later.

Shaking off the English was a five-decade effort, Meacham argues, that began in 1764 and didn’t end until Andy Jackson settled their hash once and for all in New Orleans, ending the War of 1812.

Political movements, in other words, are like paper towels. They don’t always tear along the dotted lines. In fact, they seldom do.

Georgia’s most [More]