Political Insider blog 

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

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 cute-as-a-button 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 [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 the Battle of New Orleans in 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]

A pitch to GOP leaders to help Nathan Deal get ‘back on message’

  • 1:49 pm Friday, July 18th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Gov. Nathan Deal’s camp wants to change the subject from the ongoing fallout over the ethics memo.

The following message was sent to Republican state senators in the wake of that memo, in which ethics chief Holly LaBerge said she was threatened by Deal’s top staffers.

It’s another sign that Deal’s aides, accused of urging LaBerge to make complaints against the governor “go away,” want this story to head that same route. It included talking points to help them stay on a “singular message to get back on topic and win this campaign.”

Here goes:

Dear Senator,

As I am sure you have noticed, [More]

First poll since ethics case revival gives Jason Carter edge over Nathan Deal

  • 7:00 am Friday, July 18th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Our corporate cousins over at WSB-TV released a poll that gives Democrat Jason Carter the edge over Republican Gov. Nathan Deal.

Poll crosstabs give Deal a nine-point advantage with male voters, but find women support Carter by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. Carter also has the edge among black voters and those under 40. Interestingly, independents – who tend to lean to the right – are split between the two.

There’s a high possibility that Carter is benefiting from a media bubble, given the timing of the survey. But we’re sure he’ll take it.

***

An InsiderAdvantage survey conducted for Morris News Service, WAGA-TV in [More]

Deal defends staff’s contact with ethics chief, comparing her to ‘prosecutor’

  • 4:56 pm Thursday, July 17th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Gov. Nathan Deal issued the liveliest defense yet to the bombshell ethics memo rocking his campaign for re-election.

The remarks came in an interview with Erick Erickson, a conservative talk show host on WSB Radio, as he faces mounting pressure to explain why his aides contacted the commission’s chair, Holly LaBerge, days before a key hearing. In the interview, he compared LaBerge to a prosecutor and the commission’s five members to judges.

It was a friendly interview in a friendly venue. Said Deal:

“There was no communication from me and my staff to the commission members. Holly LaBerge is sort of like a [More]

Second-guessing Sam Olens on the Holly LaBerge memo

  • 11:19 am Thursday, July 17th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

 

On today’s ethics front, we have boatloads of radio-delivered news.

Gov. Nathan Deal continues his pushback on the Holly LaBerge fallout this afternoon. Erick Erickson, the conservative provocateur for WSB Radio (750AM, 95.5FM) has sent out the following Tweet:

Starting my radio show at 4 PM today with an exclusive interview with Gov. Nathan Deal.

Over at WABE (90.1FM), Jonathan Shapiro hooked up with designated legal expert Page Pate, who outlined what he thought Attorney General Sam Olens ought to have done with a 2012 memo written by Holly LaBerge, executive secretary for the state ethics commission, alleging that aides to the governor [More]