Political Insider blog 

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

Johnny Isakson: We need a 72-hour turnaround for Central American border kids

  • 9:48 am Tuesday, July 15th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, in an interview with Martha Zoller and Tim Bryant “Anybody coming from a non-contiguous country actually had to have a hearing before an immigration authority or immigration judge. That takes up to four to six weeks.

“We need to amend that law, to say that they can be sent home within 72 hours, like somebody from Mexico or Canada – and stem the tide. Once they see that we’re going to send them home, the attractiveness of trying to get into the United States of America will be diminished and will lessen the pressure on the border.”


Jason [More]

Johnny Isakson helps strike deal to streamline job training programs

  • 4:48 pm Wednesday, June 25th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate voted 95-3 this afternoon to reduce the number of federal job training programs and give states greater flexibility to implement them, among other reforms.

Sens. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., were at the center of House-Senate negotiations on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which is expected to pass the House easily as well. It axes 15 job training programs but allows the funding for them to grow in line with an overall budget agreement negotiated last year.

Duplicative and ineffective job training programs have become a classic talking point against big government. Isakson [More]

Blowback for Tom Graves over role in House leadership election

  • 9:11 am Friday, June 20th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

On Thursday, Republicans in the U.S. House elected Kevin McCarthy of California, a business-friendly ally of Speaker John Boehner, to replace the tea party-slain Eric Cantor of Virginia.

The result surprised no one. But what caught many off guard was the man who nominated McCarthy at the closed-door meeting: Tom Graves of Ranger.

“I submit to you today that we cannot make good on the hope of America as a broken party. We cannot lead the way if we do not trust each other. As of late, there has been a lot of talk about holding our leadership accountable, as if [More]

It could have been Saxby Chambliss…

  • 12:55 pm Friday, June 6th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

You have to know that, somewhere in D.C., Saxby Chambliss is shaking his head, perhaps murmuring, “There but for the grace of God….” From the Associated Press:

JACKSON, Miss. — National tea party groups are divvying up the nuts and bolts of campaigning as they rush to boost Republican Chris McDaniel’s effort to deny Sen. Thad Cochran a seventh term representing Mississippi.

The activist-focused FreedomWorks will run a door-to-door, get-out-the-vote operation ahead of the June 24 runoff. The anti-tax Club for Growth is ready to air even tougher television ads. The Tea Party Express will rally supporters with a bus tour through [More]

At the apex of GOP’s reign, primary turnout continues to sink

  • 9:36 am Friday, May 30th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Earlier this week, Secretary of State Brian Kemp confirmed what his website had already told us – that turnout for the May 20 primary was dismal. Under 20 percent.

But what was significant was where it was dismal. Cobb County remained the lead GOP factory for votes, generating 50,494. But that was down 23 percent from the 2004 GOP primary for U.S. Senate that featured Johnny Isakson, Herman Cain and Mac Collins.

Gwinnett County turned out 40,845 votes – a 27 percent drop in turnout from the 2004 primary. Fulton County’s 35,775 Republican votes were down 21 percent.

Statewide, the 2014 turnout for [More]

In Georgia, John Lewis is now the last word in federal judgeships

  • 10:07 am Friday, May 16th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

Things aren’t looking good for Michael Boggs, the state court of appeals judge whose nomination for a federal judgeship is now before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Boggs, a former state Democratic lawmaker from Waycross, has drawn criticism for past votes to tighten abortion restrictions, support a constitutional ban on gay marriage in Georgia, and – in 2001 – oppose the removal of the 1956-era state flag and its Confederate battle emblem.

On the cusp of their best political season since they lost power in 2002, Georgia Democrats have been suspiciously silent about Boggs.
Boggs did say in his confirmation “my views may [More]

YouTube proof that approval for Port of Savannah dredging is near

  • 5:51 pm Thursday, May 15th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

You want proof that federal approval and funding for the dredging of the Port of Savannah may finally be a done deal?

Yes, we have the bargain that U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson detailed on Wednesday. But now we also have the above YouTube video, posted by the White House two days ago.

Unless they’re ready to hang Vice President Joe Biden out to dry again, that’s a pretty strong signal.

Isakson attempts to create clout in a time of reduced influence

  • 12:05 pm Saturday, May 10th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

If you were watching C-SPAN on Thursday, you saw mild-mannered Johnny Isakson test-drive a new style of Washington politics.

He got angry. In public. As best he could, anyway. “I think I was respectful. I tried to be,” Isakson said afterwards.

In the short-term, whether the senator’s tactics bear fruit could mean a great deal in terms of economic development – here and on the Georgia coast.

More broadly, Isakson’s strategem could also foretell a shift in how the U.S. Senate does its business – bringing into public view many of the negotiations and sidebar discussions that, in the past, have been conducted [More]

Johnny Isakson to HHS pick: Savannah harbor project is more important than your nomination

  • 3:03 pm Thursday, May 8th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

A few weeks after officialdom in Georgia learned that another federal budget would exclude funding for a deepening of the Port of Savannah, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced her resignation.

In her stead, President Barack Obama nominated Sylvia Burwell, the director of the Office of Management and Budget – and the woman who put the brakes on the Savannah project.

Since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., invoked the “nuclear option,” non-judicial nominations aren’t subject to filibuster. But during a Senate committee hearing today, Johnny Isakson, in the video above, all but said he’s willing to wage whatever delaying [More]

Senate hopeful Derrick Grayson has rancher Cliven Bundy’s back

  • 10:00 am Thursday, May 1st, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

Derrick Grayson, the only black candidate in the Republican U.S. Senate field, is taking the side of federal government-defying Nevada rancher Cliven Many backers fled as the controversy spiked. But not Grayson. In the video above — which has attracted 74,000 YouTube views as of this writing — Grayson says:

“When he talked about black people being enslaved, I have been saying this for the last eight years — by liberal Democrat policies. I don’t understand what the problem is. Oh, I get it. I can say it, but a white person can’t. A white person say it, the press [More]