Political Insider blog 

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

Fallout from the new gun law — and remembering Zell Miller’s advice

  • 9:58 am Thursday, April 24th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

The race for Gov. Nathan Deal’s job may not pivot Former Dalton Mayor David Pennington, who seeks to outflank Deal on the right, made exactly that argument before the ink was even dry. Said Pennington:

“I don’t believe that giving up our freedoms makes us any safer. The crime rates in this country have proven that. As a leader, I will not rest until we are the freest nation on earth again. While Nathan touts this one bill, he purposely forgets to mention the failure of campus carry and other bills that protect our Second Amendment rights.”

State Superintendent John Barge, another GOP rival, [More]

A House speaker under siege by tea party forces

  • 6:06 pm Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Ellijay, Ga. — On Wednesday, Gov. Nathan Deal and his extensive entourage could have trekked to any one of 180 House districts to sign HB 60, the gun bill – now law – that will greatly expand where concealed weaponry can be carried.

But as a favor to one of his most important allies in the state Capitol, Deal chose the picturesque banks of the Coosawattee River here in House District 7.

That’s because Speaker David Ralston of Blue Ridge, the second Republican to hold that position and the first from north Georgia, is under siege.

Among the high crimes and misdemeanors allegedly [More]

Democratic Party has slight trust edge in Georgia poll

  • 9:06 am Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

There’s lots to dig into from this State of the State

About 51% of whites polled said they trusted the Republican Party, and only 24.6% of whites trusted the Democratic Party. But 77.9% of blacks supported the Democrats, and only 9.3% of blacks backed the GOP. Hispanic voters, a fast-growing part of the Georgia electorate, were split, with 30.4% backing the GOP and 29.9% backing the Democratic Party. Almost 40% of Hispanics polled supported third parties.

The Democratic advantage is within the poll’s margin of error.

More interesting numbers: Gov. Nathan Deal is the most trusted Republican, with 16.7 percent tapping him. [More]

Nathan Deal signs broad gun rights expansion

  • 6:00 am Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Ellijay – Gov. Nathan Deal signed legislation today that would vastly expand where Georgians can legally carry firearms, a proposal that has drawn heaps of praise and scorn from outside groups.

“People who follow the rules can protect themselves and their families from people who don’t follow the rules,” said Deal, adding: “The Second Amendment should never be an afterthought. It should reside at the forefronts of our minds.”

House Bill 60, which passed in the final hours of this year’s legislative session, allows Georgians to legally carry firearms in a wide range of new places, including schools, bars, churches and [More]

Tom Graves takes airlines’ side in ticket-pricing fight

  • 10:22 am Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 by Greg Bluestein


U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, is siding with the airline industry in what could be a nasty fight with the people who buy their tickets.

Graves is the third signature on the Graves’ explanation when the bill was introduced in March:

“The cost of airline tickets will never be transparent as long as the Department of Transportation requires airlines to hide taxes, surcharges, and fees from consumers. In fact, this regulation means airlines may unfairly shoulder the blame for price increases, even if it’s a government tax hike that’s responsible.”

Consumer advocates, who pushed through the bundling requirement several years ago, disagree.Mere geography [More]

Nathan Deal: ‘My record speaks louder than any words’

  • 1:43 pm Monday, April 21st, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Dalton – Don’t expect to hear Gov. Nathan Deal change his mind about attending any debates with his GOP challengers before the May 20 primary.

His Republican rivals, state Superintendent John Barge and former Dalton Mayor David Pennington, have both tried to ratchet up the pressure on Deal with press conferences and social media blasts. Deal’s camp has refused, holding to the strategy that a front-runner and incumbent has little to gain by sharing the stage with his challengers.

If anything, a Pennington event hijacked by Deal attorney Randy Evans reinforced that notion with Deal’s aides. The governor said [More]

Jason Carter: Gun bill a solution for ‘geographically polarized’ communities

  • 1:05 pm Monday, April 21st, 2014 by Jim Galloway

State Sen. Jason Carter, the Democratic candidate for governor, was on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown” this morning to talk about his race against Republican incumbent Nathan Deal.

Amidst the routine questions was one that has puzzled many of Carter’s Democratic supporters, even in Georgia. Why did you vote for H.B. 60, the expansive gun bill that Deal will sign on Wednesday? Chuck Todd asked.

What follows is what we think is Carter’s most expansive explanation on the topic so far:

Carter: “I think the Second Amendment is important to many people in Georgia. And I know a lot of national Democrats and [More]

Karen Handel’s tax return challenge gets two takers — but not the big fish

  • 9:00 am Monday, April 21st, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

On the GOP side of the U.S. Senate race, Karen Handel’s U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey was game, though. He said in an interview Thursday he was “absolutely” willing to disclose up to 10 years of his tax records. His campaign said they should be available next week.

“I’d be happy to do that,” he said, adding: “My tax returns for the last five, 10 years, if she wants to do 10 years I’d be glad to do that. I think people want to know and they deserve to know. I’m all for that.”

Gingrey’s financial disclosure showed that in 2012 he [More]

You can lead a governor to cameras, but you can’t make him debate

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

Instances are scarce, perhaps as rare as a cop doing the speed limit, but every now and then, you come across a politician who would just rather not talk.

Gov. Nathan Deal has become one of them. It is only an occasional affliction. Our governor is an easy conversationalist in front of small groups, and large ones, too. TV cameras provoke nothing but calm and a smooth river of words.

But offer Deal a chance to appear on stage with his two Republican primary opponents, and the governor becomes as halting as a greenhorn at his first Toastmasters meeting.

The GOP incumbent this [More]

Nathan Deal to sign sweeping gun bill next week

  • 4:05 pm Friday, April 18th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Gov. Nathan Deal plans to sign legislation next week that would vastly expand where Georgians can legally carry firearms.

House Bill 60, which passed in the final hours of this year’s legislative session, would expand where Georgians may legally carry firearms, including schools, bars, churches and government buildings. A recent analysis also said it could let felons use the state’s “stand your ground” rules to claim self-defense if they feel threatened.

Gun rights groups cheered the news that Deal would sign the measure, which critics have dubbed the “guns everywhere” bill, on Wednesday at a north Georgia event. GeorgiaCarry.org, which [More]