Political Insider blog 

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

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]

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]

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]

Nathan Deal aide’s strange method of blowing off ethics-related steam

  • 6:00 am Thursday, July 24th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Gov. Nathan Deal’s chief spokesman, Brian Robinson, is known for his use of, er, colorful language when confronting critics of his boss. Now we also know he may need a few extra pillows in his first-floor Capitol office.

In an April 9 email to other Deal aides, Robinson sent a link to an Insider post detailing ethics chief Holly LaBerge’s critique of the governor’s ethics overhaul. Below the link were these words:

“She told the AJC that she doesn’t like the governor’s proposal because the commission would be too big and would outnumber the employees. I’m stuffing a pillow in my [More]

In U.S. Senate runoff, the Chamber takes it on the chin

  • 12:45 pm Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

David Perdue’s decision to target the U.S. Chamber in the final days of his GOP Senate runoff was more a page torn from the family playbook than an act of desperation.

In 2002, upstart Sonny Perdue was shocked, baffled and outraged by the fact that a national political group known for reflexively endorsing Republicans instead decided to side with Democratic incumbent Gov. Roy Barnes.

In that case, it was the National Rifle Association. Perdue challenged Barnes to a shotgun duel – all right, a skeet shoot (which never happened) — and campaigned against the NRA as one of those many special interests [More]