Political Insider blog 

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

The first of three Friday polls: CNN says Michelle Nunn, Jason Carter leading races

  • 9:08 am Friday, October 24th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

This weekend will be awash in polls. An AJC-sponsored survey will be out this morning, as will a separate on from Channel 2 Action News. But we’ll start with a new CNN poll conducted with live callers — a rarity in Georgia this year — that shows the top-ticket Democrats with small leads within the margin of error. – Democrat Michelle Nunn: 47 percent;

– Republican David Perdue: 44 percent;

– Libertarian Amanda Swafford: 5 percent;

For governor:

– Democrat Jason Carter: 48 percent;

– Republican Gov. Nathan Deal: 46 percent;

– Libertarian Andrew Hunt: 6 percent;

Likely Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will be draw for [More]

In search of black voters: Democrats point to Ferguson, GOP emphasizes lower prison rate

  • 8:36 am Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

We now have a pretty clear picture of the messages Republicans and Democrats are sending to African-American voters in the last few days leading up to Nov. 4.

Playing this morning on The stark images have upset many Republicans:

“It’s despicable,” said Gov. Nathan Deal.

“It is really regrettable that anyone would resort to scare tactics to try to get people to vote. Georgia is not Missouri. Georgia has elected more African-American leaders — mayors, county commissioners, et cetera — than any other state in the country. We have a long history of good race relations, and I cannot understand why the [More]

John Barrow pulls out his granddaddy’s anti-lynchin’ pistol again

  • 10:21 am Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

Rep. John Barrow’s Barrow mourns how “Washington Democrats look down on people for carrying firearms.”

The kicker: “Like my daddy used to say, you never really need a gun unless you need it bad.”

The second new spot from Barrow today swings to attack Republican Rick Allen from the right on immigration.

The main critique of Allen is that We told you on Tuesday that the state Democratic party had sent out an early-voting turnout mailer aimed at African-Americans, using images from Ferguson, Mo.

The images were stark. Here’s the explanation from Michael Smith, the Democratic spokesman:

“The fight for the right to vote [More]

A ‘misinformed’ Nathan Deal on an Ebola strike force

  • 10:37 am Monday, October 20th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

Officially, last night’s Atlanta Press Club gubernatorial debate was scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Nathan Deal couldn’t wait. At 5:39 p.m., his office sent out a press release announcing that the Republican governor would sign an executive order announcing the creation of an “Ebola response team.”

Call it the incumbent’s advantage. In doing so, the governor guaranteed himself a first question that turned the proceedings into something like a press conference.

“I believe that we do have the resources that are available, and if we need additional resources, we will try to make sure that those are available,” a well-prepped Deal said.

Only [More]

Michelle Nunn shifts to back Ebola travel ban as President Obama resists

  • 10:19 am Friday, October 17th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

The following came in last night from the campaign of Democrat Michelle Nunn, on the subject of Ebola:

“As we continue to gain new information about this horrible disease, our public health officials should take every precaution to make sure that it doesn’t spread. I support a temporary travel ban to affected countries in West Africa with an exception for military and health workers. Scientists and public health experts at the CDC are in the best position to guide our response to this crisis, but our leaders in Washington must provide clear, bipartisan and strong leadership as well as the resources [More]

Rep. John Barrow holds campaign cash advantage, but the outside money is tilting Rick Allen’s way

  • 9:00 pm Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

U.S. Rep. John Barrow, an Augusta Democrat, revealed today that he had $1.5 million in his campaign bank account as of Sept. 30, while Republican challenger Rick Allen had just $118,000.

Georgia’s 12th Congressional District is the only competitive House race in the state and has seen a flood of outside money, but Barrow holds the sizable edge in candidate funding.

The Barrow campaign put out a press release ahead of its formal filing, stating that Barrow raised nearly $683,000 in the third quarter and had $1.5 million on hand. That would mean he spent about $1 million in the quarter, mostly [More]

Republicans opt for cash, Democrats choose outrage in final stretch

  • 10:44 am Monday, October 13th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

With the clock down to 22 days and early voting underway, both sides are showing their final hands in Georgia’s two biggest races.

Republicans are displaying a large cash advantage in an effort to avoid expensive runoffs. The Super PAC called Ending Spending and the The NRSC, which committed $1.45 million late Friday, was hoping to throw its money elsewhere, at least as of mid-September when its first Georgia buy was coming to a close. Here’s the committee’s finance chair, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, as

The gist of the issue: The HOPE scholarship, as originally launched by Gov. Zell Miller in [More]

Judging a Nathan Deal donation

  • 10:28 am Friday, October 10th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy and Greg Bluestein

Among We’ve gone from terrorists to pirates. The latest hit on Michelle Nunn’s Points of Light foundation involves the organization being a conduit of funds to an environmental organization that has been accused of high seas mischief.

From the Washington Free Beacon:

Founded in 1981, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has engaged in countless organized assaults on whaling and fishing ships, utilizing confrontational tactics that many consider extreme.

They intentionally ram their ships into other fishing and whaling vessels, throw “prop foulers” to break their propellers, and often pelt the ships with paintballs, water cannons, smoke bombs, and stink bombs.

Through Points of [More]

A new solution to bad press: File a restraining order against the reporter

  • 9:45 am Thursday, October 9th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

Tom Owens, a candidate for a vacant seat on the DeKalb County Commission, has come up with a novel and disturbing way to push back against bad press. The writer, George Chidi, denied threatening the politician and said the move is a way for the candidate to avoid answering questions about his past ahead of an upcoming election.

Chidi said he’s writing a book on civic engagement in Georgia and wanted to interview DeKalb County Commission District 1 candidate Tom Owens about the public’s perception of him.

“I hadn’t approached him until he became a public figure,” Chidi said. “He’s running for [More]

A bitter feud over ethics — and other hard-of-hearing stories from Perry

  • 10:14 am Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

Perry, Ga. — In between the boos and cheers at last night’s wrasslin’ — er, gubernatorial — match, there was a particularly brutal exchange between Gov. Nathan Deal and Democrat Jason Carter over the ethics complaints dogging his first term.

It started when Deal was asked why voters should trust him to overhaul the ethics commission.

“The ethics complaints that were filed against me were heard by the five commissioners and they were dismissed as having no merit,” said Deal, who talked about his proposal to expand and remake the agency.

Then Carter jumped in:

Carter: “I find it almost amazing to say that [More]