Political Insider blog 

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

Three candidates, three views on jobless rate hike

  • 2:36 pm Thursday, September 18th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Gov. Nathan Deal blamed “historically faulty” economic data and suggested politicking was behind this month’s unemployment rate hike. Democrat Jason Carter called it a sign of Deal’s failed leadership. And Libertarian Andrew Hunt used it to press a plan to eliminate more taxes.

The jobless rate, which surprised many analysts by jumping to 8.1 percent in a report issued today, has sent a charge through the governor’s race. It also put Deal, a Republican who has put his economic agenda at the center of his campaign, on the defensive.

The governor set out to question how federal labor officials crunched the [More]

Nathan Deal outlines expansion of HOPE grant program

  • 1:30 pm Thursday, September 18th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Gov. Nathan Deal outlined a plan Thursday to expand a program that pays full technical school tuition through the HOPE scholarship for students in more high-demand areas.

The governor’s proposal would expand the Strategic Industries Workforce Development Grant to include students taking courses in film set design, computer programming, precision manufacturing and certified engineering assistants. It would require legislative sign-off next year.

“Jobs are available and we don’t have enough people qualified to fill them,” he said at a stop earlier Thursday. “It’s going to pay huge dividends.”

Expect the expansion to play a prominent role in the final weeks of Deal’s re-election [More]

An utterly shameless, self-promotional plug

  • 11:06 am Thursday, September 18th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

On Wednesday night, former President Jimmy Carter hosted his annual town hall meeting to allow Emory University freshmen to ask him anything.  Which they did. According to our AJC colleague Jill Vejnoska, this question came about 20 minutes in:

Student: Out of all the newspapers that you read each day, which one do you find the most informative?

Carter: Well, I read three newspapers every morning. We don’t get newspapers in Plains so I read it on the Internet. And I read the New York Times, I read the Washington Post and I read the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I think the Washington Post [More]

In a surprise, Georgia unemployment rate rises again

  • 12:09 am Thursday, September 18th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Georgia’s unemployment rate ticked up last month, an increase that’s sure to jolt the heated race for governor.

The Georgia Department of Labor released figures just before midnight Thursday showing the unemployment rate increased from 7.7 percent in July to 8.1 percent in August. Analysts and Gov. Nathan Deal expected the rate to drop that month as more workers temporarily laid off for the summer were rehired.

The uptick comes at an inopportune time for Deal, who has built his campaign for re-election against Democrat Jason Carter on an optimistic message that Georgia’s economy is improving thanks to his pro-business philosophy.

The governor has frequently pointed [More]

The policy behind a Nathan Deal childhood mystery

  • 6:07 pm Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Because biography is often destiny, politicians tend to keep an iron grip on their life stories.

So when 72-year-old Nathan Deal parts the curtains on a bit of family history, back to when he was still in the womb in 1942, it is time to pay attention.

The governor has often told friends that he was nearly a native of Soperton, a small town in southeast Georgia that now lies just south of I-16. Instead, Baby Deal was born 54 miles north, in Millen, Ga.

It seems that the governor’s schoolteacher father-to-be, Noah Deal, had run afoul of the Gillis family, which then [More]

In pivot to economy, Jason Carter warns ‘Georgia has no business at the bottom’

  • 2:12 pm Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Democrat Jason Carter is pivoting away from an education-first election message and toward an attack on Gov. Nathan Deal’s economic policies in hopes of winning over independents in the runup to November.

“Georgia has no business at the bottom,” Carter told a business crowd at a Dunwoody steakhouse Wednesday. “It’s embarrassing to be last.”

It’s the beginning of what his campaign says will be rounds of more intensive attacks on Deal’s economic policy. The economy has long factored into his election pitch – he often calls Deal’s business philosophy a “grab bag” – but it’s typically a side note to his argument [More]

A first glimpse into Brian Kemp’s voter registration probe

  • 9:59 am Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

The targets will hold a noon press conference at the state Capitol, but this afternoon’s emergency meeting of the state election board will be Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s show – an opportunity to explain why he’s launched an investigation into the most prominent voter registration project of the 2014 election season.

The board will gather in Room 341 of the Capitol, one of the building’s largest meeting spaces. But the meeting won’t be livestreamed – you’ll have to be present to win.

House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, one of the organizers behind the New Georgia Project, says she’s not sure [More]

Nathan Deal’s latest optimistic ad claims he ‘delivered on his promise’

  • 12:01 am Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Gov. Nathan Deal’s campaign released the latest in a string of optimistic ads trumpeting the Republican’s economic policy, saying he has “delivered on his promise” of making Georgia a more competitive state. At the same time, the campaign is reviving a separate airwave attack on Democrat Jason Carter’s education stance.

The above 30-second spot, called “When,” begins airing in metro Atlanta today. It tries to make the case that Deal has pressed much of the year: That his economic policies have made Georgia the No. 1 place in the nation to do business.

Carter has been trying to undercut that message by [More]

Top Democratic candidates a no-show at Obama’s Atlanta arrival

  • 3:18 pm Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

A host of Democratic dignitaries, including Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, were on hand to greet President Barack Obama upon his arrival here this afternoon. Missing from the tarmac: His party’s top contenders for higher office.

Gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter and Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn were elsewhere as the president landed to talk about his administration’s new

Gov. Nathan Deal’s campaign highlighted tweets Carter sent in 2013 welcoming Obama to town, as well as the Facebook post you see to the right. His spokeswoman Jen Talaber noted that he “doesn’t seem quite as excited to have his longtime friend” arrive now.

Carter spokesman [More]

A debate over education, and a Nathan Deal childhood mystery

  • 10:11 am Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

Gov. Nathan Deal and Democratic state Sen. Jason Carter meet at an education forum hosted by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators in Atlanta on Monday. Kent D. Johnson, kdjohnson@ajc.com

The event, the organizers insisted, was a forum – not a debate.

And yet that’s what Republican Gov. Nathan Deal and Democratic challenger Jason Carter turned it into – in front of members of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators.

Both were featured speaker at Michelle Obama’s get out the vote drive last week. But when her husband

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Over the weekend, state Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick, D-Lithonia, opened up a debate on corporal punishment [More]