Political Insider blog 

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

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]

EPD celebrates Earth Day – by easing restrictions on development on Georgia coast

  • 2:51 pm Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 by Jim Galloway

The state Environmental Protection Division has a unique way of celebrating Earth Day.

The department announced a revision of regulations that environmentalists say will greatly increase development along the Georgia coastline.

This explanatory note comes from Neil Herring of the Sierra Club:

Under the [old] policy, which was promulgated by the biologist EPD Director Dr. Carol Couch, a line was drawn where the salt marsh reaches the “hill,” the more or less dry ground, determined by the presence of plants that will grow at that point but not in the marsh.

From that line, to another line, 25 feet inland from the first appearance [More]

Ending a drought of successful black candidates in Georgia

  • 6:00 pm Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Eight years have passed since an African-American won a statewide, partisan election in Georgia. And truth be told, the real drought has lasted much longer.

The first and only time a black candidate has won statewide office in Georgia without first being appointed to it — and thus having the advantage of incumbency – was in 1998, when Democrat Michael Thurmond claimed the open seat for state labor commissioner.

It is one of the crueler streaks of Georgia politics, but may be about to end. The winds of change are blowing on both the Republican and Democratic side of this year’s race [More]

Unlimited cash for campaigns? GOP Senate candidates are split

  • 9:56 am Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

Five of seven GOP candidates gathered in Marietta on Tuesday evening in a forum sponsored by the all-powerful Cobb County Republican Women’s Club.

The two presumed frontrunners in the contest, U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston and businessman David Perdue, had other things to do.

The rest plowed ground that has become very familiar – with perhaps a single exception. One of the questioners, Anne Lewis, who is general counsel for the Georgia GOP, noted the recent 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision that lifted federal limits on the aggregate amounts that individuals could give to federal contests.

The limit on contributions per candidate remain, but [More]

World Vision to recognize gay marriage of employees

  • 10:19 am Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 by Jim Galloway, Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

In the religious-political world, most eyes will be focused today on U.S. Supreme Court arguments in  a renewed battle over President Barack Obama’s health care law that pits the religious rights of employers against World Vision’s American branch will no longer require its more than 1,100 employees to restrict their sexual activity to marriage between one man and one woman.

Abstinence outside of marriage remains a rule. But a policy change announced Monday [March 24] will now permit gay Christians in legal same-sex marriages to be employed at one of America’s largest Christian charities…

[World Vision U.S. president Richard] Stearns asserts that [More]

A Republican senator speaks up for Medicaid expansion

  • 9:00 am Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Today is the fourth birthday of the Affordable Care Act. Strictly speaking, this is not news, but a predictable, calendar-based event.

Rather like a Legislature in Georgia passing a gun bill in an election year. You can nearly set your watch by it.

No, news is the unexpected. It is man bites dog – which is silly. Or Vladimir Putin sending an apology and flowers to Ukraine – which is pure fantasy.

News is an elected Republican endorsing an expansion of Medicaid in Georgia. Which may be just as inconceivable, but really happened.

One of the year’s grandest acts of political rebellion in the [More]

A legislative session built around two different elections comes to an end

  • 10:29 am Friday, March 21st, 2014 by Jim Galloway, Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

The photo below, taken and Tweeted by Jeanne Bonner of Georgia Public Broadcasting, shows a momentarily estranged pair of likely November foes — and neatly sums up the theme of Sine Die in the state Capitol.

It was all about setting the table for the 2014 election season. Those struggling to boost their chances in Republican primaries vied with Republicans who are more worried about a Democratic resurgence in November.

Twenty-four of 119 Republican state lawmakers face May 20 primary opposition. Five of 36 GOP senators have primary opposition. So does Gov. Nathan Deal.

But the governor also has a well-funded Jason Carter [More]

The Republican state senator who endorsed Medicaid expansion

  • 2:55 pm Thursday, March 20th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Buried in the storm of bills shoved through the Legislature on Tuesday was a late-night surprise – for those paying attention.

During debate on [More]

11Alive/Survey USA poll puts David Perdue atop GOP heap

  • 9:56 am Thursday, March 20th, 2014 by Jim Galloway, Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

11Alive has a new statewide poll out this morning thatWith two months before the primary, Democrat Michelle Nunn is on the verge of winning her party’s nomination without a runoff, according to the automated SurveyUSA poll.

Straight-up numbers: Nunn, 48 percent; Todd Robinson, 14 percent; Steen Miles, 11 percent; and Branko “Dr. Rad” Radulovacki at 5 percent.

Republican incumbent Nathan Deal is pulling 65 percent of the GOP vote in his contest. Former Dalton Mayor David Pennington comes in at 11 percent and School Superintendent John Barge registers at 7 percent.

But break out the salt shakers, ladies and gentlemen.

First, the numbers: [More]

Hints that Nathan Deal will back down-sizing of rural hospitals

  • 6:00 am Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 by Jim Galloway, Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

When state Rep. Sharon Cooper publicly mused in January about At the meeting, commissioner Clyde Reese said board members would soon be asked to approve a plan for a “step-down rural access for communities that have lost their hospitals.” That could clear the way for struggling hospitals, or even those that were recently shuttered, to more easily drop expensive offerings and scale back to limited services such as emergency care.

The fate of rural hospitals has been a recurring theme of the session, which lurches to a merciful ending on Thursday. Andy Miller of Georgia Health News reports that [More]