Political Insider blog 

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

Rick Allen tries to distance himself from stimulus bill

  • 9:00 am Friday, August 29th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy and Greg Bluestein

The 2009 stimulus bill is a big deal in Rep. John Barrow’s re-election race, in part because the Augusta Democrat has not voted for many other big-ticket Democratic items in the Obama era. It has been the subject of a simian-themed National Republican Congressional Committee ad, and Republican Rick Allen has hammered it on the stump.

At the same time, Allen must distance himself from the stimulus, which was backed by the Associated General Contractors of America — seeing as the bill provided an infusion of cash for “shovel-ready” construction projects. So you have the video above (please excuse the vertical [More]

Democrats to press for stronger whistleblower protections next year

  • 6:00 am Friday, August 29th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Gov. Nathan Deal’s talk of changing Georgia’s whistleblower law has led state Democrats to come up with a sweeping counterproposal.

The Senate Democratic Caucus met in Newnan Thursday to approve its 2015 legislative agenda, and sent us word that a key part of the package is a proposal that would give public employees broader leeway to file whistleblower complaints.

The governor in May suggested he wanted to more narrowly define who can file those types of complaints. He said he was concerned about a state Supreme Court ruling that automatically granted whistleblower status to government employees charged with investigating state agencies and [More]

Georgia GOP settles on newcomer to fill state lawmaker’s spot

  • 10:18 am Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

The executive committee of the state GOP on Tuesday settled on a political newcomer, David Clark, the brother of state Rep. Josh Clark, R-Buford, to replace the late Michael Brown as a Gwinnett County candidate for House District 98.

The substitution must be reported to Secretary of State Brian Kemp by 4 p.m. today to make the November ballot.

Brown died last week, after winning the May 20 primary – and the seat. There is no Democratic candidate, so the nomination is tantamount to election.

The seven-day process resulted in a fierce tug-of-war over the seat, with tea partyers on one end of [More]

Watchdog group demands investigation of Nathan Deal’s top aides

  • 6:00 pm Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

A watchdog group demanded an internal investigation of Gov. Nathan Deal’s top aides, claiming that a recently revealed memo drafted by the ethics chief was proof that she was coerced into creating a “politically favorable outcome” for the governor.

Sabrina Smith of Georgia Watchdogs filed the complaint with the Office of the Inspector General claiming that executive counsel Ryan Teague and chief-of-staff Chris Riley, who has now joined the campaign, violated state law prohibiting government employees from coercing co-workers for political gain. You can find your copy here.

The complaint centers on the bombshell memo revealed in July written by ethics chief Holly LaBerge. She [More]

Drones are coming to Georgia. And they’ve got lawyers.

  • 10:49 am Monday, August 25th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

If you want to know where the future is headed, watch where the legal community goes.

The legal/governmental affairs firm of McKenna, Long & Aldridge, perhaps the most politically active entity of its kind in Atlanta – working both sides of the aisle, has a new Washington unit: An unmanned Aircraft Systems division.

The firm is now advertising a Sept. 23 seminar in Georgia that will include a look at what might be popping up legislatively during the 2015 session of the General Assembly.

Among the speakers: state Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black (think crop dusting) ; Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, chairman of the state [More]

The local push to hold the Democratic National Convention next door

  • 8:51 am Friday, August 15th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy and Greg Bluestein

Now that Republicans have picked Here’s what he told WABE:

“It is a dangerous policy and if people are subscribing to a cap and trade policy that President Carter is advocating than they should think very hard about having a governor who supports that,” said Deal.

He added no one should be referred to as nutcases.

“If he wants to use that classification than I guess I fit,” said Deal.

When asked to clarify, Deal said he believes in global warming but doesn’t know whether or not it’s man-made.

“It is an argument and a debate that will continue in this country and I [More]

Nathan Deal: Talk of gas tax hike is ‘premature’

  • 10:21 am Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

State lawmakers are wrestling with ways to Y0u can assume it won’t be a tax hike. So what other methods could they be examining?

One possibility could involve directing the fourth penny of that fuel tax, about $180 million that’s now diverted to the general fund, toward transportation projects. Another could give local governments more power to raise sales taxes for transportation.

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Former state lawmaker Edward Lindsey of Atlanta, a member of that transportation task force in search of dollars, has an argument posted on GeorgiaPundit.com with a biblical beginning:

Two thousand years ago there was a thriving commercial center and port [More]

Butch Miller to run for state Senate majority leader

  • 4:05 pm Monday, August 4th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

We have it on excellent authority that state Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, a two-term ally of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, is in the running to become the next state Senate majority leader.

The position is an open one, given the departure of Ronnie Chance, R-Tyrone, who chose not to run for re-election this year.

We’re told that Miller will be releasing the identities of his top supporters in the chamber within a matter of days, which should tell us whether he should be considered the immediate frontrunner for the post.

Word came to us only a few hours after we posted news [More]

Nathan Deal on Israel, Jimmy Carter and ‘anti-Semitism’

  • 9:43 am Monday, August 4th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

You don’t often see foreign policy become fodder in a race for governor.

But as the weekend began, Nathan Deal named Israel as an issue in his re-election bid for governor, and came very, very close to labeling his Democratic rival’s grandfather, former President Jimmy Carter, as an anti-Semite.

The vehicle was a Washington Times op-ed piece, penned by both Deal and John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, that held up Georgia as a beacon for U.S.-Israeli relations.

The article begins by condemning the effort among some – which preceded the current hositilities in Gaza — to subject [More]

Into the weeds: Exploring the edges of Georgia’s new gun law

  • 5:28 pm Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014 by Jim Galloway

We are 72 hours into Georgia’s new concealed-carry law, and questions that were once theoretical are sprouting like weeds.

All of us have a steep learning curve in front of us, including the firearms enthusiast in Valdosta who wasn’t sure that the fellow in front of him at the local convenience store was, in fact, a good guy with a holstered gun.

The enthusiast drew his own weapon and demanded the other’s carry permit. And was then arrested for disorderly conduct. Under Georgia’s new gun statute, you see, no one can require the display of another’s carry license without cause. Not [More]