Political Insider blog 

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

Nathan Deal signs broad gun rights expansion

  • 6:00 am Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Ellijay – Gov. Nathan Deal signed legislation today that would vastly expand where Georgians can legally carry firearms, a proposal that has drawn heaps of praise and scorn from outside groups.

“People who follow the rules can protect themselves and their families from people who don’t follow the rules,” said Deal, adding: “The Second Amendment should never be an afterthought. It should reside at the forefronts of our minds.”

House Bill 60, which passed in the final hours of this year’s legislative session, allows Georgians to legally carry firearms in a wide range of new places, including schools, bars, churches and [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]

A link between probation company and senator who wants to be a judge

  • 10:57 am Sunday, April 20th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Good read here from Sandy Hodson and the Augusta Chronicle. Don’t be satisfied with these introductory paragraphs:

Less than a week before a Senate committee stripped a bill of provisions that limited the fees private probation companies can charge, the owner of such a firm wrote a letter of recommendation for the Waynesboro state senator who headed the committee and is in line for a judgeship that will supervise people affected by the legislation.

In addition, three days before the legislative session began, state Sen. Jesse Stone received his largest single campaign contribution from the Georgia Association of Professional Bondsmen, according [More]

In which possession of a MARTA card becomes grounds for a GOP attack

  • 1:02 pm Friday, April 18th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

A Republican governor and one Democratic candidate for Senate have indicated a certain reluctance to appear on-stage with their primary opponents. House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, doesn’t share their concern.

On Tuesday night, the third most powerful figure in the state Capitol debated Sam Snider, a tea partyist and Gilmer County high school wrestling coach. Video has been posted by fetchyournews.com.

An accompanying write-up includes this paragraph:

Things got heated quickly when Snider showed he was not intimidated by his opponent. Snider went after Ralston for his support of TSPLOST and even went so far as to point out that Ralston [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]

Ethics verdict poses a threat to GOP grip on Georgia

  • 9:00 am Saturday, April 12th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

In the 11 days after the adjournment of the Legislature on March 20, Democrat Jason Carter out-raised Gov. Nathan Deal by a ratio of five to one.

The Republican incumbent pulled in $84,000 before the deadline for the latest contribution reporting period. His upstart challenger, a sitting state senator, raised $416,000.

The Deal campaign accused Carter of cheating – by advertising a March 23 fundraiser in New York, which featured his famous grandfather, before lawmakers abandoned Atlanta. State law forbids legislators and all other elected state officials from soliciting campaign contributions while the Legislature is in session.

But here’s the unfortunate reality of [More]

The effort to unseat House Speaker David Ralston

  • 9:54 am Thursday, April 10th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

We’re picking up word that some cash is flowing through north Georgia in an attempt to foment revolution and the overthrow of House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge.

Consider the following paragraphs, penned by Debbie Dooley and Julianne Thompson of Atlanta Tea Patriots:

“Speaker Ralston killed the autism bill, the bill that would ban Common Core in Georgia, the religious freedom bill, the foster care bill, gutted the gun bill, gutted H.B. 707 that would help nullify Obamacare in Georgia. He also added $17 million in the budget to build a new parking deck for the new Falcons stadium….”

The missive is contained [More]

Gallup poll: Georgians not ready to revolt over taxes

  • 10:03 am Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Gov. Nathan Deal has been pummeled with bad news the last week, but the Gallup polling organization offers the Republican incumbent some respite this morning.

In terms of overall dissatisfaction, Georgia ranked No. 20 – essentially in the middle of the pack, and not the stuff that Republican primary revolutions are made of.

New Yorkers (77 percent said levies were too high) were the most dissatisfied. Residents of Wyoming (19 percent) were the least.

Most other Southern states ranked below Georgia on the taxpayer-angst scale: Virginia (No. 21), South Carolina (No. 25), Mississippi (No. 28), Tennesee (No. 33), Alabama (No. 34) and Florida [More]

Michelle Nunn endorses Keystone pipeline construction

  • 10:14 am Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

 Michelle Nunn told volunteers for her U.S. Senate campaign gathered in Marietta on Monday that she would support completion of the fourth phase of the Keystone XL pipeline in the name of economic development and national security.

“I have a lot of friends who have different perspectives on Keystone,” Nunn said. “We need to continue to focus on green energy and finding sustainable sources of energy, but I do believe we should move forward with Keystone.”

The candidate also said she wanted to see a third, cheaper tier of health insurance coverage offered through the Affordable Care Act. “Obviously, there are trade-offs [More]