Political Insider blog 

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

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]

Karen Handel’s ex-campaign manager hired to save Pat Roberts in Kansas

  • 9:44 pm Sunday, September 7th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

No pressure here – just GOP control of the U.S. Senate at stake. From Politico.com:

Republican operative Corry Bliss will take over day-to-day operations for Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts’ struggling reelection campaign, according to GOP sources.

Bliss was most recently campaign manager for Karen Handel’s Georgia Senate campaign. The former secretary of state finished third in the May primary, just missing a chance at the runoff.

On that campaign, Bliss worked with consultant Chris LaCivita, who national Republicans have dispatched to shore up Roberts’ support amid growing concern about independent Senate candidate Greg Orman.

In U.S. Senate runoff, the Chamber takes it on the chin

  • 12:45 pm Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

David Perdue’s decision to target the U.S. Chamber in the final days of his GOP Senate runoff was more a page torn from the family playbook than an act of desperation.

In 2002, upstart Sonny Perdue was shocked, baffled and outraged by the fact that a national political group known for reflexively endorsing Republicans instead decided to side with Democratic incumbent Gov. Roy Barnes.

In that case, it was the National Rifle Association. Perdue challenged Barnes to a shotgun duel – all right, a skeet shoot (which never happened) — and campaigned against the NRA as one of those many special interests [More]

Karen Handel’s next step: Boosting female candidates at ShePAC

  • 11:25 am Friday, June 20th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

WASHINGTON — Consider this a sign that Karen Handel plans to remain plenty active in politics after her third place finish in the U.S. Senate race. Georgia’s former Secretary of State is joining the advisory board of ShePAC, a national group boosting conservative female candidates for office, and a supporter of her Senate bid.

From Handel this morning:

While I won’t be on the ballot this November, I am going to continue to work hard to elect strong, conservative women across America. That’s why I’m honored to let you know that I’m joining the Advisory Board of ShePAC – a national organization dedicated [More]

At the apex of GOP’s reign, primary turnout continues to sink

  • 9:36 am Friday, May 30th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Earlier this week, Secretary of State Brian Kemp confirmed what his website had already told us – that turnout for the May 20 primary was dismal. Under 20 percent.

But what was significant was where it was dismal. Cobb County remained the lead GOP factory for votes, generating 50,494. But that was down 23 percent from the 2004 GOP primary for U.S. Senate that featured Johnny Isakson, Herman Cain and Mac Collins.

Gwinnett County turned out 40,845 votes – a 27 percent drop in turnout from the 2004 primary. Fulton County’s 35,775 Republican votes were down 21 percent.

Statewide, the 2014 turnout for [More]

Did Georgia accidentally pass a campus-carry law?

  • 10:03 am Thursday, May 29th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

A Georgia gun group is contending that, whether he intended it or not, a set of bills signed by Gov. Nathan Deal this spring will permit the legal carrying of concealed weaponry on public university campuses.

State Rep. Ed Setzler, R-Acworth, author of one of the two gun bills, agrees. “I believe that’s where we’re going to be on July 1,” Setzler said this morning.

Lawyers for the governor strongly disagree. Attorney General Sam Olens has been asked for a formal interpretation of the matter by many of the parties involved. Given that the issue of campus carry would quickly be enveloped [More]

In GOP race for Senate, ‘outsider’ no longer means what you thought it did

  • 5:38 pm Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

As far as Jack Kingston is concerned, the era of the Washington outsider in Georgia politics ended within a few hems and haws of 1:11 p.m. Wednesday, high in a tower on the spine of Buckhead.

Presumably, the altitude of the press conference was intended to starve participants – journalists, in particular — of not just oxygen, but memory as well.

Post-election endorsements are always awkward affairs in which the losing candidate must find a way to retract all the nasty things uttered about one’s new BFF.

The gathering that highlighted Karen Handel’s embrace of Kingston, a 20-year member of Congress, over political [More]

Karen Handel to endorse Jack Kingston in Georgia Senate race

  • 8:33 pm Tuesday, May 27th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel said late Tuesday she will endorse Rep. Jack Kingston’s Senate bid.

Handel’s endorsement will come at a Kingston event at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. The Savannah Republican hopes that the tea party forces that helped Handel finish third in last week’s runoff could shift their allegiances to his camp.

Kingston faces businessman David Perdue, the top vote-getter in the GOP primary, in a July 22 runoff that will be the longest - and likely costliest – in state history.

Handel’s endorsement should come as little surprise to close watchers of this rollicking race.  Handel and [More]

Nathan Deal on Jason Carter’s greatest strength: His grandfather

  • 8:18 am Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

The question came minutes after Gov. Nathan Deal declared victory in his trouncing of his primary opponents on Tuesday: What do you think Democrat Jason Carter’s greatest strength is?

“I suppose if I listen to his campaign ads, it would be the fact that he has a very famous grandfather,” said the governor.

Carter hasn’t rolled out any campaign ads yet, but we get the hint. With

But the real story of the evening, in terms of last night’s formation of a Republican runoff in the U.S. Senate race, was U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston’s ability to run up the score in south [More]

Sunday scenes from the campaign trail

  • 2:40 pm Sunday, May 18th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy and Greg Bluestein

Rain dampened turnout at the Johns Creek Veterans Association Picnic and moved the festivities inside, but Phil Gingrey and Karen Handel still showed up to work the room ahead of Tuesday’s Senate race primary.

A couple of Democratic video trackers were there awaiting Jack Kingston, but packed up and left once word spread that Kingston — who thought the picnic had been rained out — would be a no-show.

The attendees paid little attention to the Senate and gubernatorial race debates playing on a large TV screen as they chatted and munched on hot dogs and hamburgers.

Gingrey said he was charging toward [More]