Political Insider blog 

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

Joe Lowery urges Clayton County voters to swamp Saturday meeting for MARTA

  • 11:01 pm Friday, July 4th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Ninety-one year old Joseph Lowery, still an influential voice in metro Atlanta, is urging Clayton County residents to swamp a special Saturday morning meeting of the county commission, to persuade it to approve a referendum for a penny sales tax that would promise both bus and rail service in the transit-starved county.

The Clayton County Commission this week approved a half-penny sales tax that would finance only bus service. MARTA officials have rejected the proposal. A Sunday deadline is involved.

The Clayton County meeting is at 9 a.m. Saturday at 112 Smith Street in Jonesboro. Here’s the robocall that went out [More]

Michelle Nunn steps carefully into a national CO2 debate

  • 10:02 am Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new proposal to slash carbon emissions was big news across the country on Monday. As Matt Kempner Georgia’s Democrats were mostly silent. Not one of the state’s five U.S. House Democrats wanted to weigh in when contacted Monday.

Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn, then, had to carry the banner with a very careful statement that included a big hug for Georgia Power. Nunn neither blasted the EPA as her Kentucky counterpart Alison Lundergan Grimes did, nor give it the Harry Reid seal of approval. Here is Nunn’s statement in full:

“I am reviewing the new guidelines [More]

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]

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]

Without Port of Savannah cash, bipartisanship turns to bi-paranoia

  • 5:23 pm Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

For four years, Republicans and Democrats in Georgia have politely held hands when it came to courting Washington and its money to help pay for the deepening the Port of Savannah.

Our efforts at kumbay’all were written up in international journals. Doctoral theses presented the Great Georgia Peace as an alternative to both Washington gridlock and the United Nations. Rumors abounded of a Savannah baby christened Nathan Kasim Smith.

It all seems so 2013 now.

Twenty-four hours after a White House decision to deny long-promised cash for Georgia’s effort to attract ever-bigger ships, bipartisan peace was swept aside by paranoia.

The state Capitol was [More]

The subtext of Nathan Deal’s upcoming trip to Israel

  • 10:05 am Tuesday, February 18th, 2014 by Jim Galloway, Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

Gov. Nathan Deal only has one international trip on the schedule so far this election year. And it’s a big one.

The governor is planning on traveling to the Holy Land for a few days in June to tour Israeli businesses and try to drum up more investment for Georgia. The trip is intended to highlight the 40 Israeli companies that have operations in Georgia, but the political subtext is clear.

Deal’s Democratic opponent, state Sen. Jason Carter, has sought to reassure Jewish constituents in his district that he is very different from his famous grandfather when it comes to Middle East [More]

Taxing, awkward moments at the Wild Hog Supper

  • 10:01 am Monday, January 13th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Sunday night made for some unintentionally awkward optics at the Depot near the state Capitol.

The new sponsor of the storied Wild Hog Supper, the Georgia Food Bank Association, happily filled the void after lobbyists backed away from the traditional opening event of each year’s legislative session.

But the food bank folks have had some beefs with Gov. Nathan Deal after he vetoed a bill last year that would have reinstated sales tax exemptions for food banks and health centers.

Deal’s veto statement said the breaks hadn’t been vetted by his competitiveness panel, but it came days after he signed other [More]