Political Insider blog 

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

Pulling out the stops: Nathan Deal brings first lady into the picture

  • 9:49 am Thursday, July 24th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

Early this week, Gov. Nathan Deal got on the phone with more than a few nervous Republican state lawmakers and promised to pull out all the stops in the upcoming election.

Proof arrived Wednesday morning in the inboxes of laptops and smartphones across Georgia: A re-introduction to Sandra Deal, the cute-as-a-button first lady of Georgia.

It wasn’t a campaign piece, but an official communication from the Office of the Governor in its weekly newsletter. (If you didn’t get one, see it here.)

And contentwise, the most controversial part of the message was a recipe for gluten-free almond cookies.

But the post-Election Day timing [More]

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]

A hair-pin turn in U.S. Senate race puts the focus on Michelle Nunn

  • 10:24 am Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

Georgia’s first – and perhaps last – nine-week primary runoff concludes today. A hair-pin turn in the race to replace U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss is already underway.

Republicans Jack Kingston and David Perdue have thrown millions of dollars’ worth of insults at each other. Kingston has accused Perdue of consorting with the French. Perdue, on slightly firmer ground, has accused Kingston of being a member of Congress.

In Washington, The Hill newspaper has found someone willing to offer a highly technical assessment of the situation:

They’ve been beating the crap out of each other,” said Georgia-based Republican strategist Chip Lake, who [More]

Rain may not be the only thing that dampens GOP runoff fervor

  • 12:22 pm Monday, July 21st, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

The weather gods are forecasting a 50 percent chance of rain on Tuesday, which is likely to depress voter turnout beyond already meager expectations for tomorrow’s runoff contests. A single-digit showing is possible.

But something else may be sprinkling cold water on GOP excitement.

This morning, Gov. Nathan Deal held a conference call with a small group of Republican state senators – and one of your Insiders, who listened in.

In addition to affecting surveys conducted in Georgia, these numbers also make the state GOP effort to regroup in every county f***

This morning, interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May, Clerk of Superior Court [More]

First poll since ethics case revival gives Jason Carter edge over Nathan Deal

  • 7:00 am Friday, July 18th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Our corporate cousins over at WSB-TV released a poll that gives Democrat Jason Carter the edge over Republican Gov. Nathan Deal.

Poll crosstabs give Deal a nine-point advantage with male voters, but find women support Carter by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. Carter also has the edge among black voters and those under 40. Interestingly, independents – who tend to lean to the right – are split between the two.

There’s a high possibility that Carter is benefiting from a media bubble, given the timing of the survey. But we’re sure he’ll take it.

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An InsiderAdvantage survey conducted for Morris News Service, WAGA-TV in [More]

Second-guessing Sam Olens on the Holly LaBerge memo

  • 11:19 am Thursday, July 17th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

 

On today’s ethics front, we have boatloads of radio-delivered news.

Gov. Nathan Deal continues his pushback on the Holly LaBerge fallout this afternoon. Erick Erickson, the conservative provocateur for WSB Radio (750AM, 95.5FM) has sent out the following Tweet:

Starting my radio show at 4 PM today with an exclusive interview with Gov. Nathan Deal.

Over at WABE (90.1FM), Jonathan Shapiro hooked up with designated legal expert Page Pate, who outlined what he thought Attorney General Sam Olens ought to have done with a 2012 memo written by Holly LaBerge, executive secretary for the state ethics commission, alleging that aides to the governor [More]

Sam Olens on the hot seat over Holly LaBerge memo

  • 9:55 am Wednesday, July 16th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

Looks like fallout from an ethics probe that, years later, has yet to touch bottom will be the theme of the day.

Late Tuesday, Attorney General Sam Olens issued Said Olens:

“Our civil lawyers determined it was not responsive to the discovery request in the civil litigation.”

In other words, the whistleblowers’ attorneys didn’t ask the right question that might have prompted the memo’s release. However, Olens said he did advise LaBerge to turn it over when the feds asked for relevant documents.

Not everyone is buying into the attorney general’s distinction. “If you gave it to the FBI, why wouldn’t you give it [More]

Brian Kemp: Guns and run-off ballots won’t mix

  • 10:15 am Monday, July 14th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

 Over the weekend, the New York Times had a piece on the dispute in Alabama, where the state’s sheriffs association had urged the state’s 67 counties to ban the open carry of weapons at polling places, fearing that such a display would discourage some voters.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange has – with some exceptions – knocked that idea down. Rep. John Lewis is out next year with the second installment of a graphic novel telling his remarkable life story. The Washington Post got an early look at the cover of “March: Book 2″ by Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate [More]

Michelle Nunn’s felon fundraiser

  • 9:17 am Friday, July 11th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

When Michelle Nunn attended a fundraiser on Capitol Hill the other day,

The organization’s charter expires at the end of September, just in time for the election season. Supporters say it helps U.S. companies better compete with foreign rivals, while opponents view it as a disruption to a free market system.

Rep. Jack Kingston and the rest of Georgia’s GOP delegation in 2012 Our item Thursday about young professionals endorsing David Perdue prompted a snort from some Jack Kingston loyalists: We’ll see your young professionals, and we’ll raise you.

To the right is the roster for a Kingston fundraiser scheduled for [More]

Documents: Barry Loudermilk involved in $80k racial discrimination settlement

  • 10:06 am Thursday, July 10th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

Runoffs are the trench warfare of campaigning – dirty, messy and often hand-to-hand affairs.

This morning, Todd Rehm of GaPundit.com Rehm, a consultant for the Barr campaign, said the documents arrived by email, and that he does not know their source.

The AJC’s Jeremy Redmon has inquired with Melvin Everson, executive director of the state Commission on Equal Opportunity, who notes that the documents don’t appear to be stamped an notarized.

But Ed Buckley, an attorney in the law firm that represented Ethel Blackmon, told Redmon that the paperwork is indeed authentic.

One document details the complaint of Ethel Blackmon. The [More]