Political Insider blog 

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

Clean-up estimate for snowjam and its sequel tops $53 million

  • 6:30 am Thursday, July 10th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Cleaning up the embarrassing traffic gridlock of the Jan. 28 snowjam and its much-smoother sequel two weeks later cost state authorities at least $7 million and local governments $7 million more. The feds, meanwhile, chipped in $39 million in disaster aid.

Gov. Nathan Deal’s chief of staff, Chris Riley, gave us a breakdown of the costs.

The state paid the full share of the cleanup of the Jan. 28 storm, a blanketing of snow that shut down metro Atlanta but was never declared a federal disaster. But the feds picked up 75 percent of the tab for the next storm, [More]

Five issues to watch during today’s bill signing deadline

  • 6:00 am Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

It’s crunch time for Gov. Nathan Deal. He has until the end of Tuesday to decide whether to sign the dozens of bills still pending into law or take out his red veto pen.

The governor has already s, including the $20.8 billion spending plan and the broad expansion of gun rights. But plenty of high-profile issues still await his decision.

Here are the five issues we’re closely watching:


Deal will decide on two pieces of legislation today that aim to send an unwavering message that President Obama’s healthcare overhaul is an enemy of the state.

The first, [More]

Delta comes out against Georgia ‘religious freedom’ bills

  • 8:35 am Wednesday, February 26th, 2014 by Jim Galloway, Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

Delta Air Lines has become the first major business in the state to announce its opposition to two bills under consideration in the state Capitol that critics say would allow individuals to refuse service to gays and lesbians on the basis of religious convictions.

A similar measure was recently passed by the Arizona legislature, but has not yet been signed by that state’s governor, Jan Brewer.

From the airline’s website:

“As a global values-based company, Delta Air Lines is proud of the diversity of its customers and employees, and is deeply concerned about proposed measures in several states, including Georgia and Arizona, [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]

Forget Kasim Reed – Al Roker shifts his weather criticism to NYC

  • 9:00 am Friday, February 14th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

He’s following the same path as this week’s ice storm.

Two weeks after And then this:

Here’s the local spilling of outrage from the New York Daily News:

Ten inches of snow. School buses colliding with cars. Half empty schools.

 “It’s absolutely a beautiful day out there,” beamed New York Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña.

 The clueless chancellor added insult to inclement weather with that head-scratching remark at a news conference Thursday. She and Mayor de Blasio were defending the decision to keep schools open as a snowstorm bombarded the five boroughs.

 They tried to fend off criticism that came from everyone from elected officials to [More]

The storm that Nathan Deal has to get right

  • 6:00 pm Wednesday, February 12th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

If ever there was a winter storm that Gov. Nathan Deal had to get right, the one you’re in right now is it.

Yes, those 12-hour commutes two weeks ago were uncomfortable and even dangerous. And the memory of your kid overnighting on the floor of the school gym is still sticky.

But there is no doubt that the hazard posed by a far-from-finished ice storm is more dire. So are the political ramifications of a sheet of ice that stretches from Bremen to Augusta.

Ultimately, Snowjam ’14 was merely about metro Atlanta. The current storm covers the northern half of the state, [More]

White House nomination of Georgia judge targeted by abortion rights group

  • 8:40 am Wednesday, February 12th, 2014 by Jim Galloway, Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

The nation’s largest abortion rights group today will launch a public, national campaign in opposition to state Court of Appeals Judge Michael Boggs to a federal district judgeship, nominated by President Barack Obama.

“This is a guy who actually believes that there is one definition of what it means to live your life as an American. The thing is, that’s anti-American,” said NARAL president Ilyse Hogue. “We cannot risk having someone like that on the bench when we know we have so many cases coming down the pike that will define the very fabric of who we are as a [More]

Georgia Power hot-seat chief: The iceman cometh

  • 3:59 pm Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

A two-inch snowstorm paralyzing a metro Atlanta that boasts of its ability to move is one thing.

Epic collisions between ice and Georgia’s white pines are quite another – a meteorological event peculiar to the South, and nothing to be sneered at.

Aaron Strickland, Georgia Power’s chief emergency director, explained at a press conference in Gov. Nathan Deal’s office:

“We have a high level of concern. When you’re talking a half-inch of ice or larger, it’s pretty darn bad. You go back to the [2000] Super Bowl – we had a half-inch of ice and had 350,000 outages. So this is big. We [More]

Paul Broun picks up a first major tea-party endorsement

  • 9:24 am Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 by Jim Galloway, Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

Paul Broun picked up the endorsement of  the conservative Madison Project in the Georgia Senate race this morning, a first major tea-party seal of approval that his advisers hope will start an avalanche of conservative outside group support – and money.

So far, many of the big-name groups who weigh in on Republican primaries have stayed away from Georgia, where there is no easy “establishment vs. tea party” division and five candidates have a good shot at the runoff.

The Madison Project was the first conservative PAC to endorse U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and is currently backing Matt Bevin’s challenge to [More]

Legislative tip sheet: Weather or not, lawmakers meet

  • 8:30 am Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Lawmakers appear to be ready to squeeze in the 21st day of the 40-day session in this morning.

Both the House and Senate convene at 10 a.m. Among the items on the House calendar: H.B. 773 by Rep. Robert Dickey, R-Musella, which would make it illegal to fire a weapon with 50 feet of a public highway.

The Senate calendar is light.

The House Appropriations this morning voted out H.B. 697 by Rep. Stacey Evans, D-Atlanta, which fully funds HOPE grants. That Evans, a Democrat, is being allowed to maintain lead sponsorship on the bill is significant. Also on its agenda is the [More]