Political Insider blog 

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

A stark message from Ray LaHood on Georgia’s cloutless D.C. position

  • 5:40 pm Wednesday, August 6th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

The Rev. Ray LaHood delivered brimstone in Atlanta this week.

Strictly speaking, he is not ordained. LaHood is a former Illinois congressman and, until recently, was the token Republican in the cabinet of President Barack Obama, serving as secretary of transportation.

But he is now a traveling evangelist, preaching against the sin of skin-flintery – or, more specifically, the current attitude that someone else should pay for our use of American roads, bridges and rail.

”We’re in a mess in America when it comes to transportation. Every transit system is 50 years old and crumbling. The interstates are crumbling. Bridges are falling down,” [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]

Mississippi tea party leader an apparent suicide

  • 1:16 pm Friday, June 27th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

The contest for that U.S. Senate seat in Mississippi isn’t over. In fact, the strangeness keeps piling on. From the Jackson Clarion-Ledger:

Sources have confirmed that attorney Mark Mayfield has died of an apparent suicide.

Mayfield, vice chairman of the Mississippi Tea Party, and is one of the three men charged with conspiring with Clayton Kelly to photograph U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran’s bedridden wife in her nursing home and create a political video against Cochran.

Blowback for Tom Graves over role in House leadership election

  • 9:11 am Friday, June 20th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

On Thursday, Republicans in the U.S. House elected Kevin McCarthy of California, a business-friendly ally of Speaker John Boehner, to replace the tea party-slain Eric Cantor of Virginia.

The result surprised no one. But what caught many off guard was the man who nominated McCarthy at the closed-door meeting: Tom Graves of Ranger.

“I submit to you today that we cannot make good on the hope of America as a broken party. We cannot lead the way if we do not trust each other. As of late, there has been a lot of talk about holding our leadership accountable, as if [More]

Tea party topples Eric Cantor, No. 2 Republican in U.S. House

  • 8:46 pm Tuesday, June 10th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Jaw-dropping news for a party that had been focused on next week’s U.S. Senate runoff in Mississippi – the No. 2-ranking Republican in the U.S. House has been sent home.

Roll Call says the vote is the first of its kind:

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor became the first person in American history to lose his primary while holding that position. He lost Tuesday night to a poorly-funded GOP opponent in the biggest electoral stunner in several cycles.

The Associated Press explains why the revolution isn’t over:

Cantor is the second-most powerful member of the U.S. House and was seen by some as a [More]

Cobb County and the price of poor sportsmanship

  • 10:04 am Monday, June 2nd, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

Good sportsmanship has been given a bad rap as a superficial concern of the athlete/dilettante, as irrelevant as an upturned pinky in a melee.

In fact, as any student of Clausewitz would tell you, being a gracious winner is part of the realpolitik of sports. Because just as there is never a last war, there is never a last game.

The upraised middle finger, those loud lies about the sexual history of the pitcher’s mother – all will be recorded and replayed in the opposing team’s locker room just before the next meeting. Anger begets adrenaline.

Over the weekend, our AJC colleagues gave [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]

Common Core and the GOP effort to keep a lid on red-zone rhetoric

  • 6:00 pm Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

If you’ll pardon an off-season sports metaphor, we’ve entered the red zone of the Republican primary season.

With only a dozen days before final ballots are cast, the temptation to make risky plays for hardcore voters becomes ever stronger. Opportunities for fumbles, whether forced or unforced, likewise increase.

If a dominant theme can be assigned to this nerve-wracking, inside-the-20 yard-line period, it’s likely to be the effort among some Republicans to keep November in mind, and put a lid on the extreme language once encouraged as necessary to rally the troops.

On Tuesday, video surfaced in which Bob Johnson, a surgeon and conservative, [More]

How to lure reporters to a north Georgia presser: Offer $5,000 in cash

  • 9:10 am Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

The tea party challenge to House Speaker David Ralston just crossed the line from caustic to downright weird.

We told you Monday that, in a TV ad, the Republican incumbent and north Georgia native complained about the influx ofWe’re pretty sure that one of those the House speaker was talking about is Ray Boyd, a real estate millionaire who has been a financial backer of primary challenger Sam Snider, the Gilmer County High School wrestling coach. Here’s some background.

Late yesterday, a press release from Boyd arrived with this unusual pitch for a 2 p.m. Saturday press conference on the courthouse [More]

Speaker David Ralston condemns ‘crazy radicals from outside our district’

  • 4:07 pm Monday, May 5th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Hat tip to Martha Zoller for posting it first, but House Speaker David Ralston is up with his first, in-person TV ad of the GOP primary season. The speaker is being challenged by Sam Snider, a Gilmer County High School wrestling coach.

Ralston doesn’t mince words about the people he thinks are behind Snider. From the script:

“Growing up here, I was raised on some good, solid conservative values. That’s why I’ve run a positive campaign. Sadly, we’ve seen a bunch of crazy radicals from outside our district talking sleaze and nonsense. You deserve better….”

The words you use don’t always matter [More]