Political Insider blog 

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

Michelle Nunn calls for five debates against David Perdue in Senate contest

  • 2:03 pm Friday, August 1st, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Democrat Michelle Nunn is calling for five debates against GOP nominee David Perdue to be held across the state in the runup to the general election.

Perdue went through a gauntlet of debates and forums almost every week in the months before the GOP’s May 20 primary, but he only had one face-to-face debate with his runoff challenger, Rep. Jack Kingston, ahead of last week’s vote.

Cynics would say this is Nunn’s attempt to shift the conversation away from the 144-page series of memos  leaked from her Senate campaign. But we’ll leave that to the cynics.

Perdue spokesman Derrick Dickey said the Republican participated [More]

The story behind Gov. Nathan Deal’s suddenly expanded newsletter

  • 6:00 am Friday, August 1st, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Bertis Downs was surprised to open his inbox one morning a few weeks ago and see Gov. Nathan Deal’s newsletter staring back at him.

The longtime R.E.M. manager is a Democratic donor and supporter of Deal’s opponent, state Sen. Jason Carter. And he doesn’t remember signing up to get any details about the Republican incumbent.

“No idea why – unless a friend was pranking me,” he said.

He’s not the only one we heard from, so we figured we’d track down an answer. It turns out, Deal’s office has dramatically expanded its official newsletter list in recent weeks. Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said the [More]

David Perdue reportedly pledges to be a ‘team player’ for Mitch McConnell

  • 9:42 am Thursday, July 31st, 2014 by Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

David Perdue had to run against Washington and its dreaded “career politicians” in order to capture his party’s U.S. Senate nomination.

But he needs them to win in the fall and become an effective senator, which is why he made the rounds Wednesday on Capitol Hill for a series of possibly awkward meetings, starting with the man he defeated in a rough nine-week runoff, Jack Kingston. The Perdue campaign passed along the accompanying photographic evidence of the meeting.

We’re unaware of any visuals from Perdue’s sit-down with Georgia Republican Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. In [More]

Michelle Nunn team launches pushback on ‘old news’ memo

  • 9:05 am Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

A flurry of calls from Michelle Nunn’s supporters came a One caller was the Rev. Raphael Warnock, the leader of Ebenezer Baptist Church and one of Nunn’s most prominent black supporters. He said he wasn’t surprised that “people are trying to make hay out of it.”

“But the notion that somebody who is trying to run for the Senate actually has a plan to run for the Senate is not interesting or news to me. It’s not news – and it’s old news at best.”

Of course, this isn’t just any memo. It lays out Nunn’s campaign strategy, as of December [More]

On Super PACs, ‘firewalls,’ Nick Ayers and David Perdue

  • 4:28 pm Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

The OpenSecrets Blog is out this week with a winding tale of dark money, consultants and the Georgia U.S. Senate race.

The article from the follow-the-money nonprofit website looks particularly at Nick Ayers, the wunderkind who helped Sonny Perdue to his gubernatorial victories. Ayers went on to be the executive director to the Republican Governors Association and into the GOP consulting world, with a stint working for Tim Pawlenty’s brief presidential campaign.

Ayers is an adviser to Citizens for Working America, the PAC that attacked Jack Kingston during the Senate primary and runoff, accusing him of being the “King [More]

Report: Ray McBerry seeks out 18-year-old for bikini-clad photo shoot

  • 11:59 am Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

Also-ran gubernatorial candidate Ray McBerry is back in the news, via Fox 5 News, for inviting an 18-year-old to wear a bikini for him in a supposed modeling shoot — sparking a confrontation with the girl’s mother.

You may recall McBerry, 46, was accused of an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old during his 2010 run for governor. The full Randy Travis story is here, including a Facebook message exchange between McBerry and 18-year-old Kayla Gooch. McBerry found Gooch through an intermediary named Tara O’Neill — who may not exist — and a McBerry-created “Girls of Dixie Modeling” company.

Leaked doc: Michelle Nunn non-profit validated grants to charity with Hamas-tied affiliate

  • 1:33 pm Monday, July 28th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

The National Review got hold of a 144-page internal document drafted for the Michelle Nunn campaign in December. It includes plenty of juicy revelations on campaign strategy, including a potentially serious issue with a Points of Light connection to a charity that has ties to Hamas, which is now at war with Israel.

The revelation came from an internal examination of the nascent campaign’s potential weaknesses and how Republicans could attack them.

Points of Light, through a service called MissionFish, helped validate thousands of charities for EBay users who wanted to auction items and donate the proceeds to a specific charity. [More]

Mississippi’s Senate race foretold doom for Jack Kingston

  • 9:00 am Saturday, July 26th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Last month’s U.S. Senate race in Mississippi saw GOP incumbent Thad Cochran survive a tea-party assault, aided by the U.S. Chamber – plus thousands of black Democrats lured into the Republican runoff.

In the weeks that followed, political observers wondered if Cochran’s success would have implications here.

Last Tuesday brought the answer. Mississippi indeed sparked ideas in Georgia’s Republican runoff for Senate — just not the ones you might think.

Snubbed by the powerful business group, former Dollar General CEO David Perdue used antipathy toward the U.S. Chamber and its Mississippi adventure to pry apart an alliance of Republican stalwarts and tea partyers [More]

Republicans come out swinging against Nunn, Carter at GOP unity event

  • 11:54 am Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

The top candidates on Georgia’s Republican ticket pulled no punches at a Wednesday event meant to show the GOP was solidly behind Senate candidate David Perdue.

All that establishment angst over Perdue’s candidacy? Gone, said GOP chair John Padgett, who called the former Fortune 500 executive a “rock-solid conservative with a stellar record in business” who can defeat Democrat Michelle Nunn.

Gov. Nathan Deal, who steered clear of picking favorites in the primary or the runoff, made sure to point out how happy he is he’ll be sharing the top of the ticket with Perdue. Deal, of course, faces a stiff challenge [More]

Michelle Nunn mentions ‘contrast’ but avoids attack as general election begins

  • 10:02 am Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

Democrat Michelle Nunn kicked off the U.S. Senate general election Wednesday morning promising not to deviate from her message of “collaboration” and declining to take a direct shot at her newly crowned foe, Republican David Perdue.

Nunn met with voters and volunteers at the Silver Skillet in Midtown Atlanta, then told reporters there would be a “contrast” between her career and Perdue’s. Neither has run for office before, as Nunn touts her experience leading the nonprofit that became Points of Light and Perdue running on his business credentials including stints as CEO of Dollar General and Reebok. Said Nunn:

“We have a [More]