Political Insider blog 

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

Karen Handel’s tax return challenge gets two takers — but not the big fish

  • 9:00 am Monday, April 21st, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

On the GOP side of the U.S. Senate race, Karen Handel’s U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey was game, though. He said in an interview Thursday he was “absolutely” willing to disclose up to 10 years of his tax records. His campaign said they should be available next week.

“I’d be happy to do that,” he said, adding: “My tax returns for the last five, 10 years, if she wants to do 10 years I’d be glad to do that. I think people want to know and they deserve to know. I’m all for that.”

Gingrey’s financial disclosure showed that in 2012 he [More]

Chip Rogers awaits ‘next challenge’ after splitting with GPB

  • 4:09 pm Saturday, April 19th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Former state Sen. Chip Rogers on Saturday confirmed our report that he was let go from Georgia Public Broadcasting. His high-paying gig there had been the source of controversy from critics who said his hire smacked of political cronyism.

“I enjoyed my time with GPB,” Rogers said in a statement. “Our show had great ratings and my blog was the most widely read on the site. I look forward to my next challenge and wish the best for everyone at GPB.”

Rogers, a Woodstock Republican, was elected to the Legislature in 2002 and rose to be one of the Senate’s [More]

U.S. Chamber backs Jack Kingston in Senate race

  • 4:47 pm Thursday, April 17th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today endorsed Rep. Jack Kingston in the Georgia U.S. Senate race, solidifying his position as the choice of the business establishment and representing a blow to businessman David Perdue, who is fighting in the same space of the Republican primary electorate.

The Chamber can back up its endorsement with independent spending, though political director Rob Engstrom would not reveal any plans for a buy. The group has already spent $500,000 each backing Sens. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Thad Cochran, R-Miss., in their primaries against tea party insurgents.

Word is Perdue had a testy interview [More]

Sue Everhart steps out for Ashley Bell

  • 3:56 pm Thursday, April 17th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Former state GOP chairman Sue Everhart has declared herself an ally of former Hall County commissioner Ashley Bell in the primary race for state school superintendent.

While not unexpected, the endorsement is important. To use a spy thriller metaphor, Everhart was one of those who helped bring Bell in from the Democratic cold – and into the embrace of the GOP in 2010.

The hugs haven’t always been warm. From Everhart:

“I stood by Ashley Bell when he announced he was switching to the Republican Party after his local GOP Chair took note of his conservative voting record on the commission and recruited [More]

Polling memo says Vernon Jones running No. 2 in DeKalb race for sheriff

  • 1:51 pm Thursday, April 17th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

As we have often explained, internal polls made public by candidates should be taken with a great deal of salt – given that they are often used to pry campaign cash out of the hands of skeptical contributors.

On the other hand, surveys of this nature can also be legitimate guides that explain a candidate’s approach to the contest – and allow that candidate to publicly prioritize any rivals.

This afternoon, we received a polling memo generated by Melvin Mitchell’s campaign for DeKalb County sheriff. The automated survey, conducted among 1,524 likely voters on April 13 and 14, has a margin of [More]

First Quarter fundraising roundup for U.S. Senate, Congress

  • 11:00 am Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

WASHINGTON — Today is the deadline for federal candidates to file their first quarter fundraising reports. We’ll update this post throughout the day on the key races throughout Georgia tate to tell you how the candidates stack up in the money race as of the end of March.

U.S. Senate:

On the Republican side, Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah sets the pace again, as most of the candidates saw their fundraising jump as the election year dawned. Kingston raised $1.1 million, spent about $2.4 million — much of which was to reserve TV time in the coming weeks — and finished the [More]

Ethics verdict poses a threat to GOP grip on Georgia

  • 9:00 am Saturday, April 12th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

In the 11 days after the adjournment of the Legislature on March 20, Democrat Jason Carter out-raised Gov. Nathan Deal by a ratio of five to one.

The Republican incumbent pulled in $84,000 before the deadline for the latest contribution reporting period. His upstart challenger, a sitting state senator, raised $416,000.

The Deal campaign accused Carter of cheating – by advertising a March 23 fundraiser in New York, which featured his famous grandfather, before lawmakers abandoned Atlanta. State law forbids legislators and all other elected state officials from soliciting campaign contributions while the Legislature is in session.

But here’s the unfortunate reality of [More]

The effort to unseat House Speaker David Ralston

  • 9:54 am Thursday, April 10th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

We’re picking up word that some cash is flowing through north Georgia in an attempt to foment revolution and the overthrow of House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge.

Consider the following paragraphs, penned by Debbie Dooley and Julianne Thompson of Atlanta Tea Patriots:

“Speaker Ralston killed the autism bill, the bill that would ban Common Core in Georgia, the religious freedom bill, the foster care bill, gutted the gun bill, gutted H.B. 707 that would help nullify Obamacare in Georgia. He also added $17 million in the budget to build a new parking deck for the new Falcons stadium….”

The missive is contained [More]

Gallup poll: Georgians not ready to revolt over taxes

  • 10:03 am Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Gov. Nathan Deal has been pummeled with bad news the last week, but the Gallup polling organization offers the Republican incumbent some respite this morning.

In terms of overall dissatisfaction, Georgia ranked No. 20 – essentially in the middle of the pack, and not the stuff that Republican primary revolutions are made of.

New Yorkers (77 percent said levies were too high) were the most dissatisfied. Residents of Wyoming (19 percent) were the least.

Most other Southern states ranked below Georgia on the taxpayer-angst scale: Virginia (No. 21), South Carolina (No. 25), Mississippi (No. 28), Tennesee (No. 33), Alabama (No. 34) and Florida [More]

Conservative Super PAC’s new target is Phil Gingrey

  • 3:05 pm Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

Ending Spending PAC has been on the air in Georgia hitting Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn, but the group does not limit its antipathy to Democrats: It’s now attacking Rep. Phil Gingrey.

The group, funded by Ameritrade founder and Chicago Cubs owner Joe Ricketts, has bought $1.3 million in ad time between now and the May 20 primary. We assumed this was all to bash Nunn, but that is not the case.

The ad is airing in Atlanta, Augusta, Macon and Savannah, according to a media buy report passed along by a tipster. It accuses Gingrey, a Marietta Republican, [More]