Political Insider blog 

AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns
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David Perdue takes U.S. Chamber attack to TV with ‘amnesty’ spot

  • 5:15 pm Friday, July 18th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

David Perdue’s closing attack on Jack Kingston in the U.S. Senate runoff takes on the topic of immigration and targets the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

After Perdue described his testy interview with the Chamber this week, he’s gone all out with an accusation that “Kingston’s pro-amnesty vote is bought and paid for” with the $2.3 million the Chamber has spent on ads boosting Kingston’s candidacy.

The Chamber supported the Senate-passed immigration bill last year — which has not moved at all in the U.S. House — but Kingston has repeatedly said he would not vote for the bill. Both candidates have [More]

A pitch to GOP leaders to help Nathan Deal get ‘back on message’

  • 1:49 pm Friday, July 18th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Gov. Nathan Deal’s camp wants to change the subject from the ongoing fallout over the ethics memo.

The following message was sent to Republican state senators in the wake of that memo, in which ethics chief Holly LaBerge said she was threatened by Deal’s top staffers.

It’s another sign that Deal’s aides, accused of urging LaBerge to make complaints against the governor “go away,” want this story to head that same route. It included talking points to help them stay on a “singular message to get back on topic and win this campaign.”

Here goes:

Dear Senator,

As I am sure you have noticed, [More]

The #KTB: Kasim Reed’s Twitter-based time-out for reporters

  • 11:54 am Friday, July 18th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Updated at 6:30 p.m. below:

A report from the AJC’s Katie Leslie:

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed isn’t shy about his opinions, especially when it comes to journalists.

The mayor is known to take reporters and columnists to task on Twitter when he disagrees with their work or how he’s portrayed.

If he’s particularly upset, he’ll deploy his press team to take on a story with a press release and social media campaign. (Case in point? This city-issued statement from last fall about AJC opinion writer Kyle Wingfield’s columns on street vendors.)

And if he’s downright angry, he’ll go a step further and put [More]

Jack Kingston noncommittal on impeachment of Obama

  • 9:49 am Friday, July 18th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Dear readers, the following post is from our AJC colleague Nick Fouriezos:

After national pundits wondered whether U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston would support attempts to impeach President Barack Obama, the Savannah Republican gave us an answer that can only be described as “maybe.”

Kingston is in a GOP Senate runoff with businessman David Perdue, who has already said he doesn’t support impeachment and believes retaking the Senate should be the priority. The vote is Tuesday, which explains why Kingston was at Tommy’s Barber Shop early Friday getting in a final flurry of handshakes.

“I think, number one, the big concern of Congress [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.


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

Deal defends staff’s contact with ethics chief, comparing her to ‘prosecutor’

  • 4:56 pm Thursday, July 17th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Gov. Nathan Deal issued the liveliest defense yet to the bombshell ethics memo rocking his campaign for re-election.

The remarks came in an interview with Erick Erickson, a conservative talk show host on WSB Radio, as he faces mounting pressure to explain why his aides contacted the commission’s chair, Holly LaBerge, days before a key hearing. In the interview, he compared LaBerge to a prosecutor and the commission’s five members to judges.

It was a friendly interview in a friendly venue. Said Deal:

“There was no communication from me and my staff to the commission members. Holly LaBerge is sort of like a [More]

Notes from a mailbox in west Cobb County

  • 4:15 pm Thursday, July 17th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

If there’s anyone who hates the last days before a hot election more than a homeowner on a campaign mailing list, it’s the U.S. Postal Service employee stuck with cramming them into mailbox after mailbox.

Below is a culled collection of yesterday’s delivery, minus the American Express bill and the free oil change coupon.

You’ll notice we have a hot district county commission race in west Cobb — Acworth City Councilman Bob Weatherford versus former Cobb commission chairman Bill Byrne. It’s become yet another Republican establishment versus tea party affair, and may be one reason why Bob Barr, in his 11th District [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]

The ‘scheduling problem’ that led Nathan Deal’s aides to contact ethics chief

  • 6:00 am Thursday, July 17th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

The now-famous memo penned by former ethics head Holly LaBerge’s offers an idea of what Gov. Nathan Deal’s aides said to her ahead of a major hearing. But a lingering question is why  Chris Riley, the governor’s chief of staff, and Ryan Teague, his executive counsel, reached out instead of a campaign attorney.


Update: Deal’s flak, Brian Robinson, clarifies that the signature wasn’t specifically required for the check, but for a consent agreement on the fees. The check, he said, could come up to 30 days later. The above check, he said, is a cashier’s check from Deal’s account with his [More]

Holly LaBerge’s memo and the queasy politics of ethics

  • 5:47 pm Wednesday, July 16th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

The Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission is a quasi-judicial agency – with a heavy emphasis on the “quasi,” as this week’s developments have shown.

To the point of queasiness.

Once upon a time, we had a State Ethics Commission to keep track of how money shapes Georgia politics. But four years ago, the word “ethics” was disappeared by an act of the Legislature and the signature of an exiting Gov. Sonny Perdue.

The renaming of the agency wasn’t accidental. It was cultural.

And it lies at the root of the sudden problem for Gov. Nathan Deal, posed by a 2012 memo that [More]

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