Political Insider blog 

AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns
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Text of Nathan Deal aide’s letter urging GOP lawmakers to pony up

  • 2:30 pm Thursday, August 28th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Our colleague James Salzer got ahold of a letter sent by Gov. Nathan Deal’s campaign aide urging Republican lawmakers to donate to the governor’s re-election bid. The note said he would be “returning the favor” for those who support him. You can find his story here.

Deal spokesman Brian Robinson told Salzer that the aide who wrote the letter, David Werner, sent a second letter clarifying that the pledge referred to fundraising efforts over the next four years.

Here’s the full text of Werner’s original dispatch, sent on Monday:


We enjoyed seeing many of you in Macon on Saturday morning. Thank you for welcoming the Governor to your [More]

Johnny Isakson to Michelle Nunn: ‘You can’t have it both ways’

  • 9:51 am Thursday, August 28th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., has a message for Democrat Michelle Nunn, who would like to become his colleague – and has hinted that she wouldn’t be a sure vote for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. ***

In yesterday’s post on citizen-journalist Nydia Tisdale, Attorney General Sam Olens and that weekend GOP rally in Dawsonville, we wrote this:

A county deputy was summoned. As we said, Tisdale is driven. She did not go quietly. Her screams punctuated the event.

“I’ve had a lot of things happen as a speaker…” state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler gamely told the crowd over the noise, to [More]

Jason Carter pledges to go after tax cheats to fund education

  • 6:00 am Thursday, August 28th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Democrat Jason Carter is honing his answer on the question that’s dogged him perhaps the most in his race for governor: How he would boost education funding if he defeats Gov. Nathan Deal in November.

He said earlier this month that a comprehensive review of state spending would yield a “giant amount of waste” that could be better spent in classrooms. He added a new wrinkle to that Wednesday by pledging to go after tax cheats to help rev up state revenue.

“There’s $2.5 billion that is uncollected out there from people who are cheating on their taxes, and against whom we aren’t enforcing the [More]

How a plan to keep a GOP rally off the Internet went awry

  • 6:28 pm Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Last Saturday began very sweetly for Nydia Tisdale, citizen journalist.

She was at Burt’s Farm in Dawsonville, a private concern mobbed by tourists during pumpkin season, to point her video camera at several GOP candidates at the top of the November ballot.

They were scheduled to speak at the rally, which had been advertised as a come-one, come-all event.

Most journalists, this one included, are capitalists. We do what we do for money – and God bless the publishers who pay us. But there are those who write and operate their cameras for free, simply because they are driven.

Tisdale is one of those. [More]

Statewide teachers group endorses Jason Carter’s bid for governor

  • 11:00 am Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein


A statewide teachers group endorsed Democrat Jason Carter’s gubernatorial bid on Wednesday, warning that education funding under Gov. Nathan Deal is “demoralizing and dismantling” the state’s public education system.

Carter trumpeted the endorsement of the Georgia Association of Educators outside Grady High School, where his wife Kate was a journalism teacher. The GAE, which represents 42,000 educators, said it would mobilize its members to support Carter’s campaign.

“Sen. Carter truly wants to make public education our state’s number one priority, not just say so in an occasional opportunity or in an election year, and not just for the headlines,” [More]

Georgia GOP settles on newcomer to fill state lawmaker’s spot

  • 10:18 am Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

The executive committee of the state GOP on Tuesday settled on a political newcomer, David Clark, the brother of state Rep. Josh Clark, R-Buford, to replace the late Michael Brown as a Gwinnett County candidate for House District 98.

The substitution must be reported to Secretary of State Brian Kemp by 4 p.m. today to make the November ballot.

Brown died last week, after winning the May 20 primary – and the seat. There is no Democratic candidate, so the nomination is tantamount to election.

The seven-day process resulted in a fierce tug-of-war over the seat, with tea partyers on one end of [More]

Nathan Deal’s run-in with immigration activists at UGA

  • 9:30 pm Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Gov. Nathan Deal was in Athens speaking to College Republicans on Tuesday when four students stood up to question him about the Board of Regents policy that bans undocumented immigrants from attending the University of Georgia.

The four-minute video of the encounter, courtesy of Flagpole’s Blake Aued, gets testy around the 1:55 mark, when Deal addresses a white student named Carver Goodhue, who questioned the governor’s position on the ban.

“There is a fundamental problem that can only be solved at the congressional level – and that is to deal with the issue of children – and I presume you probably [More]

Watchdog group demands investigation of Nathan Deal’s top aides

  • 6:00 pm Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

A watchdog group demanded an internal investigation of Gov. Nathan Deal’s top aides, claiming that a recently revealed memo drafted by the ethics chief was proof that she was coerced into creating a “politically favorable outcome” for the governor.

Sabrina Smith of Georgia Watchdogs filed the complaint with the Office of the Inspector General claiming that executive counsel Ryan Teague and chief-of-staff Chris Riley, who has now joined the campaign, violated state law prohibiting government employees from coercing co-workers for political gain. You can find your copy here.

The complaint centers on the bombshell memo revealed in July written by ethics chief Holly LaBerge. She [More]

Marco Rubio in ATL: On Hillary, ISIL and ‘dream’ kids

  • 4:55 pm Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a likely prospect for the 2016 presidential contest, was in Atlanta on Tuesday.

The visit was essentially a private one, but he gave us a shout before noon to explain. He’s got a political action committee – doesn’t everyone these days? – called Reclaim America, which is dedicated to establishing a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate.

“We’ve already spent about $500,000 on TV ads in Arkansas and Iowa, and we want to extend to at least another state or two,” Rubio said.

The question is whether David Perdue’s Republican bid for the U.S. Senate is [More]

City of Cumming, mayor fined $12k for violating Open Meetings Act

  • 11:10 am Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Three days after Attorney General Sam Olens spoke up for Nydia Tisdale as the citizen-journalist was loudly tossed from a GOP rally in north Georgia, we have this press release from his office — involving the same journalist:

On August 21, 2014, Judge Robert Adamson ruled in favor of Attorney General Sam Olens in a lawsuit filed in June 2012 against the City of Cumming and Mayor Henry Ford Gravitt for violations of the Open Meetings Act. Judge Adamson ordered the defendants to pay $12,000 in penalties, the highest amount possible under the law. Defendants have also been ordered to [More]

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