Political Insider blog 

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

The Michelle Nunn media relations strategy

  • 9:00 am Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy and Greg Bluestein

The Michelle

First, here’s the big picture view on us ravenous, gaffe-hungry beasts:

“The communications department’s first and foremost responsibility is to ensure that the candidate and all parts of the campaign adhere to the message that the senior team has agreed upon. In the zero sum game of elections, resources that a campaign spends advancing a message different from the one that will persuade the most voters is time and resources wasted. In fact – in 21st century campaigns with wall-to-wall media coverage and super-pacs able to put millions of dollars behind video behind a single cell-phone video – a [More]

Gov. Nathan Deal makes a (very limited) exception to his stance against Medicaid expansion

  • 6:00 am Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Gov. Nathan Deal has gone to great lengths to assure his supporters that he’s against the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. But he carved out one exception this week.

It has to do with the more than 1,100 unaccompanied immigrant children transferred by the feds this year to the care of sponsors living in Georgia. The influx comes amid a surge of Central American children fleeing instability and violence at home to illegally cross the southwest border.

The governor said in an interview he expects their number to grow, and that he’s hearing they could be granted [More]

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]

Whistleblower lawsuit targets ‘unethical’ behavior of Ga. National Guard head

  • 9:15 am Monday, July 28th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

Another whistleblower case is rocking state government. This one targets Adjutant General Jim Butterworth, Gov. Nathan Deal’s pick to head the Georgia National Guard.

The Georgia National Guard sent us a statement that said Grabowski “was not fired for any behavior protected by the whistleblower statute or other state or federal laws,” but rather after refusing a reassignment. It didn’t respond to the specific allegations.

Grabowski makes a series of claims in the lawsuit. Among them:

She questions Butterworth’s participation in a 2012 AFLAC Cancer Center charity drive in which he offered donors an invite to an “exclusive” barbecue and open house at Clay [More]

Jimmy Carter: Battle for governor’s office will not hinge on ethics

  • 6:00 am Monday, July 28th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

In the printed pages of the AJC today, you’ll find former President Jimmy Carter’s most extensive remarks about his grandson, Jason Carter, and his run for governor. But we wanted to break out the elder Carter’s take on the ethics questions swirling around incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal.

The former president said while the drip-drip of ethics news about the troubled aftermath of the ethics commission’s probe of Deal’s 2010 campaign would help, his grandson will ultimately win or lose on larger questions of economy and education.

“I don’t think so,” he said, when asked if the young Carter’s election hopes hinge on [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]

Who’s winning the Senate race? Pick your poll

  • 2:50 pm Friday, July 25th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

In the first public polling we have seen since David Perdue’s runoff win on Tuesday, Rasmussen Reports put out a robo-call survey today showing Perdue leading Democrat Michelle Nunn 46 percent to 40 percent.

Meanwhile, Landmark Communications showed Nunn leading 47 percent to Perdue’s 43 percent.

Rasmussen, whose results tend to be Republican-leaning, reports their methodology like so:

The survey of 750 Likely Voters in Georgia was conducted on July 23-24, 2014 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

The Landmark poll info comes from this tweet by Channel 2 Action News’ [More]

Nathan Deal’s office targeted with #weknownathan complaint

  • 12:18 pm Friday, July 25th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

The social media fundraising campaign this week by Gov. Nathan Deal’s boosters attracted plenty of attention by Democrats who hijacked the message for their own. Now it has also earned a call for an internal investigation.

Clint Murphy, a former GOP operative turned critic of his party, filed a request with the Office of Inspector General on Friday to look into the activities of Sasha Dlugolenski, a press aide who works for Deal’s government office.

In the complaint, Murphy claims that Dlugolenski violated a state ban on political activity during work time through a series of tweets she sent [More]

As border kids come to Georgia, Nathan Deal and Jason Carter clash

  • 8:45 am Friday, July 25th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

The screaming letter that Gov. Nathan Deal fired off to the White House was

Shortly after Deal’s office announced the letter, his campaign spokesman Jen Talaber sent out her own missive declaring the children are “victims of misguided federal policy implemented by President Obama” and criticizing his rival, state Sen. Jason Carter, for voting against an immigration crackdown.

Wrote Talaber:

“Where does he stand now that he knows the humanitarian crisis this has sparked? Does he think the Obama administration is handling this well? Does he think the administration should continue sending unaccompanied minors to Georgia without informing the state?”

Carter spokesman Bryan Thomas [More]

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