Political Insider blog 

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

Offering New Yorkers some advice on the next snowstorm

  • 11:20 am Friday, February 21st, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Georgia was the butt of national jokes after the Jan. 28 snowfall brought metro Atlanta to a standstill. But the handling of last week’s ice storm earned state leaders the begrudging respect of at least a few counterparts up north.

An email sent this morning from Conner Poe, the head of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Georgia, to Gov. Nathan Deal’s deputies offers an example.

Poe said he received a call today from a New York City administrator “inquiring about how we managed to display emergency messages (twitter) on our digital billboards across the state. They would like for me to walk [More]

A brewing fight in Georgia governor’s race over Medicaid expansion

  • 12:19 pm Friday, February 14th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

The fight over a House GOP plan that would strip the executive branch of its power to expand Medicaid in Georgia is fast becoming a dividing line in the governor’s race.

We told you yesterday that state Sen. Jason Carter, the Democrat challenging Gov. Nathan Deal, attacked the governor for “passing the buck” by throwing his support behind the legislation. Now Deal’s camp is firing back.

Deal wouldn’t take questions on the matter at a press conference Friday focused on the storm cleanup, but his spokeswoman Jen Talaber issued a retort on his behalf:

“So Senator Carter believes cutting a [More]

South Carolina governor is not so ‘furious’ at Nathan Deal any more

  • 2:33 pm Friday, February 7th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has cooled her seething anger over our Snowjam.

We told you this week that the Republican from next door said she was

Well, Columbia’s The State newspaper reported that Haley has called Deal to apologize for the remarks:

“This was not me being furious at Georgia,” she said. “This was me being furious as a sister not being able to get to her brother. I don’t want this to be a state-to-state issue. Gov. Deal did what he thought was best.”

Robinson characterized the two as good friends who don’t hold grudges. It’s quite a contrast from [More]

Nathan Deal is having second thoughts about new health insurance plan

  • 2:28 pm Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Gov. Nathan Deal is trying to soothe the unrest over his administration’s controversial decision to go with a single insurer to manage health care for 650,000 public employees and their families.

Deal brushed aside the push by state Superintendent John Barge, one of his GOP challengers, for an investigation into how Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia was awarded the lucrative contract. He called it a hollow “political shot” in an interview Thursday.

But what he said next was more important:

“It’s more important to deal with the problems on hand. We are doing that and we’ll have an announcement [More]

Closing the door on new abortion restrictions

  • 12:20 pm Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

The crowd of hundreds of anti-abortion activists gathered outside the statehouse Wednesday gave Gov. Nathan Deal polite applause when he praised the state’s “strong” position on abortion. But after the brief address he poured cold water on a new legislative push that would tighten restrictions.

When a measure that would ban abortion coverage in state employee insurance policies  fizzled near the end of last year’s session, the governor found an executive branch work-around.

By August, the state department of community health had voted to end insurance coverage of abortion in most cases for the hundreds of thousands of public employees and [More]

Injecting a dose of politics into MLK Day

  • 9:58 am Monday, January 20th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

We’re at the Martin Luther King Jr. commemorative service where Gov. Nathan Deal is expected to announce plans to add a certain civil rights leader’s name to a prominent spot on the Capitol grounds.

Deal’s expected announcement, whether intentional or not, injects an extra dose of politics into a ceremony already tinged with it. Also scheduled to make remarks are Sen. Johnny Isakson, Rep. Hank Johnson and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

A flurry of candidates have sent out pitches tied to the holiday. We just got one from Rev. Raphael Warnock, who will be delivering the keynote address in a few [More]

Add another item to a busy Wednesday: The biggest speech of Jason Carter’s career

  • 3:09 pm Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

This Wednesday is shaping up to be one of the busiest political days of the year, and now state Sen. Jason Carter is carving out a half-hour to put his stamp on the events.

Gov. Nathan Deal plans three separate addresses, the first in the morning at the Eggs & Issues breakfast followed by his State of the State speech at 11 a.m. at the statehouse and then a 1 p.m. roll-out of a budget plan highlighted by new education spending.

Sandwiched in between there, Deal’s Democratic foil will make perhaps the biggest speech of his political career. Carter, who announced his [More]

AJC survey: Nathan Deal has lead; no front-runner in Senate race

  • 10:00 pm Friday, January 10th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Democrat Jason Carter has plenty of work ahead if he wants to oust Gov. Nathan Deal. And all the U.S. Senate candidates have work to do to remind voters there’s an election in November for an open seat.

You can find all the details of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s poll on myajc.com and in Saturday’s print edition, but here are some highlights:

Deal has 47 percent support in a head-to-head matchup against 38 percent for Carter, his likely Democratic opponent. Deal’s support hit 50 percent when voters were asked whether they leaned toward either candidate.

Deal’s approval rating hovered around a healthy 54 [More]

Your daily jolt: Nathan Deal aims big money at Georgia’s technical schools

  • 7:04 am Thursday, January 9th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

We have a more complete sweep of education issues on myajc.com this morning, but Georgia’s tech schools are an early winner in this year’s session of the state Legislature:

Gov. Nathan Deal wants to establish a scholarship that would provide full tuition for tech college students who earn a 3.5 grade point average, his spokesman Brian Robinson said Wednesday.

The Zell Miller Scholarship will be a new part of the HOPE grant program, which has come under intense criticism from Democrats in the wake of a belt-tightening measure pushed through the Legislature. Robinson said some 16,000 technical college [More]