Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

The state House candidate whose Capitol visits require a police escort

If you’re a Republican voter in House District 79, this month’s primary offers you a unique challenge. On one hand you have incumbent Tom Taylor of Dunwoody, chairman of the Legislature’s MARTA oversight committee, who was arrested last month on DUI charges. He was driving several times the legal limit, with juveniles (all over 14) in the car. And a Glock on his hip.

The other candidate is Tom Owens, a man of famous volatility. Three restraining orders and a plea of no contest to a charge of stalking, according to our friend George Chidi. This morning, Dick Williams of the Dunwoody Crier offers up more information on Owens:

House District 79 candidate Tom Owens, a Republican. AJC file

Heading into the May 24 primary elections, one candidate for state House, Tom Owens, is so extreme that the state capitol police have given him the label of “Escorted Entry Only.”

Capitol police say that while no criminal warrants exist “at this time,” “please use caution.”

A similar tag hangs on Joe Newton, a political gadfly who accompanies Owns to many political events and has been seen placing signs accusing state Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) of being responsible for bringing in thousands of refugees, including terrorists, into the state….

Newton’s state capitol police alert orders “No unescorted entry.”


A Channel 2 Action News/Landmark Communications/Rosetta Stone poll shows that roughly half of 570 voters polled agree with Gov. Nathan Deal’s decision last week to veto a bill that would permit those with permits to carry concealed weaponry on Georgia’s public university campuses.

Thirty-one percent disagreed with the veto, with 19 percent undecided/no opinion, according to last night’s report by Lori Geary.


By party breakdown, the governor has only 40 percent of fellow Republicans on his side, but nearly 60 percent of Democrats. Fifty-four percent of independents favored the veto.


Four of the last five GOP presidential nominees won't attend their party's Cleveland convention now that Donald Trump has emerged as the presumptive Republican nominee. Neither will a slew of well-known politicians. And Georgia's top politician could soon be added to the list.

Gov. Nathan Deal said in an interview Monday that he was still uncertain he would be in Ohio this July, partly because he was uncertain whether he would even be a delegate.

Deal, we should add, also hasn't made up his mind about attending the June state GOP convention in Augusta. That's likely to become a sounding board for a flurry of resolutions criticizing his vetoes of "religious liberty" and "campus carry" legislation. In other words, don't be shocked if he doesn't show -- in Augusta and Cleveland.


About the return of those manufacturing jobs being promised in this year’s race for the White House: A study conducted by the University of California-Berkley says they’re not a magic bullet. From the Washington Post:

[O]ne-third of the families of "frontline manufacturing production workers" are enrolled in a government safety-net program. The families' benefits cost state and local governments about $10 billion a year on average from 2009 to 2013, the analysis found.

Those production workers, roughly 6 million, represent about half of all manufacturing workers. They include metal workers, assemblers and machinists, but not managers or software developers.


An intra-campaign communications breakdown related to the death of Mike Crane’s mother put the state senator in the spotlight ahead of Mother’s Day weekend.

It all happened on Thursday, when a campaign surrogate attended a Spalding County GOP event in Griffin on Crane’s behalf. Kent Kingsley, a Lamar County coordinator, told attendees that Crane couldn’t attend because his mother had died earlier that week, according to three people in attendance.

But pictures soon surfaced on social media of Crane mingling with attendees at a fundraiser in Carrollton that same night. The optics were awkward for Crane, who is running in the Third District GOP congressional primary later this month.

Crane attributed it all to a misunderstanding:

“One of our dedicated and hardworking supporters made an assumption that was incorrect. Kent Kingsley was not aware that our Carrollton meet-n-greet was planned for quite some time and that was where I was and intended to be all along. Anyone who would put forth the scurrilous accusation that implies I would use my mother’s unexpected passing as cover for missing an event fully reveals their own heart and that same person obviously knows nothing about mine.”

Kingsley backed up Crane's remarks.  “The bottom line is that I made an assumption and that assumption was incorrect,” he said.


Emily Matson, executive director of the Georgia Life Alliance, is going to bat for two incumbent Republican congressman, both with opposition, for votes cast that acknowledge exceptions in abortion law for rape and incest. Writes Matson at InsiderAdvantage:

Every minute used to fight about which candidate is “more pro-life” is a wasted minute. Every dollar spent on campaign mailers to attack the consistently pro-life votes of Congressmen like Doug Collins and Barry Loudermilk is a wasted dollar.

Both congressmen have opponents endorsed by Georgia Right to Life, a no-exceptions anti-abortion organization.


Paul Broun is fundraising off a story we wrote recently that used federal documents to dig into the question of how much the former congressman knew related to a corruption case that led to the indictment of his former top aide last month. Broun wrote the following in an email to supporters this morning:

"In the absence of any facts, the liberal media is using words like 'scandal, corruption, and indictment' to try and sully my good name. We cannot allow liberal news outlets to distort the truth any longer. Will you make an urgent contribution today to help me represent Georgia's conservative values in Congress?" 


With this flyer below, which arrived in Cobb County mail boxes on Monday, Commission Chairman Tim Lee, the Republican incumbent, identifies the Republican primary challenger who most worries him:



Throughout Lee's tenure at the top of the Cobb government ladder, former commission chairman Bill Byrne has been a critic – and, the current chairman apparently suspects, continues to be one:



Hillary Clinton is keeping her Georgia allies close to her as she pivots to the November election.

The Washington Post reported that Richard McDaniel, Clinton's Atlanta-based Southern political director, was tapped as the political director for the June Washington, D.C. primary. About 45 delegates are up for grabs in the vote, though Clinton has already locked down almost half.

McDaniel was a key member of Democrat Michelle Nunn's 2014 Senate campaign.

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.