Political Insider

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

Who finished second in Georgia's GOP primary? If you count delegates, it wasn't Marco Rubio

Last night, Donald Trump took Georgia in the GOP presidential primary with 39 percent of the statewide vote. You know that.

You also know that U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida came in second, with 24 percent and 10,977 more votes than U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.


And yet, where it counted, Cruz actually finished better than Rubio in Georgia. Here’s how the Associated Press figured the delegate count this morning:

-- Donald Trump, 36;

-- Ted Cruz, 14;

-- Marco Rubio, 11;

More than likely, this means that the Cruz campaign was successful in concentrating its votes within specific congressional districts – which is the basis for the largest part of delegate distribution in Georgia. But we're not sure.

We’ve contacted the Associated Press for an explanation, but haven’t heard back. Even the Cruz campaign was scrambling to explain its success this morning.

But the disparity between delegates and popular vote helps explain why a third-place finisher in one of last night’s state contests might not be so eager to leave the stage.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton won 71 percent of the vote last night. The Associated Press says Clinton is walking away with 74 percent of the delegates:

-- Hillary Clinton, 66;

-- and Bernie Sanders, 23.


The Donald Trump movement in Georgia amounts to 499,385 Republican voters. That's right -- half a million. Overall turnout on the GOP side amounts to 1,287,168 ballots – compared to 740,246 on the Democratic side.

In other words, in a world of 2 million Georgia voters, nearly two-thirds of them are Republican. Which could help explain why, with qualifying only five days away, Democrats have yet to unveil a candidate for the U.S. Senate against GOP incumbent Johnny Isakson.

Although, last week, state Democratic party chairman DuBose Porter told us that they have one in the wings. He just wasn’t ready to spring him/her on us.


Looks like one more Republican is trying to make his peace with The Donald. This one a former congressman from Georgia with a thriving Twitter account:


Salesforce says Atlanta is one of its “top five” employment hubs in the United States. But in a letter to Georgia lawmakers, condemn HB 757 – the current “religious liberty” bill, a senior vice president says that could change. A portion:

Without an open business environment that welcomes all residents and visitors, Salesforce will be unable to continue building on its tradition of innovation in Georgia. We encourage you to take decisive action to avoid this kind of damage and reaffirm that our state will not tolerate discrimination against people because of who they are or who they love.

Read the entire letter here:


Conservative opposition to a measure that would exempt the sales tax break for Super Bowl tickets and other major sporting events is stiffening.

The House voted last week to approve House Bill 951, which is aimed at helping Atlanta land a Super Bowl. The exemptions would cost Georgia about $10 million, while sports boosters say the event's economic impact would be three times larger.

The Americans for Prosperity Georgia is emphasizing its opposition in the Capitol today. The conservative group's activists expect to target the bill as an example of "corporate cronyism plaguing Georgia." From the release:

This legislation profits the NFL at the expense of Georgia taxpayers. To learn more, check out our digital action center HERE.

Then there's this from former Dalton Mayor David Pennington, who unsuccessfully waged a tea party challenge for governor in 2014:

"If you wonder why so many Georgians enthusiastically support Donald Trump it is because they understand that our so-called limited government Republicans have campaigned like Reagan but governed like Obama," he said Tuesday, taking aim at the bill.


WRDW in east Georgia reports that state Sen. Bill Jackson, R-Appling, won’t seek re-election. Since 2007, Jackson has represented Elbert, Hart, Lincoln, Oglethorpe, Taliaferro, and Wilkes counties – plus part of Columbia County.

Jackson is expected to make his announcement today.


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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.