Political Insider

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

Brian Kemp: Guns and run-off ballots won’t mix

 Over the weekend, the New York Times had a piece on the dispute in Alabama, where the state’s sheriffs association had urged the state’s 67 counties to ban the open carry of weapons at polling places, fearing that such a display would discourage some voters.

The State Legislature has already said where guns cannot be openly displayed, he wrote, and polling places are not on the list.

That said, Mr. Strange added, there are a few no-gun locations that sometimes serve as polling places, such as high-security government buildings. And owners of private buildings like churches that often host voting stations always have the right to prohibit firearms.

Which prompted us to make a phone call this morning to Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office. It seems the matter had already come up. Below is a June 25 note sent to county election officials throughout Georgia, in anticipation of the July 1 effective date of our new “guns everywhere” bill:

Our Office has been getting some questions as to how the Safe Carry Protection Act (HB 60) affects the law regarding firearms and polling places. The new law does not change any existing law regarding firearms in polling places.

The Georgia Code states, “No person except peace officers regularly employed by the federal, state, county, or municipal government, or certified security guards shall be permitted to carry firearms within 150 feet of any polling place.” O.C.G.A. § 21-2-413(i), see also O.C.G.A § 21-2-2(27) (defining “polling place”), O.C.G.A § 16-11-127(b)(7), O.C.G.A. § 16-11-127(d)(2)-(3).

We recommend checking with your county attorney to make sure your processes and procedures are in compliance with current law.


U.S. Rep. Paul Broun has endorsed pastor and talk radio hostJody Hice in the runoff to be his successor. Broun called the Zoller and Bryant show on WGAU (1340AM) this morning to offer his support.

Hice has been running as Broun's logical heir as a fiery, outspoken conservative on social and fiscal issues. His campaign manager, Jordan Chinouth, was a longtime Broun aide.

This comes after Bryant, the radio guy, got into a little scrape with the Hice campaign. The radio host asked the campaign to stop sending out robocalls featuring Bryant's voice discussing a mailer he got urging Democrats to vote for Hice's runoff foe, Mike Collins. PeachPundit has all the details. Bryant reported that the Hice campaign promised to halt the calls.


We are no strangers to racial insults in the South. But perhaps because our world is so black-and-white, we often stumble when it comes to the subtleties of ethnic slurs.

Max Bacon, the mayor of Smyrna, was angered that no member of the Cobb County Board of Education attended his recent state-of-the-city speech, and so took after Republican school board incumbent Tim Stultz, who’s in a GOP runoff with challenger Susan Thayer.

Kathleen Blevins Angelucci, who chairs the Cobb school board, attempted to intercede on Stulz’ behalf. But the mayor of Smyrna -- who is also Bob Barr's man in Cobb County -- was having none of it, according to Jon Gillooly of the Marietta Daily Journal:

“I’m just disappointed in Tim. If he’s not man enough to come talk to me, and he has to go through her, Angelucci, that does concern me more than anything now. What’s that woman’s name? Angelucci? I don’t like arguing with Polacks.”

This is where a broader world-view is in order. “Angelucci” is clearly a name of Italian extraction. Or “Eye-talian,” if you wish to give offense.

There are certain neighborhoods in Chicago, Newark or Cleveland that we can recommend if Bacon has a yen for self-education. The learning curve can  be steep -- violently so. But it is effective.


Rep. Jack Kingston is ready to fight fire with fire. In a press gaggle after Sunday's Atlanta Press Club debate on GPB, Kingston was hit with a question involving questionable contributions he received -- and later returned -- from a Palestinian felon. His pivot was to question who is behind the super PAC boosting Perdue on the airwaves. And then he dropped one name in particular.

Said Kingston:

"If we want to talk about contributors, what about Cal Turner. Cal Turner was his crony at Dollar General who was fined $1 million from the SEC. ... Is Cal Turner one of his super PAC contributors? Should that money be returned if he is?"

Turner preceded Perdue as the head of Dollar General, a company his family helped found, and was ordered to pay $1 million in civil penalties as part of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over flawed accounting between 1998 and 2001. He later received a $1 million lump sum retirement from the firm.

Turner is a prolific fundraiser for GOP causes, but records don't show any direct contribution from him to the Perdue campaign.


After the debate, businessman David Perdue offered a rejoinder to Kingston's attack, pitching him as "out-of-touch." Said Perdue:

"At Dollar General, and the same thing at Reebok, those are big, massive, very complex turnarounds. And you don't do that without listening to your customers, your employees, your stakeholders, to find solutions to big problems. And that's what we did at Dollar General. We went out and found out what was important to help those families get from payday to payday. You don't get that if you're out of touch. I understood those people. They're my people. I grew up with them. I never lost that.

"When you teach a child to read in a Head Start program, and teach them what a book looks like for the first time, and what a toothbrush is for the first time, that doesn't leave you. I don't care how many gates you live behind. I'm very proud of my success in business ... Isn't that the American dream we're all trying to get back to?"


It's not exactly a gaffe, but more than a few folks on Twitter took note of an unusual David Perdue opening where he compared the crowd to overheated bovines. We got hold of the video from the recent stop in Griffin, where he told the group: "I see all you guys look like cows - you found the shade."


Climate change was a focus of a Sunday's debate twixt the two GOP candidates for the coastal First District congressional seat -- also sponsored by the Atlanta Press Club and aired on GPB.

State Sen. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, and surgeon Bob Johnson had somewhat different takes. From Walter C. Jones at Morris News Service:

When a reporter raised the issue about climate change and how it could impact residents along the coast, Johnson said predicting the weather two days in the future is difficult and 20 years into the future is nearly impossible.

“I don’t think it’s a concern,” he said.

Carter said he didn’t want to ignore the possibility they might be at least partly correct.

“Certainly we have to pay attention to it. There’s no doubt about that,” he said. “But I do have reservations about how real it is.”


Bob Barr, locked in that brimstone-ish GOP runoff with Barry Loudermilk for the 11th District congressional seat, is attempting to generate an Ike-ish moment.

In 1952, Eisenhower promised to “go to Korea.” He didn’t say what he’d do when he got to where U.S. troops were facing down Chinese communists. But the mere statement seemed to suffice.

Barr, over the weekend, promised that – “when,” not if elected – he’ll visit the Texas border “within the month.”


We aren’t even close to finishing out the 2014 election season, and already the 2016 politicking is at hand.

The national grassroots organization Ready for Hillary will have a kick-off event at Park Tavern in Atlanta at 6 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are a symbolic $20.16


It depicts the 1961 burning of a Freedom Riders bus in Anniston, Ala., and Lewis' speech at the 1963 March on Washington:

“From a design standpoint, designer Chris Ross and I are composing all three book covers around two opposing elements, split in ways that shift along with the narrative,” Powell tells The Post’s Comic Riffs on Sunday.

“‘Book Two’ isn’t messing around — Congressman Lewis’s account can be intense and brutal, so we tried to call attention to the movement’s increased stakes, consequences and scope,” Powell continues. “Just as ‘Book One’s cover resembled a worn, secondhand text from the segregated schoolhouses of his youth, ‘Book Two’ suffers the singes and damage of that burning bus outside Anniston.”


David Leonhart of the New York Times is theorizing that the coming generation of college students may be more conservative than the current crop:

[T]hink about people who were born in 1998, the youngest eligible voters in the next presidential election. They are too young to remember much about the Bush years or the excitement surrounding the first Obama presidential campaign. They instead are coming of age with a Democratic president who often seems unable to fix the world’s problems.

“We’re in a period in which the federal government is simply not performing,” says Paul Taylor of the Pew Research Center, the author of a recent book on generational politics, “and that can’t be good for the Democrats.”



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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.