On the same Tuesday, Senate Republicans in Washington gave up on yet another attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and an Alabama electorate handed President Donald Trump a stunning defeat by rejecting his pick for the U.S. Senate.
Hard-line challengers to Senate Republicans seized on the fall of Strange, who had been boosted by Trump and millions in outside Republican spending, as a sign of how the clamor of anti-establishment forces like Breitbart News — chaired by former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon — could empower them, regardless of whether Trump rallies behind sitting senators.
Even before former Alabama chief justice Roy Moore defeated Republican incumbent Luther Strange in a GOP runoff, 55 to 45 percent, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., announced his retirement.
U.S. Sen. David Perdue went in another direction and put himself on the side of the pitchforks. While he didn’t mention him by name, after a ritual condemnation of Democrats and Obamacare, Georgia’s junior senator leveled a direct shot at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. From the press release:
“What happened today in Washington was a failure…There is a complete lack of congressional leadership and no accountability to get results. From the get go, three Republican Senate chairmen failed to support our efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare as we have all promised to do.”
Perdue was apparently referring to U.S. Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., who chairs the armed services committee; Susan Collins, R-Maine, leader of a special committee on aging; and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who chairs the energy and natural resources committee. (Murkowski broke her silence only after the Graham-Cassidy bill was pulled.)
But in essence, Perdue was pointing to McConnell for not using chairmanships as a stick to keep his GOP caucus in line. (Galloway, Tamar Hallerman)
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has erased all of his Tweets in support of Luther Strange, the Republican incumbent senator defeated by Roy Moore last night. Instead, we have this:
Speaking of Graham-Cassidy, our AJC colleague Ariel Hart has more on the ripple effect the aborted effort is having locally:
In Georgia, opponents and supporters alike were weary and frustrated at the wasted time and energy that Congress has cost the nation. But they were not spent: They immediately spoke of what needs to be done now.
Providers of indigent care called for Congress to direct its attention to funding programs that expire Saturday, such as PeachCare and hospital subsidies. A foundation that advocates for the free market called for Georgia to use existing law to implement the best parts of GOP desires.
This promises to be interesting: State Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, and his former House colleague, Democrat LaDawn Jones of Atlanta, are set to meet today to discuss his controversial response to her call to remove Civil War monuments in south Georgia. In a Facebook exchange, Spencer warned her that “people in South Georgia are people of action, not drama” and suggested some who don’t understand that “will go missing in the Okefenokee.” More on this later. (Greg Bluestein)
State Sen. Josh McKoon, a GOP candidate for secretary of state, is making use of former congressman John Barrow’s decision to take a stab at the statewide office. From McKoon’s Facebook page: “The Democrats will pour millions into trying to take control of election machinery in our state before the next Presidential elections. So you can help me by contributing to my campaign….”
Early this summer, Stacey Evans, a Democratic candidate for governor, set the bar with a confessional biographic video entitled “16 Homes.” The YouTube production was a short paean to her blue-collar youth in north Georgia, a life in which the adults in her life didn’t always behave themselves.
Keisha Lance Bottoms, an Atlanta city councilwoman and a candidate for mayor, followed suit on Tuesday
A bit of the script:
“I learned very early on that good people sometimes make bad decisions. My dad didn’t sell as many records later in life, and as he struggled to find a way to make ends meet, he decided to sell drugs. And when I was eight years old, I came home from school. We had just moved from our family home in Collier Heights because my parents had lost the house.
“I came home from school and there were police officers all over our house. And I saw my dad being led away in handcuffs. I spent every weekend visiting my dad in prisons across the state.…”
The saga surrounding Health Secretary Tom Price's use of a private jet on the public dime continues to broaden. Now Politico is reporting that the former Georgia congressman flew a charter last month from Raleigh, N.C., to visit St. Simons Island, where he and his wife Betty own property, for the Medical Association of Georgia's retreat. The trip, the news outlet points out, wouldn't have been too difficult to do commercially. The publication reported that Price also flew private to Nashville, Tenn., to visit his son and speak at a health summit. (TH)
House Democrats have recruited a candidate for all seven of the special elections for vacant legislative seats this November, and party leaders believe this is the first time they've had contenders for four of them since they were redrawn in 2012: Republican-leaning seats held by Bruce Broadrick in Dalton, Geoff Duncan in Cumming, Regina Quick in Athens and Chuck Williams in Watkinsville. (GB)
The House of Representatives will try again today and tomorrow to pass legislation reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration and providing tax relief to the victims of Hurricane Irma and other recent natural disasters. GOP leaders had unsuccessfully tried to fast-track the measure on Monday but faced opposition from Democrats who opposed the bill for what was left out of it. The legislation is expected to easily pass in the days ahead. (TH)
Georgia's newest member of Congress will be swinging through Texas next weekend for a fundraising trip. The Washington Examiner reports that Roswell Republican Karen Handel will be accompanying colleague Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the House's No. 4 Republican, to the Lone Star state for a fundraiser. (TH)
Speaking of Handel, her onetime opponent Jon Ossoff took to Twitter yesterday to slam President Donald Trump for his response to the cascading infrastructure and humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.
The president was criticized in recent days for tweeting more about the NFL National Anthem protests than the dire situation unfolding in the U.S. territory. The White House ramped up its response on Tuesday. (TH)