Political Insider

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

Donald Trump snags his first Gold Dome supporter


State Sen. Michael Williams, R-Cumming, posted his endorsement of The Donald on Facebook just ahead of the Republican front-runner's weekend sojourn to Norcross. (Hat tip to Justin Tomczak for spotting it.)

It should be noted that Williams' political consultant last year was Seth Weathers, who is leading Trump's Georgia effort.

Trump, meanwhile, didn't get nearly as warm a reception at the GOP's annual fundraiser Monday night, which featured pollster Frank Lutz.

That prompted this reaction from Weathers:

Ouch. The Georgia GOP, we should note, reports that it raised more than $215,000 from the event - enough to help the party begin to bounce back from its financial troubles.

Some party insiders credit former Rep. Jack Kingston, who was tapped a few weeks ago to be the party's chief fundraiser. We're told that the event had less than $30,000 in pledges before he signed on.

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On the topic of interesting tweets, there were a few emanating from the opening day of the B.L.U.E. Institute, House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams' weeklong workshop to train up-and-coming minority campaign staffers in the South.

Here's the first:

And then there's this:

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Gov. Nathan Deal's plan to expand Georgia's Supreme Court could wind up being one of the more interesting legislative fights brewing ahead of next year's legislative session.

Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson signaled that Democrats may fight the governor's office over the cost, rather than the politics, of the court expansion.

Said Henson:

"It's not as simple as making two appointments. There are additional expenses involved, including the salaries of the judges and the costs of their offices and support staff. These additional costs to taxpayers should be weighed against the value of the appointments."

And this from Democratic state Rep. Scott Holcomb:

"If this smacks in any way as a political power grab, it needs to be shut down by legislators from both parties. 

"My gut instinct is that Georgia doesn't need to copy the federal Supreme Court and grow to nine justices. We've had seven justices and that's worked just fine."

Check out the whole story right here.

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One leading state Democrat is making waves about the sweeping trade deal brokered in Atlanta on Monday.

State Sen. Vincent Fort wants Atlanta's City Council to pass a resolution encouraging Congress to vote against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Deal. He said the agreement will disproportionately affect inner city Atlanta neighborhoods that struggle with high unemployment rates.

"It is my hope that elected officials in Washington will reject the current deal and find a suitable solution that advances our interests in the Asia-Pacific region while protecting working families in America," said Fort, D-Atlanta.

Georgia's congressional delegation -- which will vote on approval of the deal sometime next year -- was either no-commenting or being very cautious in their statements, as the full text of the deal is not out yet. You'll recall most of the state's Republicans agreed to give President Barack Obama "fast track" authority, meaning Congress cannot amend or filibuster the accord, while the state's Democrats were opposed.

From Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga.:

“Trade is a critical component of our economy and supports more than one million jobs in Georgia. Earlier this year, I worked hard to make sure Congress has stronger oversight of any trade deal negotiated by the President. I also fought to ensure that Congress and the American people are given ample time for its full and public review. I look forward to thoroughly reviewing this agreement once it is submitted to Congress to ensure we get the best possible trade deal for Georgia and the U.S. economy.”

Said Amanda Maddox, spokeswoman for Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.:

"Senator Isakson will closely review the details of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement when the final text is available. He will scrutinize all aspects of the agreement to determine whether it meets the high standards outlined in the bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority passed by Congress, as well as meets the goals of promoting innovation and economic growth and creating jobs here in the United States. Sen. Isakson is pleased that the public will be able to review the text, as required by Trade Promotion Authority."

You can read more about the deal here.

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The U.S. House has postponed its internal majority leader election, meaning Rep. Tom Price, R-Roswell, could be campaigning for the post for another month.

House Republicans will still meet Thursday to elect a new speaker, but outgoing Speaker John Boehner said other potentially open posts will not get a vote until after the internal GOP caucus speaker vote is ratified on the House floor Oct. 29. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is widely expected to ascend to the top post, but it could be tough for him to get 218 Republicans on his side to survive a floor vote -- as Democrats will all refuse to vote for him.

If McCarthy survives the drama, he then will schedule the majority leader vote. Majority Whip Steve Scalise had told supporters Sunday night that he had the votes locked down to defeat Price. More time -- and perhaps an organized campaign against Scalise by conservatives and outside groups -- could bode well for Price, or it could create space for another candidate to jump in.

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Rafael Cruz, father of U.S. Sen. and presidential aspirant Ted Cruz, will speak in Gainesville on Oct. 20, at an event put on by Hispanic Patriots. Lunch and a speech will cost you $20.

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As we previewed for you back in August, RedState editor Erick Erickson is leaving the conservative website to focus more on his WSB-Radio show, among other pursuits. The Huffington Post reports that Leon Wolf will be the site's new managing editor:

[Erickson] said he’ll remain editor-in-chief through the end of year and still expects to write occasionally for the site after his departure. Erickson said he also plans to participate in next year’s RedState gathering. 

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Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall launches his campaign today for president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

"Agriculture is not just essential for life, it is essential to the security of our nation," Duvall says in a forthcoming press release. "I understand what it takes to keep Farm Bureau strong and extend our role as the respected, trusted voice for agriculture in America."

Duvall, of Greene County, has led the Georgia Farm Bureau for nine years. The national election is in Orlando in January.

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This compelling New York Times story is about far more than those annoying ads clogging your Sunday NFL broadcasts. Expect Georgia's casino gambling deliberations to be heavily influenced by the following:

A major scandal is erupting in the multibillion-dollar industry of fantasy sports, the online and unregulated business in which players assemble their fantasy teams with real athletes. On Monday, the two major fantasy companies were forced to release statements defending their businesses’ integrity after what amounted to allegations of insider trading, that employees were placing bets using information not generally available to the public.

The statements were released after an employee at DraftKings, one of the two major companies, admitted last week to inadvertently releasing data before the start of the third week of N.F.L. games. The employee, a midlevel content manager, won $350,000 at a rival site, FanDuel, that same week.

“It is absolutely akin to insider trading,” said Daniel Wallach, a sports and gambling lawyer at Becker & Poliakoff in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “It gives that person a distinct edge in a contest.”


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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.