Political Insider

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

Fox News says Donald Trump campaign engaged in 'terrorizations''

So you know that, GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump has decided to blow off Thursday’s debate – days before Iowa voters assemble to formally begin the 2016 contest.

We’re not sure how Iowans are going to feel about [Trump] walking away from them at the last minute, but it should be clear to the American public by now that this is rooted in one thing – Megyn Kelly, whom he has viciously attacked since August and has now spent four days demanding be removed from the debate stage. Capitulating to politicians’ ultimatums about a debate moderator violates all journalistic standards, as do threats, including the one leveled by Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski toward Megyn Kelly.

In a call on Saturday with a FOX News executive, Lewandowski stated that Megyn had a ‘rough couple of days after that last debate’ and he ‘would hate to have her go through that again.’ Lewandowski was warned not to level any more threats, but he continued to do so. We can’t give in to terrorizations toward any of our employees.

Trump is still welcome at Thursday night’s debate and will be treated fairly, just as he has been during his 132 appearances on FOX News & FOX Business, but he can’t dictate the moderators or the questions.

We wonder who gets “Fox & Friends” in this divorce.


A renegade debate is in the works in New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Union Leader and MSNBC have teamed together to schedule an unsanctioned Democratic debate on Feb. 4 -- less than a week before voters head to the polls for the nation's first primary. The newspaper reported that Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley both confirmed, while Bernie Sanders is hedging.

The debate isn't among the six showdowns sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee, which has faced withering criticism for scheduling the events on weekend nights and other low-profile time slots. The organization has warned that any candidate participating in an unsanctioned debate could get excluded from one of the official six.


Add House Speaker David Ralston to the growing number of influential Georgia conservatives worried about the angry election-year rhetoric.

Said the Republican from Blue Ridge, who is supporting New Jersey Gov. Christie:

"I don't know how it's all going to play out. But I like Governor Christie because, at the end of the day, the most important thing is who's finger is going to be on the button if we go to war. We're electing a commander-in-chief, and I think people need to understand that we also need a president who can work with both sides and bring people together rather than inflame anger and inflame bitterness."

Over the weekend, the Rev. Andy Stanley warned his flock that the vitriol surrounding the contest is "scaring the children."


Fox 5 Atlanta says the entire police force of White, Ga., in Bartow County, has been suspended after a raid of its offices. From the WAGA-TV website:

The GBI said they were contacted by the district attorney in late October regarding allegations of extortion and public corruption. Three months later, agents from the GBI and FBI rolled into White. They seized files, records and computers from City Hall and the Police Department. City officials said many of those files pertained to fines and tickets written by police officers.


A major power play is brewing around the state panel that is in charge of disciplining Georgia’s jurists.

Two measures, HB 808 and HR 1113, would dissolve the current Judicial Qualifying Commission and then re-create it – with a serious reduction in influence for the State Bar of Georgia. As currently drawn up, the JQC has two members appointed by the state Supreme Court, two members appointed by the governor, and three members appointed by the State Bar.

The legislation filed by Willard, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, would eliminate the three State Bar appointments, dividing them among the governor, House speaker and lieutenant governor.

HR 1113, which would eliminate the current JCQ, is a proposed constitutional amendment and would require a two-thirds vote in each chamber, followed by a popular vote in November.


This should be a can't-miss event for the Capitol crowd: Rapper Ludacris is set to host a school choice rally at Liberty Plaza today around noon.

Luda - otherwise known as Chris Bridges - appeared with Gov. Nathan Deal at the Utopian Academy in 2014 to highlight charter school laws. And who can forget the last time he went to the Gold Dome - and bumped into Jeb Bush.

We would add another joke riffing on the hip-hop star, but former Insider Daniel Malloy was too busy in Laos to help us.


Georgia activist Robbie Medwed launched a new assault on the "religious liberty" proposals, claiming they are an attack on Jewish values.

Medwed is a leader with Sojourn, a Jewish gay rights group that is one of the most vocal opponents of the measure. Writes Medwed:

The Jewish community has not asked for and does not want these bills to become law. As a religious minority we understand the danger of legislating morality. We understand that our beliefs belong to us and to us alone, and they are not to be used as weapons against anyone for any reason, even when we disagree.



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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.