Political Insider

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

A Georgia deadline could force Joe Biden's hand

Some of those windows begin to close within weeks as filing deadlines approach. But his advisers have concluded that rules in several early primary states are sufficiently flexible that it would be enough if someone on Mr. Biden’s behalf notifies them that he might run, not that he formally declare his candidacy. That would allow him more time to make a final decision.

Georgia comes first when the state party committee meets on Oct. 29 to decide who will appear on the ballot. Up next, according to the latest information provided to the Democratic National Committee, would be Alabama on Nov. 6, Arkansas on Nov. 9, Michigan on Nov. 17, Florida on Nov. 30, Tennessee on Dec. 1 and North Carolina on Dec. 2. But the deadlines were still subject to change.

As much as they may like him, don't look for Democratic leaders in Georgia to cut the vice president any slack by giving him more time. The upper crust of the state party is firmly in the Hillary Clinton camp -- and her strong performance in Tuesday's debate is likely to quiet local doubters in that crowd.


The unlikely partnership that has formed between Confederate groups and civil rights activists to fight the proposed Martin Luther King Jr. monument atop Stone Mountain may have more than meets the eye.

The NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which will meet later today with Gov. Nathan Deal to voice their opposition, say they don't want King's image associated with a towering memorial to the Confederate dead.

But state Sen. Vincent Fort, an Atlanta Democrat, said there's another reason the proposal stings. Bill Stephens, chief executive officer of the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, has become the face behind the idea.

He was also among the state legislators who voted against Roy Barnes' successful bid to remove the '56 state flag with its dominating Confederate battle emblem. At the time, Stephens, who was a Republican state senator, said telephone calls to his office were overwhelmingly against changing the flag.

Fort called it "reprehensible" that Stephens should be the front-man for such a proposal. And he predicted it would have tough times ahead as more civil rights activists and black leaders come out against it.


In an interview with WABE (90.1FM)’s "A Closer Look" team, GBI Director Vernon Keenan said Tuesday that budget tensions and new priorities have forced the law enforcement agency to reduce its profile in the war on drugs. Said Keenan:

“What is occurring is that I’ve been shifting priorities. We’re working less drug enforcement than we have in many years, because I have to have the agent resources to go into elder abuse and go into violent crimes – and the officer-involved shooting cases. So it’s a constant movement of resources around the agency.”


This was uttered at a Red Clay Democrats meeting last night featuring, among others, former congressman Buddy Darden:


U.S. Reps. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany; and Austin Scott, R-Tifton, appeared at a forum in Macon on Tuesday, and WMGT-Macon captured Scott's preference for Paul Ryan as the next Speaker of the House.

Also Bishop, the only Democrat in the congressional delegation who has not yet endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, spoke of what he was looking for at the debate:

Bishop said he's concerned about the national deficit. He also explained he's looking for solid plans from the Democratic presidential candidates in Tuesday's first debate.

"We can not maintain our strength and our position as the premier super power of the world unless we sure-up our aging infrastructure," explained Bishop.

Maybe they were listening. But according to the full transcript of Tuesday's Vegas showdown, Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley and Lincoln Chafee all mentioned "infrastructure."


Though the Democratic presidential candidates' near-unanimous answer that "Black Lives Matter" was preferable to "All Lives Matter" (Jim Webb dissented) did not get as much news coverage as other moments ("damn emails," for example), it was huge on Facebook. Here's what The Social Network sent us this morning:

Top issues discussed during the debate on Facebook 

1. Racial Issues

2. The Economy

3. Government Ethics

4. Environment/Energy Policy

5. Guns


Top candidates discussed during the debate on Facebook

1. Bernie Sanders

2. Hillary Clinton

3. Jim Webb

4. Martin O'Malley

5. Lincoln Chafee


Don't expect this to quiet the Republicans, but Planned Parenthood has ended its policy of accepting reimbursements for donating fetal tissue -- which it said it was only doing at a handful of clinics anyway. This came in response to the undercover videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood profiting off of such sales; the video-makers declared the policy change to be an admission of guilt. From the Associated Press:

Planned Parenthood says its fetal tissue programs currently take place in only two states — California and Washington — at about a half-dozen of the 700 health centers run by the organization nationwide.

Planned Parenthood’s executive vice president, Dawn Laguens, said the Washington state affiliate already had a policy of accepting no reimbursement for its costs, and the California affiliate will now follow the same policy. Staff members in California indicated earlier that reimbursement per specimen generally ranged from $30 to $100, but Laguens said she could not say how much the affiliate received annually in reimbursements or how much it will cost to cover the expenses of the fetal-tissue program. ...

While selling fetal tissue for profit is illegal, a 1993 law passed by Congress with bipartisan support allows women who undergo abortions to donate fetal tissue for use in scientific research. The law allowed entities supplying the tissue to recover the costs of running such programs.


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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.