Political Insider

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

A Georgia Republican plots to counter cyber-hacks

Two thoughts crossed many Republican minds when personal emails from the Democratic National Committee were hacked and then leaked: Glee at a jaw-dropping embarrassment for their political nemesis, and horror that the same could happen to them.

GOP strategist Seth Weathers, a former state director for Donald Trump in Georgia, is among the GOP strategists warning clients not to be complacent. Here’s a snippet from his memo to clients:

You may be thinking that you are not a former Secretary of State or a Presidential candidate. While this certainly decreases the chance that you become a target, it doesn’t mean that it won’t happen to you. Emails do not have to deal with national security or deeply personal items to be damaging if released. Sometimes, if for no reason other than not causing personal hurt to others.”

Read the rest of the memo here.

A sense of queasiness is gripping much of Washington, too, after former Secretary of State Colin Powell saw his personal musings highlighted in news reports. Some are deleting their email accounts, giving up their smartphones or scrubbing their archives of indelicate details.

The New York Times has more:

The latest hack could well spur a new rash of email deletions across the country as millions of people scan their sent mail for anything compromising, humiliating or career-destroying. It adds to the sense that everyone is vulnerable.

The soul searching is happening with a special urgency in Washington, where email accounts burst with strategies, delicate political proposals, gossipy whispers and banal details of girlfriends, husbands, bank accounts and shopping lists.

A television news anchor said that producers and staff members at her network had jokingly agreed at a morning news meeting to issue blanket apologies to one another if their emails were ever made public.


County sheriffs and their deputies have one response to Gov. Nathan Deal’s proposal to raise state law enforcement pay 20 percent: What about us?

Our AJC colleague Craig Schneider reports how a range of local officers are pushing for more funding for their own salaries.

Then there was Gordon County Mitch Ralston, who took an opposite tack in an open letter sent to Deal's office.

"In the end, it's all about trust and relationships. I trust the people hired by the state to do their job of helping me do my job when help is needed. I maintain the relationships I have with them so as to better serve the people of Gordon County," Ralston wrote. "Again, congratulations to Gov. Deal for recognizing the needs of Georgia's state law enforcement officers. Enhancing their services can only make Gordon County a safer place to live, work and raise our families."


The Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor Ebenezer Baptist Church, is having second thoughts about his decision not to run against Republican U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson.

"I'm not afraid of Johnny Isakson," Warnock told CNN. "I'm not interested in a symbolic candidacy. I would've run to win."

He's not the only Democrat to lament passing up the chance to take on Isakson the same year Donald Trump is at the top of the ticket. Jim Barksdale, a little-known investment manager, stepped in to fill the void - and he now badly trails Isakson in most polls.

Here's more from the CNN report:

Barksdale, however, trails Isakson by 16 points in a Monmouth University poll released Monday, even though Donald Trump is up only 3 points ahead of Hillary Clinton. Georgia is looking increasingly like a missed opportunity for Democrats trying to win back the Senate -- and many fault Barksdale himself.

"We were giving a godsend, I believe, with Donald Trump," said Barksdale supporter Leonard Ware as he waited for the candidate to speak in Gwinnett. "If we had a stronger candidate, we could've taken that Senate seat."

For national Democrats, Barksdale's disappointing bid is part of a broader trend facing the party that came into 2016 with a favorable map of Senate races.


A former Georgia state senator is trying to make a comeback - in Maine.

From the Falmouth Forecaster:

FALMOUTH — The election in Maine Senate District 25 will feature two candidates familiar with state government – although only one of them has experience in Maine.

Incumbent Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth, is seeking a second term. Her challenger, Falmouth Republican Charles “Bart” Ladd, is a former Georgia state senator and representative.

Breen, 50, of Falmouth Ridges Drive, is a former town councilor and former middle school teacher. She was elected to the Senate in 2014 after several recounts and a decision by a special Senate committee. Ladd, 59, of Foreside Road, an engineer by education, is a former U.S. Air Force combat pilot who was born in Boston; he is a now a pilot for Delta Airlines. He served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1991 to 1999, and then in the Georgia state Senate from 1999 to 2003, when he lost a primary re-election bid. He and his family moved to Maine in 2011.



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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.