Political Insider

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

Johnny Isakson: We need a 72-hour turnaround for Central American border kids

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, in an interview with Martha Zoller and Tim Bryant on WGAU (1340AM) in Athens, went into some detail this morning about what’s needed to address the flood of 57,000 Central American children who have been swept up at the U.S. border:

“In 2008, because of the sex-trafficking, we changed the law to say that anybody who came into the country from a contiguous country, like Mexico or Canada, could turned around within 72 hours and sent home.

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“Anybody coming from a non-contiguous country actually had to have a hearing before an immigration authority or immigration judge. That takes up to four to six weeks.

“We need to amend that law, to say that they can be sent home within 72 hours, like somebody from Mexico or Canada – and stem the tide. Once they see that we’re going to send them home, the attractiveness of trying to get into the United States of America will be diminished and will lessen the pressure on the border.”


Jason Carter, the Democratic candidate for governor, has an 11 a.m. presser today near the state Capitol. There's no doubt that he'll try to leverage yesterday's bombshell ethics report.

But Attorney General Sam Olens also faces new scrutiny after the revelation that Georgia's ethics head claimed in a memo that she was threatened by Gov. Nathan Deal's aides if she didn't make complaints against him disappear.

Look for Democrat Greg Hecht, his November opponent, to raise questions about Olens' involvement in the case - namely why his office didn't hand over the memo that Holly LaBerge drafted as part of an initial court request for documents.

(LaBerge's attorney claims that Olens’ office instructed his client not to mention the memo during testimony in a series of whisteblower lawsuits filed by former commission employees.)

Said Doug Heyl, a Hecht spokesman: "Olens had a part in this from the get-go."


We told you earlier this morning that Democrat Michelle Nunn is touting a $3.45 million, second-quarter fundraising total for her U.S. Senate bid – more that the combined cash raised by Republicans Jack Kingston and David Perdue combined.

That won’t count last night’s Nashville event, where Mayor Karl Dean and his wife, Anne Davis, were to host a $500-a-head event at their home, according to The Tennessean. Also scheduled to attend: U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville, and former Tennessee Democratic Party chairmen Chip Forrester and Bob Tuke.


David Perdue is out with a new ad this morning in the GOP Senate runoff, sticking with his "babies" theme and speaking direct to camera declaring that "nothing will change" if you send Rep. Jack Kingston to the Senate.


Coming to a mailbox near you: The NRA is sending out $95,000 worth of mailers promoting Jack Kingston and his views on gun rights.


House Speaker David Ralston had a solid fundraising quarter thanks partly to a tea party-backed challenge. But he also burned through most of the cash he had stockpiled over the years.

The Blue Ridge Republican raised $245,000 and has $350,000 left of the $1.2 million he's raised since the last election. His donors included powerful PACs, local businesses and, of course, elected officials.


Conservative rocker Ted Nugent released an endorsement for former Rep. Bob Barr in the heated 11th Congressional District runoff, via a shaky vertical iPhone selfie video.

Nugent, who ran into trouble by calling President Barack Obama a "sub-human mongrel," implores his listeners to:

"Send this great warrior back to Washington, D.C. to fight to return America to that proud independent rugged individual nation that we are and that many of us still believe in. The Constitution, the Bill of Rights, it's all up for grabs right now with the corruption, the abuse of power and the sheer criminality that runs amok in the Barack Obama-Eric Holder gun-running White House."


Savannah surgeon Bob Johnson released a new TV ad in the tight 1st Congressional District GOP runoff bashing his foe, state Sen. Buddy Carter for his General Assembly votes and for saying Obamacare is "not so bad." (The next thing Carter said, before the exchanges debuted in 2013, was "but the worst is yet to come," though we understand that context and political ads go together like oil and water.)

Johnson has also attacked Carter for receiving the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Chamber political director Rob Engstrom responded last night via email:

"The Chamber proudly endorsed Buddy Carter as he is the only candidate to get the job done. Mr. Johnson is now attacking the Chamber, even though he flew to Washington to ask for our endorsement.

"Additionally, he seems to be mistaken about the Chamber's position on Obamacare, which provides another glimpse into why we endorsed his opponent. The fact of the matter is, no other organization did more to highlight the deficiencies of Obamacare."

Bloomberg highlights the race in a piece today on doctors running for Congress:

All eight of Buddy Carter’s broadcast TV spots have called attention to his background as a pharmacist and shown him wearing his profession’s white coat. Just two of the spots noted Carter’s political background as a state senator and former small-city mayor.

“Our nation needs healing, and I can fill that prescription,” Carter said in one of his ads.

Carter’s opponent in the July 22 runoff election, Bob Johnson, is an orthopedic surgeon who’s also appeared in uniform in ads that refer to him as “Dr. Bob Johnson.”


It's important to note that state lawmakers aren't allowed to use their offices to vault to higher positions. But sometimes the messaging can walk right up to the edge. State Sen. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, in a Republican runoff with surgeon Bob Johnson, for U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston's seat in Congress, represents the area immediately around Savannah.

But in a well-timed message to his constituents, on the prospects of another round of realignment and closings of U.S. military bases, Carter manages to expand his geography very conveniently. In part:

Fort Stewart, for example, is home to the world famous 3rd Infantry Division and is the largest, most effective and efficient armor training base east of the Mississippi.

Hunter Army Air Field is home to the Army’s longest runway on the east coast and the Truscott Air Deployment Terminal.

Moody Air Force Base executes worldwide close air support, force protection and combat search and rescue operations to support our national security and the global war on terrorism.

Kings Bay Navy Base is the U.S. Atlantic Fleet’s home port for the Navy’s Trident missile nuclear submarines.

We are truly blessed and proud to have all of these military installations in our state, especially those in the 1st Congressional district.

The number one responsibility of our federal government is to provide for the safety of our citizens and that can only be done through a strong military.

BRAC is one acronym I hope not to see again soon. But if we do, along with other elected officials and community leaders in the 1st district, we will be ready to fight for our bases again.



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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.