Political Insider

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

Reince Priebus in the White House is good news for the Poitevint-Perdue circle in Georgia

So a Twitter feed with a link to this New York Times article moved within the last quarter hour:

President-elect Donald J. Trump on Sunday chose Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee and a loyal campaign adviser, to be his White House chief of staff, turning to a Washington insider whose friendship with the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan, could help secure early legislative victories.


In selecting Mr. Priebus, the president-elect passed over Stephen K. Bannon, the right-wing media mogul who oversaw his presidential campaign. If Mr. Trump had appointed Mr. Bannon, a fierce critic of the Republican establishment, it would have demonstrated a continued disdain for a party that Mr. Trump fought throughout his campaign.

Within minutes of this, the cell phone rang. Alec Poitevint, the former chairman of the state GOP, was on the line to ask whether it was so. Upon confirmation, Poitevint pronounced himself “delighted.”

(You’ll have to pardon the lack of direct quotes. I was covered in sawdust and without a pencil.)

Priebus’ appointment is good news for what is probably the most prominent circle of veterans within the state GOP. When the 2012 National Republican Convention in Tampa, Fla., ran into organizational difficulties, Priebus tapped Poitevint, a Bainbridge businessman, to drop down a state and take control. Other than a brush with a hurricane, all went well.

Poitevint was a quiet but influential force behind not just Sonny Perdue, who became the first Republican politics of modern Georgia, but U.S. Sen. David Perdue, whose “outsider” campaign of 2014 presaged Trump’s candidacy.

Inside the Poitevint-Perdue circle are young GOP heavyweights like Paul Bennecke, now executive director of the Republican Governors Association and Nick Ayers, now a top aide to Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

John Watson, former chief of staff to Gov. Sonny Perdue and now a lobbyist, can also be counted in that circle. He’s currently kicking the can on a race for chairmanship of the state GOP.

Solid White House connections certainly wouldn't hurt his chances.

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About the Author

Jim Galloway is a three-decade veteran of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution who writes the Political Insider blog and column.