Political Insider

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

Scenes from Nathan Deal's inaugural ball

"Work together, y'all."

That was the message from famed blues singer Francine Reed before she sang "Georgia on My Mind" with folk band Banks & Shane at Gov. Nathan Deal's inaugural bash last night.

We spotted a few Democrats sprinkled throughout the crowd, including state Rep. Scott Holcomb.

Headliner Alan Jackson pulled at some heartstrings when he played "Small Town Southern Man" as images of Deal's childhood in Sandersville scrolled on the screen behind him. And Deal's staff surprised him with a video montage of his career that featured the governor's strong-man, Chris Riley, choking up as he talked about the man he's worked for more than half his life.


We don't yet know how much Gov. Nathan Deal's inaugural bash cost, but we have a much better idea of who ponied up for the party.

The program featured a long list of inaugural benefactors, from Fortune 500 types to politically-connected Deal allies.

The usual suspects - think: Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, Home Depot, SunTrust and Georgia Power - were all represented. So were longtime Deal allies like Phil Wilheit and Don Leebern. A long list of trial lawyers also popped up on the list, continuing a tradition of giving to Deal that's surprising because big-time plaintiff's attorneys have long underwritten Democratic campaigns in Georgia.

Among the donors from that last camp were the Georgia Trial Lawyer Association, the Civil Justice PAC, Kenneth Shigley, The Malone Law Office and Darren Tobin of Butler Tobin.


No word on what Rubio was up to, but he is touring the country in support of a new book.

Rubio also made time to offer advice via social media to Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, on giving the GOP response to Tuesday's State of the Union address: Hydrate.


Lobbyists, adjust the hairlines on your scopes. Then click here to download your membership list of House committees for this year and next.


We hear that former Sonny Perdue staffer Trey Childress will be heading north for a job as deputy governor and chief operating officer for the state of Illinois.


The parent company of the Marietta Daily Journal has made a successful bid for the Rome News-Tribune and its collection of satellite weeklies. From the MDJ:

Otis Brumby III, publisher of Times-Journal Inc., offered the high bid of $3.05 million in an open auction Thursday, beating two other bidders who entered the process Monday.

Brumby, whose family has been in the newspaper business since 1916, will take over for the Rome News-Tribune’s third generation owner, Burgett H. Mooney III, whose family has published the Rome newspaper since 1928.


Most of the attention given to the sacking of Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran has focused on passages in his book concerning homosexuality. But Cochran also had a few choice words for Jews as non-believers in Jesus Christ.

On Thursday, the Anti-Defamation League released a Dec. 22 letter from the organization to Mayor Kasim Reed, calling for Cochran’s ouster – which would not happen until the next month.

The letter can be downloaded here, and appears over the signatures of Mark Moskowitz, the ADL’s southeast regional director, and Steven A. Pepper, southeast regional board chairman. A portion:

Due to the deep personal sentiments expressed in the book and the uncompromising nature in how he presented his beliefs and points of view, the Chief has irrevocably compromised his leadership position. It is difficult and unreasonable to believe the Chief can check his prejudices at the door and lead the City of Atlanta Fire Department without his decision-making, both overt and covert, being significantly influenced by these beliefs. This becomes even more evident when you review the Chief’s post-suspension comments on the matter at hand.

If the Chief returns to his position, it is likely and understandable that City employees, both within and outside the City of Atlanta Fire Department, will not feel included and respected; and, particularly within the fire department, that they will have concerns and perceptions of a hostile work environment. They may also harbor fears of retaliation if they confront and express different viewpoints than those of the top person in the organizational position of power and authority. This is not only true for LGBT, non-Christian, and individuals who do not identify with any religion, but other Christian employees who do not adhere to the beliefs expressed by the Chief.


The film "Selma" may not have gotten its full due from Oscar, but Obama is on board. The president is hosting a White House screening of the movie -- which was filmed a lot in metro Atlanta and depicts a who's who of the city's civil rights legends -- this evening.

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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.