Political Insider

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

Shirley Franklin goes silent on school takeover bid, judicial watchdog makeover


With early voting close at hand, Shirley Franklin, the former mayor of Atlanta-turned-blogger, on Monday posted her choices for the Nov. 8 ballot.

Franklin’s a Hillary Clinton supporter, of course. And she wrote warmly of Democrat Jim Barksdale, the U.S. Senate candidate:

Barksdale is seeking elected office for the first time. He was born in Macon and has made his home in Atlanta for 61 years where he has built a successful business. He brings a deep love for his home state and a desire to support programs and policies to improve the lives of everyday folks.


But the news is in what the former mayor didn’t say on her website, “Blogging While Blue,” about the four proposed amendments to the state constitution:

The amendments include the Opportunity School District referendum, state’s Judicial Qualifications Commission, a fireworks sales tax and one that supports human trafficking victims…


I will vote YES on Amendment #2 which will generate revenue for the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund and Amendment #4 which addresses the allocation of revenue from the sale of fireworks. Both amendments have bipartisan support from legislators from across the state and broad-based community support.

Franklin said nothing about the amendment backed by Gov. Nathan Deal, which would allow the state to assume control of neglected schools when local school boards fail to act. Nor did Franklin give her opinion about the constitutional proposal to give the Legislature more control over the behavior of judges.

When we texted her about the omission last night, Franklin replied, “I was trying to make a positive statement.”


On the topic of the Opportunity School District amendment: Below is one of several videos that Gov. Nathan Deal cut for Metro Atlanta CEO, a publication aimed at local business executives. The video isn’t a campaign ad – it will be sent to the website’s subscribers.

But when proponents do bring the governor into the fray, this is what he’s likely to say:

Deal’s best lines:

“It’s not a matter of taking control from local school boards. Local school boards have had the opportunity to change the destiny of these students for many, many years.


“Some of these schools are generationally failing, not just three consecutive years. I think it’s time we did something about it.”


On Wednesday, the Board of Regents will vote on whether to make Attorney General Sam Olens the next president of Kennesaw State University.

Our AJC colleague Eric Stirgus has an excellent piece on the tensions at play in this decision, particularly among LGBT students on campus. But his article closes with these two paragraphs:

Georgia Equality executive director Jeff Graham said he understands the concerns of many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students about Olens. He noted, though, that Olens kept his word to ensure Georgia courts didn’t impose obstacles to same-sex couples marrying after the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing such unions.


“If he becomes the president of KSU,” Graham said. “I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he will protect the rights of students, especially LGBT students, with the dignity and respect that they deserve from the president.”


The new chair of the Democratic National Committee is putting her stamp on the party. And you can hear about it at two events in Atlanta today.

Donna Brazile will join Republican strategist Margaret Hoover for a 3 p.m. panel Tuesday at Georgia State University to discuss “The Rise of the Millennial Voter.” That event will be in the ballroom of Student Center East at 44 Courtland St. SE.

A few hours later, Brazile will appear with state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, at a fundraiser for the Georgia House Democratic Caucus. Brazile took over as interim chair of the DNC after Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign during this summer’s national convention.


The good folks at GeorgiaPol have an update on Tom Price's new PAC, which may or may not have something to do with a potential run for governor in 2018. Click here to read Jon Richards' full story, but here's a taste: 

This election cycle, the PAC will spend $100,000 in support of 11 Republican incumbents and two candidates for seats presently held by Democrats, all from the metro Atlanta area.  Two mailings are planned for each candidate. The first round will emphasize the conservative credentials of the candidates, and will be directed at solid Republicans who may be disappointed with Donald Trump at the top of the GOP ticket.

According to a spokesman for the PAC, the mailing will target Marco Rubio voters, urging them to turn out for down ballot Republican candidates.  A second round of mailings will target independents and those who lean Republican, and will try to ensure that those voters have a favorable view of the candidates.  A wave of robocalls is planned as well.

The Senate races being targeted are those of Hunter Hill, Fran Millar, and JaNice Van Ness.  The targeted House races are those of incumbents Beth Beskin, Buzz Brockway, Joyce Chandler, Valerie Clark, Rich Golick, Dale Rutledge, Brian Strickland, and Sam Teasley.  In addition, the committee will support Meagan Hanson, who is challenging the Brookhaven seat of Taylor Bennett, and Lane Flynn, who hopes to unseat Scott Holcomb of Doraville.


The cost of cleaning up the damage from Hurricane Matthew shouldn't hurt Georgia's credit ratings, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports.


Our AJC colleagues created this new tool to check out the latest campaign finance expenditures. And we have a feeling we're going to be spending a lot of time on it.

Here's your link: http://elections.myajc.com/campaign-finance/


PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff recently spent some time in Atlanta mulling whether Georgia could turn blue this election cycle.

She spoke with a few familiar faces as she dropped by the Sweet Auburn festival, including state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, Georgia GOP minority engagement guru Leo Smith and former Canadian ambassador and longtime Democratic fixture Gordon Giffin:



Another publication has broken a long-standing tradition in order to dump on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. This time it’s Foreign Policy magazine, a staid, serious publication that in nearly 50 years has never weighed in on a presidential election. Until now:

Trump has not only promoted the leadership of a tyrant and menace like Vladimir Putin, but he has welcomed Russian meddling in the current U.S. election. He has alternatively forgiven then defended Russia’s invasion of Crimea and employed advisors with close ties to the Russian president and his cronies.


Trump has spoken so cavalierly about the use of nuclear weapons, including a repeated willingness to use them against terrorists, that it has become clear he understands little if anything about America's nuclear policies — not to mention the moral, legal, and human consequences of such actions. He has embraced the use of torture and the violation of international law against it.


He has suggested he would ignore America’s treaty obligations and would only conditionally support allies in need. He has repeatedly insulted Mexico and proposed policies that would inflame and damage one of America’s most vital trading relationships with that country.



Reader Comments ...

About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.