Political Insider

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

Super PAC hits Jack Kingston on Palestinian straw donor

Welcome to July. It's three weeks until the U.S. Senate runoff and the pro-David Perdue Super PAC is pulling out the big guns.

Citizens for a Working America recently bought another $500,000 of airtime in Georgia, bringing its runoff investment to $1 million. At least some of the spending will be dedicated to the above 15-second ad, passed along by our friends at Channel 2 Action News.

CWA's donors are unknown at this point.


Speaking of guilt-by-association, the Jack Kingston campaign had some fun with Monday's news that French bank BNP Paribas pleaded guilty to money laundering for clients wishing to do illegal business with Iran, Sudan and other nations hit with sanctions for supporting terrorism. The bank will pay a record penalty of nearly $9 billion.

The Kingston camp reminds us that David Perdue has between $100,000 and $250,000 invested in an Equity Index-Linked Note with BNP Paribas. It's a small part of Perdue's extensive holdings -- and infinitesimally small for the bank.


For data nerds, today also marks the first day TV stations in smaller markets must publish their political ad buys to the Federal Communications Commission. That means we can see all the activity at WMAZ-Macon. CWA spent $35,000 there through runoff day, while the pro-Kingston Southern Conservatives Fund spent $20,000 for the next week, the Kingston campaign itself spent $12,000 on WMAZ in the last week of June and first week of July, and the Perdue campaign put up $8,600.

The Southern Conservatives Fund is spending $15,000 in Albany for the next week, while CWA has reserved just short of $15,000 in Albany through runoff day.


On Monday, after the presser announcing his design to become a Sam Nunn-like member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, we asked U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston to explain his relationship with former University of Georgia football great Herschel Walker.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has used Walker in one of its TV ads boosting Kingston’s effort – and in that ad, Walker endorses the Savannah congressman. The fact of the endorsement is featured on Kingston’s website.

Kingston attended UGA a few years before Walker made his splash in the 1980s, and Walker’s hometown of Wrightsville isn’t in the congressman’s district.

Here’s how Kingston explained their meeting:

Kingston: There is a congressional flag football team that’s bipartisan, and every year we play the Capitol Hill police at the National Guard Armory. The money goes to the children of these fallen police officers.

And since these police were younger and stronger and actually had a permanent flag football team…

Insider: You brought in ringers?

Kingston: We’re lawmakers. We’re lawmakers, so we had to change the rules. So we had John Booty, who played for Philadelphia, Ken Harvey, who played for the Redskins, and Herschel – and one or two other pros to give us a helping hand…We’ve beat them twice, tied them once, and lost seven times.”

And it’s not as if the cops mind being able to say they once played ball with the likes of Walker.

The Heisman Trophy winner has become something of an advocate on mental health issues, following his revelation that he had been diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, a mental health condition commonly referred to as multiple personality disorder.

But Kingston said his conversations with Walker have focused primarily on physical health. Said the congressman:

“As someone who’s worked on the school lunch program, and the nutrition programs, and health issues – we talk about getting the kids off the couch and keeping America moving.”

All of which is the long way of explaining that, during the conversation, Kingston alluded to the above photo as one of his favorites. His campaign went ahead and posted it last night on Facebook.


On Sunday, the topic was crossover voting, in Mississippi’s U.S. Senate race and in Georgia. Which prompted one of our downstate readers to send this note:

My county, Dougherty, has it down to a science. In the May 20th primary race for chair, it is estimated that approximately 1000 Republicans crossed over and voted only for the [county commission] chair. The election had heavy racial overtones.

The same tactic was used in 2012 to take back the board of education countywide seat previously held by an African-American woman.

[Our] case is an interesting one. The county is 68% black and has never elected a black commission chair. Given low turnout and crossover voting, there is serious doubt that we ever will.


WTOC in Savannah reports that, by a very narrow margin, Chatham County is no longer majority white:

From the television station’s website:

According to the U.S. Census' American Community Survey, released Thursday, there are 131,121 non-Hispanic whites who live in Chatham County. Minorities – of African, Asian, Hispanic, Native American or Pacific Island descent – now have a sliver of majority, according to the Survey, with 139,313 non-white Chatham County residents.

Democratic Party Chairman, Will Claiborne, counts that as a win for his party. "The Republican Party has done everything they can to really push away minority voters," Claiborne said in an interview….

Elizebeth Overton chairs the county's Republican Party and says that is not so. Overton is planning an August 15th meet-and-greet in Daffin Park, with the goal of giving minorities an opportunity to get to know the party.


A fundraising plea from Gov. Nathan Deal to supporters on Monday afternoon, ahead of the second-quarter fundraising deadline, caught our eye:

While my opponent is basing his campaign on personal attacks, my campaign is focused on issues Georgians care about most. And we're spreading a positive, conservative message.

But, the most alarming part is that he’s raising an unprecedented amount of money from all over the country. It’s sad, but true.

We'll let Politifact parse out the truth behind the 'personal attacks' snub, but the complaint is one we haven't heard out of the governor before. Sure, there are attacks and counterattacks on Deal's ethics problems, but much of the back-and-forth has centered on policy questions surrounding stances on education and economy.


Monday's Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case made an instant bang in Georgia's U.S. Senate race, as a story on today's front page of the dead tree edition lays out, with Kingston and Perdue cheering the Court and Democrat Michelle Nunn saying she disagrees.

Down-ballot candidates are getting into the reaction act too. We got this from Dr. Bob Johnson of Savannah, running in the First Congressional District GOP runoff against state Sen. Buddy Carter of Pooler:

"Buddy Carter is not willing to fight to stop ObamaCare. He wants the whole matter delayed just long enough so he doesn’t have to deal with it during this campaign. Since 2009, when I marched on the Capitol with fellow Tea Party physicians, I’ve been fighting to stop Obama and repeal ObamaCare — that’s been my position since the bill was introduced. The Supreme Court ruling this morning confirms that my fight to repeal ObamaCare is the fight for liberty, to protect our God given religious freedoms, and defend our constitutional rights.”

Carter's campaign counters with a guilt-by-association argument: Johnson has touted the endorsement from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists -- among several doctors' groups backing the surgeon -- which also gave Johnson $5,000.  ACOG took the Obama administration's side in the Hobby Lobby fight, and said Monday it was "profoundly disappointed" in the ruling.

This is the same thing Carter tried to do in an ad saying Johnson was insufficiently anti-Obamacare because he belongs to the American Medical Association, which backed the law.


The U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision isn’t yet 24 hours old, but already a movie is in the works. From the Washington Post:

EchoLight Studios, the film production company of Rick Santorum, is releasing a film in September that will, among other things, discuss the Supreme Court ruling that declared corporations can refuse insurance that includes coverage for birth control on the basis of religion.

EchoLight’s film, “One Generation Away: The Erosion of Religious Liberty” argues there is no guaranteed freedom from religion, but only freedom to practice religion without persecution. “The cross is ubiquitous,” the trailer states. “It’s the preeminent symbol of Christianity. It’s a government advertisement for one religion.”



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