Political Insider

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

The Jolt: Credit rating firm sounds alarm about Stockbridge split 


Gov. Nathan Deal said legislation he signed that would de-annex parts of Stockbridge to create a new, more affluent municipality was unlikely to influence the state’s primo AAA bond rating.

One of the nation’s top credit rating agencies found the same won’t apply to local governments. 

Moody’s Investors Service released a four-page analysis this week that found the plan to create a new Eagles Landing would be “credit negative” to more than just Stockbridge.

“The bills are also credit negative for local governments in Georgia because they establish a precedent that the state can act to divide local tax bases, potentially lowering the credit quality of one city for the benefit of the other.”

The governor signed the measures paving the way for Eagles Landing last week, though he also called on lawmakers to come up with a “detailed and uniform process” to guide the formation of new cities going forward. 

If voters approve the cityhood referendum in November, Stockbridge would lose 9,000 of the city’s 28,000 residents and half its tax revenue. Stockbridge’s mayor has vowed to fight the bid in court. 

Stockbridge owes more than $14 million in outstanding debt, and critics of the cityhood measure urged a veto because the legislation included no method to reapportion the outside debt. The Moody’s analysis found it could leave Stockbridge on the hook.

“Because the bills did not allocate a portion of the outstanding debt to the new city or to Henry County, Stockbridge would likely be liable for all outstanding debt service payments.” 

Check out the analysis here.

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The New York Times has a juicy story about the political machinations of Vice President Mike Pence and his top aide, former Georgia operative Nick Ayers. The newspaper reports that some of the duo’s recent moves have created some unease among Trump allies, especially after Ayers poached former Georgia colleague Billy Kirkland from the White House. Kirkland ran David Perdue’s 2014 for Senate. According to the Times he’ll now “effectively run a shadow political office for Mr. Pence, a setup unheard-of so soon into a new administration.”

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Carol Porter was Casey Cagle’s Democratic rival in 2010. Eight years later, she hosted a fundraiser for him. Porter - known as Carol Porter Stewart after she remarried - and her husband Brother Stewart held the fundraiser earlier this month at their Macon shooting preserve. 

GeorgiaPol.com has the story:

“I have always voted based on the issues and I think there’s only one issue in this election and it’s the economy - which is going stronger than I remember since Bill Clinton. Nathan Deal has a huge popularity rating for a reason and I think Cagle will continue Deal’s legacy on economic progress.” she told me by phone.

“I don’t agree with Cagle on some issues. However, I have come to believe the person who puts the most money back into the pockets of the people is the person who ends up helping them the most.”

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We’ve written a lot lately about the six Democrats vying to challenge U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Lawrenceville, this year, but other than campaign fundraising reports we’ve seen very little demonstrating just how much support each challenger has on the ground.

Polling has been scant in the Gwinnett and Forsyth-based 7th District.

Which is what makes a new internal poll commissioned by the campaign of Democrat Ethan Pham all the more interesting. First, the usual grains of salt apply. Internals are not often leaked to the media unless they show their candidates in a favorable light.

Now, the numbers: the poll shows Pham, a Duluth lawyer, and businessman David Kim tied for the lead, each with 14 percent support from likely Democratic voters. Carolyn Bourdeaux, the college professor who has dominated the field in fundraising, trails with 10 percent support. The remaining three Democrats each attracted 7 percent support or less.

The poll also shows just how wide-open the Democratic race truly is. A full 45 percent of the 325 likely voters surveyed by 20-20 Insight earlier this month were not sure about who they planned to support on May 22nd.

The sheer number of candidates – and the fact that virtually every one of them was a political unknown prior to this cycle – virtually guarantees that no single person will be able to rack-up enough support to avoid a Democratic runoff on July 24.

The survey also raises the possibility of a historic race for the district: a Democratic runoff featuring two Asian-American candidates. (Pham immigrated with his family from Vietnam when he was a child following the war, while Kim is the son of South Korean immigrants). That would undoubtedly be a political statement from a district that’s among Georgia’s most diverse.

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As the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem – and the ensuing violence in Gaza – dominated news feeds on Monday, at least one Georgian got a front row seat. Monroe Congressman Jody Hice attended the embassy ribbon-cutting with several of his GOP colleagues. The group also said it met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and other officials while visiting the holy land. 

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Chatham County Commission chairman Al Scott rolled out his endorsements this week. He’s backing Stacey Evans for governor, Sarah Riggs Amico for lieutenant governor and John Barrow for secretary of state. 

 


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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.