Political Insider

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The Jolt: Gov. Deal links Cagle recording to Democratic ‘47 percent’ video


Gov. Nathan Deal is still sitting firmly on the sidelines in the race to succeed him, but he had sharp words about the secret recording that has rocked Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s campaign. 

The governor told our AJC colleague Matt Kempner he was “surprised that someone would try a trick like that,” referring to former GOP candidate Clay Tippins’ surreptitiously-recorded tape of Cagle.

And he said it reminded him of the infamous “47 percent” video that damaged Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential election. That footage was obtained by James Carter IV, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter. 

“There are a lot of things that happen in politics. That’s one I’ve never heard of before,” said Deal. “It is not an unknown tactic, but to my knowledge it was the first time we had seen it in Georgia politics.”

In that audio, Cagle said he supported legislation that was “bad public policy” to hurt another rival during the primary, and lamented that the race was about “who could be the craziest.” 

Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who faces Cagle in the July 24 runoff, has tried to leverage the audio with calls for federal prosecutors to probe Cagle and a new TV spot that says of Cagle’s assertion: “if that’s not criminal, it should be.” 

Democrats offered their own cheeky response to Deal’s comments.

“Well, he is right about one thing: Like the 47 percent video, this is likely to damn Casey Cagle with general election voters no matter how loudly he tries to scream ‘fake news’ at the sound of his own voice,” said Abhi Rahman, a spokesman for the Democratic Party of Georgia. “

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Georgia U.S. Sen. David Perdue was one of just 11 senators to vote against a largely symbolic resolution that rebuked President Donald Trump on tariffs.

The measure, which passed yesterday with the support of 88 senators, has no teeth because it’s non-binding: it directs House-Senate negotiators on a spending bill to include language on tariffs in their final legislation. But it was viewed as a test vote on a bill that would require Congress to sign off on any tariffs levied by the president in the name of national security.

Johnny Isakson, Perdue’s Republican colleague, voted in favor of the resolution.

Perdue has carefully criticized Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs, one of the few times he’s publicly broken with his White House ally. But he’s also vehemently defended the president’s negotiating tactics on trade and called on Congress to stay out of the way. 

“I’m tired of members of this body trying to undercut (Trump) at every turn and especially in the middle of a negotiating process,” Perdue said in a floor speech last month. 

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Georgia political operative Nick Ayers is denying that he broke Missouri’s campaign finance laws while helping Eric Greitens run for governor there in 2016. 

Ayers, now Vice President Mike Pence’s top aide, rejected allegations made in a complaint filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission, according to the Kansas City Star. The paper says Ayers was accused of helping the campaign and nonprofit of the since-ousted Greitens “commit multiple campaign finance violations — most notably illegally working to conceal the identity of donors.” 

The complaint was filed by a Republican legislator who led the committee that investigated Greitens before he resigned last month.

Ayers, 35, has had a meteoric rise from Sonny Perdue’s body man to the Office of the Vice President. He’s now viewed as a front-runner to be President Donald Trump’s chief of staff should John Kelly depart.

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Gainesville Congressman Doug Collins won kudos from state House Speaker David Ralston after the U.S. House passed a Georgia-inspired adoption measure. 

The Republican’s bill would require the State Department to include information about countries with policies blocking or limiting American adoptions in its annual adoption report to Congress. Collins said the measure was inspired by a Gainesville couple that had been in the process of adopting two brothers from Russia right before the country ended U.S. adoptions in 2012. 

The legislation, which cleared the House on a voice vote on Tuesday, was considered non-controversial, unlike the adoption debate that gripped the Legislature earlier this year. That fight ended in February after “religious liberty” provisions were dropped and child safety language added.

“We made great strides on that issue in Georgia earlier this year and I am proud to see our Congressman advance this worthy cause on the national stage,” Ralston said of Collins’ bill. 

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In endorsement news, Carolyn Bourdeaux, a Democrat running in the 7th Congressional District, says she’s won the backing of former Atlanta City Council President Cathy Woolard, Peachtree Corners Councilman Eric Christ and statehouse candidate Shelly Hutchinson. 


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