Political Insider

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

'The new runoff' After losing mayor vote, Woolard aims for Arctic race

Some losing candidates take a long beach vacation after their defeats. Cathy Woolard is aiming for an expedition to the Arctic Circle.

The former city council president, who finished in third place in last month's mayor vote, has already plunged into another competition: a vote among dozens of athletes vying to compete in the Fjällräven Polar.

The dog-sledding race takes competitors through the wilderness of Norway and Sweden early next year, and the leading vote-getter in each region wins a free trip and a spot in the contest. You can check her application out here.

"I am really into backpacking and pretty extreme off-the-grid stuff. I’ve always wanted to win this competition," she said. "If I win, I get to go out on dog sleds and have some fun."

And then, with a grin: "It's the new runoff." (Greg Bluestein)


Before she heads to the Scandinavian wilds, Woolard announced a wave of endorsements.

Her biggest was a call to support Councilwoman Mary Norwood. She also backed Atlanta City Council President contender Alex Wan and attorney Sachin Varghese, who is running for an open Atlanta-based Georgia House seat. (GB)


In remarks on Thursday, Democrat Jason Carter invoked his delicate relationship with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to explain his support for Atlanta mayoral candidate Keisha Lance Bottoms. The mayor and Carter had a strained - to put it lightly - relationship during the former state senator's 2014 gubernatorial bid.

I have also heard that she is too close with the current Mayor.  Let me say this: the current Mayor and I do not always see eye to eye.  But Keisha is not Kasim Reed and the idea that she is somehow a weak puppet is offensive to me. 

Sometimes it seems that people have taken the most superficial aspects of Keisha, and made judgments without looking at the facts. 

He had this to add on the implication that because she's close to Reed she's also tainted by the federal corruption probe into City Hall:

Like many of you, I have been embarrassed and disappointed by the federal indictments in the current City Hall corruption scandal. 

But I have also been embarrassed and disappointed at the number of people who are willing to assume—with no evidence whatsoever—that Keisha is somehow complicit herself.  There is literally no evidence—none—that Keisha has been involved in any the activities that are rightfully being investigated.  (GB)


Roswell Congresswoman Karen Handel on Thursday called for Congress to overhaul its internal process for handling sexual assault allegations in an op-ed reminiscent of her “sex, lies and lobbyists” maxim from her 2010 campaign for governor. Handel and her GOP colleague Jackie Walorski wrote in the Hill that recent headlines “have revealed a throw-back culture in the halls of Congress that has virtually institutionalized sexist and vulgar behavior — and worse.”

The duo argued that Congress needs to do more than just mandate sexual harassment training, which House lawmakers approved without objection on Wednesday. “We need a system in which employees can come forward without fear of intimidation or retribution.,” they wrote. “One in which there are real consequences and one that requires the guilty – not the taxpayers – to foot the bill for their misconduct.”


Meanwhile, the Johnny Isakson-led Senate Ethics Committee officially announced its intent to investigate U.S. Sen. Al Franken for alleged sexual misconduct. The panel took the unusual step of publicly confirming its probe in a statement on Thursday. Isakson, R-Ga., has been tight-lipped about his approach, telling us earlier this week that he didn’t want people to draw premature conclusions from any of his statements. (TH)

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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.