Political Insider

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The tirade at this week's GOP victory party

That election night party held by Republicans in Buckhead on Tuesday wasn’t all peaches and cream.

11Alive is pointing to a profanity-heavy video that shows Spiro Amburn, chief of staff to state House Speaker David Ralston, tearing into Brad Hughes,  political director for the Georgia GOP. Amburn was angry that his boss hadn’t been invited to join Johnny Isakson on stage, in a celebration of the U.S. Senator’s victory.

Here’s a statement sent to us by Kaleb McMichen, spokesman for Ralston:

“This is simply a case of political adversaries using a secretly-recorded video to tell a one-sided version of a story. Sadly, this is what people resort to in attempting to score political points. 


That said, Mr. Amburn passed along the following statement that he asked me to share with you:


“I was frustrated with certain members of the state GOP staff for failing to facilitate the Speaker of the House in the victory program for his friend Senator Johnny Isakson, which I felt was unacceptable.  I regret and apologize for using foul language in the heat of the moment.”

We asked Hughes for his side, and he said in a statement that he was told Ralston's staff was upset the speaker wasn't on stage. So he said he went to Amburn to "assure him it would be made right if something was done wrong."

"Immediately, he became furious with me," said Hughes.

He said he told Amburn that he just needed to inform a staffer at the stage that the Speaker was ready to join the dignitaries already there, but that Amburn continued to air his frustration. Hughes said he then quietly walked away.

He adds:

Later I was told that Senator Isakson walked on stage with the people who came down with him from his room. A few other supporters from the ballroom walked on stage to show their support as he entered. I was also told that in every other case the elected official or a staff member came backstage to let the stage manager know they were ready to take the stage. 


There was absolutely no effort by me or anyone to slight Speaker Ralston. The whole situation was extremely unfortunate. Thankfully, the overwhelming majority of Georgia Republicans are gracious and easy to deal with.

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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.