Political Insider

Georgia 2018: Cagle tries to shore up Cobb support

Georgia 2018: Cagle tries to shore up Cobb support

Just before the weekend began, the Republican gubernatorial campaign of Casey Cagle produced the endorsement of Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon. Sayeth the press release: “Mayor Bacon joins Cagle's growing network of elected officials and grassroots leaders in Cobb County.” Only a day before, the Cagle campaign had rolled out the support of Steve “Thunder” Tumlin, the mayor of Marietta...
The Jolt: Bill Curry on use of Bible ‘to justify cruel, inhumane treatment’

The Jolt: Bill Curry on use of Bible ‘to justify cruel, inhumane treatment’

Republicans in Georgia’s congressional delegation remained mum this Father’s Day weekend on President Donald Trump’s policy of separating parents and children who cross the southern U.S. border to claim asylum, or without the proper paperwork. Given what happened to U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., last week, the reluctance to engage can be understood, even if not accepted. But...
Kemp takes aim at credit services that ‘discriminate’ against gun-sellers  

Kemp takes aim at credit services that ‘discriminate’ against gun-sellers  

Secretary of State Brian Kemp said he’ll demand legislation if elected governor that would make it harder for credit card services to restrict payments to gun retailers.  The GOP candidate called for a measure to prevent “discrimination” of firearms sellers by credit card processors Sunday after he said Gainesville gun manufacturer Honor Defense was dropped by financial services...
The inevitable, demographic hand-off that’s headed Georgia’s way

The inevitable, demographic hand-off that’s headed Georgia’s way

Several weeks ago, before the year’s last bell had rung, I found myself in front of a group of very bright students at North Cobb High School. I sidled up to my topic carefully, beginning with George Washington and the virtue of restraint. Of all the Founding Fathers, Washington is most famous for what he might have done, but didn’t. After the Battle of Yorktown, he didn’t declare...
The Jolt: Sonny Perdue heads to Canada to debate the price of milk

The Jolt: Sonny Perdue heads to Canada to debate the price of milk

In the United States, federally mandated ethanol subsidies, which prop up the price of corn in the Midwest, are the big dog in agricultural politics. Sonny Perdue is about to learn that the humble liter of milk has the same level of clout in Canada. One week after President Donald Trump shook up a G-7 meeting and hurled insults at its Canadian host, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Georgia&rsquo...
The Jolt: In May, two-thirds of new voters chose Democratic ballots

The Jolt: In May, two-thirds of new voters chose Democratic ballots

Three weeks later, some of the juicier numbers from last month’s primary have begun rolling in. Chris Huttman is a Democratic operative now crunching numbers on behalf of Lucy McBath of Marietta, one of two Democratic candidates in the Sixth District congressional runoff. She faces Kevin Abel, a Sandy Springs businessman, in the July 24 runoff. Huttman sent over a spreadsheet on Wednesday...
Republican lawmakers want criminal probe into Cagle’s ‘bad’ policy push

Republican lawmakers want criminal probe into Cagle’s ‘bad’ policy push

Two Republican lawmakers urged federal authorities and Fulton County’s prosecutor to investigate whether Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle engaged in a “pay-to-play” scheme when he admitted to pushing legislation he didn’t support to influence a super PAC.  The letter by state Sen. Bill Heath and state Rep. Susan Holmes, both supporters of Secretary of State Brian Kemp,...
What South Carolina’s vote says about a new Southern political narrative  

What South Carolina’s vote says about a new Southern political narrative  

  The primary last night in South Carolina showed us both the limits and the extent of the Donald Trump effect in a GOP electorate that somewhat resembles Georgia’s conservative bloc. On one hand, Gov. Henry McMaster failed to avoid a Republican runoff against an outsider challenger, despite boasting a late endorsement from the president and a record of loyalty to him. McMaster, who was...
The Jolt: Johnny Isakson, David Perdue split over Donald Trump’s tariffs

The Jolt: Johnny Isakson, David Perdue split over Donald Trump’s tariffs

Georgia’s two U.S. senators have placed themselves on opposite sides of an internal GOP fight about whether to stop President Donald Trump’s tariffs. Both Johnny Isakson and David Perdue had previously voiced displeasure over the commander-in-chief’s moves to impose duties on imported steel and aluminum. But whereas Isakson signed on as a cosponsor of a bill from U.S. Sen. Bob...
Georgia 2018: Abrams nabs endorsement from Barnes

Georgia 2018: Abrams nabs endorsement from Barnes

Democrat Stacey Abrams earned the endorsement Wednesday of her former opponent’s highest-profile supporter. Former Gov. Roy Barnes endorsed Abrams’ campaign for governor, calling her a progressive who can also work with GOP leaders to “harness the full potential of Georgia.” "Too many have made this election about a choice between working with Republicans to maintain our...
Abrams embraces ‘public education’ mantra as Cagle deals with fallout

Abrams embraces ‘public education’ mantra as Cagle deals with fallout

Talk about counter-programming.  As Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle grapples with fallout over his role in education debates, Democrat Stacey Abrams is charting a different course.  The party’s nominee for governor announced a 7 p.m. town hall Wednesday at her campaign’s headquarters to focus on her fight against “public school privatization.” Her tag-line of choice: &ldquo...
Two tales of betrayal now drive the GOP race for governor

Two tales of betrayal now drive the GOP race for governor

A sense of betrayal is one of the stronger emotions in politics, if not the strongest. Two episodes, both involving trust abused or trust misused, are now driving the Republican race for governor. They are closely linked. You may know of one, but not the other. On May 24, Clay Tippins, the former GOP gubernatorial candidate, walked into a conversation with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, the man who had whupped...
The Jolt: Days after unsettling G-7 session, Sonny Perdue heads to Canada

The Jolt: Days after unsettling G-7 session, Sonny Perdue heads to Canada

Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, who as secretary of agriculture has earned a reputation as one of the most affable members of President Donald Trump’s cabinet, apparently has been assigned to the patch-and-mend squad. Two days after an ally-splitting G-7 appearance in Quebec City, which ended with an exiting Trump insulting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as “dishonest&rdquo...
The Jolt: ‘We deserved better,’ hometown paper says of Casey Cagle recording

The Jolt: ‘We deserved better,’ hometown paper says of Casey Cagle recording

Many, but not all, Republicans have rallied to the side of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, whose campaign for governor was shaken last week when a recording made by fourth-place finisher Clay Tippins caught the GOP frontrunner in a quintessential gaffe. In other words, Tippins’ activated smart phone caught Cagle telling the truth about a forbidden subject. Among Cagle’s harshest weekend...
New Cagle ad snipes at Kemp: ‘Get that big truck outta here.’ 

New Cagle ad snipes at Kemp: ‘Get that big truck outta here.’ 

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is getting steady use out of a Secretary of State Brian Kemp lookalike. His campaign for governor launched an ad over the weekend mocking Kemp’s macho pickup truck, featuring a stammering knockoff Kemp trying to explain to an elderly voter his record as the state’s top election official. The exasperated voter ends the 30-second spot with an admonishment: “Shame...
Read the highlights of Cagle’s response to secret recording 

Read the highlights of Cagle’s response to secret recording 

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle sat down Friday with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News for an exclusive interview about his remarks in a secretly-recorded conversation released by a former rival in the race for governor. The interview came a day after the AJC and Channel 2 reported that Cagle acknowledged he supported “bad public policy” - a controversial education...
The Jolt: Kemp says Secret recording raises ‘ethical and legal’ questions about Cagle’s role

The Jolt: Kemp says Secret recording raises ‘ethical and legal’ questions about Cagle’s role

There was swift political fallout from the release of a secret recording of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle acknowledging he supported a controversial education measure that was “bad public policy” to block another rival for governor from outside help. (Read the full story here.) Former State Sen. Hunter Hill, who Cagle aimed to hurt by pushing a private school tax credit increase, said the...
Read transcript of secret recording of Cagle backing ‘bad public policy’ 

Read transcript of secret recording of Cagle backing ‘bad public policy’ 

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle told executive Clay Tippins he supported “bad public policy” to deprive another rival of supposed help from an outside group, in a recording obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News.  Cagle’s conversation with Tippins, who finished fourth in the race, took place two days after the May 22 primary in Cagle’s campaign...
A battle between Cagle, Kemp allies leads to ‘sexual predators’ claim 

A battle between Cagle, Kemp allies leads to ‘sexual predators’ claim 

As if you needed another sign the Georgia GOP runoff is getting heavy:  Shortly after Brian Kemp’s campaign announced state Rep. David Clark would head his veterans coalition, a top surrogate for Casey Cagle took aim at him. With language equating his vote against her bill to support for “sexual predators.” State Sen. Renee Unterman tweeted a picture of Clark’s &ldquo...
Bob Barr on Trump pardoning himself: Those ‘fantastical powers’ do not exist

Bob Barr on Trump pardoning himself: Those ‘fantastical powers’ do not exist

Former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr comes to this conclusion in a Townhall.com column examining the Trump legal team’s claim that the president can pardon himself. The onetime federal prosecutor cited Alexander Hamilton’s work in the Federalist Papers to argue that presidents can be subject to prosecution and punishment after Congress chooses to remove them from office: Barr, you may remember...
Why no Ga. Republicans are embracing House’s backdoor immigration fight

Why no Ga. Republicans are embracing House’s backdoor immigration fight

House Republicans are currently in the throes of a messy intraparty debate over immigration that threatens to spill onto the floor ahead of the midterm elections. But don’t expect any of Georgia’s 10 GOP lawmakers to back a push from their more moderate colleagues to force votes on legislation providing a path to citizenship to so-called Dreamers.  Gerrymandering, President Donald...
A new gun fight erupts in race for GOP race for governor 

A new gun fight erupts in race for GOP race for governor 

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle dug deep into Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s voting record, slamming his rival in the GOP runoff for governor for a vote on gun rights legislation while both were in the state Senate. The divide involves a failed 2003 measure that would have repealed a law that allowed the governor to suspend the sale of guns to some Georgians during a state of emergency. Kemp was...
Georgia Congressman berated for tweeting D-Day photo with Nazi soldiers

Georgia Congressman berated for tweeting D-Day photo with Nazi soldiers

Georgia Congressman Drew Ferguson was lambasted on social media Wednesday after his campaign tweeted a D-Day photo that depicted Nazi soldiers rather than American troops.  The West Point Republican’s campaign tweeted the black-and-white picture shortly before 7 a.m., which included the soldiers in front of a tank that featured the Iron Cross, a German military symbol.  “The...
Gov candidates snub Georgia media conference 

Gov candidates snub Georgia media conference 

Traditionally, the Georgia Press Association gathers each June on Jekyll Island. And in even years, the collection of Georgia’s medium and small newspapers hosts a debate of the election season’s ticket-toppers.For candidates, it has been a way to quickly reach those editorial voices heard by voters in distant corners of a very large state.Individual boycotts aren’t unheard of, certainly...
The Jolt: In politics, vagueness pays – unless you’re black

The Jolt: In politics, vagueness pays – unless you’re black

Politicians are famous for talking without saying. As a strategy, vagueness pays – unless the candidate is African-American and the audience isn’t. Audrey Haynes, a University of Georgia political scientist and director of UGA’s Applied Politics Certificate program, pointed us to this recent three-scholar study that appears in the Journal of Politics. From the summary: *** ...
Behind Karen Handel’s rift with Donald Trump over tariffs

Behind Karen Handel’s rift with Donald Trump over tariffs

Karen Handel has blinked. For the first time in a congressional career that is coming up on its first anniversary, she has parted ways — ever so politely — with President Donald Trump. If you are a Handel fan who would like to see the Republican re-elected to the Sixth District seat in November, this is a good thing. Yes, Handel won an expensive, nationalized contest last June against...
Casey Cagle goes to Vegas – but not to court GOP mega-donor 

Casey Cagle goes to Vegas – but not to court GOP mega-donor 

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle trekked to Las Vegas on Tuesday to raise cash for his bid for governor. But his campaign said he won’t be meeting with casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, one of the GOP’s biggest benefactors.  The Republican held a fundraiser hosted by data center executives who are thrilled with a newly-passed tax break for the industry. Campaign manager Scott Binkley said...
Senate leaders heed Perdue’s call to scrap summer break

Senate leaders heed Perdue’s call to scrap summer break

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday announced plans to cancel the chamber’s annual August recess, bowing to a push spearheaded by Georgia U.S. Sen. David Perdue.  The Kentucky Republican promised an additional three weeks in Washington this summer to confirm more of President Donald Trump’s nominees and advance must-pass government spending bills.  “Due to...
The Jolt: Stormy Daniels and the silencing of the South’s religious conservatives

The Jolt: Stormy Daniels and the silencing of the South’s religious conservatives

If you want to silence Southern religious conservatives on the topic of pornography, make them complicit in a presidency that treats it as a legitimate business expense. Two days ago, news broke that Stormy Daniels, the adult film star embroiled an alleged sex scandal involving President Donald Trump, has a two-day July gig at a strip club in the upper-crust, semi-Republican city of...
On some GOP ballots, a question of Amazon and ‘South Georgia’ secession

On some GOP ballots, a question of Amazon and ‘South Georgia’ secession

Guns in schools. A wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. And a “State of South Georgia.”  Unlike some past elections, the Georgia GOP didn’t include any ballot questions on statewide ballots. But prodded by conservative groups, 17 counties included their own inquiries to test their party’s base on a range of familiar – and some oddball – issues. The analysis was...
Georgia 2018: Democrats reprise GOP attacks against Cagle, Kemp 

Georgia 2018: Democrats reprise GOP attacks against Cagle, Kemp 

The latest Democratic attack on the GOP candidates for governor features their former Republican rivals in a starring role.  The Democratic Party of Georgia released a pair of minute-long attack ads Monday targeting Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp that spotlight attacks from their GOP rivals. The Cagle ad focuses on his use of taxpayer-funded flights to travel the state...
Act II for Stacey Evans: First female chair of the Cobb County Commission?

Act II for Stacey Evans: First female chair of the Cobb County Commission?

We’ve told you that, while Gwinnett County turned out more Democrats than Republicans in the May 22 primary, Cobb County wasn’t too far behind this demographic curve. Republicans edged out Democrats in the gubernatorial contest in Cobb, but Democrats cast more ballots in many down-ticket races, including the contest for lieutenant governor. Over the weekend, the Marietta Daily Journal ...
Backers of Georgia’s ‘religious liberty’ effort energized by Supreme Court decision

Backers of Georgia’s ‘religious liberty’ effort energized by Supreme Court decision

The U.S. Supreme Court’s Monday ruling in favor of a Denver-area wedding cake maker is empowering Georgia supporters of “religious liberty” legislation who hope to revive the measure next year.  The justices ruled 7-2 that Colorado officials violated the First Amendment rights of baker Jack Phillips, who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple in 2012 because of...
A Cagle poll previews a new attack in July runoff  

A Cagle poll previews a new attack in July runoff  

An internal poll released by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle previewed an argument he’s likely to make over the next two months that’s focused less on his runoff opponent and more on Democrat Stacey Abrams.  The poll, which was funded by his campaign, showed 57 percent of primary voters believe Cagle is the “better” candidate to beat Abrams in the general election, while about...
Stormy Daniels is headed to Atlanta in July 

Stormy Daniels is headed to Atlanta in July 

The adult film star in the middle of an alleged sex scandal involving President Donald Trump is making a stop at a metro Atlanta strip club this July. The Pink Pony said on Facebook that Stormy Daniels is set to perform two shows on July 22 at the Brookhaven club. Her appearance is dubbed “Making Atlanta Great Again,” a twist on the president’s mantra.  “We&rsquo...
Why Kemp is confident Hill, Tippins voters are moving toward him 

Why Kemp is confident Hill, Tippins voters are moving toward him 

Nearly two weeks after the primary, Republicans Hunter Hill and Clay Tippins still haven’t endorsed anyone in the GOP runoff for governor. But Secretary of State Brian Kemp is confident their voters are moving in his direction. The Kemp campaign released an internal poll that showed 52 percent of Hill voters are backing Kemp, compared to 34 percent who support Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in the...
Democrats send the Legislature a first: A Muslim immigrant from Bangladesh

Democrats send the Legislature a first: A Muslim immigrant from Bangladesh

The conversations that Republicans and Democrats are engaged in this summer have never been so disconnected in Georgia, on topics ranging from guns to health care. But differences are most glaring when it comes to immigration. On the Republican side, candidates for governor have become echoes of Donald Trump. Casey Cagle has declared war on the city of Decatur, for failing to cooperate as thoroughly...
The Jolt: Trump tariff on luxury imports would target two metro Atlanta prizes

The Jolt: Trump tariff on luxury imports would target two metro Atlanta prizes

If you occupy certain offices in Sandy Springs or down toward the airport, much of your attention on Thursday was given to the following sentence published by WirtschaftsWoche, a German weekly business news magazine: President Donald Trump, the magazine reports, is considering a tariff on all imported luxury automobiles. A jackleg translation of the above sentence: “During (French...
Abrams’ poll points to sharper November focus on ‘diverse economy’ 

Abrams’ poll points to sharper November focus on ‘diverse economy’ 

A poll released by Democrat Stacey Abrams offers hints at how she’ll wage a general election campaign for governor. The poll, funded by her campaign, was made public to show how her name recognition and favorability ratings have soared after last week’s dominating primary victory over state Rep. Stacey Evans. Like any internal poll, it should be taken with the requisite grain of salt....
Shotguns galore! Casey Cagle attacks Brian Kemp on an ag deal gone sour

Shotguns galore! Casey Cagle attacks Brian Kemp on an ag deal gone sour

Shotguns are getting a workout in the Republican race for governor. Clearly riffing off the success of a TV spot that Brian Kemp used to help into a nine-week runoff campaign, Casey Cagle took a first hard shot at his rival this morning with a 30-second ad that accuses his rival from walking away from canola and sunflower oil processing project and leaving farmers in the lurch. The language is harsh...
The Jolt: Deal heads to Hollywood with pledge that film tax credit is safe

The Jolt: Deal heads to Hollywood with pledge that film tax credit is safe

Gov. Nathan Deal is making his annual journey to Los Angeles to court Hollywood executives for the state’s booming film business. And he’ll bring with him assurances that a lucrative tax credit that fuels the industry will continue after he leaves office. That’s because the three contenders running to replace him all have pledged to keep the incentives in place after Deal leaves...
Georgia GOP operative implies Valerie Jarrett isn't black 

Georgia GOP operative implies Valerie Jarrett isn't black 

Roseanne Barr’s show was canceled shortly after she fired off a racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett. A Georgia Republican operative who was briefly Donald Trump’s state director followed up with another incendiary post about the ex-Obama aide. Seth Weathers, who was the campaign manager to a failed Republican candidate for governor, tweeted a picture of Jarrett with the caption: &ldquo...
Why Georgia’s governor is optimistic about Atlanta’s bid for Amazon

Why Georgia’s governor is optimistic about Atlanta’s bid for Amazon

As Amazon prepares to whittle down its list of finalists for a second headquarters, Gov. Nathan Deal said that he’s confident the ongoing corruption investigation into Atlanta City Hall won’t hinder Georgia’s chances.  “The new mayor has been very active in working with us at the state level and very proactive in terms of new business development,” Deal told our...
The Jolt: Georgia GOP attempts a push for Stacey Abrams’ income tax returns

The Jolt: Georgia GOP attempts a push for Stacey Abrams’ income tax returns

As Republicans brace for a bruising runoff between Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the state GOP is trying to ratchet up the pressure on Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams.  At a press conference Wednesday to be hosted by the Georgia GOP, two of the party’s top women leaders -- Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones and state Sen. Renee Unterman -- intend to urge Abrams to...
Cagle, Kemp scrap over blame for nine-week runoff 

Cagle, Kemp scrap over blame for nine-week runoff 

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp have scrapped over gun rights, immigration crackdowns and which candidate for governor is the most effective conservative. Now they are adding blame for the state’s nine-week runoff to their lengthy list. For decades, Georgia law required runoffs just three weeks after an initial election if no candidate won more than 50 percent...
A down-ballot contest that could lead the way for Georgia Democrats in November

A down-ballot contest that could lead the way for Georgia Democrats in November

Political revolutions often begin with down-ballot beachheads on Election Day, at the intersection of enthusiasm and complacency. Name by name, bored supporters of entrenched political power drift away before they reach the end of their party’s list of nominees. But insurgents have energy. They are more likely to finish the job, checking that last box on the ballot. That’s how it happened...
The Jolt: The dean of state Capitol journalists bids a quiet farewell

The Jolt: The dean of state Capitol journalists bids a quiet farewell

Over the weekend, Tom Crawford, 68, the dean of state Capitol journalists who documented three gubernatorial administrations and the Republican takeover of state government, quietly announced an end to his career with this somber note posted on his news website: Crawford began his career as a reporter for The Montgomery Advertiser, then The Marietta Daily Journal and The Atlanta Journal. ...
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