Political Insider

The Jolt: Dem chair says Ellison abuse claims won’t sully November chances

The Jolt: Dem chair says Ellison abuse claims won’t sully November chances

Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, was in Atlanta again on Wednesday, this time addressing a small group of Hispanic and Latino voters, talking up Stacey Abrams and talking down Brian Kemp. From our AJC colleague Amanda Coyne: But Perez also made news on another front. From the Associated Press: *** Georgia’s race for governor has gotten more competitive...
Why anti-Pelosi attacks could be losing their edge

Why anti-Pelosi attacks could be losing their edge

All those attack ads linking Georgia Democrats to Nancy Pelosi may not pack the same kind of punch they once did -- at least according to a CNN poll. The poll of 921 registered voters found that while the House minority leader remains singularly unpopular among Republicans, she has a marginal impact on how people will vote in November. It found that only a third of registered voters see Pelosi...
The Jolt: ‘State citizenship’ matters, Georgia’s high court rules

The Jolt: ‘State citizenship’ matters, Georgia’s high court rules

House Republicans at the state Capitol just preserved one of their number from an anticipated blue November wave. From our AJC colleague Mark Niesse: The decision is an important one, if only because of the emphasis placed on state citizenship as something additional to and separate from U.S. citizenship. We’re not talking state residency, but state citizenship. Palacios’ attorneys...
Amazon HQ2: While Atlanta debates incentives, Ga. poised to add more

Amazon HQ2: While Atlanta debates incentives, Ga. poised to add more

Note to Georgia lawmakers: The lucrative package of incentives that Atlanta could put forth to stimulate a mini-city worthy of Amazon’s second headquarters won’t excuse state officials from dangling their own goodies.  That was the implicit message that Gov. Nathan Deal’s administration sent after Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms went public with what could be a 10-figure...
Why Georgia Power's nuclear project could survive the November election

Why Georgia Power's nuclear project could survive the November election

Grab a cup of coffee and settle in, boys and girls. This is going to get complicated. Last week, Georgia Power announced that its cost of finishing two new nuclear units at Plant Vogtle, which just eight months ago had been set at $7.3 billion, had increased by $1.1 billion. For Georgia Power customers, the good news is that stockholders are covering the added cost. The picture may be different for...
Why Georgia’s protracted water rights battle just got a little cheaper

Why Georgia’s protracted water rights battle just got a little cheaper

The latest chapter of Georgia’s long-running water rights battle against Florida has cost the state’s taxpayers nearly $50 million -- a price tag that will undoubtedly rise after the Supreme Court punted the case earlier this summer. But legal bills for the two states are likely to mount a little slower thanks to a decision quietly made by the justices late last week...
The Jolt: Stockbridge sold out by its own lawyers, complaint says

The Jolt: Stockbridge sold out by its own lawyers, complaint says

The fight over the creation of a city of Eagles Landing from the existing city of Stockbridge has shifted to a new venue. Lee Stuart, a former mayor of Stockbridge has filed complaints with the State Bar of Georgia against state Rep. Andy Welch and state Sen. Brian Strickland. Both Henry County lawmakers are partners in the firm of Smith Welch Webb & White LLC. (An earlier version of this post...
That makes three: Carter is latest prez to endorse in Georgia gov race 

That makes three: Carter is latest prez to endorse in Georgia gov race 

Another former president has backed Democrat Stacey Abrams’ campaign for Georgia governor. Weeks after Barack Obama gave Abrams his full-throated support, Georgia native Jimmy Carter called the Democrat the “right leader for our changing state who has consistently championed the values we share.”  “Stacey Abrams' experience, vision, and proven track record of building...
Political hardball: Why the Braves are co-hosting a Kemp fundraiser 

Political hardball: Why the Braves are co-hosting a Kemp fundraiser 

The Atlanta Braves franchise is wading into the race for Georgia governor by hosting a high-dollar fundraiser this month for Republican Brian Kemp, though the team said it expects to also chip into Democrat Stacey Abrams’ campaign. The team was among dozens of sponsors for an Aug. 27 fundraiser featuring Kemp and U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson at the Georgian Club, which is near the team’s Cobb...
The Jolt: Senate Republicans bury the hatchet -- for now

The Jolt: Senate Republicans bury the hatchet -- for now

Two important things happened at a weekend round of meetings involving state GOP lawmakers.  The first is that House and Senate Republicans who backed other gubernatorial candidates apparently let bygones be bygones and, in a fit of comity, pledged their support to Brian Kemp, their party’s nominee for governor. Many in the House already supported the secretary of state,...
How a misfired gun-related tweet put Abrams on the defensive

How a misfired gun-related tweet put Abrams on the defensive

An erroneous quote of Stacey Abrams by a gun control activist quickly caught fire with Second Amendment supporters who back Republican Brian Kemp in the Georgia race for governor.  It started at a private event at the Moms Demand Action “Gun Sense University” conference over the weekend, where the group’s founder Shannon Watts tweeted that Abrams told the crowd “we&rsquo...
A secretive debate to decide if the race for lieutenant governor will matter

A secretive debate to decide if the race for lieutenant governor will matter

For the next 12 weeks, we will have what is likely to be a raucous campaign for lieutenant governor. Constitutionally, the office is the second-most important in the state. The lieutenant governor is the spare tire we keep in a state Capitol trunk, just in case the governor goes flat. Millions of dollars will be spent by and on behalf of Republican Geoff Duncan and Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico. The...
The Jolt: A former chewing gum CEO shakes up debate over medicinal pot

The Jolt: A former chewing gum CEO shakes up debate over medicinal pot

Foes of the medical marijuana push in the state Capitol are noting the presence of a new force in the debate, one that has already become a source of financing in this year’s campaigns. We’ll start with a bit of background from Monday’s AJC: The medical marijuana movement is opposed by many religious conservative activists at the Capitol, one of whom passed along the contents...
Deal pitches Trump on Georgia’s criminal justice overhaul  

Deal pitches Trump on Georgia’s criminal justice overhaul  

Gov. Nathan Deal touted his criminal justice initiatives Thursday with President Donald Trump and a group of mostly Republican leaders, highlighting a decrease in incarceration rates and new education programs for inmates. The governor used the meeting at a New Jersey golf club to promote an eight-year overhaul that kept more nonviolent offenders out of prison, set up a system of accountability courts...
Abrams and Kemp tangle over HOPE awards for ‘Dreamers’

Abrams and Kemp tangle over HOPE awards for ‘Dreamers’

  Democrat Stacey Abrams on Wednesday reinforced her position that “dream kids” -- children whose parents brought them to the U.S. illegally -- should be eligible for HOPE scholarships.  At an education press conference, she said her policy would live up to the “legal obligation” under the state constitution to provide an education for every child.  &ldquo...
The Jolt: Be careful with those rocks hurled at Stacey Abrams’ finances

The Jolt: Be careful with those rocks hurled at Stacey Abrams’ finances

So you know that Brian Kemp and his Republican allies have begun attacking his Democratic rival for her personal financial decisions. From a Wednesday post: The Republican Governors Association picked up the cudgel this morning with a missive that included this line: And Thursday Georgia GOP chair John Watson added his voice: The criticism isn’t unexpected. Even Abrams’ allies...
Georgia 2018: Kemp takes aim at Abrams’ finances 

Georgia 2018: Kemp takes aim at Abrams’ finances 

A day after Stacey Abrams’ allies called for Republican Brian Kemp to resign from office, the secretary of state questioned whether his Democratic opponent violated the law by loaning to her campaign for governor even as she carries a federal tax debt.  “Stacey Abrams made over $1 million in the last few years,” Kemp said. “Instead of paying more than $50,000 in back taxes...
The Jolt: On gun legislation and the definition of ‘radical’

The Jolt: On gun legislation and the definition of ‘radical’

We told you earlier this week about a YouTube video posted by Georgia Gun Owners attacking Stacey Abrams, the Democratic nominee for governor. The video is a minute in length, a sign that it’s designed for Internet viewing rather than TV broadcast. The latter is far more expensive. You can watch it here, but this is the key language: Patrick Parsons, executive director of the gun group...
Kavanaugh previews his pitch at Georgia judge’s ceremony 

Kavanaugh previews his pitch at Georgia judge’s ceremony 

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh may have offered a glimpse of the case he’ll make at his Senate confirmation hearings during the swearing-in ceremony of Britt Grant to the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.  Kavanaugh slipped back into his judicial robe Tuesday to return to the federal courthouse in Washington to preside over the ceremony for Grant, a Georgia Supreme...
Clemson researchers crack open a Russian troll factory

Clemson researchers crack open a Russian troll factory

Over the past several weeks, the biggest cache of new evidence in the Russian investigation hasn’t come from Robert Mueller or President Donald Trump’s smartphone. No, the freshest information on how Vladimir Putin targeted the 2016 presidential election has its origins just up I-85 at Clemson University. On that campus is something called the Social Media Listening Center, a kind of interdisciplinary...
Taking fire: Abrams slammed with attack ads on guns, taxes 

Taking fire: Abrams slammed with attack ads on guns, taxes 

Democrat Stacey Abrams was targeted with a pair of attack ads Tuesday criticizing her handling of her finances and her support for gun control measures, both themes that Republicans are eager to highlight ahead of her November matchup against Brian Kemp. The Republican Governors Association’s 30-second ad opens with a Gold Dome lit up with sparkling holiday lights and a singer belting out a...
The Jolt: Democrats want Brian Kemp to return his state paycheck

The Jolt: Democrats want Brian Kemp to return his state paycheck

The Democratic Party of Georgia opened a new front in the race for governor on Monday, calling on Secretary of State Brian Kemp to return his salary as he runs for the state’s highest office. Party chief DuBose Porter stopped short of calling on Kemp to resign from the office, which supervises elections and the state’s business licensing. But Porter criticized Kemp for the &ldquo...
Georgia 2018: Why negative political campaigns are more ‘effective’ 

Georgia 2018: Why negative political campaigns are more ‘effective’ 

Like it or not, it’s news in modern-day campaigning when a candidate in a tight race avoids personal attacks. Which is why Democrat Stacey Abrams’ approach to the race against Republican Brian Kemp raised so many eyebrows. While Kemp is pummeling her with attacks labeling her a “radical” puppet of California interests, Abrams is so far avoiding any direct response. It&rsquo...
The Jolt: Stacey Abrams on ‘dream kids,’ HOPE -- and Stone Mountain

The Jolt: Stacey Abrams on ‘dream kids,’ HOPE -- and Stone Mountain

Republican Brian Kemp attacked Democratic gubernatorial rival Stacey Abrams this morning for her assertion that “dream kids” are worthy of HOPE scholarships. This account of a Dalton rally, from the Chattanooga Times Free Press, provided the fodder: The response from the Kemp crew this morning included this: It’s worth noting that, in times past, Abram’s line of thought...
Opening maneuvers: Kemp attacks, Abrams avoids 'fisticuffs’ 

Opening maneuvers: Kemp attacks, Abrams avoids 'fisticuffs’ 

Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp are polar opposites on many of Georgia’s biggest policy clashes. And so are their approaches to the general election. Since wrapping up the GOP nomination, Kemp has tried to frame Abrams at campaign stops and on social media as a “radical liberal” who will drive a socialist agenda. He’s pummeled her on national TV as a manifestation...
Georgia elections web update irks voter registration advocates 

Georgia elections web update irks voter registration advocates 

An update to Georgia’s elections website that put voter registration pages temporarily offline on Saturday infuriated some advocates who questioned the timing of the technical work.  Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office said the maintenance of the online sites was long-scheduled and that local elections officials were notified in advance.   Kemp, the Republican nominee...
Why metro Atlanta needs to know more about Brian Kemp – and fast

Why metro Atlanta needs to know more about Brian Kemp – and fast

Atlanta and its ‘burbs need to know much more about Brian Kemp than they do now. And they need that information rather quickly. Recent events argue for urgency. The biggest jumped up early one morning this week, when the Gwinnett County Commission approved a contract with MARTA that could, among other things, establish a heavy rail link from Gwinnett to downtown Atlanta and the airport beyond...
The Jolt: A Tenn. developer offered Trump’s lawyer $10 million to help him go nuclear

The Jolt: A Tenn. developer offered Trump’s lawyer $10 million to help him go nuclear

Several news organizations have jumped on last night’s Wall Street Journal report that Michael Cohen, the former attorney for President Donald Trump, was in line for a $10 million finders fee if he delivered for a Tennessee financier looking to go nuclear. From Al.com: In 2016, the Tennessee Valley Authority's Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant in Hollywood, Ala., was auctioned to Nuclear Development...
The Jolt: Lay off Stacey Abrams’ finances, warns GOP lawmaker

The Jolt: Lay off Stacey Abrams’ finances, warns GOP lawmaker

Eight years ago, we were still feeling the aftershocks of the Great Recession and former congressman Nathan Deal was the Republican nominee for governor. That fall, it came to light that Deal’s personal finances were in a perilous state. Among many other challenges was the fact that by Feb. 1 the next year, he was required to pay off a $1.6 million loan he had guaranteed for a failed sporting...
Next Georgia gov will face new push for $3B+ in casino projects

Next Georgia gov will face new push for $3B+ in casino projects

If at first you don’t succeed, sweeten the pot. That seems to be the strategy from state Rep. Ron Stephens, the Savannah Republican who has tried repeatedly to legalize casino gambling in Georgia. His latest attempt will involve a push next year to allow three gambling centers around the state that total at least $3 billion in investments, with some of the proceeds going toward shoring...
Georgia GOP calls for ouster of activist duped by Sacha Baron Cohen 

Georgia GOP calls for ouster of activist duped by Sacha Baron Cohen 

The Georgia GOP called for the resignation Wednesday of a Cherokee County activist who serves on the party’s state committee after he was filmed in a segment of Sacha Baron Cohen’s series making disparaging remarks about Hispanics. Jack Staver was one of three men featured on Sunday’s episode of “Who is America?” – the same program that led to the resignation...
Obama versus Trump in Georgia? Ex-president lines up behind Abrams

Obama versus Trump in Georgia? Ex-president lines up behind Abrams

Former President Barack Obama lined up behind Stacey Abrams on Wednesday in Georgia’s race for governor, setting up a November contest that pits two of the nation’s most powerful political figures on opposing sides. President Donald Trump’s support for GOP nominee Brian Kemp in July helped power the secretary of state to a dominating runoff victory, and a last-minute visit from Vice...
House Dems ramp up investment in 6th District race

House Dems ramp up investment in 6th District race

House Democrats’ campaign arm is planning to bolster its support for Lucy McBath, the gun control advocate taking on U.S. Rep. Karen Handel in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District this fall.  The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said Wednesday that it has added McBath to its Red to Blue program, which provides organizing and fundraising support to what it sees as its top-tier...
The Jolt: Why Gwinnett may have delayed transit vote until 2019

The Jolt: Why Gwinnett may have delayed transit vote until 2019

If you’re a metro Atlanta commuter, our AJC colleague Tyler Estep has the most important bulletin of the morning: Transit-supporting Democrats, anticipating an anti-Trump, mid-term surge, had been pushing for a November vote. The March date shows the level of caution with which Gwinnett Republicans are approaching the issue. Some quick points: -- A March referendum allows more time for pro-transit...
Facing criticism, Kemp removes links from official app

Facing criticism, Kemp removes links from official app

Republican Brian Kemp plans to remove links to his campaign’s social media account from his office’s official app, amid criticism from Democrats and others who said he was improperly promoting his bid for governor. Kemp spokesman Ryan Mahoney said Tuesday that links to the campaign’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts would be removed from an app released by the secretary of...
How Southern Co. intends to survive a digital Apocalypse

How Southern Co. intends to survive a digital Apocalypse

We now have an effort to shift public attention away from Russian hacking of digital systems associated with American elections, and toward foreign cyber-attacks on something larger. In New York on Tuesday, the Trump administration’s top security chiefs hosted business executives from multiple fields to discuss the cyber defense of the nation’s critical infrastructure. The general...
The Jolt: Journalism dean deletes Tweet alleging Kemp is a ‘nice guy’

The Jolt: Journalism dean deletes Tweet alleging Kemp is a ‘nice guy’

The dean of the University of Georgia’s journalism school has deleted a tweet calling Republican Brian Kemp a “nice guy” and a childhood friend, following that with an apology for what he called an “ill-timed and poorly written” post. Charles Davis tweeted a congratulatory message about Kemp shortly after the Republican won his party’s nomination, writing that...
Jetlagged: Kemp shifts stance on airline fuel tax break 

Jetlagged: Kemp shifts stance on airline fuel tax break 

In the thick of the GOP primary battle, Brian Kemp labeled Delta Air Lines a “corporate coward” for its decision to end a discount for NRA members - and called for a tax break on guns and ammo in lieu of incentives that would have benefited the airline. His position shifted Monday after Gov. Nathan Deal announced he was suspending collection of the sales tax on jet fuel...
Dems slam Supreme Court nominee for backing Georgia judge

Dems slam Supreme Court nominee for backing Georgia judge

Senate Democrats are trying something new as they scramble to block Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh: tying him to his former law clerk, a prominent Georgia judge whose circuit court nomination is pending before the chamber. Democrats likely don’t have the votes to thwart Georgia Supreme Court Justice Britt Grant’s nomination to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is ...
The Jolt: With 99 days to go, might Michelle Obama show up in Georgia?

The Jolt: With 99 days to go, might Michelle Obama show up in Georgia?

We are now 99 days away from finding out whether Democrat Stacey Abrams’ gamble on a new playbook for winning a governor’s race in Georgia will pay off. We’ve already told you elsewhere that the Georgia contest is likely to be a testing ground for the 2020 presidential contest between incumbent Donald Trump and any one of an army of Democrats currently positioning themselves. We&rsquo...
Georgia Democrats build a history-busting slate of women candidates

Georgia Democrats build a history-busting slate of women candidates

The Republican race for governor we just witnessed amounted to a testosterone-fueled buddy flick. We had mic’d-up secret agents, explosions, shotguns, roaring chain saws, giant pickup trucks, and a candidate pushed off a cliff in the final scene. The last men standing were a battle-scarred Brian Kemp and his mysteriously summoned ally, President Donald Trump. A sequel is already in the works...
A ‘religious liberty’ rift sharpens in Georgia gov race  

A ‘religious liberty’ rift sharpens in Georgia gov race  

Republican Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams are on opposite ends of a dizzying array of issues, but one of the standout contrasts is over the “religious liberty” debate. And both candidates made clear this week it will be a central part of the November race for governor. Kemp reaffirmed his pledge Thursday to sign the legislation, calling it the “commonsense thing to do&rdquo...
The Jolt: Brian Kemp’s runoff surge was the largest in Georgia history

The Jolt: Brian Kemp’s runoff surge was the largest in Georgia history

‘Way up north, where the Mississippi is so young you can wade from one bank to the other, they’ve crunched some interesting numbers on Georgia’s Republican runoff for governor. Like the fact that Brian Kemp’s 43.9-point increase from the initial May 24 GOP primary vote to Tuesday’s runoff was largest such surge in Georgia history. That and other stats are the work of...
Kemp pledges to let Deal take lead in Amazon incentives 

Kemp pledges to let Deal take lead in Amazon incentives 

The wild race for Georgia governor could get another jolt if Amazon lists Atlanta as a finalist for its second headquarters and lawmakers are summoned to the statehouse to hash out how much public money is on the table to entice the tech giant.  And Brian Kemp, the newly-minted GOP nominee, said he won’t try to politicize the high-stakes negotiations that could add billions of dollars in...
Jobs, jobs, jobs: Abrams touts economic plan - and avoids Kemp attack

Jobs, jobs, jobs: Abrams touts economic plan - and avoids Kemp attack

With the general election matchup set, Democrat Stacey Abrams on Thursday launched a tour of the state focused on pocketbook issues – and studiously avoided attacks on her newly-minted Republican opponent.  She pledged to create 22,000 apprenticeships by 2022, increase need-based aid for college students and create a “skills cabinet” of industry leaders for advice on economic...
The Jolt: It’s kiss-and-make-up time for Georgia Republicans

The Jolt: It’s kiss-and-make-up time for Georgia Republicans

Many questions face Georgia Republicans at tonight’s kiss-and-make-up rally, a “unity” gathering designed to move past the poisonous language of the primary runoff. The smallest may be whether Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle will give his effusive praise to Secretary of State Brian Kemp after Tuesday’s thrashing -- and renounce his contention that Democrat Stacey Abrams would...
The Jolt: The middle disappears in Georgia’s race for governor

The Jolt: The middle disappears in Georgia’s race for governor

If you need a measure of the completeness of Casey Cagle’s collapse on Tuesday, and the polarized November contest that’s headed our way, consider that in the Democratic primary for governor in May, Stacey Evans carried only six of 159 Georgia counties as she lost to Stacey Abrams, who won 76 percent of the vote. Last night, Cagle carried two counties, as Brian Kemp won his party&rsquo...
A bad night for ‘Capitol crowd’ in Georgia GOP runoff  

A bad night for ‘Capitol crowd’ in Georgia GOP runoff  

The text came shortly before 9 p.m. from a seasoned GOP operative: “If Geoff Duncan pulls this off, it’ll be the biggest turnover of the Capitol crowd since Roy Barnes lost to Sonny Perdue.”  The politico was referring to state Rep. Geoff Duncan’s upset victory over state Sen. David Shafer in the GOP race for lieutenant governor, the second one-time front-runner to...
More Stories