Politics

Trump ratchets up support for ‘great governor’ Kemp ahead of midterm

Trump ratchets up support for ‘great governor’ Kemp ahead of midterm

President Donald Trump sent a series of tweets on Saturday reinforcing his endorsement for Brian Kemp, which heightened the possibility that he will soon visit Georgia to boost the Republican’s bid for governor. The president posted on Twitter that Kemp will be a “great governor” and that he has “prepared for this very difficult and complex job for many years.” Without...
Early voting triples in first week for Georgia midterm

Early voting triples in first week for Georgia midterm

Throngs of Georgia voters rushed to cast their ballots during the first week of in-person early voting, with nearly three times as many people voting so far compared with the last midterm election. Despite three-hour lines in some areas, the number of Georgians who voted early steadily increased throughout the week, according to state data. Already, 482,435 people have voted in advance,...
Campaigns target Georgia’s absentee voters

Campaigns target Georgia’s absentee voters

Soon after requesting absentee ballots, Georgia voters say, they’re receiving phone calls and text messages from candidates asking for their votes. Soliciting votes from people who have requested absentee ballots is the latest effort to reach voters, going beyond the usual TV ads and mailers. The names and addresses of voters who have applied for absentee ballots are public information...
Georgia 7th: Why Rob Woodall is feeling bullish about his House race

Georgia 7th: Why Rob Woodall is feeling bullish about his House race

Story updated at 3:00 p.m. WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall’s campaign doesn’t tweet. It rarely sends out press statements or widely advertises its district events, nor has it aired any television ads in the 7th Congressional District, a swath of Atlanta’s Northeastern suburbs that includes portions of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties.  The Lawrenceville Republican’s low-key...
On the Georgia trail: Kemp doubles down on rural strategy

On the Georgia trail: Kemp doubles down on rural strategy

It’s no secret that the heart-and-soul of Brian Kemp’s race for Georgia governor depends on rural voters. A tepid turnout in the agricultural areas that Donald Trump dominated would spell doom for his campaign.  With Election Day rapidly approaching, the Republican is doubling down on his rural appeal. He announced a 20-stop bus tour next week that skirts metro Atlanta and other dense...
Federal judge asked to ensure new US citizens can vote in Georgia

Federal judge asked to ensure new US citizens can vote in Georgia

Civil rights groups are asking a federal judge to allow new Americans to vote in Georgia’s election if they show proof of citizenship. The groups filed an emergency motion Friday asking the courts to intervene so that citizens inaccurately labeled as non-citizens can still vote in this year’s race for governor between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp. The voter registrations...
How Hurricane Michael made history

How Hurricane Michael made history

BAINBRIDGE - Eric Cohen was 7 when Hurricane Kate roared up from the Florida Panhandle and crashed into his father’s pecan orchards. “Kate destroyed the farm pretty bad. It was the storm we always feared,” he said of the 1985 disaster. Hurricane Michael, he said, “was 10 times worse.” The storm slammed into the Panhandle on Oct. 10 at Category 4 strength and was still...
The right to vote becomes a heated battle in Georgia governor’s race

The right to vote becomes a heated battle in Georgia governor’s race

Voting rights controversies have taken center stage in Georgia’s nationally watched race for governor, further polarizing an electorate choosing between two rivals who have long fought over ballot access. More than 53,000 voter registration applications have been put on hold because of discrepancies in government records. Over 1.4 million voters’ registrations have been canceled...
Georgia lobbyists switch teams to back GOP lieutenant governor nominee

Georgia lobbyists switch teams to back GOP lieutenant governor nominee

The Capitol crowd typically chooses to put its money behind the candidate it believes will win. When it became clear that Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp was going to defeat Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in the runoff election, prominent lobbyists and special-interest groups quickly switched their financial backing in the race for governor. The same is true in the lieutenant governor’s...
How Sears and its catalog helped subvert Jim Crow in the South

How Sears and its catalog helped subvert Jim Crow in the South

Sears’ declaration of bankruptcy this week was entirely expected, a train wreck long in the making. What might have caught many by surprise were the immediate reflections by African-American scholars on the role that the retail giant – and its catalog — played in helping black Southerners survive the 20th century. Upon the Sears announcement on Monday, Louis Hyman, an associate professor...
Where the candidates for Georgia governor stand on climate change

Where the candidates for Georgia governor stand on climate change

The devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael brought to light a debate over environmental policy that’s attracted little attention in this year’s race for Georgia governor. Whoever succeeds Gov. Nathan Deal will face consequential decisions over how to approach climate change, tackle environmental regulations and decide whether to fight or embrace federal environmental standards. That...
NEW DETAILS: MARTA plans commuter rail line for Clayton County

NEW DETAILS: MARTA plans commuter rail line for Clayton County

MARTA is close to approving a passenger rail line through Clayton County that supporters hope will transform commuting and economic development south of Atlanta. The 22-mile line would connect MARTA’s East Point station to Jonesboro and Lovejoy along the existing Norfolk Southern railroad right of way. The diesel-powered trains could be bigger and faster than MARTA’s existing electric...
Register to vote, pay reduced fine: Did South Fulton court break the law?

Register to vote, pay reduced fine: Did South Fulton court break the law?

Georgia’s judicial watchdog agency is probing the City of South Fulton Municipal Court’s practice of reducing fines for defendants who agree to register to vote, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned. “The Judicial Qualifications Commission is looking into the situation to determine whether any violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct have occurred,” Ben Easterlin...
The Jolt: When 107,000 Georgia voters were culled – for not voting

The Jolt: When 107,000 Georgia voters were culled – for not voting

Over at WABE (90.1FM), Johnny Kaufman is part of a national group effort looking at “use it or lose it” voter registration policies in several states, including Georgia. On a single July weekend in 2017, Kaufman’s team reports, more than half a million people – 8 percent of the state’s registered voters -- were cut from Georgia’s roster: From Secretary...
Kemp says he’s doing his job while running for Georgia governor

Kemp says he’s doing his job while running for Georgia governor

One week in July, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp toured the state, making 37 stops from Winder to Evans, rallying supporters and taking selfies with voters to ramp up his campaign for governor. Kemp’s campaign and office say he was still doing his taxpayer-funded job from the road, but his critics question how much work he can accomplish while spending so much time running for governor...
Abrams takes a sharper-elbowed approach to Kemp as early voting starts

Abrams takes a sharper-elbowed approach to Kemp as early voting starts

Not so long ago, Stacey Abrams avoided many direct attacks on Republican Brian Kemp, even as he pummeled her relentlessly. Not anymore. Previously, Abrams relied on allies to swipe back at Kemp while she tried to present herself as above the fray. Now, she’s launching direct attacks on the Republican’s views about policies and his performance in office. The harshening rhetoric is...
Capitol Recap: On Georgia disclosures, requests often act as answers

Capitol Recap: On Georgia disclosures, requests often act as answers

They say the devil is in the details. Just don’t go looking for the Prince of Darkness in Georgia's campaign finance reports. That information is still being requested. State law requires candidates to list in campaign disclosure reports the names, addresses, occupations and employers of individual donors. It’s a good way to let voters know who’s the financial muscle behind...
Deal cements hometown legacy with sparkling new Hall County campus

Deal cements hometown legacy with sparkling new Hall County campus

The ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday in Gov. Nathan Deal’s hometown will celebrate the completion of one of the costliest state building projects in recent Georgia history. It will also mark a signature achievement for the Gainesville Republican.  The event will commemorate the opening of the Hall County campus of Lanier Technical College, the first newly-constructed tech college in the history...
UPDATED: Gulch deal off agenda for Wednesday City Council meeting

UPDATED: Gulch deal off agenda for Wednesday City Council meeting

UPDATED: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has pulled a vote on the Gulch deal from the agenda of a Wednesday special called meeting of the City Council, placing into doubt yet again when the matter might come before the body.  City Council President Felicia Moore on Thursday called a special meeting that included a public financing package for the proposed $5 billion downtown development...
Atlanta paid Reed’s former law firm millions for vague flat-fee bills

Atlanta paid Reed’s former law firm millions for vague flat-fee bills

During former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s last four years in office, the city paid $2.2 million to a global law firm where Reed once worked for services only vaguely described on invoices as “litigation consultation” and “legal research.” The Paul Hastings LLP bills don’t identify the lawyers who performed the work and offer no detail about the nature of the legal...
When is the next Georgia election, and who is on the ballot?

When is the next Georgia election, and who is on the ballot?

Georgia’s next election takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. The ballot includes candidates for governor and other state offices, the Georgia Legislature, Congress and a list of local offices, mostly on the county level. 2018 is a midterm election year, falling between the 2016 and 2020 election years for president. Georgia’s members of Congress serve two-year terms, as do members...
Podcast: What to know about early voting, voting issues in Georgia

Podcast: What to know about early voting, voting issues in Georgia

Host Greg Bluestein and The AJC’s Mark Niesse take a look at stories and issues that have impacted the first days of early voting in Georgia, on the latest episode of the Politically Georgia podcast. Bluestein and Niesse also discuss lawsuits that have been filed, how candidates are responding and the rights voters have at the polls during early voting and on Election Day. Listen...

Democratic ad slams Kemp as ‘reckless’ and ‘irresponsible’

State Democrats are out with a new ad that accuses Brian Kemp, the Republican nominee for governor, of having a track record of acting “reckless,” “unaccountable” and “irresponsible.” The Democratic Party of Georgia is paying for the ad, which began airing on television in metro Atlanta on Thursday and was approved by Kemp’s Democratic rival, former state...
Ballot initiatives for Georgia’s Nov. 6 election

Ballot initiatives for Georgia’s Nov. 6 election

Georgia voters will be asked Nov. 6 whether the state constitution should be amended to give a 10-year, $200 million boost to land conservation, solidify the state’s commitment to crime victims and cut timberland taxes. Five proposed amendments appear on next month’s ballot, which most notably settles the long and hard-fought races for governor and other key offices. Here’s...
Black Caucus joins critics of Gwinnett absentee voter rejections

Black Caucus joins critics of Gwinnett absentee voter rejections

Georgia’s most diverse county is also the one most engaged in voter suppression, members of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus charged Thursday. As Gwinnett voters increasingly embrace the Democratic Party, non-white residents are facing more challenges as they try to vote, seven Democratic members of the caucus said at a press conference at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center....
DeKalb to absentee voters: send in white or yellow ballot envelopes

DeKalb to absentee voters: send in white or yellow ballot envelopes

Absentee voters fretting whether DeKalb County will accept their white ballot envelopes no longer have to worry. “The statewide vendor inadvertently printed absentee return envelopes on white stock, instead of the normal yellow stock,” DeKalb officials said in a press release. “Because of the high volume of absentee requests and to maintain efficiency in processing requests...
Kemp’s office removes video that triggered outrage on social media 

Kemp’s office removes video that triggered outrage on social media 

Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office removed a video on his website after it triggered outrage on social media for featuring an African-American actor who failed to bring proper photo ID to vote. The minute-long video on the Republican’s website was created before the 2016 election and aimed to instruct voters how to cast a ballot during the early voting period. It cast several...
Kemp to stump with Marco Rubio on Monday in Cobb County

Kemp to stump with Marco Rubio on Monday in Cobb County

Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is set to campaign with Republican Brian Kemp and other down-ticket candidates on Monday in vote-rich Cobb County, one of the few Georgia counties that he carried during his 2016 run for president.  Rubio will appear with Kemp and Geoff Duncan, the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor, at 9:45 on Monday at the Goldbergs in the Battery. He’ll follow that...
AJC, Channel 2 donate $80,000 to support government transparency

AJC, Channel 2 donate $80,000 to support government transparency

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News on Wednesday night donated $80,000 to the Georgia First Amendment Foundation to promote citizen access to public records and institutions in the state. The donation resulted from the AJC and Channel 2’s recently concluded efforts to bring the city of Atlanta into compliance with the Georgia Open Records Act. The AJC, Channel 2 and the...
‘Not by a longshot’ Scathing new attack ad aims at Kemp 

‘Not by a longshot’ Scathing new attack ad aims at Kemp 

Brian Kemp might be hoping that voters forget the shotgun-toting image that helped him win the GOP nomination. Georgia Democrats are doing everything they can to remind them.  The state party launched a scathing new attack ad Thursday that opens with footage of that controversial commercial, which featured Kemp pointing a shotgun toward his daughter’s date.  Then it ticks...
The Jolt: A ‘legal mob’ accuses the Georgia GOP of libel

The Jolt: A ‘legal mob’ accuses the Georgia GOP of libel

Earlier this week, we ventured that this 2018 election season might be the most litigated on record, pointing to the spate of federal lawsuits over voter registration and the dismissal of absentee ballots in Gwinnett County. Picking up language generated out of Washington, the state GOP has accused a “legal mob” for targeting Brian Kemp’s practices as secretary of state...
He said Georgia insurers own regulator. Now industry donors favor him.

He said Georgia insurers own regulator. Now industry donors favor him.

When Republican candidate Jim Beck was asked during a pre-primary debate about the coziness between the insurance commissioner’s office and the industry it regulates, he didn’t shy away from the question. “It’s as crooked as a dog’s hind leg,” he said. “The industry owns it, and it’s time the people owned it.” But Beck, the Republican nominee to...
Some Georgia counties to lose Blue Cross coverage under Obamacare

Some Georgia counties to lose Blue Cross coverage under Obamacare

With open enrollment for Obamacare weeks away, Blue Cross customers across several Georgia counties have received letters from the insurance giant saying their health plan will no longer exist there next year. Bob Roberts, a radio announcer in Vidalia, thought it was just a renewal letter, he said. “But it wasn’t.” “I mean what am I going to do?” he asked. “We&rsquo...
Abrams rallies with seniors ousted from Black Voters Matter bus 

Abrams rallies with seniors ousted from Black Voters Matter bus 

Augusta – Stacey Abrams took a campaign detour to the scene of one of the more controversial moments of this year’s election: A senior center where county officials prevented a third-party group from taking elderly black residents to a voting site.  At a stop early Tuesday in Louisville, the Democratic candidate for governor met with several of the voters taken off the bus and urged...
Experience, crime fuel debate in attorney general race

Experience, crime fuel debate in attorney general race

In a statewide race between two unlikely candidates, an issue generally confined to the local level has taken center stage. The Republican incumbent, Attorney General Chris Carr, and his Democrat opponent, Charlie Bailey, a former Fulton prosecutor, agree: Gangs constitute a growing threat to public safety. There’s even a consensus on how best to deal with the problem. But the agreement ends...
Kemp ad assails Abrams’ actions on sex offender, trafficking bills

Kemp ad assails Abrams’ actions on sex offender, trafficking bills

In the tight race for governor, supporters of Republican Brian Kemp launched a new television ad Friday targeting female voters on the issue of sexual assault. The ad features a mother of two, identified only as Amy, who backs Kemp and blasts Abrams over her response, as a legislator, to proposed legislation dealing with human trafficking and sex offenders. Amy says she was a victim of sexual violence...
Democrat Abrams comes out with ad about her work with Republicans

Democrat Abrams comes out with ad about her work with Republicans

State Democrats are out with a new ad declaring that Stacey Abrams, their nominee for governor, has the background and track record to help Georgia advance without “tearing each other down.” The ad, titled “Faith,” began airing on Atlanta television on Wednesday and is paid for by the Democratic Party of Georgia. It’s similar to one that her GOP rival, Secretary of State...
On the Georgia trail: A tougher-talking Abrams and ‘condescending’ ag remarks

On the Georgia trail: A tougher-talking Abrams and ‘condescending’ ag remarks

Brunswick - Not so long ago, Stacey Abrams avoided many direct attacks on Republican Brian Kemp even as he pummeled her relentlessly. Not anymore.  At campaign stops this week, she repeatedly laced into her GOP rival over a slew of his policies.  On his $600 million plan to raise teacher pay? “I’m not going to make false promises to our teachers because a gimmick is...
Georgia 6th: Handel opponent draws abortion contrast

Georgia 6th: Handel opponent draws abortion contrast

Lucy McBath, U.S. Rep. Karen Handel’s Democratic opponent, is using her latest ad to delve into abortion rights, one of the starkest policy differences in the 6th District Congressional race.  The gun control advocate highlighted Handel’s vote in favor of a bill that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in the spot, which debuted today on local network and cable stations...
Gwinnett school board candidates face off in forum

Gwinnett school board candidates face off in forum

The four newcomers vying for two Gwinnett County board of education seats  were like-minded on most issues during the only candidate forum dedicated to those races. But when they differed, the crowd of about 100 voiced their concerns. Not surprisingly, sex education, testing, arming teachers and student discipline elicited the strongest audience reaction. Republican Steve Knudsen is running...
New poll shows razor-thin race for Georgia governor and solid Trump approvals 

New poll shows razor-thin race for Georgia governor and solid Trump approvals 

A new poll released Wednesday shows a neck-and-neck race for Georgia governor, solid approval ratings for President Donald Trump and that voters are more likely to support Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation than oppose it. The Reuters/Ipsos/University of Virginia Center for Politics poll had Kemp leading Abrams 47-46, a statistically insignificant difference within the margin...
Celebrities, candidates make their pitch to young Georgia voters

Celebrities, candidates make their pitch to young Georgia voters

One day last week, two prominent figures who have little in common politically visited two universities in Georgia with the same goal: encouraging students to register and vote in next month’s elections. The morning visit by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., popular among progressives, to Clayton State University and the evening visit by Donald Trump Jr., son of the Republican president,...
Cobb voters energized by governor’s race wait 3 hours for early voting

Cobb voters energized by governor’s race wait 3 hours for early voting

Democracy was built to be a slow, deliberative process. But that sentiment probably doesn’t mean much to Cobb County residents getting into a three-hour line to vote. Janine Eveler, head of elections in Cobb, said that was the estimated wait time Wednesday morning to cast a ballot for the midterm election. Many were there to vote for gubernatorial candidates Democrat Stacey Abrams or Republican...
Third time’s a charm: Pence to raise cash for Kemp - but this time in D.C.

Third time’s a charm: Pence to raise cash for Kemp - but this time in D.C.

Vice President Mike Pence has twice had to scrap a fundraiser for Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp because of hurricanes. In September, it was Florence. Last week, it was Michael. Perhaps a third attempt would have raised questions about cause-and-effect. Our WSB Radio colleague Jamie Dupree spotted this on Pence’s Wednesday schedule in Washington at 5 p.m.: &ldquo...
Ex-Rep. Tom Price donates thousands to aid Georgia GOP allies 

Ex-Rep. Tom Price donates thousands to aid Georgia GOP allies 

A donor caught our eye as we skimmed through U.S. Rep. Karen Handel’s latest campaign finance filings this week: one Thomas Edmunds Price. A political action committee linked to the former health secretary and Sixth District congressman donated $2,000 to his successor last month, the new fundraising report shows. Turns out Price, who has largely laid low since resigning under pressure in...
The Jolt: On paper, Brian Kemp doesn’t know how brother-in-law makes a living

The Jolt: On paper, Brian Kemp doesn’t know how brother-in-law makes a living

Under state law, when they file campaign disclosure reports, candidates are supposed to list the names, addresses, occupations and employers of donors as a way of helping the public know who is bankrolling their bids for office. Campaigns are good about listing the first two, but some are better than others with that last bit. Take Brian Kemp’s Republican campaign for governor, for instance...
How Exact Match 2.0 happened -- but the real question is why

How Exact Match 2.0 happened -- but the real question is why

This 2018 election could become one of the most litigated in state history. Already, in June, we saw Georgia’s practice of purging from its rolls hundreds of thousands of voters, some dead and many others simply disinterested, given shelter by the U.S. Supreme Court. Monday brought a lawsuit that asked a federal judge to ponder why Gwinnett County, a rapidly changing community with 9 percent...
Georgia nominee’s firm demands GOP stop discrimination suit attacks

Georgia nominee’s firm demands GOP stop discrimination suit attacks

Attorneys for the company headed by the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor sent letters to the state’s top two Republican campaigns demanding that they stop “making false statements” about a discrimination lawsuit filed against the business. Jack Cooper, a truck-hauling company led by Sarah Riggs Amico, sent the letters Monday requesting Amico’s opponent, former state...
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