Politics

AJC poll: Most Democrats haven’t decided on governor’s race

AJC poll: Most Democrats haven’t decided on governor’s race

More than half of likely Georgia Democratic voters still haven’t decided who will get their vote in next month’s primary election for governor, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Channel 2 Action News poll released Thursday. The survey underscored the unpredictable nature of the May 22 vote pitting former House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams against ex-state Rep. Stacey Evans...
Georgia teachers calm amid demands elsewhere for pay, funding

Georgia teachers calm amid demands elsewhere for pay, funding

Teachers have been agitating for more pay in several states, demonstrating and even walking off the job, but Georgia will likely avoid their wrath. Politicians in this state risked a teacher backlash by giving more money to private schools during this year’s legislative session and by increasing the funding for state charter schools, but they balanced that with an increase in the overall public...

FAQ about the AJC’s 2018 Democratic primary poll

Who conducted the poll? The poll was conducted for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News by the School of Public and International Affairs Survey Research Center at the University of Georgia. Students made the calls, under the direction of M.V. “Trey” Hood III, the director of the center and a professor of political science. Who selected the questions? The AJC created...
Sonny Perdue names ex-Senate colleague to an agriculture post in Rome

Sonny Perdue names ex-Senate colleague to an agriculture post in Rome

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Thursday that he has appointed a former Georgia Senate colleague to an overseas post. Former Senate president pro tem Tommie Williams, a Republican from Lyons, will serve as minister-counselor for agriculture in the U.S. Mission to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome. Rome, Italy. Not Rome, Ga. Not bad for a fellow who started as...
Reparations on group’s '2022' agenda; Abrams steers clear of issue

Reparations on group’s '2022' agenda; Abrams steers clear of issue

The flyer touting an event with Stacey Abrams in Atlanta earlier this week read like a left-leaning activist’s fantasy: It’s 2022 and “we’re celebrating Medicare for All and Free College, and next on the agenda is Reparations.”  It invited progressives to hop in a time machine and imagine they are hearing from Abrams, a former Georgia House Democratic leader running...
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter won’t attend Barbara Bush’s funeral

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter won’t attend Barbara Bush’s funeral

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter will not be at Barbara Bush’s funeral Saturday. “President and Mrs. Carter regret that they are unable to attend,” the Carter Center in Atlanta said in a statement Thursday morning. “President Carter will be on a private trip overseas, and although she is recovering, Mrs. Carter is not yet able to travel following her recent intestinal surgery...
Voter registration deadline is Tuesday for Georgia primary election

Voter registration deadline is Tuesday for Georgia primary election

The deadline to register to vote in Georgia’s primary election is Tuesday. The May 22 primary election will feature Republican and Democratic races for Congress, governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, the General Assembly and more. Georgia citizens can sign up to vote online at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov or through the GA SOS app for Apple and Android cellphones...
The Jolt: Nathan Deal, Georgia Power, and a clout-heavy game of musical chairs

The Jolt: Nathan Deal, Georgia Power, and a clout-heavy game of musical chairs

If you’ve been stricken with doubts about Georgia Power’s continued influence in the state, let a press release sent out Wednesday by Gov. Nathan Deal put your mind at ease.  The governor announced he had tapped the utility’s chief executive, Paul Bowers, for a coveted spot on the governing board of the Georgia Ports Authority. That required Bowers to give up another influential...
Primary election will lead to turnover in Georgia Legislature

Primary election will lead to turnover in Georgia Legislature

Next month’s primary elections feature races for 20 open seats in the Georgia General Assembly along with challenges to several vulnerable incumbents, potentially shaking up the state’s balance of power. All but one of the 20 seats without an incumbent are currently held by Republicans, creating an opportunity for Democrats to make inroads in the Georgia House and Senate. Five of those...
Tippins targets ‘strip club’ Cagle and ‘Benedict’ Hill 

Tippins targets ‘strip club’ Cagle and ‘Benedict’ Hill 

The bumbling Casey Cagle lookalike is back. And this time he’s joined by a furtive Hunter Hill impersonator. Republican Clay Tippins debuted a new TV ad Thursday for the homestretch of the GOP primary race that’s backed by $500,000 in spending. And the Navy SEAL takes square aim at the two candidates considered to be at the top of the heap in the GOP primary. It opens with the faux-Cagle...
Cagle promotes ‘great session’ in official letters to superintendents

Cagle promotes ‘great session’ in official letters to superintendents

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is leveraging his public office in the final weeks before the GOP primary by sending letters to local superintendents touting his record on education.  The Republican front-runner for governor sent the dispatches on his office letterhead to each school superintendent earlier this month with estimates of how much their district will receive from an extra infusion cash. Gov...
Kempner: Ignore call from boss? Georgia shifts on distracted driving

Kempner: Ignore call from boss? Georgia shifts on distracted driving

Georgia’s new distracted driving rules are confusing and watered down, but they give Georgians a legal excuse not to work in their cars and to ignore calls from bosses and customers. Some workaholics won’t take the hint. Not when they spend all that time brewing in Atlanta’s traffic. Not when plenty of employees and business owners have learned that the virtual office is everywhere...
Atlanta City Hall bribery probe: Feds eye mayor’s deputy chief of staff

Atlanta City Hall bribery probe: Feds eye mayor’s deputy chief of staff

Nearly six years ago a man who had defrauded elderly investors out of more than $1 million convinced the City of Atlanta that he could turn restaurant grease into fuel and prevent it from being illegally dumped. Now federal investigators want to know how his scheme slid past the City Council and the nature of his relationship to the mayor’s deputy chief of staff: Katrina Taylor Parks. Two subpoenas...
Deal appoints two Georgia Power execs to state boards

Deal appoints two Georgia Power execs to state boards

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal announced Wednesday that he’s appointed two Georgia Power executives to two of the state’s most influential boards. Paul Bowers, who had been on the Georgia Board of Regents, was appointed to the Georgia Ports Authority. Deal appointed Chris Cummiskey to fill the vacancy on the Board of Regents. Bowers is the chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power, the...
Melania Trump, Clintons, Obamas attending Barbara Bush’s funeral

Melania Trump, Clintons, Obamas attending Barbara Bush’s funeral

An awe-inspiring array of first ladies and presidents will pay their respects to one of their own on Saturday. First Lady Melania Trump will attend Barbara Bush’s funeral in Houston, her spokesperson confirmed Wednesday. Joining Mrs. Trump at the private service for Bush will be Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack and Michelle Obama, their offices confirmed.  On Thursday morning, Jimmy...
Barbara Bush: Where to donate, post tributes in her honor

Barbara Bush: Where to donate, post tributes in her honor

Barbara Bush was much more than a presidential spouse and mother. She was a force for good in her own right, especially when it came to championing literacy. Bush, who died in Houston on Tuesday at the age of 92, first adopted literacy as a cause in the 1980s when her husband, George H.W. Bush, was vice president. She eventually established the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. Ultimately...
Operator of S. Georgia immigration detention center hit with lawsuit

Operator of S. Georgia immigration detention center hit with lawsuit

Three men who have been held in a South Georgia immigration detention center filed a federal class-action lawsuit this week against the private company that operates the facility, alleging the company is forcing detainees to cook and clean there for as little as $1 a day as part of a profit-making scheme. Filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Columbus, the lawsuit accuses Nashville-based...
Georgia 2018: Abrams wins LGBT advocacy group’s endorsement 

Georgia 2018: Abrams wins LGBT advocacy group’s endorsement 

The state’s most prominent gay rights advocacy group endorsed Stacey Abrams, the latest left-leaning organization to support the Democrat’s campaign for governor ahead of May 22 primary.  Georgia Equality said it backed the former Georgia House minority leader over her rival, ex-state Rep. Stacey Evans, after an extensive process that included surveys and interviews. Both have championed...
When the opioid crisis touched Johnny Isakson’s family

When the opioid crisis touched Johnny Isakson’s family

In December 2016, the obituary for 25-year-old Charles Daniel “Charley” Joyner, grandson of U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, listed the young man’s love for wrestling and his 3.95 GPA in math at Georgia Southern, where he had been about to receive his diploma. What wasn’t mentioned was the cause of death. In Washington, The Hill newspaper is attempting to show the ubiquitous nature...
Comey urges his successor in FBI to ‘stay the course’ 

Comey urges his successor in FBI to ‘stay the course’ 

FBI Director Chris Wray is facing the threat of impeachment over his handling of documents related to an investigation into President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia. His predecessor, Jim Comey, had some advice for the Atlanta attorney.  “Just be you, just stay the course, do the right thing,” Comey told Channel 2 political reporter Richard Elliot. “In the long...
Torpy at Large: Hey, Gov. Deal, don’t allow cities to cannibalize

Torpy at Large: Hey, Gov. Deal, don’t allow cities to cannibalize

Gov. Nathan Deal has not been afraid to use his veto when the Legislature, in all its wisdom, passes a bill that needs to be strangled and quickly buried. Two years ago, he shot down a “religious liberty” bill to avoid a business-sapping controversy. He also stopped the campus carry gun law (although a year later he allowed a watered-down version to become law). Both were big-time...

PolitiFact: Women’s pay-lag figure can be misapplied

On April 10, “Equal Pay Day,” Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., tweeted out her support for an end to differential pay for men and women. But there’s a problem with her tweet: The statistics showing that women earn 80 percent of what men earn are overall comparisons and do not specifically compare men and women in the same jobs. After we reached out to Smith’s office, she sent a new...
Barbara Bush’s heartfelt link to Georgia went back 73 years

Barbara Bush’s heartfelt link to Georgia went back 73 years

As the wife of one president and the mother of another, Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday at the age of 92, spent time in Georgia both on and off the campaign trail. But it was an affair of the heart that first brought her here 73 years ago, when she married the dashing young Navy pilot  George H.W. Bush when he was home on leave from World War II. The wedding took place on Jan. 6, 1945 in the 19-year-old...
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter mourn passing of Barbara Bush

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter mourn passing of Barbara Bush

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter on Tuesday night mourned the death of former first lady Barbara Bush, calling attention to her generous spirit, gregarious nature and devotion to family. “Rosalynn and I are saddened by the death of Barbara Bush,” the couple said In a statement released by the Carter Center not long after the news of the 92-year-old Bush’s passing in Houston “She touched...
Atlanta corruption probe seeks former Mayor Kasim Reed’s records

Atlanta corruption probe seeks former Mayor Kasim Reed’s records

The sprawling federal investigation into Atlanta City Hall corruption has now reached the office of former Mayor Kasim Reed. An April 6 subpoena from a federal grand jury demands information about charges made to Reed’s city-issued credit card, along with information about Reed’s brother, Tracy; political consultant Rev. Mitzi Bickers, who was indicted on bribery charges last week; and...
As an apostle of Donald Trump’s impeachment makes his case, remember Newt Gingrich

As an apostle of Donald Trump’s impeachment makes his case, remember Newt Gingrich

To impeach or not to impeach. That’s not the question. The dilemma for Democrats is whether to broach the topic at all. California billionaire Tom Steyer, he of the non-stop “Need to Impeach” ads on cable TV news, clearly thinks they should. My advice? I say, “Remember Newt Gingrich.” But that can wait. Steyer, who was in Atlanta on Monday, has spent enough money on his...
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia and Piedmont have a ‘handshake deal’

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia and Piedmont have a ‘handshake deal’

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia and Piedmont Healthcare have struck a deal to renew their contract, Gov. Nathan Deal said Tuesday. The governor in a tweet called it a “handshake deal.” “The handshake deal means that we have full agreement on the major issues of the contract, and what remains is for us to put that all on paper and sign it,” said Matt Gove, a spokesman for...
Neo-Nazis – and about 400 cops – will be in Newnan on Saturday

Neo-Nazis – and about 400 cops – will be in Newnan on Saturday

The city of Newnan, mindful of the violence last year in Charlottesville, is going into full defense mode for a neo-Nazi rally planned there on Saturday. The National Socialist Movement, a far-right hate group, has a city permit for a rally at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Greenville Street Park, a few blocks from Newnan’s court square. The group’s application anticipated between 50 and 100 people...
Early voting for the May 22 Georgia primary

Early voting for the May 22 Georgia primary

On May 22, voters across metro Atlanta and Georgia will cast  ballots in the Republican and Democratic primaries, nonpartisan and special elections.  Voters who want to beat the crowd on Election Day can vote early beginning on April 30. The most prominent election on May 22 will be for governor. The Democrats and Republicans have contested primaries to choose nominees to replace Gov...
In Georgia, calls for Trump impeachment met with caution, zeal, scorn

In Georgia, calls for Trump impeachment met with caution, zeal, scorn

To some Democrats, billionaire Tom Steyer is a heaven-sent financier with a powerful message built around impeaching Donald Trump. To others, he’s a rogue who could threaten the party’s midterm election hopes at a time when Democrats can ill afford a distraction. The California philanthropist this week brought his national movement — dubbed Need to Impeach — to Atlanta, where...
At small business forum, Georgia gov candidates sharpen economic message 

At small business forum, Georgia gov candidates sharpen economic message 

The leading candidates for Georgia governor honed their economic policies Tuesday at a forum hosted by the Georgia chapter of National Federation of Independent Business.  The event, moderated by the AJC’s Jim Galloway, featured Democrats Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans along with Republicans Casey Cagle, Hunter Hill and Clay Tippins. Brian Kemp appeared on video and Michael Williams, a...
Dem candidates steer clear of Trump impeachment debate

Dem candidates steer clear of Trump impeachment debate

Many of the Democrats challenging GOP incumbents in the north Atlanta suburbs say it’s too soon for their party to push for impeaching President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill.  Few if any of the Democrats seeking to unseat U.S. Reps. Karen Handel and Rob Woodall in Georgia’s 6th and 7th congressional districts are publicly embracing the campaign from some prominent liberals, including...
How to hack elections on Georgia’s electronic voting machines

How to hack elections on Georgia’s electronic voting machines

A rapt audience watched as professor Alex Halderman, an expert on electronic voting machines, changed votes in a hypothetical election before their eyes. At a Georgia Tech demonstration this week, Halderman showed how to rig an election by infecting voting machines with malware that guaranteed a chosen candidate would always win. Four people from the audience voted on the same kind of touch-screen...
The Jolt: Nathan Deal’s pick for PSC gets GOP foe with tea party, solar backing

The Jolt: Nathan Deal’s pick for PSC gets GOP foe with tea party, solar backing

So it turns out that, this spring, tea partyer Debbie Dooley won’t be camping out in north Georgia in an attempt to unseat House Speaker David Ralston – as she has in the past. Instead, Dooley is focused on giving Nathan Deal a bit of heartburn, championing a Republican solar advocate against Tricia Pridemore, the governor’s handpicked choice for state Public Service Commissioner...
In Atlanta, a sober push to impeach Trump aims to take root

In Atlanta, a sober push to impeach Trump aims to take root

Almost as soon as he took the stage Monday in Atlanta, California billionaire Tom Steyer spoke gravely about the national movement to impeach President Donald Trump.  It’s a serious issue to openly broach, he said, but our “democracy is under attack.” “We don’t view this as a partisan issue,” added Steyer. “We view this as a question of patriotism.&rdquo...
Planned Parenthood endorses Abrams, making waves in Democratic race  

Planned Parenthood endorses Abrams, making waves in Democratic race  

Planned Parenthood endorsed Stacey Abrams in the race for governor Monday, giving the former House Democratic leader a powerful new ally while dashing her rival’s hopes that the abortion rights group would stay neutral in the contest.  Staci Fox, the president of Planned Parenthood Southeast, said Abrams was an “unwavering champion for reproductive health and rights” and said...
Ga. lawmakers stockpile cash in anticipation of tough midterm climate

Ga. lawmakers stockpile cash in anticipation of tough midterm climate

Some of Georgia’s GOP members of Congress stepped up their campaign fundraising during the first three months of the year, stockpiling cash as party leaders warn about a tough political climate in the upcoming midterm elections.  U.S. Rep. Karen Handel, R-Roswell, who won the most expensive House race of all time last year, raised $375,000 between Jan. 1 and the end of March, according...
Podcast: Where do Georgia’s 2018 candidates stand on immigration?

Podcast: Where do Georgia’s 2018 candidates stand on immigration?

Immigration is an issue to watch in Georgia’s major 2018 races. The AJC’s Jeremy Redmon and Greg Bluestein reported last month that Georgia’s GOP candidates for governor “put a bull’s-eye on illegal immigration.” Redmon also reported that a Georgia congressional candidate took aim at Trump over DACA in a new ad and many first-and second-generation...
Clarke County sheriff limiting cooperation with ICE amid crackdown

Clarke County sheriff limiting cooperation with ICE amid crackdown

The Clarke County Sheriff’s Office in Athens has announced it is joining a growing number of Georgia law enforcement agencies that are limiting cooperation with federal immigration authorities in their jails. The move by Clarke Sheriff Ira Edwards Jr. comes amid threats from the Trump administration to cut off federal funding to so-called “sanctuary cities” across the nation...
Georgia 2018: Abrams debuts TV, online ads in race for governor

Georgia 2018: Abrams debuts TV, online ads in race for governor

Black women may be the key demographic in next month’s Democratic primary. But Stacey Abrams, running to be the nation’s first black female governor, went after a different bloc of voters with her first ads. The 30-second digital spot unveiled over the weekend features a trio of men praising the former state legislative leader’s economic policy. “She’s fighting against...
Gingrich parts ways with mega-law firm

Gingrich parts ways with mega-law firm

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and the Dentons mega-giant law firm are parting ways.  The firm said Monday in a statement that it ended a three-year relationship with the ex-Georgia politician.  The Daily Report has more:  Gingrich represented a northwest Atlanta district in the U.S. House for about 20 years and led the chamber for four years.  He launched a campaign for...
The Jolt: Clarke County sheriff says he won’t detain ICE targets without warrant

The Jolt: Clarke County sheriff says he won’t detain ICE targets without warrant

As the weekend broke, Blake Aued of Flagpole magazine in Athens dropped this bit of news: The decision reverses a policy that Sheriff Ira Edwards had instituted in July, which had drawn criticism when it was made public in July. More: You can expect to hear a good deal more about this. Athens is home to Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a Republican candidate for governor who has made illegal...
Georgia’s top candidates: Make harassment complaints publicly available

Georgia’s top candidates: Make harassment complaints publicly available

Georgia law doesn’t require the public release of sexual harassment complaints filed against lawmakers, or the taxpayer-funded settlements they may trigger. The leading candidates for Georgia governor want that changed. Both the Democratic candidates for governor and each of the five top Republicans told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution they support expanding Georgia’s sunshine laws to...
Georgia governor kicks off week of high-stakes meetings 

Georgia governor kicks off week of high-stakes meetings 

Gov. Nathan Deal has a string of high-stakes meetings this week that starts Monday with a sit-down between deadlocked healthcare officials and continues in New York on Tuesday in meetings with analysts over Georgia’s AAA bond rating.  The governor will meet early Monday with leaders from Piedmont Healthcare and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia to try to break an impasse after a contract...
Stacey Abrams outlines higher education plan for Georgia

Stacey Abrams outlines higher education plan for Georgia

Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams on Saturday laid out her plans to make college more affordable for students, increase accessibility and make campuses safer. Her proposals include: Needs-based aid for low-income students that would be called HOPE 2.0, restoring tuition-free certificates and diplomas for students with at least a 2.0 grade-point average, a “Cradle...
Stacey Abrams, Stone Mountain, and the art of the possible

Stacey Abrams, Stone Mountain, and the art of the possible

You might think that the hazards behind Michael Thurmond’s effort to shift the history told at Stone Mountain Park lie on the Republican side, currently the party of choice for most Sons of Confederate Veterans. And indeed, that’s partly true. There’s opposition there. But when you are an African-American leader in search of middle ground, trying to pull on that common thread that...
Hospital thought it had answer for rural struggles. Now it’s in peril.

Hospital thought it had answer for rural struggles. Now it’s in peril.

On April 12 last year, an investigator for the insurance giant Blue Cross Blue Shield sent a bombshell letter to the owner of a small North Georgia hospital, Chestatee Regional. The investigator laid out evidence of systemic overcharging for urine drug tests, tests that he suggested the Dahlonega facility never should have done in the first place — and maybe never did, at all. The letter touched...
Public review of new Georgia voting system launched

Public review of new Georgia voting system launched

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is moving forward with efforts to replace the state’s electronic voting machines after legislation to do so failed. Kemp announced Friday he’s forming a bipartisan commission of lawmakers, political party leaders, election officials and voters to recommend a new voting system for the state. The group will review options for the state&rsquo...
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