The “Nationalization” of the 2018 Elections in Georgia

The “Nationalization” of the 2018 Elections in Georgia

Former U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill said all politics is local, but he never met Donald Trump.  Anyone planning political strategy in Georgia – no matter how many campaigns they have run or bills they have written – needs to know that there is a new political sun in the state. It’s so huge that its gravitational pull is bending to its orbit everybody and all things governmental. President Trump has “nationalized” Georgia politics. To many Georgians, the major parties’ nominees for governor in 2018 have already been selected: It’s Trump vs. Not Trump, and it’s winner take all. Theree are likely veteran pols in the General Assembly, and even on county commissions and city councils, who could lose seats that they once thought were automatic re-elections because of the epidemic of political fever that has incubated in Washington and metastasized to the states and right down to local precincts. For political consultants, pollsters and the candidates themselves, strategic assumptions once believed to be axiomatic must now be seen through a new lens. In short, nobody can be certain of anything next year and beyond. The reason? We’re in uncharted territory in modern American and Georgia political history. There is no exact precedent. And that’s almost certain to mean unexpected winners and losers. Consider that old bugaboo that causes insomnia for candidates and pollsters and consultants – voter turnout. It’s probably the most elusive – and the most vital – variable of all to measure exactly, even in normal times. And times right now times ain’t normal. Conventional wisdom might have it that the intensity of anti-Trump sentiment among...
Gingrich a Major Hit in Ohio

Gingrich a Major Hit in Ohio

By Gary Reese – The headline of the Drudge Report said it all after former Speaker Newt Gingrich’s strong introduction of GOP presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump in Ohio Wednesday night. With an image of Trump and Gingrich together in profile it read simply “Ready for War.” The former Georgia political leader received a rousing response from thousands who filled a Cincinnati suburban venue to hear Trump. Gingrich, who tangled with then-President Bill Clinton in the 1990s and who used Hillary Clinton’s own version of universal healthcare to take the House in 1994, once again took direct aim at the couple.     The response prompted news outlets and pundits across the nation to speculate that Trump may well have found his running mate for his November showdown with Hillary Clinton.The resulting press led to a sharp rise in Gingrich’s standing in the various on-line prediction markets, where he is a rising favorite. Sources tell InsiderAdvantage that Trump wants to keep all parties guessing as to who will be his ultimate choice until the last possible moment. But reportedly a number of GOP leaders who have been holding back support for Trump are ready to fully endorse Trump if Gingrich becomes the choice for VP. One leading Republican put it bluntly. “Newt gives everyone a level of comfort…they know he will be loyal to Trump and that will include helping him navigate the ways of Washington. And that, in turn, makes many of us more comfortable with Donald Trump.” While a Gingrich pick would not directly deliver any battleground contest, it would likely secure the nation’s ninth largest state,Georgia, which...
Georgia Chamber Council Announces Legislators of the Year

Georgia Chamber Council Announces Legislators of the Year

By Baker Owens – Following each year’s legislative session, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s Government Affairs Council (GAC) recognizes certain legislators for the fealty to the goals of pro-growth and job creation-friendly policy. This year’s honorees were Senator Jeff Mullis (R- 53 Chickamauga) and Representatives John Meadows (R- 5 Calhoun) and Beth Beskin (R- 54 Atlanta). Mullis was elected to the state senate in 2000 and is currently the Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, Chairman of the Economic Development Subcommittee of Senate Appropriations and a member of the Banking and Financial Institutions, Economic Development and Appropriations Committees. He was born and raised in Chickamuga and is the Executive Director of the Northwest Georgia Joint Development Authority. Senator Johnny Isakson has called Mullis “one of the finest public servants I know.” Mullis was honored by the Chamber for being a champion for the business community both in his voting and behind the scenes. Elizabeth Chandler, GAC Chairwoman, said “Senator Mullis has carried Chamber-supported legislation many times and we are fortunate to have him as Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee.” Mullis scored an “A” on the Chamber’s legislative scorecard with the only vote of disagreement with the Chamber being over the Firearms Industry Nondiscrimination Act, a bill called “a solution in search of a problem that no longer exists” by the Chamber. Rep. Meadows, Mullis’ mate as Chairman of the House Rules Committee, is the former 13 year mayor of Calhoun. In addition to the rules committee, he is also on the Governmental Affairs, Industry and Labor, Insurance, Retirement and Game, Fish & Parks Committees. Elected in 2004, his...
Trump Raises Well Over $1 Million at Fundraiser; Picks up Dooley Endorsement at Rally

Trump Raises Well Over $1 Million at Fundraiser; Picks up Dooley Endorsement at Rally

By Gary Reese – GOP presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump reportedly picked up well over $1 million in donations on Wednesday at a fundraiser at the home of Atlanta business legend Charles Loudermilk. But just as important, he picked up the endorsement of the state’s most popular football legend, former UGA coach and athletics director Vince Dooley. The fundraiser was put together in the eleventh hour by Trump’s top Georgia volunteer, highly successful businesswoman Rayna Casey, a longtime top Newt Gingrich top confidante. Gov. Nathan Deal and his wife Sandra were headliners at the event. While Deal and Trump had reportedly never met, insiders say that Deal liked Trump, and in his introduction the governor made it clear that he was supporting him. “The Gingrich organization put this together for Trump and it was very apparent,” said one longtime GOP donor present at the event. “It was Newt’s people, with Rayna leading the charge.” Trump spoke to a group of business, political and civic leaders at the breakfast fundraiser before appearing in front of thousands of supporters at a hastily arranged rally at Atlanta’s Fox Theater. It was there that UGA legend Vince Dooley, at one-time considered a “conservative Democrat,” enthusiastically endorsed Trump onstage. The Dooley endorsement made national headlines. “Vince Dooley in Georgia is equal to Bobby Knight in Indiana,” said Phil Kent, CEO of InsiderAdvantage. “He basically is our state’s top college sports hero of all-time.” Among those present at the morning fundraiser were prominent business leaders, as well as GOP luminaries such as Georgia’s RNC Committeeman Randy Evans. As a side note, Matt Towery, former InsiderAdvantage...
Georgia lawmakers respond to Obama’s transgender student directive

Georgia lawmakers respond to Obama’s transgender student directive

By Cindy Morley – The Obama administration — through a joint letter from the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice — issued a directive on the use of school bathrooms by transgender students. And although the letter does not carry the force of law, school officials seem to be getting a clear message — follow the directive or face loss of federal funding. This directive has erupted a firestorm in north Georgia’s Fannin County. Last week, parents in Fannin County marched in protest of a plan that would allow unisex bathrooms in the schools. Many also packed a meeting room in front of the Fannin County school board after school officials said that Fannin County will follow federal laws that mandate administrators allow transgender students to use the restroom assigned to the gender they identify with. Fannin County Superintendent Mark Henson sent a letter to parents that said the school district stood to lose about $3.5 million in federal funding. But parents have responded by voicing concerns over safety for their children. Some have even threatened to pull their children out of the school system. State School Superintendent Richard Woods said he is studying the issue before making recommendations or taking any action. “Unfortunately we just learned of this action and prefer to carefully consider policy before making recommendations or taking actions,” said Woods is a prepared statement. “With that said, my first priority is to ensure our schools are a safe environment for students. I believe there are safety concerns associated with allowing students of different genders to use the same bathroom. For that reason, I do not...