Donald Trump puts boots on the ground in Georgia

The Donald has some boots on the ground in Georgia. At least two, to be exact.

Weathers served as political consultant for Michael Williams, a Forsyth County tea party activist who defeated longtime state Sen. Jack Murphy, R-Cumming, last year.

From an AJC election night report:

The campaign was a slugfest, with the candidates and outside groups expected to spend a combined $700,000 on the race. Williams made an appeal to independents while Murphy stuck to his establishment roots with the backing of the GOP’s top leaders, including Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.

Along the way, Williams faced questions raised by an anonymous website claiming he went on a $40,000 gambling spree, which Williams’ spokesman called “completely false.” Murphy, too, had a target on his back, especially for when he led the Senate Finance Committee while also being a board member on the failed Integrity Bank.

We’ve put a few calls into Weathers, but he’s apparently waiting until he hires a communications director.

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In case you haven't heard, the Republican presidential candidates are getting together this evening at the Reagan library in Simi Valley, Calif., a debate airing on CNN. One of your Insiders (Malloy) has been dispatched to the West Coast to bring you all the festivities. Check back today and tomorrow for more in this space, and follow him on Twitter @ajconwashington for the inside scoop.

His files from L.A. so far include the evolution of Super PACs, and Donald Trump on a battleship.

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The Marietta Daily Journal reports this morning that Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee has put the idea of a bridge across I-285 for the new Braves stadium in temporary storage:

“We want to make sure we do this right, and we’re already at a point where we’re not going to have it done by first pitch (in 2017) anyway,” Lee said. “So what we decided is I’m going to recommend — when the actual final design comes forward — I’m going to recommend to the Board of Commissioners that we set this aside until the other partners can get all their information together.”
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Our AJC colleague Kristina Torres has a wrap-up of a two-day look by a special House-Senate committee on whether Georgia should permit casino-style gambling. It includes this:
If you listened to casino advocates this week at the state Capitol, Atlanta could be the new mecca of the gambling world. And Georgia lawmakers did little to make anyone think they won’t roll the dice…

MGM Resorts International, whose CEO and president, Jim Murren, also testified. Atlanta, he said, could “easily” support a proposed $1 billion investment by the company. Other opportunities abound in places such as Savannah. Georgians, he said, already spend hundreds of millions of dollars at gaming sites in neighboring states such as Mississippi. How does he know? MGM owns a casino there and has logged 1 million visits annually from the Peach State.

But in the aftermath of Tuesday’s action, we asked state Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City, who chaired the panel, to gauge the prospects of the two gaming measures in question. He made it clear that the decision was beyond his pay grade:

“I think most of us on this committee are still learning. I don’t know if we would be able to get enough consensus to make any kind of recommendation. This may end up just being us developing facts and turning them over to the House and the Senate – to do with as they will. I think we’ve got a long way to go, and a lot of studying to do.”

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The AJC’s Tammy Joyner reports that residents of north Fayette County residents have elected the second black person in that county’s history to represent them on the county commission:

Charles Rousseau, a retired Fulton County government administrator, will fill the unexpired term of the late Fayette County Commissioner Pota Coston. Coston, the first black person ever elected to the county commission, died July 3 after only six months in office. Rousseau will serve as District 5 commissioner until early 2019.

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Aside from gaming, health care may be the most heavily lobbied issue at the state Capitol next year. According to the AJC’s James Salzer and Carrie Teegardin, it just got more expensive:

Some state lawmakers are hot over what they see as a bureaucratic end-run by a politically connected cancer treatment company hoping to gain access to more insured patients from Georgia.

Now there is talk of special legislative committee meetings and lawsuits to stop Cancer Treatment Centers of America from getting what lawmakers wouldn’t approve during the 2015 General Assembly session.

“You can’t do 180 House members and 56 senators that way without there being repercussions,” said Senate Health & Human Services Chairwoman Renee Unterman, R-Buford. “It doesn’t work that way.”

The Department of Community Health board last week tentatively approved a rule change that could allow the company to shed its in-state patient cap. In doing so, it reignited a decade-long war between Georgia’s powerful hospitals and the national cancer treatment chain, two opponents with huge stables of well-connected lobbyists and a track record of generous giving to elected officials.

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Kind thoughts continue to pour in for Democratic consultant Cabral Franklin, son of former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin and late political strategist David Franklin, who died Tuesday at the age of 41. From Mayor Kasim Reed:

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Cabral Franklin. He will be remembered as a devoted father, husband, son and brother. This is a deep loss for the City of Atlanta, and my thoughts and prayers are with the Franklin family."

From Ceasar Mitchell, president of the Atlanta City Council:

“Cabral Franklin was a prince of a man who loved Atlanta. His brilliant mind, kind soul and caring heart for service has had an indelible impact on our beloved city and her people. Most importantly, he was a dedicated husband, father and son. I am honored to have known Cabral, and to have been personally impacted by him as my Morehouse brother and friend. My family extends its deepest sympathies and prayers to his entire family for their loss.”

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We’re told that Jeb Bush Jr. will be in Atlanta for a $50-a-head fundraiser next Wednesday evening at the 5 Seasons Brewery on Marietta Street. It’s an event aimed at young professionals. Jeb! Jr. intends to hit a college campus, yet unnamed, earlier in the day.

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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