Michelle Nunn steps carefully into a national CO2 debate

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's new proposal to slash carbon emissions was big news across the country on Monday. As Matt Kempner reports on the front page of today's AJC, Georgia will have to make the sixth-biggest emission cuts in the nation under the state-by-state plan.

Georgia Republicans were eager to blast the EPA, including Senate hopeful Jack Kingston, who said the proposal "will have devastating and disastrous results for Georgia."

Georgia's Democrats were mostly silent. Not one of the state's five U.S. House Democrats wanted to weigh in when contacted Monday.

Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn, then, had to carry the banner with a very careful statement that included a big hug for Georgia Power. Nunn neither blasted the EPA as her Kentucky counterpart Alison Lundergan Grimes did, nor give it the Harry Reid seal of approval. Here is Nunn's statement in full:

"Reducing carbon pollution is vital for our kids health, our national security and our long-term economic prosperity, but we must do so in a manner that protects a diverse energy supply, is affordable for consumers, and encourages job growth through innovation of new technologies and renewable energy sources.

"Georgia businesses like Georgia Power have been on the leading edge in both working to reduce carbon pollution and providing energy security for America -- especially when it comes to natural gas, solar, and nuclear sources. My support for any final plan to reduce carbon emissions will rest heavily on whether Georgia will get credit for the progress we have already made in providing cleaner, more affordable energy."

Georgia Power, for its part, told Kempner that at first blush, the carbon rule appears to "infringe upon states' authority to determine the best approach for their own generating sources."

UPDATE 1:20 p.m.: Albany Democratic Rep. Sanford Bishop chimed in with skepticism. From his statement:

"At first glance, I am deeply concerned that states like Georgia may face a disproportionate burden in complying with these proposed regulations. Without the proper vetting and feedback, the EPA's proposed regulations' ultimate impact could be the reduction of energy generation, higher energy prices for consumers, the closure of power plants, and the loss of thousands of jobs."


Over at the Washington Post, Chris Cillizza offers a defense of "hiding" candidates – and why the strategy makes sense for some. His example is Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Kentucky, but one could also simply substitute "Nunn" for "Grimes." To wit:

Neither of those goals are served by her spending oodles of time meeting and greeting voters who may, at best, be kind-of, sort-of paying attention to the race at the moment. Raising money -- particularly at the rate Grimes needs to collect it -- is best done in private, taking advantage of the fact that she is running against liberals' most-hated Republican. (Grimes will be in D.C. later this week to raise money with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.) To date, she's done quite well for herself with more than $8 million raised since last July.


As transit-starved Clayton County nears a potential vote to join the MARTA system, any dose of news becomes ammo for both sides of the argument. Gov. Nathan Deal added his own take on Monday.

Shortly after announcing a new outsource center would create 1,100 more jobs in south metro Atlanta, the governor was asked about the potential for a MARTA link that could bring bus and rail service to the county.

"That's not something I have real participation in," he said. "But I do think that when you see more jobs coming to that county, it adds some momentum to connectivity with MARTA."

Deal isn't taking sides in the potential vote, and his word in a heavily-Democratic county probably wouldn't help much, anyway. But it came as somewhat of a surprise that Deal, who like most Republicans doesn't often praise the transit system, was positive about its extension. When asked about the county's future, he noted that the demise of Clayton's bus system has hampered the county's economic revival. Said Deal:

"Obviously all of us understood that when the bus network shut down, it did create some hardships for those who were dependent on coming back into the Atlanta city for purposes of employment. One of the things you could argue is that with the creation of jobs in their own county, the necessity of more of their population needing to migrate into the city has diminished."


Gov. Nathan Deal said shortly after his primary victory that he wouldn't be paying attention to the outside spending on his race. Even if it's aimed at helping his campaign.

He stuck to that line on Monday when asked his take Monday on the ad blitz by the Republican Governor's Association, which targets Democrat Jason Carter's advocacy for an expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The governor said he only just saw the attack ad Sunday night while taking  a TV break.

"That's the first time I had seen it. I've taken a hands-off approach to anything any outside group does, including the RGA," he said. "Let me just reserve my comments on that one."

Carter, meanwhile, is raising money for his own advertisement rollout to counter the GOP barrage. He has a June 11 fundraiser scheduled at a Huntsville law firm and his campaign has already snapped up TV airtime this month for the forthcoming ad.


While on the coast, the gubernatorial campaign of Democrat Jason Carter did some number-crunching for the Savannah Morning News:

However, last month's primary turnout of just under 20 percent doesn't bode well for Democrats. Carter received 304,243 votes to the Republicans' 596,218 votes, of which Deal captured 72.2 percent. And nearly 60,000 more Republicans than Democrats participated in early voting.

Carter's campaign believes upward of 600,000 Democrats who aren't registered to vote are in the state. Registering and getting just 200,000 of them to vote in November, campaign officials calculate, will give them the win.


State Rep. David Wilkerson, D-Austell, has asked the Cobb County school board to investigate one of its members, David Morgan, for allegedly violating the board's code of ethics.

His sin isn't lobbying for his employer at the state Capitol -- Morgan works for the American Federation for Children, a school-choice group.

Rather, Wilkerson argues that, in pressing for school vouchers, Morgan is working against the Cobb public school system. From the Marietta Daily Journal:

"When students were facing fewer days at school, reduced bus service, and other draconian cuts, it was clear to me that it was the responsibility of every board member to fight for every dollar they can to protect the students in their school system, not ensuring that additional state dollars go to private schools."


The Government Affairs Council of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce – the political arm of the largest business group in the state -- gathers on St. Simons Island later this week.

A topic on the Wednesday agenda: "Social Radicals & Their Influence on Georgia's Political Landscape," an address by Charlie Harper, a PeachPundit contributor who is now executive director of PolicyBEST, a middle-of-the-road advocacy group.

On Thursday’s line-up: An assessment of the Georgia Coalition for Job Creation, the chamber’s effort to impact state legislative races. The speakers are a Marietta triangle of political strategists: Chip Lake, Chris Carpenter and Mitch Hunter.


The hyped to death "tea party vs. establishment" narrative reaches its crest tonight in a Mississippi GOP primary pitting longtime U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran against young upstart Chris McDaniel.

The New York Times' Jonathan Martin instead uses the moment to write about the shifting Republican Party across the South -- and what one-party rule hath wrought. The full piece is worth a read, but here's a slice:

As the Democrats' regional fortunes have waned and Republicans have taken over statehouses and congressional delegations, the cultural and ideological divisions of the so-called Dixiecrats are now found under a different party banner. With the Republican nomination tantamount to victory in the general election, incumbents are increasingly facing primaries, the contests are growing more heated, and interest groups are taking sides in a way that underscores the primacy of the nominating process.

"Any time you have a dominant system, you begin to develop the competition inside the system, which is actually quite a tribute to how far the Republicans have come — they're now big enough they can actually fight one another," said the former House speaker Newt Gingrich, an architect of the modern Republican Party in Georgia.

A tribute to success, maybe. But supporters of Mr. Cochran and Senator Lindsey Graham, the establishment-aligned South Carolinian, who is facing a primary challenge next week, are not celebrating. Neither are Alabama Republican leaders, who, just four years after taking over the Statehouse, are watching 27 legislators grapple with primaries on Tuesday.


For history teachers searching for examples of life imitating art: Thailand, in the midst of a military coup, may be taking cues from Hollywood. From the Bangkok News:

The military's National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) is having a headache clarifying whether a person flashing the anti-coup three-finger sign is guilty, should be arrested and such gesture is doable.

Army deputy spokesman Col Winthai Suwaree said the NCPO would first look at the intention of those holding up three fingers — a gesture from the Hunger Games movies used as an anti-coup symbol — before deciding on what action to be taken.