Scenes from Nathan Deal's inaugural ball

Credit: Greg Bluestein

Credit: Greg Bluestein

"Work together, y'all."

That was the message from famed blues singer Francine Reed before she sang "Georgia on My Mind" with folk band Banks & Shane at Gov. Nathan Deal's inaugural bash last night.

More than 1,000 people piled in to The Arena at Gwinnett Center (the brutal traffic to get there may have helped Deal make his case for a new infrastructure tax) to celebrate the governor's second-term. Black tie affairs and country stars made for a long list of memorable moments.

We spotted a few Democrats sprinkled throughout the crowd, including state Rep. Scott Holcomb.

Headliner Alan Jackson pulled at some heartstrings when he played "Small Town Southern Man" as images of Deal's childhood in Sandersville scrolled on the screen behind him. And Deal's staff surprised him with a video montage of his career that featured the governor's strong-man, Chris Riley, choking up as he talked about the man he's worked for more than half his life.


We don't yet know how much Gov. Nathan Deal's inaugural bash cost, but we have a much better idea of who ponied up for the party.

The program featured a long list of inaugural benefactors, from Fortune 500 types to politically-connected Deal allies.

The usual suspects - think: Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, Home Depot, SunTrust and Georgia Power - were all represented. So were longtime Deal allies like Phil Wilheit and Don Leebern. A long list of trial lawyers also popped up on the list, continuing a tradition of giving to Deal that's surprising because big-time plaintiff's attorneys have long underwritten Democratic campaigns in Georgia.

Among the donors from that last camp were the Georgia Trial Lawyer Association, the Civil Justice PAC, Kenneth Shigley, The Malone Law Office and Darren Tobin of Butler Tobin.


McKoon and Rubio

We have photographic evidence

that U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., was in Atlanta on Thursday. Here's a photo that state Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, posted on his Facebook page with the possible presidential aspirant.

No word on what Rubio was up to, but he is touring the country in support of a new book.

Rubio also made time to offer advice via social media to Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, on giving the GOP response to Tuesday's State of the Union address: Hydrate.


Lobbyists, adjust the hairlines on your scopes. Then click here to download your membership list of House committees for this year and next.


We hear that former Sonny Perdue staffer Trey Childress will be heading north for a job as deputy governor and chief operating officer for the state of Illinois.


The parent company of the Marietta Daily Journal has made a successful bid for the Rome News-Tribune and its collection of satellite weeklies. From the MDJ:

Brumby, whose family has been in the newspaper business since 1916, will take over for the Rome News-Tribune's third generation owner, Burgett H. Mooney III, whose family has published the Rome newspaper since 1928.


Most of the attention given to the sacking of Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran has focused on passages in his book concerning homosexuality. But Cochran also had a few choice words for Jews as non-believers in Jesus Christ.

On Thursday, the Anti-Defamation League released a Dec. 22 letter from the organization to Mayor Kasim Reed, calling for Cochran’s ouster – which would not happen until the next month.

The letter can be downloaded here, and appears over the signatures of Mark Moskowitz, the ADL's southeast regional director, and Steven A. Pepper, southeast regional board chairman. A portion:

If the Chief returns to his position, it is likely and understandable that City employees, both within and outside the City of Atlanta Fire Department, will not feel included and respected; and, particularly within the fire department, that they will have concerns and perceptions of a hostile work environment. They may also harbor fears of retaliation if they confront and express different viewpoints than those of the top person in the organizational position of power and authority. This is not only true for LGBT, non-Christian, and individuals who do not identify with any religion, but other Christian employees who do not adhere to the beliefs expressed by the Chief.


The film "Selma" may not have gotten its full due from Oscar, but Obama is on board. The president is hosting a White House screening of the movie -- which was filmed a lot in metro Atlanta and depicts a who's who of the city's civil rights legends -- this evening.