The Jolt: Another Democratic incursion into the northern ‘burbs of Atlanta

Word is going 'round that the Democratic National Committee will very soon announce the location for the Nov. 20 presidential debate in Georgia.

We’ve no inside skinny. We can’t tell you whether the location will be at a historically black college or university near downtown Atlanta – a nod to the fact that African-Americans made up 60 percent of last year’s primary electorate. (On the other hand, last month’s debate in Houston was held at an HBCU.)

Or whether it might be held downstate in an attempt to crack President Donald Trump’s hold on rural voters. (Although there’s a serious hotel capacity problem with that theory.)

We ourselves have posited that Democrats might think about a venue in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, to underline the importance of protecting U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta, and seizing the Seventh District in 2020.

This morning, we received a hint that at least someone in the state Democratic party is thinking in this direction. At 2:30 p.m. Sunday, the party will host a training session on how delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee will be selected.

The location? The Alpharetta Public Library, of course.


On Wednesday night, Gov. Brian Kemp was taking selfies with young Republicans on the University of Georgia campus in Athens. From the Red & Black:

"I need y'all to post that photo and say 'The governor is doing what he said he'd do,'" Kemp said, "That matters to people that are your age, and y'all are going to be in our position very soon … We can't rely on the news media or anybody to tell our story. We got to tell it ourselves."

Upstairs in the Zell Miller Learning Center were young Democrats, listening to Ted Terry, the U.S. Senate candidate and mayor of Clarkston. When Terry learned that Kemp was in the building, Terry cut his speech short, slipped on his mayoral hat, and ran down to catch the governor as he left.

The Trump administration recently announced that it would admit only 18,000 refugees into the U.S. in 2020 -- a historic low. Moreover, under the executive order, both state and local governments must provide written consent to receive refugees.

Clarkston has long boasted of itself as the most ethnically diverse square mile in America, and a haven for refugees. But Governor Kemp now has a veto over whether that will continue.

On Wednesday, as Kemp and Terry spoke in Athens, the Clarkston City Council reaffirmed its commitment as a refugee center, and urged the governor to go along.

Upon button-holing Kemp, Mayor Terry gave Kemp a heads up of the request that was headed his way. From the polite follow-up note sent by Terry:

"Thank you for taking the time to speak last night after the UGA Young Republican Meeting. And thank you for agreeing to receive the City of Clarkston's official resolution letter in support of refugee resettlement in Clarkston and our hope that you will give consent to allow them entry into Georgia." 


The Georgia Recorder tells of another potential casualty of Gov. Brian Kemp's ordered budget cuts:

"Let me tell you right before – yesterday, I lobbied the governor's office to get the $500,000 back for (Morehouse)," state Rep. Sharon Cooper, who chairs the House Health and Human Services Committee, said to Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice as the president and dean of the Morehouse School of Medicine prepared to speak Thursday.

Morehouse has expecting $500,000 to help seed its Center for Excellence on Maternal Mortality. The death rate among new mothers in Georgia is the highest in the nation, particularly among African-American women.


We've written a lot about the latest round of financial disclosures, including stories on the millions of dollars that poured into state campaigns, the increasing reliance on loans and the party establishment's split.

Here are a few more tidbits from a review of the disclosures of the four Democrats racing to challenge U.S. Sen. David Perdue:

-- Jon Ossoff raised $520,000 in three weeks through ActBlue, the Democratic small-dollar fundraising tool. That’s more money than any of his three Democratic opponents raised over three months, in total. His contributors include Jim Barksdale, the 2016 Democratic Senate nominee and Laura Seydel, the daughter of Ted Turner.

-- Teresa Tomlinson has collected nearly $300,000 in small-dollar contributions from ActBlue. Her financial backers include former Gov. Roy Barnes, who chipped in $5,600; Leonard Riggio, the founder of Barnes & Noble; Stephanie Stuckey, a noted conservationist; and actress Sophia Bush.

-- Sarah Riggs Amico raised $250,000 through ActBlue and collected much of the rest of her haul through her business network. Among her donors are several executives with her car-hauling company, Jack Cooper Holdings; former state senator Sam Zamarripa; and state Rep. David Dreyer of Atlanta.

-- Ted Terry received mostly smaller-dollar contributions from his donors, and his itemized contributions are almost exclusively from within the state.


A pair of polls released this week by Morning Consult offered welcome news for Georgia Republicans.

The first shows U.S. Sen. David Perdue’s approval rating at 49% and his disapproval at 27%. That’s good -- not great -- territory for the first-term Republican.

The second painted a slightly sunnier picture for Gov. Brian Kemp. His positive approvals were at 53% and disapproval at 28%. The remaining 19% didn’t have an opinion.