From the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce website

The Jolt: Georgia’s most gay friendly city isn’t Atlanta. Or Savannah.

The website Thrillist has conducted a search for the most LGBT-friendly cities in the 31 red states won by Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential contest – islands of acceptance, so to speak, in less than ideal settings.

In Georgia, Atlanta, Savannah, and Columbus won only honorable mentions. The winner was tiny Blue Ridge in mountainous north Georgia. From Thrillist:

A recent influx of gay residents and business owners has helped to revive this once-depressed Appalachian logging town by bringing a spate of gourmet restaurants, boutiques, and, most importantly, a climate that’s welcoming to all.

With one of the highest concentrations of same-sex households in the state, tiny Blue Ridge has its own PFLAG chapter, an Independence Day parade complete with a marching band in drag, and a handful of churches that buck Bible Belt orthodoxy by embracing faithful of all orientations and gender identities.

»RELATED: Why this Georgia mountain town has become a gay-friendly hot spot

The surprise is the outside recognition rather than the fact itself. We noted this wrinkle in Georgia’s demographic map several years ago:

[A]s a percentage of population, Fannin and Gilmer counties in North Georgia have the fourth and fifth highest number of gay couples living together --- behind only Fulton, DeKalb and Chatham counties.

Blue Ridge, it should also be noted, is also the hometown of House Speaker David Ralston.

***

A few days ago, we received a brief phone call from Betty Price, the wife of former GOP congressman Tom Price. Price lost her Roswell-based state House seat last November in the Democratic wave that swept over north metro Atlanta.

Price -- like her husband, a physician -- said she had thought of us while reading the Teddy Roosevelt speech that begins thusly:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…”

Honestly, we do not know if Price thought of us as the one “whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood,” or one of “those timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

But it does not matter. The important point is that she thought of us, for which we are grateful.

Her news: Betty Price said she will enter the race for House District 48 in a bid to unseat the woman who defeated her eight months ago – state Rep. Mary Robichaux, D-Roswell, a health care consultant.

***

Citizen-journalist Nydia Tisdale is headed back to court in the long-running “Pumpkingate” saga. She was found guilty of a misdemeanor charge of obstructing an officer in December 2017 - more than three years after she was arrested at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm in Dawsonville on charges of refusing to stop recording a Republican rally attended by Gov. Nathan Deal and other GOP leaders. She filed an appeal this month seeking a new trial, and tweeted that the state Court of Appeals is taking up the case in October.

***

As we told you last week, former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams will be on Capitol Hill this afternoon to testify about the effects of the Supreme Court's 2013 ruling that nullified portions of the Voting Rights Act. 

The Democrat is expected to discuss Georgia's "exact match" law, voter purges and other policies carried out by then-Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is now governor. Abrams is also expected to voice her support for a Democrat-authored bill that would update the Voting Rights Act formula that determines which states are required to pre-clear voting changes with the Justice Department. 

***

U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., yesterday was the subject of a Washington Post fact checker piece that zeroed in on recent comments that Mexican drug cartels made some $500 billion a year, higher earnings than Walmart. 

The number is inaccurate - that's actually an estimate for the worldwide drug trade, not just Mexico's. The Republican’s staff conceded the error and corrected a news release that had cited the figure as Mexico only. 

In case you were wondering, the Post ended up withholding any "Pinocchios." 

***

On Monday, “Axios on HBO” reported that it had obtained nearly 100 internal transition vetting documents prepared for President-elect Donald Trump as he began assembling his administration.

Only one Georgian was listed. From Axios:

Sonny Perdue, Trump's pick for Agriculture Secretary, had a vetting form with sections labeled "Business conflicts of interest" and "Family conflicts of interest." It noted that "Perdue is the owner of Houston Fertilizer and Grain, a company that has received contracts from the Department of Agriculture."

***

A liberal group is aiming to turn up the heat on U.S. Rep. David Scott, D-Atlanta.

Roots Action, a “left-wing group led largely by supporters of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders,”per the Huffington Post, included the 13th District Democrat on a list of 15 incumbent lawmakers who deserve to be defeated in a primary. The organization highlighted Scott’s recent votes on financial services, environmental and foreign policy issues in an email blast to its more than 1 million-person email list. Former Cobb County Democratic party chairman Michael Owens, who unsuccessfully challenged Scott in a 2014 primary, is seeking a rematch.

***

Just in case you missed it: Griff Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority, estimates that Trump administration’s latest round of proposed Chinese tariffs could take a nearly $18 million bite out of the state’s booming ports. One specific hot spot:

The White House is currently mulling whether to add ship-to-shore cranes to its fourth batch of Chinese tariffs. The state’s Ports Authority has already ordered six such cranes, costing some $70 million.

Lynch said instituting a 25 percent tariff could have a “substantially negative impact” on work to expand the Savannah harbor, the state’s top economic development project.

*** 

We’re approaching June 30, the end of an all-important campaign fundraising deadline for 2020 candidates. Among those churning out emailed appeals is Brandon Beach, one of three Republicans vying for the right to challenge Democratic incumbent Lucy McBath in the Sixth District congressional race. Beach, an Alpharetta resident, is currently in the state Senate. Here’s the list of accomplishments he touted in his latest fundraising missive, in order:

~ Delivered the largest income tax cut in state history;

~ Balanced the budget each year and secured a AAA bond rating;

~ Led the fight for the largest transportation investment in state history;

~ Fully-funded public schools, raised teacher salaries, and increased options for parents;

~ Created a true culture of life in our state;

~ Improved public safety by creating an anti-gang task force;

~ Authorized a pull out of all Obamacare mandates;

~ A-rated by the NRA and a staunch defender of 2nd Amendment.

Notice that transportation is near the top of his priorities. His superlative ranking from the National Rifle Association is at the bottom. And while Beach signals his pro-life credentials, he makes no specific mention of his vote for House Bill 481, the anti-abortion measure – now signed into law -- that will require women to carry their pregnancies to term after six weeks.

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