U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., on "Fox & Friends" on Monday.

The Jolt: GOP may need Hollywood boycott to offset ‘heartbeat’ law impact

U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., was on “Fox & Friends” this morning.

Given his business background, you might have thought that Perdue would have been talking about the tariffs that President Donald Trump increased to 25 percent on Friday.

Instead, Perdue and his Fox News hosts spoke of threats from some Hollywood types to boycott Georgia over its new “heartbeat’ law, which requires most women to carry their pregnancies to term after about six weeks – before many know they’re pregnant.

It goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

President Donald Trump will be at the top of the ticket next year. Perdue, the next name down, already has at least one Democrat challenger after his job -- former Columbus mayor Teresa Tomlinson. Others are likely to follow.

Georgia’s “heartbeat” law, which also bestows “personhood” at six weeks, is likely to be one of the dominating topics. The U.S. senator’s Monday willingness to defend a state law tells us that. His appearance also tells us that intensifying the Republican base, rather than broadening its reach, will continue to be the larger GOP strategy in Georgia.

In fact, as we watched the video, a thought occurred to us: A wider Hollywood boycott of state’s film and TV industry, though it might cost tens of millions dollars in business revenue, might also be necessary to help Georgia Republicans offset the disaffection of women voters in 2020.

In the face of a Hollywood boycott, the specific ramifications of the “heartbeat” law, which are likely to be many, could take a back seat to a protests against West Coast moral subversion. Not unlike President Trump’s calculations that impeachment by U.S. House Democrats might actually increase his chances of re-election.

Below is a rough transcript of the video, which can be found here:

Perdue: “Georgia is rated for the sixth year in a row the best state in the country in which to do business. There’s a reason for that. “Georgia does more traditional movie production than any other state, including California. A lot of infrastructure has been built down there, a lot of sound stages.

“It’s ironic that several of these companies that are threatening to boycott have yet to do business in Georgia.”

F&F: So they can say they’re boycotting, but it really doesn’t mean anything.

Perdue: It just shows that the rhetoric is more important than the reality. But look, Georgia’s moved in this area. This governor did exactly what the state Legislature voted to do, what the people of Georgia elected him to do. And it’s the law of the land today.

…Life is precious at any stage, and I think we’re called to protect it as long as its there.

F&F: I grew up in the South, and I have a feeling that if this were happening in my state, in South Carolina, the people who live there would babies are more important than Hollywood coming to our state. We don’t care if they choose not to be here. Is Georgia similar?

Perdue: Well, I think this vote shows that. This is not a radical right or liberal left issue here in Georgia. It’s a moral issue, and I think the people of Georgia have spoken.

F&F: Where does it go from here? Do you think there will be more backlash?

Perdue: Well, you’ll have to talk to the legal profession. But anything in this country now is litigious. I think you’ll see cases brought to bear, and we’ll see how the court reacts. But the encouraging thing about that is that, under President Trump, we’ve actually brought rationality back to our court system…

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Vice President Mike Pence used his commencement address to Liberty University graduates over the weekend to warn about the "secular left" persecuting people for their religious beliefs. Pence specifically mentioned Hollywood actors boycotting Georgia over its heartbeat law, according to Newsweek

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More financial aid is coming for farmers being hit by new tariffs from the U.S.- trade war with China. On Friday, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said President Trump has asked him to draw up an assistance plan "quickly." From Reuters: 

A new aid program would be the second round of assistance for farmers, after the Department of Agriculture’s $12 billion plan last year to compensate for lower prices for farm goods and lost sales stemming from trade disputes with China and other nations.

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On Saturday, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, the U.S. senator from Vermont, will cross the Savannah River to hold a town hall gathering in Augusta. It’s part of a three-day blitz that will also bring him to Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina.

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So much for a new phase in Georgia’s water wars -- this one over a 201-year-old boundary with Tennessee.

Earlier this year, Georgia lawmakers overwhelmingly adopted a resolution to form a delegation to negotiate a “true boundary line” with Tennessee, something that supporters expected Gov. Brian Kemp to swiftly sign into law.

Georgia maintains that the border has been mapped incorrectly since 1818, when surveyors mistakenly set the line between the states about a mile south of where it should be. 

The purpose of this year’s legislation wasn’t to actually shift Georgia’s northern state line. It was morale-boosting sabre-rattling for Georgians who feel the state is entitled to dip a straw into the mighty Tennessee River.

Gov. Nathan Deal had signed a similar bill. But when Kemp’s list of vetoes emerged late Friday, it included House Resolution 51 for a simple reason: While Georgia may want to create a new commission to hash out the dispute, the governor wrote, North Carolina and Tennessee have shown no interest in doing so themselves.

Georgia, for its part, insists it doesn’t want to annex the 51-mile stretch of misplaced land (and the 30,000 residents who live there). What it wants is a slice of the Nickajack Lake, opening the door to a costly new pipeline that could help quench Atlanta’s thirst.

What Kemp’s veto made clear: With Georgia engaged in a decades-long legal fight with Alabama and Florida, the governor isn’t interested in unilaterally opening a new front just yet.

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David Shafer’s bid for Georgia GOP chair got a boost from U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, who endorsed the former state senator in a letter to party activists. 

“As we enter 2020, which is sure to be one of the party’s most difficult challenges in over a decade, we need someone like David, who has navigated rough waters in the past, to chart a course to victory,” wrote Woodall, who will not stand for another term after a tight victory. 

Shafer is one of three candidates to succeed John Watson. Also running is Scott Johnson, the volunteer chairman of the state Board of Education, and Bruce Azevedo, the former two-term chairman of the Ninth District GOP.

Here’s what we posted over the weekend on the coming GOP gathering.

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Over at the Macon Telegraph, WSB Radio's Erick Erickson argues that activists assembling in Savannah next weekend for the Georgia GOP's state convention should be prepared to pass resolutions calling for the resignation of House Speaker David Ralston. Erickson warns that if they don't, Democrats could turn it into a campaign issue in 2020:

“The Republicans have only maintained their hold on the Georgia House by a handful of seats. Whoever wins in 2020 will control drawing the lines for state legislative and congressional districts for the next decade.

Do the Republicans want to gamble on the ads with victims? What about the victim who, at 14, had to perform indecent acts on an older man? What about the woman who was beaten by her boyfriend whose case went on for years as her memory went foggy?

These are the stories that penetrate an over saturated media market. These are the stories that provide compelling news stories.” 

This comes after a series of AJC reports found that Ralston was using his role as a legislator to get judges to delay trials for some clients, including those charged with criminal offenses. Ten of Ralston’s House GOP colleagues have called for his removal, but their push hasn’t caught on. 

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Former Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed on Saturday made a rare public appearance, giving a 20-minute commencement address at his alma mater, Howard University in Washington D.C.

Reed, a past member of the institution’s board of trustees, spent much of his time extolling the value of a Howard University degree. “I never get Howard confused with Harvard, because I know how good Howard is,” he said.

With his eight-year mayoral administration still under federal scrutiny, Reed stayed away from the current political climate – with one exception. From our AJC colleague Najja Parker:

[Reed] also addressed the recent controversy between the school and residents who’ve walked their dogs on the private campus.

“We are not a dog park. We are not a place for Frisbee tossing and latte sips — unless you’re a student here,” he asserted. “We are a mission institution with broad shoulders and big hearts ... So, no. Howard University will not be moving, and we will not be changing our address.”

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