WSB poll

The Jolt: Joe Biden has a big head start in Georgia

Joe Biden’s firewall in Georgia is so far standing tall.

A Channel 2 Action News poll released Thursday showed the former vice president with 32% of support – more than doubling his nearest competitors, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who were both at 14%.

The poll, conducted by Landmark Communications, pegs Pete Buttigieg at just 5% of Georgia’s vote and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 4%. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar trails at 3%. 

About one-quarter of voters were undecided six weeks before the March 24 primary, according to the poll of 500 likely Democratic voters. It has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points. 

Biden, who is relying on strong backing from voters of color, had 41% support among black voters in Georgia. His next closest competitor was Bloomberg, who tallied about 15% of the African-American vote in the poll. 

The former vice president struggled more with voters outside of metro Atlanta, where his edge over Bloomberg and Sanders narrowed to a few points. Biden and Sanders are neck-and-neck among Democrats under the age of 39.

Another warning sign for Biden, whose campaign took a hit after two dismal finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire: His edge in Georgia has narrowed since September, when the last Landmark poll showed him leading with 41% of the vote.

He’s staking his campaign on a strong showing in South Carolina, where he arrived on Tuesday even as New Hampshire voters were still casting ballots. He’s long led the polls in the Palmetto State, although some recent surveys show Sanders and billionaire Tom Steyer gaining ground.

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 A few weeks ago, anti-abortion activist Marjorie Dannenfelser declared that Kelly Loeffler should be “disqualified” from serving in the U.S. Senate. On Friday, she is to headline a rally for the newly-appointed Republican senator at a women’s clinic in Cobb.

The dramatic reversal is the most startling example of the scramble underway to lock up support in the messy Republican-on-Republican race that pits Loeffler against U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, a four-term congressman and favorite of some grassroots conservatives.

The ultimate prize in the race for endorsements is President Donald Trump, who could effectively end either campaign with a few strokes on his smartphone. But the president has not yet weighed in, aside from praising both candidates and suggesting he could find a compromise to clear the field.

In the interim, the two camps are squabbling over consolation prizes: Georgia leaders, national figures and conservative groups like Dannenfelser’s Susan B. Anthony List that can pump money into races or help shore up grassroots support.

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An Atlanta Press Club panel of local pro sports titans pushing the idea of legalizing sports betting became a bit of a “my, have times changed” retrospective. WABE has the full story.

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A political action committee will call on voters, using Facebook ads and text messages, to pressure Democratic U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath of Marietta in a $1 million campaign aimed at 28 lawmakers who could decide any vote on impeachment of President Donald Trump. But the PAC, America’s First Policies, will not be spending any of its money on television ads in McBath’s 6th Congressional District. That part of the campaign, the most high-profile part of the effort, will focus on three other congressional districts in Iowa, Pennsylvania and Virginia that better fit the GOP profile.
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A newly created watchdog organization with ties to the Republican Party has filed ethics complaints against U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath and two other Democratic House members.

The complaints against McBath, a Democrat from Marietta, focus on her 2018 campaign and her advocacy work with Everytown for Gun Safety, Michael Bloomberg’s organization. 

McBath resigned from her job to focus on the race, and Bloomberg’s group eventually spent $5 million to help get her elected. Americans for Public Trust says that it would be illegal for the campaign to have coordinated with Everytown and points to actions it finds “suspicious.” No actual evidence of wrongdoing is provided.

The filings — one to the Federal Elections Commission another to the Office of Congressional Ethics — are signed by Executive Director Caitlin Sutherland, who previously worked for the National Republican Congressional Committee and the NRA.

Separate complaints were also filed against U.S. Reps. Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania and Pramila Jayapal of Washington.

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U.S. House members from Georgia split along party lines in Thursday’s vote to remove the deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment

The bill, which would ensure women are treated equally to men under the law, still has an uncertain future in the Senate and with President Donald Trump. 

Five Republicans joined with Democrats to approve the new deadline in a 232-183 vote. Even if it’s adopted, smoothing the way for the ratification of what would be the 28th Amendment, it would be sure to face a legal challenge.

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, a Gainesville Republican, managed the Republican side of debate in opposition to the amendment. He said supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment have an ulterior motive.

“Why do they want it? Because it gives a claim to start to finish unfettered abortion,” Collins said.

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On the Senate side, Democrats and eight Republicans banded together to pass a resolution to limit President Donald Trump’s ability to take further military action in Iran.

Both Georgia senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, voted against the measure. The House passed a similar resolution last month.

Now that both chambers have passed the war powers bill, it goes to President Donald Trump for his signature. If he vetoes the bill, a two-thirds vote in both chambers are needed to override.

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Georgia’s U.S. senators tried their best, but the new Army Corps headquarters will not be in Fort Benning. Fort Knox in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s home state of Kentucky was selected instead.

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The General Assembly is starting to take votes on the state budget, and that includes rejecting some of the cuts Gov. Brian Kemp proposed. The AJC’s James Salzer has more:

Lawmakers have expressed concerns about spending reductions in a lot of areas, including mental health and substance abuse programs, rural economic development, agricultural research and food inspections, and criminal justice and public defender programs.

A major part of Kemp’s savings would come from eliminating about 1,200 vacant state positions, some of which — including crime lab scientists and guards in the juvenile justice system — lawmakers say need to be filled.

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