U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta, during a town hall gathering last month. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

The Jolt: New NRA president apologizes to Lucy McBath

The new president of the National Rifle Association apologized on Monday for claiming that U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath’s victory in her 2018 Sixth District contest against Republican Karen Handel was a matter of race rather than gun policy.

Carolyn Meadows, a longtime Republican and NRA activist who lives in east Cobb County, replaced the ousted Oliver North last week at the gun rights annual convention in Indiana.

On Monday, we pointed you to this quote from Meadows contained in a Marietta Daily Journal article, in which she named McBath’s defeat as one of her top priorities as NRA president:

“There will be more than one person in the race, but we'll get that seat back,” Meadows said. “But it is wrong to say, like McBath said, that the reason she won was because of her anti-gun stance. That didn't have anything to do with it — it had to do with being a minority female. And the Democrats really turned out, and that's the problem we have with conservatives — we don't turn out as well.”

The quote didn’t sit well with many, including McBath, who is African-American. From one of several Twitter messages on Monday:

Hi NRA! It's time we clear something up. I won this race because - after my son was senselessly murdered in 2012 - I stood up to do something about it. I knew it was time to fight back.

On Monday afternoon, Meadows issued an apology via the Washington Post, through a spokesman. From the Post:

“I apologize to Rep. McBath and her supporters,” she said. “My comments were insensitive and inappropriate. I did not intend to discredit the congresswoman or the merits of her campaign — only to reflect my view that the Second Amendment was not a prevailing factor in this election.”

***

Gov. Brian Kemp will sign House Bill 481, the anti-abortion “heartbeat” bill at 10 a.m. in his ceremonial office at the state Capitol. Opponents aren’t waiting:

-- NARAL Pro-Choice Georgia and Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates on Tuesday launched a six-figure campaign to mobilize activists and “put unprecedented pressure” on supporters of the measure ahead of next year’s election.

-- A statement from Teresa Tomlinson, the only announced Democrat in the U.S. Senate race, included this:

“They have declared pregnant women to be vessels of the state and decreed that the men who control the GA State legislature and the governor’s office have a compelling ‘state interest’ in our wombs. We now know without any doubt that all their talk of ‘small government’ and ‘personal freedom’ applies only to them, not us.”

-- On Monday’s edition of GPB’s “Political Rewind,” founder Melita Easters said her WIN List organization had already recruited 20 women to run against Republican incumbent state lawmakers in 2020.

-- Atlanta magazine is out with an article on state Sen. Jen Jordan, D-Atlanta, and how she came to write the speech she delivered against passage of HB 481. One quote:

“The way men talk about pregnancy, it’s like it’s chewing gum,” says Jordan. “But it’s one of the most difficult things for women to go through in their lives. I thought, does anyone get this? It felt like we weren’t even dealing with the same reality.”

***

The state Supreme Court is set to hear arguments today in a lawsuit challenging the results of the 2018 race for lieutenant governor. Several computer and data experts have filed this amicus brief noting a mysterious 127,000 vote drop-off that Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has refused to examine. From the brief:

Preventing forensic investigation not only blocks potential vindication of important legal rights, but also implicitly encourages covert tampering with election computers and tabulations, as courts would be shielding such tampering from discovery. The nature of software-based voting machines permits covert election cheating. Unless the courts exercise sufficient oversight via the discovery process, malefactors may view Georgia’s election computers as offering “open season” for tampering…

The computer experts noted this particularly odd situation:

Individual touchscreen machines which reported significantly different results patterns than the other machines in the precinct, such as one machine showing significant winning margins for one party when all other machines in the precinct showed significant margins for the opposing party.

You can stroll through the entire document here:

***

Up in Washington, it seems as if all is not ee-ai-ee-ai-okay on Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s farm. From Politico:

Economists in the Agriculture Department's research branch say the Trump administration is retaliating against them for publishing reports that shed negative light on White House policies, spurring an exodus that included six of them quitting the department on a single day in late April.

The Economic Research Service — a source of closely read reports on farm income and other topics that can shape federal policy, planting decisions and commodity markets — has run afoul of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue with its findings on how farmers have been financially harmed by President Donald Trump's trade feuds, the Republican tax code rewrite and other sensitive issues, according to current and former agency employees.

***

Former U.S. senator Sam Nunn will soon get to christen a sparkling new warship with his name on it.

The U.S. Navy announced Monday that it will name a future guided-missile destroyer in honor of the Georgia Democrat, who served in the U.S. Senate from 1972 to 1997.

Nunn, who served in the U.S. Coast Guard and Coast Guard Reserve, chaired the Armed Services Committee in the Senate and was credited with helping to streamline the military chain of command. 

His namesake ship is designed to fight air, surface and underwater battles simultaneously, and will have an array of air and missile defense capabilities. 

Nunn isn’t the only Georgia Democrat who’s been honored by the Navy. U.S. Rep. John Lewis has an entire class of replenishment oiler ships named after him.

But much bigger than that is the U.S.S. Carl Vinson, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier launched in 1983. Vinson was a long-serving congressman from Georgia, and is considered the father of the two-ocean navy that became crucial in World War II. He chaired the House Armed Services Committee. One of his many young staffers could claim him as both a mentor and great-uncle.

That would be Sam Nunn, of course. 

***

We told you on Monday of U.S. Rep. David Scott’s new primary opponent, former Cobb County Democratic party chairman Michael Owens. Now it’s looking like the two may have company. 

Former East Point Mayor Jannquell Peters is also considering a primary bid and is expected to announce her plans in the weeks ahead. Like Owens, she’d also run to Scott’s left.

***

Harrison Floyd, a GOP military veteran, entered the Seventh District congressional contest on Tuesday with a promise to combat “domestic socialism” and government overreach, joining a crowded contest to represent one of the nation’s most competitive House seats. 

***

At a Monday meeting of the Atlanta Rotary Club, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., shared more details about his recent White House meeting with President Donald Trump.

Isakson said he and a handful of GOP colleagues got a "pretty good lecture" about trade from the commander-in-chief.

Isakson said he told Trump he’s no fan of tariffs but that the president “proved that ‘The Art of the Deal’ is no mistitle when it comes to the way you handle yourself.”

Isakson is vehemently opposed to Trump’s proposed foreign auto tariffs, but said he hopes the president at minimum will consult with Congress before making any final decisions.

It was notable that Isakson was introduced by Stephen Hennessy, whose family owns the largest privately held automobile retail operation in Georgia.

***

In that same Rotary speech, Johnny Isakson spoke of his recent trip to Iraq with Senate colleague Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat who lost two legs when her Blackhawk helicopter was shot down in 2004. Isakson accompanied her to the very spot where it happened. Said Isakson:

“There were three of us. The other was Angus King, the former governor from Maine who is a senator from Maine now...And we hovered at 500 feet, in an Osprey helicopter, over the GPS coordinates on the ground -- where she came down that night. For her to tell the story of what it was to save her life -- she never worried -- would bring tears to anybody’s eyes.”

***

Isakson’s Senate colleague David Perdue, meanwhile, reportedly is headed to the White House today to huddle with the president and other GOP senators on immigration. Perdue, Trump and Arkansas Republican Tom Cotton teamed up on a previous plan in 2017 that sought deep cuts to legal immigration levels. 

***

Talks on that disaster relief bill proceed apace in Washington. Meanwhile, the Associated Press fact-checked the $91 billion Puerto Rico aid figure President Trump and his allies have been using throughout the never-ending debate. The verdict: “flat wrong.” 

“The money Puerto Rico has received for hurricane relief is nowhere close to $91 billion. Nor is the amount provided greater than for any other hurricane that has struck the U.S… actual aid to Puerto Rico has flowed more slowly from federal coffers, about $11 billion so far.”

***

Speaker David Ralston sends word that Betty Jo Williams, a former Republican state House member from DeKalb County, has died. She was 90 years old. The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to: Oak Grove UMC Music Ministry or Senior Adult Ministry, 1722 Oak Grove Rd, Decatur, Ga 30033, ogumc.org. Or: United Methodist Children's Home, umchildrenshome.org.

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