Cobb County Neil Warren in a 2014 AJC file photo.
Photo: KENT D. JOHNSON / AJC/KDJOHNSON@AJC.COM
Photo: KENT D. JOHNSON / AJC/KDJOHNSON@AJC.COM

The Jolt: Remember that pickup truck, Cobb sheriff tells Brian Kemp

Governors always appreciate being reminded of their campaign promises. Especially ones that involve large pickup trucks.

Once upon a time – in 2015 to be precise, Dax Lopez, a DeKalb County state court judge, was nominated by President Barack Obama to become Georgia’s first Latino federal judge.

U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., torpedoed the nomination, saying he was "uncomfortable" with Lopez's participation in the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, which often speaks up on behalf of illegal immigrants. The senator was helped to that opinion by the likes of D.A. King and Neil Warren.

The former is an anti-illegal immigration activist of some note. The latter is the sheriff of Cobb County, the first in Georgia to ally himself with the 287(g) program that gives his department authority to enforce federal immigration laws.

Last week, we told you that Lopez is on a short list of nominees for a gubernatorial appointment to the Stone Mountain Circuit Superior Court.

Which has prompted a reunion of the anti-immigration activist and the Cobb County sheriff. King’s website has posted a May 8 letter from Warren to Gov. Brian Kemp, expressing his “great concern” that Lopez might get a promotion. Of GALEO, Warren writes:

The fact that they continue to insult our President and those brave men and women patrolling our borders should be enough to remove Judge Lopez from consideration.

Then came the reminder of Kemp’s TV ad with the big pickup truck  --“just in case I need to round up criminal illegals and take ‘em home myself.” Wrote Warren:

Governor[,] your campaign was based on “rounding up” the criminals that cross our borders and take advantage of Georgians who are here legally and paying taxes. Certainly, Judge Lopez does not seem to agree with your message. I urge you to stand firm on your campaign commitment and not appoint Judge Lopez to this or any other position….

***

Despite a few threats from producers who say they’ll take their business elsewhere, Democrats continue to tamp down talk of a film industry boycott of Georgia following Gov. Brian Kemp’s signing of the anti-abortion “heartbeat” bill into law.

Via Twitter, state Sen. Jen Jordan, D-Atlanta, made this plea:

Film industry don’t go anywhere yet. #HB481 will be stopped in courts and will be stopped by the women of this state running for and winning elected office.

Some very interesting people continue their work here. Our AJC colleague Maya Prabhu caught this casting call for a Jon Stewart film – a political satire called “Irresistible,” featuring actor Steve Carrell.

They’re looking for “D.C. political types.” So if you’ve been a “Walking Dead” extra, you’ve got an edge. 

***

Delta Air Lines is taking some heat for two posters the carrier has distributed, part of an effort to dissuade thousands of its workers from joining a union. Video games are better, the airline says. From the Washington Post:

The posters included messages targeting the price of the dues that company workers would be paying if the union formed.

“Union dues cost around $700 a year,” one noted. “A new video game system with the latest hits sounds like fun. Put your money towards that instead of paying dues to the union.”

***

Gov. Brian Kemp will be in south Georgia today to sign a record budget that includes $3,000 raises for teachers and 2% pay hikes for about 80,000 state employees.

***

Former first lady Michelle Obama will be in Atlanta on Saturday, revisiting some places she’s been before. We’ve been asked not to say where, but surely some of you fans of John D. Rockefeller’s in-laws already know, and can tell all the others.

According to our archives, Michelle Obama hasn’t visited Atlanta in a public fashion since she left the White House. She was at Booker T. Washington High School in 2014. She delivered the commencement speech at Spelman College in 2011. The video is still up.

***

Democratic presidential candidates Beto O’Rourke, Cory Booker and Pete Buttigieg will appear at the African American Leadership Summit and IWillVote Gala on June 6 with Stacey Abrams, according to an invitation snagged by one of your Insiders.

***

Here’s an under-the-radar Sonny Perdue narrative to keep an eye on.

Employees at the Economic Research Service, one of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s research arms, voted overwhelmingly in favor of unionizing yesterday. The final tally was 138 to 4.

The vote comes as Ag Secretary Perdue moves forward with plans to relocate the agency and another USDA branch outside Washington -- despite howls of protest from U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., scientific groups and a raft of other critics. 

We’ll be watching to see how Perdue responds. He’s not exactly a union kind of guy. 

***

President Donald Trump’s re-election team is staffing up in Georgia. 

The Republican National Committee hired a string of regional and state directors, including our backyard. The jobs are paid for by the RNC and aim to boost Trump and other GOP candidates. 

Brian Barrett will serve as the regional director for a stretch of the South that includes Georgia, and Daniel Coats will be serving as Trump’s go-to in Georgia. 

***

In Washington, with a federal disaster recovery package continuing to flounder, U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue are calling on the Trump administration to alleviate some financial pressure on south Georgia in other ways.

The duo joined seven other Senate Republicans yesterday in a letter urging Ben Carson, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, to speed up its delivery of money that Congress previously appropriated for 2018 natural disasters.

Specifically, the group is asking Carson to free up some $34 million that would help cover some of Hurricane Michael’s infrastructure damage in Georgia.

Carson’s boss, however, may have made passing a disaster recovery bill that much harder. On Thursday, President Donald Trump told House Republicans to reject a Democrat-authored disaster relief bill when it comes up for a vote later this morning.

Ahead of that Tweet, several Georgia Republicans told one of your Insiders they were planning to vote in favor of the $17 billion package to get aid flowing to Georgia farmers. We’ll watch to see who listens to Trump.

***

U.S. Rep. Austin Scott of Tifton, perhaps Trump’s most vocal Republican critic in the disaster aid fight, has pinned the slowdown on the White House budget office -- specifically former budget chief and current acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. Here’s what he said at a House Agriculture subcommittee hearing yesterday, according to Politico:

“I appreciate the vice president’s comments. I appreciate the president’s favorable comments about the agricultural community," Scott said during the hearing. "But when things are then handed off to people at the Office of Management and Budget, who consider the American farmer and the American farm family nothing but subsidy-sucking freeloaders, then there’s a disconnect in what is actually coming out of the administration, and what the administration is telling us that they’re going to do.”

Mulvaney has been a longtime critic of farm subsidies. 

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