Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, center, leaving a press conference last month. ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM
Photo: Alyssa Pointer
Photo: Alyssa Pointer

The Jolt: Stacey Abrams on ‘dream kids,’ HOPE -- and Stone Mountain

Republican Brian Kemp attacked Democratic gubernatorial rival Stacey Abrams this morning for her assertion that “dream kids” are worthy of HOPE scholarships. This account of a Dalton rally, from the Chattanooga Times Free Press, provided the fodder:

Concerning immigration, she said students should be able to enroll in all state universities, regardless of whether they are U.S. citizens. (The Board of Regents bars DACA recipients from attending some schools, including the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech.) She also said these students should qualify for the HOPE scholarship.

Lawsuits on both issues are still being debated in state and federal courts.

"There are those who say, 'You shouldn't do that because there are tax dollars,'" she told the audience. 'The reality is, it's paid for by the lottery. I promise you: Everybody plays the lottery. So everyone deserves to benefit from it."

The response from the Kemp crew this morning included this:

“Unlike Stacey Abrams, I won't reward illegal behavior with handouts, perks, and scholarships as law-abiding Georgians work to make ends meet."

It’s worth noting that, in times past, Abram’s line of thought would have coincided with the positions held many Republican governors held on immigration, including the father of President Donald Trump’s press secretary. But no more.

However, Abrams’ stand on “dream kids” wasn’t what we found most notable about her north Georgia visit. That trophy went to this sentence highlighted below:

On Wednesday night, she spoke about the need for gun control and said she would not back down from her belief in a woman's right to an abortion. She also spoke passionately about the need to remove Confederate statues — or, in the case of Stone Mountain, to at least provide more context about Georgia's history of slavery.

Close to one year ago, in the aftermath of white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Va., Abrams called for the “removal” of the Stone Mountain carving of Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jeff Davis. She repeated that position in April.

Which means that, if the Times Free Press account is accurate, Abrams may be shading her position slightly to more closely align with what’s being attempted by DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond.

We’ve lodged a query with the Abrams campaign.

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Now catching fire on social media: A picture of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams with hijab-wearing activist Linda Sarsour. 

Georgia conservatives have shared the image of Abrams and Sarsour, a women’s rights advocate, thousands of times over the last few days.

Sarsour has provoked controversy for her outspoken opposition to Israel and Zionism.

Her campaign said the two met as a leader of the Women’s March anniversary in Georgia. The two disagree on many issues, said a campaign aide, but share the commitment to advance women’s rights.

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Former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich on Sunday warned GOP lawmakers that they ignore health care at their own peril. 

Writing at the Fox News website, Gingrich called it the “moral and economic” issue of the mid-term election:

There is a long tradition of Republicans trying to avoid health issues. Consultants assert "it isn't our topic." Incumbents find it hard to communicate a clear policy or plan for improving the health system. "Repeal and Replace" was largely about repeal because Republicans lacked a coherent plan to replace ObamaCare. This is why it failed. A Republican party that hides from the challenge of modernizing the health system is a party which has conceded a huge part of the political playing field to the left. Conversely, a Republican party that can explain common-sense improvements that will empower Americans to have longer lives, better health, greater convenience, more choices, and lower costs in health care is a party that can easily demolish the left's arguments.

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Late last week, Mother Jones published an article suggesting that a leadership shake-up at the National Rifle Association this spring, which included Georgia GOP activist Carolyn Meadows briefly serving as the organization’s interim president, may have been a result of the federal investigation into Maria Butina, the 29-year-old Russian charged with being a foreign agent for the Russian government. One paragraph from David Corn’s analysis:

[Oliver] North had not been in the line of succession. He was not prepared for the position and said he would need weeks before he could assume the post. [Peter] Brownell was the first NRA president in a decade and a half not to seek a second term, and the first vice president, Richard Childress, was passed over. Childress claimed that because of his own commitments he could not even serve as interim president. That job went to the second vice president, Carolyn Meadows. The NRA had been known as an outfit with a strict hierarchy. But now all that was being thrown aside in what North called an “unexpected” and “sudden” action.

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The Washington Post this weekend published an article that featured a metro Atlanta adherent of the strange QAnon cult that’s forming around President Donald Trump:

He lives outside of Atlanta and works in real estate and as an operations manager for a university. He hasn’t met any other believers in person but estimated they number more than 1 million. (Based on activity on message boards and membership in Facebook groups, this appears to be an exaggeration.)

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We’ve got a federal judge’s ruling which, if upheld, could have vast implications for the wave of “dark money” spending that has dominated elections since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United found campaign contributions to be protected speech.

The U.S. District Court judge’s decision invalidates a Federal Election Commission regulation that allowed donors to those dark money groups to remain anonymous.

It means that nonprofits may have to disclose donors who give at least $200 to influence federal election campaigns. Politico.com has the deets.

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