Brave New Films

The Jolt: The movie version of Georgia’s 2018 election has arrived

On the wall of the AJC workspace at the state Capitol hangs a poster for the 2011 film, “The Undefeated,” a documentary originally intended to boost a 2012 presidential run by Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska.

Since then, Palin has become a mere asterisk on the national political scene. The words that now jump out from the poster are these: “A film by Steve Bannon.”

Bannon, of course, headed up the early portion of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and was a top White House aide for Trump after he was sworn in.

All of which is to say that political documentaries aren’t new. And that sometimes they work as intended, sometimes they don’t.

Tuesday will see the Atlanta premiere of the movie version of Georgia’s 2018 race for governor. “Suppressed: The Fight to Vote” is the work of Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films, a nonprofit advocacy outfit on the West Coast.

We told you earlier this spring that the project was in the works, and we assume that Gov. Brian Kemp declined to sit for an interview. Kemp was still secretary of state, in charge of the state’s election apparatus, when he beat Democrat Stacey Abrams by 54,723 votes last November.

“Suppressed” profiles African-American voters who were denied the opportunity to cast a ballot last November, including a U.S. Army officer, an Emory University student and a retired teacher.

“As I got into this, I was really knocked out by the level and the scope and the size of the vote suppression,” Greenwald said in a Sunday phone interview. “It wasn’t one thing. It was three four five, seven or eight things used to suppress the vote.”

Georgia Republicans, on the other hand, are sure to stew over yet another accusation that their 2018 was somehow illegitimate.

Greenwald is no amateur when it comes to filmmaking. In 1984, he directed “The Burning Bed,” a made-for-TV film about domestic abuse, was a groundbreaker. “Xanadu,” however, is a 1980 project that he probably would rather forget. His advocacy films have taken aim at a conservative targets, ranging from Fox News to the Koch brothers.

“Suppression” runs 38 minutes – long enough to tell the story, but short enough to allow it to be shown at voter registration rallies and still give organizers time to work the crowd.

The 5:30 p.m. Tuesday event is at the Auburn Avenue Research Library in downtown Atlanta.

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Add a new name to the list of a dozen or so viable Democrats seriously considering a 2020 run for the seat to be vacated by U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson.

Former U.S. attorney Ed Tarver, a moderate black Democrat from Augusta, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he’s headed to Washington on Tuesday to meet with Senate leaders about a potential bid. 

Tarver, who passed on the chance to challenge Isakson in 2016, has an intriguing resume. 

He graduated from University of Georgia law school after serving seven years in the U.S. Army, and in 2005 won a special election for an Augusta-based state Senate seat. 

He stepped down in 2009, shortly after winning a second full term, when President Barack Obama tapped him to lead the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of Georgia. He became the 43-county district’s first black chief.

Just like in 2016, Democrats see Tarver as a candidate who can excite the state’s black electorate while appealing to law-and-order moderate voters. But he would swiftly have to build up his public profile, particularly in metro Atlanta.

Other potential candidates include state Sens. Jen Jordan and Nikema Williams; 2014 Senate candidate Michelle Nunn; DeKalb chief executive Michael Thurmond; and DeKalb district attorney Sherry Boston. 

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Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry, one of four Democrats angling for David Perdue’s Senate seat, has formally backed the Green New Deal, thesweeping climate proposal popularized by freshman U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. His comments came via Twitter on Friday, when young activists organized strikes around the world to protest the lack of action on climate change. “We must do more to act on the climate crisis. It’s going to take large-scale systemic change,” Terry said in avideo. The former state director of the Sierra Club, Terry has made climate change one of the central tenets of his Senate campaign.

Outside groups allied with Perdue quickly pounced, pointing to one estimate that found the proposal will cost more than $90 trillion. They also highlightedcomments from one of Terry’s primary opponents, former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, who said acting on the issue was a “economic necessity” and a “moral imperative.”

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Last week, we told you that Philip Singleton, the GOP front-runner in the special election for state House District 71, was accused by runoff rival Marcy Westmoreland Sakrison, also a Republican, of once attempting to run as a Democrat. Singleton didn’t respond then, but now denies doing so in this piece by our AJC colleague Maya Prabhu.

On a related note, Katherine Anders of Sharpsburg has filed an ethics complaint that centers on a Singleton door-knocker and a group called Young Americans for Liberty. The young man came to her door last Monday:

“He explained that YAL was trying to get 250 candidates to win by 2020 to try and eliminate the two-party system by having candidates who want to run as independents run as Republicans or Democrats, so they later can switch parties.”

The door-knocker has apparently taken up quarters at a nearby duplex:

“The individual who knocked on my door is stating there along with more than 10 other individuals, apparently all associated with YAL. On information and belief, Mr. Singleton is paying for the rental of the duplex for YAL workers. The cost of the duplex and door hangers appear to be far in excess of the $1,500 limit for contributions to campaigns.”

Katherine Anders is married to Sam Anders, who dropped out of HD 71 race before qualifying, and has endorsed Sakrison.

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In case you missed it, former state Sen. Eugene “Chip” Pearson, R-Dawsonville, was one of six Georgians to beserved subpoenas last week by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. The panel is conducting a bipartisan probe into potential abuse of tax-advantaged land preservation deals, which critics say are used as tax shelters.

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Posted on the Cobb County Republican party’s Facebook page: The state GOP committee voted on Saturday to hold the 2020 state convention in Cobb County for the first time in 19 years. Call it an attempt to rally GOP voters in a suburban location that has turned blue in the last two election cycles.

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The Wall Street Journal has a piece on the problems that suburban voters have with President Donald Trump – focusing on Gwinnett County. This paragraph stands out:

The county now is home to a large Korean population, one of the largest Hindu temples in North America and numerous other immigrant communities, from Dominicans to Chinese. It is also poorer. In 2017, 12.3% of the county lived in poverty, according to the census. In 2000, 5.7% of residents lived in poverty.

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Over at “Trouble in God’s County,” Charlie Hayslett has data on a long-suspected phenomenon – that metro and north Georgia get more in HOPE scholarship cash than they pony up in lottery spending.

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The U.S. House on Friday narrowly passed a bill authored by Lithonia Democrat Hank Johnson that would end forced arbitration clauses in employment, consumer and civil rights cases. The GOP-led Senate is unlikely to take up the measure, which Johnson says would make corporations more accountable to their employees and customers. Republicans argue arbitration is a more practical and cost-efficient alternative to the courts system. Read more about the debate here.

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Georgia’s anti-abortion “heartbeat” law, which would ban most abortions in the state, gets a first hearing in federal court today. The ACLU of Georgia is attempting to block the law from being enforced. It would go into effect on Jan. 1.

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Former U.S. Senate hopeful Art Gardner sends word that he won’t seek appointment to the U.S. Senate seat of the retiring Johnny Isakson. Gardner, an Atlanta patent attorney, ran in the 2014 GOP primary for the Senate seat now held by David Perdue.

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Jon Ossoff, now a declared Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate race No. 1, says on Saturday he’ll launch what he calls the “biggest voter registration drive this state has ever seen.” He’s also rolled out a second endorsement from a Georgia congressman -- this one Hank Johnson.

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ICYMI: How that white supremacist rally in Dahlonega led to four Chattooga County officials abandoning the Democratic party.

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The Associated Press reports that the Alaska Republican Party has canceled its 2020 presidential primary, becoming the fifth state to do so.

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