The 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. AJC file

The Jolt: Two-thirds of Georgia’s delegation to 2020 DNC will be under grassroots control

The Democratic Party of Georgia has released an outline of the selection process for delegates to the 2020 presidential nominating convention in Milwaukee. The crib notes:

-- The state will have 129 delegates, nine of whom will be alternates.

-- Of those, 68 delegates will be elected from the state’s 14 congressional districts, on March 28, presuming a March 3 presidential primary. (The date has yet to be set by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.)

A proportional representation system based on the results of the presidential primary will be used to determine how many delegates will be awarded to each candidate.

-- Those 68 delegates will elect 14 “party leaders and elected officials” to add to the delegation in April 2020.

-- In May, the Democratic Party of Georgia’s state committee will elect the remaining 23 at-large delegates and nine alternates. 

-- The remaining 15 delegates are “automatic” selections of elected officials.

You’ll recall that the influence of “superdelegates” roiled the 2016 contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. This may be something like a response.

Next year, 57% of delegates will be of the grassroots variety, who will then have control over the selection of another 12 percent.

The state party hierarchy and high office-holders will make up less than a third of the delegation.

You can download the complete outline here.

As an aside, the above document notes some hard numbers from the 2018 campaign that we haven’t seen before. The state Democratic party supported a Stacey Abrams effort to mail out more than 1 million absentee ballot forms to voters leading up to the Nov. 6 vote -- that’s about one for every six registered voters, and another 100,000 in the December runoffs.

The party also deployed 600 badged poll watchers across the state. Both efforts are likely to be replicated in 2020.

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More election news via the Associated Press and elsewhere:

-- Tennessee's governor signed GOP-backed legislation Thursday that would likely make his state the first to fine voter registration groups for turning in too many incomplete signup forms, prompting a federal lawsuit and protests by critics who said it would suppress efforts to register minorities and other voters.

Tennessee's NAACP chapter and other groups immediately sued the state after Gov. Bill Lee signed the bill into law, which was backed by Republican Secretary of State Tre Hargett and is to take effect in October. Among other steps, the measure would allow criminal penalties for submitting registration forms too late and for shirking other new regulations.

-- The California Legislature is trying again to force presidential candidates to publicly disclose their tax returns, hoping a new Democratic governor known for his clashes with President Donald Trump won’t block them this time.

The state Senate voted 27-10 on Thursday to require anyone appearing on the state’s presidential primary ballot to publicly release five years’ worth of income tax returns. The proposal is in response to Trump, who bucked 40 years of tradition by refusing to release his tax returns prior to his election in 2016. Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a near-identical bill in 2017.

-- Joe Biden has scheduled his first visit to the South as a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. He and his wife Jill will be in Columbia, S.C. on Saturday.

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It wasn’t too long ago that a common phrase could be heard among a certain Georgia political party’s rank-and-file: “I didn’t leave the Democratic party. The Democratic party left me.”

In Gwinnett County, the shoe may be shifting to the other foot. Our AJC colleague Tyler Estep reports that District Attorney Danny Porter will seek a seventh term -- perhaps, for the first time, as a Democrat.

One thing Porter will have to gauge is resentment among Democrats who might view him as an interloper. The last major Georgia Democrat to adopt GOP credentials was Hall County Commissioner Ashley Bell in 2014. He lost his re-election bid in a 2016 GOP primary.

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This may be a new record: State Sen. P.K. Martin, R-Lawrenceville, was the primary sponsor of seven bills signed by Gov. Brian Kemp on Thursday. The measures were all related to education, which is Martin’s expertise in the chamber. He chairs the Senate Education Committee. 

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InsiderAdvantage reports that DeKalb County State Court Judge Dax Lopez is on a short list of nominees for a gubernatorial appointment to the Stone Mountain Circuit Superior Court. Lopez, a Republican, had been nominated to a federal district judgeship by President Barack Obama. That was blocked when anti-illegal immigration activists in Georgia objected to Lopez’ leadership in a group that opposed local government participation in 287(g) programs.

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U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, has attracted a primary challenger, his first since winning the coastal First District seat in 2014.

Daniel Merritt is a small business owner and veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Beyond support for the Second Amendment, Merritt’s campaign website is thin on policy details, but does include a link to a YouTube video of the candidate responding to some of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s recent comments about the effectiveness of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. 

Carter was re-elected with nearly 58 percent of the vote last year and kicked off April with more than $1.1 million in his campaign account.

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In Washington, more encouraging signs have surfaced, indicating that the U.S. Senate could come to an agreement on long-stalled disaster relief funding next week. Via Politico:

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and ranking Democrat Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said Thursday they are nearing an agreement after Senate Republicans laid out a new offer behind closed doors this week to increase Puerto Rico’s access to federal recovery cash.

Progress comes with tempered expectations as the two work to win support from other congressional leaders and President Donald Trump on one of the most politically fickle issues of the year. But they say all parties are feeling the urgency now to get aid out to communities that are trying to recover from hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and extreme flooding.

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Conservative commentator Stephen Moore withdrew his name from consideration yesterday for a spot on the Federal Reserve’s board of governors after it became clear he didn’t have enough Republican votes to be confirmed.

Disparaging comments about women helped do him in, but he also had an awkward history with several Georgia Republicans.

As the then-president of the conservative Club For Growth, he endorsed Herman Cain in Georgia’s open U.S. Senate race in 2004 and called then-U.S. Rep. Johnny Isakson a “career politician” with a “worse-than-average” voting record. He also wrote a column about why then-Gov. Sonny Perdue should be impeached – 10 days into the Republican’s first term.

Sonny’s first cousin, U.S. Sen. David Perdue, was supportive of Moore. But Isakson kept his quiet in recent weeks, much as he did with Stockbridge businessman Herman Cain, who abandoned his own Fed bid last week after being haunted by past sexual harassment allegations.

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