Tom Price, the former Georgia congressman and secretary of health and human services, in the state Senate chamber earlier this year. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com

The Jolt: ‘You can’t beat something with nothing,’ Tom Price now says of Obamacare

Anger is the great motivator in politics. And if your guy is in the White House, and your team controls the U.S. Senate, it can be hard to work up an indignant lather.

We know of two rallies marking the 10th anniversary of the tea party that, population-wise, turned out to be busts on Monday. One was at the state Capitol, and drew fewer than 50 people. Among them was U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., who is up for re-election in 2020:

To applause from the handful of people at Liberty Plaza, [Perdue] said apathy will lead to a Democratic sweep of Washington and a domino effect that could trigger a permanent electoral shift.

Under his scenario, he warned, Democrats would seek to give statehood to Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, end Senate filibuster rules that allow the minority party to block votes, and abolish the Electoral College.

But an even smaller gathering was more poignant. From our AJC colleague Ariel Hart:

The failure to replace the Affordable Care Act with a new plan during the two years Republicans had control of Congress under President Donald Trump “is one of my great sadnesses from my time up in D.C.,” Tom Price told an audience of Cobb County conservatives Monday night.

Price, of Roswell, is a former congressman and was Trump’s initial Secretary of Health and Human Services.

“You can’t beat something with nothing,” he said.

***

In an interview posted Monday on The Root, Stacey Abrams detailed the racial tropes used against her in the 2018 race for governor, and blamed “incompetence” from the media to understand what her campaign was all about.

And then the Democrat touched on a topic she steered clear of in last year’s gubernatorial contest. Said Abrams:

“I believe African-Americans and Native Americans are entitled to reparations. We were the two communities who were legally disenfranchised from the inception of this country.”

What form those reparations take is the harder question, she admitted. “I don’t know enough to know what the answer is. But I should be part of the conversation.”

***

A first, introductory video from Teresa Tomlinson, the former mayor of Columbus exploring a Democratic bid for the U.S. Senate, slams the Trump administration for its child separation policy on the southern border, trade wars and efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Tomlinson, who says she’ll challenge Republican incumbent David Perdue if Stacey Abrams doesn’t, emphasizes her roots in the state in the two-minute YouTube spot, and recaps her career as a lawyer and mayor.

“We showed that government can be a tool to improve people’s lives and get results, but Washington doesn’t seem to understand that,” Tomlinson says. “In fact, lately, Washington seems downright crazy and mean.”

***

Over at the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Virginia Galloway is pointing to a certain passage she found in House Bill 324, the medical marijuana measure passed in the final hours of this year’s legislative session.

The bill, expected to be signed Wednesday by Gov. Brian Kemp, allows six licensed, private companies to grow the plant from which the low-THC oil is obtained. It establishes a small monopoly, in other words. On Page 20, lines 692-696, is the passage that concerns Galloway:

“(c) No licensee shall subcontract for services for the cultivation or processing in any way of marijuana if the subcontractor, or any of the service providers in the chain of subcontractors, is owned wholly or in excess of 5 percent by any state employee or member of a state employee’s immediate family, including but not limited to any legislator, state-wide public official, or employee of a designated university.”

The original House bill didn’t address the ownership issue, she noted. A Senate version would have imposed a near-complete ban on ownership by any state employee or family member.

The compromise offers an investment opportunity for state officials in the know, Galloway wrote in her newsletter this morning:

“[C]onceivably, 20 legislators, or 16 legislators and 4 statewide elected officials could own an entire company, 5% each. More likely, they could individually buy stock in one of the big companies, up to 5%. Either way, their ability to make reasonable laws and appoint reasonable people to regulate these businesses is jeopardized.”

***

We’ve been sent the service details for Anne Ware Lewis, 55, the longtime legal counsel for the Georgia GOP. Lewis died Sunday after a long battle with cancer. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. today at the A.S. Turner & Sons Funeral Home at 2773 North Decatur Road, Decatur, Ga. 30033.

A funeral mass will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 636 W. Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta.

***

Here comes the money: We’re still processing the first round of financial reports for the 2020 cycle, covering the first three months of the year, but here are some of the takeaways:

Sixth District

-- State Sen. Brandon Beach, a Republican, says he will report about $125,000, largely from two fundraisers while he was in the legislative session. 

-- Former congresswoman Karen Handel, a Republican, reported that she raised nearly $250,000 and has slightly more than $330,000 on hand including some leftovers from her 2018 campaign. 

-- U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, a Democrat, says she will report raising more than $475,000 and has nearly all of that money still in her campaign coffers. 

Seventh District

-- Carolyn Bourdeaux, a Democrat and last year’s runner-up, said she’s raised $350,000 in the seven weeks since she announced her comeback bid.

-- Marqus Cole, a Democrat, reported raising about $32,000, with half of that on hand. 

-- Nabilah Islam, a Democrat, reported raising about $100,000 with roughly $75,000 on hand.

***

During his Sunday school service in Plains, former President Jimmy Carter said he received a call from President Donald Trump the night before. According to the WABE (90.1FM) report, Trump was concerned that “China is getting ahead of us.” The White House provided this readout on Monday:

“President Jimmy Carter wrote President Trump a beautiful letter about the current negotiations with China and on Saturday they had a very good telephone conversation about President Trump’s stance on trade with China and numerous other topics. The President has always liked President Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter, and extended his best wishes to them on behalf of the American people.”

***

On Monday, we caught up with U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, who is vacating his Seventh District seat, at a Rotary Club meeting in Lawrenceville -- and asked the Republican about the battle to succeed him.

While several Democrats are in the running, only one Republican has announced: Former NFL player Joe Profit, who got clobbered by U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson last year. Another Republican, state Sen. Renee Unterman, is likely to jump in the race.

Woodall doesn’t plan to wade into the primary yet, but he gave a nuanced answer when asked if the next congressman from the district, which spans parts of Gwinnett and Forsyth counties, should better reflect the district’s increasing diversity. Said Woodall: 

“If you go down the list of leaders in our area, yes a large number of them don’t look like me. … But being attracted to this kind of work is different. Many of those women and men are entrepreneurs. Their dream is not to knock around paperwork in Congress. Their dream was to build a business they can pass on to their children and grandchildren, and they’re succeeding. Asking them to leave that is hard.

“And the other thing that’s hard: Men and women with a servant’s heart. When they go to talk to their husband or wife, when they talk to their kids, they come back with the decision that,’I love this country and community, but the price is too hard.’

“If we keep the ugly style of politics that we have today, we’re going to lose the good men and women who would be amazing leaders, who just can’t afford to pay that social price.”

***

Hmmmm: State Sen. Jen Jordan, D-Atlanta, who is contemplating a bid for Senate, will attend Macon Matters with the Macon Chamber of Commerce tonight. The annual event is a cornerstone of the middle Georgia political calendar.

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