A.M. ATL: A debate comes down to Georgia

Plus: Primetime Falcons, population growth and cheddar bay biscuits

Morning, y’all! The forecast is finally rain-free today, with temperatures reaching the low 80s.

News-wise, get ready to discuss Atlanta’s latest population benchmark, a police officer charged with murder and the Falcons’ newly released schedule — which includes a potential visit from a certain pop music megastar. I’ll also fill you in on a chance to score coveted Savannah Bananas tickets.

But first: presidential debate, coming in hot.

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SHOWDOWN IN ATL

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Credit: AP

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Credit: AP

The 81-year-old said “make my day, pal.” The 77-year-old said “let’s get ready to rumble.” And just like that, Atlanta will host a presidential debate for the first time.

Here’s what we know about the forthcoming faceoff between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

The details: POTUSes 45 and 46 agreed to a June 27 debate hosted by CNN. It’ll take place in an audience-free Atlanta studio, but no announcement yet on moderators.

That said, June 27 is a Thursday. It’s also the same day the U.S. Men’s National Team plays a soccer match against Panama at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. So gear up for traffic (and maybe plan on avoiding the Downtown Connector).

The history: As my colleague Greg Bluestein reports, the debate would be the earliest presidential parley in decades. It would also be the only time Georgia’s hosted such an event.

  • We did, however, host a Democratic primary debate in 2019 (Tyler Perry Studios) and a vice presidential debate in 1992 (Georgia Tech). Here’s a closer look back.

The context: Georgia, of course, is one of a handful of states expected to be competitive in November’s election. You may recall Trump lost the state by about 12,000 votes in 2020.

Polling in the Peach State and elsewhere shows few voters are particularly enthused about the rematch. But the debate is a nice little nod to a city that tried (and failed) to land this year’s Democratic National Convention.

Not to mention a cause for celebration at CNN, which hasn’t had the smoothest couple of years.

Biden and Trump also vowed to participate in a Sept. 10 debate on ABC.

Here’s more of the comprehensive political coverage the AJC has to offer:

Make sure to subscribe to the “Politically Georgia” newsletter and check out our daily podcast with WABE for all the latest insights.

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STILL GROWING

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Credit: Miguel Martinez/AJC

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Credit: Miguel Martinez/AJC

After years of teetering on the precipice, Atlanta proper officially joined the list of American cities with at least 500,000 residents. That’s according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which pegged our “exact” population at 510,800 (as of mid-2023).

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MORE TOP STORIES

» Maranatha Baptist, the Plains church of former President Jimmy Carter and a longtime tourist destination, named its first woman pastor.

» Union City police charged an Atlanta officer with murder in the shooting death of a Lyft driver. The officer was already on administrative leave following a separate drug-related arrest.

» Police believe speed contributed to a crash that killed three teens in Alpharetta.

» Gwinnett officials approved a $5.2 million tax break for a Tesla service center that’s already under construction near Gwinnett Place Mall.

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APP ANXIETY

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Credit: Michael Dwyer/AP

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Credit: Michael Dwyer/AP

Paul Tran, the owner of an Atlanta-based skincare brand, is one of eight social media creators suing the federal government over its potential ban of TikTok. He said 90% of his company’s sales come from the app’s integrated marketplace.

“We found something that’s working for us,” Tran told the AJC. “[A ban] would destroy us, and we’d have to start all over.”

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AID IMPROVEMENTS

The U.S. military completed construction on a floating pier meant to boost the delivery of humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip. As Israel continues pressing into the city of Rafah, the U.N. says 1.1 million Palestinians are on the brink of starvation.

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READY FOR IT?

Head coach Raheem Morris.

Credit: Jason Getz/AJC

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Credit: Jason Getz/AJC

How about this to start the Falcons season: Host the Steelers, then travel to the Eagles for “Monday Night Football.” Week 3? The Chiefs (and Taylor Swift?) come to town for “Sunday Night Football.”

Overall, the slate includes four prime-time games — after last season offered zero. Check out the full schedule here.

More sports highlights:

  • Charlie Morton struggled on the mound as the Braves dropped their series finale with the Cubs, 7-1.
  • Athens’ forthcoming professional hockey team now has a name: The Rock Lobsters. That’s an homage to iconic new wave band the B-52s.
  • The Atlanta Dream launched their season with a 92-81 road win over the Sparks.
  • Atlanta United lost again. It’s two best attackers got hurt, too.

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BUTKER BACKLASH

Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker — a Georgia Tech and Westminster Schools grad — continues to catch flak for a recent commencement speech at a small Catholic college.

Among other things, Butker attacked “dangerous gender ideologies” and said a woman’s “most important title” is homemaker.

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A BISCUIT FIX

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Credit: Courtesy photo

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Credit: Courtesy photo

Distraught that your local Red Lobster went to the big pot in the sky? Maybe ... chill out a little bit. Then make your own cheddar biscuits with one of our copycat recipes!

More food news:

  • Nicky’s Undefeated, a Philadelphia-style sandwich shop, is coming soon to downtown Tucker.
  • Cafe and coffee shop Toast Noir recently opened on Lenox Road in Buckhead.

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MORE TO EXPLORE

» Andrew Young’s latest endeavor? Aquaponics

» More than 1,000 DeKalb students need psych evals. They’ll likely wait

» Henry Schools expecting list of superintendent candidates soon

» ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ cast sees massive shakeup

» How will new Chinese tariffs affect Georgia business? It’s complicated

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ON THIS DATE

May 16, 1989

The Atlanta City Council approved a plan to build the $210 million Georgia Dome, including public funding through hotel-motel taxes.

A smidge more political wrangling transpired, but officials broke ground on the new stadium about four months later. It opened in 1992, lasting until the ripe old age of 25 before its destruction in favor of Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

ajc.com

Credit: File photo

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Credit: File photo

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PHOTO OF THE DAY

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Credit: Paul R. Giunta/AP

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Credit: Paul R. Giunta/AP

Associated Press photographer Paul R. Giunta captured Puerto Rican superstar Bad Bunny rocking a sold-out crowd at State Farm Arena. More photos here.

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ONE MORE THING

Before we go, I promised you a tip on securing those elusive Savannah Bananas tickets. And here it is: There’s a fundraiser in Marietta this weekend with several sets up for bid. Good luck!

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Thanks for reading to the very bottom of A.M. ATL. Questions, comments, ideas? Contact me at tyler.estep@ajc.com.

Until next time.