A.M. ATL: Who the heck is Chase Oliver?

Plus: Prison deaths, Jamal Bryant and Stetson Bennett

Morning, y’all! Wednesday already! Expect rain-free skies and temperatures in the mid-80s again.

News-wise, get ready to discuss a corrections officer charged with murder, election certification drama in Fulton County and former UGA quarterback Stetson Bennett (sort of) explaining his NFL absence.

Now. Let’s meet the Atlantan who’s now officially a presidential candidate.

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THIRD-PARTY CAMPAIGN

Chase Oliver during a 2022 U.S. Senate debate.

Credit: AP File Photo

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Credit: AP File Photo

Georgia is the center of the political universe, Exhibit 4,987: Even the Libertarian candidate for president resides here.

Chase Oliver, an Atlanta resident, won the third-party nomination over the weekend. But who is he? What’s his deal? And does his presence in the race ... matter?

Let’s take a quick look, with a hat-tip to the hard-working folks over at Politically Georgia.

The basics: Oliver is 38, gay and a self-described anti-war peace activist. He ran in the 2020 special election to fill U.S. Rep. John Lewis’ unfinished term and again in a 2022 U.S. Senate race, garnering 2.1% of the vote to force Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker into a runoff.

That was the impetus for his latest run: “When enough people call you and you feel that enthusiasm, you’ve got to jump in.”

The platform: Downsizing the federal government. Eliminating overseas military bases. Ending foreign aid for Israel and Ukraine. A permanent cease-fire in Gaza. Protecting gun rights. Protecting abortion rights. Decriminalizing marijuana. Abolishing the death penalty.

The bigger goal: Oliver said he’s not sure there’s a “multiverse where a third-party candidate wins the presidency in 2024.” His campaign, then, is about increasing ballot access for the Libertarian Party, garnering more media attention, becoming a national movement.

Getting a toehold in the two-party system, essentially.

Oliver could, of course, also gather enough support to swing the election for either Donald Trump or Joe Biden. Consider him unfazed.

“I think the most important thing to remember here is we can’t be a spoiler,” he said. “Because you can’t spoil something that’s already rotten.”

Oliver and his running mate are currently set to be on ballots in 37 states, including Georgia. Stay tuned to Politically Georgia — via newsletter, podcast or website — for all the latest.

Keep scrolling for more news.

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AROUND THE STATE

ajc.com

Credit: GDC & AJC staff photo

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Credit: GDC & AJC staff photo

Authorities charged a correctional officer at Augusta State Medical Prison with murder in the death of an inmate. Lloyd Hopkins’ alleged role in the incident remains unclear, but corrections officials said they have “a zero-tolerance policy for individuals who choose to ignore their oath.”

Two other inmates also face charges in the death of Roderick Hayes (pictured above).

  • Elsewhere: Officials say a 17-year-old died after collapsing while playing basketball at a juvenile facility in Augusta. A detainee at the federal immigrant detention center in Southwest Georgia also died.

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MORE TOP STORIES

» A Republican member of the Fulton County elections board refuses to certify primary election results unless given access to detailed voting data. That raises concerns for November.

» Jamal Bryant, well-known leader of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, got engaged to fellow pastor Kerri Turner.

» Atlanta officials asked a judge to shut down Elleven45 Lounge, the Buckhead night club where a gunman killed two people and wounded four others earlier this month.

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FARM TO STAGE

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Credit: Courtesy photo/Allen Farst

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Credit: Courtesy photo/Allen Farst

When legendary rocker Chuck Leavell joins the Rolling Stones for their Atlanta show next week, he’ll be fresh from his South Georgia tree farm: “Why would I want to go anywhere else?”

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STETSON SPEAKS

Former UGA quarterback Stetson Bennett practiced with the Los Angeles Rams on Tuesday, returning from a mysterious hiatus during the 2023 season.

Asked if his absence was related to mental health, Bennett told media members, “Yeah, I’d say that.” He declined to elaborate further.

More sports highlights:

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WATER WORLDS

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Credit: Courtesy photo

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Credit: Courtesy photo

It’s unofficially officially summer, and you know what that means: Those kids wanna head to the pool. And the splash pad. And the water park.

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COASTAL DINING

Live in Savannah or headed there this summer? The AJC’s new dining guide includes the Hostess City’s must-visit restaurants, can’t-miss dishes and top spots to grab a drink.

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MORE TO EXPLORE

» Soccer as medicine? Emory study digs into the sport’s health benefits

» Blake’s on the Park nightclub vows to reopen after fire

» Forsyth bus driver charged with felony DUI on last day of school

» Otis Redding’s estate, Sony to administer Macon legend’s catalog

» How a rented Tesla helped police solve a Gwinnett murder case

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ON THIS DATE

May 29, 1941

With a drought sizzling the South and war production ramping up, federal officials urged states to adopt daylight saving time in an attempt to save power.

Georgia Gov. Eugene Talmadge? Not a fan. “You can’t change the sun by turning the clock up,” he said.

This is true. But the point is to reduce peak energy consumption by having more sunlight when people are awake. Daylight saving time became federal law in 1966.

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: Miguel Martinez/AJC

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Credit: Miguel Martinez/AJC

AJC photographer Miguel Martinez captured Joseph Larche holding a picture of his late wife, Diane, who died from pancreatic cancer. Such a diagnosis can have a dramatic effect on everyone involved.

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ONE MORE THING

Before we go: Check out Mike Walsh, a local businessowner who pivoted to promoting literacy in low-income schools. “Honestly,” he said, “I am just hoping we get a handful of kids in a class in which this sparks something.”

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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.