PG A.M.: Atlanta’s Chase Oliver wins Libertarian nomination for president

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Chase Oliver has been chosen by the Libertarian Party as its presidential nominee.

Credit: AP File Photo

Credit: AP File Photo

Chase Oliver has been chosen by the Libertarian Party as its presidential nominee.

Gov. Brian Kemp and former Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan may have been rumored presidential contenders for 2024 but Atlanta’s Chase Oliver is the Georgian who will be on the presidential ballot in November. He won the Libertarian nomination for president over the weekend.

Oliver defeated a field of nine candidates to win the bid Sunday, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr. The New York Times reported that, despite his famous last name, Kennedy won just 2% of the vote. Former President Donald Trump, who was not an official candidate, won just six write-in votes.

Kennedy, who spoke at the Libertarian convention on Friday, is running as an Independent but is struggling to gain ballot access in many states. In Georgia and other states, Independent candidates must get thousands of voter signatures to get their names on the ballot. In Georgia, Kennedy needs 7,500 signatures by Aug. 9.

Oliver’s free-market, youth-focused pitch won the day with the party, though, and as the Libertarian nominee he will be on at least 37 state ballots in November, including in Georgia, where Libertarians already have a slot on the ballot.

“Your life is your life, your body is your body, and your business is your business, and your property is your property. It’s not mine and it sure as hell isn’t the federal government’s,” he told the group.

U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., was challenged by Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver in the 2022 Senate race.

Credit: AJC file photos

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Credit: AJC file photos

Oliver, a 38-year-old, openly gay former Democrat, is a familiar face to anyone who follows Georgia politics.

He ran in the 5th District special election to fill the unexpired term of the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a Democrat who died of cancer in 2020. And he ran for U.S. Senate in 2022 against Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker, winning 2.1% of the vote and forcing a runoff between Warnock and Walker. Oliver’s platform in that race included an end to qualified immunity for federal police officers and a pledge to limit U.S. involvement in foreign conflicts.

As the first openly gay Senate candidate in Georgia, he also wanted to adopt new federal civil rights protections for the LGBTQ community.

He now follows in a line of other Georgians to run for president as third-party candidates in recent decades. Former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr won the Libertarian nomination in 2008, the same year former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney ran as the Green Party candidate.

Tune in to Politically Georgia on WABE at 10 a.m. this morning, when Oliver joins the program to talk about his win over the weekend.

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Amy Kremer recently won a seat on the Republican National Committee.

Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

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Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

GOP FEUD. The newest member of the Georgia GOP elite is already ruffling feathers within the party.

We told you last month that Amy Kremer was brandishing her role as an organizer of a pro-Donald Trump rally that preceded the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol in her quest for a Georgia seat on the Republican National Committee.

And we told you days after she won the post that Republican operatives raised serious concerns about Kremer’s 10 Federal Election Commission fines totaling more than $120,000.

Now, Kremer is using her new platform to target fellow Republicans. In an appearance with former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, she said: “Georgia is corrupt and the biggest part of the problem are the Republicans.”

Her comments led to quick criticism from Republican leaders. Cody Hall, a top strategist to Gov. Brian Kemp, highlighted Kremer’s 13th place finish in a 2017 U.S. House special election.

“Maybe Kremer should win more than 0.2% of the vote in a real election before she goes attacking fellow Republicans who won their primaries overwhelmingly and kept Georgia out of the hands of Stacey Abrams and the Democrats,” he wrote on social media.

Jay Morgan, a former Georgia GOP executive director, called on leaders who “care about the future” of the Republican Party to refuse to ratify her election.

Kremer hasn’t responded to requests for comment. But her daughter, Kylie Jane Kremer, took to social media with a different target: Georgia GOP chair Josh McKoon, whom she accused of cozying up to mainstream Republicans like Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger by refusing to trumpet her mom’s win.

“It’s been a week since the election and it’s embarrassing to see the lack of leadership at the GAGOP,” she wrote.

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Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was a guest on "Meet the Press" on Sunday.

Credit: Jason Allen/AJC

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Credit: Jason Allen/AJC

RAFFENSPERGER ON MTP. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger joined a special edition of NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that focused on threats to democracy. A recent Georgetown University poll found that 81% of American voters believe “democracy is currently being threatened.”

Raffensperger spoke on a panel with two Democrats and two Republicans, and was asked if Georgia election officials are ready for whatever the 2024 elections might bring.

“We’re obviously ready, and we’re battle tested,” he said. “We’ve shown that based on the 2020 results.”

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ENDORSEMENTS LIST. With several local primaries headed to June 18 runoffs, outgoing lawmakers or candidates who didn’t make the cut are starting to choose sides.

After announcing her retirement earlier this year, Georgia state Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler has endorsed Iris Hamilton as her successor, the AJC’s Michelle Baruchman and Maya T. Prabhu tell us. Hamilton, who works in health insurance, will face former Democratic state Rep. Randal Mangham for the District 55 seat, which includes parts of DeKalb and Gwinnett counties.

Retiring state Sen. Gloria Butler, D-Stone Mountain, has endorsed Iris Hamilton as her successor.

Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

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Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

In a tweet, Butler said Hamilton “will bring a lifetime of health care expertise and knowledge to the Georgia State Senate” and “will play a vital role in helping solve the many health care problems Georgia faces.”

Meanwhile, DeKalb County Commissioner and candidate for CEO Larry Johnson was endorsed by the colleague who placed third in the Democratic primary for that race: Commissioner Steve Bradshaw. Bradshaw is backing Johnson over the first-place finisher, fellow Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson.

“Larry is a statesman who is well-prepared to represent DeKalb County at the local, state, national, and international levels,” Bradshaw said in a statement. “In this race, there is no need to choose between innovation and experience; Larry Johnson offers both along with a track record of delivering results we can see for DeKalb County.”

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LISTEN UP. Today on “Politically Georgia,” Chase Oliver talks about becoming the Libertarian Party’s nominee for president, the divisions his election exposed and being a potential third-party spoiler.

The AJC’s Shannon McCaffrey also joins the show to talk about the latest updates with the Fulton County election interference case.

Listen live at 10 a.m. on WABE 90.1 or follow “Politically Georgia” on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

If you missed Monday’s special episode, Bill Nigut interviewed the AJC’s longtime editorial columnist, Mike Luckovich.

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MTG UNBOTHERED. The viral clapback targeting U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene — “bleach blonde bad built butch body” — has now become a meme with parody songs and even a trademark pending. On her way home after votes last week, a passenger in Washington’s airport even filmed herself confronting Greene with the phrase, known as “B6″ for short.

“You didn’t like that, huh?” the woman asks as Greene’s demeanor remains stoic.

Greene has responded on social media, first with a video of herself working out and talking about how she remains active with a body that is “built and strong.” And then on Monday, her 50th birthday, she posted a photo of herself in an exotic locale posing in a bikini.

U.S. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Rome, recently celebrated her 50th birthday.

Credit: Nathan Posner for the AJC

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Credit: Nathan Posner for the AJC

“Many people go into their 50th birthday thinking it’s a bad thing, but I truly feel it’s wonderful and I’m so excited and grateful God let me live 50 years and do so many things,” the caption said.

We caught up with Greene before that trip to the airport. She insisted she isn’t bothered that so many people seem to be enjoying the phrase coined by Texas Democratic U.S. Rep. Jasmine Crockett during their squabble at a House Oversight Committee hearing last week.

“My feelings aren’t hurt,” she said. “I don’t feel offended in any way by what Jasmine Crockett or anyone else had to say. That’s the nice thing about being 50 is you come to a point in your life where you just don’t give a (expletive) about stuff like that.”

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TODAY IN WASHINGTON:

  • President Joe Biden has no public events on his schedule.
  • The House and Senate are on recess until June 3.

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Visitors participated in the Memorial Day ceremony at Marietta National Cemetery on Monday.

Credit: Ben Gray

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Credit: Ben Gray

PICTURE OF THE DAY. Monday was Memorial Day, and photographer Ben Gray spent part of our most solemn holiday at the Memorial Day ceremony at Marietta National Cemetery. He captured the spirit of the commemoration with his moving photo gallery published at AJC.com.

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AS ALWAYS, Politically Georgia readers are some of our favorite tipsters. Send your best scoop, gossip and insider info to greg.bluestein@ajc.com, tia.mitchell@ajc.com, patricia.murphy@ajc.com and adam.vanbrimmer@ajc.com.

This story has been updated to correct the age of Libertarian Party presidential candidate Chase Oliver. Oliver is 38.