PG A.M.: Kemp courts more Korean investment during 10-day trade mission

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Gov. Brian Kemp has been on a 10-day trade mission to South Korea.

Credit: Hyosub Shin/AJC

Credit: Hyosub Shin/AJC

Gov. Brian Kemp has been on a 10-day trade mission to South Korea.

Gov. Brian Kemp has long warned that the window for mega-developments in Georgia’s surging green energy industry may be tightening. But he said he’s determined to squeeze everything he can out of it.

“We’re keeping our foot on the gas,” he said in an interview in South Korea, right after meeting with an undisclosed “hot prospect.”

The 10-day trade mission, which wraps up this week, was aimed as much at delivering “thank you’s” to companies like Hyundai, Qcells and SK Battery with massive investments in Georgia as it was ginning up new business.

South Korea’s been the state’s top foreign investment partner in the last three years, Kemp said “keeping ourselves in front of these executives” to maintain those relationships is a priority.

“In 2019, I was trying to learn the names of the executives of these companies,” he said of his first trip to South Korea. “Now it’s like catching up with old friends.”

The governor said the future of federal green energy incentives that have helped juice the industry has hardly come up in this round of conversations with Korean bigwigs.

The governor and other Republicans oppose the incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act, saying they create an uneven playing field which profligates wasteful spending. Former President Donald Trump has vowed to reverse the policies if elected.

“They were making investments in Georgia long before the IRA,” Kemp said. “Our standing with them has been strong a long time.”

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Abit Massey center) died Saturday. He is pictured with first lady Marty Kemp (left) and Gov. Brian Kemp (right).

Credit: Courtesy photo

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Credit: Courtesy photo

LEGEND LOST. For more than a half-century, Abit Massey was a fixture in the halls of the state Capitol. On Saturday, the longtime leader of the Georgia Poultry Federation died at age 96.

Massey’s death was mourned by political leaders across the state, including those who gathered for a tribute to him a month ago in Gainesville.

“Abit Massey was a true force and a well-known personality throughout the entire state whose name is synonymous with Georgia’s thriving poultry industry,” Gov. Brian Kemp wrote in a statement, adding that “We will miss his welcome presence in the halls of the Capitol and most of all his friendship.”

Our AJC colleague, Caroline Silva, has more on Massey’s life in an obit published Saturday.

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C.J. Pearson is a member of the Black Americans For Trump coalition.

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Credit: Courtesy photo

PEARSON FOR TRUMP. Conservative social media influencer C.J. Pearson is looking beyond the state House to the White House. The 21-year-old who mounted a failed bid for an Augusta-based state House seat earlier this year is among those named to the Black Americans for Trump coalition by the Republican presidential candidate’s campaign.

Pearson is quoted in a news release as the national co-chair for the Republican National Committee’s Youth Advisory Council, saying “For far too long, I have watched the generations of my parents and grandparents be used and abused by the Democrat Party. As a member of Generation Z, I have long pledged to break that generational curse and that is exactly why I’m supporting President Trump.”

Pearson has been in the political spotlight since he was a 12-year-old middle school student firing off provocative social media posts to legions of GOP followers. He later went on to work for PragerU, an online conservative political media outlet. More recently, Pearson served as campaign manager to Republican gubernatorial candidate, Vernon Jones.

His backing of Jones in a primary challenge to Gov. Brian Kemp in 2022 led to the governor supporting a rival candidate in the state House race. Former Columbia County Commissioner Gary Richardson won the seat with 60% of the vote in a special election runoff in March.

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In this file photo, a row of wooden crosses line a street in Las Vegas. They bear the names of those killed during the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting there.

Credit: TNS

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Credit: TNS

SCOTUS GUN RULING. The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned a ban on bump stocks that had been implemented by then-President Donald Trump in response to the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas in 2017. Rifles equipped with bump stocks are able to shoot rapidly, but in its 6-3 decision the court rejected the federal government’s designation that these alterations essentially create machine guns.

U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, who became a gun control activist after her son was murdered and has championed gun safety as a member of Congress, quickly released a statement panning the ruling.

U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta, is critical of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned a ban on bump stocks.

Credit: Nathan Posner for the AJC

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Credit: Nathan Posner for the AJC

“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court undoes a bipartisan ban on firearm accessories that are designed for killing — putting lives at risk and making Americans less safe,” the Marietta Democrat wrote. “Weapons of war have no place at concert venues, in our classrooms, or in our houses of worship.”

U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde, a Republican who owns a gun store in Athens, told the Associated Press that he was pleased with the ruling. He added Congress should review and approve all major rules created by federal agencies, which didn’t happen before the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives implemented the bump stock ban.

“It took seven years to overturn that rule through the court system,” he said. “Seven years where our constitutional rights were infringed upon. That’s wrong.”

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Former State Sen. Mike Dugan is battling Brian Jack for a congressional seat. Both are Georgia Republicans.

Credit: AP

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Credit: AP

RUNOFF READY. The prologue to the May primary elections is Tuesday, with voters going to the polls to settle runoffs. Ballots will include a U.S. House race in the 3rd Congressional District and eight state legislative showdowns.

Here’s what to watch for:

  • Former state Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan faces Brian Jack, an aide to former President Donald Trump, in the U.S. House race. Jack was the top vote-getter in a five-way race in the May GOP primary. Dugan has attempted to paint Jack as a Washington insider while courting voters with his “Georgia values.”
  • A GOP wunderkind from the far reaches of the state, state House Rep. Steven Sainz, is spending big to fend off a challenge in coastal Georgia. Sainz won his seat six years ago at age 24 and now faces retiree Glenn Cook, who once flew Navy jets off of aircraft carriers, in a GOP runoff. Sainz, of St. Marys, missed winning the primary outright by just 20 votes. Insider Adam Van Brimmer has the skinny on a race that is attracting loads of attention from within state political circles.
State Rep. Jodi Lott, R-Evans, opted not to seek reelection.

Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

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Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

  • Another GOP state House runoff is set for the Augusta suburbs. Rob Clifton and Paul Abbott vie to replace Rep. Jodi Lott, who did not seek reelection. Clifton is a general contractor while Abbott is a retired educator.
  • Metro Atlanta voters will cast ballots in three state legislative districts where retiring lawmakers are giving up their seats after serving more than 60 combined years in the Legislature.

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The Fulton County Board of Elections has set rules in place for those questioning the eligibility of any voter.

Credit: Miguel Martinez/AJC

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Credit: Miguel Martinez/AJC

VOTER ELIGIBILITY. In anticipation of ballot challenges following the November presidential vote, the Fulton County Board of Elections has set procedural rules for those seeking to question a voter’s eligibility.

As our AJC colleague Caleb Groves writes, GOP activists plan to use the state’s new challenge law to protest ballots from voters who are also registered in another state or are registered at a nonresidential address.

The Fulton board will require challengers to include the voter’s full name, address, birth year and grounds for the challenge when formally questioning ballots. The rules were approved Thursday by a 3-2 vote of the election board.

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Tammy Greer of Georgia State University is a guest today on the "Politically Georgia" show.

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Credit: Courtesy photo

LISTEN UP. Today on “Politically Georgia,” WRBL-TV’s Chuck Williams, Meg Kinnard of the Associated Press and Georgia State University professor Tammy Greer discuss political headlines from the weekend.

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

Friday’s episode featured Fair Fight executive director Lauren Groh-Wargo, who said the voting rights organization is back on solid footing and ready for election season.

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PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE. The first presidential debate, to be held June 27 in Atlanta, won’t be dominated by the candidates interrupting each other. Muted microphones were among the debate rules established by the event’s host, CNN, and agreed to by the candidates.

The 90-minute debate is to be moderated by CNN’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash and staged in an empty studio. Moderators “will use all tools at their disposal to enforce timing and ensure a civilized discussion,” according to a CNN official.

Other details about the debate include:

  • Two commercial breaks during which candidates are prohibited from huddling with staff and aides.
  • No opening statements but each candidate will be allowed a two-minute closing statement.
  • Question responses can be two minutes long, followed by one-minute rebuttals and responses. At the moderators’ discretion, candidates can be granted an additional minute for responses.

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TODAY IN WASHINGTON:

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A novel written by Stacey Abrams is reportedly being adapted for the silver screen by Universal Pictures.

Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC

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Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC

ABRAMS IN HOLLYWOOD. One of Stacey Abrams’ novels, “Rules of Engagement,” is being adapted for the silver screen by Universal Pictures, according to Deadline.

Acclaimed actress Kerry Washington signed on as a producer alongside Abrams.

“Rules of Engagement” is a romantic suspense novel that Abrams first published in 2001 under her Selena Montgomery pen name. It has since been rereleased alongside her other novels with her real name attached. The plot centers on the relationship between an undercover intelligence officer and the handsome yet tortured man assigned as her partner.

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Chatham County Sheriff John T. Wilcher was hospitalized over the weekend.

Credit: Richard Burkhart/Savannah Morning News

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Credit: Richard Burkhart/Savannah Morning News

SHERIFF HOSPITALIZED. Chatham County Sheriff John Wilcher was hospitalized over the weekend and is in critical condition, according to a statement from his office. The third-term law enforcement leader has worked in the Savannah-area sheriff’s office since 1974.

Wilcher is a popular Republican in a county that leans Democratic. He was the only GOP candidate to win countywide office in the 2020 election. He is scheduled to face Democrat Richard Coleman in the 2024 vote this November.

Dear CCSO Family and Community Members, We would like to inform you that Sheriff John T. Wilcher is currently receiving...

Posted by Chatham County Sheriff's Office on Sunday, June 16, 2024

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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.