Georgia’s 2024 GOP primary: Trump and 10 others make the March ballot

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This combination of 2023 photos shows, from left, former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. (AP)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

This combination of 2023 photos shows, from left, former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. (AP)

Editor’s note: New name, same jolt of Georgia political news, scoops and exclusives. Welcome to Politically Georgia, formerly known as The Jolt. Adam Van Brimmer, Greg Bluestein, Patricia Murphy and Tia Mitchell will continue to be your eyes and ears on everything you need, from Atlanta to Washington, D.C., and beyond.

The Republican presidential lineup is set in Georgia, though there are two candidates on the March 12 primary ballot who are no longer in the running.

Georgia GOP chair Josh McKoon said state party officials unanimously voted to put 11 candidates on the ballot, including former President Donald Trump and his top rivals for the nomination, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley, the former United Nations Ambassador and South Carolina governor.

But the slate also includes two candidates who have ended their campaigns: Michigan businessman Perry Johnson and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina. McKoon said they’re still listed because they’ve suspended their campaigns but not formally withdrawn from the race.

The other nine candidates each gave a voluntary $25,000 contribution to the state party, netting the organization $225,000. It pads the coffers for a state party that is helping fund the legal fees of three Trump electors charged in the Fulton County election interference case.

The Georgia GOP spent more than $520,000 in legal fees in the first six months of the year and is promoting “Fulton Defense Fund” events. But the party has been overshadowed financially by Gov. Brian Kemp’s network, which he has framed as an alternative to the state GOP.

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Defendants Scott Hall, Sidney Powell, Kenneth Chesebro and Jenna Ellis have all taken plea deals in the Georgia election interference case. Fulton County prosecutors brought charges against 19 defendants in the case overall, including former President Donald Trump. (Fulton County Sheriff's Office)

Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office

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Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office

STATE’S EVIDENCE? Videotaped interviews with defendants who took plea deals in the Fulton County election interference case leaked to the media this week. The recorded testimony previewed the information those witnesses might offer at trial against former President Donald Trump and the remaining 14 defendants.

Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis quickly moved to restrict the release of the witness videos. She also indicated the election probe trials could extend into 2025.

Those stories are part of the AJC’s continuing coverage of the case. Keep up via the “Trump Georgia Indictment” section on AJC.com and by signing up for the “The Trump 19″ weekly newsletter at ajc.com/newsletters.

For more on the prosecution of Trump, tune into today’s “Politically Georgia” radio show at 10 a.m. on WABE 90.1 FM and WABE.org. AJC journalist Tamar Hallerman, who has covered the probe since it launched, is the featured guest.

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NO SHUTDOWN SHOWDOWN. House Speaker Mike Johnson followed the playbook of his ousted predecessor, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, by partnering with Democrats to pass a temporary funding resolution and avoid a government shutdown. The stop-gap measure drew support from all five Democrats in Georgia’s delegation, along with five of the state’s nine GOP members.

The continuing resolution now heads to the U.S. Senate, where it is also expected to receive bipartisan backing. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he wants to quickly schedule a vote.

The measure was a gutsy move by the newly minted speaker. Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, bet that enough Democrats would support the play to overcome stiff opposition from conservatives. A similar approach by McCarthy, R-Calif., led to his removal as speaker on Oct. 3.

Johnson’s continuing resolution keeps the government funded until early next year and extends the Farm Bill for all of 2024. The measure does not include new military aid for Israel or Ukraine.

The list of House members who voted “no” includes Georgia Republican Reps. Andrew Clyde of Athens, Mike Collins of Jackson, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Rome and Rich McCormick of Suwanee.

Collins criticized lawmakers for refusing to enact “substantial spending cuts and policy reforms” to the federal budget.

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COVERED AND SMOTHERED. U.S. Rep. Austin Scott held a Waffle House-themed campaign fundraiser in Washington, D.C., on Monday night.

Guests and colleagues, including former House speaker hopefuls Reps. Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio, were served authentic all-star specials through the window of a Waffle House food truck featuring a crew that all drove up from Atlanta for the occasion.

A sign inside the venue spelled out Scott’s name in the restaurant’s yellow and black font. The parting gift for guests were drink koozies printed with the slogan, “Waffle House for the House.”

Fellow Georgia Republicans Rick Allen of Augusta, Rich McCormick of Suwanee, Drew Ferguson of The Rock, Buddy Carter of Pooler, Mike Collins of Jackson and Barry Loudermilk of Cassville were spotted at the event. Scott, a Tifton resident, is running for reelection in his South Georgia district.

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INSULIN DESERTS. Nearly three-quarters of Georgia residents who lack health insurance live in an “insulin desert” and struggle to get treatment for diabetes, according to a new report released Tuesday.

The findings were unveiled by Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Republican U.S. Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana, supporters of bipartisan legislation that would cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month for those with private insurance or who lack coverage, the AJC’s Donovan Thomas wrote.

Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga. (pictured) and Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., are supporters of bipartisan legislation that would cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month for those with private insurance or lack any coverage. (Natrice Miller/natrice.miller@ajc.com)

Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC

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Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC

Warnock campaigned in 2022 on a push to limit the cost of insulin, and the Inflation Reduction Act last year created a $35 insulin cap for Medicare patients.

Both Kennedy and Warnock delivered speeches on the Senate floor to promote their report and their bill.

“Insulin should not be expensive; it’s a 100-year-old drug,” Warnock said. “When it was invented, the patent was sold for $1. It certainly shouldn’t be unaffordable.”

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U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., is planning host a virtual news conference to discuss resources coming to Georgia through funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law. (Steve Schaefer/steve.schaefer@ajc.com)

Credit: Steve Schaefer/AJC

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Credit: Steve Schaefer/AJC

INFRASTRUCTURE DAY. Democrats in Washington, D.C., and Georgia have planned various events to mark two years since President Joe Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., will host a virtual news conference to discuss resources coming to Georgia through funding from the bill. The Democratic Party of Georgia will hold a media event at a location in Midtown Atlanta that is home to a recipient of these funds.

The Democratic National Party has also paid for a billboard campaign in Atlanta to celebrate the measure as a hallmark of the Biden administration after former President Donald Trump’s efforts to pass an infrastructure bill during his term faltered.

“While Donald Trump Trump made ‘infrastructure week’ a running joke … Joe Biden got infrastructure done for Georgia,” the billboards will say.

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HISTORIC DEMONSTRATION. What was said to be the largest pro-Israel rally in U.S. history, staged Tuesday on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., included about 1,000 Jewish Georgians.

Politically Georgia’s Greg Bluestein reports the demonstration attracted political, business and education leaders. State Rep. Esther Panitch, the lone Jewish member of Georgia’s Legislature, was among the attendees.

Emory University professor Deborah Lipstadt, who serves as the U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, spoke at the event and called antisemitism a “direct danger to our democracy.”

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Gov. Brian Kemp’s Georgians First political committee is distributing $175,000 in campaign donations to Republicans in the Georgia General Assembly in advance of the 2024 election cycle. (Steve Schaefer/steve.schaefer@ajc.com)

Credit: Steve Schaefer/AJC

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Credit: Steve Schaefer/AJC

SEED MONEY. Gov. Brian Kemp’s Georgians First political committee is distributing $175,000 in campaign donations to Republicans in the Georgia General Assembly in advance of the 2024 election cycle.

The GOP has held majority control of both the state House and the state Senate since the mid-2000s, although demographic shifts over the last two decades have led to a gradual narrowing of the Republican advantage. The Georgians First funding is meant to protect GOP-held seats, according to reporting by Politically Georgia’s Greg Bluestein. Kemp’s committee also launched a campaign earlier this year to target Democratic lawmakers in districts considered competitive.

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TODAY IN WASHINGTON:

  • President Joe Biden meets in San Francisco with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
  • The U.S. House continues work on long-term appropriations legislation.
  • U.S. Senate Leader Chuck Schumer seeks cooperation from Republicans to fast-track temporary government funding legislation.

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Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz delivers remarks during a funeral service for Alexis Janae Crawford, a slain 21-year-old senior attending Clark Atlanta University, at Cornerstone Church in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. (Austin Steele for the Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Credit: Austin Steele for the AJC

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Credit: Austin Steele for the AJC

MAYORAL VIEWS. Two of Georgia’s most influential local government leaders, Athens-Clarke Mayor Kelly Girtz and Savannah Mayor Van Johnson, joined the Tuesday episode of the “Politically Georgia” radio show, which is now available as a podcast.

Girtz and Johnson discussed the challenges facing their cities, such as housing shortages and gun violence, as well as the importance of solid working relationships with elected officials at the state and federal level.

Listen and subscribe to “Politically Georgia” at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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PERSONNEL FILE, PART I. Planned Parenthood Southeast has hired a new president and chief executive. Carol McDonald, who is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, will replace Staci Fox, who left the organization more than a year ago.

McDonald first worked with Planned Parenthood in 1997 as an organizer. McDonald stepped away from the organization in 2015 to found Meridian Solutions, a communications firm.

“It is only fitting that my journey with Planned Parenthood has come full circle,” McDonald said in a statement. “I began my journey as an organizer in the South, laying a foundation for the work to come.”

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PERSONNEL FILE, PART II. The John and Lillian Miles Lewis Foundation has a new chief executive officer, Detria Austin Everson. Everson succeeds the nonprofit’s first CEO, Linda Earley Chastang. The foundation was founded by the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis prior to his death in 2020 and launched in 2022.

An alum of Spelman College, Everson most recently served as the executive director for the MLK, Sr. Community Resources Collaborative in Atlanta.

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Bazel Tanner calls AJC subscriber Gary Thomas Tanner his person. (Courtesy photo)

Credit: Courtesy photo

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Credit: Courtesy photo

DOG OF THE DAY. We always appreciate a politico who looks us in the eye. So what’s not to love about Bazel Tanner?

Along with looking into the depths of a person’s soul, a reliable source tells us this little dachshund includes squirrel tracking and independent thinking on his list of daily to-dos. He calls AJC subscriber Gary Thomas Tanner his person.

Congratulations, Bazel! You’re our Dog of the Day.

Send us your dogs of any political persuasion and location, and cats on a cat-by-cat basis, to patricia.murphy@ajc.com, or DM us at @MurphyAJC.

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