The Jolt: Anti-‘Buckhead City’ effort firing up Monday at state Capitol

News and analysis from the politics team at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Look for the so-far lowish profile anti-Buckhead cityhood voices to take a big step into the public eye Monday when the lawmakers who represent the Buckhead neighborhood in the General Assembly hold a press conference on the proposal to take it out of the City of Atlanta.

State Rep. Betsy Holland, state Sen. Jen Jordan, and state Sen. Sonia Halpern, whose districts cover Buckhead, have all spoken out against the effort to carve Buckhead out of Atlanta and create a new city in response to local worries over a spike in violent crime in the area.

The three Democrats will be joined by state Sen. Nan Orrock, a fellow Democrat who has chaired the Atlanta delegation, at the state Capitol to talk about what they see at the problems with cityhood and the nuts and bolts of the bill that’s in the works to make it happen.

We’ve also learned that the Atlanta lawmakers will send a letter to House Speaker David Ralston and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan underscoring their position that Buckhead de-annexation is a local issue and should not pass over the objections of the lawmakers who represent the area.

“The legislators elected to represent this city and neighborhood should be the ones to determine the direction of our communities in the legislature,” Halpern said.

For a reminder of just who is supporting the Buckhead City effort in the General Assembly, several lawmakers-- all Republicans from outside of Atlanta-- were spotted at a high-dollar fundraiser for the Buckhead City Committee last week.

State Sen. Clint Dixon, Gov. Brian Kemp’s floor leader, was there. So was Senate President Pro Tem Butch Miller, state Sen. Jeff Mullis of Chickamauga, state Rep. Todd Jones of South Forsyth who is sponsoring the House effort, and Rep. Chuck Efstration of Dacula.


Herschel Walker has more than Donald Trump’s support to boost his campaign. He’s got a string of athletes and Atlanta sports stars to bolster his candidacy, too.

As we reported over the weekend, the former Georgia football standout is trying to keep pace with Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock with a Trump-backed fundraiser at his Mar-a-Lago Club in December.

Among the “honorary hosts” of the event are former football players Doug Flutie, Mike Garrett and Johnny Rodgers; retired Atlanta Braves star Tom Glavine; and ex-professional wrestler Ric Flair.

We reached out to Glavine, the Hall of Fame pitcher, for details on why he’s involved with the event.

“I’ve known Herschel for a long time, he’s a great friend and a great guy,” said Glavine. “I’m simply supporting a great friend.”


Georgia Democrats don’t want voters to forget Herschel Walker was once planning to hold a fundraiser at the home of a Texas supporter who, until last week, sported a swastika as her profile on social media.

The Democratic Party of Georgia plans an 11 a.m. press conference Tuesday at Liberty Plaza Tuesday to emphasize the swastika, which was composed of syringes in a symbol of opposition to vaccine requirements.


You’ve already read about Sen. Raphael Warnock and GOP challenger Herschel Walker’s staggering fundraising hauls last quarter on

But Politico recently noted that Black candidates, from several states and both parties, “Posted blowout performances in the most recent campaign fundraising period, leading to an unprecedented cash windfall that stands to reshape the Senate in 2022 and beyond.”

There’s a Georgia connection behind it all:

It helps that many Black candidates are challenging high-profile, highly polarizing opponents, a sure-fire way to stock the campaign coffers.

The crop of 2022 candidates are also building on the recent successes of prominent Black candidates who preceded them — among them, former President Barack Obama, Vice President Kamala Harris, Warnock and Stacey Abrams, whose Fair Fight political action committee has raised more than $100 million since her 2018 loss to Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp.

- Politico


On the other side of the fundraising coin, Mother Jones reports that the political action committee that financed U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s recent nationwide tour with Rep. Matt Gaetz is nearly broke.

In its first few months, the Put America First PAC seemed like it was off to a hot start, raising $360,000 in its first two months—but according to new campaign finance filings made by the PAC it now has just $13,000 in cash.

Multiple tour stops were cancelled this summer. Gaetz and Greene did hold at least one major event in Iowa in August. Despite attracting big headlines, the rally was, apparently, a financial bust. The group spent $159,000 from July 1 to September 30, and raised just $57,000.

- Mother Jones

The article also notes that donations directly to Greene have also slowed down, although she remains among the House’s most successful fundraisers.

The congresswoman collected $1.5 million from July through September and spent about $1.1 million during that time, much of it for costs related to her fundraising operation. Greene ended the quarter with $3.3 million in cash on hand.


U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson has introduced a bill to ban the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from implementing certain new reporting requirements for banks or other financial institutions.

Ferguson’s legislation is a response to a Biden administration proposal to require that banks provide data to the IRS on accounts if more than $600 is withdrawn, deposited, or on deposit annually.

The Administration said the information will help crack down on tax cheats and raise billions in uncollected revenue.

But the Republican from West Point calls the idea an “aggressive bank surveillance regime.”

“Strong concerns have been raised about individual’s privacy, the IRS’s ability to safeguard private bank account information, and undue burdens on families and small businesses,” he said in a press release.

Ferguson’s staff tell us the bill is in response to a huge volume of constituent calls about Biden’s proposal.


We knew former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin was in the anybody-but-Kasim-Reed camp, but we also now know she’s backing City Councilman Andre Dickens in Atlanta’s upcoming mayoral race.

She broke the news to our friend Shelley Wynter, on his must-listen Word on the Street WSB show last week. You can find that entire interview here.

She also followed up with a two-sentence announcement on Instagram that read: “Dickens has the experience, commitment and vision to be a great mayor.”

Franklin and Dickens have a bit of history. She endorsed him in 2013 in his campaign for city council.


Another City Hall endorsement that caught our eyes-- William Perry, a well-known Georgia ethics watchdog, has endorsed Felicia Moore.

“There are only about a half-dozen people I truly trust to always do the right thing,” he says in a new video. “Felicia Moore tops that list.”


California-based singer and activist John Legend has launched a new initiative called “HUMANLEVEL,” which will place 50 paid fellows in 11 cities, including Atlanta.

In a news release, Legend said he chose the cities “where local governments have invited us to work on specific projects to make their communities stronger and more equitable.”

The organization says its goal is to work with local governments to address issues like institutional racism and push for change at all levels of government.


The trial for the three men accused of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery is set to begin today in Brunswick with vetting of potential jurors. The AJC’s Bill Rankin and Shaddi Abusaid will lead the AJC’s coverage from the coast and have the details on what’s expected today:

Up to 1,000 Glynn County residents summoned for jury duty are scheduled to appear at Selden Park, a large recreation center in Brunswick, to enable social distancing. Twelve people ultimately chosen from this enormous pool will be tasked with deciding whether Travis McMichael, his father Greg McMichael and William “Roddie" Bryan are guilty of malice murder, false imprisonment and other charges.

- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


In personnel news, Meredith Brasher, one of Sen. Raphael Warnock’s most trusted and longest-serving political aides, is moving from his Senate staff to his re-election campaign. She’ll serve as his campaign’s communications director.


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