The Jolt: Brian Kemp announces Rivian deal, Stacey Abrams credits Democrats

News and analysis from the politics team at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Who is Stacey Abrams? (2021)

Who is Stacey Abrams? (2021)

How did Gov. Brian Kemp’s rivals respond to his rollout Thursday of the $5 billion Rivian plant, which is poised to be the largest single investment in Georgia history?

Former U.S. Sen. David Perdue stayed relatively silent on the topic after earlier criticizing Kemp for not pushing to eliminate a state income tax he said has hampered business development.

Stacey Abrams took the opposite approach, bursting out a string of tweets that praised union leaders and credited Democratic U.S. Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock for promoting policies that helped lure the electric vehicle factory.

At a fundraiser late Thursday, she also told an online gathering of more than 300 donors that Medicaid expansion is economic development, too, with the potential to create more than 64,000 new jobs.

“Yes, we celebrate for those who benefit,” she said. “But too many of us are feeling a little bit of a knot in our stomach – and a little bit of resistance in our minds – because we (say), ‘I know the numbers say progress is being made, but I can’t feel it. I don’t see it.’”

Ossoff, meanwhile, used an appearance on Bloomberg TV to laud bipartisan cooperation.

“Georgia is rapidly becoming a world-leading hub in renewable energy, clean tech and electric vehicles,” he said, adding: “Georgia is emerging as a powerhouse in this sector, not just nationally but globally.”


There are scathing statements. And then there is the attack that the Fair Fight organization leveled against the Georgia Chamber this morning.

The political group founded by Stacey Abrams went after the business lobby days after it endorsed Attorney General Chris Carr. It was the Chamber’s second major 2022 GOP endorsement, following support for Gov. Brian Kemp.

It was the Carr move, however, that brought out Fair Fight’s outrage.

“By endorsing Carr, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce risks abandoning any pretense that they support protecting the right to vote or upholding the basic rule of law in our democracy,” said Hillary Holley, the group’s organizing director.

“This endorsement shows that there is no level to which right-wing politicians can sink to in their shameful attacks on our democracy that will prevent big corporate groups like the Chamber from backing them.”

It’s a reference to Carr’s support for the election rewrite legislation and his role as chairman of a national GOP group that sent out a robocall that urged people to march to the U.S. Capitol and “stop the steal” ahead of the Jan. 6 deadly mob.

Carr stepped down as chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association after the robocall, citing an irreconcilable rift over the organization’s direction.

The Chamber declined to comment. Carr adviser Heath Garrett dismissed the broadside.

“Fair Fight doesn’t like Chris Carr because he speaks truth to Stacey Abrams,” he said.

It’s likely a preview of Fair Fight’s strategy to support Abrams’ priorities ahead of a legislative session that is likely to feature divisive new battles over race, culture and gender.


You may have heard by now that Georgia has landed the soon-to-be massive Rivian plant to be built on a site east of Atlanta.

But you may still be wondering, What the heck is Rivian?

As the AJC reports this morning, Rivian is a California-based electric vehicle company.

  • There are no Rivians in consumers’ driveways yet, but the company is already valued at $100 billion, more than Ford or GM;
  • It will sell three models: The R1T pickup, R1S SUV, and last-mile Electric Delivery Vehicle (EDV).
  • Motor Trend recently called the RT1 pickup “the most remarkable truck MotorTrend has ever driven.”
  • Those great reviews don’t come cheap-- the base price for the RT1 pickup, which will soon be a Georgia product, is about $67,000, while the SUV will start around $70,000.


Herschel Walker’s campaign is one of about a dozen GOP operations included in a Washington Post report on the huge amount of cash Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago club in Florida is making off of fundraising events hosted there.

The Post writes that Walker’s recent Mar-A-Lago fundraiser made $1 million for the Republican’s Senate campaign and associated super PAC.

At the fundraiser for Walker, Trump and the retired football player stood on the balcony overlooking the pool as the former president ticked off football statistics from Walker's career for about 550 attendees, according to someone who was present.

Guests included country singer Travis Tritt, who sang a patriotic tune for the crowd, and attendees were able to view a Heisman trophy and greet football player Doug Flutie.

Contributors who paid for access to a private dinner were served Trump wine with their meal, and the former president took photos with at least 50 donors who had contributed the highest amounts.

- The Washington Post


Herschel Walker repeated his arms-length approach to former President Donald Trump during an interview with WSB-TV Thursday.

“Donald endorsed me, but Herschel Walker is running his campaign,” he said. “I don’t do what people tell me to do. I do what I think is right.”


Democratic activist Nabilah Islam has endorsed U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath in her incumbent-versus-incumbent primary against fellow Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux.

This particular announcement is not surprising. Islam has been a prominent critics of Bourdeaux’s centrist stances during her first year in office, such as when she joined moderates pushing for a quick vote on the infrastructure package while Democrats were still finalizing the much larger Build Back Better bill.

Islam also lost to Bourdeaux in the 7th Congressional District primary in 2020, although she endorsed her for the general election.


Lieutenant governor candidate and Georgia Senate President Pro-Tem Butch Miller speaks at the Georgia GOP convention at Jekyll Island on Saturday, June 5, 2021. (Photo: Nathan Posner for The Atlanta-Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Nathan Posner

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Credit: Nathan Posner

The day after Axios Atlanta’s Emma Hurt scooped that 25 GOP state senators had written to David Perdue prior to his run for governor imploring him not to do it, conservative favorite FYNTV read the names of all 25 senators aloud on the air.

FYN’s reaction to the letter was not anger at Perdue for running against Kemp in a primary, but anger at the state senators for writing the letter.

Instead of writing a letter to Perdue, “What if 34 state Republican senators would have introduced legislation…during the special session to stop CRT in schools? What if?!”

On the same show, host Brian Pritchard pressed Republican Senate leader Butch Miller, a candidate for lieutenant governor, on why he signed the letter.

“Private correspondence between individuals are just that -- private,” Miller said, adding: “I’m laser focused on the lieutenant governor’s race, number one. I’m laser focused on getting drop boxes, number two. I’m laser focused on removing the income tax. Those are the issues I’m running on. Those are the issues I’m focused on.”

He added: “Every minute we’re talking about what’s in the rear view mirror, we’re not talking about what’s in the windshield.”

By the way, state Sen. John Albers told us Perdue still hasn’t responded to his letter’s request for a meeting with the senators.


At least two employees from Georgia’s Secretary of State’s office, including election system manager Gabriel Sterling, were interviewed by the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot, Georgia Public Broadcasting reports.

Sterling spoke to the committee about the state’s election system and various conspiracies and disinformation campaigns focused on the 2020 general election in Georgia.

Frances Watson, who used to work as a lead investigator for Raffensperger, testified about a call she had with then-President Donald Trump in December.


A task force in Smyrna has recommended that the City of Smyrna sell or demolish the structure that once housed Aunt Fanny’s Cabin, the Marietta Daily Journal reports:

Two members of the taskforce, Smyrna councilmen Lewis Wheaton and Charles Welch, said the taskforce had decided Monday renovating the cabin would be too expensive, with estimates starting at $400,000, according to Welch.

The taskforce is scheduled to present its recommendation to the Smyrna City Council at a Thursday night meeting.

“For me, you know, it came down to the brass tacks of, what are we preserving here?" Wheaton said, “and what the purpose of that preservation is."

- Marietta Daily Journal


Former Braves great Fred McGriff has Sen. Jon Ossoff to thank (or blame) for the moment this week when U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz donned a McGriff jersey as a part of a losing bet for the Texas Republican.

Ossoff struck a wager with his colleague when the Braves faced the Houston Astros in the World Series, which the Braves famously and fabulously won, making Cruz a loser.

U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff presents a Fred McGriff jersey to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz after the Texas Republican lost a World Series bet.

Credit: file

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Credit: file

U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff presents a Fred McGriff jersey to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz after the Texas Republican lost a World Series bet.

Credit: fil

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Credit: fil


Since it’s Friday, it’s time to send you into the weekend with a little light reading.


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