The Jolt: Deep-pocket political committee releases first ad backing McBath

Carolyn Bourdeaux and Lucy McBath are both competing for the Democratic nomination for Georgia's 7th Congressional District.

Carolyn Bourdeaux and Lucy McBath are both competing for the Democratic nomination for Georgia's 7th Congressional District.

The incumbent vs. incumbent primary in Georgia’s 7th Congressional District features two candidates who are pretty aligned policy-wise. And both U.S. Reps. Carolyn Bourdeaux and Lucy McBath flipped GOP seats to win a ticket to Washington.

But now they are rivals, and a new group with crypto-cash to burn is on the side of McBath.

We’ve told you previously that Protect Our Future PAC pledged to spend $2 million backing the Marietta Democrat. The group has released its first ad, a spot that highlights McBath’s healthcare priorities.

Titled “Fighter For Us,” the spot is the first of two the organization has planned to run on McBath’s behalf. It will run starting today on Atlanta broadcast networks and cable, streaming, and social media channels targeted to district residents.

Bourdeaux doesn’t have the outside groups backing her like McBath, but she said she can remain competitive with direct fundraising. Both lawmakers have also  worked to gain endorsements from elected officials in the district.

McBath and Bourdeaux both submitted the proper paperwork on Monday to qualify to run in District 7.

“It’s official - I’m on the ballot to represent #GA07 in Congress again!” Bourdeaux wrote on Twitter. “I’m ready to put my head down and keep working for the people of Gwinnett County.”

McBath said: “After losing my son to gun violence, I dedicated the rest of my life to reforming our laws. I flipped a seat once held by Newt Gingrich, so Brian Kemp & the NRA tried to kick me out of Congress. But this mother isn’t going anywhere. Today I qualified to return to Congress.”


Herschel Walker tried out a new argument on Monday after he qualified for office: He called himself the “safe candidate” for women in the race.

Facing reporters at the state Capitol for the first time, Walker was pressed on his history of violent incidents with women, including accusations from his ex-wife and an ex-girlfriend who both said he threatened to assault them.

In a meandering response, Walker questioned whether the accusations were true and pointed to his 2008 memoir, which outlined his struggles with mental health disorders.

Here’s what he said:

“What I tell people is, go out and read my book. They’ll see what is true. Right now, people want to win. I can understand that. But right now, you’ve got to tell people the truth …

“I think women will be safer with Hershel Walker than anyone, because I am the safe candidate in this race. I think when everyone sees what’s going on in this country, I don’t think anyone is safe. You see violent crime has picked up. I think I’m the only one who will solve that.”


Shortly before Herschel Walker qualified, Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock filed his paperwork to run for a full six-year term.

Asked about ways to stiffen sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, Warnock said he was “open to all our options” – including a ban of Russian oil imports to the U.S.

“Russia’s aggressive attack on Ukraine cannot be tolerated,” he said. “And so, I am grateful for the ways in which we have managed to organize the world in a unified voice saying that this cannot stand. And as a member of the United States Senate, I will continue to look for other ways that we can make it clear to Russia that this will not stand.”


State Rep. Calvin Smyre, who was tapped by President Joe Biden to serve as the U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic, said he hadn’t planned to wander over to the Capitol as lawmakers filled out paperwork to qualify for office. But his longtime friend and colleague state Rep. Carolyn Hugley urged him to accompany her on the trip across the street from their offices.

With Smyre, the longest-serving member of the Legislature, slowly winding down his 48 years at the Georgia Capitol, qualifying week has given the Columbus Democrat another reason to reflect on his decades of work under the Gold Dome.

“Serving Georgia for 48 years, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to work on major projects throughout the state of Georgia and I look back on that with a lot of humility and a lot of appreciation and love for my state. I love the state of Georgia,” he said.

“It’s an emotional time because I’m leaving something that I love. I’m almost emotional talking to you now,” Smyre said to our colleague Maya T. Prabhu.

Smyre said he expects to stay through the legislative session, which ends in April, before his confirmation hearings begin in DC.


POSTED: More on the first day of qualifying and some surprise candidates that showed up to file paperwork.


State Senate Rules Chairman Jeff Mullis announced Monday that he will not seek re-election and will retire after 22 years in the chamber.

The Chickamauga Republican said the combination of recovering from an Achilles tendon injury, watching his children become adults and spending time away from his family all contributed to his decision to exit the Legislature, the AJC’s Maya T. Prabhu reports.

As chairman of the Rules Committee for nearly a decade, Mullis has been among the most powerful members of the Senate, helping determine what legislation receives a floor vote.


State Sen. Lindsey Tippins just recently announced his retirement, but on his way out he dropped a bill that would vastly change the way the Senate functions and extend state senators’ terms from two years to four.

Currently, all 236 legislators serve two-year terms, which essentially means lawmakers who wish to return to office are constantly campaigning throughout their terms.

The Senate fast-tracked his proposal, which was first introduced on Friday and unanimously approved by the Senate Ethics Committee on Monday.

Senate Resolution 623 would ask voters to change the state Constitution to allow senators to serve four-year terms beginning with the 2024 election. House members would still serve two-year terms.

Senate leadership expects the proposal to make it out of the chamber before next week’s crossover deadline, but it’s fate is uncertain in the House.

When asked by legislative counsel if the senators wanted to change the House members’ terms as well, Senate Ethics Chairman Max Burns replied: “We’ll let the House deal with that.”


Camden County residents are heading to the polls for a special election today to decide if they believe the county should purchase land that would be used to construct Spaceport Camden, a commercial launch pad off the coast of Georgia, our AJC colleague Maya T. Prabhu tells us.

After years of delays, the county secured a permit to build the spaceport, allowing them to make good on a deal with the chemical company that owns the land. Residents successfully petitioned the local court, saying they should have a say in whether they want their tax dollars to be spent on 4,000 acres previously owned by Union Carbide Corp. that over the years has served as a manufacturing depot for insecticides, chemicals and trip flares. Opponents of the purchase say they don’t think the county should buy potentially contaminated land.

Spaceport officials are courting private companies to launch small rockets — sending satellites, supplies and possibly people into orbit — up to 12 times a year from the site.

The special election and legal maneuvers may ultimately be for naught since the Legislature in 2019 passed a bill creating the “Camden County Spaceport Authority,” which has the power to, among other things, make land purchases. The county did not appoint members to the authority until last Friday, hours after a judge tossed an attempt from county officials to void the special election.

The county has spent more than $10 million in the past seven years to pursue the project.


It probably won’t have a lot of impact on this year’s session, but legislation is starting to move in the Senate to ban the new leadership committees that support select candidates like Gov. Brian Kemp from raising money while lawmakers are meeting, James Salzer reports.

It passed out of a committee Monday but likely wouldn’t become law – even if it wins final passage – until after the session. Kemp’s leadership committee raised $355,000 during the first month of the 2022 session. Candidate campaign committees haven’t been allowed to raise money during the session for more than three decades.


The U.S. Senate, by unanimous consent, passed a bill making lynching a federal crime. President Joe Biden is expected to sign it into law as early as next week.

Similar legislation stalled in Congress last year, but tweaked language led to relatively easy passage this year.

But that belies the lengthy process to passing a federal anti-lynching law. It took more than 100 years and 200 attempts. The bill, named for lynched teenager Emmett Till, would make a public, racially motivated killing punishable by up to 30 years in prison.


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