The Jolt: Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed continues to hint at a comeback

Former Mayor Kasim Reed (left) and press secretary, Jenna Garland, in 2015. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM
Former Mayor Kasim Reed (left) and press secretary, Jenna Garland, in 2015. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

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

Is the comeback about to begin? Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed sent out a “Save the Date” for his birthday celebration on June 10 that set Atlanta political circles abuzz. (Sadly, our invitation must have gotten lost in the email.)

His former rival, Atlanta City Council president Cathy Woolard, reacted on Facebook with a sad emoji atop the caption: “Here we go…”

Meanwhile, Reed posted to Twitter a link to an online betting site that put him as the odds-on favorite to win Atlanta’s top job again now that Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, his former protege, decided not to stand for a second term.

“Interesting,” he tweeted.

City Hall insiders we spoke with are split. Some are certain Reed will run again, and they already fill our text messages with stories of how he’s lining up big-dollar cash commitments from Atlanta heavyweights. Others think it’s all a ruse.

The will-he-or-won’t-he saga won’t last too much longer. While qualifying isn’t until August, even a heavy-hitter like Reed would need time to build out a campaign operation and raise cash to go up against other formidable entrants.

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Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan tweeted — and then quickly deleted — a picture of him standing with two of former President Donald Trump’s two least favorite congressional Republicans.

To Duncan’s right in the photo are U.S. Reps. Anthony Gonzalez and Liz Cheney, who both have been punished by their party for opposing Trump.

We’re certain you’re familiar with Cheney’s travails, but Gonzalez has faced more localized backlash, including a rebuke from the Ohio GOP, for voting to impeach Trump.

We’re not exactly sure why Duncan deleted the tweet, which asserted they spoke about “ways to grow our Conservative party from coast to coast.”

But we can assume it had something to do with his tagging of “@GOP2_0” — the post-Trump movement he hopes to expand in lieu of running for another term as Georgia’s No. 2 Republican.

Peek at that Twitter-handle’s page and you’ll see it described as,”Independent movement bringing a reasoned approach to creating GOP majorities. Help us expand our tent with better Policy, real Empathy, and a respectful Tone!”

The only person that “GOP2_0” follows is, of course, Duncan.

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When President Joe Biden signs hate crimes legislation into law this afternoon, both Georgia Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff will be by his side.

White House bill signings are still socially distanced affairs these days, meaning limited guests. Warnock got the invitation because he was one of the main Senate advocates for the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, and he worked to add in the names of every victim of the Atlanta spa shootings.

Ossoff also had a role backing the legislation as a cosponsor, and of course one of the main catalysts to get it passed was the assault on Asian spas in his backyard. The legislation gained steam after that deadly March 16 attack, which resulted in the deaths of eight people, including six Asian women.

The bill marks the first measure where Warnock had a prominent role and it got signed into law. He is looking for victories like this to take back home as he runs for re-election in 2022.

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All eight Georgia Republicans were a “no” on a resolution that condemned the Atlanta spa shootings, although it passed Wednesday on a bipartisan vote.

This was a second, separate measure than the hate crimes legislation that also mentioned the assault targeting three Asian spas and also received little support from Georgia’s GOP delegation.

We caught up with U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, who explained his vote as a protest against legislation he feels is premature because the shooting is still under investigation. Whether the incident that left six Asian women dead was truly a hate crime or not is something Carter wants law enforcement to determine before he decides how and if to honor its victims.

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Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols, an evangelical Christian, and Ritesh Desai, a prominent Hindu businessman, have a shared op-ed in the Atlanta Jewish Times titled: “My Heart Bleeds for Israel.” In the piece, they share a pro-Israel stance as the country battles with Hamas in Gaza, a conflict that has resulted in hundreds of casualties.

In it they write, “We both stand with Israel and pray for peace soon.”

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The Democratic National Committee launched an ad buy Thursday in AAPI outlets across Georgia as part of a campaign to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month.

The DNC says the buys in The Korea Daily Atlanta, The Korea Times ATL and World Journal Georgia are part of a wave of purchases aimed at the community “at an earlier point than any previous election cycle.”

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Now that Jody Hice is no longer running for re-election in Georgia’s 10th Congressional District, we are starting to hear from people who hope to take his place.

Marc McMain, who grew up in Metro Atlanta and now lives in Monroe, is the publisher of a local magazine. The Republican describes his platform as anti-abortion, pro-gun, pro-border wall and against “cancel culture.”

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