Stacey Abrams. “If he runs again, I’m there to support him,” she told CNN recently, adding: “Yes, if President Biden chooses to run again, I absolutely support him.”
Sen. Raphael Warnock. His campaign pointed to recent remarks from the senator: “I’m focused on the job I’m doing…When that means standing with this person or that person, it’s based on what it does for Georgia.”
Sen. Jon Ossoff. “Sen. Ossoff expects the president to seek re-election,” a spokesman said, “but ultimately that’s a personal decision for the president, the First Lady and their family.”
U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams, the state Democratic party chair. “I’d definitely support President Biden running for re-election should he decide that. He’s been able to get a legislative agenda passed that will literally change peoples lives for generations to come.”
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens. “President Biden saved the economy, made the Covid vaccines available nationwide, delivered once-in-a-generation infrastructure investment, and is about to sign monumental climate legislation. Not only should he run, we’ll be the ones to nominate him when we host the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta in 2024.”
Charlie Bailey, nominee for lieutenant governor. A spokesman said he supports the president running for a second term.
State Sen. Jen Jordan, nominee for attorney general. “I’m 100% focused on winning my race THIS November.”
State Rep. Bee Nguyen, nominee for secretary of state. “My hope is that Georgians understand the important role we played in delivering wins for the President and Senator Warnock and Senator Ossoff … I’m focused on making sure we can deliver wins for Georgians come this November.”
U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath. A spokesman said she supports the president running for a second term.
LISTEN UP. It’s time for the midweek installment of your Politically Georgia podcast. We discuss whether President Joe Biden’s recent legislative wins will help Georgia Democrats who have struggled over whether to embrace him on the campaign trail.
Plus, how will the FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate could shake up the midterms?
Listen here or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or Stitcher.
POLICY BLITZ. Stacey Abrams delivered a highly publicized economic speech on Tuesday headlined by her call for a constitutional amendment to legalize both casino gambling and sports betting to expand the HOPE scholarship.
But there were many, many other policies in the lengthy address, too, held at a downtown Atlanta brewery Atlantucky.
Among them were calls to expand Medicaid in Georgia, make technical college free in the state, finance a $10 million small-business fund, and launch an entrepreneur’s “learners permit” and boost state contracts with minority businesses. She also committed to end veterans’ homelessness, create a farm-to-school initiative for ag students, create 25,000 to 45,000 new green energy jobs, 20,000 new apprenticeships, and boost teacher and state law enforcement pay, while also raising “accountability for police misconduct and violence,” and spend $500 million to expand affordable housing.
And she said she’d do it all without raising taxes.
“We don’t have to raise taxes, we just have to raise our expectations for the people who lead us.”
Abrams had plenty of supporters on hand to hear her lay out her economic vision for the state, including Gwinnett-based Democratic state Rep. Sam Park (a former Abrams intern back in the day), state Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler, and Democratic booster and businesswoman Sarah Riggs Amico.
ELECTRIC OUCH. When Rivian announced its new electric vehicle plant last year, Stacey Abrams was among the state officials who welcomed the news.
But several corporate types noted that the Democrat’s speech included a veiled dig at the huge incentive package offered to the automaker, which is losing money as it struggles with manufacturing issues.
“Now while the governor is comfortable promising billions to companies that have yet to turn a profit,” Abrams said, “he refuses to invest in our young people.”
CHAMBER CHATTER. The Georgia Chamber’s annual congressional luncheon in Macon attracted more than 1,300 movers-and-shakers in a display of bipartisanship.
Republican U.S. Rep. Rick Allen, R-Evans, and Democratic U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, D-Suwanee, talked collegially of workforce development plans.
U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, touted the benefits of a bipartisan infrastructure plan he and other GOP members voted against, while U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton, invoked the memories of Johnny Isakson and John Lewis.
But no speaker might have highlighted the across-the-aisle bonhomie quite like Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster who kicked off his remarks by praising Democratic U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop and Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
He also warned that trust in the nation’s political institutions is at a crisis point as he called on the leaders in the room to step up their civic involvement.
“The left doesn’t trust the court because of Roe v. Wade,” he said. “The right doesn’t trust justice because of what happened down in Mar-A-Lago.”
N-O FROM HHS. The Biden administration dealt a blow Tuesday to Gov. Brian Kemp’s attempts to bypass the federal health insurance marketplace and create a state marketplace with private insurance brokers instead.
Rebecca Grapevine writes for the Athens Banner-Herald and Capitol Beat that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services officially suspended Kemp’s 1332 waiver application and said the state had failed to respond to requests for more information about how it would prevent people from losing coverage.
“Consumers in Georgia will continue to use HealthCare.gov, which CMS will operate, to purchase individual health insurance coverage for 2023,” a CMS spokeswoman said.
U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock praised the call and said it will save lives.
GWINNETT GRIEF. The Gwinnett GOP is under fire for hosting a speaker with a history of anti-Islamic statements and bizarre conspiracy theories at a breakfast event over the weekend.
Our AJC colleague Alia Malik reports that the backlash came after Trevor Loudon gave a talk called “The War Against the West” at a Saturday gathering at the county’s party headquarters.
“It is disheartening to see the Gwinnett County GOP pander to bigots and white nationalists by hosting an event whose title and speaker go against the essence of everything that makes Gwinnett County beautiful,” said Javeria Jamil, legal and policy director for CAIR-Georgia.
Gwinnett GOP Chairman Sammy Baker said about 100 people attended the breakfast and that Loudon focused on China, Russia and “communists who have infiltrated our government” – not on Islamic-related issues.
“No one in attendance reported hearing divisive or exclusionary opinions from anyone who spoke,” Baker said in a statement. “We welcome all thought leaders to share their ideas with our group and our doors are always open to guests.”
Alleging that communists entered the government is just one of Loudon’s false conspiracy theories. He’s said Black Lives Matter is a front for a pro-Chinese Communist group, the killing of George Floyd and subsequent protests were planned four years beforehand, voting machines were rigged in the 2020 election and that Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen.
“The Gwinnett GOP owes every voter an apology for importing hate into our district and for amplifying dangerous conspiracy theories,” Gwinnett Democratic Chairwoman Brenda Lopez Romero said.
Once a Republican bastion, Democrats are now ascendant in Gwinnett. The county is among the most diverse county in the Southeast, and home ot more than 20 mosques and Muslim religious centers.
ARBERY UPDATE. The Savannah Morning News’ Raisa Habersham was on hand in Brunswick Tuesday for the dedication of Honorary Ahmaud Arbery Street.
She writes that now that most of the state and federal sentencing for Arbery’s murders is complete, his family is looking for more action from Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr against the local prosecutors who covered up the murder in the first place. More:
But there are other legal hurdles to battle, including setting a trial date for former Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson, who was indicted on a felony charge of violation of oath and a misdemeanor charge of obstruction and hindering a law enforcement officer in September 2021.
The family would also like to see consequences for Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George Barnhill of Ware County, who Johnson had asked to assume responsibility for the state murder case. Barnhill had ruled the McMichaels and Bryan acted in self-defense.
“Our understanding is once the McMichaels' trial was complete, that the attorney general could then begin to prosecute Gregory McMichael about his relationship to George Barnhill and then we expect criminal charges to go forward again," attorney Lee Merritt told the Savannah Morning News."
- The Savannah Morning News
MEDIA MOGUL. We’re here to confirm the rumors you may have heard about a certain Georgia-based media empire expanding.
We caught up with former Democratic House minority leader DuBose Porter last night, when the former Democratic Party chair was in Atlanta to see Stacey Abrams deliver a speech on her economic platform.
Porter confirmed that he and his business partner, Griffin Lovett, who already own the Dublin Courier Herald and nine other local Georgia newspapers, recently bought four more-- the Leader Tribune in Fort Valley, the Vienna News Observer, the Citizen Georgian in Montezuma, and the one-and-only Sparta Ishmaelite.
We offer an ink-stained salute to anyone ready and willing to invest in Georgia’s all-important local news.
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