The Jolt: Senator MTG? Poll shows a Greene run would be heavy lift

News and analysis from the AJC politics team
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., is jockeying to be Donald Trump’s running mate. (Nathan Posner for The AJC)

Credit: Nathan Posner for The AJC

Combined ShapeCaption
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., is jockeying to be Donald Trump’s running mate. (Nathan Posner for The AJC)

Credit: Nathan Posner for The AJC

Tucked into The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s latest poll on the 2024 election is a question about a politician who isn’t expected to be on next year’s presidential ballot but is very much a national figure.

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is jockeying to be former president Donald Trump’s running mate. She’s played a central role in some of the biggest recent debates in Congress. And the Rome Republican has raised the possibility of a statewide run in 2026.

Although her congressional seat seems secure — last year she trounced a Democratic opponent who spent more than $16 million to try to defeat her — the AJC poll makes clear the extent of Greene’s popularity, or lack thereof, across the state.

Greene’s unfavorable ratings hover around 57%, matching that of presidential race front-runners Trump and President Joe Biden. Her approval rating with likely Georgia voters is just 25%; by contrast, Gov. Brian Kemp’s last approval rating put him above 60%.

Attitudes toward Greene are deeply divided even among Republicans, with only 40% giving her positive reviews while roughly the same proportion see her negatively. About one-fifth haven’t made up their minds or didn’t know enough about Greene to answer.

Asked for his take on the findings on the Wednesday edition of the “Politically Georgia” radio show on WABE, former Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who has long tangled with Greene, offered a curt analysis.

“It goes to show that being a con artist can sometimes come back to haunt you,” he said.


 Former U. S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger was a guest on Wednesday’s episode of “Politically Georgia.” (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

LISTEN UP. Former U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger was a guest on Wednesday’s episode of “Politically Georgia.”

Along with weighing in on his former House colleague, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, Kinzinger talked about his opposition to former President Donald Trump, his new book titled “Renegade” and the question he says the 2024 election is really about: “Do you support democracy or authoritarianism?”

The episode is available now as a podcast. Listen and subscribe at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, or wherever you listen to podcasts.


FIGHT NIGHT. Five of the six top GOP contenders for the 2024 presidential nomination gathered Wednesday in Miami for a debate hosted by NBC. Only the favorite, former President Donald Trump, skipped the debate — for a third time — opting instead to hold his own rally down the road in Hialeah, Florida.

Our Greg Bluestein was in Miami, where he reported the early focus from moderators was on foreign policy. Candidates fielded questions on the war between Israel and Hamas, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, China’s growing military strength and the role of the U.S. in it all.

The real sparring came later in an exchange between former United Nations ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and former tech CEO Vivek Ramaswamy, who criticized Haley’s daughter’s use of the social media platform TikTok. “Keep my daughter’s name out of your voice,” Haley hit back. “You’re just scum.”

A day after big Democratic election wins on abortion, the GOP contenders showed why the issue could haunt Republicans in 2024. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis criticized Republicans’ approach to state referendums, such as the Ohio abortion protection measure that voters approved Tuesday, while Ramaswamy suggested paternity tests should be deployed to find the men involved in pregnancies.


State Sen. Ed Setzler of Acworth recently delivered a speech about the national debt. (Jason Getz/

Credit: Jason Getz/AJC

Credit: Jason Getz/AJC

NAME & BLAME. Republican Party county breakfasts are occasionally the stuff of legend, and one for the books happened earlier this month at the Cobb GOP.

That’s where state Sen. Ed Setzler of Acworth delivered a routine speech about the national debt and opened the floor for Q&A. But, according to the Marietta Daily Journal, questions quickly went to Gov. Brian Kemp, Attorney General Chris Carr, and Setzler himself, whom various members of the audience accused of abandoning them and former President Donald Trump.

“We have a Republican governor, a Republican Legislature, and they’re not doing anything to help Trump,” one questioner said, adding that only state Sen. Colton Moore, R-Trenton, had advocated to remove Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from office for prosecuting the former president in an election interference case.

GOP Chair Salleigh Grubbs told Setzler she likes him as a friend, “But we feel like we’re alone, and we feel like there’s nobody fighting for us.”

That’s when Setzler reminded the group they had voted to censure Kemp just two years ago.

“When parties rebuke in writing and resolution their own sitting governor — you have every right to do that, but when you feel like your voice isn’t there anymore, you have only yourself to blame,” he said.


PLUS TWO. Two more Republicans have completed paperwork to appear on the GOP presidential ballot in Georgia.

Former tech executive Vivek Ramaswamy and combat pilot David Stuckenberg, a recent longshot entry, both paid the $25,000 fee and submitted their applications, state GOP chair Josh McKoon said.

Former President Donald Trump was the first GOP contender to formally land on the ballot earlier this month.


NEW START. The Georgia House speaker holds a role that is both powerful and precarious, agenda-setting and abstruse.

But over the last nine years, the three Republicans who have wielded the gavel have had the same man at their side to help them navigate the politics, policies and press: Kaleb McMichen.

He was the trusted deputy of the late House Speaker David Ralston, then helped smooth the transition to Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones and now Speaker Jon Burns.

McMichen is moving on. Starting Nov. 16, he’ll lead communications for the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. He’ll reunite with the department’s leader, Kevin Tanner, a respected former House legislator and close Ralston ally.

McMichen said one of his proudest accomplishments during nearly a decade in his post was the same as Ralston’s — helping to shepherd a vast expansion of Georgia’s mental health system through the Legislature in 2022. So it’s only fitting that he’ll now devote his career to implementing that law across the state.

And, in a coincidence that’s not lost on McMichen, his first day at the department falls on the anniversary of Ralston’s death. We can only imagine how proud he’d be of his loyal deputy now.


NO CONFIDENCE IN CONGRESS. Republicans lawmakers will bear the most blame from Georgians if Congress fails to reach a funding agreement in time to avert another government shutdown on Nov. 17, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s latest poll.

Roughly 40% of those surveyed said they would hold GOP legislators most responsible for a shutdown, compared with 26% of respondents who said they would hold Democrats liable. Another 20% said President Joe Biden is responsible for preventing agencies from shuttering.

Among poll respondents who identified as Democrats, 76% said they would blame Republicans for a shutdown. Thirty-nine percent of independents also point the finger at Republicans, compared with 17% who said Democrats would be responsible and 16% who would hold Biden accountable.

Among Republicans, however, 44% say Democrats would be responsible for a government shutdown and an additional 37% mentioned Biden.

A majority — 57% — of those polled said they had little or no confidence Congress can “effectively respond to a crisis.” Those sentiments follow weeks of turmoil marked by a drawn-out battle over the House speakership and disagreements over emergency aid for Israel and Ukraine.

Independents were more likely than Republicans and Democrats to say they were “not at all confident” in Congress’ ability to navigate difficult decisions. Independents also were more likely than Republicans and Democrats to say they have unfavorable impressions of Congress.


U.S. Rep. Mike Collins, R-Ga., failed in his bid to be elected Republican Conference vice chairman. (Natrice Miller/

Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC

Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC

MEMBERSHIP, BUT NOT LEADERSHIP. Georgia Rep. Mike Collins failed dramatically in his bid to be elected Republican Conference vice chairman. He was eliminated on the first ballot after receiving the least amount of votes, just 15 among more than 200 GOP lawmakers.

The meme king might have landed last place in the crowded seven-way race, but he took the defeat with grace and played it straight in a post on social media afterward by congratulating the winner, Utah Rep. Blake Moore.

“It’s been a tremendous honor to get to know our conference further through this process, and I look forward to continuing to work and help our team!” Collins, R-Jackson, wrote.

As part of the campaign for the position, Collins and the other candidates passed out gifts and food. Collins kept it Georgia-focused with peanuts, Coca-Cola and Chick-fil-A, plus koozies and custom cookies — decorated with a meme, of course.



  • President Joe Biden travels to Belvidere, Illinois, to mark the reopening of a Stellantis assembly plant and celebrate autoworkers’ new contract agreement.
  • The U.S. House continues work on appropriations legislation.
  • The U.S. Senate votes on confirmations.


Bean Phalen was found outside the office of U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson’s DeKalb office .He now calls Andy Phalen, Johnson’s communications director, his person. (Courtesy office)

Credit: Courtesy photo

Credit: Courtesy photo

DOG OF THE DAY. Eight years ago, little Bean Phelan showed up outside the DeKalb County district office of U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, bone thin and covered in fleas. It was Bean’s good fortune that the Lithonia Democrat’s communications director, Andy Phelan, found him, fed him, and took him to the vet.

Now Bean lives in Clarkston with the Phelan family and this little ball, where they’re all enjoying their happily ever after.

Send us your dogs of any political persuasion and location, and cats on a cat-by-cat basis, to, or DM us at @MurphyAJC.


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