The Jolt: Georgia GOP lawmaker loses job after Lincoln Project’s ‘clearly false’ tweet

Mar. 24,  2016 -  Atlanta -  Senator John Albers, who carried HB 216 in the Senate, argues for passage  of Amendment 1, which extends workman's comp benefits for firefighters.  After extended debate HB 216 passed in the Senate.   As this years general assembly comes to a close on the 40th day of the legislative session, legislators must consider scores of bills before the midnight deadline.    BOB ANDRES  / BANDRES@AJC.COM
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Mar. 24, 2016 - Atlanta - Senator John Albers, who carried HB 216 in the Senate, argues for passage of Amendment 1, which extends workman's comp benefits for firefighters. After extended debate HB 216 passed in the Senate. As this years general assembly comes to a close on the 40th day of the legislative session, legislators must consider scores of bills before the midnight deadline. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

Credit: Bob Andres

Credit: Bob Andres

A prominent Georgia Republican lawmaker has lost his job after coming under fire from an anti-Trump group that scrutinized his support for elections legislation.

The Fisher Phillips law firm told the AJC over the weekend that state Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, resigned as chief information officer after it was deemed “incompatible” with his role as a state lawmaker.

“We are grateful for John’s many accomplishments at the firm as an excellent professional and wish him well,” the firm said in a statement.

In a text to the AJC, Albers pinned the blame on The Lincoln Project, the prominent Never Trump group, which he said wrongly accused him of sponsoring a measure to suppress votes in a now-deleted tweet.

“This is clearly false, he said. “I am fully transparent and glad to share everything with anyone. This issue caused the firm undo angst even though it was not true.”

Albers said he “proudly” backs Senate Bill 62, which requires new security elements on absentee ballots in Georgia. But he noted he was one of four GOP state lawmakers who didn’t vote for a sweeping measure that would limit who can vote by mail in Georgia and reduce weekend voting.

“In fact, I took heat for not supporting these measures from other groups,” he said. “I believe voting is a sacred right and should be available, transparent and secure for all citizens. My record is crystal clear and I am proud of my work.”

Albers added:

“Sadly, I have become a victim of cancel culture and economic terrorism. I care about the people and firm too much to cause an issue. As a result, I have tendered my resignation. My performance and results were extraordinary and this situation should be a wake up call for our state and nation. It is time for radical groups like the Lincoln Project to be held accountable for spreading lies, hate and deceit.”

The Lincoln Project has come under fire for his own unsavory scandals recently. In a statement late Monday, the group panned Albers for claiming it targeted him with “economic terrorism.”

“Economic terrorism is denying voting rights to the taxpayers who pay their salaries. Economic terrorism is making it more difficult for every Georgian to participate in democracy,” said Nate Nesbitt, the organization’s director of strategic partnerships.

“If the Georgia Republican Party is troubled when attention is drawn to their actions, the answer is simple: stop making it harder for Georgians to vote.”

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Under the Gold Dome:

  • 8:00 am: House and Senate Committee meetings begin;
  • 10:00 am: Gov. Brian Kemp holds a press event to sign House Bill 593 and House Bill 114, an income tax cut and a bill to increase tax incentives for adoption;
  • 1:00 pm: The House gavels in;
  • 1:00 pm: The Senate convenes.

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Want a glimpse of the depth of GOP infighting in Georgia?

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were both in Atlanta on Friday. But instead of unleashing attacks on the stimulus plan, the state GOP took aim at one of its own with a scathing resolution targeting Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

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The never-ending, nine-week slog that was the runoff period in 2020 may be a thing of the past if lawmakers have their way, writes Mark Niesse. The details:

Runoffs would be held four weeks after an initial election, cutting short the state's current nine-week wait.

Military and overseas voters would use instant-runoff ballots, in which they would pick their second-choice candidates upfront, rather than having to vote again in a runoff.

And special elections would be preceded by partisan primary elections, eliminating the kind of 20-candidate contests that included Republican Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock in November.

Taken together, these proposals would make it more likely that the leading candidate in general elections would prevail in runoffs.

- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has hired Georgia native Brian Jack to lead his national political operation, Axios reported Sunday.

Jack was a key campaign operative for Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and later served as his political director. He also worked closely with McCarthy, the GOP leader in the House, in 2020 as he advised Trump on congressional elections.

The Peachtree City native — and Woodward Academy graduate — was one of Trump’s longest serving advisers, joining his presidential campaign in March 2016.

His new role could be a factor in competitive congressional elections in Georgia’s 6th and 7th districts, both held by Democrats and expected to be among the GOP’s top 2022 targets.

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Posted: Georgia Republicans expect U.S. Rep. Jody Hice to announce a primary challenge against Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger this week, and several potential candidates are already lining up to compete for his House seat.

On Sunday, a top adviser to Donald Trump teased what may be an endorsement from the former president for Hice later today.

“Pay attention to Georgia,” Jason Miller said on Fox News’ Media Buzz program. “There’s a big endorsement that’s coming that’s going to really shake things up in the political landscape.”

Despite Trump’s 0-2 record in the Georgia Senate runoffs, Miller called a Trump endorsement for any candidate “the most important in world history.”

Over the weekend, David Belle Isle, one of Raffensperger’s 2014 GOP primary opponents, announced that he’ll run for the Secretary of State post again in 2022.

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Happening today: Democratic state Rep. Josh McLaurin is set to introduce a measure to require a five-day waiting period on firearms purchases in response to the deadly spa shootings last week.

The AJC reported that the 21-year-old suspect bought a gun from Big Woods Goods in Holly Springs hours before the shootings that left eight people dead — including six women of Asian descent — at three spas in metro Atlanta.

Prior to the shootings, State Sen. Michelle Au introduced Senate Bill 179, a bill to require universal background checks on firearms purchases or transfers in Georgia. That bill is still waiting for a hearing in the Public Safety Committee.

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Democrats in the U.S. House aren’t done with U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Weeks after stripping her of her committee assignments, some members want to remove Greene from office altogether.

An expulsion resolution filed Friday by U.S. Rep. Jimmy Gomez, a California Democrat, has 72 cosponsors, including U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams, D-Atlanta. (The other five Democrats in the state’s delegation have not signed on.) Gomez’s bill was assigned to the House Ethics Committee for review, but it’s unclear if it will get a hearing, be fast-tracked to a floor vote, or see any action at all.

Greene, R-Rome, told Newsmax she is unphased by Democrats’ efforts.

“I’m not backing down; I’m going to stand my ground,” she said. “And I do this for the American people and for the district back at home.”

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U.S. Sen. Reverend Raphael Warnock is holding a press briefing this morning to discuss a provision he championed in the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill to create a $5 billion debt repayment and investment program for farmers of color.

Sens. Cory Booker, of New Jersey, and Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, will join Warnock on the call, as will Eddie Slaughter, a farmer from Buena Vista, Ga.

On Thursday, the House Agriculture Committee, chaired by Georgia’s U.S. Rep. David Scott, will hold a hearing on “state of black farmers in the U.S..”

Warnock’s program for farmers has drawn criticism from Republicans, who say it is one of many examples of spending in the relief package that is not directly related to the pandemic.

Several GOP members, including Georgia U.S. Reps. Austin Scott, Jody Hice, Buddy Carter, Drew Ferguson and Andrew Clyde, said the program should not leave out white women. They wrote to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack asking that the provision be more inclusive.

“As USDA begins to implement Section 1005, we hope that you promulgate rules that apply eligibility standards and provide loan payments only to American farmers and ranchers without discrimination against women,” the lawmakers wrote. “USDA and the Administration have a duty to responsibly and fairly administer the tax dollars of hard-working Americans.”

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Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday, U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock ripped the Georgia General Assembly for its work in the days following the Atlanta spa shootings.

“This shooter was able to kill all of these folks the same day he purchased a firearm. But right now, what is our legislature doing?” Warnock said. “They’re, they’re busy...under the Gold Dome here in Georgia, trying to prevent people from being able to vote the same day they register. I think that suggests a distortion in values.”

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Marietta City Schools were the focus of a 60 Minutes segment last night on CBS looking at the lessons the school district has learned through reopening its doors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control studied the school district in 2020 to learn about how the virus is transmitted in schools.

Marietta superintendent Grant Rivera discussed the schools’ mask mandate, outbreaks from indoor sports, and his biggest concern going forward:

“We will have children who will carry trauma and learning loss, I believe, for their entire educational you know, trajectory. And I think that’s what’s so important. Like, how are we amidst the exhaustion that our educators feel, like, how are we going to proactively respond to that? We’ve gotta close this COVID gap.”