Walker and Blanchard didn’t respond to requests for comment, so we’re not sure if Walker is pulling up stakes on his home state. He also recently reenrolled at the University of Georgia, taking steps to obtain a college degree he falsely claimed he had earned.
Few other details have emerged about Walker’s post-election life. He lost a December runoff to U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock following a chaotic campaign. Since his defeat, Walker has mostly withdrawn from social media and shunned even far-right outlets that once promoted his campaign.
Walker has yet to address accusations that he directed $535,000 in campaign contributions to one of his businesses. An aide to the donor has said the money was returned after he asked for a refund, but Walker hasn’t responded to questions about the transfer or the allegations lodged in a subsequent ethics complaint.
Credit: Kent Nishimura/The New York Times
Credit: Kent Nishimura/The New York Times
LISTEN UP. In Wednesday’s edition of the Politically Georgia podcast, we’re looking at the deepening Democratic divide over the Atlanta public safety training center. We’ve also got a report from Washington, D.C., on the looming government shutdown, including how the Georgia delegation is involved. We also look at how President Joe Biden’s 2020 voters in Georgia are feeling about 2024.
Listen and subscribe at Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Podcasts.
A programming note: Look for the Politically Georgia podcast at 1 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays instead of 4 a.m. The move lets us post the show the same day we record it to give you the latest news and analysis of Georgia politics.
It’s also preparation for Oct. 30, when the podcast becomes a daily radio show on Atlanta’s WABE, as well as a podcast in your feeds every single day.
HEATING UP. The behind-the-scenes maneuvering is only ratcheting up as a federal judge nears a decision that could upend the political boundaries of Atlanta’s northern suburbs.
On Wednesday, we reported how the handful of Democrats who recently announced challenges against Republican incumbents in what are currently considered safe GOP districts could be the start of a wave. Democratic leaders anticipate that U.S. District Judge Steve Jones will rule that lawmakers illegally diluted the voting power of Black residents during the 2021 redistricting process and order the Georgia General Assembly to redraw the maps.
Credit: Jenni Girtman for the AJC
Credit: Jenni Girtman for the AJC
Now we’ve heard from multiple Democratic insiders that Gwinnett County Commissioner Kirkland Carden could drop his reelection bid and instead run for the 7th Congressional District if the maps are redrawn and U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta, vacates the seat.
Why is that a possibility? McBath’s allies have let it be known she could be willing to return to the neighboring 6th District, where she still lives, if a judicial ruling overhauls the boundaries.
McBath won the 6th District in 2018 when it stretched from east Cobb to north DeKalb. But Republican-led redistricting transformed the district into such a GOP stronghold that McBath decided instead to challenge a fellow Democrat in the neighboring 7th District in the 2022 election.
Carden could be a formidable candidate. He became the first millennial and first Black council member in Duluth history when he was elected in 2017 at the age of 29. Three years later, he won a seat on the Gwinnett Commission and vowed to make good on pledges to expand transit and boost affordable housing.
SHUTDOWN COUNTDOWN. With 10 days to go before the funding deadline, U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is floating a plan that would keep the government open for one month at reduced levels while also creating a commission to address the amount of federal debt, CNN reports.
Some members are already cold to the plan, and former President Donald Trump is stoking the opposition because the proposal lacks a provision to defund prosecutors who have brought criminal cases against him. McCarthy’s plan is also unlikely to get support from Senate Democrats.
Also on Wednesday, the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus debuted a proposal for stopgap funding, which is likely to be opposed by many Republicans but could pass with Democratic backing. It’s unclear if McCarthy, R-Calif., is willing to court Democratic votes given that doing so would almost guarantee an effort by hard-liners to remove him from his position.
BORDER CLASH. Gov. Brian Kemp has joined 24 other Republican governors from across the United States in requesting “honest, accurate, detailed information” about illegal crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border.
In a letter addressed to President Joe Biden, the governors wrote, “States are on the front lines, working around-the-clock responding to the effects of this crisis: shelters are full, food pantries empty, law enforcement strained, and aid workers exhausted.
“Though we remain committed to addressing these issues, States cannot afford to respond to a challenge of such magnitude while the federal government continues to turn a blind eye.”
The information requested involves migrants admitted to the country: the asylum application process, where they are being relocated while awaiting asylum decisions, and the number of deportations.
The governors’ inquiry comes four months into the implementation of revised border control policies. In May, the Biden administration ended a COVID-19 pandemic era practice of denying border crossers entry into the country and instead tightened the criteria for asylum claims.
Crossings dipped in June only to rebound in July. August data is not yet available.
Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC
Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC
CAPITOL COMMITMENT. State Rep. Patty Bentley has now taken two oaths at the Georgia Capitol, the first when the Butler Democrat was sworn into the state House and the second Wednesday, when she married her new husband, Bobby Stinson, under the Gold Dome.
The bride and groom both wore white as they exchanged vows in front of the statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with family, friends, and fellow elected officials looking on. They even had a member of the Capitol press corps, WXIA-TV’s Doug Richards, stumble upon the scoop, while GPB’s Donna Lowry tweeted out the news that Bentley will officially be “Rep. Stinson” when the next session gavels in.
The Jolt is wishing the Stinsons a lifetime of respectful debate and no Sine Die.
FUELED BY GRIEF. Quavo, who rose to fame as one-third of the hip-hop group Migos, lent his star power Wednesday to the Congressional Black Caucus’ Annual Legislative Conference.
Quavo headlined a panel discussion on gun violence prevention and attracted a crowd so large that fire marshals turned away dozens of would-be attendees. The session also featured Georgia U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta.
Quavo was the main draw, sharing how he decided to turn to activism after witnessing the shooting death of his bandmate and nephew, Takeoff, in November. He said he is still grieving but was encouraged by family to power through in hopes of preventing these types of tragedies in the future.
“I’m learning from you guys,” he said to the activists, elected officials and political aides before him. “At the same time, I want change. At the same time, I want people to be safe. At the same time, I want my community to be safe. At the same time, I want to be a vessel or an instrument or an inspiration to others.”
TODAY IN WASHINGTON:
- President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his wife, Olena Zelenska. Biden later delivers remarks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s 46th Annual Gala.
- Zelenskyy will also meet with members of Congress at the U.S. Capitol.
- The U.S. House will try again to move forward on legislation to fund Pentagon spending. A handful of conservative Republicans blocked the measure on Tuesday.
- The Senate votes to confirm top military officials after Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, allowed nominations to progress while still holding up dozens more over abortion policies.
RIVERWALK RENAMING. The quest to rename the iconic Augusta Riverwalk for former Mayor Edward M. McIntyre Sr. will stretch into October. The Augusta Commission chairwoman postponed a vote on the matter after three commissioners were absent from Tuesday’s meeting.
McIntyre championed the creation of the Riverwalk during his time as mayor. Renaming the park along the Savannah River in downtown Augusta in his honor has drawn challenges because of how McIntyre’s political career ended: He was convicted on extortion charges and resigned from office in 1984.
The Augusta Commission next meets Oct. 3.
BEACH MOURNING. Tybee Island’s most influential — and celebrated — beach bum, former four-term Mayor Walter Parker, died Sunday at the age of 88.
Parker played a significant role in the beach community near Savannah becoming a popular seashore getaway while still retaining a small-town vibe free of high rises and large-scale hotels. Parker served three separate stints at mayor between 1986 and 2005 and led efforts for the construction of the Tybee pier and pavilion, protection of the Tybee Island Light Station and for several beach renourishment projects.
Parker and his successor, Jason Buelterman, headed councils that fended off developers seeking to build bigger and taller on the beachfront. Tybee still limits building construction to three stories.
DOG OF THE DAY. If you’re having a rough morning, allow us to fix that for you with this picture of Honey Crowe, the four-month-old golden retriever puppy who calls Taylor Crowe her person.
An extremely reliable source tells us that young Honey has already found her favorite things in life: Peanut butter, the beach, and reading The Jolt with Taylor every morning.
Honey, you may just be our spirit animal. And you are definitely our Dog of the Day.
Send us your dogs of any political persuasion and location, and cats on a cat-by-cat basis, to email@example.com, or DM us at @MurphyAJC.
AS ALWAYS, Jolt readers are some of our favorite tipsters. Send your best scoop, gossip and insider info to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.