The Jolt: How to replace Jody Hice in Congress? Be very, very pro-Trump

Courtesy Mike Collins for Congress
Courtesy Mike Collins for Congress

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

Not even the most powerful Georgia Republican knows what congressional districts will look like in 2022 quite yet, but the contenders lining up to run in the deep-red 10th Congressional District are supremely confident the lines won’t change much.

Of all of the state’s congressional races, Georgia’s 10th is packed with the most prominent names. Since incumbent U.S. Rep. Jody Hice announced he will run for secretary of state in 2022, a string of credible candidates have raised their hands.

First in the Jolt, we can tell you that today will bring the formal announcement of Mike Collins, one of the more formidable candidates in the ring. Collins, the son of former U.S. Rep. Mac Collins, narrowly lost to Hice in the 2014 GOP runoff for the same seat and has bided his time for a comeback.

A clear view of how Collins plans to pitch himself to voters comes in the announcement he’ll make Tuesday, which positions him as a hard-charging and unambiguously pro-Trump conservative.

We counted three mentions of the former president, along with warnings about Socialists, “the Squad,” “the woke mob,” and, importantly, a quote from Newt Gingrich.

Gingrich served with Collins’ father in the Georgia congressional delegation during the famous “Republican Revolution” in the 1990s.

From the release:

“I’m running for Congress because the radical left is out-of-control,” Collins said. “The liberals in Washington, D.C. won’t stop until someone stands up to them, and for hard-working Georgians. I’m pro-Trump, pro-life and will protect our Second Amendment rights. I’m running to fight for the families and small business owners in my community and around the country. I won’t bow to the woke mob’s cancel culture or Nancy Pelosi’s job-killing, gun-grabbing agenda.”

Collins joins a crowded Republican race to the right that will certainly rival last year’s wide-open races for Congress in the 9th and 14th Congressional districts. Those races yielded victories by Marjorie Taylor Greene and Andrew Clyde, who have both drawn the delight of pro-Trump activists and a stream of embarrassing headlines in national media.

Among the other candidates running in the 10th are former Georgia Revenue Commissioner David Curry; wealthy demolition man Matt Richards; former U.S. Rep. Paul Broun and state Rep. Timothy Barr.

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We haven’t given up on our quest for an invitation to former Mayor Kasim Reed’s birthday bash, but in the meantime we have fresh internal polling to share about the state of the City Hall race.

An internal polling memo from Councilman Andre Dickens’ campaign shows a muddle at the top of the ticket and no clear frontrunner. As always, take internals with a grain of salt, but we’re sharing because of the dearth of City Hall polling.

This one shows Dickens with 18% of the vote, followed by Reed and Councilman Antonio Brown at 13% each, and Council President Felicia Moore at 11%. Sharon Gay is at 10%. But the most important number is this one: 36% of likely voters said they’re still undecided.

Note also that this poll includes only likely Democratic voters in the nonpartisan race. Even though the city is predominantly Democratic, it’s not entirely so, and the Republican and independent voters in the city will factor into the outcome as well.

If the results are to be believed -- and we have no reason to distrust them -- what does it mean? It’s anyone’s ballgame, even if (when?) Reed jumps in the race.

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Look for the first steps of Georgia’s legislative redistricting to get underway next week when the state House and Senate reapportionment committees hold a joint town hall meeting to receive public input on the state’s reapportionment process.

The committees are chaired by state Rep. Bonnie Rich (R-Suwanee) and state Senator John F. Kennedy (R-Macon), who will hold the virtual town hall Tuesday evening from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m..

The notoriously complicated process will be particularly fraught this year, as the Republicans leading the General Assembly will need to reallocate legislative seats from mostly GOP rural areas of the state that have lost population to the fast-growing and more Democratic suburbs and exurbs surrounding Atlanta.

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Our Washington Insider columnist, Jamie Dupree, flags the massive list of local projects in the forthcoming Democratic infrastructure bill, which includes requests from Georgia Democrats and Republicans.

From Dupree’s early-a.m. cheat sheet “Regular Order” today:

DETAILS. The 1,473 projects add up to $5.66 billion. $3.96 billion would be authorized for projects sponsored by Democrats, and $1.7 billion for GOP requests. 214 Democrats asked for some kind of local infrastructure proposal - just 105 Republicans submitted a home state transportation request.

- Regular Order

Georgia’s requests, from the Atlanta Beltline to the Cherokee Area Transportation Headquarters to projects in Albany, Savannah and Americus and just about everywhere in between, start on page 82 of the bill.

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We now have Major League Baseball’s response to the lawsuit that is attempting to force the league to return the all-star game to Metro Atlanta, along with $110 billion in damages.

The league pulled the game from Cobb County’s Truist Park earlier this year in protest of Senate Bill 202, the state’s new election law.

In its response, MLB calls the litigation from the conservative Job Creators’ Network “the latest step in (a) publicity campaign” by “a conservative advocacy group,” reports the AJC’s Tim Tucker.

The Major League Players’ Association, which is also named in the suit, called the legal action frivolous and added, “The Founding Fathers did not bestow upon American cities the right to an MLB All-Star Game.”

A hearing on the case is scheduled for Thursday.

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One North Carolina County has made good on its threat to ban Coca-Cola products from its facilities after the tasty beverage maker spoke out against Senate Bill 202.

Surry County canceled Coke after county commissioner Eddie Harris notified company CEO James Quincy, “Due to your company’s support of the out-of-control cancel culture and bigoted leftist mob, the Surry Board of County Commissioners voted at their May 17, 2021 meeting to remove all Coca Cola machines from Surry County Government facilities.”

We won’t tell Mr. Harris that Pepsico also released a statement following the passage of Senate Bill 202, but like Pepsi, it had a little less punch.

“At PepsiCo, we believe the right to vote is the cornerstone of American democracy — an inalienable right that countless citizens, particularly women and people of color have fought for. We call on elected officials across the country to come together with impacted stakeholders to support nonpartisan solutions that encourage greater participation in our democratic process.”

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If you are wondering why you keep hearing about the All Star game, “Woke Coke,” and other hot-button issues that might have otherwise died down by now, we’ll send you to this Politico dispatch from the state GOP convention on the resilience of Gov. Brain Kemp.

The proximate cause of Kemp's improved standing is the controversial voting law Kemp championed, which, among other restrictions, makes it more difficult to cast absentee ballots. Signing it in March not only reaffirmed his conservative credentials on voting access but cast him as a central figure in the GOP's war over the issue with Democrats and corporate America.

Joel Allen, a party official in suburban Atlanta's 6th Congressional District, said “Kemp really did a service to himself with SB 202," referring to the voting bill.

And while Republicans may have been disappointed in Kemp they gained a common foil in Major League Baseball, which announced that it would move its All-Star Game out of Atlanta in protest of the legislation. Condemnations by two Georgia-headquartered companies, Coca-Cola and Delta, gave Kemp another platform to push back against perceived excesses of corporations and the left."

- Politico

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CAMPAIGN WATCH: Put another Democrat on your list of people looking to replace Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Former state Senator and former Milledgeville Mayor Floyd Griffin has formed an exploratory committee to consider a run for Georgia Secretary of State, reports Rahul Bali from the Oconee Radio Group.

Griffin cited the passage of Senate Bill 202, the state’s new election law, as the reason he’s looking at the race. He’ll make a final decision by Labor Day.

Griffin ran for lieutenant governor in 1998. If elected, he would be the first elected Black secretary of state. Robyn Crittenden became Georgia’s first Black secretary of state in 2018 when Gov. Nathan Deal appointed her to fill out the term of then Sec. Brian Kemp.

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A member of the Development Authority of Fulton County has resigned his position and is no longer seeking another term on the board after the AJC and Channel 2 Action News reported that he had collected thousands of dollars in questionable per diem over the years.

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As always, Jolt readers are some of our favorite tipsters. Send your best scoop, gossip and insider info to patricia.murphy@ajc.com.

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