The Jolt: John Isakson’s snub of Trump team’s phony Georgia elector scheme

News and analysis from the politics team at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Rudy Giuliani walks to a senate hearing at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta on Thursday, December 3, 2020. The Georgia Senate Committee on Judiciary has formed a special subcommittee to take testimony of elections improprieties and evaluate the election process. (Rebecca Wright for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Rebecca Wright for the Atlanta J

Credit: Rebecca Wright for the Atlanta J

Rudy Giuliani walks to a senate hearing at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta on Thursday, December 3, 2020. The Georgia Senate Committee on Judiciary has formed a special subcommittee to take testimony of elections improprieties and evaluate the election process. (Rebecca Wright for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

In December of 2020, a small group of Georgia Republicans gathered in secret in the Georgia state Capitol, assigning their own shadow slate of GOP electors in case, they said, Joe Biden’s victory was overturned.

The group included state GOP chair David Shafer, state Sen. Burt Jones and a range of party functionaries and activists. They might have been joined by another well-known name if not for his last-minute change of heart.

John Isakson, the son of the late U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, had initially agreed to serve as a Trump elector if the former president won reelection. But Isakson refused to be included on the new slate to rival Biden’s electors, which was meant to be swapped in to assure a win for Trump.

The younger Isakson told The Washington Post that he bowed out because he didn’t want to attend something that had transformed into a “political rally.”

From the Post:

“It seemed like political gamesmanship, and that’s not something I would have participated in,” Isakson said in an interview last week.

“We have a process for certifying the election. We have a process for challenging the election. The challenges failed, so I wouldn’t have participated in something that was going against all of that.”

His comments were part of a report that Rudy Giuliani had coordinated a multi-state shadow elector scheme, including in Georgia.

We caught up with Isakson on Friday, whose comments mirrored what he told The Post.

“The way it was described to me, it seemed like a political rally,” he added. “I had a job and things to do and couldn’t make it.”

He sounded a lot like his father, who advocated bipartisanship and had a reputation of doing the right thing, even when no one was watching.


POSTED: Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has requested a special grand jury be empaneled to aid in her investigation of former President Donald Trump and his efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results.

Our colleague and former Jolter Tamar Hallerman got the scoop Thursday about Willis’ letter to Christopher S. Brasher, chief judge of Fulton County’s Superior Court.

In her request to Brasher, Willis wrote that the DA’s office “has received information indicating a reasonable probability that the State of Georgia’s administration of elections in 2020, including the State’s election of the President of the United States, was subject to possible criminal disruptions.”

For Willis’ request to be approved, a majority of the county’s superior court judges must agree.


If you can’t get enough of your Jolters, be sure to listen to the Politically Georgia podcast every Friday morning on your favorite podcast platform.

This week’s pod goes live at 7:04 am and looks back at the Democrats’ first year of consolidated Washington power, and David Perdue’s proposal for an “Election Police Force;”


The members of the General Assembly will be back for floor business at 10 a.m. Monday after a week of budget and appropriations committee hearings.


Among the bills up for consideration in committee next week will be SB 330, a proposal from Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, to make kidney donation more financially feasible for donors.

Albers’ bill would prevent living kidney donors from losing their health insurance, bump up the tax credit for donors, and create a tax credit for employers to offset work-related impacts from donations.

Albers was a living kidney donor last year for his son, Will.


The Building Back Together pro-Joe Biden organization held events in Atlanta this week to tout the president’s agenda, complete with a mobile billboard truck flashing messages about new jobs and bolstered infrastructure.

The Georgia GOP held its own response to Biden’s one-year anniversary, with a roundtable featuring Insurance Commissioner John King that slammed rising inflation rates and the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.


The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance two of President Joe Biden’s nominees to serve on the federal court based in Atlanta Thursday.

The votes mean the nominations of lawyers Victoria Calvert and Sarah Geraghty are headed to the Senate floor for a final vote, the AJC’s Bill Rankin reports.

Most Republicans on the committee opposed both nominations. Calvert is a federal public defender in Atlanta and Geraghty is a civil rights attorney.


U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, who already has a strong Tiktok game, went viral again Wednesday night.

During debate on the Democrats’ election bill, Ossoff told Republicans not to use John Lewis’ name while also blocking voting protections Ossoff believes Lewis would have supported.

The one-minute clip has been viewed more than 1.4 million times since Wednesday…and counting.


Chris West, a Republican running to challenge U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, has put up his first digital campaign ad. West will have company in the GOP primary, with several fellow Republicans also lined up to challenge Bishop.


The Human Rights Campaign, which bills itself as the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, endorsed U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock’s re-election bid.

Of specific interest for our purposes, HRC has also its first-ever state director in Georgia. Dewayne Johnson II previously served as a field director for the American Civil Liberties Union.

The group said it plans to hire more Georgia staff, including a team of field organizers, over the next few months. The team will remain in place beyond the midterms.


If you’re hearing the monthly unemployment numbers from the governor’s office, they must be good -- and it might be an election year.

That’s the takeaway from the AJC’s business desk, which flagged for us the unmistakable pattern of Gov. Brian Kemp putting Georgia’s historically low unemployment rate on blast to reporters recently.

For many months of the pandemic, Kemp’s office let the state Department of Labor jobs report pass mostly unremarked or issue a late-in-the-day reprise of the numbers.

But with better news comes an earlier chance to take credit for the state’s booming economy. On Thursday, Kemp’s office had a press release out at 2:00 a.m. to tout Georgia’s 2.6% unemployment rate.

While national Republicans push their message of Joe Biden’s “economic crisis,” Kemp says Georgia’s 20 months of job growth is thanks to “conservative, pro-business policies,” including his.


Our deepest condolences to the many friends and family of Dick Williams. The longtime journalist, former City Editor and columnist for The Atlanta Journal, and co-creator of the Georgia Gang died Thursday.

Our own Jim Galloway wrote a note of appreciation to Mr. Williams when he retired from his TV slot, where Williams appeared more than 1,700 times, and we post it here because it’s a fitting remembrance.


Since it’s Friday, we always like to send you into the weekend with some light reading:

  • Wednesday’s Political Insider column on “Politics’ “suburban woman problem”;
  • Jamie Dupree’s Thursday column with a history lesson of Georgians and their liberal use of the filibuster rules in the past; and
  • Sunday’s Political Insider column, with an interview with Sen. Raphael Warnock on his first year of highs, lows, and Senate prayers.


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

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