Manchin has served in the Senate since 2010 and many who follow politics expected his current term, which ends next year, to be his last. Still, the timing of his announcement caught many off guard.
In his Thursday remarks, Manchin made clear he would continue to explore a potential third-party bid for the White House in 2024.
That prospect infuriates Democrats, who fear Manchin will siphon votes away from President Joe Biden and jeopardize his chance at a second term. Manchin said he plans to travel the nation to see if there’s interest in “creating a movement to mobilize the middle.”
First stop, Athens.
LISTEN UP. The “Politically Georgia” team unpacked Wednesday’s GOP presidential debate in the latest episode of the show that airs live on WABE radio and is available anytime as a podcast.
Bill Nigut, Greg Bluestein and Patricia Murphy were joined by Georgia-based political strategists Tharon Johnson, a Democrat, and Brian Robinson, a Republican, to discuss the hits and misses by those challenging former President Donald Trump for the nomination.
Johnson and Robinson are the co-hosts of WABE’s “Political Breakfast,” which airs each Wednesday on the station.
Listen and subscribe to “Politically Georgia” at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Catch “Politically Georgia” live at 10 a.m. each weekday on WABE 90.1 or WABE.org.
MARCUS MOVES. Bernie Marcus, the Home Depot co-founder and billionaire philanthropist, is renewing his support for former President Donald Trump.
Marcus called Trump the “best person to take on and dismantle the administrative state that is strangling America.” He also praised Trump’s support for Israel in its ongoing war with Hamas militants.
“Many, including myself, believe that Hamas would not have unleashed its barbarism and cruelty on Israel if Donald Trump was our president today,” he said.
Marcus is among the nation’s most prominent Republican mega-donors. Federal election data shows he’s spent more than $64 million boosting GOP campaigns.
He’s long been a vocal critic of President Joe Biden and other leading Democrats, but he also recently acknowledged he was conflicted over whether to support Trump’s comeback or endorse another rival.
“I’m struggling with it now,” Marcus told the New York Post in an interview published last week. “I think (Trump) has the policies if he would just follow the script and do what he has to do.”
With the endorsement, Marcus becomes one of the highest-profile Georgians to back Trump’s quest for another term. Lt. Gov. Burt Jones of Jackson and U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Rome are among other GOP officials who support Trump, but most other leading state Republicans are on the sidelines.
QUALIFIED. Two more Republicans have submitted paperwork with the state GOP to appear on the March 12 primary ballot.
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and former United Nations Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley paid the $25,000 fee, party officials say. They join a list that already includes former President Donald Trump and tech executive Vivek Ramaswamy.
TROUBLING THREAT. A Georgia man is in police custody and faces allegations that he telephoned U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s office twice Wednesday and threatened to shoot the Rome Republican in the head with a “sniper rifle.”
The congresswoman’s office released the audio of the second call, recorded by the staffers who were subject to the man’s tirade. He becomes louder and more profane as he rants about killing Greene.
“I’m going to murder her; I’m going to shoot her in the (expletive) head and kill her, OK,” the caller said. “Tell the FBI.”
Sean Patrick Cirillo, age 34, is facing a federal charge of using communications devices to make a threat, according to Greene’s office.
While the caustic and bombastic lawmaker says she receives death threats and other vitriol often, the menacing calls are part of a troubling pattern that has caused lawmakers to spend more on security since a 2017 shooting at a practice session ahead of the annual Congressional Baseball Game and the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol.
Earlier this week, another Georgia Republican House member, Rep. Rich McCormick, closed his Cumming office after receiving calls vowing “serious threats of violence.” While Capitol Police continue to investigate, McCormick’s office remains shuttered.
SHUTDOWN WATCH. The U.S. House abruptly canceled votes on two appropriations bills this week due to lack of support for either measure. These fresh signs of gridlock don’t bode well for avoiding a government shutdown after Nov. 17 without passage of stopgap funding legislation.
Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has taken procedural steps for his chamber to pass a short-term continuing resolution. But Senate approval won’t likely be the issue.
The concern lies within the fractured House Republican caucus. Newly elected Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., hasn’t provided a clear plan for funding the government that allows him to stay in the good graces of his colleagues. His predecessor, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, was ousted from the speaker’s position after agreeing to a continuing resolution in late September.
With a thin GOP majority in the House, a handful of Republican dissenters can stop progress on any legislation. Members of both the far-right and more moderate flanks of the party found things they disliked in the drafts of the funding bills reviewed this week.
Credit: Nathan Posner for the AJC
Credit: Nathan Posner for the AJC
WEST POINT BOARD. U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, an Albany Democrat, has been appointed to the Board of Visitors for the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Bishop fills a vacancy among the board positions reserved for nine members of Congress. The board also includes six others appointed by the president. Bishop doesn’t have a military background but has championed Georgia’s military facilities and bases throughout his tenure in Washington, D.C.
“I will do my utmost — working with my colleagues on the board — to uphold and support this institution’s morale, discipline, and academic excellence, as well as assure sound curriculum, instruction, equipment, and the fiscal well-being of this vital institution,” Bishop said in a statement about the appointment. “West Point has produced generations of the highest quality of U.S. Army military leaders in the world for over two centuries, and we must do whatever is required to continue that great legacy.”
HOUSE CHALLENGERS. Augusta-area Democratic voters will choose from a widening field of candidates in the 2024 U.S. House primary. Later today, retired U.S. Army signal corpsman Daniel Jackson launches a challenge for the 12th congressional district seat currently held by Republican Rick Allen.
The Augusta Chronicle reports Jackson is the third candidate to file paperwork to run for the office with the Federal Elections Commission. The others are Rashaad Jones and Elizabeth Johnson.
Allen is in his fourth term in the House.
TODAY IN WASHINGTON:
- President Joe Biden has no public events scheduled.
- Members of the U.S. House and Senate finished their work for the week Thursday and are back home in their districts for Veterans Day weekend.
LEGAL RESCUE. As previously reported, the Georgia GOP is financing the legal costs for three members charged with serving as alternative electors in the Fulton County election interference case against former President Donald Trump.
On that note, a group called the Patriot Legal Defense Fund announced the latest fundraiser for Nov. 19 in Canton to raise cash for those “unjustly targeted” by the indictment. Among the speakers: Former Georgia GOP chair David Shafer, one of the GOP electors charged.
SAVANNAH SWEEP. Savannah Mayor Van Johnson and his allies nearly pulled off a city council sweep in Tuesday’s elections. He won reelection handily over challenger Kesha Gibson-Carter by a margin — 77% to 20% — that surprised even the city’s political insiders. Johnson claimed a voting majority in every precinct.
Johnson-aligned incumbents won five district seat races as well. The only candidate Johnson endorsed who didn’t win was Pat Rossiter, who challenged incumbent and Gibson-Carter confidant Alicia Miller Blakely for an at-large seat. He lost by 600 votes.
The Johnson coalition and the departure of Gibson-Carter, the mayor’s nemesis on council the last four years, clears the way for him to enact a slew of policy changes in his final term — and to position himself for higher office, perhaps as early as the 2026 state elections.
DOG OF THE DAY. If you’re looking for proof of kindness in the world, look no further than the deep, dark eyes of Sally Smith.
Sally is the Labrador retriever who calls Jolt subscriber Mike Smith her person. A reliable source tells us that Sally is both kindhearted and bipartisan, since she doesn’t care who feeds her. They live in Alpharetta.
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