The Jolt: Race to replace Jody Hice heating up

U.S. Representative Jody Hice (R-GA) speaks at a House Freedom Caucus press conference about the Equality Act on Feb. 25, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA/TNS)
U.S. Representative Jody Hice (R-GA) speaks at a House Freedom Caucus press conference about the Equality Act on Feb. 25, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

News and analysis from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

At this time last year, few Georgians had ever heard of U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene or U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde, two of Georgia’s newest and most controversial members of Congress. At the time, each was running for open U.S. House seats in uber-conservative Georgia congressional districts.

Now the race for another open U.S. House seat is heating up east of Atlanta in Georgia’s 10th Congressional District, where U.S. Rep. Jody Hice is stepping down to run for secretary of state in 2022.

Today Georgia Revenue Commissioner David Curry will get into the contest to replace Hice, citing a “recent alarming leftward shift.” In a statement, the Republican also warned of the perils of communism and societies that “treat criminals better than our police.”

“We reward – even encourage – people to be on the public dole rather than honoring and rewarding ingenuity, risk and a hard day’s work,” he said. “These values aren’t us.”

The Republican joins an increasingly crowded race to the right to represent the East Central Georgia territory.

Other contenders include Mike Collins, who narrowly lost to Hice in 2014; wealthy demolition man Matt Richards; former U.S. Rep. Paul Broun and state Rep. Timothy Barr.

Curry is a former union industrial electrician at Ford Motor Co. who served for about a decade as Henry County’s tax commissioner. Gov. Brian Kemp tapped Curry to be the state revenue commissioner in May 2019.

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The U.S. House and Senate are in recess for the Memorial Day break, so U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock will be touring the state to promote President Joe Biden’s infrastructure and jobs bills.

Look for Warnock at the Kia plant in West Point; Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, SeaPoint Industrial Complex in Savannah, Garden City Terminal in Garden City; and JCB Manufacturing in Pooler.

The Senate will go back into session June 7th, while the House is out until June 14th.

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Doug Shipman made his formal campaign announcement for Atlanta City Council president this morning with a launch video that traces his work at some of Atlanta’s largest nonprofits to his goals in elected office.

Shipman is a former Woodruff Arts Center chief executive who was also the founding CEO of the Center for Civil and Human Rights. He’s been courting voters for weeks to succeed incumbent Felicia Moore, who is running for mayor.

“It’s a time that calls for getting big things done at City Hall,” said Shipman in his announcement. “I’ll work everyday - with everybody - to make sure we improve public safety, economic mobility and never forget the basics.”

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U.S. Senate Republicans used the filibuster last week to close the door, at least for now, on a bill that would have created a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the nation’s Capitol.

For Georgia Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, the two newest senators, it was the first time they witnessed their Democratic majority on the losing side of a high-profile initiative.

Your Washington Insider caught up with Warnock after the vote, when he was dismayed at the 54-35 defeat that fell six votes short of the 60 needed to overcome the filibuster.

“Today was an abject failure of integrity and courage in a moment in which the American people need and deserve both from the people sent to represent them,” the Atlanta Democrat said.

Warnock ended on a more hopeful note when asked to reflect on his own feelings about the filibuster and the barriers it creates to passing some of his priority bills in Congress, which also includes voting rights. He referred to the late Congressman John Lewis, whose participation in the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge during what came to be known as Bloody Sunday helped make Lewis a civil rights icon.

“John Lewis was my parishioner,” Warnock said. “He had absolutely no reason to believe when he was crossing that bridge that he would win; he just kept on walking. We have to keep walking.”

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First there was Georgia, then Florida and Iowa. Texas looked to be the third state to pass a wide-ranging bill that put limitations on voting.

But Democratic lawmakers used their state legislature’s unusual rules to their advantage, leaving the session in the final minutes to rob Republicans of the quorum they needed to pass the measure.

Their victory is likely to be short-lived. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has already said he will put the voting legislation on the agenda for an upcoming special session.

The fight over the measures only has intensified calls from Democrats to adopt two voting bills that have stalled in Congress.

“I’m asking Joe Biden, you need to help Texas,” said Texas Democratic state Rep. Michelle Beckley, an outspoken critics of the Republican bill. “We have done everything we can. The Democratic senators, you need to pass the voter bills.”

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Big news came out Friday for Robins Air Force Base, where the JSTARS (Joint Surveillance Target and Attack System) will be phased out over the next decade and four new advanced surveillance missions are on track to replace it.

The move came as a part of President Joe Biden’s 2022 budget, which was released at the end of last week. Georgia’s U.S. Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff applauded the news, but the debate over what to do with the aging JSTARS program has been simmering for years.

U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, whose district includes Robins, told WMAZ-TV in Macon that the new missions mean that the 2,000 or so active duty and Georgia Air National Guard personnel working on the legacy JSTARs program can remain at Robins as the work shifts to the newer space-based surveillance systems.

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Newly released court transcripts shed light on the fraud investigation involving Atlanta mayoral candidate Antonio Brown. Federal prosecutors began tracking Brown before he was elected to the City Council, but he approached them on his own in August 2019 to say he wanted to blow the whistle on wrongdoing he observed in City Hall.

Investigators took that as an opportunity to turn the tables on the councilman, setting up a second meeting to ask him questions about his own finances and bank activity, the AJC’s J.D. Capelouto reports.

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Gov. Brian Kemp has weighed in on the zoning controversy that led Cobb County Commission chair Lisa Cupid and the Cobb Chamber of Commerce to come to blows last week.

At issue is a condominium development, approved by Cobb County but opposed by the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, that sits inside Dobbins Air Reserve Base’s “Accident Potential Zone.” The chamber argued last week that the condos could jeopardize the future of the Marietta base in an upcoming round of base closures.

In a statement to the Marietta Daily Journal, Kemp urged the Cobb commission to study the issue further. But if the development does not pose any risk to the future mission of Dobbins, Kemp said, “It is fully within the board’s authority to proceed.”

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POSTED: Gov. Brain Kemp signed an executive order last week removing the mayor of Waynesboro, Ga., Gregory Carswell, from office.

Carswell was indicted six months ago on charges of identity fraud and burglary, both related to his job at a pawn shop.

He began a leave of absence from his role as mayor in May, but will now be formally blocked from returning to office until his legal problems are resolved.

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Longtime Walker County Sole Commissioner Bebe Heiskell died last week, the Rome News-Tribune reports.

Although Walker County now has five county commissioners, it previously had only a sole commissioner. Heiskell served in that role from 2001 to 2016 and worked as the clerk to the previous sole commissioner for more than two decades prior to that.

In 2003, then-Gov. Sonny Perdue also appointed Heiskell to the state Board of Community Affairs.

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By popular Jolt-reader demand, Jim Galloway’s traditional Memorial Day column, Going Home, ran in the AJC’s digital edition on Monday. The piece details Jim’s father’s service in World War II, along with his unique sketches and notes from the front. It’s well worth a read this holiday week.

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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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