The Jolt: Stacey Abrams’ answer to a GOP version of Fair Fight

FILE -- Stacey Abrams, the Georgia Democrat and former state House Minority Leader who has become synonymous with the party’s attempts to win statewide, speaks in Atlanta on June 6, 2019. Democrats won Georgia in this year’s presidential election for the first time since 1992. (Audra Melton/The New York Times)
FILE -- Stacey Abrams, the Georgia Democrat and former state House Minority Leader who has become synonymous with the party’s attempts to win statewide, speaks in Atlanta on June 6, 2019. Democrats won Georgia in this year’s presidential election for the first time since 1992. (Audra Melton/The New York Times)

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Stacey Abrams should feel bowled over by former U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s plan to create a GOP version of her Fair Fight Action group.

Spoiler alert: She’s not.

During a CNN appearance late Monday, Abrams was asked about the AJC report that Loeffler launched the Greater Georgia organization to register voters, build a grassroots network and back conservative electoral proposals.

“It’s deeply disheartening that a former U.S. Senator would spend her time and her resources to publicly engage in the type of conspiracy theories that say that only certain Americans should be valued and have their votes counted. That’s what Kelly Loeffler is proposing,” Abrams said.

“But I can’t be surprised. She accepted the support of Marjorie Taylor Greene, a QAnon conspiracy theorist, because in her mind, winning at all costs is more important than protecting the United States and the fundamentals of our democracy.”

Loeffler deputy Stephen Lawson offered this response to the criticism:

“It’s good to know that Stacey Abrams believes registering new voters is a conspiracy theory. It’s pretty clear she’s already afraid of the important work we’re starting at Greater Georgia — but her intimidation tactics won’t distract us from the important work of engaging more Georgians in the electoral process.”

Also in the same category of imitation as a form of flattery: Cobb Republican chair Jason Shepherd’s campaign to lead the Georgia GOP. He tweeted early this morning a New York Times op-ed written by Abrams and her top aide Lauren Groh-Wargo.

“Stacey Abrams and the Democrats are beating us with our own playbook. It’s time we took it back.”

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The folks hired to design the website for former U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s new GOP voter organization had a big mess-up right out the gate.

The organization, designed to boost turnout among conservative voters who are likely opposed to restrictions on gun rights, used an image from a 2018 Moms Demand Action gun control rally. The image, which looks to have been scrubbed from the Greater Georgia website, was photoshopped to add the new Loeffler organization’s logo.

Carter Crenshaw, a former Republican who founded the “GOP for Joe” group to support Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, apparently spotted the blunder first. It was then amplified by the New Yorker’s Charles Bethea.

Bethea noted that before the image was taken down, it wasn’t hard to spot the signs and slogan of the prominent gun control organization.

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Under the Gold Dome (Legislative Day 21):

  • 8:00 am: House and Senate committees begin meeting;
  • 10:00 am: The House convenes;
  • 10:00 am: The Senate convenes.

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The state Senate is scheduled to vote Tuesday on four election-related bills, including SB 67 from Sen. Larry Walker (R-Perry) to require identification for absentee voting and SB 40 from Sen. Jen Jordan (D-Sandy Springs), which details processing of absentee ballots. These bills have the support of Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan.

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Our Capitol team advises to watch for action soon on HB 286, Rep. Houston Gaines’ bill to prevent local governments from cutting more than 5% of funds from their police departments, with some exceptions.

The Athens Republican got national plaudits for the legislation last week on Fox News Channel’s Fox & Friends. It didn’t go over quite as well in the the House Governmental Affairs Committee, where Reps. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur), Bee Nguyen (D-Atlanta), and others raised significant questions about the measure.

In the end, the committee recommended a “Do Pass,” which it did. It’s now headed to the full chamber for consideration.

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In D.C. today, two U.S. Senate committees hold major hearings as a part of the ongoing Congressional investigation into the January 6th Capitol attack. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which includes U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, will hear from law enforcement leaders about the events leading up to, and on the day of, the deadly insurrection.

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The newly elected Democratic leaders of Cobb County — yes, it’s still strange to write that phrase — filed court papers on Monday seeking attorneys’ fees from former President Donald Trump for the error-riddled lawsuit his campaign filed.

The motion seeks about $10,000 to cover the county’s costs stemming from the groundless complaint brought in December.

Cobb argues that the Trump campaign pursued a “factually unsupported and legally meritless election contest case seeking to overturn a statewide election, asking this court to nullify the votes of nearly 5 million Georgia voters.”

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Among the Georgia speakers at the CPAC conference this weekend in Florida are two favorites of the far right.

U.S. Rep. Jody Hice will take part in a Saturday panel discussion called “Who’s the Boss, Where’s My Applesauce? Who’s Really Running the Biden Administration.” And Angela Stanton King, a failed House candidate, is on a Sunday roundtable about the “price of missed opportunities.”

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Georgia’s six Democratic U.S. House members have written a letter to state leaders expressing their “deep concern” about the ever-growing slate of election proposals currently before the General Assembly.

The letter, sent Monday to House Speaker David Ralston and Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan, describes the bills under consideration as “blatant voter suppression.” The letter references GOP-led efforts to end early voting on Sunday, require a photo ID to request an absentee ballot and restrict hours and access to ballot drop-off boxes.

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POSTED: Georgia’s Legislative Black Caucus is taking steps to make itself more relevant and proactive, the AJC’s Maya T. Prabhu reports. Recent changes were implemented by state Sen. Tonya Anderson, D-Lithonia, who will serve as the group’s chair for the next two years.

“Our focus and our shift is to not just be the largest, but the most impactful, the most relevant and to have our message resonate throughout not just Georgia, but the United States,” Anderson told Prabhu. “I say that because all eyes are on Georgia. We have to be intentional and relevant in the areas that concern Black people.”

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Marietta City Schools were the focus of a CDC study released Monday that showed teacher-to-teacher transmission, rather than student-to-teacher, was the driver behind multiple cases of COVID-19 on campuses.

Many Georgia students have still not returned to the classroom, nearly a year after the first cases of the deadly virus were reported in Georgia, in part because of some teachers’ concerns of being exposed to the virus by students.

More from the AP:

“Marietta City Schools Superintendent Grant Rivera told the Associated Press the district changed instruction in elementary schools to ensure students spend less than 15 minutes with teachers in small groups and now is encouraging teachers to stay apart during collaboration.

“We told teachers that all teacher collaboration should occur virtually,” Rivera told the AP.

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Gordon County Commission Chair Becky Hood is a focus of a case referred to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Rome News-Tribune reports.

Both the Gordon County District Attorney and Sheriff’s offices have recused themselves from the case because Hood’s role in county government. The Board of Commissioners released a statement that its confident Hood’s work in county business is not involved in the matter.

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Jolt readers will be happy to know your Insiders are never far out of touch with Jolt creator and AJC Chief-emeritus, Jim Galloway.

Jim shared a note this week related to the passing of Atlanta’s Jerry Colley, the founder of the Bicycle Ride Across Georgia.

Jim gives the Georgia politics connection:

In 1988, when then-Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young was considering a 1990 race for governor, Young had just been given (an Olympic connection here, as I recall) a very good road bike.

Young decided to join the cross-state ride to get a sense of the state and his chances. It was some 350 miles, as I recall. George Turner, the future police chief, was Young’s bodyguard -- who trailed the mayor until it was pointed out to Young that he’d be better off drafting behind Turner, who was a pretty beefy guy.

Other participants camped each night. Young returned to Atlanta each night, via a city car and driver. He told me that during these car trips, he listened to country music -- to get a handle on a rural white electorate.

It didn’t work, of course. Young lost a primary runoff to Zell Miller -- very much along racial lines.

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