The Jolt: The baseball event Kelly Loeffler wants Georgia Republicans to cheer on

RAW VIDEO: Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler speaks on election night
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RAW VIDEO: Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler speaks on election night

Less than a week after Major League Baseball pulled the All-Star game from Georgia, former Sen. Kelly Loeffler held the launch party for her voter mobilization group a pop-fly from the stadium where it would have been held.

The Republican’s Greater Georgia event was planned weeks ago at the Truist Park complex, so call it a happy coincidence that it took place at the heart of GOP’s favorite new symbol of “cancel culture.”

Loeffler’s message to a crowd of a few hundred was to cheer the Atlanta Braves to the World Series because the “ultimate payback” to the league would be making Truist the home of baseball’s championship series.

“The Braves having the World Series is an incredibly important goal not just for this city but for this franchise that has invested so much in our state and in our city.”

Loeffler’s remarks, on the eve of home Opening Day, deviate from GOP calls for boycotts of America’s pastime for its protest of the election law. But her stance also is not surprising: She’s a former co-owner of WNBA’s Atlanta Dream who is close to the billionaires behind the city’s pro sports teams.

The crowd included some prominent Republicans: We spotted lobbyists, lawmakers, state officials, grassroots activists and congressional candidates. In an informal poll of about a dozen of them, most had the same takeaway:

Loeffler should wait out next year’s election and focus on Greater Georgia, the startup group she launched in February as the Republican answer to Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight Action voter registration organization.

The former senator touched on that as well in her remarks to the crowd: “We have to admit that Fair Fight and Stacey Abrams cannot have a monopoly.”

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Kelly Loeffler seems to have found a slightly less friendly audience in Athens earlier this week when she spoke to the University of Georgia College Republicans (“the best party on campus”) about her new effort to grow Georgia’s GOP.

From the Red & Black write up:

“Vashton Smith, a junior studying business at UGA and member of College Republicans, said Loeffler's loss could also be attributed to her refusal to acknowledge negative messaging about her campaign by brushing it off as fake news.

‘Tonight kind of reminded me of why I didn't like Kelly Loeffler,' Smith said."

- The Red & Black

The Red & Black also noted it tried to question Loeffler during the Q&A portion of the event and were informed that she would take the questions after the event.

“Loeffler left the event without taking questions from The Red & Black.”

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Whoops. Our friends at WABE report that Gov. Brian Kemp goofed in a video that incorrectly claims that his new coronavirus executive order makes distance requirements for restaurants and businesses a “thing of the past.”

In reality, the 34-page executive order still includes some distance requirements, such as 3-feet spacing at movie theaters and 6-feet spacing at fitness center group classes.

Kemp spokesman Cody Hall told WABE there was a “slight error” in the video message, outlining the social-distancing requirements written into the order. Here’s more from WABE’s Emma Hurt and Sam Whitehead:

Signs of confusion about the state's COVID-19 rules were apparent Thursday.

The conservative group Tea Party Patriots Action sent out a release applauding Kemp for “lifting all Covid restrictions." The Democratic Party of Georgia sent out a petition for signatures that claimed “Brian Kemp is rolling back ALL of Georgia's COVID-19 restrictions."

Misinformation about the restrictions also spread on social media, like in this Facebook group where members have called for months for Georgia's COVID-19 rules to be relaxed.

- WABE

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Joining President Joe Biden at the White House Thursday for his speech announcing new gun safety proposals was Democratic U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath.

Biden outlined six priorities, including federal regulations to tighten the sale of “ghost gun” kits. He also announced that the Department of Justice would create model “red flag” legislation for states while encouraging Congress to pass its own such law.

McBath spoke with the president in the Oval Office after his speech and afterward announced that she is sponsoring the federal “red flag” legislation the president had advocated for. She sponsored a similar bill in 2019.

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POSTED: Dean Alford, the former state lawmaker and Georgia Board of Regents member, has been ordered to pay nearly $10.8 million for running a Ponzi scheme to defraud investors.

More from the AJC:

“U.S. Securities and Exchange officials say Alford, who owned an energy company, sold promissory notes to investors — primarily Indian American professionals in the Columbus area — and guaranteed he would provide high annual rates of return.

“However, Alford's company, Allied Energy Services, was struggling and he could not repay his investors. Alford used the money he raised to make interest payments to earlier investors and for personal expenses, such as building a multimillion-dollar home, the SEC said."

- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Alford abruptly resigned from the Board of Regents in 2019 when he was also accused of forging a state employee’s signature to collect state funds for his company.

He previously served 10 years in the state House.

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U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock says the federal government needs to shed more light on the deadly leak at a Gainesville poultry plant in January.

In a letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Warnock requested an update about the investigation into what led to the liquid nitrogen leak that killed six people.

“I appreciate your swift action to investigate and hold the appropriate people accountable,” he wrote.

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A group that opposed former President Donald Trump is now targeting U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and other conservative House members that supported him.

The Republican Accountability Project is running ads in Greene’s northwest Georgia district to remind constituents “what she stands for.” The ad includes footage of Greene defending colleague Matt Gaetz, confronting a teenage victim of mass shooting and making remarks in support of various conspiracy theories.

The buy is part of a $1 million campaign targeting six House Republicans. It appears the spending in Greene’s district is quite slim, around $10,000 in the first week for broadcast spots plus some digital ads.

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We’ve written about the latest effort in the General Assembly to prevent local Georgia cities from cutting police budgets.

The Savannah Morning News sheds some light on the reality of local police budgets, along with concerns that lawmakers in Atlanta should not be noodling with local budgets for anything.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson told the News, “It sets a very dangerous precedent. The state and legislators who are not in Savannah, not from Savannah, are making budget decisions that affect Savannah.”

Savannah’s police budget rose 6% last year.

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Have you gotten your COVID vaccine yet? The Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency has eliminated your last excuse.

The agency announced Wednesday that six of the state’s mass vaccination sites are now administering the vaccine without appointment, including Macon, Clarkesville, Sandersville, Columbus, Savannah and Waycross, according to the Macon Telegraph. The Hapeville and Emerson vaccine locations will still require an appointment.

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The state Department of Early Care and Learning reached a milestone this week when the agency’s weekly DECAL Download podcast entered its third season.

The program, hosted by Commissioner Amy Jacobs and communications guru Reg Griffin, features conversations about the agency’s work and interviews with guests like Gov. Brian Kemp. Check it out here.

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Finally, as the pandemic lockdowns lift, isn’t it time to refresh your look?

That’s what the AJC has done with its new logo, masthead and home page. If you love a makeover as much as we do, you can see our new one now.