Political news

Jim Smith steps out of a voting booth after marking his ballot at a polling site for the New Hampshire primary, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in Nashua, N.H.
David Goldman / Associated Press

Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson introduced legislation in Congress this week in an effort to boost protection for voting systems following recent federal warnings about cybersecurity threats.

“The threat to our voting process is clear and present,” Johnson said.  He cited the recent hackings at the Democratic National Committee and attempts into voter systems in other states.

Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

On Sept. 16, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump admitted President Barack Obama was born in the United States. In the process, Trump – who had advanced the "birther" rumor for years – argued that the first person to question the president's origins was Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, during her 2008 primary campaign against then-Sen. Obama.

Soros Fund Management Chairman George Soros speaks during a panel discussion at the Nicolas Berggruen Conference in Berlin, Germany, Oct. 30, 2012.
Thomas Peter, Pool / Associated Press

Two months before polls open, the race for Henry County district attorney appears to be over after progressive activist George Soros spent $100,000 to support his pick in the race, Democrat Darius Pattillo, who’s being called the first black DA in the county.

“This race has taken a turn of events that I could not have predicted,” said Pattillo.

Republican Matthew McCord has dropped out. In an emailed statement, McCord said he doesn't think he has a shot against Soros's cash, and he's worried about personal attacks on himself and his family.

Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed visited Washington Friday to push Congress to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. Reed met with President Obama and a group of bipartisan politicians and businesspeople, before speaking at a White House podium alongside Ohio’s Republican governor, and former presidential candidate John Kasich.

The TPP is a 12-nation trade deal that seeks to boost growth and trade. Supporters say it protects U.S. trade interests, while critics say it would jeopardize American jobs and funnel power and money to corporations.

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act hold up signs as the opinion for health care is reported outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday June 25, 2015.
Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

 On a recent campaign stop in Cobb County, Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence made a promise that used to be a big applause line at Republican rallies since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

“If you want a president who will cut taxes, grow our economy, squeeze every nickel out of that bloated federal bureaucracy and repeal Obamacare lock stock and barrel,” Pence said to growing applause, “then I say to you here in Georgia, we have but one choice.”

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a rally, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016, in Clive, Iowa.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Recent polls show the 2016 presidential race in Georgia is close. Some polls show Donald Trump slightly ahead of Hillary Clinton; others give Clinton a tiny edge. Either way, Georgia is in a statistical tie.  

But is it really winnable for the Democrats this year? That's just one of the items on the menu for this "Political Breakfast." 

Elly Yu / WABE

Former Georgia Congressman -- and former House Speaker -- Newt Gingrich was back in the Atlanta area on Monday, campaigning for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. During a town meeting at Kennesaw State University, the former Speaker attacked the "basket of deplorables" comment by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Gingrich said it showed Democrats have lost the ability to debate.

Elly Yu / WABE

Former House Speaker and Georgia Congressman Newt Gingrich called Georgia a “key battleground” at a town hall for the Trump campaign Monday at Kennesaw State University.  

Gingrich spoke to a crowd of more than 100 supporters, some who were wearing newly-minted shirts with the word “deplorables.” Groups of students in between classes also stood towards the back of the room to hear Gingrich speak.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, moderates a discussion during a town-hall style meeting, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012, in Charlotte, N.C., during the second day of the Democratic National Convention.
Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

Democratic Mayor Kasim Reed isn’t playing sides, at least for now, in a major Georgia election fight over whether the state should be able to take over local schools it deems are failing. Many prominent Democrats, including House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, have loudly opposed Republican Gov. Nathan Deal’s “Opportunity School District” (OSD) proposal.

John Minchillo, File / Associated Press

One of Donald Trump's most visible surrogates is helping out the campaign in Georgia Monday.

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich is holding a town hall at Kennesaw State University.

Kerwin Swint, a KSU professor of political science, said he expects Gingrich will be trying to shore up the party's Cobb County base.

"They understand that they need high turnout of Republicans in strongholds like Cobb to run strong statewide,” Swint said.

A voter takes a "I'm a Georgia Voter" sticker after voting during Georgia's primary election at the polling station at South Lowndes Recreation Complex in Lake Park, Ga., Tuesday, March 1, 2016.
Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

Georgia activists say they’re seeing increased interest this year from volunteers who want to monitor elections for possible voter intimidation. The new enthusiasm, they say, comes from Donald Trump’s recent calls for his supporters to watch polling places and ensure “cheating” doesn’t cost him the race.

“There is an increased concern about some of the rhetoric that's happening around the election being rigged or stolen,” said Page Gleason, the executive director of ProGeorgia, a nonprofit group that advocates for progressive causes.

Lisa Hagen / WABE

Gov. Nathan Deal is promising state law enforcement officers a 20 percent pay raise starting Jan. 1, 2017.

Cheers of state troopers and other law enforcement filled the Georgia Capitol Thursday morning as the governor announced the planned raise.

"It will move our state troopers up from the sixth highest paid in the Southeast to the third. Including the 6 percent pay raise earlier this year, our state troopers will have gone from 50th nationally in terms of base salary to 24th," said Deal.

Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

Recent polls show the race for president tightening – at least in terms of the popular vote – with one, from CNN/ORC, showing Republican candidate Donald Trump slightly ahead. Meanwhile, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has bought some TV ad time in Georgia – the first time a Democrat has done that since the late stages of the 2008 campaign.

With the election just over two months away, the rhetoric from the two major party campaigns has only intensified.  But there's still the question of whether all that talk carries much truth.

Hats displaying support for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton are displayed by a sidewalk vendor, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016, in New York.
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

The beginning of September traditionally means a jump in the pace and intensity of the presidential campaign, but some of the national attention Georgia drew last month may fade away.

Donald Trump remains the favorite in the state, said William Boone, a political scientist at Clark Atlanta University, but it doesn't look like the Hillary Clinton campaign will make a big play here.

Naomi Binenfeld (left) uses her phone to show Tasneem Hayed how to check a voter's registration status
Alison Guillory / WABE

It’s Friday afternoon and, as the call to prayer begins at the Hamzah Islamic Center near Alpharetta, member Arif Kazi sets up a table near the mosque’s entryway. He puts out an American flag, flyers and laptops in the hopes of registering voters. 

“Are you registered to vote?” Kazi asks the tech workers, parents and elders rushing in for the regular prayer service.

Muslims aren’t a voting group campaign strategists talk about very much. Not like white suburban women or African Americans, for example.  

Martha Dalton / WABE

Throughout Venezuela, people took to the streets Thursday, protesting the dire economic conditions there and demanding a recall of the country’s socialist president. Venezuelan nationals living all over the U.S. held matching protests. A group called “Venezuelans in Georgia” organized one in downtown Atlanta.

Demonstrators chanted, sang, and gave testimonials about the drastic shortage of supplies that’s devastating Venezuela. They wanted to show support for friends and family back home and raise awareness about the economic crisis.

Voters cast ballots in Georgia's primary election at a polling site in a firehouse Tuesday, March 1, 2016, in Atlanta.
David Goldman / Associated Press

If you’re planning to vote in the November presidential election, but it’s been awhile since you’ve cast a ballot, you may want to check to make sure you’re still registered.

Most states, including Georgia, conduct what’s called “list maintenance” with voter registrations. If a county is contacted by the U.S. Postal Service about a voter's address change, that person is contacted. If he doesn’t respond in 30 days, he becomes “inactive.” The same is true for voters who have not voted for three consecutive years. They will also be asked to confirm residency.

Consultant Blake Fulenwider and Georgia Chamber task force spokesman Brian Robinson, speaking with Denis O'Hayer in the WABE studios on August 31, 2016.
Faith Williams / WABE News


This week, a health care task force created by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce released its much-anticipated report on ways the state could expand medical coverage for the uninsured. The report outlined three possible paths for lawmakers to consider this coming legislative session.

Ga. Chamber Releases Plans For Expanding Health Care Access

Ric Feld / AP Photo

Georgia lawmakers are traveling around the state, visiting military bases. Their goal is to make sure the bases here are in good shape, so that if more bases around the country are closed, Georgia's remain open.

The federal government has closed bases in the state recently. About ten years ago, Georgia lost a few, including Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem in the Atlanta area.

 In this Sept. 29, 2014 file photo, Secretary of State Brian Kemp announces a March 6, 2012 date, as Georgia's 2012 presidential primary at a news conference in Atlanta.
David Goldman / Associated Press

Georgia's top election official says the state is prepared if hackers target its election systems in light of evidence of hacking in two other states.

"It's been in our radar, it will continue to be on our radar,” said Secretary of State Brian Kemp Tuesday. “We're working hard everyday to make sure that those type of things don't happen in Georgia. And then if for some reason they were to happen, we have plans to deal with that.”

Gerald Herbert / WABE

As Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence bounces around Georgia today and tomorrow, he'll continue to face questions about his running mate's shifting immigration policy proposals.

Donald Trump has said he plans to clarify his stance in a speech in Arizona on Wednesday, but until then, even one of Georgia's staunchest opponents of illegal immigration isn't clear about where the Trump campaign will land on the issue.

Alex Brandon / Associated Press

Vice presidential nominee Mike Pence will be in Georgia Monday, holding two rallies and a fundraiser for presidential nominee Donald Trump.  

The Indiana governor will be in Perry for a public rally at 2 p.m., and in Marietta for another public rally at the Cobb-Marietta Coliseum at the Cobb Galleria Center at 7:30 p.m. He’ll also be at a private fundraiser in the Atlanta area in between at 5 p.m., according to a spokesperson with Georgia Republican Party.  

Republican vice presidential candidate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence speaks at the Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016.
Chuck Burton / AP Photo


In the past week, former President Bill Clinton visited Atlanta to raise money for his wife Hillary's presidential campaign. And next week, Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence hits town for a GOP fundraiser.

So Georgia is fulfilling its traditional role as a bank for both parties' campaigns. But with polls showing the state might be winnable for the Democrats, there are signs the Clinton and Trump forces might actually deploy some ground forces here. 

Brexit Leader Nigel Farage Joins Donald Trump At Rally

Aug 25, 2016
Nigel Farage, ex-leader of the British UKIP party, speaks as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, listens, at Trump's campaign rally in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016.
Gerald Herbert / AP Photo

Donald Trump is linking his "movement to take back the country" to Britain's surprising vote to leave the European Union.

He invited Nigel Farage, an architect of the withdrawal campaign, to join him on stage at a rally Wednesday night in Jackson.

Farage, the outgoing head of the United Kingdom Independence Party, said "anything is possible" if enough people band together, and predicted that Trump's presidential campaign would "smash the establishment."

Jose Juarez / Associated Press

The capital of the Peach State remains a political piggy bank for both Republican and Democratic candidates.

Bill Clinton will be in Atlanta on Wednesday raising money for the Hillary Clinton campaign.

And next Monday, Republican Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence comes to town to try to raise funds.

John Minchillo / Associated Press

The oldest millennials — nearing 20 when airplanes slammed into New York City's Twin Towers — are old enough to remember the relative economic prosperity of the 1990s, and when a different Clinton was running for president. The nation's youngest adults — now nearing 20 themselves — find it hard to recall a reality without terrorism and economic worry.

Gerald Herbert / Associated Press

As the summer heated up, so did the rhetoric from the presidential candidates.

Republican candidate Donald Trump called President Obama "the founder of ISIS;" Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton claimed to be the only candidate to promise not to raise taxes on the middle class; and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson insisted most Americans support his call for the legalization of marijuana.

Lisa Hagen / WABE

Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson insists he won't be a "volunteer apologist" for Donald Trump or anyone else who utters something "stupid," but that defiant independence is being sorely tested by the GOP presidential nominee's sinking support and Democrat Hillary Clinton's push into surprisingly competitive Georgia.

Evan Vucci / Associated Press

There's been a lot of hot talk this presidential campaign season about Georgia turning purple. Whether you buy that or not, it appears the Trump campaign is taking notice.

In an announcement Wednesday, the Trump-Pence campaign said two new Georgia staff members, including a senior advisor, will be “dedicated to keeping the state in the Republican win column.”

The newly minted Trump team said the expansion does not mean they think the state is in danger of slipping away, but University of Georgia political scientist Charles Bullock said actions speak louder than words.

Sen. David Perdue (R-Georgia), during a round table conversation with reporters in downtown Atlanta on August 16, 2016.
Denis O'Hayer / WABE News

Recent polls have indicated Georgia is now a toss-up state in the 2016 presidential race ─ with Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton within a few percentage points of each other, and usually within the polls' margins of error.

One of Trump's most prominent ─ and enthusiastic ─ Georgia supporters has been U.S. Senator David Perdue. On Tuesday, Perdue talked about the campaign, and other issues, in a roundtable with reporters in downtown Atlanta.  After that session, he sat down for a few minutes with WABE's Denis O'Hayer.