On the record – off the clock. Veteran Atlanta political reporter Denis O’Hayer hosts a conversation between strategists from the right and the left. Democratic strategist Tharon Johnson and Republican strategist Brian Robinson bring their personalities and passion to the table for an informed, respectful and lively discussion. They spar, they delve into topics others avoid, and they give credit where it’s due. It’s all steered by Denis O’Hayer, who has covered Georgia politics for close to 40 years.
Gwinnett County voters opted not to get on board the MARTA train. So what’s next for the traffic-smothered county? Meanwhile, at the State Capitol, big fights over abortion and an airport takeover headed into their final rounds. And on a visit home from the U.S. Capitol, Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson went after President Trump for his continued attacks on the late Senator John McCain. Those are just a few of the selections on the menu for this Political Breakfast. Our regulars are back: Brian Robinson is a Republican strategist, communications consultant, and former deputy chief of staff to former Governor Nathan Deal; Tharon Johnson is a Democratic strategist, public affairs and government consultant, and former national southern regional director for the Obama 2012 campaign. The man in the middle is WABE political contributor Denis O’Hayer.
It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world under Georgia’s Gold Dome right now–even more than usual. It’s that crossover time of year, when bills hit a critical deadline. One of them, the proposed state takeover of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, made it through the Senate ahead of the deadline. And it happened just as a new indictment was handed down in the investigation of corruption at Atlanta’s City Hall. And it’s voting time, too, at least in Gwinnett County, even though it’s not November. But the stakes are just as big, with transit on the line, so to speak. And some bills favored by GOP conservatives ran into big hurdles under the Gold Dome. It’s all on the menu for another Political Breakfast. Our regulars, Tharon Johnson and Brian Robinson, are both involved in the Gwinnett County transit campaign, so they are sitting out this time. Joining WABE political contributor Denis O’Hayer: Democrat Cathy Woolard, a former Atlanta City Council president, and most recently, a candidate for Mayor. Also along for this ride: Lynn Westmoreland, a former Georgia Republican Congressman, and before that, the GOP leader in the Georgia State House.
That slow start to 2019 in Georgia politics didn’t last long. Midway through the legislative session, there’s plenty of sound and fury at the state Capitol–over how to change the state’s voting machines and rules; a lawsuit over the current voting system and the 2018 election; a bid to for a state takeover of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport; and the debate over House Speaker David Ralston’s use of a rule allowing lawyer-lawmakers to get cases delayed so they can attend to their legislative duties. So, there’s a lot on the Political Breakfast table this time. WABE political contributor Denis O’Hayer welcomed our regulars: Democratic strategist Tharon Johnson is a public affairs and government conusltant and former national southern regional director for the Obama 2012 campaign; Republican strategist Brian Robinson is a communications consultant and former deputy chief of staff for former Governor Nathan Deal. And we had lots of company this time! The podcast was taped before a wonderful live audience at the 28th annual Georgia Bar, Media & Judiciary Conference, at State Bar headquarters in downtown Atlanta.
Now that all those Super Bowl visitors have left, Georgia political leaders have to get back to the task of hashing out our own homegrown issues–you know, the ones we didn’t want all those strangers to know about. There are some difficult negotiations to be had on everything from casino gambling, to Medicaid expansion, to proposed rules for new hospitals (and some of those issues could get thrown together!) Then, there’s talk of a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the top of Stone Mountain, and a big bank from out of state is buying one of Atlanta’s iconic financial institutions. It all makes for a big, crunchy Political Breakfast. Our regulars are back with us again: Tharon Johnson is a Democratic strategist, public affairs and government consultant, and former national southern regional director of the Obama 2012 campaign; Brian Robinson is a Republican strategist, communications consultant, and former deputy chief of staff for Governor Nathan Deal. WABE political consultant Denis O’Hayer is the person in the middle.
Georgia starts 2019 with a new Governor, a new Legislature, some new members of Congress, a new transit agency for the Atlanta area–but coming to town for Atlanta’s Super Bowl, the same old Patriots. You remember them. Suddenly, that other team with its new old home in LA has a whole lot of new fans in the ATL! Meanwhile, Democrats and Republicans continue their old no-gain scrimmage in DC. At least the Saints are staying in New Orleans (even though their billboards aren’t), and we can enjoy a new Political Breakfast. Who dat joining us? Our regulars, of course! Tharon Johnson is a Democratic strategist, public affairs and government consultant, and former national southern regional director of the Obama 2012 campaign. Brian Robinson is a Republican strategist, communications consultant, and former deputy chief of staff for Governor Nathan Deal. And trying to steer it all is WABE political contributor Denis O’Hayer.
It’s the end of 2018 already! But we in Georgia managed to jam a whole lot of political news into just 365 days. So what did we learn this year? And which of the happenings from this year will be affecting us in 2019—and maybe even beyond? Settle back with the holiday beverage of your choice and explore it all with us on a special edition of the Political Breakfast! WABE political contributor Denis O’Hayer is back; so are Tharon Johnson, a Democratic strategist and former national southern regional director for the Obama 2012 campaign, and Brian Robinson a Republican strategist, public affairs consultant, and former deputy chief of staff for Governor Nathan Deal.
Georgia had a little earthquake recently, but apparently that’s not going to keep Nick Ayers from leaving the Trump administration–and a very big job offer–to come back home. Meanwhile, Norfolk Southern will soon call Atlanta home; Governor-elect Brian Kemp makes his first major speech (without anything exploding behind him) a few days after he paid a peacemaking visit to Atlanta’s City Hall and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. And who would have guessed a couple of years ago that a wildly popular soccer team would be the one to break Atlanta’s long championship drought? That’s just some of what’s on the menu in this edition of the Political Breakfast. WABE political contributor Denis O’Hayer welcomes Democratic strategist Tharon Johnson and Republican strategist Brian Robinson.
Listen to all episodes from your favorite podcast app.