On the record – off the clock.  On the Political Breakfast podcast, 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. Scroll down to see the latest episodes.

Throughout the 2020 state legislative session, Political Breakfast presents Gold Dome Scramble, a pop-up podcast in which host Lisa Rayam talks with reporters from the WABE newsroom to break things down for our listeners — the issues being considered, and the bills getting sorted through various committees. They’ll lay out the context and explain what comes next. Episodes will be clear, concise and short — with each lasting less than 15 minutes. Listen to Gold Dome Scramble below and find out more about it here.

 

Featured Episode

Schools Open in Pandemic; Vote-by-Mail Fight Gets Local

Schools are opening in Georgia, but the often-emotional debate about whether—and how—to do it safely is already well underway. And the toll in COVID-19 cases, rates of positive tests, and deaths continues to rise. Governor Kemp signs a controversial police protection bill. And while President Trump trashes mail-in absentee voting—except in Florida—there’s a growing dispute between the state’s top elections official and one Atlanta area county. Republican strategist Brian Robinson and Democratic strategist Tharon Johnson are back, with WABE political contributor Denis O’Hayer.

Insurance Commissioner Indicted; Republicans & Democrats Seek 2020 Strategies

There are some political storms on Georgia’s summer radar: an indictment for the state’s insurance commissioner; a potential landmark fight over the new abortion law; and Democrats and Republicans are trying to figure out how to navigate all the 2020 turbulence and uncertainty. But you can fortify yourself with a nourishing Political Breakfast. Our regulars are back for this one. 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. They talked it all over with WABE political contributor Denis O’Hayer.

Stacey Abrams Says “No Thanks;” Parties and Candidates Scramble

We’re just over a quarter of the way through 2019, but the mad scramble for 2020 is already on. With a single “no, thanks” from Stacey Abrams, Democrats are lining up to run for a Georgia seat in the U.S. Senate, while would-be members of the House are piling up in both parties. A retiring state Supreme Court justice opens the way for another high-profile battle, and a sitting state attorney general opens a probe into years of sex abuse by some members of Georgia’s Catholic clergy. It’s all in this edition of the Political Breakfast. WABE political contributor Denis O’Hayer welcomes Brian Robinson, a Republican strategist, communications consultant, and former deputy chief of staff to former Governor Nathan Deal. And filling in for Democratic strategist Tharon Johnson this time: former Georgia Democratic congressman Buddy Darden.

Will New Medical Marijuana Law Open Path to Recreational Use? Also: Film Producers Face Decision On GA Abortion Bill

Governor Kemp gets out his pen to sign or veto bills the Legislature sent him in the past few months. But some of those new laws mean he’s got some major future homework. Meanwhile some other Republicans and quite a few Democrats are already thinking about their political futures. And…oh, yes…there was that Tiger guy and his win for the ages in Augusta. It’s tee time for another Political Breakfast! WABE political contributor Denis O’Hayer returns with Brian Robinson, a Republican strategist, communications consultant, and former deputy chief of staff to former Governor Nathan Deal. And coming back from a really nice vacation: Tharon Johnson, a Democratic strategist, public affairs and government consultant, and former national southern regional director of the Obama 2012 campaign.

Legislature Leaves Town; What’s Next in Fights Over Abortion, Voting and Airport?

Georgia’s legislature lurched to its close for the year. So, as the old saying goes, it’s all over but the shouting. But there’s plenty of shouting–about everything from abortion, to the new election machines, to medical marijuana. And the Gold Dome isn’t even the only place where voices are raised, so we bring some calmer ones to serve up this edition of the Political Breakfast. Brian Robinson is back: he is a Republican strategist, communications consultant, and former deputy chief of staff to former Governor Nathan Deal. Tharon Johnson is off this time. Filling in is Michael Owens, who is the immediate past chairman of the Cobb County Democrats. The man in the middle is WABE political contributor Denis O’Hayer.

Gold Dome Battles on Abortion & Airport; Isakson on Trump; MARTA Gwinnett Vote Fallout

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.

Gold Dome Deadlines; Gwinnett MARTA Vote; Atlanta Airport Battle

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.

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