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

Gun Violence; Face Masks; Reopening Schools

It was a week of mourning in Georgia: over lives lost in a weekend of gun violence–including that of an 8-year-old girl—and the lives lost to a Coronavirus outbreak that has worsened after the state re-opened. Georgia’s governor faced what one might call a masked rebellion in several cities, and called the National Guard into Atlanta. Meanwhile, school students, teachers, staffers and parents struggled to understand what this fall will be like in classrooms and on campus, while the Trump administration pressured schools to put kids back in front of teachers. WABE political contributor Denis O’Hayer again welcomes Republican strategist Brian Robinson and Democratic strategist Tharon Johnson.

A Conversation with Senator Isakson

Georgia’s senior U.S. Senator, Republican Johnny Isakson, is speaking about his resignation, and what he wants to do before he leaves the Senate at the end of the year.

 

Isakson made the announcement on Wednesday, August 28.

 

The three-term Senator, who began his political career in 1974, cited increasing health problems as the reason for his resignation. Isakson suffers from Parkinson’s Disease, and recently had a growth removed from his kidney.

 

He spoke by phone on August 30 with Political Breakfast host Denis O’Hayer.

Something Toxic in the Air; Meter Runs on New Vote System

There’s something in the late summer air–and it’s got a lot of Georgia folks concerned, along with the people who ask for their votes. Speaking of voting, the timer is running on the state’s new elections system, even as a legal fight continues. Meanwhile, the legal battle lines are more clearly drawn in the showdown over the state’s new abortion laws. There’s all that and more in this helping of the Political Breakfast! WABE political contributor Denis O’Hayer welcomes Republican strategist Brian Robinson, a communications consultant, and former deputy chief of staff for Governor Nathan Deal, and–filling in for Tharon Johnson this time–Gwinnett County Democratic chair Bianca Keaton.

Gun Bills Under Gold Dome; Toxic Chemicals Near Neighborhoods

It’s August, but the folks who run things in Georgia are not getting much of a vacation. They face some very serious questions: Does this state needs tougher gun laws? What to do about hazardous chemicals in the air near some Atlanta area neighborhoods? Should Governor Kemp finally expand the state’s Medicaid program for low-income Georgians? And how can lawmakers do all of this when the Governor is warning state agencies that funding cuts are coming? We get into all of that in this serving of the Political Breakfast. Democratic strategist Tharon Johnson is back; he’s a public affairs and government consultant, and former national southern regional director for the Obama 2012 campaign. Republican strategist Brian Robinson is away. Filling in this time: former Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, a Republican who’s also a former chair of the Cobb County Commission. WABE political contributor Denis O’Hayer hosts the proceedings.

Democratic & GOP Strategies Post-Mueller; Threats to Georgia’s Election Security

Now that Robert Mueller has spoken to Congress about Russian interference in the last presidential election, what’s being done here in Georgia to ensure the security of the next one? And it’s not just the 2020 presidential contest that’s stirring things up around here; there are quite a few would-be members of Congress in both parties. And a former Georgia governor has been busy lately in his new job as Agriculture Secretary. Those are just a few of the items on the bill of fare for this Political Breakfast, and we’ve got a place waiting for you! WABE political contributor Denis O’Hayer returns with Tharon Johnson, who is a Democratic strategist, public affairs and government consultant, and former national southern regional director for the Obama 2012 campaign. Republican strategist Brian Robinson is away; filling in this time: former Georgia Republican Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, who knows a thing or two about high-profile hearings. During his time in Congress, he was a member of the House Intelligence Committee and the Select Committee on Benghazi.

 

Democratic Senate Scramble; GOP Healthcare Dilemma

While Georgia Republican Senator David Perdue builds his re-election war chest, another Georgia Democrat jumps into the race to challenge him. But is the party waiting and hoping for someone else? Meanwhile, the new child sex trafficking charges against Jeffrey Epstein in New York have brought new focus to Georgia’s efforts to fight sex trafficking. And, if Georgia and some other states win their lawsuit against Obamacare, do Republican leaders have a plan for what next for patients here? A lot to think about on this Political Breakfast! WABE political contributor Denis O’Hayer serves it up–with the help of some very bright political minds. Tharon Johnson is back; he’s a Democratic strategist, public affairs and government consultant, and former national southern regional director for the Obama 2012 campaign. Republican strategist Brian Robinson is away. Filling in this time: former Georgia Republican Party chairman Chuck Clay, now with the law firm Hall, Booth, Smith.

A Choice for Georgia Democrats, and the Difficult Details for Affordable Housing

While the Democratic presidential candidates debated in Miami, we’ll see if local Democrats need to focus on a different battle here, Meanwhile, Atlanta’s mayor unveiled an affordable housing plan, which critics argue isn’t very specific. And the Supreme Court blocked a census citizenship question, while Atlanta’s immigrant community waits to see if President Trump’s threatened raids will actually happen. All that and more is on the table for this 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. Our other regular, Democratic strategist Tharon Johnson, is away this time. Filling in: Gwinnett County Democratic chair Bianca Keaton. 

Listen to all episodes from your favorite podcast app.