The Week: Georgia gun law now a target in Abrams-Evans fight


The two Democrats now running for governor, Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans, are seeking stiff new gun restrictions — taking a route previous candidates in their party have eschewed.

But Abrams thinks she has found a path of separation from Evans on that very issue, attacking her stance on a law that requires that ownerless firearms be auctioned off rather than allowing law enforcement agencies to destroy the guns.

The gun rights group GeorgiaCarry.org plans to fight efforts during the upcoming legislative session to repeal the law, known as Senate Bill 350.

Abrams voted against SB 350.

Her campaign put out a press release slamming Evans for supporting the law it called “extreme and horrifying.”

“Georgia’s next governor must be prepared to stand up to gun extremists who put dangerous gun laws above common sense, the judgment of local law enforcement, and the safety of the public,” Abrams spokeswoman Priyanka Mantha said.

An Evans spokesman, Stefan Turkheimer, responded by calling Abrams’ press release a “misleading negative attack.”

He said Evans supported SB 350 because it was designed to require that guns be treated like other property seized by police while also providing local departments a source of revenue.

Turkheimer said Evans supports a bill in the upcoming session that would give police the option to destroy the weapons instead of selling them.

Squarely against triangulation:Abrams has her own plan and sees no need to adopt somebody else’s.

During an appearance on the podcast “Pod Save America,” Abrams was asked whether triangulation — the tactic of adopting ideas from an opponent — would work in a state like Georgia.

That, Abrams said, would be a big negatory.

“As a matter of strategy,” Abrams said, “to say you’re going to triangulate your principles in order to win an election sends a message to both sides: To the people who aren’t already on your side, they see you as a hypocrite. And for the people who should be on your side, they see that you don’t actually value your principles.”

That said, Abrams did say New Jersey Gov.-elect Phil Murphy, who turned that office from red to blue, offers a model of success. “He is the emblem of what we have to do in 2018,” Abrams said at a recent fundraiser for Murphy, according to NorthJersey.com. “And that is, we have to be right, we have to be real and we have to be ready.”

Abrams — whose campaign aims to form a coalition of “consistently progressive white voters” (about 23 percent of Georgia’s electorate) and energized African-American voters — also used the podcast to throw some shade at Democratic candidates who focus too much on television ads at the expense of field organization.

“In Georgia in particular, we have allowed more than 1 million votes to lie fallow, communities … who haven’t heard directly from candidates at the statewide level in decades,” Abrams said. “We don’t need a million. We just need 200,000.”

An offer of support he can hardly refuse: There’s some debate over who said it first, but let’s go with the godfather of fictional philosophers, Michael Corleone: “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”

They’ll all apparently be at a fundraiser supporting the secretary of state campaign of state Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus.

The list of supporters for that event includes the incoming Senate Pro Tem Butch Miller and Senate Majority Leader Bill Cowsert. Cowsert’s appearance on that list is particularly noteworthy because of the role he played last year in removing McKoon as the capo, er, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee by combining it with another committee that handles legal issues.

Cowsert denied it at the time, but the move was widely viewed as a way to punish McKoon for using his committee to promote “religious liberty” legislation that, due to a veto by Gov. Nathan Deal, now sleeps with the fishes.

In all, 20 GOP senators are backing McKoon in the campaign, which includes three other Republicans — state Reps. Buzz Brockway and Brad Raffensperger, plus Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle — along with Democrat John Barrow, the former congressman.

Spare us the niceties: Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young is known to be a diplomat, having also served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

But in an interview for an Atlanta magazine article about outgoing Mayor Kasim Reed, he gave an assessment of the soon-to-be-former hizzoner that comes off rather blunt.

“Kasim is like a bowling ball,” Young said. “Get the hell out of my way or get knocked down.”

Who was consulted on this?Two national GOP political consulting firms are merging, and the impact can be felt in Georgia.

Axiom Strategies has purchased High Cotton Consulting, a Washington-based fundraising operation.

Clients of the combined firm include McKoon and U.S. Reps. Buddy Carter of Pooler and Rob Woodall of Lawrenceville.

South Georgia fight:A feud has erupted in City Hall in Camilla, and it stretches all the way to the graveyard.

Mayor Rufus Davis, who is black, says city officials have shunned him for attacking “segregationist practices” by the city, which he says includes a refusal to bury people of color next to whites in the city-owned cemetery. Camilla, located just north of the Florida line, is 70 percent black.

Davis has hired a civil rights attorney from Tallahassee, Fla., to help him make his case.



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