Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Wanted: Democratic Candidate for Georgia Senate 2020

Democrats are still searching for a strong candidate to run for the soon to be vacant senate seat of  Republicans Johnny Isakson who's stepping down due to health reasons.

The party so far have Former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, Former Lt. Governor candidate and Business Executive Sarah Amico. Also Jon Ossoff who ran for congress back in 2017 who raised a record $32 million dollars in the special election for Ga-6 and Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry. That maybe the field for that race against incumbent David Perdue.

But the other senate seat is what giving many Democrats headaches.  For one, the bench is relatively thin so they need to attract someone who's been in Georgia Politics for years, decades. They gotta start somewhere.

Stacey Abrams who lost the race for governor by a razor slim margin have said she will not make a run for the Senate. So with her out of the picture, where do democrats turn?

Names that have been mentioned so far are

Ed Tarver, a moderate black democrat who served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia and U.S. Army Veteran

Lindy Miller who ran for PSC Commissioner back in 2018

Michael Thurmond, Dekalb CEO and former Labor Commissioner

Dekalb County D.A. Sherry Boston

Jen Jordan, State Senator

Now the logic among some Democrats that a Black Democrat is needed in the other Senate race to boost black voter turnout. Black voters, I believe will turn out to vote regardless who is the nominee.

Now let's take a look at some candidates who should get a look:
James Butler

Demetrius Douglas
*State Rep. Demetrius Douglas (D-Stockbridge) UGA Alum, where he was also a Linebacker. He's currently a Real Estate Wholesaler and High School Football Coach and briefly played in the NFL and CFL

*State Rep. Brian Prince (D-Augusta) (Ret.) U.S. Army Signal Officer and CEO of Brock's Driver Education School

*Macon District Attorney David Cooke

*James "Jim" Butler, Prominent Trial Lawyer, Founding Partner of Butler Wooten & Peak, UGA graduate and Philanthropist. His name have been mentioned before for office. Why not now?

The Weight of the letter "D" in Rural Georgia

Democrats are losing rural votes not because of what they propose but because rural voters identify more with the Republican Party. “Democratic” ballot initiatives do well in rural, but Democratic candidates don’t.
In politics these days, it’s not as much what is said as who says it. Urban voters are getting more Democratic and rural voters more Republican.
What we can see now, however, is that Democratic candidates are paying an “identity penalty” in rural counties, they are losing votes not because of what they propose but because of the “D” that sits beside their name on the ballot.
Party is largely about identification these days, not policy. Okay, here's an example...Imagine walking down a hall of a large building. There are gatherings happening in two separate rooms. You can look through a door and see the people in each group. You size them up, seeing what kind of clothes they wear and imagining whether they would be the kind of folks you’d want to spend time with or have your children visit. You make a judgment, pick a room and go in. You join a team.
That’s how political parties are chosen. It’s about identification and social solidarity, not issues. And that identity is strong and divided by geography. Rural residents went in one door and urbanites went in the other.
Identity is not something that people easily give up. (Have you ever convinced a sports fan to change his or her team?) Like someone asking me to switch being a Georgia Bulldogs fan to a Florida Gator fan. Not happening!
And so the “identity penalty” Democrats pay in extremely heavily Republican areas might be too great to overcome. Candidates might do better if they run as independents rather than as Democrats in particularly “red” states.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

What Happens to Rural Areas After Trump Leaves, whether it's in 2020 or 2024?

If one word can capture the sentiment of rural and small-town dwellers in recent years, it is resentment.

Residents of rural and small-town communities believe they are not getting their fair share of government attention and vital resources compared to urban dwellers. They believe that America is moving away from them.

People in rural areas like feel as though they are being ignored by urban elites and urban institutions like government and the media at a time when they are struggling to make ends meet.
They believe their communities are dying, the economy is leaving them behind, and that young people, money and their livelihoods are going somewhere else.

They think that major decisions affecting their lives are being made far away in big cities (which is true). And perhaps most importantly, they feel that no one is listening to them or their ideas about things that are important to them. Most distressing to those living in this situation is the belief that no one, and especially no one in government, really cares.

To date, the phenomenon of resentment has been responsible for adding another layer of heightened division among Americans, including an increase in political polarization.

That makes it much more difficult for federal government officials, as well as those at the state and local level, to reach consensus on important issues of the day

It is this frustration and anger of small-town and rural area folks has resulted in increasing political support for Republican candidates, generally, and for Trump, specifically.

Given their intensifying feelings of resentment for being ignored and left behind, rural and small-town folks were particularly receptive to the slogan touted by Trump in his campaign “Make America Great Again!”

Trump won the country’s small town and non-metropolitan areas by 63.2 percent to 31.3 percent, with his largest vote shares coming from the most rural areas.

Like other Republican presidential candidates over the last 10 years, Trump garnered a large majority of the vote in traditional rural areas like Appalachia, the Great Plains and parts of the South.
Surprisingly, however, Trump also won a substantial proportion of the traditionally Democratic small town and rural vote in several key Midwestern industrial areas
Other appealing policies were tax cuts for both businesses and individuals; significant reductions in the regulation of business and industry; and import tariffs on foreign goods that compete unfairly with American-made products.

People living in small towns and rural areas who supported these kinds of policies were more likely to vote for Trump rather than Clinton in 2016 and they did.

Above all, Trump promised a shift in the focus of the national government so that much more attention would be directed to rural areas and small towns and the challenges they faced.
This evidently buoyed the hope of Trump supporters in these areas that they would be getting something closer to their fair share of government attention and resources.

Residents of small towns and rural areas are much more supportive of the Republican Party and its candidates than people in urban and suburban areas.

In addition, the most ardent supporters of Republicans are among those small-town and rural folks who are white and male, have less than a college education and vote on a regular basis.

I believe that the urban-rural/small-town divide will continue to act as a major force in politics for the remainder of the Trump era and probably longer.

Small Town Voters like Democratic inspired ideas, just not Democrats

In politics these days, it’s not as much what is said as who says it. The reports on last year's Nov. 6 election have been largely about the growing political divide between rural and urban. Urban voters are getting more Democratic and rural voters more Republican.

What we can see now, however, is that Democratic candidates are paying an “identity penalty” in rural counties, they are losing votes not because of what they propose but because of the “D” that sits beside their name on the ballot.
Rural voters both rejected Democratic candidates by close or in some cases, by wide margins but, on the same ballot, voted for Democratic (if not downright liberal) positions in nonpartisan propositions and amendments.

Party is largely about identification these days, not policy. Its like being a sports fan than a policy wonk.

Imagine walking down a hall of a large building. There are gatherings happening in two separate rooms. You can look through a door and see the people in each group. You size them up, seeing what kind of clothes they wear and imagining whether they would be the kind of folks you’d want to spend time with or have your children visit. You make a judgment, pick a room and go in. You join a team.
That’s how political parties are chosen. It’s about identification and social solidarity, not issues. And that identity is strong and divided by geography. Rural residents went in one door and urban/suburban dwellers went in the other.

Second, identity is not something that people easily give up. (Have you ever convinced a sports fan to change his or her allegiance?) And so the “identity penalty” Democrats pay in heavily Republican areas might....MIGHT be too great to overcome depending on the candidate.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

What Can Georgia Democrats in White Working-Class Districts Must Do

Given the reality that simply proposing programs and policies that are objectively in white workers’ interests is insufficient to win their support, Democratic candidates must instead visualize the method of appealing to these voters as a two-stage process.

Dubose Porter
First, they must develop a specific communication and persuasion strategy designed to break through the conservative “bubble” and become accepted as a legitimate part of the political discussion that goes on between the different sectors of the white working-class community. Second, once this is accomplished, they can begin to debate and challenge their Republican opponents regarding specific social and economic policies and programs.

Historically, most Democratic candidates who succeeded in white working-class, small-town districts have followed this kind of approach and always tended to display two major characteristics:

First, they firmly asserted and embraced many key traditional values and cultural markers of the white working class even as they staked out relatively moderate or liberal stances on these subjects.

They would endorse common-sense gun regulations, for example, but also consider gun ownership legitimate and categorically support the rights of citizens to own guns. They would reject the notion that America should impose Christianity on all Americans, but they would assert equally firmly that Christian faith is a positive force in many Americans’ family life, including their own. They would support a variety of populist economic measures but at the same time endorse the virtues of small business and individual initiative that are a part of working-class culture.

Second, they frequently embodied white working-class values in their own personal life and history. Many attended church on Sunday; others had served honorably in the military or had a background in a working-class occupation or as the owner of a small business. Many went hunting on fall weekends, listened to country music in their car, and were able to talk with firsthand knowledge and personal experience about the day-to-day problems of the white working-class people in the neighborhoods and communities they represented. In their personal lives they refuted the accusation that they were educated elitists with no connection to or understanding of ordinary peoples’ lives.

Democrats running in red-leaning districts whether its in South Central Georgia or Northeast Georgia need to spend time in places where people disagree with you. Reach out. Show up and make your argument. People will appreciate it, even if they are not inclined to vote for you. Sometimes you may spend days among crowds where there are almost no Democratic voters in sight. Listen to them, work with them and try to persuade them.

But if a Democrat is on the progressive side or leans that way, one should combine a reassuring cultural style with a practical progressive message on issues that people care about.

It is critical to recognize that the approach many Democratic candidates are taking cuts across the conventional centrist-progressive divide that now so obsesses the media and dominates debate within the Democratic coalition. Some successful Democratic candidates will frame their policies in relatively moderate (though still clearly Democratic) terms, as Lucy McBath did in Georgia 6th Congressional District, while others will campaign on more robust progressive terms like Stacey Abrams did in her bid for Georgia governor. But the success of all the new Democratic candidates will ultimately depend on whether they can win recognition and acceptance as sincere and authentic representatives of their predominantly working-class districts, rather than on any differences in the exact details of their platforms and policies.

In Trump-friendly districts, the central challenge Democrats face is to penetrate the conservative ideological cocoon and convincingly demonstrate to voters that Democrats can once again be their most effective and genuine advocates and representatives.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Can Democrats Rise Again in Rural Georgia?

Democrats must win back the trust of rural Georgia if they want to win elections in 2020 and beyond.
That means, first and foremost, campaigning outside of reliably liberal city areas like Albany, Decatur, Athens, Macon, Forest Park, Atlanta just to name a few and acknowledging the cultural and economic concerns of the voters living in the rural parts of the state.

They need to be in small towns, like Cordele, Douglas, Barnesville, Sandersville, Jackson, Colquitt, creating those conversations in the coffee shop, pushing back on those folks who are anti-democrat, anti-government. 

Where such voters once associated the Democratic Party with aid to the little guy and the middle class, many now see it as the party of cultural warriors, protesters, big spenders. They see the party as prioritizing the needs of immigrants, refugees and minorities ahead of middle-income working people. This doesn’t mean becoming a Republican-lite in trying to appeal to these voters. It’s not about that. It’s about having a conversation with those voters to make them understand that democrats don’t think they’re idiots.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Georgia Dems Can Win Some of the Rural Vote...

If they did one simple thing: Show up. Right now, they don’t. But that maybe changing. Sarah Griggs Amico have made several trips to South Georgia since the end of the primary, so have candidate for Attorney General Charlie Bailey, Agriculture Commissioner candidate Fred Swann among others. Stacey Abrams have made a few ventures outside Georgia, but one have to wonder can she...or will she commit to courting rural Georgia voters.
Rural voters notice the exclusion. Republicans by contrast structure their messaging around popular rural themes like Guns, The Flag, Religion, etc. They show up at county fairs and festivals, and voters respond . . . The reason they dominate elections is that they’re highly visible and constantly communicate that ‘we’re on your side and the Democrats are not.’ They win the argument by default because Democrats aren’t around to offer a rebuttal.
Word to Democratic candidates....You don’t have to become a Republican in order to have rural appeal. It’s only important that you show, that you care about local concerns, and that you are working for solutions. There’s nothing very complicated about connecting with rural voters. Success starts with simply showing up and demonstrating a genuine desire to learn. But the twice-in-an-election-cycle, 90-minute parachute drop to tour a factory, visit a farm, or hold a press conference will be seen as the political ploy that it is.
When the Democratic ticket bails out on, say the Plains Peanut Festival in Plains, Ga the candidates will have a little time in the air on their way to Tifton. 
Yes, rural areas are culturally conservative. The voters who are most concerned with those cultural issues ought to be voting for Republicans. Those aren’t votes Democrats will ever win. However, Democrats do a lot of things to hurt themselves in rural Georgia and don’t even realize it.
For instance: How about actually paying attention to rural Georgia? The impression that many rural voters have is that Democrats have morphed into an urban-suburban party that simply doesn’t care about them anymore. You don’t seem to talk about the things that matter most here. 
But....candidates like Lt. Governor candidate Sarah Griggs Amico, Attorney General candidate Charlie Bailey, Candidate for Secretary of State John Barrow, as well as Janice Laws who is running for State Insurance Commissioner have made numerous visits to rural Georgia since the end of the primary.
There is little risk in Democrats reaching for rural votes, especially in a gubernatorial year. Even if you get three out of 10 voters, ... that can make for a huge shift if the margins are so small on a state level
But at the end of the day it’s still God, guns and gays. Those issues are the old standby for Republicans to divide voters, to cut them out from where their interests might be better served. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Hooks to run for HD 138.....McGowan to retire.

Down in HD 138, G. Bardin Hooks, son of former State Senator George Hooks will run for the seat currently held by Bill McGowan of Americus in the Democratic Primary. McGowan is expected to retire after the current legislative session.

Hooks was born and raised in Americas, Ga and co-founded Arnold & Hooks located in Americus. Hooks is married with one child and is a member of Calvary Episcopal Church in Americus.

Letter to Peanut Politics: I Supported Trump, Now I Regret It.

I live in one of the poorest parts of Georgia and I'm one of the few members of my family and community who no longer support the president. The fact that my own rust-tinged trailer is distinguished by a lack of signs in favor of Trump is a personal point of pride. I begin each day by mentally preparing myself for whatever Donald Trump latest assault on working people is.

His decision making is hurting poor people, working class voters everywhere, including the rural, white, black and working class like me and my neighbors. It will hurt many of those whose support for Trump has been among the stringent and vocal.

Here in rural Southeast Georgia, the wiregrass region I love, the scenery is offset by stark markers of rural poverty. Dilapidated barns, abandoned farm and outhouses, and mobile homes. Areas in nearby small towns and communities reveal more than a few empty bank owned homes. This isn't all that surprising, considering that the area I live is one of the poorest n the state of Georgia. Yet despite their relative ubiquity, I'm go smacked by the juxtaposition of the name Trump, synonymous with exorbitant wealth, in front of a rusting mobile every time I see one.

According to the many Trump supporters I know, Trump won their loyalty because of his so called outsider status and promise to not only take on, but dismantle, a corrupt, ineffectual political establishment. And now some of them are having regrets about supporting this fraud of a president. Many of these people, myself included, have struggled financially due to job loss and foreclosure. We often have had to rely on things like public assistance to get by. Is our collective financial instability the fault of a crooked political establishment? Many people here sure think so.

One of Trump's most apparent and effective wants of playing up anti-establishment credentials was calling out and criticizing Hillary Clinton's ties with Wall Street bigwigs like Goldman Sachs. Despite being a billionaire himself, Trump lack of political experience helped enable his populist appeal. He claimed to want to save the middle class which is a bald lie in part by changing current tax laws that allow billionaires to pay lower taxes on their enormous paychecks.

Trump, let's face it is a fake and a fraud to many who supported him. He lies on a daily basis, he's untrustworthy and I will not vote for him ever again. Poor people who have been victims of foreclosure, including the white and black working class ones in my community are having buyers remorse with their vote for Trump in 2016. Many people here lament the face that the size of their families and networks have dwindled because people have been forced to relocate out of economic necessity. I can't help but worry and wonder how many are empty homes (mobile or otherwise), will be soon dot the landscape I love so well. I am a red state South Georgia Democrat who voted for Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama....even George Wallace in 1968. I vote don't for Trump, but believe me I wouldn't vote for him again in a 100 years.

Millwood, Ga

Monday, May 15, 2017

Rebirth of the Bluedog Dems...Time to make a comeback!

For some time now it has bothered me how the tide has turned against the classic blue dog, Sam Nunn Democrats. The tide I describe isn’t a Republican tide, but rather a Progressive (liberal) tide that has overtaken the Democratic Party. 

A battle within the Democratic Party that by all accounts seems to leave Blue Dog Democrats in the dust and forgotten. Blue Dog Democrats are chastised, if not just blatantly ignored to benefit an extreme left wing, socialist, hyper oversensitive political correctness wave, called Progressives. Progressive leaders just don’t have any tolerance at all for fellow Democrats who are unwilling to subscribe to their brand and wing of the Democratic Party… and it shows.

Blue Dog Democrats are what I classify as Democrats who fight for the working person, fight for strong unions that put people to work. They love good businesses who create tax revenue, employ people and support them. They fought for civil rights and continue to do so. They understand that welfare is a hand up not a federal giveaway program to secure future voters. Sam Nunn Democrats are those who have traditionally fought against unfair business practices and are fiercely loyal proud Americans who bleed for the red, white and blue. Sam Nunn Democrats have proven to fight for Democracy around the world and are proud of their country and what we represent.

Progressives… well they have transformed the Democratic Party into a party that fights for the non-worker vs. the worker. They fight against business vs. supporting business. They fight for socialism and are staunch fighters against capitalism.  They fight for illegal immigration vs. supporting those who chose to abide by the law to obtain legal citizenship. 

So where has the Sam Nunn Democrat gone? I know they are still some among us here in the Peach State, but over the last few decades they have become the silent majority. A silent majority in the Democratic Party that has stood by and watched the minority Progressive wave slowly plant its roots. Silent, while at the same time willingly accepting unwarranted criticism and being cast aside by the vocal Progressive activists.

I can say that it is time for those of you who still believe in the Blue Dog branch of the party to get vocal and fight. Fight for your place in the party of Jefferson-Jackson

Embrace and recruit candidates that have shown the ability to lead and deliver results, who fit their district while proudly displaying their zeal to make local, state and federal government better. Look at what’s happening with the Republican Party.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Donald Trump: A First Class Con Man

One of the reasons he was elected was because of the perception of his being a successful businessman. But one of the reasons that you know that America isn’t yet owned by Trump is that it’s still in business.

Yet as Trump continues to play the American people and the world, the question has to be asked: are we more willing now to be conned? Do we invite being played; even expect it?

Donald Trump spent his entire campaign railing against the establishment and promising to “drain the swamp.” But now that he has begun announcing his cabinet choices, many liberty-loving people are getting increasingly uncomfortable with the Wall-Street-studded, war-loving picks. Instead of draining the swamp, it seems like he may be repopulating the swamp with bigger predators than before.

I really hoped the President-Elect proves me wrong, but we have a responsibility to speak the truth, regardless of how unpleasant it is. The question has to be asked…did Donald Trump just run the biggest con game in history by telling us all what we wanted to hear?

Many people voted for a man who boasted of sexual assault, a man whose “university” defrauded thousands of people, a billionaire who thought the minimum wage was too high. You switched from Barack Obama in 2012 to Donald Trump in 2016 many were white working-class voters because you they thought he was on their side.

You don’t mind the lying. In fact, you’re all in with the biggest lies, the baseless claims that three million people voted illegally, that Obama ordered a wiretap of Trump Tower, and on, and on. The lying is disruptive. Yay for disruption!

You don’t mind the flip-flops. Last year, Trump said the unemployment rate was “one of the biggest hoaxes in American history.” This year, because he’s president, it’s very real. Last year, Wall Street was a puppeteer for the Democrats. Now your man has brought in Goldman Sachs puppeteers to run the economy. Last year, a golfing president was lazy. Now your guy has paid 14 presidential visits to a golf course.

You’re not bothered by the foreign policy incompetence, the siding up to gangster regimes and human rights violators, the snub of the rest of the world in the name of America First. You don’t mind unleashing polluters. If the job creators want filthy air and foul water, give it to them.

You shrug at all of this hypocrisy and craziness, because you still think he’s going to help you. But you’ve been played, sucker-punched, duped. You can continue to believe Trump has your back, but the evidence is already overwhelming that the people his presidency will hurt most are those at the bottom who gave him their trust.

Trump acknowledged as much when told that the health care plan he pushed would significantly harm his base.

Given that Trump’s approval rating, which is at a historic low, given that a majority of Americans believe that Trump is not honest and does not care about average people, it’s easy to think Democrats can abandon the voters who abandoned them last year.

White voters without a college degree, who went for Trump by almost 40 points, are never going to come around  no matter how much this president turns his back on them.

The condescension, like the opioids, may feel good as well, but it won’t do anything to help the forces of reason and progress. The way to bring around the forgotten men and women is to remind them, every day, that Trump has forgotten them. And to give them something  say, Medicare for all, being pushed by the energized Bernie Sanders base to back words with action.

Trump is banking on the ignorance of voters who took a chance with him. His budget proposal — a cruel, Dickensian document — offers nothing but pain for these people. An Appalachian economic partnership that helps workers in 420 of the nation’s poorest counties would be abolished. Seniors who need Meals on Wheels for food and social contact would lose the service. Cancer victims, waiting for something miraculous to come from the extraordinary work of the National Institutes of Health, will have to wait longer, as Trump cuts cancer research to fund his Mexican wall.

If you’re a poor kid in Georgia looking for that college break that will get you somewhere, his budget slashes tuition grants for you. If you’re a single mom living in Baxley trying to hold onto a job, he could force you onto welfare by eliminating the after-school program that enabled you to work full time.

He promised “insurance for everybody” and then supported the ill-fated Republican plan that would have added 24 million Americans to the uninsured. Those in their 50s and early 60s, and the working poor, would have been hit hardest. And Medicaid recipients, many of whom didn’t realize they had coverage for the first time in their lives thanks to Obamacare, would have been left out.

Oh, but Trump is bringing back jobs  that’s why many in the midwestern states such as Ohio, Michigan put him in office. About those jobs: The coal mining initiative is a hoax. Let's be real here.  This is because of the free market, turning to cheaper natural gas for power, and energy alternatives because they are the future.

The bottom line is that America elected a con man to the White House

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Why are rural Georgians so much more likely to be conservative?

A lot of politics is about values.

In general, people who work for themselves or work for small family businesses tend to put more trust in themselves and those around them to direct resources.

Reliance on those close to you and not the government is line with the conservative political philosophy.

Further, if you live in a small town such as Hahira, Arlington, Reidsville, or Baxley, you are more likely to know the people around you. You are more likely to have trust and faith in your local community. This enhances the feeling of self-reliance, and lessens the perceived need to put faith in government.

If you live in a large city like Macon, Albany, Augusta, Atlanta everything is much more interconnected. Government becomes much more important. You see yourself as one of a large mass of people. You are more likely to be working for a large corporation. Because you see yourself as more interconnected, you're more likely to align with the political philosophy that is more about putting trust in a large institution to help mediate all these different ways in which this large group of people is interconnected. You're thus more likely to be inclined to vote with Democratic Party because it sees government as a mediator in this respect.

There is a perception by those in rural areas like for instance, say Ellaville that welfare and government spending that favors the poor happens in big cities and so does not benefit them. There is a perception in the rural community that Democrats do not value hard work and favor handouts. Democrats would counter that social safety nets are necessary. Regardless, in rural communities like Fitzgerald, Taliaferro, Lexington, issues like homelessness and the daily interaction with the effects of social safety nets are less visible.

In terms of smaller issues, rural Georgia (and America) is where coal, oil and gas can be found, and people near those resources depend on those industries for employment and so tend to have a different take on environmentalism and natural resources.

Beyond that people are more likely to hunt in rural areas and favor gun rights. They are also more likely to be religious and thus more likely to be pro-life.

Another point is that if you're LGBT, you probably won't find too many others who are LGBT in your small rural town, so you're more likely to move a big city. If you're LGBT, you're likely to care a lot about LGBT rights, and that may lead you to vote Democrat, all else being equal. This movement leaves those remaining in rural areas more conservative as they have lost members of their community that would otherwise be more liberal.

Some cities have a greater percentage of African American residents than the rest of the state does, an ethnic group that tends to vote Democrat. In rural areas, the percentages are often reversed, which increases the likelihood that a given rural area is more conservative.

Beyond a sense of interconnectedness, cities also have more people living in extreme poverty who are dependent on government services, a group that tends to vote Democrat. Because people in this predicament are less likely to be found in rural areas, they are comparably more conservative.

Further, young people often move to big cities after growing up in a small town or rural area. It can be a natural progression — especially if they go to college. Younger people tend to vote Democrat. The result is that rural areas can have fewer younger people who would otherwise vote Democrat and can be more conservative as a result of that. In turn, rural areas are much older, conservative and less diverse than a major metropolitan area.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Georgia Democrats Need A More "FOCUSED" Message To Draw Rural Voters.

Another election is upon us and just like previous years, Democratic recruitment was abysmal in both the State House and State Senate seats.

Georgia Democrats (mostly based around Metro Atlanta) know they must do better in rural areas. They know that, but so far they have failed to come up with a answer to solve ins woes in a region they once had a significant presence. Minority Leader Stacey Abrams doesn't have a clue because she is too tied up with her own personal and political ambitions at the expense of House Democrats who appear satisfied with being in the minority for the next 10, 15 years. The only people who know the pulse of rural Georgia are State Reps. Debbie Buckner (D-Junction City), Virgil Fludd (D-Fayetteville), Scott Holcomb (D-Tucker). Even with Dubose Porter who is a product of rural Georgia and a former disciple of former Senator Sam Nunn it seems doesn't have the answer of he in fact does have the answer, but is outnumbered by progressive liberals who know control the DPG and othe Democratic groups.

The bottom line is progressive Democrats based in metro Atlanta still don’t quite get what’s working at the grassroots down here. It’s not soft messaging about rural development. What’s working is a clear “Which side are you on?” message when it comes to defending rural schools and services, and the teachers and public employees who provide them, against a Republican austerity message that shifts even more of the burden from the wealthy to working families making less that $50,000 a year.

Schools and services are what keep small towns strong. If the fight is between Democrats who want to defend public schools, public services, and Republicans who want to sacrifice them in order to give tax breaks to the rich, that’s when you’ll see rural voters (White Working Class Voters) shifting back to the Democrats. The problem is how to break then from
Candidate Chris Irvin Agriculture Commissioner 2010 in Vidalia
the trance of Republicanism since the Reagan Era.

Reaching rural voters will take a strong message from Democrats here in Georgia. Republicans offer a simple message of cutting taxes. When in power, their party is more unified. For Democrats to compete, they must have an economic message that also appeals to poor and middle class families.

Metro Atlanta Democrats like Minority Stacey Abrams may not want to hear it, but the temptation for those Midtown liberals is to shake their heads over those down state, godforsaken white-working-class voters who are voting against their own interests. But this reaction misses the complexity of the political dynamic that’s taken hold in this state. It misdiagnoses the Democratic Party’s growing conundrum with working-class white voters. And it also keeps them from fully grasping what’s going on in communities like Hahira, Eastman, Vidalia where conditions have deteriorated.  If the Democrats are to avoid going the way of the dinosaur, they have to solve the rural riddle here in the Peach State!

Three Vying to Succeed Retiring Macon County Sheriff

On May 24, Macon County will elect a new sheriff for the first time since 1976 as longtime sheriff Charles M. Cannon Sr,
Matthew Woodard
69, will not seek re-election to the office he has held for 40 years.

Three candidates have qualified to become the next sheriff for Macon County. All three are running in the Democratic Primary, but Cannon & Kanazawa are Republicans running as Democrats

Matthew "Matt" Woodard
Assistant Chief of Police for the City of Reynolds

Charles M. Cannon, Jr
Assistant Police Chief for the City of Montezuma

Terry Kanazawa (R)
Retired (Perrenial Candidate)
Former Deputy

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The South And It's Identity Under Scrutiny

The South is the essence of what makes America unique and original. Everything from Nascar to Barbeque can trace its origins back to the South. The South is under attack because it is the last region of the nation to resist being homogenized into people who think alike, sound alike, vote alike, buy alike. Nothing angers politicians, marketers, pollsters, and the politically correct crowd more than a group of people who absolutely refuse to get into line.

While the South has always been rebellious, these days it’s become a cultural battlefield where the whole concept of southern history is under attack. Displaying the Confederate battle flag, preserving Confederate statues on public and private property, even singing the song Dixie are under fire as "divisive," "racist," "hate-filled," "bigoted," and every other PC description imaginable.

Southern culture is one where you know and help your neighbors and take care of your family without asking the government to do it for you. It’s still a place where people believe in friendliness and good manners. Southerners still believe in God and his role in their lives. Southerners have more in common with each other than we have with natives of other regions. What unites us is a common sense of place — an understanding that the soil under our feet was cultivated by our ancestors and kept strong by our heritage. Southerners will still do anything to help a friend. Southerners have no pretenses about themselves. And there is no more broad dividing line than grits, sweet tea and barbecue.

The South is not the dark, dangerous, uneducated, backwards place that the media & left wingers and movies make it out to be. Not only is the South the nation’s cultural center, but it is the friendliest place to live too. That’s one of the main reasons its population is growing and its economy is booming. If you are from the South, fight the myths and fight the politically correct crowd who wants to destroy the memory of the Old South and make your region into something that it is not and never has been. Southern history and Confederate history is something that should be studied not erased. People in the South are fiercely proud of where they come from. Obliterating southern history means we lose the lessons we learned from its triumphs, and failures.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Georgia Dems, Carter, Nunn, Barrow and the Future

Despite all of the hope and enthusiasm from Georgia Democrats, Tuesday night was a reminder that more work needs to be done in order to be competitive again here in the Peach State.

The biggest problem facing Democrats here in Georgia is their inability to attract white voters and having a message that can appeal to moderates and conservative democrats....plain & simple! Forget Independent Voters because there are no such thing as a TRUE independent voter....most lean either to the democrats or republicans.

Nunn and Carter got under 25% of the white vote, which is not enough to be competitive statewide int he near future. On the bright side, they got close to 30% of the black vote, so despite all the talk about black voters not turning out, they did this year despite voter turnout being at a record low across the country during Tuesday's election.

For all the talk about demographic changes and registering more minority voters they need to do a better job at attracting those who are already registered to vote, black and white. Too much they rely on urban and suburban areas of Atlanta, Lilburn, Albany for their votes and very little on rural, mid-sized areas of Fitzgerald, Swainsboro, Douglas, thus leaving huge swaths of the state to the GOP.

Look at the state legislature, democrats have done a poor job at candidate recruitment on the house and senate side and that starts with the leadership in both chambers. That needs to change and change soon and that starts with electing new leadership who knows that leaving 80% of the republican legislature unchallenged is not good for the state, nor the party. Now is the time for Rep. Scott Holcomb, yes I'm talking to you, to run for minority leader and to locate potential democratic candidates to add to a democratic house caucus that's (with the exception of a dozen legislators) made up of 'Dead Weight" or "Seat Warmers".

Michelle Nunn ran a good race, but she ran the type of race that made National Democrats proud, but on the flip side, this is still the south and this is still Georgia and she didn't put enough emphasis on Georgia and too much on National Issues. Even Rep. Jack Kingston said she didn't exert enough independence from the National Democrats and looking back on it, he's right! That Ferguson mailer did have a negative impact on both Nunn and Carter thus their white support fell below 25%.

DuBose Porter should run for the 12th Congressional District in '16, if he decides to bypass a full four year term as head of the Georgia Democratic Party. Porter came in under tough circumstances to rebuild the state party that hit rock bottom and now is a viable and fully functioning party. And there's always 2018 in which Porter will be in his 60s.

I for one do not see Nunn running for political office again. That's the feeling I get, but who knows.

Jason Carter also ran a good race, but you have to give the Deal Campaign credit for highlighting his experience, which I think hurt Carter towards the end. Why Carter didn't run on expanding medicaid is a question only he can answer. That was a winning issue, but he made very little mention of it. Everyone assumes he will the front runner for governor in 2018, but you better look out for Kasim Reed and possibly John Barrow.

And speaking of Barrow who I call the smartest politician in the entire state, I didn't expect to see him go down to Rick Allen who ran on absolutely nothing, except tying Barrow to Obama, just like Austin Scott who also ran on nothing when he defeated Jim Marshall in 2010 by tying him to Nancy Pelosi.

Barrow is the wildcard here because he has options. He gets to sit back and re-charge his batteries for another "likely" run for office...either for the U.S. Senate in 2016 or for a statewide office in 2018. And it's a longshot, but Barrow could be on a list of possible VP contenders for Hillary Clinton.

Another is Kasim Reed. You know and I know he's going to begin to lay the groundwork for a potential 2018 race. And look over to Columbus, Ga where Teresa Tomlinson (D) will be someone who may look to move up the political ladder if she has a successful second term as mayor of Columbus.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

"Biased" - Michelle Nunn For U.S. Senate

With the Georgia Bulldogs on a bye week and no new news regarding the Todd Gurley situation (who I say will play against Florida next Saturday), the Nunn for Senate Campaign unveiled a new television ad, featuring former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-GA), father of candidate Michelle Nunn. Take a look, it's a good ad. With a series of polls showing Nunn now leading David Perdue, the Nunn campaign has the wind at their backs now heading towards November 5.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Chris Irvin Goes after Gary Black in New Radio Ad

​(D) Chris Irvin who's challenging (R) Gary Black for Agriculture Commissioner is up with a radio spot slamming Black over Georgia's Food Safety and the Skinny Dipping episode that occurred at Lake Blackshear last year. Listen to the ad below:

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Debate- Chris Irvin (D) v Gary Black (R)General (2014)

Candidate Spotlight: Dylan Patrick (D-Cartersville)

The Democratic Nominee for GA House District 015 is Dylan L. Patrick. Dylan is a Georgia native who grew up his whole life in Bartow County. He is one of the youngest candidates running on the November ballot in North Georgia at 26 years old, but that isn’t stopping him from thinking for himself. Patrick is a self-funded conservative leaning candidate although he is a loyal Democrat, pointing out he has been helping reorganize the county’s local chapter since 2010.
Dylan Patrick

"I feel like one of the most effective things someone can do if they want to be conservative for the interests of the middle class is to run on the Democratic ballot locally and reject all special interests says Patrick".

"The Republican Party is run by the donations of large, monolithic corporations, if not monopolies themselves. They sometimes stay true to their pledge to find savings in government or cut taxes, but that saved money and those tax cuts always go back to their largest contributors instead of the people. The middle class today is shrinking. Georgia has the highest unemployment in the nation. The state continues to lose more private sector jobs. Republican leaders here are having major ethics problems that reflect negatively on possible new business investment. They are unable to adequately fund education, causing local tax hikes here in Bartow and across the state while state tax rates remain level.” Patrick has been working since he was 16 years old, starting at a local family owned restaurant where he worked up from waiter to cook, and eventually helped manage the establishment. Dylan subsequently started his own small business in mobile vending, operating on the streets of Rome and Cartersville where he says he came face to face with the effects of poverty. Dylan went to Woodland High School and attended Georgia Highlands College where he plans to finish obtaining a degree in political science after the campaign season".

He now runs his own business, Paper Industry Communications Inc., based out of White, Ga., as an independent contractor for the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI) headquartered in Norcross. Patrick believes his work producing the association’s newsletters relating breaking news in private industry will allow him to better understand how to help Georgia’s forest industry in the legislature, including possibly looking into a plan for harvesting state bio-mass (wood waste) potential for use as an in-state alternative fuel (cellulosic ethanol) for government vehicles, a plan Patrick says could save the state considerable expenses in the long run at the same time it creates in-state jobs and helps sustain rural economies. Patrick advocates for broad-based tax reform as opposed to limited, special interest tax breaks he believes are prone to abuse and corruption by legislators passing our budget. He would like to see a law passed allowing vehicles valued under $8,000 to be exempted from the new up-to 9% up-front value tax by having the option to go back to using the much cheaper yearly system for older cars.

Patrick says it is a regressive tax hurting our state’s poor, those who struggle with transportation, as well as middle class owners who would otherwise be able to sell their automobile on a healthier private market. Dylan would also like to see the state additionally aid municipalities the amount equal to what they get from their local sales taxes on groceries. He points out that the majority of U.S. states have absolutely no state or local taxes on groceries and that this is another tax that hurts specifically middle income families who are not wealthy and who also do not qualify for federal aid programs for tax-free food.

Patrick vows to work towards refunding K-12 education to full QBE standards so as to avoid local counties having to raise tax millage rates to bail out their systems even in non-recession years. He points out the state GOP continued to defund education in the bull market years of 2005-2007 and says their argument about needing austerity is far from being about the national economy which is continuing to slowly improve. Dylan says if we continue to have economic expansion, or even successfully avoid another major contraction in the national markets anytime soon that could affect state revenues, we should work to re-fund HOPE grants for technical colleges and expand the HOPE scholarship closer to what it was when originally passed under Governor Zell Miller. He doesn’t believe the Republican Party in Georgia ever has a vision to do so, no matter how well the economy performs.

This is his first run for political office. Dylan Patrick would be a much needed fresh voice of independent reason in the state legislature representing Cartersville and southeast Bartow County.

Friday, October 17, 2014

35 GA Sheriffs switch support from Sam Olens (R) to Greg Hecht (D)

In the statewide race for Attorney General, 34 sheriffs have switched their endorsement from incumbent Sam Olens  to Democratic challenger Greg Hecht. This bipartisan group includes ten Republicans.

“Sheriffs want an Attorney General who is going to prosecute corruption and enforce the law, and has the experience to back it up.” said Hecht. “I prosecuted cases myself as an assistant District Attorney, and I’m proud to have the support of these sheriffs.”
Sam Olens, Greg Hecht

The full list of sheriffs endorsing Greg Hecht who previously endorsed Sam Olens is below:
Sheriff Bobby McLemore, Ben Hill County
Sheriff Harold Lancaster, Bleckley County
Sheriff Mike Dewey, Brooks County
Sheriff Gregory Coursey, Burke County
Sheriff Josh Hilton, Calhoun County
Sheriff Jim Proctor, Camden County
Sheriff Winston Peterson, Clinch County
Sheriff Douglas Hanks, Cook County
Sheriff Wiley Griffin, Decatur County
Sheriff William Price, Early County
Sheriff Tim Burkhalter, Floyd County
Sheriff Steve Thomas, Franklin County
Sheriff Ted Jackson, Fulton County
Sheriff Harry C. Young, Grady County
Sheriff Ross Henry, Heard County
Sheriff Preston Bohannon, Jeff Davis County
Sheriff Rusty Oxford, Johnson County
Sheriff Butch Reece, Jones County
Sheriff Nick Norton, Lanier County
Sheriff Craig Nobles, Long County
Sheriff Derrell Neal, Marion County
Sheriff Logan Marshall, McDuffie County
Sheriff Chuck Smith, Meriwether County
Sheriff Ladson  O’Connor, Montgomery County
Sheriff Billy Cape, Pulaski County
Sheriff Billy Joe Foster, Quitman County
Sheriff Heath Elliott, Seminole County
Sheriff Larry Jones, Stewart County
Sheriff Marc Richards, Taliaferro County
Sheriff Gene Scarbrough, Tift County
Sheriff Alvie Lee Kight, Toombs County
Sheriff Andrew Hester, Turner County
Sheriff Darren Mitchum, Twiggs County
Sheriff Tommy Smith, Washington County
Sheriff Neal Walden, White County

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Georgia Dems Need To Get To Work Mobilizing the Youth, Black Vote...During Homecoming Weekend!

As we near election day, candidates for statewide office from Jason Carter to Greg Hecht to Robin Shipp need to push the pedal to the metal.

The major weakness right now among democrats is not with white voters, but with their most loyal base....Black Voters. And without them, democrats cannot and will not be successful at the polls

As we all know, black voters drop off tremendously during the midterm elections and it's something that democrats for years have never able to figure out.

Albany State Homecoming, 2013
So what do they need to do to to mobilize black voters, some are also called "Obamacrats" who only support Pres. Obama and nothing else? There's no dominant issue that is resonating with them, so it will very difficult to move this bloc of voters ahead of early voting and on the first Tuesday in November.

What the candidates need, or ought to do is do a barnstorm of the state and visit all the colleges and universities to rally young, undecided voters and also those who voted for President Obama back in 2012. Assemble a entourage of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Congressman John Lewis, Congressman Sanford Bishop, former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, former candidate for State School Superintendent Alisha Morgan. And as a bonus bring the big guns such as former President Bill Clinton or likely 2016 presidential contender Hillary Clinton.

Valdosta State Homecoming, 2013
Fort Valley State University Homecoming is Oct. 25, Albany State University Homecoming is also Oct 25, Clark-Atlanta is Nov.1, Morehouse Homecoming is Oct. 18, Paine Collge is also Oct. 18, Columbus State University is Oct. 25, Mercer University is Nov.2, Valdosta State is Oct 25.

As you can see, multiple colleges will be having their homecoming on Oct 25, which is on a saturday. That's the perfect opportunity for democrats like Michelle Nunn, Valerie Wilson, Jason Carter, Chris Irvin, Robin Shipp to appeal to college students, Obamacrats, alums and people from surrounding areas who will make the trip to the homecoming festivities.

Despite the barrage of attack ads from outside groups toward Jason Carter and Michelle Nunn, both have pretty much withstood the storm of negative attack ads and are now well positioned to do well on election day. Every vote counts!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Jason Carter: Dinner Table

2014: Georgia Democrats and How Can They Can Rile Up the Black Vote

As I sit here, I'm utterly amazed by democrats inability to excite Black Voters ahead of the midterm elections. The Traditional way of going after the black vote is still kinda effective, but democrats need to go outside the box to motivate a group of people that are difficult to read when it comes to voting. You would think issues from the minimum wage to equal pay to education would move black voters to the polls, but I'm here to tell you, unfortunately those issues don't motivate some, if not most black voters to go vote.

Instead issues from the Ferguson shooting to the Stand Your Ground Law to Trayvon Martin to the perceived unfair treatment by the justice system towards blacks in general, those are the type of issues that really get black voters riled up....or angry and motivate them to go to the polls. I was at a church over in Greenville, Georgia yesterday and the pastor during his sermon started to talk about the elections and how black
s need to get up and vote to prevent more laws being created like the Stand Your Ground Law and to fight back against "attempted" voter suppression (as the pastor say) by the GOP here in Georgia, he had to be talking about SOS Brian Kemp battle with a voting registration organization)

All the rage leading up to November among Democrats and Politicos is how Democrats are going to boost Black Voter turnout in time fir not only early voting, but on election day. Well, if it were me, I'd send mailers or run radio ads on predominantly black radio station with spots like this:

"It’s Fall 2014 but let me tell you about last Spring.  When they thought no one was listening, Republican leaders plotted impeaching President Obama or at least humiliating him for his last two years in office because the president and Democrats put working families and jobs before corporations and fat cats.  We can’t let them control Congress.  

The despicable Republicans were even discussing forcing kids who receive free lunch to clean the schools for their meals.  These are the people who created the “Stand Your Ground” laws and fight increasing the minimum wage.  We stop them by voting and making sure that everyone we know votes early—that’s the best protest. Vote for (candidate) in November"

And since this is football season, Friday Night Football in small town Georgia is a radio spot or television ad geared towards rural white moderates/blacks would go something like this:

"Speaker One: “Oh yea, smell the popcorn in the crisp air….it’s Friday night high school football in Georgia.”

Speaker Two; “Yes sir, the countless hours we have spent in this stadium…as students and now our kids are the ball players, cheerleaders and band members.  Where did the years go?”
Speaker One: “If you think about it, people can freeze in the stands for hours at a game but the same people won’t take 20 minutes to go early vote.  It’s a shame.”  
Narrator: “We all have priorities but isn’t voting as important as football, reality T.V., and cell phone games.  Why not use your mobile device to promote voting among your friends.  Let’s fight those who want to impeach President Obama for trying to provide healthcare for everyone.  The same people who went after President Clinton for silly reasons but said nothing about impeachment when we went to war for false reasons under another president. 
Congress, the state legislature and the governor’s mansions should be focused on education, training and get jobs back from overseas.  But, they aren’t thinking about regular folks when they make laws like Stand Your Ground and allow guns in schools, churches and nightclubs.   We should vote out of office people who basically declare open season on people who don’t look like you….because you “felt” threaten.  The best form of protest is voting what change what was wrong in the first place.
Voting is also our way of monitoring those who decide when, where and how long our sons, daughters, brothers, cousins and friends go to war.  We appreciate the political side eager to dialog with the other side and ready to have public policy decisions reflect the views of every Americans—not just their fancy friends.  As they say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.  Voting ensures our seat at the table and provides the opportunity to squeak.   
High school football games are exciting but voting often takes less time than halftime.  We should support the kids on Friday nights but more importantly we should support their safe development into productive citizens.  Productive citizens vote and encourage those around them to do the same. On November 4 make your voices heard and vote for candidate or candidates in November".

Sunday, September 14, 2014

"Kannapolis" - Michelle Nunn for U.S. Senate

Candidate Spotlight: Sadie J. Jenkins (D-Glennville) HD 157

The Democratic Nominee for GA House District 157 is Sadie J. Jenkins.  Sadie moved to Tattnall County in 1994 to serve as prison librarian at Smith State Prison (Glennville, GA).  She transferred to Coastal State Prison ( near the Savannah Airport ) the same year. Jenkins retired in 2011.   

Sadie was born in Miller County, GA and graduated from Worth County High School, Sylvester, GA.  After graduating from Berry College and teaching three years, she earned a Masters of Librarianship ( M Ln) from Emory University.  Jenkins worked as a public librarian in Albany, started the Talking Book Center there and left for Gainesville, GA to begin their center.  In 1975, Sadie was presented with a choice between becoming head of the Mississippi State Library f/t Blind and Physically Handicapped, or Talking Book Center Librarian in Rome GA.  Jenkins chose her home state and went to Rome. Sadie left the library in 1986 after founding and becoming Director of the Community Info Line.  The agency, primarily funded through United Way, connected people with resources in the area.
Sadie has been an advocate for people in her career and community service.  Her work with Laubach Literacy, as mental health advocate, as board member of Mental Health Associations and the civic groups she joined ( i.e.,Civitan, Lions ) - all reflect that commitment.  

Having worked in agencies with huge missions and small budgets, Jenkins is understandably conservative on budget matters.  She knows the funding crunch with our schools is not a battle between our state and its educators, but a challenge to create a stronger tax base in our state and counties.   With new emphasis on the Savannah Port, Jenkins predicts Atlanta will become envious of the Southeast Georgia business expansion opportunities.  Good times are just ahead if our area leaders work together.

Jenkins has sought public office previously in Floyd County GA.  She was in a run-off with the sole Republican in a non-partisan election for an unexpired seat in the GA House in 1980.  She ran against Congressman Larry McDonald in 1980 and for County Commission in 1992.   

Sadie believes Democrats need to stand up, declare themselves as a Democrat, and speak up for the people in our state.  Being a woman, she is not limiting herself to women's rights, but to the rights of all people.  Jenkins feels we must change the rhetoric surrounding all issues.  Gun ownership is no longer an issue in Georgia.  No Georgia voters are against gun ownership.  We do need to address the small minority of citizens who abuse guns.  Issues challenging Georgia are not Democrat or Republican.  They require level-headed, sensible people working together to solve them.  

Sadie J Jenkins is an experienced, committed, public servant.  She is retired and work ready.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

More On the Miller Endorsement of Michelle Nunn

Political endorsements for a candidate are like getting a letter of recommendation for a job interview. 

I wrote a blog post a while back stating Michelle Nunn should pay a visit to the North Georgia Mountains and I wasn't talking about for a vacation. I was talking about securing an endorsement from probably the most popular politician in the history of the state Zell Miller. And not to my surprise he came out and endorse her candidacy for the U.S. Senate.
(D) Michelle Nunn with former Governor (D) Zell Miller

It’s a familiar refrain among politicos: Endorsements often don’t matter. On a national level, the endorsements that garner the biggest headlines are often the awkward ones—nods from celebrities or endorsements from former opponents. It’s not that they’re completely meaningless, but it just  endorsements are often much harder for campaigns to parlay into real help on the campaign trail. But on the state and local level, endorsements can pay big dividends.

On Thursday, Former Georgia Governor and Senator Zell Miller came out and threw his support behind  Michelle Nunn (D) a non-profit executive who headed the Points of Light Organization, founded by former President George H.W. Bush and who is a underdog against David Perdue, a former corporate CEO.

Much was made about how little Miller's endorsement of Nunn will matter from both Republicans and liberal Democrats who are still upset by Miller's appearance at the 2004 RNC and his unabashed conservative views that are out of line with today's Democrats. Had Miller come out and endorsed David Perdue, you better believe republicans would be jumping for joy and be singing the praises of the former marine.

Now endorsements in fact really doesn't matter... however some endorsements can end up having a larger impact than others. The trouble is, like other factors, it’s hard to know ahead of time which ones will have the biggest impact. It just depends on who’s doing the endorsing and how much credibility the person has and how vigorous the endorsement is on the other hand it can be weakened when the endorser is not universally popular in the party or when a voter’s opinion is split, but this endorsement from Miller will have a positive impact for Nunn going forward towards November. How will it help Nunn? Well it help her in courting rural swing voters, disaffected Conservative Democrats, Seniors, groups that still hold the former governor in high regard and even with moderate Republicans. However, it may not have that much of a impact in and around Metro Atlanta, but believe me, in small towns across Georgia and among misinformed voters and voters who don't follow politics, it will carry some weight. The question I have is will the former governor, who's been battling health-related issues make a few campaign appearances on behalf of Michelle Nunn? That remains to be seen.

But the dirty work and the negative ad campaign from outside GOP groups will continue against Nunn, and likely gain ferocity as we near the fall season and the best thing Nunn can do at this point to improve her chances is to work on her statewide grassroots ground game.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Small Talk With Small Town Georgia Voters

Courting country folk has been no easy task for Democratic candidates going back to 2006, let alone those from the Democratic enclaves of Metro Atlanta. Most of these rural areas were once democratic  are now Republican or very republican because democrats have failed to compete in these areas, and what Democrats need to do is try to minimize the damage or score a few upsets in some of these places.

As I traveled to the Democratic Party State Convention over in Dublin yesterday, I made stops in Jeffersonville, Vidalia and Montrose just to ask rural resident their thoughts on the upcoming elections.

I asked Sam Garrett, a 59-year-old self-employed lumber dealer about who he may support in the upcoming governor's race between Nathan Deal and Jason Carter, he says "issues such as the lack of adequate jobs, access to rural health care and refusal to expand medicaid will not win Deal many friends in my neck of the woods, so Jason Carter is getting a serious look from folks around here because of his support of medicaid expansion.

Next I approached Deb Jackson a 49-year-old woman from Montrose about the Carter-Deal race as she was pumping gas at a station in Twiggs County, she stated "Carter (Jason) speaks to people around here as she recited her list of important issues, including gun ownership which she says she is a proud gun owner and brought up Carter's A rating from the NRA she saw on the Internet. Carter needs to increase his presence in middle Georgia as the General Elections nears in November she goes on to say and as for the Nunn-Perdue Senate race, she says she haven't made up her mind as of yet on that race, but she likes the prospect of having a woman in the Senate.

But it wasn't totally about the top two races on the ballot this year, there was interest in who was running for School Superintendent and Agriculture Commissioner as well, so that tells me that voters are starting to become more engage in this years elections as the campaign season starts to heat up.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Campaigning is Different in Rural Georgia

He didn’t shake my hand, she didn't ask for my vote, so I’m not going to vote for him or I'm not going to vote for her. For a long time, I've often-heard this remark by voters in various rural areas of Georgia. That's what I hear now when the name of Michelle Nunn or any other candidate comes up. Political campaigns and races in rural counties have often been decided by just such seemingly whimsical reasoning.

Roy Barnes appearance in rural Berrien County in 2010 during his run for governor
However, if you’ve spent any time in rural areas, then you have some grasp of how small town people and farm folks look at elections and politicians. On the surface, that remark may seem foolish but rural residents reasoning runs much deeper and more serious than that statement may seem. Longtime residents of metropolitan cities here in the state probably think that’s a silly reason for voting or not voting for a candidate. But, having spent the majority of my life in a small town I understand the reasoning. It goes to character.

Yes, it says something about the candidate’s character but it also raises the question of the depth of the candidate’s character. While, metro residents may seem to be more attuned to issues, small town and rural folks put a lot of stock in a candidate who has the gumption and, yes, strength of character, to look a man in the eye, shake his hand and ask for his vote. I know how important this is, I seen it first hand two years ago while working on a campaign for State House. Numbers, of course, play a major role in how a candidate and his campaign people approach the race. If the area to be represented is sizable in both population and/or geographic area, much of the candidate’s appeal will be directed through appearances at events catering to candidates and through advertising and mass media messages to the electorate.

But, a candidate who dismisses the press-the-flesh/knock on- doors approach as too time-consuming, colloquial and lacking depth is usually making a major mistake. And, to think that a voter who wants to look you in the eye probably doesn’t know what the issues are, is usually a misjudgement by a candidate and his campaign workers. A voter who wants a candidate to shake his hand and look him in the eye, can probably tell from the candidate’s reaction if the politician is committed plus confident in his depth of knowledge of the job and the issues. (Again I go back to 2012 when I worked for Thomas Coogle campaign for State House 139...that kind of outreach works!)

Rural and small town folks have always done a lot of handshake business so they generally have a good feel for a person’s sincerity and honesty. Of course, there is a difference between a politician and someone you see and do business with regularly. Naturally, if the pol is local, he/ she understands that they have to face most voters frequently. Maybe they see them shopping every week or go to the same church or hold civic club membership in common.

That kind of exposure will go a long way toward ensuring a candidate’s honesty. He or she knows they have to look the same people in the eye daily or weekly and there are less places to run and hide.

For statewide candidates, especially democratic candidates, this is a MUST! They may not go door to door, but attending those summer festivals across Georgia and during the fall, attending friday night football games offer a valuable opportunity for them to connect with voters. Already I've seen candidates such as Liz Johnson (Insurance Commissioner) visit Coffee County, Chris Irvin (Agriculture Commissioner) visit several rural counties such as Early, Peach, and Crisp Co for example and Robin Shipp (Labor Commissioner) trek to Sumter and several other rural counties since announcing her candidacy.

The Top Two Candidates, Jason Carter and Michelle Nunn need to do more of this as we now are into August, especially Michelle Nunn who really needs to raise her profile in rural Georgia ASAP!

This is a Rural Blog that provides views & insights from a Conservative Georgia Democrat

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