He’s making the rounds of speaking circuits, venting populist outrage over the perceived wrongs of the Republican-controlled Capitol. He’s been in touch with old political allies about the 2010 governor’s race, and he’s answered endless inquiries from the media wanting to know whether he, indeed, is going to run.
The fact that Barnes is considered a top contender in the 2010 general election shows how time heals many political wounds.
But he angered the powerful teachers union here in the state & flaggers as well:
Barnes alienated teachers, who thought he blamed them for the failings of Georgia’s schools. He infuriated supporters of the old Georgia flag, whose Confederate symbol was minimized by Barnes as part of a new, short-lived state banner.
At the same time, the overall political climate has, for the first time in years, given Democrats hope. While Republicans continued to win elections last year, Democrats set records registering new voters, and Barack Obama got 47 percent of the vote for president in what was considered a solidly GOP state.
“The state has changed demographically; it’s much more diverse,” said Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond, a Democrat who might run for the No. 2 post in Georgia (Lt. Gov.)
Not all Democrats want to see Barnes’ name on the ballot.
House Minority Leader DuBose Porter (D-Dublin), who wants to run for governor, said he would like to see Barnes involved in the political process but not as a candidate again. House Minority Caucus Chairman Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus) said Democrats must avoid a bitter primary fight if they are to have any hope of winning.
None of that has deterred Barnes as he’s toured the chicken-dinner circuit, complaining about “special interests” taking over the state. It seemed that the old Roy Barnes, the high-priced “country lawyer,” the natural campaigner with the back-slapping, joke-telling ways, was back on the trail.
“I just can’t believe what’s happening down there,” Barnes said. “The Senate repealed the corporate income tax, but we can’t find enough homeowners money to give everyone $200 to $300 breaks on their property taxes. But the rich folk, flying around on their airplanes, we can find the money to take care of them.”
His biggest obstacle is going to be: can he get the rural vote? He can do everything else, but can he win the rural vote?Now I like Michael Thurmond for Lt. Gov. I have said if he were to run, he will be the automatic nominee going into the general election. A Barnes-Thurmond ticket would be very formidable, but I think a Porter-Thurmond ticket could be just as potent.