Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Everyone's waiting on Roy.

Most political eyes will be turned on ex- Gov. Roy Barnes: Will he or won't he announce for a second term?

Barnes controls the big-money spigot in the governor's race. If he decides that being governor again is not in his future, voters might see as many as a dozen candidates may leap into the contest

If Barnes announces for another term, he would immediately soak up much of the money and pledges that would be available to Democrats. The field of candidates from both parties would shrink considerably.

Another Democrat or two — say, for example, former Adjutant General David Poythress — may stay in the Democratic race as the anti-Barnes alternative. With a solid record of public service, Poythress may find some political hedge cash.

Another interesting footnote: Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond, the first statewide black officeholder to win election as a nonincumbent, might run for lieutenant governor on a ticket with Barnes.

If you believe freelance writer Maria Saporta (and I never doubt her), think about this recent report: "Thurmond, who has strong name recognition across the state and has been a popular labor commissioner, would be able to bring out the African-American vote. And it's likely Thurmond is waiting to get a signal from Barnes."

Thurmond is no Obama when it comes to campaigning, but he is a skilled veteran of both the legislative and executive branches of government. The same forces that triggered a record turnout of African Americans last Nov. 4 would probably go to bat for a Barnes- Thurmond ticket.

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