Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thurbert Baker faces a Tough Road in trying to become the next Governor of Georgia

Unfortunately, Thurbert Baker, Georgia’s attorney general, can’t merely ride President Barack Obama’s tail wind into this state’s highest elected position. What Obama’s election proved is that everything’s possible for the right Black candidate these days.
But in the eyes of many African Americans here in the Peach State, Baker is not the “right” Black candidate. Under normal circumstances, he might have the advantage over his Democratic rival for governorship in 2010, especially after putting in 12 years as Georgia’s top lawyer.
But many folks are still angry at Baker for his position in two very high-profile cases that put the state’s racial condition under the microscope. For example, he challenged many Black leaders over the Republican-fueled proposal requiring voters to show a photo ID before being allowed to cast a ballot.
Many African Americans saw the measure as a throwback to the Jim Crow Era, when republicans sought to undermine Black voting rights. But even more incendiary was the case of Genarlow Wilson, the 17-year-old Black youth who was sentenced to a mandatory 10 years for having consensual sex with a 15-year-old White girl.
Blacks had pressed for Wilson’s release, saying the sentence was tantamount to a modern-day lynching. Eventually, Wilson was freed under the pressure of protest, but Baker appealed the judge’s order to release Wilson. “My job is to enforce the laws of the state of Georgia, as passed by the General Assembly,” said Baker, noting that most Georgians understand that his job is to enforce the laws of Georgia, regardless of race.
I have no idea how Baker will fare in the up coming Primary in July 2010.
Back in March, I said Baker maybe the strongest candidate democrats could field against the GOP, given his tough stances against crime & his views which are that of a conservative democrat & his appeal across racial & party lines. But Baker has been somewhat invisible to most Georgians this early going as you see others like David Poythress, DuBose Porter, Carl Camon & Roy Barnes out there on the campaign trail going to party meetings & rallies, etc. There is nothing wrong with being low-key, but when you are running for the state's highest office, you have got to get out there & talk to people & especially the media. Baker has been notoriously Media Shy & if he wants to be the Big Dog in November 2010, he has got to raise his visibility, or folks won't even notice that he was even in the race for governor. One of my biggest questions about Baker is do he have the fire in the belly to want to be governor in 2010, or is he just in it just to be in it? I don't see or hear the passion coming from Baker like I see coming from the other candidates.

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