Conservative Democratic Candidate Tom Coogle (D-Montezuma) has come along way since deciding to enter the race to succeed retiring State Rep Lynmore James back in late 2011. In a district drawn to favor a African-American candidate, Coogle has managed to win over many African-Americans in communities in HD 139, from Unadilla to Montezuma who makeup 56% of the population of HD 139 (excluding the prison population from the census, that number is much lower than the 56%) (Pictured Tom Coogle with Jim Galloway of the AJC)
Coogle, who's Great Grandfather T.L. Coogle served in the Georgia Legislature from 1948-56 is the darkhorse candidate in this race. He had little or no name recognition entering this race, no political ties to any organization, In many ways the allure of the Coogle Darkhorse Candidacy mirrors that of the American Dream: An unknown candidate, the little guy, overcomes incredible odds to pull a shocking victory from the hands of an establishment favorite(s)
It has been a very methodical grassroots Campaign for Coogle, building a network of supporters in 3 of the 4 counties consisting of HD 139 (only Peach County remains as the last obstacle)
Being the only Business Owner in the race, Coogle has stressed Jobs with his Faith, Family & Farm Platform in addition to Agriculture, Family Values & Ethics. His Conservative approach to Fiscal & Social Issues has resonated with many citizens of HD 139. Coogle has built a coalition of voters from republicans & democrats, liberals & conservatives.(Remember when Democratic Party once enjoyed that kind of coalition back in their heyday?)
Recently there have been a wave of stealing of Coogle Yard Signs in Macon County, while his opponents signs are still standing strong. No doubt there are forces out there working against Coogle & trying to discourage many in the African-American Community to not vote for him due to the color of his skin, so much that rumors was spreading around that Blacks should not vote for him because he is prejudiced or racist is the farthest thing from the truth
This shows how low some will go to discredit or smear Coogle's candidacy in the Black Community. But Coogle weathered that storm & is marching along toward his goal of victory on July 31.
There are two more months to go before voters head to the polls to elect a new state representative for HD 139, but a victory by Coogle would in my opinion send a message to the Democratic Party that they should not give up on Bluedog Democrats just yet if it wants to have a future in statewide politics over the next decade!
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