Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Candidate Recruitment, Georgia And The Democrats

If Georgia Democrats want to be a player again in State Politics, it must.....I repeat, MUST do a better with candidate recruitment and drop its ideological and issues litmus test it current have and recruit democrats who REFLECT the views of independent moderate and conservative constituents.

In past election cycles, pro-gun, socially conservative democrats such as U.S. Army Veteran John Tibbetts ('06, '10 candidate for State Rep.), Marjean Boyd ( 2010 candidate for State Representative), Quentin Howell (2012 candidate for State Rep.) Renita Hamilton (2012 candidate for State Rep), etc, etc are the type of democrats who's backgrounds and political philosophies fit those perspective districts they were vying, but unfortunately they weren't "Democrat" enough for party leaders because they were....AHEM.....Bluedog Democrats or plainly put, Conservative Democrats.

This is the one area the party has got to get a better hold on..Candidate Recruitment. Last election cycle saw the fewest number of democratic candidates run for the state legislature office in over 90 years. One of the biggest embarrassments was the inability to recruit a democratic challenger to take on Doug McKillip who switched parties after the 2010 elections and thus party leaders threw their support behind another GOPer, Regina Quick who went on to defeat McKillip (who I actually like)

In many areas of the state, the democratic party still lack the infrastructure needed to win campaigns. Strong Democratic County Chapters should partner  with a struggling rural county Democratic Party to help them raise money, develop public relations, CANDIDATE RECRUITMENT PROGRAMS an GOTV machinery.

Back to candidate recruitment, one thing I find quite interesting is what I like to call..The Clean means moderate effect." I have a lot of friends who don't know a damn thing about politics whatsoever. They know the candidates, see their picture on television of a campaign brochure and make their opinion on whether they like a candidate purely on looks and speaking ability alone. But one thing I have noticed is that when a candidate looks well kept, speaks well and presents him or herself in a non-hostile manner, these friends of mine think that these candidates are moderate. And, as odd as that might sound, it's true.

You like to know some of these moderates they liked? Scott Holcomb, Jason Carter, Demetrius Douglas, Stacey Evans, all are now currently won their races and are now serving in the State Legislature.

Democrats need to start thinking like voters instead of...Democrats! In order to win elections, they need to start thinking like the average voter, the cashier at Harvey's, the Truck Driver for Indian River, the electrician for Georgia Power, and stop over-analyzing their decisions and come up with a plan to recruit candidates.

If moderate and conservative democrats want to run for office n South Georgia, East Central Georgia, will party leaders simply turn them away or do a back-door negative campaign because they aren't exactly 100% liberal party loyalist?  About 70-80% of seats in the state legislature were unopposed and that my friends is unacceptable.

I'm sure that everyone reading this message knows someone who would make a good public official, and a good campaigner, but perhaps has never thought of it themselves, or never received the encouragement of having someone say, Hey, you ought to run for office.

Now if there is a red county democrat, or a republican, who used to be a democrat looking to run next year as a democrat here's what you're facing. Nationally a economy that is still struggling to get going, a polarizing culturally agenda from the President and National Democrats like Guns for example and the Obamacare law that has stumbled out of the blocks miserably. Statewide, changes to the Hope Scholarship that's affecting children attempts to enroll in college, the continued downward trend of our Public Education, the lack of Economic Fairness for many hardworking families that are living paycheck to paycheck, the lack of job creation and Issues facing Georgia Agriculture.

Issues Nationally doesn't present a welcoming environment for any democrat looking to run for the State legislature (remember all politics, including nationally are local), but here in Georgia, those issues I mentioned present a very welcoming environment for any democrat or ex-democrat (now a democrat again) in running for office. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

All Points Bulletin To Georgia Dems: Stop Avoiding......or Running Away From The Rural Georgia Voter!!!!!!!!!!

Democrats for some reason are afraid of the Rural Georgia Voter. For some mathematically challenged reason, they don't think they can beat the republicans on this isolated, sparsely populated terrain and that is sad from my vantage point. Congressman John Barrow although he is a congressman have no problem with going out and appealing to rural voters in his conservative-tilting district and he enjoys doing it. If Statewide Democrats and democrats in general have the kind of passion and drive Congressman Barrow, who is a independent, conservative democrat in the mold of the late Congressman Bo Ginn (D-Millen) who held that district during the late 1970s-early 80s have, the party would be in much better shape down here

As we approach 2014, I will be watching very closely to see whether or not statewide candidates will put forth a effort and build grassroots support from the Swamps of Ware County to the Cotton fields of Dooly County to the Mountains of Rabun County.

All statewide democrats have to do is just go talk to people. But don't do it in a condescending, "We're going to teach you people how to vote" kind of thing. Go sit at Priscilla's Restaurant in Eastman, Ga or Sister's Country Kitchen in Hazelhurst, Ga and listen to the concerns of citizens who feel slighted by what they see as no progress in terms of job creation, the regression of the local school systems, etc. Establish a presence in Rural Areas such as these. Be a source of information and support. Most Rural Georgians are long-time residents and that means for generations. If Democrats.....Georgia Democrats are seen as just regular people and not the three-headed monster Faux Nooz and the Republican Party (who have had a control of rural Georgia for over a decade now) you'll go a long way toward earning back their trust and ultimately their ear.

One candidate, Gerald Beckum, candidate for the U.S. Senate will have no problem, being a rural conservative democratic mayor of a small town. As for the others and other potential candidates, that remains to be seen.

And for goodness sakes, lose the terminology like "Hicks", "Hillbillies" in describing rural residents in this state. Believe it or not, for the most part, these are good people who would do anything in the world for a person in need. It's important to remember that if the Georgia Democratic Party is grow their numbers, they need to stop avoiding Rural Georgians. If a Jason Carter, or Branko Radulovacki, or Michelle Nunn or whoever can cast him/herself as the candidate for rural voters, someone who understands the plight and values of the rural, bluecollar family, family farmers and attract culturally conservative voters in South Georgia. 

Rural Georgia is pivotal for the resurgence for Georgia Democrats next year going forward. But they must have the right candidate, one who can break through the rural way of life and the culture brickwall, which no democrat, at least so far haven't shown a willingness to do.

It's not complicated: All they have to do is show up!

These visits are important because they have a multiplier effect: Each meeting will lead to a conversation at the barber shop, grocery store or at church about how that democrat came to town. Don't underestimate the power of the grapevine in Rural Georgia!

By democrats staying away from Rural Georgia since 2002, they allowed Republicans to define and caricature them, especially on social issues such as religion and guns. If democrats don't show up, people will only hear what republicans say about them. When Roy Barnes made that ill fated decision to not put much effort into Rural Georgia in 2002, the republicans defined him in unsavory terms and the famous "King Roy" and "Boot Barnes" slogans were all over the place (from his decision to change the confederate flag, among other issues that lead to his defeat). Because of Barnes lack of presence in rural Georgia, he couldn't refute it.

But democrats from here on out, even those who will run for the State legislature need to forcefully explain their convictions, even if they're out of step with Rural Georgia. Rural Georgians can live with candidates with whom they disagree on some issues. But nowadays people are reticent about saying they're a democrat and the reason is because many feel that democrats of today do not share their values and interests. 

Winning with only the bread and butter issues is not enough to appeal to the rural voter. Many here are homeowners and entrepreneurs and and like low taxes and less regulations among other things so that's one of the reasons they vote republican.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Former Secretary of State Lewis Massey Should Consider Another Statewide Run

If there's anytime for Lewis Massey to make a return to Georgia Politics, it's right now. Many of may remember Massey who served as Georgia's Secretary of State from 1996 to 1999, first appointed by then governor Zell Miller (D-Young Harris) at 34 years old. Massey would later make a run for governor back in 1998, losing to eventual winner Roy Barnes (D-Mableton).

Massey who is now 51 is currently a partner in Massey, Watson, Bowers & Hembree LLL, which specializes in Public Affairs. Tattnall County Sheriff Quinton Rush once said of Massey, a University of Georgia graduate, who made numerous trips to the county during his run for governor back in 1998: "He's a fresh face with good intentions. He's been here about four times in the past few months. I like him, he's a family man. I've been in law enforcement for 30 years and I feel like I'm a good judge of character."

Massey who father Abit Massey once served as director of  the powerful Georgia Poultry Association for over 40 plus years worked for Joe Frank Harris in his bid for governor back in the 1980s, then later he went on to work for Pierre Howard for Lt. Governor.

Massey is a moderately conservative democrat who should consider another statewide run....he's only 51 which is relatively young in today's politics. I don't know whether or not he plans to re-enter the political world, but if he is, now is the right time to do so. In politics, it's all about timing. Maybe it wasn't the best time back in 1998, but in 2014 or even 2018, it could be. With Michelle Nunn running for the U.S. Senate, Jason Carter for Governor, why not Massey for Lt. Governor? Or Labor or Insurance Commissioner?

Friday, November 15, 2013

GA-2014: A Jason Carter-Carl Camon Tandem Looks Very Appealing From My Neck of the Woods

By now many of you know that State Senator Jason Carter will run for governor next year. As a result of that, previously announced candidate for governor, ex State Sen & DeKalb Commissioner Connie Stokes decided to drop down and run for Lt. Governor. Nothing wrong with that

Camon during his 2010 run for Governor
But as I was thinking, the one person would pair perfectly with Jason Carter in the 2014 General Election....Carl Camon, the former Mayor of Ray City (Berrien County) and 2010 gubernatorial candidate for governor. Camon hails from South Georgia, a area which democrats have not committed to compete in over a decade.

Camon served five terms as mayor of Ray City, helped start Georgia's first municipal Pre-K Program, served 10 years in the U.S. Air force and was listed as Georgia's 40 under 40 rising stars in Georgia a few years ago by Georgia Trend Magazine.

During his 2010 run for governor, Camon stated when it comes to education, he believed that many of Georgia's problems were linked to education. He supported returning authority to teachers and increase their pay to the National Average and he also would encourage teachers to retire after 25 years to reduce cost in addition he would phase out alternative schools and work to reduce the number of students who repeat grades. With education being one of State Senator Carter's top platforms in 2014, this would seem like a perfect match for the 2014 General Election.

Camon is a Rural, Conservative African American Democrat who opposed abortion, supports the second amendment, Pre-K, Hope and QBE. Nothing against Connie Stokes, but in a general election, a duo of Moderate Jason Carter and Conservative Carl Camon, two young, smart Georgia politicos would be formidable and both would be a friend of Rural Georgia.

I don't know whether or not Camon would run for office again and currently he's doing some great things down in South Georgia, but the thought of Carter-Camon '14 is something to think about.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

State Rep. Alisha Thomas-Morgan Should Definitely Run For State School Superintendent in 2014

State Rep. Alisha Thomas-Morgan (D-Austell) can and should run for State School Superintendent. It's no secret that Georgia's Educational System is not up to par compared to other states. Morgan support for Charter Schools has her at odds with some of her own democratic colleagues as well as Georgia Federation of Teachers. It's nice to see a democrat go against the special interest of her party..Kudos Rep. Morgan

But Morgan only wants the best for Georgia's Students so why display so much opposition to a possible candidacy for State School Superintendent by Morgan? If you listen to some black leaders or politicos, Charter Schools..even Vouchers will cause grater inequality in education and increased segregation in our public schools.....HELLO we already have that already in some cases. Believe it or not but there are many families, especially black families who support parental choice, charter schools and magnet schools.

The education of our children should be a top priority of this state and the nation. Our schools need to provide a safe learning environment with the most modern technology and the best teachers whether it's public, charter, private or magnet schools. In this state sending your child to a charter, private school should be a choice, not a necessity, that's why parents should be able to have other choices if the current school his or her child is currently is not living up to its standards. Rep. Morgan authored Georgia's Law Empowering parents to access more options within the public school system and was a co-sponsor allowing the state to authorize charter schools. 

Carter Announces Bid For Georgia Governor

Earlier Today State Senator Jason Carter announced his entry into Georgia's Governor's Race next year.

Carter, 38 is the grandson of Former President and one time Georgia Governor James E. "Jimmy" Carter of Plains, Ga. Carter, was elected to the Georgia Senate in 2010. In his professional career, Jason is an attorney at the business litigation firm of Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore, LLP. In addition to his business practice, he has received numerous awards for his pro-bono efforts and leadership within the bar. He also served as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Lochiel, South Africa. He received his law degree 
summa cum laude from the University of Georgia, and received his undergraduate degree from Duke University. Jason and his wife Kate have two young sons. They live in DeKalb County.''

Carter is pledging to build a coalition of urban and rural with a focus on education and the economy. This is crucial for him as well as Michelle Nunn. The last time democrats had that coalition, they were more successful at the polls.

Carter's entry gives Democrats two top tier prospects going into 2014. Connie Stokes who first announced her run for governor will now instead seek the Lt. Governor post, which is held by Casey Cagle.

I'll have more on this later

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Austin Scott and the 8th Congressional Distict

Back in 2010, Austin Scott switched from running for governor to challenging Conservative Democrat Jim Marshall for the 8th CD. That turned out to be a wise move on Scott's part as he rode the anti-Pelosi, anti-Government Tea Party wave election of 2010 in unseating Marshall to become the new congressman of the 8th Congressional District. And as a result the 8th was redrawn to re-assure his re-election by removing democratic Bibb County and placing it into the 2nd CD, currently represented by Sanford Bishop, thus the 8th has become strictly a rural-dominated congressional district with Houston County being the population center of the district.

So since then, what has Congressman Scott done since being elected. Well he's sponsored, or co-sponsored a few bills such as H.R. 972 to protect individual privacy against unwarranted governmental intrusion through the use of drones to introducing a bill to end furloughs and ensure civilian workers are paid. Those are nice gestures, but since arriving in congress, Scott has been a reliable party line soldier for the GOP. The National Journal back in February named Scott the second most conservative lawmaker in the House in 2012. He was named Class President for the 112th Congress after arriving.

Someone asked me without the Tea Party wave of 2010, do I think he could have still managed to unseat Marshall? My answer was no! Without it, he probably would have come close, but not enough to unseat the Bluedog Democrat.

Scott ran unopposed in 2012, will he go unopposed next year? Who knows. I doubt it will come from the GOP side, if it comes from the Democratic side, it will have to be from someone who's background fits the rural congressional district and someone who is not afraid to show their differences with the National Democrats and President Obama.

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

Blog Archive