Monday, May 17, 2010

Its all about Electability Democrats!

That's right folks, who is more electable when it comes to the candidates for governor on the democratic side?

As of right now, it is a race between David Poythress, Roy Barnes & Thurbert Baker. DuBose Porter still has a shot, but its the top three who are the major contenders at the moment.

So who is more electable among the candidates? Well here are a few things to look at in determining who is:

(1) Who can appeal to independents, Conservative democrats, moderate republicans?

(2) Who has less baggage?

(3) Who is the strongest candidate to win a few Rural Ga counties?

Let's start with Thurbert Baker who before the dustup with Gov Perdue & the Georgia GOP ran one of the most lackluster campaigns I've ever seen. Since the spat between the GOP, he has risen from the dead & started to show signs of life for his candidacy for governor. He's a 3 term Attorney General. He has won statewide, has significant cross-over appeal, but he's only getting at the most 35% against all of the major republican challengers for governors. Why? Some say folks across the state doesn't know about Baker, but how is that possible when he has ran three times atatewide. Is it because of his race? Maybe!

His refusal to join other AG's in suing the government over the constitutionality of the Healthcare Bill may win him some support among Obamacrats, but how will that play in the General Election, no one knows. He has been largely unscathed as AG, but the GOP may have damaged any chance of Baker becoming governor if he were to make it to the general election.

But, Baker has alienated many Georgia blacks by defending the state's voter I.D. law and defending the sentence of Genarlow Wilson in a nationally noted court case with racial overtones. That along with his refusal to sue the government may sink his chances of becoming governor.

Next Roy Barnes. He served as gov, from '98-02 when he lost to bumbling, fringe State Senator George "Sonny" Perdue, in large part of the Georgia flag and education policy. The Georgia flag at the time featured the Confederate Battle Flag and Barnes supported the shift to a new emblem. What's less widely known -- and at least as important -- is that Barnes pushed hard for an end to teacher tenure. In doing so, he alienated teachers, a key Democratic constituency in Georgia or just about any state. Teachers haven't forgotten. Those two controversies, and others, reflect a key point about Barnes. Supporters think he is bold, critics think he is brash and everyone agrees he is a polarizing figure. Whether Georgians want four more years of bold, brash leadership is an open question.

Barnes was considered a rising national star when he became governor. He raised $20 million dollars for his reelection bid -- an incredible sum in Georgia politics at the time. Can he appeal to more independent, leaning voters & can he attract conservative democrats & rural voters? That remains to be seen.

Next David Poythress, who is vying for the second time to become governor of Georgia. He last ran in 1998, losing in the primary. Poythress maybe the broadest of all of the candidates, democrat or republican. He is a Vietnam Veteran, after that became Secretary of State, replacing Ben Fortson, from 1979-1983 & Labor Commisisoner from 1993-1999. In 1991, he was recalled to active duty to oversee the continental United States backfill of reserve legal officers during Operations Desert Storm/Shield. He was promoted to Brigadier General in February 1994, and to Major General in July 1999. He was State Adjuntant General in which he led the Ga National Guard in the Iraq War. He has the type of resume that can appeal to all corss section of voters in the state. But the question is despite being a very viable candidate, will his message resonates with a large swath of Georgia Voters?

He has gone on the air with a new political ad touting he will not accept a salary until Ga unemployment is under 7%. In a poll taken last year showed him leading Karen Handel 43% to 39% & trailing John Oxendine 47% to 43% (this was before Oxendine's ethic problems came to the forefront), so I suspect if polls such as Rasmussen or others were to include Poythress in head to head matchups with each of the GOP candidates, it'll show him either tied, or leading those candidates.

If you ask anyone right now, Gen. Poythress maybe the most electable of all the democrats in the race. If he makes it to the runoff, he has a good shot of becoming the nominee.

We won't know anything about this until July 20 when primary voting takes place, so stay tuned.

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