Monday, September 20, 2010

Tom Crawford's Georgia Report: Reasons for Deal’s campaign to worry

Tom Crawford of Capitol Impact says the Deal campaign has plenty to worry about between now & November 2.

Read it here:

If there was no other reason for Nathan Deal to worry about his campaign for governor at this particular point in time, there would be this: a poll conducted by Mason-Dixon shows he is ahead of Roy Barnes by four points.

It should be remembered that Mason-Dixon did the polling in the primary elections for the Georgia Newspaper Partnership, that awkward coalition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other newspapers that is attempting to make up for disappearing editorial staffs by pooling their political coverage. Mason-Dixon, to put it politely, was probably the least accurate of the firms who were out in the field polling the primary voters (you can read a brief analysis of it here).

The fact that the AJC and its partners are still using Anne Cox Chambers’ assets to pay money to Mason-Dixon for polling services will remain one of the big mysteries of Georgia politics, but there you are. The latest Mason-Dixon poll shows Deal is leading Roy Barnes by 45-41 percent. Given the polling firm’s performance in the primaries, that could well mean Barnes is actually leading Deal by 45-41 percent.

There are plenty of other reasons for Deal’s supporters to be worried, of course. One of them is the FDIC’s decision at the end of the week to shut down three more Georgia banks for making a series of bad loans to developers and other business types. That naturally calls attention to the loans that Deal and his wife, Sandra, took out for a sporting goods business run by their daughter and son-in-law that failed.

Deal and his wife still owe more than $2 million on one of the loans they signed (their daughter and her husband have long since gone bankrupt), and it looks like he’s on the verge of becoming financially insolvent and filing for bankruptcy himself (although Deal insists he will live up to all his obligations).

Now that the AJC has broken the dam with the initial story from Alan Judd about Deal’s destitution, other stories are sure to follow – such as the latest one from the AJC’s Steve Visser about how Deal’s son-in-law went bankrupt in 2001, just a few years before Deal loaned him $2 million for that failed sporting goods store. I understand that opposition researchers – including people not affiliated with the Barnes campaign – are digging into Deal’s background as well.

I’m confident there is more to come on the media front that will give Deal and his folks plenty of reasons to worry between now and Nov. 2.

Crawford is right on the money with this assessment. With little over a month until the elections, you can expect more on this to come out. Let's not forget the possibility of an indictment coming down on Deal between now & the elections? Things are just heating up!

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