Monday, February 24, 2014

HD 139: Thomas Coogle Will Not Seek Election To State House

Macon County Native & 2012 Candidate Thomas Coogle announces he will not run for HD 139 in 2014. Coogle, along with his family have relocated to Tifton to devote more time to the family business, Reynolds Foodliner which has a business located in Adel, Ga

Coogle with State Sen. Jason Carter During Qualifying
In a statement Coogle says "I want to thank all the residents of HD 139 (Dooly, Macon, Taylor & southern Peach County) who supported my efforts to become the next State Representative for HD 139. Although I was unsuccessful in my bid in which I fell short of 43 votes, I believe I ran a race focused on issues, not personalities. I'm so very proud of the hard work that so many people provided during my underdog campaign, in which no one gave a chance. I'm proud of the issues we brought to the light and the needed recognition that transparency, job creation, education, economic fairness, the extremely high unemployment rate of the district, agriculture  and public involvement received during the last election cycle. I gave it my all and ran a serious, methodical, civil campaign. I knocked on many doors, received supported from some of the most unexpected places and encouraged residents who have never voted before to practice their civic duty. I am forever grateful to my supporters. It is now in the hands of the people of 139. Don't stop asking questions, stay involved in the political process and to make HD 139 a wonderful place to live, raise a child, and live a happy, healthy life".

Coogle advanced to the Democratic Runoff against Patty Bentley and fell short 49.6% to 50.3%. Coogle hasn't ruled out another run for office in the future

With qualifying looming, no one has emerged as a challenger to Bentley who's serving her first term who hails from Taylor County.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Should One of the Democratic Candidates for the Senate Follow Eugene Yu Lead & Switch Races?

With the switch of longshot U.S. Senate Candidate Eugene Yu (R-Augusta) from the U.S. Senate race to the 12th Congressional District, the question need to be raised should one or more of the Democratic Candidates consider doing the same thing?
Oglethorpe Mayor Gerald Beckum

The race on the Democratic Side has turned into a two person affair between Centrist Democrat Michelle Nunn (D-Atlanta) & Progressive Democrat Dr. Branko Radulovacki (D-Atlanta). 

Thus that leaves Gerald Beck, Steen Miles & Todd Robinson as the other democrats on the outside looking in because Michelle Nunn is sucking all if not most of the media attention & money away from the other candidates as well as Branko Radulovacki. You can say its unfair, but it is what it is.

Out of the three, Gerald Beckum, 68, mayor of Oglethorpe & Conservative Democrat should seriously consider doing what Eugene Yu have done....Switch Races. His long extensive background as a mayor & Agribusinessman would serve him well for Agriculture Commissioner, or (since he's already running for the U.S. Senate), a run for Lt. Governor. Connie Stokes isn't exactly tearing it up in terms of fundraising & building a statewide network. If he wants to stay local, then a run for the State Legislature would suit him well.

Beckum has been mayor since 1983 and is one of the very few remaining old line populist Georgia Democrats from the George Busbee, Joe Frank Harris, Zell Miller era. 

With qualifying set to begin on March 3, time is crucial for State Democrats to field candidates for down ballot races. Dems need a strong, credible slate of candidates who have the ability to appeal in a general election. At last check, general elections aren't won in the primary.

69 Yr Old Treutlen County Resident & Self Described Reagan Democrat: "Democrats Don't Even Campaign Around Here"!

2012 HD 138 Candidate Kevin Brown (D-Buena Vista)
"With the exception of Congressman John Barrow, Democrats don't even campaign around this area, all you see is Republican signs. If they ran candidates here and statewide candidates expose themselves to the folks in these neck of the woods, they'd get more support" said 69 year old Treutlen County Resident & self described Reagan Democrat (who shall remain nameless) in email I received a month ago.

And I agree 1000% with that sentiment

Most Democrats here in Georgia often think too much about big problems that might or could happen. These potential problems always seem to be more important at the very moment that party leaders should be developing a truly statewide Democratic campaign infrastructure. That infrastructure is exactly what is need to regain more Georgia House & Senate seats. As a resident of the boondocks this is a issue for central & southern Georgia.

2012 HD 139 Candidate Thomas Coogle (D-Oglethorpe) 
However, these areas have be short changed by the leadership in Atlanta.

Oftentimes, campaign decision makers and money men in Atlanta invest in metropolitan areas instead of small communities such as Cordele, Camilla, Homerville, Georgetown, Claxton, Buchanan. Obviously, this hurts democrats chances to even make a dent in the Republican super-majority or near super majority in Atlanta. There are competitive districts in Southwest, Middle & Northeast Georgia, they just need a little nourishment.

Businessmen and laymen alike know that you must invest to get a return. Not investing in these rural areas to help mobilize Democrats crushes their chances at progress, and in the process it hits the youth the hardest. Much of the base of the statewide Democratic party is probably between the 18-45 age range, but in the rural areas where the population is much older, democrats have lost ground or just lost these voters for over a decade now.. Right now these people are the “bread and butter” of elections. However, this is not a solution for the long term. The party must invest in rural youth to be successful. Bringing on the power of younger voters will make Georgia out front and allow then to stay relevant and competitive.

2010 HD 143 Candidate Dan King (D-Dublin) 
Ignoring the rural youth and pulling/denying campaign support and funds from rural Democratic candidates who are not progressive or die-in-the-wool Obamacrats is not the way to develop a statewide, long term majority.

On the bright side, if campaign leaders invested in rural youths and supported rural candidates, there would be no one left to tell them (Ahem!!)

2010, '12 HD 153 Candidate John Tibbetts (D-Tifton)
they were doing it wrong. Now you probably ask what is the democrats major challenge for rural Georgia in the next election cycle & beyond? I think their biggest challenge is also their biggest opportunity. They need to get the message out to rural citizens about how the anti-working class agenda of the current majority in the Georgia State Legislature doesn’t represent the interests of any part of the state, and particularly rural Georgia. Getting that message to rural voters will be their biggest challenge and doing so will their our greatest asset.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Candidate Recruitment

Recruitment is an activity that parties whether its the Democratic or Republican Party can engage in even if the party is weak on other dimensions of organizational strength. In the case of the Georgia Democratic Party, it must contest races in order to stand any chance of winning office, candidate recruitment is one of the first task for the Georgia Democratic Party. It must be able to recruit candidates, even if the party lacks a grassroots base or significant caucus resources. 

Having said that, here we are in a state that's trending from red to pink and eventually purple, Democrats are still having difficulty locating, recruiting, targeting candidates for legislative.....and even so far statewide contests. I'll talk about statewide contest later.

With qualifying looming early next month, the success of candidate recruitment in the legislature will depend on the House Democratic & Senate Democratic caucus willingness to accept democrats who are in the mold of a, say John Barrow, a conservative, but independent-minded democrat who doesn't toe the party line on every substantive issue that comes before them. Especially in the House where minority leader Stacey Abrams, a unabashed liberal who I say is wary of any Democrat hailing below I-20 or below Macon running as Bluedog Moderate or Conservative Democrat. And that maybe because of rash party switchers that has occurred over the past 4,6,8 yrs (Dems from largely rural areas switching to GOP). But those days (Party Switching) are over, I believe.

Now let me offer Dem's some advice:

Make a list of likely prospects, and analyze for strengths and weaknesses & then select a final few to approach. If possible, get to know prospective candidates personally before ever mentioning their running for office. Try to determine their level of integrity, energy, etc.  

Meet face to face with the potential candidate to discuss the potential of running for office. If possible, get an elected democrat to help with the approach. The face to face meeting is an important step, and help you find out what they are interested in, what time commitments they can make, and what issues they are addressing in their lives that might impact their ability to run. Help find solutions to potential barriers they may put up against running: (if parents, they may need day care; if low income, they will need financial support; if working, they may be very busy and not able to commit a lot of time to run). 

Talk about issues; make sure there is a philosophical agreement between the party and candidate. It doesn't have to be 100%. If the candidate agrees with 65-70% with the philosophy of the Party of Jefferson (Thomas) & Jackson (Andrew), then that should be the green light. An ideal candidate should have their own network of support outside the Democratic Party. Certainly y'all can offer solid support, but the candidate must bring SOME resources to the table. Be clear with expectations of time and money being  spent, among other things.

And one more thing and I've said this before, the best candidate are the ones who's background and life story fit into the district he or she is running in! REMEMBER THAT!!

With qualifying weeks away, there maybe too little time to go through each of these, but if I were in charge of recruiting, this is the process I would use when seeking potential candidates for House or Senate Districts.

Rural Democrat Seeks Post On YDG Executive Board

Looking to break the Metro Atlanta hold on the Young Democrats of Georgia, Fort Valley Resident & former Marine Randy A. Goss (D-Fort Valley) will run for VP of Membership for the Young Democrats of Georgia at this year's convention to be held in Columbus.
Goss who is currently a member of the Peach County Democratic Party and Middle Georgia Regional Director for the YDG. His political career begin in 2011 in the Fort Valley State University (FVSU) SGA as a student senator and while also being the public relations officer for the political science student association a group which was then second only behind the SGA in active group he was pursuing his Bachelors degree while working part-time.
During his time in those positions he registered over 500+ Peach County voters alone. Democrats of the 2nd Congressional District held a conference at FVSU class in which he began becoming active in the Democratic Party.
At that same time he and a group of friends began to slowly Charter a Chapter for Peach County Young Dems in 2012, but election year slowed progress to help the Democratic Party.
During the election time he managed the 2nd Congressional District/ Peach Democrats election headquarters. 
During the Peach County Democratic Party caucus in December he announced my candidacy to be on the party executive board for Peach Co post 4 which included the northern half of Fort Valley, Powersville, west Byron, & its 1st Vice chair position. He was unopposed for both positions
In 2013 he refocused his efforts on rebuilding the YD Chapter for Peach County, and attended the YDG convention in Atlanta, and the YDA National convention in San Antonio, during local elections he announced his endorsement for Barbara Williams (which she became victorious) to be mayor of Fort Valley.
During that year the 2nd Congressional District appointed Goss to be Quadrant Chair covering the Northeast/North Central portion of the Second Congressional District which includes Bibb, Crawford, Peach, Taylor, Macon, Dooly, Crisp, & Sumter Counties
Goss is a a former Marine and graduate of Ft. Valley State University with a degree in Political Science & Criminal Justice.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Nunn, Carter & The Coattail Effect

 There's this thing in Politics called Coattails or "The Coattail Effect" & in this year's midterm elections here in Georgia, one wonders what kind of coattails will Gubernatorial candidate for Governor Jason Carter (D-Decatur), son of former Governor and President James E. ""Jimmy" Carter & U.S. Senate & eventual candidate Michelle Nunn (D-Atlanta), daughter of former State Rep & U.S. Senator Sam Nunn will have in this year's elections.

If you don't know what coattails are, its the power of a popular candidate to gather support for other candidates running on the same party ticket. Strong or winning candidates are said to have coattails when they drag candidates for lower office along with them to victory.

The reality is, when you run for office, the only person you better count on to get the job done is yourself. But of course a candidate cannot win any election without help from many others. All politics are local and local is where any election needs to start.

The Democratic Party can have the best candidates, be on the right side of the issues and put out poll changing marketing, however, without a wide-ranging and extensive ground game, they will come up short time and time again. The proof is in the pudding, look at the 2008 Senate race between Jim Martin and Saxby Chambliss. Martin clearly rode the coattails of Barack Obama and as a result he forced Chambliss into a runoff, but when the General Election was over and with no Barack Obama on tip of the ballot, Martin was exposed with a very weak or non-existant ground game needed thus lost in the runoff.

There doesn't need to be some sort of dramatic Soul Searching for Democrats, they just need to be clear, acknowledge the facts and look in the mirror. Elections are different each year, but the fundamentals of a very successful election never ever change. Democrats here in Georgia CANNOT RELY ON HOPE OR SCANDAL OR SOMEONE RESIGNING from the GOP side to win. Although it never hurts.

In Jason Carter & Michelle Nunn, the Democratic Party have two candidates who, depending how their perspective campaigns go could have those valuable coattails needed to pull weaker candidates across the 50% threshold. Both are moderate-minded democrats who can appeal & can pull votes from Independents, suburbanites, rural moderates & disaffected Conservative Democrats. In the case of Michelle Nunn who's making her first run for office, if voters, especially those in Rural Georgia see her in the same mold of her very popular father and former Senator, her coattails could reach as far down to the local level (Commissioner, State Legislative Seats). Jason Carter youth, enthusiasm, passion and his ability to talk and appeal to the Bluecollar working man and woman and his ability to persuade could also have the same effect. His relationship to former President Carter will hinder him with some voters who'll never vote for him because he's a democrat and he's related to President Carter, who is a favorite whipping boy for hardline republicans.

What I know is that coattails aren't just the result of a popular candidate convincing voters to support his or her platform, the most powerful coattail effects are caused by actually changing the composition of the electorate. When the candidate at the top of the ticket catches fire, members of that candidate's party are energized, invigorated. They work harder for the whole ticket and come out to vote for it in higher numbers.

If you're a candidate for congress here in Georgia, it would help if you attach yourself to either one of these candidates or both.

Party labels in my view serve poorly as shortcuts and both National Parties are not popular at the moment. Attaching your campaign to a presidential candidate would do more harm than good. But since gubernatorial candidates are well known inside the state and have a strong network, congressional candidates such as Amy Tavio can win votes by allying with a Carter or Nunn.

But in the end, coattails alone will not be enough for any democrat running for office here in Georgia this year and beyond. He or she must have a decent ground game as well. Just the coattails alone may get them 3-4% more of the vote, but if they want 50%, a ground game is essential.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Dutton to Run for GA-12 CD

State Rep. Delvis Dutton (R-Glennville) will throw his hat into the ring for a shot at Incumbent Conservative Democrat John Barrow (D-Augusta) as he announced his entry into the 12th CD race, joining republicans Rick Allen & John Stone, both of Augusta. 

Dutton was elected (and unopposed in 2010) after longtime Rep. Terry Barnard retired from the Georgia Legislature. 

Dutton is a small business owner, attended Georgia Southern University and married with two children. 

Right now, Barrow is favored to win re-election, but November is a long time, so things could change before then.

No word on who'll seek HD 157 as of yet.
This is a Rural Blog that provides views & insights from a Conservative Georgia Democrat

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