Ralph Reed Is Not The Frontrunner

That title alone will make blood boil in some of my friends. I have a lot of friends who are Ralph Reed supporters. I also have a lot who are Cagle supporters. I’m really enjoying staying on the outside of this race and trying to offer some objective comments on it, though that gives each side an incentive to send hell my way when they disagree with me.

So, here is my objective comment of the day that you can feel free to disagree with in the comments: Ralph Reed is not the frontrunner in the Lieutenant Governor’s race.

Actually, that is to Ralph’s advantage. The frontrunner this early out usually loses. But, let’s be honest, while the political echochamber keeps promoting Ralph as “the man to beat,” Ralph Reed is not the frontrunner. Allow me, if you will without getting your underwear in a wad, to explain.

Despite the fantastic numbers that appeared on Reed’s disclosure report, the truth of the matter is that he had double the time of the Cagle campaign and raised double the money. I’ve run the numbers (folks, I’m an elections lawyer, I know how to run these numbers). The closer to June 30, the less Reed raised. There was no massive influx of cash. Reed raised more than anyone has ever raised for that position at this time on the calendar, and he deserves a whole lot of credit for that. But again, he had double the amount of time that Cagle had and he raised double the amount of money. Among the movers and shakers, the Abramoff taint did have some wear and tear on Reed’s campaign.

The Atlanta media, which largely sets the tone for political races in Georgia, is adamantly opposed to Reed, as is the mainstream national media. Whenever Ralph Reed garners press attention from the AJC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the big Atlanta television stations, the press is uniformly critical. That does not have a great impact on the grassroots movement, but it does have an affect of those at the upper tiers of campaign giving who might be reluctant to have their name appear on Reed’s campaign disclosure report.

But, and lets be honest, the above mentioned reasons are fluff and spinnable by either Reed to make himself look really good or Cagle to make Reed look bad. So, let’s add to the objective points that you can dispute in the comments — but you will be wrong.

Reed will out raise Cagle dollar for dollar. Reed will probably out organize Cagle on the ground. You can take umbrage with either of those statements, but I think they are both fair statements. The real reason Ralph Reed is not the frontrunner and the real reason that Ralph Reed will actually struggle through the election is very simple.

Everyone knows that Ralph Reed does not want to be Lieutenant Governor of the State of Georgia. Even Ralph Reed supporters know that. A good friend of mine who is supporting Ralph says he hopes “to ride that train all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.” Reed might not want to be President, but I guarantee you he does not really want to be Lieutenant Governor. The Lite Gov. spot is just a weigh station on the road to West Paces Ferry and that nice sized house with the beautiful garden we all call the Governor’s Mansion. And that, my friends, is the problem for Reed and the reason he is not the frontrunner.

While Reed right now has his sights on 2006 and beating Cagle, Glenn Richardson, John Oxendine, possibly one or more Congressmen, possibly one of the U.S. Senators, a couple of State Senators, and a couple of State Representatives already are lusting after the Governor’s Mansion in 2010. And all of these people are very educated, smart, and ambitious. They all know that if Ralph Reed gets elected now, despite everything being thrown at him, he will be the frontrunner in 2010.

Yes, those same dynamics would be in place if just Cagle were pursuing the Lieutenant Governor’s position, but with the perception of who Ralph Reed is, Reed is more of a threat than Cagle. Ralph Reed has bitten off a great deal to undertake this challenge. The question remains whether Reed has bitten off more than he can chew.

Oh, and as for Cagle? No, he is not the frontrunner right now either. In fact, the Cagle camp has, I think, been participating in the Reed as frontrunner spin because they are smart enough to know that, based on history, the frontrunner this early out in an open race usually loses. Who is the frontrunner? The frontrunner is the great unknown, which might soon go by the name of Karen Handel or another name still out there.

I may not be a political genius, but I’m smart enough to know that the “Reed as frontrunner” idea is more media spin than fact. And that spin, despite what you think, is not Ralph Reed generated. He too, like Cagle, knows the frontrunner this early out is likely to lose as voters get tired of the same old-same old and go off in search of someone else. The “Reed as frontrunner” myth is media spin generated by the media with the complicity of others so the media looks like the some sort of champion when Reed is brought down by the AJC’s rehashing of other people’s talking points.


  1. GAWire says:

    Pardon my sarcasm once more, but I have to say that whenever I am in need of a good laugh, I think about the idea that Boy Wonder (that’s RR, btw) might attempt to run for President someday. The only thing that could make me laugh harder is if ole’ Ralph actually thinks that is a possibility.

    EE is correct in that RR might not be the frontrunner, but who can say, really? We are a yr away from the PRIMARY – not even the General! Folks, there is no frontrunner!

    Moreover, I said it before and I will continue to say it until next year: You can bring down all the big names (i.e. Hannity, Zell, whatever that country singer girl’s name is, etc), and you know what that is going to win you? . . . a fun night two-steppin’ at the Galleria.

    This race will come down to who can get their identified votes out. The lines in this race will be clear, which is sometimes an odd thing in Primaries with two big candidates.

    Remember – people in Valdosta, Vidalia, Statesboro, etc, etc, etc don’t really care what the NY Times says about Reed’s fundraisers with Sean Hannity. However, they do care about what the candidates can do for the state and what they have done in the past to prove that they will follow through on what they are saying.

    You know what most of the people say when Ralph starts talking about “his time working on the campaign with the President” (as if he ever stops talking about that)? They say: “That’s great, and we like the President and all, but why do you think that the fact that you are friends with the President should make me want to vote for you to play a key role in our state government?”

    EE is correct in that running for LG is not Ralph’s primary ambition here. Who actually sets out to run for Lt. Governor? But, eventually running for Gov is what pretty much every LG candidate is thinking, so that isn’t what is going to lose it for RR. The main reason he won’t pull this out, is b/c while he may have a right to run for office, it doesn’t mean he is entitled to win. He has no elected experience, and quite frankly, his political experience in the past has been a little shady. Conservatives tend not to like those kinds of attributes, so just b/c he can raise some dough, and use to work on the President’s campaign doesn’t mean 50% +1 is in the bag.

    The best advice I think anyone can give RR is this: Become a lobbyist AFTER you serve as an elected official! Doing it the other way around does not usually work (except in Haley Barber’s case I guess).

  2. albert says:

    “”””Boy Wonder (that’s RR, btw) might attempt to run for President someday. The only thing that could make me laugh harder is if ole’ Ralph actually thinks that is a possibility”””

    That’s documented in several publications inside and outside of Georgia. At a fundraiser, one of the guests was blessing Ralph and suggested the could see him as President. He accepted the gesture with a smile. And, if that’s his goal and all this casino stuff is nothing more tha he being misled, then go for it. Nothing worse than someone trying to destroy someone’s dream. But lets get through the Lt. Gov. race first.

    If he doesn’t pull this out, don’t look for him to run for a statewide race again. i would suspect he would run for congress.

    By the way, whatever happened to Dylan Glynn? He seems to have vanished from the Georgia landscape.

  3. Bill Simon says:

    “The Atlanta media is adamantly opposed to Reed…”

    Hmm, interesting posit, coming from a lawyer, elections or otherwise. Erick.

    By that reckoning, the “Atlanta media” is opposed to anyone it digs-up dirt on and writes about. And, maybe it is. Maybe they SHOULD be adamantly opposed to candidates who are personally and/or morally corrupt.

    Would you prefer a love-fest by the Atlanta media on every crook or shyster that was exposed? I’m sure Ralph Reed’s followers would, based on their responses to the news that Ralph DID know there were gambing interests involved in supplying the money that was laundered through the Alabama Christian Coalition. Just by their very actions of ignoring the truth, Ralph’s supporters obviously LOVE people that lie and get away with it (which tells me a lot about the character of HIS supporters).

    But, the AJC has slants, that’s for sure. But, they also dig-up and report on FACTS, which drives people like Reed-ites and Maverick Millican just nuts because facts are darn tough obstacles to avoid. Especially with people who truly believe they ARE above the concept of character counting for something.

  4. Bull Moose says:

    I can’t help but to give my two cents…

    Ralph Reed was at his strongest point the day he announced for office. Ever since that day, he has been on the slippery slope backwards. What is interesting is that Ralph is smart, he’s a great speaker, and knows how to work a crowd, but he doesn’t have the state experience or depth to be the Lt. Governor. Ralph should have waited and taken a shot at John Linder’s Congressional seat.

    Again, Casey knows the ins and outs of the State Senate. He is battle tested and ready to serve. Casey can dive into the details of property tax reform with the same ease that many of us talk about sports. In the end, Casey’s experience and dedication, combined with his integrity and character will overpower Reed’s smooth talking.

    As for anyone else entering this race, not to the Handle people — she’s an unknown quantity — she needs to focus on running for Secretary of State and cut her teeth there for a while. In the end, we need a strong and experienced hand leading in the office of Lt. Governor.

    So, now the fun part — as for the other names that you mentioned who might be interested in running for Governor in 2010 — Glen Richardson can hang it up right now. After the disastrous legislative session — he’s toast in my book. He and his allies are enemies to those Georgians who have dealt with cancer in their lives. No, in 2010, we need to get on track and right now, I’d say that the frontrunner would have to be Congressman Lynn Westmoreland. It’s a shame that as a state, we had to loose Lynn to Congress, but hopefully we’ll get him back in 2010. I honestly don’t think that Senators Isakson or Chambliss would trade the Senate to be Governor. At one point, a Governor Kingston had a chance, but I think he has played in Washington too long — note to Jack — 2010 may be your LAST chance at statewide office, unless of course one of our 2 Senators die in office (I hope and pray that never happens). And God bless, maybe Congressman Norwood will get healthy enough to be able to run.

  5. Booray says:

    Been lurking for a while and thought I’d jump in. I’m not so concerned with the RR situation – taking a breather from that hyperactive campaign for a while (although I generally agree with the original comments).

    I’m more amused with the Karen Handel reference, which I hear more of these days.

    Personally, I am mystified at what makes Karen Handel a player in big-time politics in this state. Anyone who knows anything about her background knows she has taken very liberal positions during her time as Fulton chairman (if I recall correctly, she was endorsed by the gay groups because she was for county employees getting gay partner benefits – that’s taxpayer funding, folks). That may be fine for getting elected in Fulton, but it will pay hell anywhere outside the Perimeter whether she’s running for LG, Sec of State, or anything else.

    Frankly, I think we only mention Karen Handel’s name because she has engaged in the most tortured, navel-gazing “announcement” in the history of GA politics. She’s been “about to announce” for for months now, always holding off actually doing it because someone in the “governor’s office” is encouraging her to run for something else.

    Whatever. I’m sure the governor and Handel are acquaintances, and I’m sure he thinks alot of her since she used to work for him, but it’s laughable to think the governor has been sitting around for months plotting where he is going to move his Handel Queen piece on the chessboard of GA politics. The man has got far bigger fish to fry, and I somehow doubt he is setting this up to ensure he can run with an LG who supports taxpayer financed gay partner benefits. Just my opinion.

    Since I’ve taken the plunge, may go post on a few other threads now too…

  6. GAWire says:

    >>”””And, if that’s his goal and all this casino stuff is nothing more tha he being misled, then go for it.”””

    I see what you are saying and realize that you are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I would like to point one thing out that many people have no clue regarding RR’s past. We have discussed numerous times on this site (and elsewhere probably) some of RR’s past situations, i.e. emails b/t Abramoff, dealings with Indian casinos, AL att gen, etc, etc, etc. But, here is a not-so-breaking-news-memo to Reed supporters, conservatives, GA GOPers and voters in general: Ralph Reed has a sketchy past that goes long before the time of his dealings with casinos, or even before the formation of Century Strategies. Many people that participate in this site can probably speak of his time at the GAGOP, but I am not even talking about that.

    Now, before I go any further, I want to point out that this is not about destroying someone’s dream. I am a voter and public figures (as a candidate, you are automatically a public figure, whether you like it or not) have an obligation to prove they are worthy of that vote. Voting is a serious decision and duty – I take it serious – and I want to have all possible knowledge on a candidate, issue, referendum or whatever, so I can make the best choice.

    Ralph Reed’s past will come back to haunt him. There will not be a big scandal and past issues, despite how much DC and National Media want to make them out to be groundbreaking, and his past will not lose this race for him. Still, when you see that Ralph Reed’s former boss, the founder of the Christian Coalition, and respected leader in the Christian community shows reluctance in endorsing Reed and initially refuses to campaign for him, you know there is something more to this man’s character and past. Moreover, someone earlier was discussed why the majority of Cagle’s campaign is made up of people that used to work with Reed. There is a simple reason for that – people that have worked with him in the past or that have been around him enough know better than to support and stick with him.

    My point is that what we have heard about Reed, whether it is from the negative Altanta media or not, is only the tip of the iceberg. His sketchy past travels far beyond AL and further than the past few years. Again, I don’t think these things will lose it for him, b/c most GA voters just don’t care. What is going to lose it for him is that he isn’t the best man for the job and voters will ultimately see that.

    Re: RR running for Congress . . . If he is going to be elected to something, I would much rather it be a body of 435 members where his vote would be forced to be with the Party, and he would have no individual power to influence policy. Still, if he did that, it would be his first, last and highest public office held. I think he knows he had a better shot of going statewide, b/c Congress is a fast-track route to a career track that would ultimately lead him back to what he was originally doing: Lobbying (after taking a pay cut to work in Congress).

    I thought I was going to let the RR thing drop, but it takes a lot of will-power not to speak on this issue. The Peach Pundit was correct when he spoke of working to unite the Party rather than kill each other in a Primary, only to leave shambles to lose in the General. Division is not going to help re-elect Sonny, but to be honest with you, having a polarizing candidate like RR is only going to hurt or divide us more. If RR wants to unite the Party, than I suggest he take a bow and exit stage right now, while we still can.

  7. GAWire says:

    Now, to Bull’s analysis on 2010 . . . here is my response for what it is worth (which is not very much):

    First of all, someone asked about Dylan Glynn . . . this is a guy that we should have really considered. Perhaps he should have started with a state rep or senate seat b/f the Congressional race, but that was someone we should have given more of a chance b/c he has a lot of potential for the Party. My prediction: He will work in advocacy for conservative issues and perhaps serve more in the Administration for a few years, and make another run when he has more experience, age and voters forget about last year (10 or even 20 yrs).

    Lynn Westmoreland will be out of Congress within 5 yrs and subsequently, out of politics. He won’t be able to win statewide with the other people we have.

    Glynn Richardson, as pointed out, has made some enemies and will most likely have a rough (and stagnant) road ahead.

    Kingston: let’s just say that he has peaked in his political career – will be lobbying within a few yrs when he finally tires of traveling back and forth b/t DC and GA all the time.

    Saxby: we need him in the Senate and will hopefully remain there. I would certainly vote for him for Governor, but I agree that he probably won’t want that.

    Isakson: Better stay in the Senate. ’nuff said.

    Karen Handel: has a lot to learn, but Sec of State would be a good place to do it. I don’t think she will be the 1st female Governor of GA though, though.

    While we (the GOP) in GA are on top, I look back and see how different today’s up-and-comings are from just a few years ago when our own, Newt Gingrich masterminded the Contract With America and led the House as Speaker. All I can say is that our control is certainly not guarranteed to remain, and we must be sure of the folks we are electing in order to remain in the majority! I don’t mean to the pessimistic or paranoid one, but I am simply speaking from experience . . .

  8. Nate says:

    As far as 2010 and other up coming statewide office elections, what about Herman Cain? He is still out there and has a lot of supporters. I wished he had run for Lt. Gov, but I think he is still a name to watch for.

  9. PeggyP says:

    With all this tedious opining over Casey Cagle and Ralph Reed, I almost forgot that I don’t care about the Georgia Lite Gov’s race. What really caught my attention was Erick’s mention of the name “Karen Handel� as a potential “frontrunner� in that race. Hysterical!

    Ms. Handel’s indecisiveness about when to announce her campaign for has been quite entertaining and, frankly, reminiscent of John Kerry’s notorious “Flip Flop.� A la Kerry’s employment of the Flip Flop maneuver in his policy positions, Handel has not been able to pick where she wants to sit in Georgia politics’ version of musical chairs: Lieutenant Governor or Secretary of State or Lieutenant Governor or Secretary of State. This is even more difficult than deciding whether to wear a pant suit or a skirt suit to the next Commission meeting!

    Handel’s schizophrenic approach to tackling a statewide campaign is most likely a function of her political inexperience. Why else would an inside-the-perimeter freshman county commissioner with a liberal record think she would have an even miniscule chance to win statewide?

    The most disturbing aspect of all of this, however, is that the capitol press corps and political bloggers are treating Handel’s self-made soap opera as real news. It reminds me of the frenzied build-up to the Ben Affleck-Jennifer Lopez nuptials. All that ink wasted on another failed celebrity couple. Or perhaps Handel’s rumored campaign is more analogous to Geraldo Rivera’s opening of Al Capone’s vault on live national television. All that anticipation for two empty gin bottles. No substance, much like Karen Handel’s political career.

    The little substance that we can document is not encouraging. To put it nicely, Ms. Handel’s political philosophies are not quite in step with that of mainstream Georgia. I dare say that Georgians in Ware, Effingham, Coweta, or Rabun counties will not be satisfied by Handel’s record of fiscal irresponsibility and extreme social liberalness. For that matter, I don’t think the good folks of Fulton County – her “base� – are too pleased with her performance either. As we saw in the ’04 presidential elections, no one likes a Flip-Flopper.

  10. Bull Moose says:

    Yes, I forgot to talk about Dylan Glenn – Dylan thinks he’s better than anyone else. That is his number one problem. Not to mention, that he’s never worked a single day in a business — he’s just jumped from government job to government job. Not what I want in an elected official.

    I disagree with you on Westmoreland Gawire. He’d make a great Governor — he actually has strong convictions on ideology opposed to some of the others who have situational convictions about ideology.

    Tom Price would make a good Governor too!

    The more you people talk about Karen Handle the more I don’t like what I hear. I’m going to do my homework on this woman.

    This 2006 election is one that will set the stage for Georgia’s political future for years to come…

  11. GAWire says:

    If the over-done coverage of the Lt. Gov race doesn’t make you laugh, then I suggest you look to the Secretary of State race. I don’t know about her and John Kerry being on the same wave-length, but I certainly don’t think she can win that race.

    Also, I think we should have a contest: Go to Bill Stephen’s website http://www.billstephens.com, and check out the Gallery. We should see who can come up with the best captions for each photo. Instead of trying to make catchy captions, they should have just written-in at the bottom what demographic or social group to which they were trying to appeal. I personally like the one of he and J.J. counting their quail in S. Georgia. Now, that’s funny! Just saw that as I was checking this Sec of State jazz and couldn’t resist sharing with the rest of the class.

    Bull, I hear what you are saying about Glynn and do agree that he needs some more experience, but I do think he is someone that will play a key role in politics (GA or otherwise) in the future.

    I still have to stick by what I said about Westmoreland, but I will agree that he has his convictions and sticks to them, so there is something to be said for that – I still just don’t think he has what it takes to move on.

    As for Price . . . I, too forgot about him and so has pretty much everyone since last July. He has peaked – probably never should have even gotten this far.

  12. Bill Simon says:

    PeggyP: The “flip-flopping” has been caused, not by Karen Handel, but by tongue-waggers who don’t know jack about what her intentions are.

    She has had her sights set on the SOS job for a few months now. After making this decision, she then decided to make the official announcement on the day (or, as close to the day) of the 1-year anniversary prior to the actual primary date. Her purpose in this? Because she wants to make it a clear 1-year run to the primary of 2006.

    That you are not aware of these facts leads me to conclude that you are about as knowledgeable on the Georgia political scene as the girls who visited the President earlier this week wearing flip-flops… 🙂

  13. PeggyP says:

    Mr. Simon, I appreciate your flip-flop humor, but I think you missed my point! I’m not necessarily concerned with “when” Ms. Handel is going to announce, but more “why” she is going to announce in the first place. She is clearly shopping for a new job…whatever that may be as long as it’s not Fulton County Commission Chairman.

    Your comments about Ms. Handel’s “intentions” make you seem like a Handel insider and I’m wondering if you’ll show up as a surprise campaign consultant on her next disclosure report! at tip from me to you: If I was consulting Ms. Handel, I may tell her to go ahead and flip-flop again and jump into the Ag Commissioner’s race or perhaps the AG’s race instead, since she’s about as qualified for those positions as she is for Secretary of State.

    It always scares me when inexperienced politicians “shop” for jobs (i.e. Dylan Glynn). These are the folks who try to mold themselves to fit whatever position they’re gunning for. It hasn’t worked for Dylan Glynn and it won’t work for Karen Handel. She may be malleable, but, in the end, she still won’t fit with Georgia.

  14. Ike1 says:

    I am not sure if you need to be an elections lawyer to look at numbers – it seems like everyone has their own spin on doing the numbers in the LG race based on the disclosure reports, but the reports which will matter are the December 31 reports. Each of these candidates will begin stockpiling money for media buys/direct mail next year. December 31 reports should reflect this in the “balance on hand” figures. It is widely known that Senator Cagle has personal money he can give to his campaign. It is also widely known that Ralph Reed has some backing from the White House and the fundraising possibilities that can mean. The December 31 reports should reveal a lot for both sides. Until then, the current numbers can be spun in many different ways. Some think Senator Cagle’s report reflects the most he will be able to raise – the “low hanging fruit.” Others, like Erick, believe Ralph should have raised a lot more based on the time advantage. It is really too early to tell.

    As for the “frontrunner” status, Ralph Reed is more than likely considered that due to his name identification and affiliations with the Christian Coalition and White House more than any other reason. If he were not considered the front runner at this point based on his fundraising ability and name identification, then something would be wrong. His only other announced opponent is a state Senator from the Gainesville area. Unless you are very interested in the political process, odds are that few of the primary voters outside of Senator Cagle’s district are aware of him. Ralph Reed being considered the frontrunner at this stage in the race is no reflection on the Cagle campaign. It is early, the first disclosures have just been released and both sides are in the first stages of their statewide visits. It seems like someone always has to be considered the frontrunner, and in this case, at this stage, Ralph Reed makes the most sense. It really is not an advantage or disadvantage to either campaign at this stage.

    I have to laugh at the reference to Ralph Reed’s sketchy past. There are not many people involved in politics in general who do not have a “sketchy” past -especially those who work in campaigns or who have been, or are, candidates. I don’t doubt Ralph may have done some things others may raise their eyebrows over, but no one seemed to mind when he was helping get people elected. I was at the Cobb Galleria before the elections of 2002, and the numbers of people he had working at the grassroots level, going door-to-door, getting the vote out, was tremendous. The Cagle camp has done, and will be doing, some “sketchy” things to help get their candidate elected. These things are expected. I consider Lee Atwater a great political strategist, but I am sure others considered him “sketchy.” It really depends on your definition and who you are supporting in the race. It seems like the other guys always have sketchy pasts.

    The other thing that made me laugh is the charge that Ralph Reed wants to continue in politics, if he is able to win the LG race. All elected offices can be springboards for higher office – there is nothing wrong with this. If Senator Cagle wins, he would be the logical candidate for Governor in 2010. Odds are that those other names mentioned for wanting to run for Governor in 2010 are hoping neither of these guys wins as that dashes their own hopes for a run.

    This is going to be an interesting race. Both sides seem to have competent people guiding their strategy. The bottom line is that those that are interested in such things are going to have an exciting year keeping up with these 2 campaigns.

  15. GAWire says:

    Ike, you’re right in that most politicians have some kind of sketchy past, but the key word there is POLITICIANS. RR hasn’t even been considered a politician until he announced. Before then, he was simply a businessman and I guess considered a Party operative/consultant/lobbyist/CC Director/GAGOP Chairman/Non-profit organization tax specialist (see Abramoff emails)/Indian Casino Fundraiser (oops, now I’m just getting carried away). That is all beside the point. What I am saying is that those who have worked with (or been on the inside) of RR operations in the past can verify that he is not the right person to elect here.

    Still, I remain by my primary point re: this issue: None of this will elect or defeat RR in this race. That will come down to the fact that he is not qualified.

  16. Ike1 says:

    GAWire, I included candidates in my comments and Ralph Reed is a candidate for LG. You are right that comments posted on this website are not going to get anyone elected, but many candidates, who GAGOP voters have supported, could or would be considered not qualified depending upon your definition. Guy Milner could qualify as such and won 3 primaries. Obviously, you know information I do not have such as, people who have worked on the “inside” with Ralph Reed and know of his “sketchy” goings on whenever they associated with him. It makes me wonder why they did not say anything at the time these events were taking place. They may have saved us a very expensive LG primary race. There are many elected officials I have great respect for politically, but I know as many times as they have quoted from the Bible, not all of them have led such righteous lives. As the saying goes, many of these guys win as long as they are not found with a live boy or a dead woman in bed. I am not a diehard Reed or Cagle supporter. I am pretty sure they are both willing to bend the rules in campaigning and their consultants are ready to justify anything with a press release. As people involved, or just interested, in politics, we expect it and understand it and only seem to get really passionate about it when it involves the “other guy.” The bottom line is that we each choose our candidate, support him, hope for the best, but only one guy wins in November (or July). Hopefully, we will have a Republican LG in November and whichever one it is, the state will be ok.

  17. Bill Simon says:

    PeggyP: With regards to Karen Handel “flip-flopping” on what position she wishes to hold, you might also be wise to address that same issue as it applies to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Stephens doing the same thing, if not in a worse way.

    There’s a guy who consumed way too many resources in making sure he defeated Bubba McDonald in a 2004 primary, only to be willing to leave his position this year to run for SOS.

    The SOS position is one of few positions, I feel, that is a position that demands someone who is competent in the position, rather than someone who is better at politics. Handel has a much better skill and knowledge of the business environment than the political environment, I’ll grant you. But, for this position, that will prove to be more of an advantage than any other candidate, except, perhaps, for Perry McGuire.

    Unfortunately for Perry McGuire, he’s running a race that may parallel Herman Cain’s race last year, something like the “Cinderella Candidate.” Looks like a good guy, solid conservative credentials, but it will take him beaucoup bucks to introduce his name ID to the voting populace.

    Additionally, it is my impression that the SOS position would be better managed by a female. It has been run by a female for the past 8 years, and, for the majority of the departments, it has run like clockwork. Sure, there have been some political shenanigans that have taken place in the Repub vs. Dem arena we live in in those 8 years. But, the output from Cathy Cox’s managment (i.e., what the Georgia public has been in contact with) has been mostly positive and demonstrative of a professional team.

    No one else in the race right now, least of all someone like Bill Stephens, has ever demonstrated that degree of professional and business-like demeanor like Karen Handel has.

    With regards to me appearing on Handel’s disclosure, I can tell you that as of right now, I have no contract with her campaign for any work. If I get an opportunity in the future, you better believe I would work for her candidacy. And, you know what? That’s my right to do so.


  18. Booray says:

    Mr. Simon – noted with interest the conversation between you and Peggy about Handel’s business management skills.

    I think you are honestly mistaken about her based on what I hear. I say “honestly mistaken” because your principles are strong and were you to know what I have been told you would have some concerns.

    I heard a rumor that Handel wanted to spend $15,000 on new chairs for the Gov’s Office while she was deputy chief of staff. Did a Google on it and sure enough found something with excerpts of an email she wrote to Eric Tannenblatt (when he was Gov’s Chief of Staff) wanting to spend taxpayer money to do this – and then basically cover it up because of the “perception” problem it would cause. The email was quoted in a Dem news release they got from freedom of information request back in 2003 when the budget crisis was at its worst.

    Good business managers do not waste taxpayer money on chairs – and then suggest keep it covered up – during a budget crisis.

    I know your principles on issues like this are strong (based on reading your stuff on here), which is why I believe you would not support any candidate (Handel or others) who was so wasteful with money.

  19. GAWire says:

    Since there has been some debate about Karen Handel, I wanted to mention that I just picked up this month’s edition of Business to Business magazine and the cover story reads: “Divas 2005: Women Who Mean Business” and on the cover is who else but Fulton Co Commissioner Karen Handel (along with Julia Wallace of the AJC and Joanne Smith of Song Airlines). Among this list of 14 influential women within the Atlanta business community are CEO’s of corporations, a judge, doctor, AJC editor, lawyers and of course Karen Handel as the lone political figure.

    The article on Handel discusses her temultuous tenure as Commission Chairwoman, and the division that has erupted throughout her short time there.

    BTW, she all but announces her candidacy for SoS, discussing potential opponents and adversaries saying, “I am very seriously considering it,” but mentioning that “according to Party colleagues and friends, it is pretty much a done deal,” the article says.

    So, why hasn’t she announced? She is missing valuable fundraising and name id time. Perhaps the outcome of situations on Fulton Commission could very well determine whether she will be able to make it happen or not.

    Just thought I would share this, since the topic came up . . .

  20. Big Mack says:

    Ralph Reed’s past is not sketchy. Read Nina J. Easton’s ” The Gang of Five” to view his life from high school to the end of his tenure as Chairman of the Christian Coalition. In 2002, as Chair of the Ga GOP he would not give one penny to Sonny’s campaign and his excuse was that Sonny did not have a chance to win. Well the truth is that Satan could have beat Roy Barnes because Roy had done something to make every political group in Georgia mad. Ralph did not want Sonny to win because his aspiration was to run for Governor in 2006 and yes he does want to be President. If Georgians elect him Lt.Gov and then Governor, he will run for President. For those of you who don’t know, he and Karl Rove are very close. Ralph is very good at organization and at raising money. It is worth noting that immediately after Sonny won the election, Ralph took credit for his victory. I think that this is typical of a man whose character is flawed and I hope that the people of Georgia have more sense than to elect him.

    There is one saving grace. If the AJC will hammer him like they did Herman Talmadges overcoat, he will not win the primary. I think that we can rely on the AJC to do this.

  21. Bill Simon says:


    From what I understand from people in the Governor’s office, the Barnes’ administration left the offices in tatters. They ripped-off every pen, pencil, rubberband and notepad. Magnets were used to clear-off hard drives. A lot of the furniture had arms off, legs off, fabric was torn and shredded. Rumors are that the Barnes administration swiped some good chairs that they had bought and replaced them with crap that was in storage to be “repaired” but never was.

    Now, yes, I am a business-oriented person and I am not interested in government waste. However, the purchase of office chairs that work well, that support people’s backs and arms while they spend time working IS, to me, a worthwhile investment. Unless you think it would be money better spent on healthcare for sick days and physical rehab…?

    I don’t believe that Karen Handel wasted funds on re-furbishing an office that had broken and/or very old furniture. I think someone (like, say, a Democrat who has the initials “B.K.”) is feeding you a line of bull.

  22. Tater Tate says:

    So where is Sonny? With his former floor leader and majority leader, or with his former staffer?

    I know there are some issues Stephen’s will be criticized for, but I agree Handle seems far to liberal to survive a Republican primary.

    I still give this one to Stephens.

    Not surprised Bill Simon is in her corner. She seems like his kind of candidate (more socially liberal). But I don’t think she has any name id outside her little world.

    SoS’s office better managed by a female? What does that mean Bill?

  23. Booray says:

    Bill Simon:

    I may be many things, but I am typically not a Bobby Kahn follower. I recognize your principles. While you don’t know me, I hope you’d give me the same benefit of the doubt.

    Like I said, you are a principled person. While I disagree with your liberal social principles (and perhaps that might lead you to support Handel), I always find you to be a budget hawk.

    Perhaps those sources are correct about the Barnes theft scenario, but it seems very unlikely. Stealing $15,000 in chairs would involve multiple perpetrators. Hard to believe that many people would do that and it remain under wraps (and someone not get charged for theft).

    Just my 2 cents worth…

  24. Bill Simon says:

    Tater: It means that females tend to be, as a gender, more organized than males. The SOS office demands that kind of attention, not just the attention of someone looking to occupy a political office for 4 years whilst he looks for something else to do with his life.

    We don’t need one of the most important offices in this state to be taken over by some knucklehead who cannot maintain his own finances. Bill Stephens had to pay something like $65,000 to a law firm to straighten out his disclosures. Why he had to hire a law firm as opposed to an accounting firm, I’ll never know.

    And then, of course, there are the bank loan defaults, of which (in case Stephens’ lawyers are reading this and itch to file a defamation lawsuit) there is documented evidence of.

    And then, there’s the problem with him thinking too much with his dick. You remember Max Cleland’s management of the office, right? Always thinking with his dick and where his d**k is pointing on any particular day (1-900-GET -ME-OFF was his favorite phone number to call, as I remember). People like Stephens have a documented record of thinking too much with his d**k rather than his head.

  25. PeggyP says:

    Mr. Simon, Tater Tate has brought up a great question. Just what in the world does gender matter in the management of a Constitutional office?? Simon: “It is my impression that the SOS position would be better managed by a female. It has been run by a female for the past 8 years, and, for the majority of the departments, it has run like clockwork.”

    Oh, it’s been run like “clockwork?” Well, it must be because it’s been run by a female! Female secretaries are also so much better than men at brewing the office coffee in the morning and making sure office supplies have been ordered on time and getting that darn copier repair man to come fix the Xerox machine. And I’m sure Karen Handel can pound out WAY more words per minute on a typewriter than can Bill Stephens.

    Frankly, as a woman, I’m a bit offended by Mr. Simon’s gross generalization that a female could do the job better. Right now, only 16 of our country’s 49 secretaries of state are female (apparently, Alaska doesn’t have an SoS; the Lite Gov fulfills those duties. And, oh, by the way, he’s a male). Hurry! Somebody call somebody in each of those 33 states with male secretaries of state and let them know that they would be better served by a female.

    Mr. Simon, I don’t know you, but, frankly, if you do end up working for the Handel campaign, you better come up with a better justification for her candidacy than “she’s a woman and women make better secretaries.”

    Let’s not get off-track: Karen Handel is inexperienced, but what experience she does have exposes her shockingly liberal record.

  26. Bill Simon says:

    Booray: “Liberal social principles?”

    I guess that means, to you, that if I don’t believe the GOVERNMENT has a right to stick it’s nose into the private affairs of its people, I’m “socially liberal.”

    If I don’t stand on a street corner chanting “All gays are going to Hell”, that means I’m socially liberal, right?

    Dude, the fact is, I see nothing in the Constitution that gives government the right to take a Bible and beat it over the head of anyone who doesn’t think like the “majority” of people. So, call me “liberal” if you wish.

    I just wonder what would have happened long ago had their not been a ruling on separation of church and state. Would we have the society we have now? Doubtful, because the religious psychopaths of the 1800s were far worse than they are today and had their beliefs been held out to rule the day (i.e., this country), I’ll bet this representative republic would not be standing intact today.

    By the way, Booray, make sure your private house is all in order…because there is one thing I know God doesn’t like, and that’s a hypocrite.

  27. Bill Simon says:

    PeggyP-Part 2: I did not, in any way, equate the “Secretary of State” job with the job title of a “secretary.” Not, that there’s anything wrong with people who are secretaries.

  28. GAWire says:

    >>”””Female secretaries are also so much better than men at brewing the office coffee in the morning and making sure office supplies have been ordered on time and getting that darn copier repair man to come fix the Xerox machine. And I’m sure Karen Handel can pound out WAY more words per minute on a typewriter than can Bill Stephens.”””

    I have been waiting for a woman to make a quote like that for years.

    BTW, I could use a cup of coffee (is that a little too sexist?)!

  29. Booray says:

    Mr. Simon,

    I happen to live in Stephens’ area and have followed him and his career (in the political sense) pretty well. You are very uninformed about the details. None of the accusations you list are new – in fact they have been thrown at him in all his campaigns (particularly last summer in his primary with Bubba McDonald) and disproved/disregarded every time.

    Political sarcasm is cool – but political meanness is not. I define the difference between the two as whether it relates to one’s public actions or private actions.

  30. Bill Simon says:

    Booray: Last summer, I supported Bill Stephens, and worked against Bubba. This year, because of the observance of a lot of things about Bill Stephens, I am done supporting him.

    Nothing has been “disproven” regarding Stephens’ past. It’s just not been well broadcast. 🙂

  31. Bill Simon says:

    Oh…by the way, having sex with a woman, whether it is your wife or not, in the office of the Governor, does not constitute a “private life” action.

  32. Ike1 says:

    Bill Simon, Unlike some of the other people who have left comments and who obviously participate on this site on a regular basis, I do not know you as you do not know me. Maybe I am unfamiliar with this type of discussion, but I have noticed in at least 2 instances you have seemed to have attacked personally another participant. I think on one, you called the person by another name other than his logon (Maverick Johnson) – maybe you guys know each other and that is why you called him by what I am guessing is his real name, Millican. And, above, you say something to booray about not being a hypocrite. Again, maybe you know booray and know intimate details about that person’s life, and he/she yours, but I do not and do not want to. I have enjoyed reading this for the past week or so, but if this is not more of a political discussion room where you can find and exchange political information and opinion, then I am not interested.

  33. Erick says:

    For the record, “Millican” is not Maverick Johnson’s last name. Bill and others have been playing a guessing name and are, as yet, unsuccessful.

    Also, please note that no, Millican is most assuredly not me.

  34. Bill Simon says:

    Ike1: If calling someone who isn’t posting under their own name (e.g., “Maverick Johnson”) a different name is “attacking them,” then you apparently think that people who might yell at you when you make a traffic error while driving your automobile and call you some other name than your birth name, you probably think they’re attacking you.

    With regards to Booray, it wasn’t a personal attack (since I don’t know Booray), but just a comment with regards to making sure he leads his life in the God-like manner that he thinks everyone else should lead theirs.

    By the way, Ike, this is not a “room,” like you find on AOL. This is a blog, and it operates much like a discussion at a party not a funeral. If you don’t like something, don’t read it. Or, if you start reading something you don’t like, stop reading it and move to something else…sorta like you might do with a TV remote control.

  35. Ike1 says:

    Bill Simon, Sorry, did not realize I had interrupted your guessing game as to who is who. I guess you can mark off Erick as not being Millican, but I am not sure that does not mean he cannot also be Maverick Johnson.

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