Cathy v. Mark

I had an interesting conversation on Thursday with a guy who really thinks Taylor is going to beat Cox. He says, and others have said, that Cox has never really run an aggressive statewide campaign. She’s always been “Cathy” and people have liked her, especially when she’s been placed against rather incompetent and/or underfunded copetition from the GOP.

“Taylor and Cox, to some degree, neutralize each other in rural Georgia.”

But, Mark Taylor is going to wage holy war because he is in this to win too. Here are my thoughts:

Taylor is going to have to be somewhat delicate because Cox is “Cathy” to a lot of people. Good Southerners are not going to want to see Taylor beat the hell out of someone like Cox.

At the same time, I’ve heard rumors for a while that there is dirt on Cathy Cox and her handling of issues. Likewise, look for Taylor, in the primary, to use the issue of balloting papertrails against Cox. As you probably know, many people on the right and left want our voting machines to print out a hard copy of the vote. Cox has been opposed to that and it is rapidly becoming a populist issue that Taylor can use to make inroads in the black community — a community whose leaders thrive on tales of Republican efforts to steal the vote through a system that does not give you a record of who you vote.

Cox is going to have an easier time than Taylor running on the governance issue, thanks to the Republicans. The GOP has marginalized Taylor in the State Senate. While Cox has been out getting aggressive against various lenders and con artists, Taylor has been whining that the GOP keeps cutting his Lite Gov. budget. If Cox is effectively able to use the leadership issue because of GOP efforts to handcuff Taylor, that would be oh so very ironic, given that most people think Cox will be a tougher opponent against Sonny.

Taylor, right now, from what I am hearing, has an edge in the black community — a key demographic in the Democratic primary. Shirley Franklin, though I’ve previously heard she’ll come out for Cox based on Cox’s strong fundraising numbers, may very well go with Taylor due to close personal ties. Likewise, Robert Brown, being the minority leader in the State Senate, just might come out for Taylor, which would help Taylor tremendously in the black community.

Taylor and Cox, to some degree, neutralize each other in rural Georgia. One is from Bainbridge and one is from Albany. So, how they play in metro areas is going to be a key determinent, I think. Getting black support will help whoever gets it solidify support in those urban areas.

Right now, the people I’m talking to say Cox will get the female vote, no question, but Taylor is the odds on favorite of getting the black vote and that, according to many Democrats, puts him in the lead.

Nonetheless, don’t forget that Cathy Cox has lots of good polling data. I’m told that the Taylor campaign sees the same thing. But, I’m also told that Cathy’s good numbers are more reflective of a general election and do not necessarily, despite her campaign spin, translate into the primary, where many people already had it in their heads three years ago that Taylor would succeed Governor Barnes in 2006.

But, for my opinion: my money is on Cathy Cox. Taylor can’t compete with her charm and her popularity. He’ll have to drag her down far and, in doing so, his negatives will go up significantly. I don’t know that he can offset Cathy Cox’s popularity by going negative without, in the process, destroying himself.

Chime in with your thoughts in the comments.

12 comments

  1. Randy says:

    Well, dunno about this one, Erick. Like most of the spin that starts in the Taylor camp, it sounds like a mix of wishful thinking, what-ifs, bravado, and bluster. No matter how hard they try, I can’t get around a basic fact: Mark Taylor is not a likeable guy. I don’t know anyone who’s with him because they like him, respect him or think he’s a good candidate. And, come on, he was humiliated when his opponent raised way more money than him, and opened up a 20 point lead, including a 16 point lead with African-American women.

    Most Democrats I know see it this way: If Cathy Cox is the nominee, they beat Perdue. If Taylor is the nominee, Perdue is reelected. Taylor won’t lose the primary quietly. But keep in mind that every boast by the Taylor people (like “we’ll raise more money than her”) has proven false, and every assumption about Cox has been wrong. They keep underestimating her. And I suspect that’s by her design.

  2. Erick says:

    Randy,
    I actually do tend to agree with you. My money is on Cox because I don’t believe that Taylor is going to overcome the likeability factor when measured to Cathy’s standards. Hell, I really, really like Cathy Cox. I’m voting for Sonny, but I did work for Cathy Cox in law school and think she is a very nice person and would be quite competent in the Governor’s mansion — more so that Taylor.

    Besides, there’s that southern gal accent of hers. Taylor can’t beat that.

    When it comes to the personalities in the race, both Sonny and Cathy Cox are likeable, gregarious people. Taylor can have as many little babies as he wants walking down the floor of the Senate, but that only slightly helps improve his personality.

  3. Rebel says:

    Cox is the threat to Perdue. However, “the big guy” had the best ad of that cycle – we still remember it today. If they do media like that and tag Cox with the “L” word, secure the black base, and don’t make any major mistakes Taylor can win.

  4. buzzbrockway says:

    As SoS Cox has been able to avoid taking very many positions on issues, but that allows Taylor to define her. I think he’ll succeed, and Cox’s path to the nomination will be a bumpy one.

    So saith Buzz. :o)

  5. Bill Simon says:

    I don’t see how one “secures the black base” by being anything but liberal. That is, Taylor will have to paint himself liberal to get the black base, while at the same time paint CC as the liberal candidate. Taylor will find it a difficult balancing act to play-up himself to the black community and make himself out to be a “conservative.”

  6. buzzbrockway says:

    But remember the black Churches. They don’t necessarily vote for the most liberal Democrat – they are more interested in social policy and affirmative action. If Taylor can paint Cox as too liberal for the black Churches, he’ll get plenty of black support.

  7. Bill Simon says:

    Regarding the “neutralizing” of the South Georgia effect on both Cathy and Mark, one item that we really don’t know about is the “gender effect” on whether South Georgia Democrats will go for a female gubernatorial candidate.

    Granted, Cathy Cox does not act anything like a shrill Geraldine Ferraro or Hillary Clinton, but I do not have a feel for how “progressive” the typical South Georgia Democrat voter is in terms of their view on gender in a political race.

    Anyone have a feel for this?

  8. Randy says:

    Sure. Just look at past elections, where Cox did better in South Georgia than Taylor did. And in current polling, she is far ahead of Taylor there. Whatever she might lose in one demographic, she picks up in another.

  9. Bull Moose says:

    A friend of mine had this to say about Cox:

    I like Cathy Cox — she has made forming a company in Georgia such an easy and streamlined process. If she can do to this state what she did to the Secretary of State’s office — we’ll be much better off…

    So Bull Moose says, we better be careful here… Cox has A LOT of Republican support…

  10. Erick says:

    The danger with Cox is this: I know a half dozen people who have Bush-Cheney 04 stickers on their cars next to the Cathy Cox 2006 stickers that they’ve put in the spot where they use to have Sonny Perdue stickers.

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