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.