On How Many Fronts Can Ralph Reed Fight?

First Reed entered the race in Georgia. Then he started fighting off Abramoff allegations here. The front moved to Washington and, to a degree, Alabama. Now, he has to fight in Texas too.

Three Texas watchdog groups asked a Texas county official Thursday to investigate former Christian Coalition director Ralph Reed, who worked with lobbyist Jack Abramoff to press state officials to shut down two Texas tribal casinos.

Reed is seeking the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor of Georgia next year.
Texans for Public Justice, Common Cause of Texas and Public Citizen filed their complaint with Travis County Attorney David Escamilla.

They said Reed failed to register as a Texas lobbyist in 2001 and 2002, when he received a reported $4.2 million from Abramoff and his partner Michael Scanlon to push for the closure of casinos operated by the Tigua tribe of El Paso and the Alabama-Coushatta tribe of Livingston in East Texas.

I actually am a big Ralph Reed fan. I’m not sure where I’ll fall in this race and really am of the opinion that not all the candidates have entered yet. But, I have a serious question and I address to those of you who are on the record supporting Ralph in this race (Cagle people need not chime in, we already know what you think). My question is this: At what point can we accurately use the phrase “embattled Ralph Reed”? I think we may definitively be there.

More from the AJC.

31 comments

  1. GAWire says:

    Personally, I think it is a great idea to elect a candidate that has:

    1) No elected experience

    2) No relevant experience (Just b/c you are a political operative doesn’t make you qualified to hold office)

    3) And, a sketchy past

    I am really looking forward to electing a candidate that will spend all of his time battling allegations, attending hearings, coordinating defense teams, and testifying before congressional hearings that discuss his alleged illegal activity over a course of many years, and, of course, someone that has been working with crooks like Abramoff very closely over the years.

    Please excuse my sarcasm, and my broken-record sounding arguments, b/c I have said this stuff over and over again, but I will continue to say this until folks realize what a bad idea it is to elect Ralph Reed.

    Seriously, what can you possibly say now that really defends him? Even if his record is clean, he is still tarnished by his associations and his sketchy tactics. I understand that Reed supporters think he is a good guy, and that’s fine with me – he has indeed done a lot for GOP candidates in the past, so I will give him that. But, can you not see that electing him to the 2nd highest position (and perhaps eventually the highest) in the state is NOT A GOOD IDEA? It’s called logic, and Reed supporters have yet to figure out how to keep their emotions from taking control of their political stance.

    One final thing – Ralph does know how to keep his emotions out of his politics. DO NOT be fooled into thinking he is running for LG b/c he has the best interest of Georgians at heart. It is no mystery that he is running for LG as a stepping stone, but I want everyone to understand that Ralph is a calculating businessman, and his emotions are not what driving him here; however, he does understand that pulling at others’ emotions can help him.

    Clear the fog from your goggles, folks, and start to think logically about this!

  2. kspencer says:

    For whatever you consider my opinion to be worth, I think this Texas issue is going to be a BIG THING, perhaps the thing that hurts Ralph the most. First, the case itself is pretty open and shut – lots and lots of documentation FROM Ralph saying he was in contact with various Texas officials regarding legislation, some of which was requesting more funds to do this, that or the other action. That said, the part that’s going to hurt the most is the civil penalty. Up to three times the unreported earnings, which for Ralph was approximately $4.2 million.

    $12.6 million right before either primaries or November elections is a chunk that’s not available for the warchest. Worse, the amount is sufficient to shock, which will move fencesitters and weak supporters to think that maybe there’s really something wrong.

  3. Silence says:

    I’ll answer Erick’s question: Ralph’s been embattled since he first started walking around the Capitol last session with Tim soliciting support…and since the day Jerry Keen decided to stay out.

  4. landman says:

    Good question Erick,another good way to look at these continueing issues that surround RR replace RR with the names of Mark Taylor,Charles Walker,Bill Clinton, etc and then you guys ask yourself if you think Georgia would benefit by having them as public servants.My guess is that there would be some serious outcrys for a public lynching coming from the same people who can so easily dismiss RR’s constant short comings in the integrety and character department.Like Ive always said I have nothing personal against RR,and think he is on a level to his own as a political operative,but Georgia deserves better out of its elected officials.The hyprocrisy would be comical if it were not for the seriousness of the topic.

  5. larry smith says:

    The guy is obviously “embattled.” I don’t think most observers would dispute that at this point. The key question is whether he has taken enough damage to withdraw. And, the answer to that is that Ralph isn’t going anywhere, because he has nowhere to go.

    Your normal candidate would be thinking seriously about bailing at this point, but Ralph is down to a handful of clients, and his name is so radioactive that no Fortune 1000 entity is going to risk putting him on the payroll. For Ralph Reed, it’s either win the LG race (the only thing that might revive his credentials and bring in more business) or file for bankruptcy.

    Chris is right, it will take at least an indictment and maybe a conviction to get Ralph Reed to drop out of this race … he sure as hell won’t do it to help the GOP.

  6. Silence says:

    I do agree with Larry. I’ll openly admit that I think Ralph is going to pull this out…for various and sundry reasons that I seriously doubt the vast majority of our readers care to hear. However, I agree that if Ralph doesn’t pull it out, his career is finished. Much like some other public figures we’ve seen in the past…

  7. GAWire says:

    Landman brings up an interesting by mentioning those Dems. Those guys might have had political success after personal issues, scandals, or wrongdoings came out; however, what did they do to their Party? Bill Clinton – while he was known as a powerful Party leader; the country was ready for a Republican after 8 years of his crap. Mark Taylor and Walker – look at the Dem Party in GA now.

    I think that if Reed takes a signficant leadership role as an elected official leading this Party (rather than just an operative), we could really be in danger for the future. Some will argue that it was Reed as GAGOP Chairman that got us our majority, but being Chair of the Party and leading it as an elected official are two TOTALLY DIFFERENT things.

    Silence, I don’t really understand your reasons why you think Reed is going to pull this out. Early polling and fundraising notwithstanding, what has Ralph done to show he can really win this?

  8. Bill Simon says:

    GAWire…I’ll answer your question: Because what will matter is the targeting mailing that Ralph’s campaign will do. And, Ralph will be able to get the hottest, freshest address list of Georgia Christian Coalition members straight from Sadie Fields who will gladly turnover whatever resources she has to the man she wants to win.

    Will that break IRS rules? Sure, but, with no national Coalition intact, how’s the state one going to really get caught?

    Besides, with Sadie working as the Georgia representative for Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, there is room for all KINDS of list swapping for Ralph to take advantage of.

    So, GAWire, it will be by hook and by crook, the exact way Ralph manipulated legions of Christians to organize against the Alabama lottery and the Louisiana casino and the Texas Tiguas…all the while collecting fat fees for the results of such manipulations…, thta Ralph will likely pull out a win in the primary.

  9. larry smith says:

    Bill,

    Would it change anything if Ralph responded to the DA in Texas that “the bitch set me up?”

    If it worked for Berry …

  10. 4ofspades says:

    If I remember correctly Berry claimed he was addicted to sex and didn’t have a drug problem. Maybe that would work for pretty boy Ralph.

  11. Stafferusga says:

    There are polls that have not been made public. This is not sticking or on the radar of most voters now. Reed is okay, unless there is an indictment–none of this misdemeanor Texas stuff. The problem is, if Ralph is convicted because of this, the others in front of him in line will make him look like small potatoes. Some of you guys have no clue how politics really work, or how we got to where we are. Get real. Cagle is out of his league.

  12. kspencer says:

    Stafferusga, that’s why I emphasized the money – and included the “if”.

    A personal fine of over 12 million dollars gets on people’s radars and sticks.

    If the charges don’t stick – if the fine doesn’t come due – then it’s as you say.

  13. landman says:

    Staffer,your arrogance aside,if you truly feel the Republican party got to where it is because of RR your foolish.Because some of us would hate to have to live on a staffers income doesnt make us completely niave.You may want to ask the eight RR Steering Committee members that have switched over to CC in the last week ,whether he is out of his league or not.
    Cagle will be elected by the same model that sent Issackson to DC.It seems that every RR fundraiser invite is put up by Erick or Silence but check out CC’s event on December 6 these are Georgia business leaders and Georgia votes. I realize you staffers have a cult like love affair with RR,BUT the Georgia Republican Party is much bigger than the kool-aide drinkers like yourself.

  14. Jack S says:

    Man, I wish I could be as smart and “in the know” as stafferusga.

    But I’m just a little ol nobody with no access to the “secret knowledge” you get in DC.

    For the really dense folks on here like waterboy, that’s sarcasm.

    Staffer’s post is the most ridiculous post I’ve ever seen on here. What a
    loser.

  15. Maurice Atkinson says:

    Stafferusga said, There are polls that have not been made public. This is not sticking or on the radar of most voters now. …..

    You’re correct, however, the election isn’t for 8 months. Don’t think for a minute the questions aren’t brewing. When the people have to make a choice the radar will be bleeping loudly.

    Right now the only people who are paying attention are political junkies. Christian Coalition members are beginning to question things. Ralph’s consistent response has been to blame it on the liberal press. The evidence is overwhelming. You can’t deny the Senate Oversight Committee hearing information (including personal emails) isn’t troubling. If this were a Democrat, we would be seeking blood.

    If Ralph were to win you’ll see a Republican massacre in the general election. I hardly think a Ralph win is worth losing an Alan Freeman, Jim Cole and many other fine Republicans who narrowly won in the last election.

    People expect and deserve integrity. If we as a Party cannot promote complete honesty and legislation that benefits all Georgians, then were screwed.

    What amazed me was that there were more than 30 people who showed up at a coffee shop at 3 in the afternoon on a Wednesday to meet a candidate, who has been said doesn’t have a snowballs chance to win this election. An Alias poster has said only the dregs are supporting Cagle. Seemed to me these were sharp hard working well meaning people. And 8 months from a Primary election!!???

    I worked for Herman Cain when he ran for the US Senate. December 5, 2003 at 5pm, we couldn’t get 7 people to come out for a meet and greet. Johnny Isakson got 3 people to show up. In March we had more than 200 people on a Sunday afternoon to visit with Herman. Casey is no Herman Cain, but he is successful in his own right. My point is that there is a strong amount of momentum building for Cagle.

  16. I am a Republican, a Conservative, a member of the Christian Coalition and a member of the Americans for Tax Reform….

    …and I am supporting Casey Cagle.

    I almost want to pull a play out of the Bush campaign, but instead of doing Vietnam Vets against Kerry, do a Christian Coalition for Cagle or something of the like…Another Christian for Casey.

  17. Maurice Atkinson says:

    Brian, I chaired a county Christian Coalition in Indiana for 2 years. Went to the training schools the state chairman conducted. It was quite effective. I stopped being involved with the CC because it was apparent that no Dems wanted to get close to the organization, and we were supposedly non-partisan.

    I don’t see a problem with have a Christian Coalition or a Conservative Coalition that is wholly Republican. By and large they are but they’re bylaws say they are non-partisan. I think once the CC identifies to closely with a candidate or a Party they are no longer effective as a non-partisan organization.

    I like the Another Christian for Casey.

    I just hope Cagle raises enough money to mount an effective media campaign. I have not read the latest finance reports. I don’t think he needs to raise as much or more than Ralph, but he needs more than a million, because we already know what kind of postcard and media campaign Ralph will use.

  18. larry smith says:

    Staffer,

    I can handle liars, but bad liars are another story. If you even work in DC (which I’m starting to doubt), you’re either an intern or a clueless kid making 20k a year and sleeping on someone’s couch.

    If you’re so plugged in, give me something I haven’t heard before. But don’t waste everyone’s time talking about polls that don’t exist, the Loch Ness monster, the Abominable Snowman, or your imaginary friend.

  19. Romegaguy says:

    I forget that Ralph has done so much for the party… like in 98 when he was helping Mitch Skandalakis take down all statewide GOP candidates that year…

  20. Bull Moose says:

    Ralph Reed is becoming nuclear toxic waste for Republicans and this is only the beginning. This morning on Meet the Press they briefly mentioned the Abramoff scandal and clearly both Reed and Norquist are wrapped up in it up to their eye balls.

    At this point, I lose respect for people who put their reputation on the line for Ralph Reed. They are just useless partisan neophytes and I have no use for them. That doesn’t mean that I think it’s because they aren’t supporting Casey, it means that they are stupid to stand up for a guy with this much crap surrounding him.

    If GA Republicans want to bring the Abramoff scandal home for all of our folks on the GOP, go ahead and keep supporting Reed. Heck, it might help us to defeat some other useless GOP Congressmen…

  21. Elliott says:

    reed is so dirty. given the sheer number of allegations against him, at least one of them has to be true. where there’s smoke there’s usually a fire. if he wins the nomination, i see a repeat of 1998.

  22. Tater Tate says:

    Boy, is this thing getting nasty. I suspect that our potential for being defeated in 2006 is more tied to this kind of internal Republican hatred, than anything RR may have or have not done that will engage the electorate. I think I’d much rather spend time with my animals than any of you self-righteous Republican elites.

    This is what I hate about Republicans in Georgia and exactly what the democrats love to exploit.

    What are you guys going to do if RR does win the nomination? I guess you’ll just stand back in your self-righteousness and let us tank??? I am going to work for the nominee, whoever it may be. And I am not going to try to make CC out to be evil even though I support the other guy. You are going too far with this and it is the attitude reflected on this string that has the potential to threaten and turn back our long fought Republican victories in this state. We are in trouble.

    I’ve never met a perfect candidate and there is always some dirt that can be dug up on any candidate. But this mad rush to destroy RR before he is ever officially charged or convicted of anything is too much.

    Is this really where Republican politics has taken us in this state? It’s no wonder good folk refuse to be involved in this process.

  23. Bill Simon says:

    Tater, there is a time for party loyalty and a time for loyalty to the concept of character. Since Ralph has no character (as I describe front-and-center in my new issue of PV), I will choose what is right over party loyalty bullsh**.

    I would rather vote for a liberal than a liar, and I will do so if Ralph wins the primary.

  24. Bill Simon says:

    Tater Tate,

    And you confirm my worst fears about you…You would rather put party loyalty above character. One more step in your training, and you can become the first Nazi in Georgia.

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