Why Does This Bother Me So Much?

This is Mike Wiggins’s yard sign. I don’t actually see any in yards around Macon, but they are all up and down the rights of way — something a judicial candidate should be wary of doing considering it is a misdemeanor crime.

Now, I’ll probably vote for Mike Wiggins in the election — after all, I’m a Republican and I tend to vote for Republican candidates. “Wait, Erick,” you say, “it’s a nonpartisan race.”

Well, it should be nonpartisan. But Mr. Wiggins has decided to lock, stock, and copy the Bush-Cheney logo. The sign is identical in styling except the star field is now in the shape of Georgia. That says a couple of things to me.

First, it says that there is a lack of originality in this campaign. Instead of coming up with a unique campaign image, they’ll just copy the President’s.

Second, it says that Wiggins is, at a basic level, willing to mock the nonpartisan nature of judicial campaigns in Georgia. I speak only for myself, but I think if we are to have elections for judges instead of an appointments process, nonpartisan elections are the way to go. And this sign reads “I’m the Republican in the race.”

Look, I’m helping a friend run for judge. And given his background, we could very easily turn it into a partisan affair. In fact, two people in the race have — one going so far as to register for the race *as a Democrat*. But these races are suppose to be nonpartisan and I think they should be run that way. I feel very strongly about that.

I realize to get traction in a statewide nonpartisan primary, you almost have to affiliate with either the Democrats or Republicans. It otherwise is very, very difficult to pick off a sitting member of either the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court.

But Wiggins could do it in a more original way than copying George Bush’s campaign logo. I call “party foul” on that one.


  1. Seth Millican says:

    Funny considering that in a “non – partisan” race in 2004, the Democratic Party of Georgia ran $200k worth of slate ads for Chief Justice Leah Sears. Non – partisan….

  2. RuralDem says:

    That’s what happens when you cannot run on the issues in a non-partisan race. Simply invoke the party view and hope it’ll push you through.

  3. Mad Dog says:

    We need to avoid the problems Texas has had with elected judges.

    The current average campaign expenditure for a state judge is ONE MILLION DOLLARS! Each judge MUST declare partisanship.

    So Texans pick judges based on Democrat, Republican, Independent, Libertarian, Communist etc etc

    Do you think justice is better in Texas?

    (Just a reminder, Tom Delay didn’t!)

  4. jsm says:

    You ought to see Wiggins’ campaign guy in Hall County. He’s kinda sloppy, and he always brings with him a disheveled Hispanic (different each time) who can’t speak English to help him pass out literature. It looks really bad.

  5. Fiddes says:

    Erick: Excellent points. I, too, haven’t seen his signs in anyone’s yard but all over public places. He’s people went so far as to actually have them on UGA property in rows in front of selected buildings during the Georgia game last Saturday. If you have to break the law to get your signs out, then there is a real problem, too.

  6. ToddRehm says:

    For what it’s worth, this may be a “yard sign only” version of the logo. The version I’ve seen (for example, at http://www.jasonpye.com) is the same layout but with a lighter blue, non-solid background that looks decidely different from the yardsign.

    Sometimes, campaign logos are best simplified for some media like yardsigns. Particularly with the other design I’ve seen for Wiggins, it would be much more expensive to have a custom color and half-tone screen to replicate that look.

    Plus, the yard sign is a high-contrast adaptation of the other logo, and many campaigns go wrong in the other direction – slavishly using their “regular” logo for yardsigns even if it’s less-readable than something like this.

    A good example of similar adaptation would be Casey Cagle. His yardsign and 4 by 4 design is different than what you see on his printed materials, but it’s higher visibility, which makes it better for the signs.

  7. dogface says:

    You’re picking on Wiggins for yard signs on the right-of-way? Hell, the entire ballot is guilty, Democrat and Republican, of this offense … including the Governor, who passed a “litter” bill this session that tightens restrictions against right-of-way signage.

  8. leftrightcombo says:

    Mike W.’s yard signs and overall designs are pretty much lame. I have seen the same thing over and over again. The only things it shows is that he is probally a Rep. and probally unoriginal.

    Oh.. I met Mike this weekend and he is a good guy. He will most likely not win based on his unimaginative campaign.

  9. dogface says:

    If I were an under-funded candidate running for the Supreme Court against the deep pockets of the politically sophisticated trial bar association, I’d use any legal advantage I could … including borrowing on Bush-Cheney’s logo.

  10. uga_alum_93 says:

    The voter ID appeal process proved there is still plenty of partisanship on the bench in our state. I plan to vote for Wiggins with the Barnes judge-shopping fresh in my mind. Let’s keep Georgia as Republican & Bulldog Red as possible.

  11. Nicki says:

    I just blogged about this on my blog and over at Athensworld. When the guy who vows to uphold the laws can’t even do so for the duration of the campaign, that doesn’t bode well.

    I’ve now torn Wiggins’s signs out of the median on Broad Street in Athens following two UGA games. Once is an accident. Twice is an embarassment, and an intentional disregard for the laws.

    Oh, and since every improperly placed sign is costing me, the taxpayer, money, I’m taking it personally.

  12. Brian from Ellijay says:

    If you want to go after someone for Right Away Signs, look no further than TOMMY IRVIN. He has a sign at every exit up and down 575 now.

    Doesn’t his department control/maintain those? Feels like Government paid sign work to me.

  13. skbarton13 says:

    Both seem to be fine candidates to me. I am pleased that I have a choice and can live with whoever is the people’s choice.

    In this case, the party affiliation matters less that the supporters of the candidates.

    True advertising would show —

    Carol Hunstein: Supported by trial lawyers and most of the legal establishment of Georgia

    Mike Wiggins: Supported by the Chamber of Commerce, doctors, and insurance companies

    Carol Hunstein seems okay (I voted against Leah Ward Sears with relish), but I’m not voting for the candidate preferred by the tort bar, and am happy to have a choice.

  14. dingleberry says:

    They shouldn’t be. People have the right to know who they are voting for: The LIBERAL democrat or the CONSERVATIVE republican.

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