In praise of the Perdue campaign.

Let me say something about Jeff’s comment here claiming the Perdue campaign was poorly run. Yes I’m biased as I was Perdue’s chairman in Gwinnett, but the Governor ran a darn fine campaign. Here are some facts:

1) Perdue received (unofficially) 1,207,531 votes last night, 165,854 more than 2002 – a 16% increase.

2) Only Kathy Cox (2002 and 2006), John Oxendine (2002 and 2006) and Bobby Baker (2004) have received more votes than Perdue did last night (among non-Federal GOP candidates).

3) You must go back to 1994 to find an election where the Governor’s race was at the top of the ballot. Ironicaly, ’94 was the year of Newt’s Contract With America. 1994 also featured a hotly contested race between incumbent Zell Miller and Guy Milner. Turnout in 1994 was 51.4% and this year, with a depressed GOP base and a solid lead for Perdue turnout was 49.3% (by my calculation).

4) While some here did not like Perdue’s ads, they were popular and people remembered the “Sonny Do List.” Perdue’s team also quickly realized the “Pinocchio” ad was not being well received and it disappeared. Furthermore, Perdue’s absentee ballot mailer was tremendously effective, accounting for thousands of absentee requests in Gwinnett and I suspect in other counties as well.

5) Despite the constant attacks from the Taylor campaign, and the frequent negative coverage he received, Perdue never got off message.

For these reasons, and many others, I say Perdue ran a great campaign. He started with a large lead, built on it, and closed the deal in impressive fashion yesterday.


  1. commonsense says:

    All the polls showed the same thing- about half the people weren’t sure about Taylor but didn’t like Sonny. Taylor never sealed the deal on TV, the media wrote if off from the begining and used polls to justify never actually covering the race (with the exception of the AJC and AP). Was there a single TV story that covered what Sonny had done as Gov? Was there single story that wasn’t a combination of the following: new poll, new ad, ethics charges flying without evaluation of the actual charge, and Taylor down in money and the polls? Yes there was. There was one such story, it aired on WGCL and the Gov threatened the reporter with being fired. WSB could do a two part investigation hit peice on Thurbert Baker but not one thing durring the election about PeachCare cuts or QBE funding or an actual investigation into the tax break or Oaky Woods. Whereas normally the undecided’s break against an incubment here they went back into Sonny’s fold because Taylor wasn’t ever credible beyond the base.

    Most fundamentally TV ads. In the Dem primary Taylor went up first and stayed up with more points. He wins. In the general Sonny went up first and stayed up with more points he wins (even a drunk could win that campaign for his boss).

    Yes I know, Sonny did what Taylor didn’t in ’02. That’s because Barnes ran his first term like a second and pissed of teachers who didn’t want to actually be held accountable.

    Dems now have a new baseline, 38%. This is both rock bottom and the very top that a dem will get in GA unless they already hold the office.

  2. gatormathis says:

    There will be pundits (no pun intended) all over, for the armchair quarterback analysis to come. One thing is for sure, somebody done something right.

    Not to bore you with a lot of statistics, the ascension of Sonny’s percentage over 50 percent was telling enough by itself. After catching flak from every source imaginable, Sonny somehow again rose to the top.

    I noticed the bill shi** column in the paper today. He can’t seem to decide if he was a Republican once removed, hauled sideways, or piñata voted. Pinnate voting is when you used to close the curtain on the voting machine, close your eyes, spin around three times, then touch the ballot with your finger tips. As your eyes opened, you could tell if you were gonna vote Republican or Democrat.

    Shi** probably wound up on a few Republicans and was afraid not to vote
    Accordingly, in case something bad might happen. With Divine intervention and such, you can’t never be to sure. That’s cool, we’ll take ’em.

    These new electronic machines don’t have enough curtain to allow such “Wizard of Oz” gestures.

    So throw at him what you will, Sonny has acquired another term. The party was fun, and happy faces helped cheer up the sad ones. I got to see people I haven’t seen in a while.

    The phone call was received, our Governor came out to announce the victory, all the little ones in tow. He and Ms. Mary were gracious, nice as ever, thanking all the folks for their support.

    We watched on the big TV screen, as the Lt. Gov. came on to give his speech. It was very gracious, as he paid great tribute to his campaigners and their effort. It had a lot sweeter tone than the ads of previous weeks. As he got done with the business of conceding, he condescended on into a “what we gonna whine about next” installment of dialogue.

    His head started to shake again and jowls began to tremble. The old marky mark was back.
    Republicans stood still, belaboring this drivel, as it interfered with our celebratory time.

    After about a minute of this, I looked over at a friend, grinned, and bellowed kinda deeply, “Cut him off!”, bout as loud as you can in Buckhead without em calling the police. Startled folks ahead looked around, I said “Cut him off, we ain’t gotta listen to that.” Folks went to laughing, a SONNY SONNY chant got started, and in a few minutes, the room was returned to the happy buzz of a Victory Celebration. It was a fun too, with the backdrop of Taylor on the Big Screen, head a waddling, rattling on and a grinning as usual.

    We had candidates who missed their races, they were good sports, but you could tell, they wasn’t quite as happy as the winners. Both the winners and losers ran good campaigns.

    But back to the subject, yep Sonny did a great job. He took his young energetic campaign workers to the court, “have ball, will travel” style. He went to so many events, it was unimaginable anyone could muster the strength to do it all. He hugged enough children to make a Peter Pan movie. Children that when they look back, they’ll remember Mr. Sonny, he walked right up and spoke to me, he was realer than on TV.

    There is no substitute to plain ole pounding the pavement, pressing the flesh hand shaking when it comes to politics. You personally visit someone’s space, they appreciate it. You come down to their level. Communities proclaimed, “The Governor is coming here today”, and it makes a timeless headline. Governors don’t get around all over like they used to, while, I guess Sonny did.

    It’s been fun with a lot of great campaigns. My hats off to the candidates, only you know the great experience of running a political campaign. A tip of the hat also, to the winners, you have to live up to the expectations. Most of all to the voters, you have once again stated that there are enough people interested in the democratic process to continue operating in this manner.

    Great to meet all ya’ll that I met.

  3. atlantaman says:

    “about half the people weren’t sure about Taylor but didn’t like Sonny.”

    I don’t know if this is true or not, but assuming it is Taylor has nobody but himself to blame. When your entire general election campaign is based on an opponents land deal and during the last 4 weeks (the most critical time) you spend all of your advertising money on your opponent and none on yourself then why would you expect anyone to be sure about your candidacy?

  4. gatormathis says:

    “…..all of your advertising money on your opponent and none on yourself then why would you expect anyone to be sure about your candidacy”

    A man told me one time, “Son, if you’re gonna spend money advertising, talk about yourself. Somehow, when people are talking about the “other fellow”, I get to thinking about the “other fellow”. So, if you’re gonna spend your money, talk about yourself, then I’ll be thinking about you.”

    The old fellow had like zero political aspirations, and never really fooled with politics, but his advice was sound, sound as I ever seen.

  5. RandyMiller says:

    Who do you think told Taylor to go 100% negative with this land deal stuff? Whoever it was is probably the most outa touch person in Georgia. Was it Rick Dent? I think voters also remember the character assination against Cathy Cox, many saw this replayed by Taylor when he went up against Perdue.

    As for people not liking Sonny, I think he came across as the more likable “grandfather” figure and people connect with that. I saw Taylor the morning I went to the polls. There was a small group surrounding him as he came out of the church where he votes, all clamoring around in admiration as in adoration of the magi. People wanting to spend a night in the Governors mansion, some just wanting to go to the parties there. Some hoping to get in on the deals. Wow,
    I thought Perdue had the upper hand but never dreamed it amounted to 58%. There were obviously some major hangovers hanging around the Taylor fans Wednesday morning.

  6. GOPGrassroots says:

    Jeff Emanuel has become Bill Shipp Jr. He has nothing positive to say, or do. He criticized the Perdue Campaign and the Governor publicly before the election, and now that the Governor has won a resounding victory he is still harping on how ineffective the campaign was. If I were Jeff, I guess I’d be bitter too. Jeff failed miserably in his big run for state house, blew up the UGA College Republicans in the process, and now has nothing better to do than sit at home and spew his jealous criticism of those who are actually out there working to elect Republicans. Bill Shipp, we’ve found your successor.

  7. rightofcenter says:

    gatormathis hits on a very important but often neglected point: Sonny did a tremendous job of getting around the state to meet people, and it just wasn’t at fundraisers. One of the many things that Barnes did wrong in 2002 was conducting a flyover campaign. He was never seen outside of Atlanta or the cities. By the way, Casey also did a good job of this.

  8. Cole Gardner says:

    I wish I were commenting on something of substance, but here we go again. I could write a long article about why Jeff was correct, but the targets wouldn’t listen because none of this has anything to do with the Governor’s campaign. It’s about children with personal vendettas to settle and “I told you so’s” to throw around. Someone raise concerns regarding their campaign and they run home to mommy crying “Wah wah wah! Jeff’s making legitimate criticisms again!” Maybe it makes them feel better at night, I don’t know. I’ve seen it here before, and it’s absolutely juvenile. The Governor won. So get on with your policy absenteeism and go on aspiring to be politicians. Leave the difference-making to those who will #1 discuss issues of consequence and #2 do so professionally without picking fights. That is all.

  9. Cole Gardner says:


    I don’t mean to lump together all those who disagree with Jeff or me, just those who don’t know how to do so professionally. That was my only point. It had nothing to do with the Governor, really. But since you ask, my feeling on Perdue’s campaign is that it was good enough to win, but that’s easy to say in hindsight. I shared Jeff’s opinion that the campaign was not being conducted in the most efficient manner prior to the election, and thankfully, it didn’t keep him from retaining his office. Is that a satisfactory answer?

  10. GAWire says:

    >>”””He criticized the Perdue Campaign”””

    GOPGrassroots, you say that like Jeff was the only one who made negative comments towards Sonny.

    Listen, and listen closely … take one minute to stop thinking you are some sort of political bada** and listen to someone much wiser.

    Sonny was re-elected … that’s great. I support Sonny. Jeff supports Sonny. We will always back Sonny up. But, don’t be mistaken to think you and the rest of Sonny’s crew are free from criticism. As a matter of fact, you should be very greatful that so many people have stuck with you, even through the daily problems facing the GAGOP.

    You should stop being an ungrateful brat thinking you actually did something, and take a minute to thank your lucky stars that there wasn’t a better candidate up against Sonny. A lot of Georgians have reluctantly stuck with Sonny, knowing he is a good guy, but hoping he will do better in his second term (and I think he will indeed, no thanks to his campaign staff).

    As far as this comment: “””now has nothing better to do than sit at home and spew his jealous criticism of those who are actually out there working””” — I know Jeff … he’s done quite a bit more than sit at home and spew blah blah blah. What have you done?

    So, all this can be summarized as: HUMBLE YOURSELF OR YOU WILL BE HUMBLED!!!!

  11. Emerald Isle says:

    GOPGrassroots: it is you who sound bitter and I think you need to get some of your facts straight. 1 Jeff did not run for state house – Regina Quick did. 2. As for “blowing up the UGA College Republicans” the UGACRs had an outstanding year and Jeff helped out a great deal with that organization 3. Jeff is a Special Operations veteran and it is obvious from your comment that he has “nothing better to do than sit at home and spew his jealous criticism of those who are actually out there working to elect Republicans” that he has a far better grasp of what it is to work for this country than you.

  12. Big Mack says:

    Sonny won big time and all the rhetoric about how the campaign was run or not run doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. It all boils down to a statement I heard the Bear make one morning and that is ” Son, one point is an ass whipping.” Believe that. It is true and all the after the fact comments are irrelevant.

  13. DougieFresh says:

    If Perdue’s campaign was not well run, I wish more Republican’s had run their races as poorly. Perhaps Allen would still be a sitting Senator the first week in January, if he was half as bad as Perdue.

  14. GAWire says:

    Big Mack, you’re actually very right. It really matters none whatsoever how bad I think things got internally within the GAGOP. We won, and one point is indded all that matters (actually, one vote).

    Still, I think GOPGrassroots’ shots were uncalled for and for that matter, completely off target. Unfortunately, his comments represent some typical BS from GOP insiders in Georgia who often get a little too big for the breeches.

    And, if anyone is wondering what I mean by the whole “humbling” thing … I have three words for you: Ralph Freaking Reed!

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