CD 10: Mistake for Whitehead to miss tonight’s debate?

It’s no secret Sen. Jim Whitehead is the front runner to replace the late Cong. Charlie Norwood. It’s also no secret that every other candidate goes after the front runner in debates and public forums. Thus, Whitehead has chosen not to attend tonights debate sponsored by the Atlanta Press Club and set to be broadcast tonight on Georgia Public TV at 7 pm. GriftDrift offers his take on the event complete with a dude in a chicken suit.

Was it a mistake for Whitehead to skip tonight’s debate, or a smart move?

Consider this a 10th CD Debate open thread.


  1. griftdrift says:

    Thanks for the link Buzz. One impression I didn’t report in my post is that Bill Greene was a much better debater than I expected. He’s very, very polished. Also, I gave Pulliam a bit of a short shrift. He was clearly in my mind the third best on the stage. The others were rather forgettable. Although Underwood was interesting and if I was a Republican I would definitely pay attention to him in the future.

  2. Lee Benedict says:

    Whitehead is indeed the frontrunner. Perhaps he has not attended some debates because he knew that at least 3-5 others would fire shots at him that are of no relevance to anything; for the few relevant on-point questions, Jim may simply not want to answer. All of that said, I think that he is trying a bit too much not to lose the election…he needs to come out more and establish himself as the perceived frontrunner. Ah, he probably has people smarter than me advising him.
    BTW – Friday the 15th at 3pm I will be on The Austin Rhodes Show.

  3. tony r says:

    I’ve got a question for bill greene. Why should jim whitehead answer your questions or hear your concerns when you don’t live in the 10th district?

    Last time I checked members of congress were supposed to hear and represent their CONSTITUENTS! Not blowhard leaches sucking money off conservatives who live in linders district.

  4. ToddH says:

    Sometimes when you play not to lose, you lose.

    At some point the CONSTITUENTS have a right to know what they are getting in the flesh and blood in a live forum rather than prepackaged political ads or canned speeches. I would certainly want to know if the person I am considering casting my vote for has the intelligence and ability to represent me and the rest of his CONSTITUENTS well in Congress.

  5. jackson says:

    Its funny that so many folks are just dying to debate Whitehead. He has been to every forum almost save for 2 or 3. No one watches these things…and before CHELF gets on here, he needs to check out the picture from the Athens Banner Herald of the debate. If every candidate had only 4 people there (1 staff, 1 wife, 2 supporters) that’s 40 people. Where there more than that in the shot?

  6. Lee Benedict says:

    tony r:

    That’s thee most intelligent question that I have heard during this campaign season, and being a candidate I have heard a bunch. Hooowwwever, all Members of Congress’ votes influences/dictates what to a large part happens in our daily grind.


    You hit the nail on the head as well. Anyone can look superb in a political ad or canned speech. But when you’re on the House floor debating taxes, Iraq, in-flight rocket repair…no ad or canned speech will accompany you. Hence, the voters need to see how well you run with a crowd. If anyone out there can put together a debate for the 24th SD candidates, please do so. A local paper tried but some of the candidates’ schedules did not permit it to happen.

  7. ToddH says:


    Nice 93rd Signal Brigade patch. I remember when I wore the same one when I was assigned to the 252nd Signal Company.

  8. Jasmine says:


    At some point?

    Or at the point that’s most convenient for you?

    Look, Whitehead’s been all over the district. And let’s not forget how big the 10th really is. There have been many “points” at which voters can “know what they are getting in flesh and blood in a live forum.”

    From Augusta State Univ. to Jefferson House in Jackson County. And all in between.

    So, let’s all get upset and moan because Jim won’t walk straight into pounding enemy fire.

  9. Holly says:

    If you look on the Augusta Chronicle web site, you’ll see that Jim wasn’t at the taping (which was earlier today) because he was at a meeting he set up between Governor Perdue and the officials at MCG and the University System of Georgia, talking about the future of MCG here and in Athens. I think it was definitely not a mistake to miss the GPTV debate, seeing as this meeting has been set up for months. The hardest part this time was not talking about the meeting beforehand, because Jim’s gotten all kinds of flack for not going. That said, now that we can talk about the meeting, I believe that the people here care more about MCG than a GPTV debate.

  10. griftdrift says:

    I still can’t believe how Denise Freeman teed up that question for Nate Pulliam. I would have written about it earlier if I hadn’t been on a time crunch.

  11. Observer says:

    How about that ad Gloria Norwood cut endorsing Whitehead. That’s got to make the other candidates say OUCH!

  12. Icarus says:

    “Sometimes when you play not to lose, you lose.”

    Even though UGA is in the 10th district, let’s leave last year’s play calling by Mark Richt out of this debate…

  13. bowersville says:

    Buzz, I’m glad you’re watching the debate in Gwinnett. I don’t recall the exact time frame and I’m too lazy to look it up on the Pundit, but if memory serves me right, you were at Hilton Head or the Savannah area during the November elections and had to go online to get Georgia returns because all coverage was out of SC.

    I’ve got news for all you outside the 10th, if you know anything about the 10th you would realize that what, 150 to 200 miles borders on NC and SC?

    Hello, by FCC rules we are in the broadcast target area for Asheville, Spartanburg and Greenville. ETV comes from SC and NC for a very large area of the 10th by satellite. The only way I can get GPTV is by cable, but I prefer satellite. So how many counties did GPTV reach for sure? Jackson and Clarke?

  14. Icarus says:

    In an age of 500+ channels, why are we still funding public broadcasting with taxpayer dollars?

  15. Icarus says:

    Or if we didn’t fund it at all, then Big Bird would die a gruesome, public death in front of “the children”? (Because it’s always about “the children”)

  16. Holly says:

    Oh, bowersville, thanks! You set me up to comment on something that I’d forgotten.

    Comcast made the June 4th Augusta Connect Live debate available On Demand through June 19th in Augusta. To access it, select Get Local; Government in Action; Connect Live (6-4).

    The debate is also airing on cable channel 23 in Hartwell, Elberton, and Nowman nightly through June 18th between 8 and 9 PM.

  17. ToddH says:


    Yeah, I’m sure they get a good look at Whitehead and his planned speeches and photo ops. God forbid the CONSTITUENTS actually see how they’re guy stacks up when he has to go head to head with other candidates and answer questions off the cuff. How dare anyone demand to see if Whitehead can actually think without a team of speechwriters or consultants planning his every move and word.

    Convenient for me? No, I just would like to see how a candidates faces the fiery depths rather than hiding in a spiderhole.

  18. ToddH says:

    I could say it is for the educational programming, but my toddler would rather watch Noggin than anything on GPTV.

  19. bowersville says:

    Most of the candidates, if not all have been all over the district. Anyone interested has been able to view/hear each candidate up close and in person, without staff or speech writers aiding answers to questions posed by the audience.

    I admit, I’ve not seen the Democrats, but that’s my choice. The Democratic candidates have been with-in very close driving distance.

    A GPTV debate is worthless in the 10th because most households don’t receive it and therefore it is impossible for most constituents to see how their guy/gal stacks up on GPTV.

    So if anyone is in a spiderhole, it is those candidates that thought their message would get out in the 10th on GPTV.

  20. Nicki says:

    Oh, whatever. Whitehead has made an intentional choice to avoid the debates that will potentially make him look bad. And that’s just plain lame.

    No worries for me, though — I voted today, and not for any of the republican challengers.

  21. buzzbrockway says:


    Pretty good memory. 🙂

    It was the July primaries and I was in Hilton Head. We could get the Savannah stations but they provided very little coverage other than to say Reed had conceeded very early. I had no idea what happened in the other races. Fortunately I could log on to Peach Pundit through my Palm.

  22. bowersville says:

    Nothing is lame in politics, my bet is the rest will look bad at about 8:30pm on the 19th.

  23. bowersville says:

    That’s right Buzz, I recall now, the most exciting time of the night aside from Cagle/Reed was Handel’s lead.

    Look at the job she’s doing now.

  24. Lee Benedict says:


    You may be right about 8:30. I just wish that Jim attended more debates; the one time that many voters tune in and make a decision based upon what they see. We all know that Jim has been touring CD 10 and speaking with folks. He told me at the Red, White, and Blue in Evans that he traveled 16,000 miles in his pick-up over the past 3 months. Perhaps it’s me, but you should attend all debates if you are a candidate – free exposure and an opportunity to address, on the record, your positions on issues important to the people. If opponents “gang up” on you, stick to your guns leaving them to look confrontational and you a person of principle; you will earn more votes and perhaps avoid a runoff.
    We know that Jim was in Augusta today trying to do good things…BUT HE HASN’T WON THE ELECTION(S) YET. Just my 2 cents.

  25. bowersville says:

    Stay tuned, interested voters have had contact with the candidates….the debates/forums have become nothing but an attempt from the others to gain attention to themselves in a shameful “gang up” on the front runner.

    It’s a crying shame Broun&Greene as Republicans have sided with the Democrats and resorted to such low life tactics. As far as sticking to your guns, consider Custer.

    Sometimes the tactics need to be changed to achieve the strategy, which is to win.

    So who is the winner, the one massacred, or the one standing at the close of the day?

    Don’t give me “it’s how you play the game,” that’s B/S for losers.

  26. Holly says:

    Lee, I posted as to where you can see a debate with Jim in it at your convenience.

    Jim has been to seven debates in a month and a half, including the event in Cornelia last night. He’s had over 20 media appearances. He will be on the Martha Zoeller show this week, and he called in to Austin Rhodes today. Both shows allow calls. It’s not hard to find him.

  27. Lee Benedict says:

    Alright alright…all I said was that I wish he appeared today and at a few other gatherings of ALL candidates.
    It’s not about us looking for a candidate…we were looking for all of them today BTW – it’s about candidates showing up for a debate that many people made the effort to make happen. If a candidate opts not to participate, so be it. My personal opinion is that if you are asking people to hire you, you need to be at the debates.

  28. MindyMay says:

    hee hee hee look at the funny email i got from the BILL GREENE campaign—-

    Greene Asks, “Will He Represent The Whole District?”

    COMMERCE, GA – Bill Greene, Republican candidate for U.S. Congress, today asked the question that’s been on the minds of the voters of the 10th Congressional District: “Where’s Whitehead?”

    “When you think of Jim Whitehead, you can think of the famous cartoon, ‘Where’s Waldo?'” said Bill Greene, considered to be the leading conservative candidate in the special election to fill the late Charlie Norwood’s seat. “It’s almost as difficult to find Jim Whitehead out in the district explaining his positions to us ordinary Georgians as it is to find Waldo in a crowd.”

    Including today’s debate hosted by the Atlanta Press Club, Whitehead has missed eight of the fourteen candidate forums and debates that have been hosted around the district. Bill Greene made a point to address Jim Whitehead’s empty podium during today’s debate. “Mr. Whitehead, you’ve missed over 57% of the candidate forums,” said Greene. “How can you expect the people of the tenth district to believe that you’ll represent the whole district as a Congressman, if you won’t even show up at over half of the events as a candidate to explain your stances on the issues important to them?”

    Bill Greene, president of the national conservative activist organization, is a Republican candidate for U.S. Congress in the June 19 special election for Georgia’s Tenth District. For more information, visit

    Your help is needed TODAY to get REAL conservative values to Washington, D.C. Please send your best contribution right away to bring in a New Generation of Leadership! Click here now:

    To send a check, mail it to:

    Bill Greene for Congress
    P.O. Box 374
    Commerce, GA 30529-9998

    NOTE: Be sure to forward this message to everyone you know who wants to see a REAL conservative elected to the Tenth Congressional District here in Georgia, in the June 19th Special Election. Thank you!

  29. profg says:

    jackson: Actually, including today’s debate hosted by the Atlanta Press Club, Whitehead has missed nine of the fifteen candidate forums and debates that have been hosted all around the district. That’s 60% by my calculator.

    I’ve missed two: one in Hart County, and one this evening in Athens.

    I’ve heard Whitehead say that he’s visited all 21 counties now. I don’t doubt that; so have my family and I, six days a week, 12-16 hours a day, plus speaking in churches every Sunday. We’ve put somewhere in the neighborhood of 40,000 miles on our van, and I’ve personally met one-on-one and shaken hands with 4-5000 people.

    I’ve enjoyed almost every minute of it, and we’re looking forward to next Tuesday night. 🙂


  30. MountainThinker says:

    As a sometimes 10th district constituent (my county is one of 4 that has and will likely continue to be bounced back and forth between the 9th and 10th) I find it troubling that ANY candidate would skip every televised debate and expect to actually get elected, let alone be viewed as the “only legitimate choice” to replace Congressman Norwood.

    Charlie Norwood was a staunch Conservative, but he was also a committed populist, believing and actively stressing the importance of his constituents. I never saw him publicly where he didn’t boldly state that his was an office of service, belonging to the people first and foremost and he went out of his way to reinforce that thought at every turn. Congressman Norwood was a champion of citizen outreach and constituent service; as a former constituent of his, I can say that I never doubted for one instant his committment to the individual people of the district, with little regard to their financial or political stature when it came to voicing their concerns or defending their rights.

    I can’t say for certain what sort of represenative Mr. Whitehead would be, everything in his record tells me he would ‘vote right,’ but then I can say the same for at least 2 of the other candidates. I could say that he’s probably well-versed on the issues and intelligent, but that too doesn’t distinguish him from several of his opponents in this race. In fact, the only thing up till now that truly separates him from ALL his fellow candidates, is an unwillingness/inability to present himself in the most accessible forums to the widely scattered constituents of his district. At best, he doesn’t understand the importance to rearrange his schedule to meet the greater needs of his constituents; at worst it may be an indication of flagrant arrogance on the part of an ‘establishment’ candidate.

    Personally, it gives me pause as to how he will serve if elected, when he won’t/doesn’t schedule this kind of basic constituent communication when he’s chasing votes… Can we will rationally expect better once he’s elected? I honestly don’t know.

    For now, I’m certain Mr. Whitehead will make the run-off (and there will certainly be one). I hope he’s forced to face off against a fellow Republican like Bill Greene or perhaps Nate Pulliam. At worst, it may serve as a friendly reminder that will make him work for it more and perhaps bring him back to the grassroots, where he’s sorely lacking. And of course if he doesn’t get the message, then I hope the people of the 10th are smart enough to elect someone else.

  31. LakeGuy says:

    Folks, the fact of the matter is that these debates are pointless. Yes, people like Bill Greene and Eric Underwood think they are great because its the only damn way you can get your message out. But how many people watch these debates? How many people make their decisions off these debates? We may watch them because we follow such things, but the folks like us generally have made a choice.

    I think this debate and the others that Whitehead has skipped are irrelevant in his outcome as the winner of this race. It does not hurt to skip the debates and it does not help him to be there at the debate, so the question is, why the hell go?

    While these other 3rd tier candidates were at the forums with 15 people and TV debates where a couple of ppeople tune in, Jim Whitehead was raising money, meeting voters and getting his message out to EVERYONE in the district.

  32. Federalist says:

    Whether it gives people the information that will change their vote is one thing. James Marlow got 35% of all of the question asked in the Debate,…and now all of those Democrats who did not know their candidates will know James Marlow…not denise freeman or evita pascal (candidates that would have stolen a few votes because (D) will be next to their name on the ballot.) In all respects for the other candidates…Greene, Myers, and Underwood gave substandard presentations, and reinforced all of the reasons why they are not the candidates for this office.

  33. I Am Jacks Post says:

    In his release, Bill Greene asks “How can you expect the people of the tenth district to believe that you’ll represent the whole district as a Congressman, if you won’t even show up at over half of the events as a candidate to explain your stances on the issues important to them?”

    I ask, “Bill Greene, you don’t even live in the district which you hope to represent. How do you expect the people of the 10th District to believe that you’ll represent them effectively?”

  34. Holly says:


    Jim didn’t skip every televised debate. See my comments on the previous thread.

    He went to seven debates in a month and a half. That’s a lot more than most candidates have in several months of an elective cycle. Some of the debates Bill Greene is saying Jim skipped out on, he had a representative speaker present to give his message in lieu of him. Bill Greene did the same thing at candidate forums he’s missed.

    The reasoning for missing the Atlanta debate is not only valid, but I think it shows exactly what kind of representative we’re going to get – one who works hard behind the scenes while others merely talk.

    LakeGuy is right. Very few people watch or go to the candidate forums. That’s what’s so bizarre about everyone deeming it a big mistake for Jim to have missed the two where he didn’t have a surrogate. However, I suspect that those yelling the loudest have their money on another candidate.

  35. Holly says:

    Wow, I’m full of mistakes this week. My comments I was referencing are on this thread. My apologies, everyone!

  36. Bill Simon says:


    Are you saying that black Democrat candidates would “steal” votes away from your lily-white Democrat candidate?

    Looks like you’re pretty racist to me.

  37. Nicki says:

    I read the recaps of the debates, so the absence of a candidate does matter to me.

    Of course, it no longer matters since I’ve already voted. Marlow, of course.

    There’s no republican I could vote for in good conscience, and Evita Paschall is too unknown to win.

  38. I watched the debate. I thought Mark Myers did a good job of forcing Marlow to admit he is a Nancy Pelosi -Harry Reid Democrat. I really like the idea of a 21st Century Contract with America so I was leaning toward Myers before the debate any way. Did the debate change anybodys mind ?

  39. Federalist says:

    I never said that Bill Simmon. That fact that (D) is next to their name means that they will steal votes from Marlow. Just like the other 5 repubs will steal votes from whitehead. Obviously with race on your mind, I question who the racist in the debate really is.

  40. Holly says:

    Anyone who paid the near-$5,000 qualifying fee is a legitimate candidate. Voters make their own decisions based on who they think the best candidate is. Granted, the consensus among most Democrats seems to be that Marlow is their best choice, and the consensus among most Republicans is that Jim is their best choice. (Most, not all.) That said, there are eight other candidates who have clearly resonated with at least some voters, and it is those voters’ rights to cast their ballots for them. That’s not stealing, though. Stealing implies illegitimate theft, so this can’t qualify by that definition.

  41. Federalist says:

    I do not know if you have noticesd, but party affiliation means a hell of a lot in Georgia.

  42. Nicki says:

    “Stealing” is hyperbole, Holly. As one might call it if one considers that in the absence of a partisan election we’re almost certain to have a runoff if we do not have a plurality of votes cast for one candidate. Which might ultimately “steal” the election from the leading party.

    If anything, I’d think Republicans might be more likely to call it stealing since the stakes are all theirs in this case. Marlow will be the Democratic frontrunner, certainly. He will likely come in 2nd or 3rd overall. But every vote that doesn’t go to Jim Whitehead increases the likelihood of a runoff and ultimately of simply losing the seat to a Democrat.

    In fact, I’ve decided that’s why the Athens Banner-Herald endorsed Pulliam. He won’t win, and he won’t make the runoff — but he might siphon enough votes from Whitehead and Greene to kick Marlow into 2nd decisively and therefore position a Marlow vs. Whitehead runoff. What are the chances of Republican voters, many of whom are choosing to vote for other candidates because of differences in philosophy, uniting behind Whitehead in a runoff?

  43. Federalist says:

    Greene wont be receiving but a few votes…I think maybe 5% of this district is “nazi” enough to think he would best represent this district. Pulliam is a good candidate, but just lacks the funding to execute a successful campaign. Whitehead obviously does not care about the voters…he only cares about those few wealthy business owners that play golf at Augusta National and contribute to his campaign. Broun is just clueless.

  44. Nicki says:

    Greene scares the ^%$# out of me. But I have lately been shocked with exactly how racist and clueless a lot of North Georgia is, so I think he might pull as much as 12% (in keeping with the Klan- and related-entity-backed candidates of recent elections). Whitehead suffers from his own arrogance, and honestly I’m irritated at the volume and sneakiness of his correspondence. Broun seems nice, but he’s not really making the splash he needs to in order to take the seat and he’s completely lost the money race.

  45. Federalist says:

    “The most unqualified support for the war came from Republican Bill Greene, who said Congress should not interfere but let the military do ‘what they do best, which is to kill our enemy and break their stuff.’ (Baxter, Tom. 2007. “Front-runner skips debate but is in the hot seat.” June 13. Atlanta Journal-Consitution. D5) Unqualified and unquantified. What else should you expect from this degenerate hack? Other than entering a congressional race. Mr. Greene, you are playing with the big guys…not online-psuedo universities or online-political consulting groups…buck up or get out!

  46. Federalist says:

    Broun should have made a bigger “splash” , as you put it. His father was a very well respected public servant, that held the highest respect for the people he served. The apple sure fell far from the tree though.

  47. Holly says:

    Nicki, I’m aware of what a hyperbole is. I simply pointed out why it didn’t work in this case. That said, I’ve not heard many Republicans say things to the nature of “that election was stolen from me,” and the only instance in the race on this blog hasn’t been from our side. Perhaps we believe in the electoral system enough to admit losses are a result of things such as “well, I lost that because of issue X.”

    I happen to agree with you on the Pulliam endorsement, but let’s be honest. . . there aren’t that many undecided Republican voters in ACC. Oconee voters aren’t your “wait ’til the last second to choose” kind of folks – in fact, they’re pretty much all for Broun or Jim. So while I think the ACC was hoping to change the outcome, I’m not sure it will have the affect desired.

    My personal prediction is that it’s Jim and Broun in a run-off, though it all depends on turn-out. We’ll see what happens next Tuesday night.

  48. Federalist says:

    there is no way two gopers will make the run off. We are talking about 52% of the voters being gop, then about 10%ish going to greene and broun…20%ish to whitehad…and the rest to the other gopers. Marlow will undoubtedly get 20%, probably more. As you said though, it depends on turn out. We may very well see a broun marlow ticket considering whiteheads activities.

  49. ToddH says:


    What exactly is a Nancy Pelosi-Harry Reid Democrat? I ask this b/c I think just about every Democrat would fall into this category.

  50. Nicki says:

    Let’s do. Well, actually, I can’t. I think Whitehead will lead the Republicans, but I think enough votes will be siphoned off that he’ll face Marlow in a runoff (since Marlow will get fairly unified Democratic support). In fact, I think Marlow will do awfully well because the leading republicans are so far right.

    So, random numbers here…

    Whitehead 30%
    Marlow 30%
    Greene 10%
    Broun 15%
    Everybody else the remainder.

  51. griftdrift says:

    I’ll make one.

    Marlow and Whitehead in the runoff.

    Whitehead wins 55-45.

    Actually I made that a month ago on the Georgia Politics Podcast.

  52. Federalist says:

    Whitehead 22%
    Broun 16%
    Greene 8%
    Myers 3%
    Underwood 1%
    Marlow 32%
    Freeman 5%
    Paschall 3%
    At first I would not have given Marlow more than 17%. But he has raised enough money to get his name out, and the people know that he is the Democrat in this race. Whitehead I originally had at 30%, but his campaign took a hit when the people of the 10th found out that whitehead is a moron.

  53. ToddH says:

    Republicans seem to like presumed frontrunners so I’d say that Whitehead stands to get a pretty good chunk of the GOP vote. Democrats will pretty band together around Marlow.

    Whitehead 41%
    Green 6%
    Broun 5%
    Pulliam 5%
    Underwood 2%

    Marlow 36%
    Freeman 3%
    Paschall 2%

Comments are closed.