The Secretary of State has certified Broun the winner and now this comes up.

he late Rep. Charlie Norwood’s campaign spent more than $63,000 for an event at a Ritz Carlton golf resort two months after he died. On the same weekend, the candidate endorsed by Norwood’s family to succeed the congressman — former state Sen. Jim Whitehead — held a fundraiser at the same hotel, reports and interviews show.

Norwood officials said the events were unrelated and that the Norwood expenditures were for a reservation that had already been booked and could not be canceled. Although they declined requests for documentation, they said the spending did not benefit the Whitehead campaign.

While they say the events were separate, the spending illustrates the extensive mingling between the two Republicans’ political operations. At least six of Norwood’s staffers went on to work in Whitehead’s campaign. At times, they were simultaneously closing out Norwood’s affairs.


  1. Lee Benedict says:

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Whitehead’s campaign management, full of arrogance and cockiness, took this election for granted. Yes, the candidate is ultimately responsible. However, he probably felt confident with Norwood’s staff…but reality is that Norwood never really had a “contest” since 1996. I have seen a lot of this campaign (perhaps not as much as some of you) and the upper echelon of it disgraced themselves and I sincerely hope that they “worked” on their LAST campaign. Jim Whitehead is good people and I wish the best for him.

  2. Holly says:

    I cannot believe you keep searching for this kind of stuff, Erick. This post borders that kind of weird paranoia seen in the National Mail post.

    Here’s what I know about the weekend: Norwood for Congress held a fundraiser, a golf tournament, at Reynolds in the spring. This year, because of Charlie’s death, the tournament was canceled. Because he died in late February, it was too late to get a full refund for all the rooms and meeting space and other costs. The campaign had to eat the costs. Sucks, but that’s life.

    In the meanwhile, Tom Reynolds had decided to support Jim and allowed the campaign to buy out some of the Norwood for Congress expense in order to host two events – a fundraiser on Friday night and a meet-and-greet for all the 10th district delegates, alternates, and guests after the convention. Whitehead for Congress took over those expenses, which left things like the golf course rental, extra rooms, and whatever else the Norwood for Congress event included to be paid for by Norwood for Congress.

    I stayed at the Ritz the night before the 10th district convention because I was support staff for the convention. I paid for dinner, which was later refunded to me because the Ritz informed me that Joel McElhannon personally took over the charge – totally unexpected. My room was listed under Whitehead for Congress, so it was in no way affiliated with the Norwood expense. I presume all the other rooms were paid the same way.

    Please remember that you can’t very well take down one “side” of a campaign and not take everyone down. You’re not only trashing John Walker, Michael Shaffer, and John Stone with these posts – you’re getting others who you are fond of involved, too, like Joel. And like me.

    I assure you that no matter what’s been whispered to you, Joel did, in fact, have near-total budget control and the final word on all mailers and letters and calls that went out from our office up until the final day. I know because I needed his approval on stuff, and Brendan religiously sent it to Joel before it was sent out. I believe very strongly that Joel wouldn’t do anything with the budget that wasn’t above board. I believe you feel the same.

    I know you want to turn this into “everyone’s fault but my friend’s”, but that’s just ludicrious. The campaign failed. The total campaign failed. In a message to Brendan’s Blackberry around midnight on the night of the election, Joel was very clear about that, so I know that he’s a big enough guy not to point fingers at everyone else like a five year-old.

    As I said earlier, hindsight is 20/20. There are some mistakes that I’ve learned from that I will not be repeating in a campaign during the next cycle. I think I learned something about going negative in a campaign, too. As much as people say they hate it, it clearly is effective. Tim Bryant called Austin Rhodes the day after the election to say we didn’t hammer home the negatives of our opponent like we should have, and that was what cost us the race. It was one of a few things (none of the rest of which need to be listed on a blog, for heavens’ sake), and again, as long as we learn from the mistakes, I think we’ll be successful next time.

    As to the suggestion in the comments that we shouldn’t work in campaigns again. . . honestly, who do you think should? I think those of us willing to try and those of us who truly love the field are exactly the ones who should be working in it. I will not give up because faith has been lost in me. I do realize I have a ways to go before that trust is re-earned, but I would be the biggest loser in the world if I gave up totally at the suggestion that I didn’t do a good enough job this time around.

  3. Donkey Kong says:

    A failed strategy does not mean that everyone that works on the campaign sucks. Its a failed strategy. The person who devised it may suck, but even then that person may learn from his/her mistakes and do much better next time.

  4. debbie0040 says:

    Holly, Brendan and others are great campaigners. They take orders from the top. They are not at fault in the loss. Whitehead is. The buck stops with him.

    Someone screwed the pooch so to speak and took it for granted that victory was nigh. Hind sight is 20/20 and I am sure if Whitehead had it to do over again, things would be done differently.

    From what you are saying, Joel was in charge and ran things and was not run off.

  5. middle-ga-gop says:

    I, for one, am getting a little tired of the monday morning quarterbacks. WFC knows that mistakes were made, however, the nature of campaigns is that one side will eventually lose. That does not mean that staffers from the losing side are tainted/ruined.

    Up to this point I have stood by and watched you all pontificate from your basements, but I laugh as I watch outsiders conjure up conspiracy theories that simply don’t exist.

    I’m glad to be able to say I’m not a disgruntled banker/insurance agent who wishes he/she actually worked in politics.

  6. Lee Benedict says:

    Holly and others worked their butts off doing all that they could to get the vote out for W (I did a little myself). The problem is, whoever “ran” that campaign (remember I’m a political observer looking at this race objectively) did a total pooch-screw or was paid to take a dive. Yes, give credit to Broun and staff for going to forums and events in the district, NOT DC, canvassing the entire district as opposed to writing off certain areas, and spending campaign funds wisely. Broun and all of Georgia knew that he had to pull in a bunch of votes from Columbia County…so he spent many a day in Columbia and it paid off. In short, he kept working until 7pm on 7/17 and did not take anything for granted.
    If you recall, Bill Jackson was the early and presumed winner in the 24th SD race even before qualifying started. He went to the forums and did what he had to do to win, which did not include missing events to go to Atlanta recruiting (FYI, he did have a fundraiser in ATL), and garnered 62.5% of the vote in the process. One would think the campaign management of WFC would have recognized this on 6/19 and adjusted fire. Instead, when JW was at a CCGOP breakfast, his management did not place signs out front, did not bring rolls of labels (a supporter happened to have some in her car), did not have the media present…This was the breakfast right after the 6/19 election, the breakfast where he received Erick Underwood’s endorsement, and the one a day or 2 after he received the endorsements of many county GOP committees, and no media was there! The only thing that happened was one of his higher-ups (whose name I will not mention) got up and introduced himself as the “one who sends you those emails”, and then JW spoke, and it was perhaps the most sincere from the heart speech of our time…too bad a camera crew was absent to report on it and play it on the 6:00 news.
    UUUGGGH…that election and the running of it just gets under my skin!!! If simple common sense things were done and PB still won, OK, better luck next time. But it never happened which may explain some of the hostility that still lingers.

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