Austin Scott Making A Move?

With early polls relatively meaningless, the only real ranking we have for candidates at this stage essentially boils down to conventional wisdom. And conventional wisdom throughout this Governor’s race has been that Austin Scott has a comfortable grip on 5th place. Ahead of Jeff Chapman and Ray McBerry, but not threatening the leaders of Oxendine, Handel, Deal, and Johnson.

In fact, some polls have not included Scott at all, but those that have
generally have him in a battle for Johnson at forth place. With Johnson having a distinct fundraising advantage, most observers seem content with the reality that Johnson will be the one that moves up if and when the others above falter.

With relatively low name ID among metro Atlanta voters, Scott will have to rely on earned media to get his message out, as he is not allowed to raise funds during the general assembly session like 3 of the top 4 candidates may.

Scott was able to generate a significant amount of name ID and good will in rural areas with his “Walk of Georgia”, but this event was largely ignored by Atlanta media, and scoffed at here (myself included).

In order to generate earned media, a candidate must stand out in some way. Ray McBerry generates earned media by being fringe secessionist. John Oxendine does so by constantly topping the lastest and greatest stupid thing he did last week. Austin Scott is now doing so by delivering short, straight answers to debate questions while challenging the status quo.

Earlier this week, the Fayette Daily News editor, Trey Alverson, gave Austin props for his performance in the GA Tech College Republican’s Governor’s forum:

After Deal, Handel, Eric Johnson and Oxendine meandered their way through a question about whether or not Sunday alcohol sales should go on the ballot as a statewide referendum (all four said yes, in some roundabout way), Scott grabbed the microphone.

“I’m going to give a direct answer: yes. I support the referendum,” he said. “This is what you can expect from me as your governor: straightforward, honest answers.”

Scott is a good candidate. He has refused to accept campaign contributions from lobbyists. Instead he raised money for his governor’s bid by literally walking around the state — over 1,000 miles from Chickamauga to Bainbridge to Brunswick to Clayton.

For those that scoff at local newspaper endorsements, I would posit that in Republican vote-rich suburban/exurban areas, they are often the opinion that matters on politics. But for those that would like to see evidence that Scott is moving into the eye of larger media organizations, I point to Kyle Wingfield at the AJC:

“But he’s running for governor. And even if you end up voting for someone else — as I may well do myself — you ought to know about him. At the very least, he brings a different voice to the Republican primary.

In some ways, Scott is a stock character in politics: The candidate who won’t promise too much; who pledges to shoot straight about government’s limitations; who describes a campaign and administration at arm’s length from lobbyists.

And who never breaks 5 percent in the opinion polls or the eventual election.

Yet this might be the year for such a character to seize a leading role.”

Austin Scott still faces an uphill battle for one of the two spots in a runoff. It would be helpful to him if Rasmussen and other credible polling firms would include him in their surveys. Those and fundraising are the only ways we have to “keep score”, and without having the legal ability to raise funds, a lack of polling prohibits any objective measure of score keeping.

But for the tea leaves we do have, it does appear that Austin is getting the attention of the Atlanta media. This is the best path he has available to reach the average voter.


  1. polisavvy says:

    It’s great to finally see someone else who is understanding that with a candidate like Austin Scott, slow and steady is what it will take to eventually resonate with the voters. Honesty, integrity, and ethics do seem to matter to Georgia’s voters. Those are three words that describe Rep. Scott to a T.

  2. mitchmartin says:

    Its a month before qualifying and nobody knows him and he has no legislative accomplishments to point to show people that he is ready to lead. If 5 people could make it into the runoff, I would say he would be would be a real contender for that 5th spot. Unfortunately for him, his support is too little, too late and too thin.

  3. LoyaltyIsMyHonor says:

    That’s how low the bar is for the Governor’s race? Someone who panders to the potential Sunday alcohol shopper (me) deserves a front page post.

    • polisavvy says:

      Loyalty, if he were truly the lowest point on the bar, think how great the candidates ahead of him would have to be. Since that’s not the case, your point has no meaning. People should be able to buy alcohol on Sunday if they choose. No one is going to hold a gun to the head of anyone who chooses not to do so.

      • LoyaltyIsMyHonor says:

        I never said he was the lowest candidate. I meant that our expectations of this race are so low, that a candidate taking a position on Sunday sales, is a cause for celebration.

        • Icarus says:

          His direct and blunt answers go well beyond Sunday Sales. He’s the only candidate who went on record as being against the campus gun carry bill. And he didn’t mince words or hedge on it. Agree or disagree with him, you know where he stands.

          • LoyaltyIsMyHonor says:

            Icarus, I can appreciate that, but…..Our expectations of this race are so low, that a candidate who provides “direct and blunt answers” is a cause for celebration.

            Jeff Chapman, are you listening? It’s mid-March, please feel free to start campaigning!!!!! Or I’ll resort to voting for the OX just so GA will remain relevant for amusement purposes.

        • B Balz says:

          My expectations are that the next Governor will get us through the 20111-12 budget years without either huge tax increases or loss of services. We have some tough times ahead.

          Did I mention that Rep. Scott knows the GA Budget very well? Rep. Scott is what I seek in a Governor, the ability to put aside his personal beliefs over the rights of others.

  4. Scott seems like the most attractive option on the GOP side of the ticket, but that’s mostly because I know next to nothing about the guy. I get a sense that this year is about building some name recognition and starting to build up a statewide organization/base together for future races.

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