Austin Scott Should Change Races So He Can Help Change Georgia

Sometimes, It’s nice to be wrong.

When Austin Scott entered the race for Governor of our fine state, I first ignored him. And when he insisted on being taken seriously as a candidate, I ridiculed him. He was a relatively unknown House member in a field of candidates that included a sitting Congressman, two statewide elected constitutional officers, and the former President Pro-tem of the Senate. I wrote him off as either someone that didn’t know what he was getting himself into, and/or someone on an ego trip.

Yet, he persevered. His work ethic has been demonstrably strong. He has an energized group of staff and volunteers that believe in him and his mission. His message is one that Georgia has a strong need to hear. And many, myself included, have started to pay attention. Serious attention.

It was late last fall when I had my first sit down with Rep. Scott. He requested a meeting during the week when the Republican caucus was trying to select their nominee to be the new Speaker. I assumed that he may be throwing his hat in that race, and decided I could meet him for 15 minutes to find out. Worst case scenario, I would have more insight into what was going on within the Republican House during a huge leadership vacuum. And then, I could get back to evaluating the serious candidates for Governor.

So on a crisp mid-December day when I was not wearing a coat, I sat outside a Buckhead Starbucks to talk to Austin Scott. And the fifteen minutes became an hour, and then another. And after more than two hours of frank, blunt, and open discussion, I had a much better insight into who Austin Scott was, but more importantly, had begun to develop what is now a strong appreciation for what Austin Scott represents.

Austin is a thoughtful man, who will talk about the major issues of the day to a level of minutia that a time-efficient candidate should not. He is a man who doesn’t speak in soundbites, and if elected, will not govern by them either. While he has many positions that are clear and strong, he also understands the complexity of issues that require the appreciation for shades of gray.

But there is one issue where gray is not an option, and his words are blunt and concise. Austin has been about ethics reform before it was cool/politically expedient to be. And it was on that cold December day I heard for the first time Austin say a now familiar refrain:

“I am running because I want to fundamentally change the way this state is governed.”

While young at the age of 40, Austin has spent more than one third of his life as a member of the House of Representatives. And on that day, he told me that what he observed in his days under “Republican” leadership sickened him for the constant sellout of conservative principles.

I’ve written before of this conversation without attribution to Rep Scott, but it was he who told me that many of those leaving the House and Senate were doing so because they were sick of seeing their efforts to move conservative legislation get hijacked at the last minute by a competing bill that was being pushed courtesy of a $25,000 campaign contribution bundle, or by an attractive female lobbyists with an exceptionally short skirt. And it was his goal, and in many ways, his duty, to see that the system was changed.

We’ve talked fairly regularly as the last five months have progressed. I have a new appreciation for someone that understands the budget to a level that would make my late accountant father proud. Austin is not a fan of many of the smoke & mirror solutions that have been proposed to fix the budget gap, and many times, have caught attempts to double count revenue or move expenses off budget.

And, as I watched him in debates, I’ve been quite impressed to see that he can tighten his answers to the required time limits, and land body blows that have sent many of his opponents with higher poll numbers back on their heels. He can handle himself against the big dogs.

But, Austin also honored his commitment to his constituents and did not resign his seat to campaign full time. And thus, while he has been able to generate positive earned media during the session, he has not raised money as is restricted by law. And thus, with relatively low name ID and a thin bank account, most experts still write him off, most polling firms are not including him in their surveys, and most pundits do not see a scenario where Austin becomes the Republican nominee for Governor. Regrettably, I share this skepticism.

However, rumors began circulating a few weeks ago that appear to have been fueled by one or more of the other gubernatorial campaigns that Scott may switch to the Lt. Governor race, and challenge incumbent Casey Cagle. As the Senate’s dysfunction became public over the last few weeks, more and more folks have privately and publicly encouraged Scott to switch races.

Challenging a statewide incumbent is an uphill, quixotic quest. Yet, so is running for Governor as a underfunded rural house member in a 7 person race.

A race against Cagle is a head to head proposition, and raises the profile of Scott overnight. And, it makes Scott’s message and mission – to fundamentally change the way the state of Georgia is governed – a direct referendum on the job performance – and personal conduct – of Lt. Governor Cagle.

In doing so, Scott can immediately pick up support, and much needed funds, from various groups who are already known to be frustrated by the leadership, or lack thereof, from the Senate. House members do not believe Cagle is an honest broker as a result of the hospital bed tax debacle. Preston Smith has made it clear how at least a few of the Senators feel, though I would expect most to quickly close ranks around their own.

There are groups outside the General Assembly who may be willing to jump in as well. Some Chamber and business interests have let it be known that they have been disappointed by the slow pace of transportation reform and funding, and may be willing to sit out or back a challenger. Social conservative groups, some who are still upset with a primary 4 years ago, some upset with a more fiscal emphasis on Senate priorities, may take a strong look at Austin as well.

I’ve made no bones about the fact that I’ve not been the biggest fan of our current Lt. Governor, and if the race remains as it is today, I intend to give strong consideration to Carol Porter.

But Austin Scott is someone I would actually like to vote for. And in the Lt. Governor’s race, I would proudly do just that.

I expect a decision on this race to be made over this weekend, with an announcement of Scott’s plans very early in the week if not before. Should he remain where he is, I’ll continue to pay attention and give him serious consideration. But I fear he is likely to remain my and many others “honorable mention” candidate.

I want Austin to fundamentally change the way this state is governed. But for him to do that, he has to win. And I believe he can win the Lt. Governor’s race. As such, I encourage him to change races so Georgia itself can be changed.

Should he chose to do so, he will have my vote, and my support.

137 comments

  1. Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

    Some of you guys kill me but I wouldn’t change you for the world. Makes for entertaining reading . There is a guy down here with an ego you couldn’t fit into the Super Dome and he said the same thing about another conservative candidate for governor. “Ego trip” I thought Erick tried to steer politics in Georgia last week with his “ego”.

    Geezz leave the man alone. Go down to Home Depot and buy the stuff the little lady has been bugging you about and fix some things around the house like the rest of us has to do. You guys aren’t Greek Gods and most of us worship only one.

  2. ready2rumble says:

    Interesting post. Scott is a good guy. I do hope he decides to switch to the Lt. Gov. race. He doesn’t have a chance in the Gov’s race, and at least would have a chance in Lt. Gov’s race.

    The person who could beat Cagle like a drum is Johnson. He is the one who should really drop back to the race he started in.

    • ReaganRepublican says:

      No one can beat Cagle. He is by far Georgia most liked politician. How quickly we forget, every poll has high favorability percentages and a very low unfavorability scores . Bur putting the polls aside, the common Georgia voter adores Cagle and sees nothing in common with Austin “spoiled brat” Scott. As for Johnson, Georgia voters are not voting for a Cajun.

      • Republican Lady says:

        I must be an uncommon Georgian because I don’t like Cagle and he can be beat at the polls. Judging by the comments on Peach Pundit in general as well as Icarus’ article, some people hold Scott in high regard. Many of us are waiting for Cagle to explain why he refused the suponeas regarding Deal.

        I would vote for Austin in a heartbeat for Lieutenant Governor. I have never found him to be a spoiled brat and now that he is 40, he is too old to be a spoiled brat. In fact, what is your definition of a spoiled brat?

        What’s with the Johnson and Cajun comment?

        • ReaganRepublican says:

          Any Georgian trying to sell us a lemon like Handel is very uncommon. I do not think you are a Georgian at all, if you are, you are a liberal or work for her.

          • Republican Lady says:

            There are thousand of us Georgians who are grass roots supporters of Karen and we are not liberals.

            How does your reasoning skills even come up with your kind of comments?

            Where do you get that I am not a Georgian or that I am a liberal, or that I work for her?

          • Republican Lady says:

            Where do you come up with these outrageous comments? Do you like turning people off, because with your illogical attacks, you are not bringing people to your way of thinking,

            1) Why do you think is Karen a lemon?

            2) Why do you think I am not a Georgian?

            3) What makes you think I’m liberal?

            4) What makes you think I work for her?

            I dare you to answer me with logical, concise statements.

            • B Balz says:

              @RL None of this is real (;>)

              Blogs are just pixels coalescing in some sort of order giving creating the illusion of actually making meaningful changes.

            • SFrazier says:

              A democratic email list I am some how on sent me this. I have checked it out and it seems to be true. I have asked both you (RL) and Icarus to explain so I can respond to them to no avail. Here is what they wrote and sent proof through County meeting minutes and campaign disclosures.
              “In 2005, while Chair of the Fulton County Commission, Handel received a contribution from an engineer connected with Unique Design and Construction. Four months after the contribution, a zoning modification requested by Unique Design and Construction sailed through Handel’s Commission. If Handel will sell out for as little as that, God only knows how she will sell us out as governor. Handel even received $10,000 in contributions from Fourth Quarter Properties, a real estate company involved in a shady land deal with Handel’s former boss, Sonny Perdue. ”

              I often wondered how the Dems could not get more mileage out of that one in 06, all republicans in my circle looked at this with a lot of suspicion? They did not have the money to make it an issue I believe. Not true with Barnes, with his money he will have a field day with this. Especially since Karen can mot raise any money to fight him off.

              • NorthGAGOP says:

                Handel was in the minority on the Fulton County Commission. Maybe you should ask the 4 democrats that were on the commission why it sailed through.

                • SFrazier says:

                  She obviously cut a deal with them. How else would this happen? What about the shady Sonny deal? Could RL or Icarus please give me an explanation?

                  • Icarus says:

                    To what?

                    An engineer makes a campaign donation to a member of the minority party on a commission, and somehow that is what makes a zoning get approved?

                    You don’t need an explanation, you need more meds.

                    And having never served on the Fulton County Commission, I don’t know why I’m the one that needs to give you an explanation.

                    • SFrazier says:

                      This was an interesting article by a PP poster:

                      “It is also interesting that she pointed to lavish trips, and that her spokesman said she was fighting for tougher ethics rules back in 2005 when she was on the Fulton County Commission. It is interesting because on October 15, 2005, Karen Handel went to a Rolling Stones concert in Atlanta on a lobbyist’s dime – to the tune of more than $300. (In comparison, Dubose Porter was treated to a swank golf resort in the North Ga Mountains by a lobbyist in 2008 for a mere $200.) So she was fighting for tougher ethics rules with one hand while having the other hand out begging for Rolling Stones tickets?

                      Finally, the whole “lies” thing. Per the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals,

                      Accordingly, since Georgia has failed to preclear the charges made in Morales v Handel], we find it to have committed a technical violation of Section 5 [of the Voting Rights Act]. Though the Secretary has not conceded that she should have sought preclearance for these changes, we note that the State has filed for preclearance of its new procedures in response to an 8 October 2008 letter from the Department of Justice as well as the initiation of this suit .

                      Yet according to at least one friend in the media, when Handel is asked point blank whether she has violated VRA Section 5, she continues to this day to deny it! SOMEBODY is lieing here. When it comes to matters of law, I tend to give deference to the lawyers and the courts absent clear proof that they are wrong. (Anticipating that Handel will try to blame the “Obama” courts, let me just point out that the 11th Circuit decision above was written in October 2008 – a week BEFORE Barack Obama was even elected, much less officially President! The original DOJ injunction similarly came from a GEORGE W BUSH Department of Justice. In other words, even her own Party said she had violated VRA Section 5!)

                      Karen Handel has been in the very midst of the culture of corruption, both enabling it by her silence while under the Gold Dome, and by actively participating in it.

                      Karen Handel calling anyone out as being guilty of participating it is the height of hypocrisy.

                      It truly is the pot calling the kettle black.”

              • Republican Lady says:

                You understand that I won’t just take your word for it so send me the link and I will check it out.

          • Kellie says:

            So, RR, does someone have to be born here to be a Georgian? Many people move here because they think it is a great place to live and they have every right to be here and run for office.

            • ReaganRepublican says:

              They do, and I have every right to question their loyalty when I do not see proven love for my state. Karen Handel loves Fulton County. That is why she chose to live there and run for office there. Fulton County is not a good representation of the state of Georgia. Fulton County is more indicative of New York City than it is Georgia. Completely different values and moral code. Georgia is overwhelmingly conservative, Fulton is the exact opposite. What is wrong with wanting someone that understands my states core values and principles run my state? If she is not in love with Georgia do you think she will do what is right for Georgia above her own needs? Karen Handel has no idea what being a true Georgian is about, and we will reject her in July.

              • B Balz says:

                “Fulton County is more indicative of New York City than it is Georgia.” … without the good street vendors.

                Ha ha ha ha, ho ho ho ho. I knew what you
                meant, but that is funny if you think about it.

              • Kellie says:

                I was born here and I question the selection we most pick from. Bringing in outside help could be a good thing.

            • Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

              Yes! Born here and have lived here for 40 years!

              We dont care how they did it up there!

      • debbie0040 says:

        RR, I don’t know who you are, but would love to find out as would many PP posters. You now insult people from Louisiana. I am from Louisiana but my home is Georgia. I don’t think voters care if someone is a Georgia native.
        You also insult a very fine candidate in Karen Handel. My hubby was actually undecided about who to vote for until he heard Handel speak last week. She made a big impression on him and he is very conservative.

        Please enlighten us who you support so we can choose to support another candidate….I am yet undecided …

          • SFrazier says:

            Debbie, you have never picked a winner. You jinx every candidate you support (Reed, Thompson, Romney, etc.)The day I back a candidate you back is the day I know I have made a mistake.
            RR, I knew you were a Birther, But a Georgia Birther? lol
            Sorry, could not resist my man. Seriously, I get your point.

            • debbie0040 says:

              SFrazier, I supported Handel , Black, Eaton and they all won their primaries. Believe me, I would not support the same candidate you support either. I also supported Isakson in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate when he first ran and many other winners…

              • SFrazier says:

                Sorry Debbie, you are 4 for 86 in the last 6 years giving you a 4.65 % chance of winning. Do you have any proof of your support of these candidates before the primary? Because I am sure someone will dispute this number as to high.

  3. Debra says:

    Why bother running Cagle out of office to only have Johnson replace him. Same cloth, same cut, and same BS.

    • Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

      Amen! Austin is a good guy. If he was a fence jumper he would have deserted his elected office like two of them did. Good men stay the course. Their not opportunist. Opportunist lay lobbyist and when their not screwing them, their screwing us. .

  4. Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

    I think Karen Handel should run against Cagle. She has my vote. I would like to see Johnson over the department of economic development and tourism with his connections to the Reynolds family.

    • Scot says:

      I think Karen has a legitimate shot at being Governor at this point, why drop out now? In a run off, she beats Ox.

      • ReaganRepublican says:

        Another candidate who was not born or raised in Georgia. She haas spent more time in DC and Maryland than Georgia.

        • South Fulton Guy says:

          R2,

          Is being born a raised in Georgia the new litmus test for effective leadership now? I want to see every candidate’s birth certificate…..LOL

            • ReaganRepublican says:

              I have never heard her say that she loves Georgia. How do you know what being a Georgian is about if you have spent most of your life out of Georgia? Than the little time you have spent here is spent in Fulton County, please, most Georgia GOP voters live outside the perimeter and are not fond of Fulton County. She will not connect with Georgia women because she is nothing like them. And then on top of that she has a liberal past with pseudo conservatives like Eric Erickson backing him. Yes you saw that right, he is a phony. No conservative would vote for Jim Marshal over Mac Collins. Eric did that, unforgivable. Mac represented us well, probably the most conservative rep from Georgia ever. I heard he voted for Jim over Calder Clay as well. Simply disgusting….

                • ReaganRepublican says:

                  -fact-Eric went on the radio and admitted to voting for his former law school professor Jim Marshal. Jim Marshal is a known liberal, ask any real conservative from Macon who knows him.
                  – Karen Handel fact- Supported same-sex partners before she was against them;

                  -Karen Handel fact- Established an anti-life record before she decided to run statewide and became pro-life;

                  -Karen Handel fact- Aggressively courted legislators to get endorsements until the vast majority endorsed anyone but her;
                  -Karen Handel fact- Then turned against the same legislators and labeled them as a culture of corruption;
                  -Karen Handel fact- Has lived in Georgia less than the remaining candidates have been involved in the Georgia Republican Party.

                  -Karen Handel fact- Performs the same, canned speech pretty well until someone from the audience asks her a technical questions;

                  – Karen Handel fact- Has yet to complete a full 4-year term in office;

                  -Karen Handel fact-The same can be said about her college or technical school studies.

                  • Republican Lady says:

                    RR,

                    Give me your “facts” link so I can check them out myself. Over time, other posters on this site have proven they can be taken at their word by their consistency in providing links when asked, detailed explanations when asked, or sites to verify their comments. SFrazier, KariDee, and you have consistently refused to do so, so you can’t expect posters to accept what the three of you have to say without verifying your statements. The three of you did this to yourselves.

  5. Rick Day says:

    I like what you said, but I doubt any one person can change the way The System™ corrupts. It’s all connected, just like a one-eyed pyramid. If anything, The System™ will castrate, denigrate or assassinate the reformer, rather than allow any real change.

    See, voter participation? It’s an illusion.

    *puts on tin foil hat*

    Seriously, Ic…one guy changing everything?

  6. Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

    I think there are people that can change Georgia politics. Sadly just like this writing started above these people are not taken seriously, laughed at and are nothing but ants to the people that think power comes from manipulating. I think Scott has the kind of character that if he would rise to a position of power these same people would once again feed on his guts like vultures because he pissed them off one time..

    Reminds me of a quote and I say this because I cant get past the first paragraph above that burns and I think makes the first and lasting impression that uses the word “ridiculed” Strong words.

    “you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.”

    Look past the so called puppet masters and examine their agenda. It isn’t Scott being Lt Gov. It’s the Vulture Culture.

  7. Georgia Judge says:

    Austin,
    I hope you are smart enough to see a screw job when its coming and this is one of large proportions.You have absolutely zero chance of defeating or even coming close to defeating Cagle,and you will be damaged goods politically for doing it.Im aware of your turmoil inside your team and your staff,but you would be much better off taking advice from them than these hacks who have their own agenda and have there interests in mind not yours.
    The reality is you probably will not make the runoff in the Gov race but neither is these guys chosen candidate,so why dont you ask them if they are so high on you to quit pimping Handel so hard and help you out.Seems fair doesnt it ?I mean Icarus has this major admiration for you and all,and Erick is willing to move heaven and earth for you I would think that would be a ligitimate request.Of course they will not do it because thats not in line with their desires.
    Stay in Gov race so when July gets here you will retain your respect and standing in the Republican Party so that you can live to fight another day.If you take their advice you will be a lonely guy on election night and will have done yourself a major disservice.

    • Rick Day says:

      I understand there are three different goals to running for office:

      1. on Principle (least likely to win)

      2. For name recognition (merely a step in a career ladder)

      3. To Win.

      Where is Scott on this list?

    • AlanR says:

      Placing integrity and principles aside, I agree with Judge. If Scott stays on his present course he will come out of this campaign with a rudimentary state wide organization, the beginnings of a fundraising base, some experienced people (who may or may not be around when he runs again) and the kind of respect that will come from seeing it through and running a credible if low level campaign. Scott won’t be governor, but he will come out of this with far more than he went into it with. He will have made some points, and will be well placed to run again in the future — he’s only 12 years old so there’s plenty of time.

      If he drops down to primary Cagle, he will likely lose, just on the dead weight of the incumbency, and may even injure Cagle enough to elect a democrat. Scott will expose himself to the kind of campaign he probably isn’t ready for, and come out of things with a lot of enemies he didn’t need to make right now, and that’s about it.

      Politically, he’d be a fool to drop back to lt gov.

  8. ready2rumble says:

    GJ,
    I don’t recall seeing Icky “pimp” Handel at all. It seems to me he is focused on ethics, and that takes out Ox and Deal, possibly Johnson.

    Erick and RedState have endorsed Handel, but I haven’t seen any major push by Eric or RedState for Handel.

  9. galiberal says:

    Even if Scott does get into the race, Cagle is going to beat him. Scott is not Conservative enough to win a primary. I remember specifically after the UGA debate, saying that Scott was the least conservative candidate up there.

    If I recall correctly, he would not take the “no next taxes” pledge and he also does not support school vouchers. No wonder the guy can’t hack it in the Governor’s race, he is not going to be able to hack it in the Lt. Governor’s race either.

    • Mozart says:

      I’m pretty sure most people know what you mean by “liberal,” but what do you mean by “conservative?” What is a “conservative candidate” to you, GaLiberal?

      • John Konop says:

        Mozart,

        Is Medicare Part D conservative policy?

        Is giving insurance companies an exemption from anti-trust laws conservative?

        Is No Child Left Behind conservative policy?

        Did you think pay raises to Congress while running up out of control debt conservative?

        Is paying 3 dollars for every 1 dollar that comes in conservative policy for Medicare?

        I have some more question if you answer the below.

        • Mozart says:

          John? We are talking here of a Georgia-state based race. None of those questions have anything to do with an elected position to serve in government in the State of Georgia.

          All those questions should be referred to anyone running for Congress. Do you understand the difference/relevance?

      • galiberal says:

        Well, I am not saying that from my perspective. Conservatives in our state support vouchers and “no new taxes” pledges, and Austin does neither. I just do not really seem him winning the primary.

      • Mozart says:

        But, you’re trying to say that, Ready. You’ve said it (by way of inference) in all your posts when it comes to your comments on all other candidates but Handel.

        • ready2rumble says:

          Did I miss an announcement from Sonny? If not, how is Handel Sonny’s candidate? What’s he doing to help her?

    • macho says:

      Austin Scott has no chance of winning Governor. I don’t blame him for trying, but he hasn’t gotten enough traction and the Primary is only a couple of months aways. I’m sure the other candidates are mixed as to whether they want him out. Keep in mind, he pulls more votes from some than others. Johnson probably wants him out, but my guess is Handel is either indifferent or wants Austin to stay in the race.

  10. John Konop says:

    This is calculated bet by Austin if he thinks the whispers about Casey are true and will come out. If it is true it and it comes out it could help the Dems with key statewide races. If not true and or it does not come out Casey would help the GOP in 10.

    This all makes for very good TV!

    • Mozart says:

      Gosh, I thought since Erick blogged about those “whispers” it must be true? Did Erick lie? Is Erick a liar? Is that what you’re trying to say, John? That Erick Erickson is a liar?

      Guess that’s right up there with being a goat-[expletive] child molestor. Maybe Erick has more in common with Souter than anyone would have thought…

      • John Konop says:

        Mozart,

        The truth is the rumor been out way before Erick blogged about it. You can spin it anyway you want, but it is a real issue for the GOP. And Austin would be hero in the GOP if the story breaks during the primary and or the general and he runs against Casey.

        What is the real downside for Austin, I only see a upside?

  11. Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

    Yes, Georgia needs the candidates with the most integrity to drop out of the race. Good plan.

  12. foray says:

    Casey would crush him

    Austin’s comments last week about Milton County won’t help either as Casey is on board

    • macho says:

      Milton is just a ploy to get folks in North Fulton riled up. If you really wanted to reduce government and taxes, then you would support Lindsey’s bill which neuters Fulton County. Creating two counties will just be more government and more taxes. Sure the government in North Fulton will keep more the tax dollars, but the actual people will not see a reduction in taxes or a more efficient government.

    • polisavvy says:

      You don’t think that a proposed dividing of a county where no one had taken into consideration how the tax monies that had already been collected would be equitably distributed between the two new counties and how the school system would be equitably divided between the two new counties are valid concerns for any legislator? I certainly do. To vote for a dividing of Fulton County without these two areas being addressed would have foolish.

  13. Game Fan says:

    Scott for Governor! haha.

    I haven’t seen anything that conflicts with my “inner paleo” with Austin Scott. Not to mention, he seems to be creating a definite “sweat factor” with the status quo. In fact “just being there” (in the race) might tend to get folks to take pause with some of the shenanigans. Yeah, some of us really aren’t trying to destroy the Republican party, we’re just trying to save it from itself.

  14. redrock says:

    Scott dropping down to the LG race would be worse than him sticking it out in the Gov race.

    Cagle would beat him handily – everyone knows that.

    I agree with AlanR, continue to build a statewide grassroots network off of the Gov campaign and give it another go down the road.

  15. saltycracker says:

    Never underestimate the grass roots disgust for the political road we are on. The chances of an Austin Scott Lt. Gov. might be a surprise and at worst will result in greater statewide recognition than the Gov. run.

  16. Unless somebody puts some serious cards on the table with the rumored Cagle sex scandal, some kind of evidence such that the mainstream media can actually run all-out with it, Austin Scott has ZERO chance of beating Cagle. Hell, I’m not completely sure that Cagle would lose even IF some solid evidence emerged. I’m sorry, but the consensus view on Peach Pundit is simply NOT in-sync with what the average Georgia voter thinks (i.e. 2% approval rating for Oxendine and Cagle, etc).

    I like Austin Scott, but pretty much everyone realizes that this year’s race is about building name recognition and a statewide organization for future races to come. Maybe you can make an argument that losing in a 2-man field would earn greater attention and name recognition than losing in a 7-man field. However, the stronger point is the flip side… losing a race for an open seat wins you much greater positives than does mounting a losing primary challenge against your own party’s popular incumbent. That’s not a gun you want to be waving around unless you’re ready to pull the trigger and KNOW you won’t miss. I don’t think he has a good clean shot at the target right now.

    • John Konop says:

      Steve Perkins,

      In fairness the PP is usually ahead of the curve via it being read by insiders around the state. And for OX to drop this far before the real campaign even hit demonstrates the PP is on target. Most pollsters will tell only inside baseball people follow a campaign hard prior to the last 60 days. What I have found when you see a consensus on the blog with an issue it is a wake up call.

      • What I have found when you see a consensus on the blog with an issue it is a wake up call.

        The “consensus” on Peach Pundit is that Casey Cagle was caught red-handed in a Monica Lewinsky type situation… and that this rumor is the unquestionable gospel truth because Erick Erickson suggests so. Do you believe that the rest of the non-blogging curve will catch up to that consensus without the mainstream media publicizing the scandal? How many non-insider types are even aware of it?

        Without a sex scandal in place, where’s the beef? What’s Austin Scott supposed to run on? I’m not saying that the “hospital bed tax” backlash isn’t legit, but I think it’s being stretched out of proportion by people who are simply worried about the sex scandal coming to light in the general election. The basic fact is that up until the sex rumors rumors came out, Cagle was very popular even here on PP.

        • John Konop says:

          Steve Perkins,

          I do not think anyone would put me in a club of not challenging Erick and or defending him blindly. On this particular issue the rumor is all over the place. The problem is rumors like this get thrown-out when the candidate has an opponent. Casey does not have an opponent at this point till the general, unless Austin steps in. And from what I hear from many that is the fear inside the GOP, if this become public in a general that would hurt all the statewide candidates.

          Why would the Dems bring this up now?

          • I agree with you entirely. All I’m saying is that let’s be honest about this being the real reason that people want Austin Scott to challenge Cagle. Because without the sex scandal, I just don’t see a platform from which Scott could challenge his own party’s incumbent.

            So if we’re honest about this being the motivation here, this raises two questions: (1) Would Scott, or his supporters, bring the sex rumors out in the open and make a serious issue of them in order to win? (2) If he does so, and yet still doesn’t win, what does the GOP do about the self-inflicted fallout in the general election? (doh!)

            • Harry says:

              No, the problem is that I and apparently others as well have lost confidence in Casey Cagle’s ability to keep special interest money and influence out of the process. Evidently he’s set up an election fund with contributor money to keep senators in line, and is encouraging pay to play behavior. It’s often very tempting to use special interest money to retain power, but the best interests of the vast majority of the electorate is not well served when money buys influence.

              • John Konop says:

                Harry,

                The point Steve made is Austin would not be getting party support unless someone is scared about the rumor. My prediction, if Austin jumps it will be an issue before the general.

                • Harry says:

                  Where I disagree with Steve is, I do see a platform, other than any unknown moral issue, from which Scott could challenge his own party’s incumbent. I think the incumbent has proven unable to downsize the corrupting money influence. Not eliminate – because that’s impossible – but downsize.

                • Republican Lady says:

                  John,

                  Are you talking about the Cagle’s girlfriend sex scandal rumor? If so, I wonder if she kept a dress that we will be hearing about in the near future.

                  There is also the refusal to address suponeas in the Deal investigation.

                  • polisavvy says:

                    Good post. Also, of concern to many voters will be the bullying of other legislators to vote for the bed tax and the fact that several lost their chairmanships because they did not support the Cagle agenda. Also, the whole Georgia Power issue will be another issue which can be used to hammer Cagle. I believe Austin Scott would have what it takes to beat Cagle; however, I believe he’s still running for Governor.

              • redrock says:

                “Evidently he’s set up an election fund with contributor money to keep senators in line, and is encouraging pay to play behavior.”

                Harry, where’s the evidence?

                I’d be interested in checking it out. If its an election fund its registered with the Ethics Commission. What’s the name of it?

                • Harry says:

                  It was discussed here in the last few days. The information is that Cagle administers a $500,000 campaign fund that’s available to incumbent senators to fend off primary challenges, and presumably to help reluctant senators to toe the line on key votes. Did the money came from said interests that may have benefited legislatively from a close relationship? I’m sure we’ll learn more, if there is more.

                  • redrock says:

                    Well if its discussed here then, by-golly, it must be the gospel truth!

                    So what you’re telling me is you actually don’t know what you’re talking about and you’re just posting random theories hoping you’re right or something sticks?

                    Or did I deduce erroneously from the aforementioned post?

                    • Harry says:

                      I’m just repeating what I’ve read. No, I’m no original source for specific information. What I am is a staunch conservative Republican who has seen enough of Cagle to know that I will never again vote for him. Just one example: the hospital tax. There are other examples where he’s mealy-mouthed on issues (such as the ill-begotten “brain train”) while engaging in hidden agendas. There are many reform-minded conservatives who will not vote for the man. I think he’s finished in state politics.

                    • Republican Lady says:

                      Harry,

                      I have to agree with the majority of your comments about Cagle. You make some good points and like you, I won’t vote for him for anything.

              • debbie0040 says:

                I like Sen. Shafer but he has made it clear he will not challenge Lt. Gov. Cagle. Run Austin Run!!!

            • AlanR says:

              There is also the damage that might be done to Scott by Cagle. I don’t know who is running the Cagle campaign or their abilities. The guys that got him elected in the first place would make life difficult for any opponent.

              Scott needs to stay put, stake out his territory and not get involved in a nasty campaign until he’s ready. And he’s not as of now.

              • Harry says:

                Like Icarus said, the fault line on this race runs so deep that Democrat Carol Porter has a good opportunity if she presents herself as a moderate reformer, which she will.

                • John Konop says:

                  Harry,

                  Good point! We do have an anti-incumbent mood in the country! BTW I know very little about her.

                  ….Democrat Carol Porter has a good opportunity if she presents herself as a moderate reformer, which she will…..

              • Republican Lady says:

                Alan,

                Your comments make sense too. I had not looked at the aspect you presented but I like Scott for LG. I think Austin would be the one to rock the boat and like President Harry Truman, he would be the enforcer of Truman’s phrase, “The buck stops here.”

      • Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

        Those of us that have met and had a meal or two with the Ox knew long ago he was a ticking time bomb. The problem is that the voters don’t. Yet.

  17. Georgia Judge says:

    Harry,
    I would give you one piece of sage advice and that is you must not take everything you read from the posters here as the gospel,unfortunately PP has become an echo chamber of rumors and baseless gossip mongering.They espouse conservative rhetoric and then go overboard pushing the most moderate candidate in the Gov race.
    It does surprise me how team Handel is so active in trying to cause problems for the LG considering he is much more popular and has a much larger machine working for him.I mean the Cagle team cant be real happy about right now and if I were running statewide I believe I would be concerned about my own race.

    Scott is a big boy we will see how politically wise he is soon,because Alan made a good point concerning the reality of him getting into the Primary with Cagle,He will not only lose he will be crushed.Cagle has a strong team and once the race begins those that are pushing Scott over the edge for their own agenda will be nowhere to be seen.

    • John Konop says:

      Georgia Judge,

      Are you delusional? The truth is Erick Johnson gains more than anyone if Austin runs against Casey ie both being from southern part of the state. With that said I do not think Erick is pushing this to gain support from the Austin supporters.

      The truth is, as you know, party insiders are scared of the Richardson type saga with Casey, during the general. It is not anymore complicated than that!

  18. slyram says:

    I am a moderate from Scott’s area and thought that this talent would be wasted in the governor race. We started an Austin Scott should run against Jim Marshall facebook page because he would have walked into congress. But, he is a family guy and didn’t want to shuttle between D.C. and Georgia. When the Black community considered his courage during the flag flap, he could have done nice numbers with moderates.

  19. SFrazier says:

    From reading earlier posts he would lose Eric Ericson as a backer. Eric is a big Jim Marshall fan from what I am being told.

      • SFrazier says:

        Why did he vote for Marshall in 06? That is the year Marshall won by 1000 votes only. A 500 vote swing and Mac Collins would be in congress today. With his 12 years of seniority he would have taken with him he would have 16 years under his belt now giving him some power for the 8th district. Mac was a very conservative congressman; I do not think anyone disagrees with that.
        Why should we trust Eric after he obviously cost us that seat? Eric is worth about 1000 votes in the 8th which would have tilted it the GOP’s side. I could understand his decision if Mac was a RINO, but he is definitely not. Let me correct myself, I cannot understand why anyone who calls himself a conservative would vote for Jim Marshall over Mac. What makes this more repulsing is the fact that he sold the little influence that he had that ended up keeping a good conservative out of office.
        Eric is part of the problem, and as a party we cannot fix the problem with the problem. Eric and his followers must be ousted. He is a wolf in sheep’s clothing trying to make the GOP look more like the Democratic Party while pretending to be conservative.

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