U.S. Senate: Johnny Isakson – He’s always done what he’s told me he would do. He’s more concerned about getting things done than getting personal credit, which is rare in D.C. His efforts to save Delta’s pension fund (and save the taxpayer from taking over the liability of that fund) shows he’s not afraid to take on both a President of his own party and his own Senate leadership when he believes he’s right. On that issue, he won. Thus, Delta employees and retirees won. The people of south metro Atlanta who’s businesses depend on these customers won. And most importantly, the taxpayer won. Isakson has earned my vote for his re-election.
Governor: Karen Handel. See here. Karen is a mix of someone who understands the current power structure but understands it needs to be shaken up. Her experience as Chairman of the Fulton County Commission give her a unique appreciation of the balance needed between State power and local control. She’s the only candidate to consistently address the needs of local government in her plans. The last two Governors and their general assemblies have tried to see how much power they can consolidate in Atlanta. I want a Governor who understands that governance is best when decisions are made closest to the people. Karen Handel is the candidate for those of us that favor local control.
Lt. Governor: Blank
Secretary Of State: Doug MacGinnitie – I had higher hopes for this race. It should have been one of the better matchups. Unfortunately, Governor Sonny Perdue decided to exercise his very early voting privilege and appoint Kemp after a weekend courtship with Jim Cole went awry. While I have criticized MacGinnitie for going a bit too far in his attempt to illustrate the problems with overseas military voting, this mis-step pales in comparison to Kemp, as the official constitutional officer to maintain election records, deliberately misrepresented MacGinnitie’s voting record both in print and in spoken word.
Campaign antics aside, MacGinnitie has the better background for this office. He is an attorney who understands what it will take to challenge the Justice Department to defend voter verification and deal with ongoing issues related to pre-clearance under Voting Rights Act section 5. His business background has him building a large and successful insurance business. His political background includes alienating a large number of his peers on the Sandy Springs City Council by insisting that their surplus be returned to taxpayers. It’s a record I like, and one that I’ll vote for.
Attorney General – Do I really have to vote here? Two of these candidates will need to develop some maturity and a thicker skin if they’re going to come close to getting my vote in the general election. The pettiness of the candidates and their supporters has turned this race into one where I just about wish there were no winners. The Democrats seem to be working hard for geography to nominate Ken Hodges. If they do, they’ll force me to vote for our nominee. If not, Rob Teilhet has an excellent chance of getting my vote in November. In the mean time, I’m probably voting for Preston Smith, mainly because I haven’t endured childish rants from him or his supporters.
State School Superintendent – John Barge. This one came late and I still can’t differentiate much between the two candidates on the Republican side. I’m told Barge has some administrative experience. That gets him the nod.
Commissioner Of Agriculture – Darwin Carter. I like Gary Black, I look forward to voting for him in November, and I think he’ll make an excellent Commissioner of Agriculture. I’m voting for Carter because I listened to him speak in Fannin County, far from both of our homes. He paid his dues to a Republican Party that no longer exists – but is one we both miss. He worked hard to help build a party in Georgia in the 80’s when Democrats ruled the day. He now is looking for the Republican majority that we thought we had elected: One of limited government, ethics, and an end to insider deals that drive decision making. Neither of us see much of that party when we look around. Consider this vote a belated thank you for his efforts long ago.
Commissioner Of Labor – Melvin Everson. No contest here. Melvin Everson has been an excellent Rep, and has worked the grass roots hard. Mark Butler dates lobbyists, and threatens state employees when they don’t treat his girlfriends well. We need Melvin Everson. We can’t afford Mark Butler.
Commissioner Of Insurance – Gerry Purcell. Gerry Purcell has to be the hardest working person in Georgia Politics this year. He has been everywhere. I can’t think of any public event that I’ve been to that he hasn’t. He has been ubiquitous on the campaign trail, and has a serious energy about reforming this office. He was willing to challenge the ethics of John Oxendine early and publicly. And personally, I just like the guy.
I have to give an honorable mention to Senator Seth Harp. Harp is a man of political courage. He’s sponsored the controversial “Sunday Sales” bill for years when other Senators or Reps are afraid to even vote on it. Harp has also publicly called out John Oxendine on his ethics. But I also remember Harp prior to him being a Senator, when he served in some sort of role as parliamentarian with either the 3rd District or State Republican Committee. During my early years of politics, there wasn’t a single County Committee or Executive Committee meeting of the Fayette County party that both sides of the argument didn’t get him on the phone to referee. He, from Columbus, knew the Fayette County party rules by heart. For putting up with that for years, he probably should get my vote. Purcell just locked it down first.
As a side note, there are probably more quality candidates in this race than some of the others combined. A lot have worked hard, and some of the runner-ups may still have a decent future in Georgia Politics should they decide to try again.
Public Service Commissioner: John Douglas – What you see is what you get with John. When most politicians try to see how many shades of gray they can find in an issue, the world he lives in is black and white. He is blunt. Some find that a bit off-putting. I find it reassuring. You don’t question where you stand when you’re talking to Senator Douglas, because you don’t have to wonder where he stands. In addition, he used to spend quite a bit of time on our pages here until he grew tired of attacks from the anonymous. Not sure if I was an elected, I would put up with much of that either. (I guess Buzz can tell us what that’s like in a few months.)
For those that don’t agree with me, take a look at Jeff May. A lot of my friends like him, but I know Douglas better. Either of these gentlemen are far superior to Tim Echols, who brokers free labor from teens to his buddy John Oxendine for personal profit, or Joey Brush, who’s closest political friend is Linda Shrenko.
Cobb Commission Chairman: Tim Lee – Cobb is a well run county. I expect Tim Lee to continue that tradition.
U.S. House of Representatives District 13 – Mike Crane. I haven’t met any of the candidates in the primary for GA-13, and I doubt it matters. David Scott will win re-election big. I’m voting for Crane for the best reason possible: A co-worker asked me to. She’s non-political, and goes to church with Mike. She likes him well enough to go door to door for him. That’s what grass roots politics is supposed to be all about. Because she asked and feels strongly about it/him, I’m happy to give him my vote.