Ray McKinney is running for Congress in a district usually overlooked by most of us.
And though it McKinney will have a fight on his hands, there are signs that John Barrow may be in trouble. He voted for TARP (twice), stimulus, the recent $90 billion waste of taxpayer dollars disguised as a “jobs bill” and cash for clunkers. In this midterm election, he can’t count on President Obama endorsing him, but instead he’ll play to the middle. On top of that, Democrat turnout was over 40% lower this year compared to last cycle; Barrow beat former State Senator Regina Thomas again, but with a lower margin and while appearing at no debates.
Ray has come a long way and has an organization that’s bested other Republicans vying for this seat in the past (see John Stone’s miserable showing in 2008). He is a fiscal conservative who will build contrast with Barrow. He’s from the district, Barrow isn’t. Ray has worked in the private-sector all his life, Barrow is a Harvard lawyer and career politician from Athens, moving whenever the district lines change.
What’s unique about Ray is that he’s not angry or playing to the far-right to garner support. He’s running as a problem-solver and he’s winning. Ray was in the race for less than 16 weeks and garnered 43% of the vote, besting Carl Smith who was in the race for 16 months and managed to attain only 28%.
Ray won’t stand for the same scandals that have plagued his party in the past. He isn’t a complete partisan either, for example, in January of 2010, he fought the adoption of flawed by-laws by state GOP party bosses.
Ray’s reputation has flourished in the three years since his political birth and I suspect that he’ll continue to surprise many of us as he goes even further.