Bill Cowsert: The Domino That Didn’t Fall

Bill Cowsert surprised most last evening with his announcement that he won’t be running for Georgia’s 10th Congressional district.  He may well have ultimately surprised his own consultant, Joel McElhannon, who has been less than transparent for quite some time that he wanted GA-10 for his client.

So much so that McElhannon has been feeding the “Broun will run for Senate” rumor mill even before Saxby announced his retirement. Whoever signs with McElhannon will likely not be the frontrunner in the race, like Jim Whitehead, Clay Cox, Martha Zoller, Mike Evans and Lee Anderson were.

Stephen Simpson, who challenged Broun in 2010, is in and raising money, and House GOP Caucus Chairman Donna Sheldon is soon to make an announcement and test her own fund-raising prowess. She will likely have the support of House Leadership and presumably the ability to raise funds that comes with that support. But neither can claim residence in the heart of the district like former State Rep. Bob Smith, who represented Clarke, Oconee and Morgan Counties and could create a political center to the geographically sprawling district.

Other dominos to fall?  Expect them.  The current Georgia political landscape is like Christmas for political consultants.  There will be many people with money that can be talked into running “for the good of the country” by folks that are very good at separating potential candidates from their children’s inheritance.  Well meaning but novice candidates beware.  You likely didn’t earn your money by investing in things that you don’t understand.  Political campaigns are no different.


  1. Charlie says:

    Tim Echols is tweeting that he’s trying to recruit former 7th District Congressional candidate Jody Hice to run for GA-10. Now we’ll just have to see if Hice understands how meaningful it is to have Echols stop his upstart limousine inspection service during Masters Week to take time out and generate another client for TeenPact.

  2. northside101 says:

    There is no domnant county in CD 10 (such as how Fulton dominates John Lewis’s CD 5 or Gwinnett dominates Rob Woodall’s CD 7)., but Walton County probably will be the largest voting county in next year’s primary in the district. Walton accounted for 19% of the district’s total votes in the July 2010 GOP primary for governor (that is, if the current CD 10 had existed three years ago, Walton would havc accounted for nearly a fifth of the district’s total votes). In the March 2012 Republican presidential primary, Walton accounted for 17% of the district’s total votes, and 16% of the total votes in the Broun-Simpson GOP congressional primary here last summer. As southern Gwinnett (along and below Hwy 78) turns increasingly Democratic, Walton is becoming more Republican. Gwinnett (the portion of that county in CD 10) accounted for 10% of the district’s total votes in the 2010 primary for governor and 2012 pres primary, and 8% in the July 2012 congressional primary. Barrow County (the majority of which is represented by House Appropriations Chairman Terry England), the Henry portion of the district and Oconee County also are significant players in the primary here. Clarke (most of which is in CD 10) has the largest population of the district’s counties and portions thereof, but because these days it votes invariably Democratic, it ihas a more limited impact in the GOP primary.

    The eastern part of CD 10—more or less east of Athens and Madison—is very rural and includes some of Georgia’s smallest counties, like Taliaferro (with fewer than 1,800 people) and Glascock (abotu 3,000 people). South and east of Madison (Morgan County), Baldwin County (Milledgeville) is only county over 40,000 people. Very little of Columbia County is in the 10th (vsat majority of Columbia–over 80%—is in Barrow’s district). But CD 10 does include one wealthy rural area–Lake Oconee in Greene County, the midway point between Atlanta and Augusta off of Interstate 20 and a popular GOP fundraising spot (and home of House Ways and Means Chirman Mickey Channell).

    Newt won 54% in this district in the March 2012 pres primary—his best showing (in percentage) among Georgia’s 14 current congressional districts (Romney 21%, Santorum 19%, Ron Paul 6%). Eight months later, Romney got 62% in CD 10, with Obama far behind at 36% and Libertarian Gary Johnson at 1%.

  3. UpHere says:

    Bob Smith is a joke. When he was in the legislature, no one took him serious. The only way he rose in the ranks was because of his friendship with Burkhalter. Notice that one Burkhalter left, he was stripped of his position on Appropriations and is still bitter .

  4. Howard Roark says:

    “Whoever signs with McElhannon will likely not be the frontrunner in the race, like Jim Whitehead, Clay Cox, Martha Zoller, Mike Evans and Lee Anderson were.”

    That is quite the testimony for McElhannon. They all have 2 things in common.

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