Ed Lindsey On Tuesday’s Results

July 24, 2014 11:00 am

by Charlie · 11 comments

Ed Lindsey, Former State Rep and until May 20th a candidate for Congress, penned the following in the comments sections of one of our post-runoff threads.  We don’t promote comments up to the front page that often any more, but given his experience on the subject of campaigns – including this recent cycle – it’s worth its own post.  Thanks for the words and the time, Rep Lindsey. – Charlie

Let me offer these perspectives from one of the candidates who learned a lot by coming up short this year.

1. “Success has a thousand fathers but failure is an orphan.”

2. One member of a coalition of a defeated candidate pointing the finger at another member of a coalition and saying, “they were the reason the candidate lost” just sounds silly.

3. We spend a lot of time talking about it, but endorsements of candidates have a marginal impact at best. What matters then? See 6 below.

4. Polling is worthless unless you can also predict the % turnout. This year’s turnout was a record low for recent elections and way off from what folks originally expected (See 8). Given that, an ouija board and tarot cards were just as effective.

5. For all the faults folks have found in picking apart Jack Kingston campaign (See 1 above) — whom I endorsed (See 3 above) –, he almost pulled off a remarkable feat. He comes from an area of the state far removed from the population center of Georgia. He pulled together a remarkable coalition unheard of in recent years in our state (See 2 above). People that know him best, adore him as shown by the % of votes he got from the coast. He only lost by a few thousand votes. We should not toss him aside. Instead, we need him.

6. Message matters. David Perdue — as well as Jody Hice and Barry Loudermilk — echoed exactly what the GOP voters want this year in their federal candidates. They all promised to take something fundamentally different to Washington — call it pitchforks and torches or mops and Clorox — and that is exactly what the voters who came out to vote (See 8) are demanding. You can disagree/agree with it but that is the mood we are in right now.

7. Money matters but only if backed up by the right message. (See 6)

8. Voter turnout was disturbing this year — 18% in the primary and only 12.5% in the runoff state wide and in many areas far below that. As Americans, we pride ourselves on being an example to the world on the value of democracy. Maybe it’s time for us to take a civics lesson from abroad. In war torn Afghanistan, with leaders far from perfect and with bombs going off all around them, the Afghan people defied the Taliban and stood in long lines to vote in their general election and runoff. Seehttp://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/06/world/asia/afghanistan-voting.html?_r=2 andhttp://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/06/15/afhans-say-election-turnout-strong-50-killed-in-attacks/. Here in Georgia what is our excuse for our apathy? Mad at robocalls? Tired of negative ads? Turned off by volunteers knocking on the door? Not wanting to get wet in the rain? Well, we need to grow up. We face serious problems abroad, in Washington, under the Gold Dome in Atlanta, and in our own local communities. Nothing has ever been fixed by people who sat on the sidelines and refused to participate.

9. And finally, the Rev. Peter Marty says, “Nothing has been more destructive to the Church, than those who believe they have the sole possession of the truth.” This applies doubly to politics. :)

Edward Lindsey

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

ChuckEaton July 24, 2014 at 11:30 am

Just like you said we still need Jack, we still need you as well. Proud to have been a supporter of your’s in your run for Congress and happy to call you a friend.

Mike Dudgeon July 24, 2014 at 11:55 am

One of the best things ever written about elections Edward! We will miss you more than you know at the House next year.

Stephen in Southside July 24, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Good word!!

Al Gray July 24, 2014 at 1:26 pm

My efforts in this campaign season were directly against Jack Kingston and Ed Lindsey, yet I totally endorse Ed’s sentiments that were posted by Charlie.

“People that know him best, adore him as shown by the % of votes he got from the coast.” I would suggest that people who knew his decades old record could not square it with our conservatism.

“He only lost by a few thousand votes. We should not toss him aside. Instead, we need him.” Yes! I spent much of the last 2 weeks on Augusta talk radio call-ins furiously citing Jack’s record and how it could not mesh with conservatism if you took it in total. Jack Kingston and I connected up on one show and, despite my being in the opposing camp, he gave me his cell phone number with a request to call him. I did. Jack was very gracious and talked to me for 25 minutes last Friday, in the height of his furious campaign efforts. He is a supremely nice man.

We left it that, win or lose, it would be beneficial to meet sometime to go over the horrible damage to our governments, society and civilization itself, from Washington, DC financial policies, especially the broad adoption of what once was fraud.

There is much to be done with too few knowing or willing hands to do it. The cynic in me says Jack the politician won’t come around. Jack the good man probably will.

Spacey G July 24, 2014 at 1:53 pm

I voted in the primary and the runoff. In the runoff I cast my ballot with one minute left on the clock. 6:59pm. (I was guilt-ed to the precinct at the last minute by my many politically-inclined Facebook friends.)

I wish someone had done exit polling on the few, the proud, the 12.5%. Likely couldn’t find any people to survey, though. I’d enjoy hearing about what it really was that got them motivated to go vote in a Georgia runoff election.

Maybe I could market whatever it was to a campaign next time there’s a runoff.

northside101 July 24, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Some Comments:

—It is hard to run for statewide office when you only represent 1/14th of the state’s population. You get caught in a Catch-22 situation: If you spend lots of time on the campaign trail, you are accused of campaigning on the taxpayer dollar, while collecting your congressional salary, and accused of missing work (i.e., you should be up in Washington casting votes). If you tend to your DC duties, then people say you are not accessible. Perdue on the other hand did not have to worry about doing two jobs at the same time.

—It is pretty obvious polling in a low-turnout runoff is very difficult, like asking what the weather will be in a month or where the Dow will be tomorrow. I did not see any poll with either candidate above 50 percent; Kingston seemed in many polls to be in mid to upper 40s. Of course the campaigns’ private polls may be another matter. However, some Kingston supporters seemed to think it was in the bag—like 55-45 or something like that.

—We don’t have many instances of GOP Senate runoffs in Georgia—the only 2 of which I am aware, at least in the last 30 years, were in 1992 (Coverdell/Barr) and 1996 (Millner/Isakson)
—but in both instances, the candidate leading in Round 1 also won the runoff. (Both those contests were close, especially 1992 when Coverdell led Barr by only 1,500 votes in the runoff.) Perdue led Kingston by 5 points in Round 1 and 2 in Round 2—a sort of continuity.

—Though he lost metro Atlanta to Perdue, Kingston seemed to do a solid job of improving his (fairly dismal) May 20 showing in the area. He tripled the number of votes over those two months in Cong Dist 6 (Tom Price), going from about 7,000 to 21,000 over that time and also tripled his showing in Cong Dist 11 (Phil Gingrey—or I guess I should say Cong-Elect Loudermilk) from about 8,000 votes to 24,000. But—as Mark Rountree pointed out also yesterday—his south Georgia base did not return on July 22 with the same intensity. Kingston got about 5,000 fewer votes Tuesday (compared to May 20) in his home coastal district, the 1st, and also about 5,000 fewer in John Barrow’s CD 12. In other words, while pressing hard in metro Atlanta, there seemed to be less concern about getting his strong areas to come back. Take a look also at the congressional runoffs—turnout was higher in the CD 10 and 11 runoffs in north Georgia than CD 1 in Kingston’s district. I suspect some of the south Georgia dropoff was due to a lack of contested GOP runoffs for other offices—as one example, there was no runoff (unlike in 2012) on the Republican side in John Barrow’s CD 12, which had a substantial decline between May and July (about 20,000 fewer GOP primary voters there this time than in May). One thus wonders if the cost of Kingston’s focus on metro Atlanta was lessened turnout in south Georgia.

Finally–probably a point 120 percent of Republicans agree on—please no more 9-week runoff races!!! Runoff contests in Georgia have varied over the years from 2 weeks to 4 weeks, but 9 weeks bring out the fatigue in campaigns—and chances for gaffes. Interesting to see what the General Assembly does with that issue next year, and with scheduling the 2016 presidential primary (yes, that time again)!!!

drjay July 24, 2014 at 3:41 pm

i don’t have any stats or anything to back me up, but i would would not be surprised if the scorched earth campaign that carter and johnson waged against each other on the coast may have actually depressed turnout in the first…

The Last Democrat in Georgia July 24, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Probably so….But it was Kingston’s responsibility to make sure that his supporters turned back out for the runoff like they turned out for Round 1.

northside101 July 24, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Some turnout data from SOS on the congressional runoffs (R)—total votes

CD 1—-42,482

CD 10—49,634

CD 11—52,435

Part of the turnout difference may be due to different growth rates—recall 2011 redistricting was done on 2010 census data, and that of course is getting outdated. Probably have more people today living in CD 10 an CD 11 than in CD 1. In any event, not hard to see with the drop in CD 12 while Kingston and the Democrats would have preferred a GOP congressional runoff in that district.

Charlie July 24, 2014 at 5:30 pm

In addition to growth, you also have disparities in party affiliation between district. GA-1 was realigned to take Chatham County Democrats so that GA-12 could take more GOP votes. There weren’t as many GOP votes in GA-1 to start with, before any nominal growth differences in GA-11 and 10.

northside101 July 25, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Charlie, agreed on the 1st (became more Democratic or less Republican in redistricting), but still seemed to be a large drop, even taking that into consideration, in the district between May and July. Perhaps “all politics is local” comes to mind. There were no GOP legislative runoffs in CD 1, though some contested ones back in May—HD 179 (Jeff Chapman’s House seat) and HD 180 (Jason Spencer) come to mind.

Of course with attention now shifting to the genera electionl, the primary discussion starts to fade now, but as a week-ending story, an estimate of how the 14 districts voted in the Senate primary calculated from unofficial returns):
Perdue% Kingston %
CD 1 (Kingston-R) 19 81
CD 2 (Bishop-D) 49.9 50.1
CD 3 (Westmoreland-R) 60 40
CD 4 (Johnson-D) 56 44
CD 5 (Lewis-D) 58 42
CD 6 (Price-R) 55 45
CD 7 (Woodall-R) 56 44
CD 8 (Austin Scott-R) 46 54
CD 9 (Collins-R) 59 41
CD 10 (Broun-R) 55 45
CD 11 (Gingrey-R) 54 46
CD 12 (Barrow-D) 38 62
CD 13 (David Scott-D) 58 42
CD 14 (Graves-R) 52 48

OVERALL: 51% 49%

The highest turnout by district was in the 11th CD, where the Barr-Loudermilk contest was of a lot of interest. About 53,000 Senate runoff votes were cast in that district. The lowest turnout, not surprisingly, was in the state’s most heavily Democratic district, CD 5 of John Lewis, where only about 9,500 Senate runoff votes were cast. Turnout was about 43,000 in Kingston’s district in the runoff. In CD 10, the Hice/Collins runoff, about 50,000 votes were cast in the Senate runoff.

Notice also that of the 10 cong districts Perdue carried, 7 are held by GOP congressmen (most of whom backed Kingston). Which doubtless leads many people to question the value of endorsements or support from the “establishment.”