The ABH is reporting today that Bill Cowsert, local attorney and candidate for State House in 2004, is joining the race for State Senate.
Now, as most of you who are in tune with Athens politics (the concept, not the blog) already know, Cowsert, a Republican, ran against Jane Kidd for State House in 2004. Now, he's running against Jane Kidd again, this time for State Senate.
This race is a much better fit for Bill Cowsert. Considering the makeup of the district, Cowsert's 44% in his State House race was borderline impressive. (For reference, Kerry won about 60%, and US Senate candidate Denise Majette took about 56%). In short, a Democrat should be able to break 50% in Kidd's State House district without breaking a sweat. The State Senate district actually has numbers that a Republican can work with.
Despite the fact that this seat has been held for four years by a Republican, and despite the fact that said Republican knocked off a pretty popular incumbent to win the seat in 2002, we're not ready to call this a "Republican seat" yet.
To be sure, Cowsert has some significant advantages coming into the race. Name recognition, for one. Brian Kemp's support and connections for another. And, lest we forget, the mighty political force that is Oconee County, which frankly, has been putting ACC to shame on voter turnout.
And that's the thing. Numerically speaking, there's no reason why this seat should be Republican. But lately, the Republicans just seem to want it more. We love Doug Haines, and we love Becky Vaughn (who ran for the seat in 2004), but as much as it pains us to say this, they just got flat outworked.
The candidate who wins this race will be the one who puts people in the field (Athens voters love canvassing), raises enough money to win the direct mail race, and doesn't waste time relying on their state party for money and resources. (More on that in a later post)
It's too early to pick a winner here. Obviously, fundraising is the mother's milk of politics, and it remains to be seen whether mommy likes Jane or Bill more. But there's more to it than who can raise the most money.
In the end, this is going to come down to who wants it more, and who's going to work the hardest.
Will Jane Kidd be the third Democrat in as many elections to get outworked by the GOP? We're not sure. We hope not, because as much as we like Bill Cowsert personally (and we do), we'd rather see a Democrat in the State Senate. And, pardon us for being a little Athens-centric, but we also humbly believe that a Democrat is the best fit for the district as a whole.
Stay tuned. We'll be following this one closely.