Hold on to your seats here, because we’ve got some shocking news. The Athens Chamber of Commerce is full of Republicans!
We know, we know. Watergate, this isn’t. But Blake mentions it in “In the Loop,” so we’ll touch on it here as well.
Seems that the Chamber is hosting a fundraiser for Lieutenant Governor candidate Ralph “I never hit on a soft 14” Reed, who, as it happens, is a Republican. Does this amount to an endorsement from the Chamber? Unclear. We’ll see if the Chamber also hosts a fundraiser for Casey Cagle or Greg Hecht, or even Jim Martin (Heaven knows he could use the help.)
We’re betting that they won’t do that though. So, looking at this as a tacit endorsement, we’ve got to say that this is kind of a boneheaded move from the Chamber. In the first place, Reed is not exactly a lock to win the nomination, much less in the general. In the second place, the Chamber stands to gain exactly nothing from getting their thumbs in this particular pie this early.
If you want our two cents, here it is. The Chamber has been trying for a few years to become more of a player on the local and state political scene. They put together a shiny new PAC, spread some financial love around, and even put out a report card for our Commissioners. Needless to say, few of the M&C passed. Having been pretty much stymied on the local scene (as nearly as we can recall, none of the candidates they backed in 2004 actually won), the Chamber is trying to move into the more fertile (for Republicans) ground of state politics. This is just a case of jumping the gun, which just ends up hurting their credibility as a player on the political scene.
It’s like Kenny Rogers says, you’ve gotta know when to hold ‘em; know when to fold ‘em; know when to walk away; and know when not to have fundraisers for candidates who are not a shoe-in for the nomination.
Or maybe they just wanted to solicit some advice on how to build an Indian gambling casino in the Classic City.