Blake Aued channels Sanjay Gupta in today's ABH, with a (fairly shallow) discussion of Norwood's health and how it affects his re-election bid in 2006. Of course, it wouldn't be an ABH election story without two things: a discussion of money (Norwood has lots, the 2004 Democratic candidate - not so much), and a weigh in by Charles Bullock of the UGA poli sci department.
Those two things, rather than Norwood's health, are what we'd like to briefly address. First the money. Norwood or not, any Democrat who wants to run in this district is going to have to raise some serious cash. In fact, the money chase is one of many reasons why this district is seen as such a solid Republican lock. You might be not at all surprised to know that the Democrats haven't even come close to matching Norwood's fundraising totals since 1996 (David Bell was the D that year, if you're keeping score at home.) Not saying that this is a super-competitive seat, but we are saying that we'd like to see what would happen if Norwood were challenged by a Democrat who had the gumption and persistence to sit on the phones for months, raise seven or eight hundred thousand, and make a real race out of this.
The good news for either candidate is that, as far as Congressional races go, this is a fairly cheap district to run in. TV isn't too expensive here, unless you try to be an utter bonehead and run ads on the Atlanta affiliates (totally unncessary), so the dominant medium is direct mail, which has the dual advatages of being both less expensive and more targetable. Additionally, the district is far more compact that the 12th, and reasonably more compact that the 9th, which means a candidate can see more voters in less time, if they've got a mind to.
As far as Bullock's input is concerned, he makes a good point. If Norwood drops out, the race gets more competitive. Kemp says he wouldn't run, but would Doc Eldridge? Notice that Blake either didn't ask Doc, or Doc didn't give him anything to use. On the subject of Bullock, we wonder how long we'll have to stay at this before the ABH asks us to say things that are essentially common sense for publication.
Should Norwood's health become a campaign issue? Absolutely, as long as it's presented in the right way, and addressed in the right way by Norwood himself. His health is tied directly to his ability to effectively represent the citizens in his district.