Thursday, December 29, 2005

Andy Rusk Kicks Off, Carlotta Harrell Drops In

Just a gentle reminder that frequent AthPo contributor Andy Rusk is having his kickoff party at Tasty World next Friday (January 6). Festivities start at around 8:00 pm. I don’t know from music (that’s one reason why I read Hilary’s blog), but I’m sure all the folks performing are top-notch.

On Thursday, January 5, the Oconee Democrats host candidate for State School Superintendant Carlotta Harrell. The fun starts at 7:00 pm in the Board of Commissioners chamber in the Oconee County Courthouse. Questions? Email Dan Matthews.

And in the spirit of open thread-ness, what would you guys like to hear Andy talk about on the 6th? What are your big issues in the mayor’s race?


Anonymous said...

I want to hear him say anything that will convince me he's a serious candidate. I like what you're sayin' man, but I'm not sure you're ready to go up against Chasteen or Heidi.

Anonymous said...

If Mr. Rusk hasn't yet identified 2 or 3 key issues that will resonate with the electorate, then it's not a serious campaign. Sorry, but that should have been done well before now! You can't be a serious challenger -- or even a minor annoyance -- when you are politically unknown and without a message.

Publius said...

I, along with most everyone here who has done anything with a campaign would agree with you. Message is king. You've got to define yourself before the other candidates and the press define you, and you've got to try as hard as you can to define the others guys before they define themselves. Most importantly, you've got to tell folks what your fer and what your agin'. If you do all of that and do it well, then the natural byproduct is a compelling reason for your coalition of voters to vote for you and compelling reasons for them not to vote for the other guys.

I've been bitching about this matter to friends for awhile. When will Athens grow up and realize that we've got over 100,000 people living here. It's time for local campaigns to have an air of, for lack of a better word, professionalism.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that every candidate for school board needs to run out and hire Strother Duffy Strother to churn out tv ads for them. You don't need to pay big bucks for a professional campaign manager (although given the amount of time running a campaign takes, it would be nice to give whoever is doing that for you a little financial appreciation), you don't need to create the West Wing on West Broad Street.

But you do need a message and the money it takes to get that message out. (Seriously, you can have the best message in the world, but if you can't get it to the voters, what good does it do?) You need a media mix, meaning direct mail, radio, and even *gasp* television. (Cable ads aren't that expensive folks, and if you shoot to video, you're not going to spend a lot on production costs either.)

Field stuff, or grassroots stuff is great. There's nothing Athens voters love more than sweaty and enthusiastic volunteers pounding on their doors. (That sounds facetious, but Athens voters really do love canvassing.) Of course, (and here's the dreaded specter of professionalism again) if you don't get your hands on a voter file, and someone who at least knows the rudiments of how to use one, you'll probably end up wasting a lot of your canvassers' time and energy knocking on the doors of people who wouldn't support you if your opponent was Beelzebub himself. And what are those canvassers going to say at the doors? Got a script? How about a pushcard?

The good news is that you can campaign professionally in Athens on a shoestring. The bad news is that not many folks have tried it.

Now, back to Andy for a moment, as well as the original point of the comment. Do you think Andy hasn't thought about all those factors I mentioned? He's not dumb, and I think he probably has. And in fairness to Andy, he has identified several issues that he's going to be campaigning on. For instance, the smoking ban, rental registration, development (specifically mass grading), switching the ACC fleet over to bio-diesel, and some others. Has he fleshed them out to the point where I'm happy about his approach to the issues? No, but the election is still eleven months off, and he's got plenty of time. But at least he is talking issues.

Publius said...

Also, opinions on Carlotta Harrell's website, anyone?

bulletdawg said...

I've got an opinion of Carlotta Harrell. I heard Ms. Harrell speak at a party event in my home county back in the summer. While she seems like a nice person and a thoughtful candidate, she has no chance of defeating Kathy Cox. The fact that she is the only announced Democratic candidate for this winnable office is a sign that the Democratic Party of Georgia is in deep trouble.

Kathy Cox has been nothing but pathetic since taking over the office from disgraced and indicted Fmr. Supt. Schrenko (R-Drugged up nut). Cox's stance on the teaching of evolution and her opposition to real education reform has hurt not only our states' image, but also our schoolchildren.

We need a change in this office, and the Democratic Party has a duty, if they desire to remain a viable alternative to the present-day GOP Majority, to field a credible candidate. Where our Democratic House and Senate members? Are there no Democrats serving on local school boards interested in running? What about a left-of-center teacher?

As a loyal Democrat, who has worked in the trenches for my party, it pains me to say that our party is moving towards extinction in this state. Unless we see a national Democratic tidal wave, I fear we could lose the majority of constitutional offices that we currently hold in the state. The loss of these offices depletes our recruiting base for Governor, Lt. Governor, and other positions down the road.

We need young, idealistic, attractive candidates who can defeat the GOP machine and position themselves for higher office. Until my party finds those people, I will continue to vote for the "D" candidate, but will also continue to be disappointed in our state party structure.

Fishplate said... must hurt your nose to pinch it that tight while you are in the voting booth...I admire your pain tolerance.