If our email is any indication, Mayor Heidi Davison was burning the midnight oil last night, asking everyone she knows to contact Sonny Perdue about vetoing the redistricting bill. Of course, as far as AthPo is concerned, Heidi is preaching to the choir on this one. Still, we’re going to join the chorus and entreat you to give the Gubner a piece of your mind. (Link below)
We would also point out that Heidi has been a pit bull on this issue, as we’ve mentioned before. Like her or not, you have to applaud the mayor for fighting as hard as she has on what has pretty much become a legislative fait accompli. That’s what you want in a mayor, in our opinion. It’s been a tough fight, and we’re going to be very surprised if Sonny Perdue vetoes the new maps.
Heidi’s work on this issue (coupled with her recent high-profile poverty stuff) has engendered a lot of goodwill towards her in the community. You know, we predicted a few months ago (too lazy to find the post, sorry) that Heidi’s base has eroded somewhat since 2002. Obviously, the mayor has kept mum on her plans to run for re-election, but if she’s leaning in that direction, we think that standing up on this issue has probably re-energized some of her supporters who might have strayed from the fold. Best of all, Heidi stood up on this issue and she didn’t piss anyone off who wasn’t already pissed off at her to begin with – namely Ralph Hudgens, Larry McKinney, and the COC-squad.
Compare that to Tom Chasteen, who is the big loser in this whole mess. You see, Chasteen is the only person who didn’t win – hence the definition of Chasteen as loser. McKinney and the COC-squad get their second senator, Ralph Hudgens gets a chunk of Athens to represent (and some more fat corporate donations), and as mentioned above, Heidi gets some recognition for the hard work she’s done and maybe pulls some supporters back over to her side.
Tom Chasteen, however, has gained nothing, and lost a good bit. His “heroic” stance in voting against the resolution condemning the redistricting was anything but heroic. It might have been a brave stand to take, if it accurately reflected his views – but his comments prior to the meeting show that he appears to be as opposed to carving up Athens as his colleagues are. So, it was pure politics – amoeba politics – for Chasteen.
But whither now, Tom Chasteen? In his mayoral run, Chasteen is banking on votes from two groups: local Republicans (who mostly consider him the lesser of four evils), and his traditional Democratic base. Problem is, the Republicans were probably going to vote for him anyway (they sure weren’t voting for Heidi!), and many of his District 9 base were against redistricting from the get-go, and angry about Chasteen’s no-so-heroic stand. Add to that the undecided voters, who may not be happy with Heidi, but aren’t big fans of Chasteen. The undecideds would have probably fallen fairly evenly had Tom followed his conscience. Now, however, we’ll have to see how they react to a politician who always sticks his finger in the wind before he opens his mouth. Any way you slice it, the result is a net loss for Tom Chasteen.
Realistically, Tom’s not beaten yet. Indeed, if Heidi decides not to run, he becomes the frontrunner, barring another high-profile local candidate jumping in. Even with Heidi in the race, Chasteen probably still makes a runoff with the mayor. He’s going to be well-funded, and we’re sure his direct mail will be damn purty.
Nonetheless, we’ll bet he wasn’t up at 1:30 this morning rallying up support for anything.
Related: Contact Governor Sonny Perdue.