Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Ok Cupcake, you win

Ok, fine, you win. We’ll try to keep some interesting content up here. To be honest, we weren’t expecting the minor deluge of comments and personal emails we got about our hiatus. It’s nice to feel appreciated, and for once, we’re not being sarcastic. Apparently great minds think alike, because as I was banging out the massive post below, my co-editor was doing the same.

So here’s the deal. Speaking only for myself, I’ll try to balance the blog in with the other blogging/politicking I’m currently engaged in. The posts will probably be shorter, and may not happen every day, but hey – y’all win. We’re also pleased to announce that your friend and ours, JMac, will be picking up some of our slack here. Thanks, JMac. You’re a class act.

But hey, enough of this sappy, maudlin (not to be confused with Mauldin) horseshit. It’s time to do that voodoo that we do – beating up on politicians. Here’s some political news. We imagine that this will give you guys a few things to discuss in the comments.

Overend Kickoff

Courtesy of our friends over at Bill Overend’s campaign for Solicitor, the candidate will be having his campaign kickoff party this Sunday over at Farm 255 from 4pm until 6pm. There’s going to be some food, some music, and some talking from the candidate. It’s free and open to the public, although the campaign does suggest a $10.00 donation at the door.

Overend faces C. R. Chisholm in the Democratic Primary, and the winner takes on incumbent Republican Mo Wiltshire in the November general.

New Maddox Website

WTF? I mean, WTF? This is an improvement? Y’all liked talking about this one a month ago or so, so let the Snark 2.0 begin. By the by, there was a version in between the first incarnation and this current abomination that featured a – shall we say – extreme usage of the blink tag. Miss Publius strongly considered a lawsuit against the designer for the seizure she almost had.

Will She or Won’t She? Also, will she or won’t she?

She number 1 = Heidi Davison. She number 2 = Jane Kidd. If we were cynical and misogynistic, we would say that they’d both made up their minds months ago, but are late because they’re up in the bedroom trying to find the right pair of earrings. Fortunately, some comedy is beneath even your crack editorial staff.

Seriously, the big political questions right now, on a local level, are whether Heidi runs again, and whether Jane gives up the safety of her House seat (which is, by our last count, approximately 8,329% democratic) to run for the State Senate against Cowsert. We’ll dispose of Heidi first by saying, how could she not run? We know, we know, only a few months ago, we went on record saying she wouldn’t run. But, whether she runs or not, we’ll have been right. Here’s our take. Heidi has an agenda. She’s got a vision of what she wants this city to be, and whether you agree with her vision or not, you’ve got to agree that she hasn’t done everything she wants to do. Plus, she reeeeeeeaaaaaallllllly likes to screw with people’s minds during the qualifying process. Remember four years ago?

As far as Jane Kidd goes, your guess is as good as ours. Rumors abound (meaning that we’ve heard this from multiple sources) that the fine folks at the Democratic Party of Georgia have encouraged her to stay in the House seat, and not risk a loss in the Senate race. (More on the DPG in a second.) For what it’s worth, if the DPG is pushing that on her, they’re wrong. Any Democrat with a pulse can win Jane Kidd’s House seat. To beat Cowsert in the new 46th (now with 10% more conservative base), you need at least one of two things in a candidate, preferably both. You either need a candidate who can be credible with conservative-leaning swing voters, or you need a name. We don’t know how Jane Kidd would fare in rural Oconee County, but she is at least a recognizable name in local politics. She also has the fundraising boost that pseudo-incumbency provides.

Will all of that make a difference? Who knows? We will mention that both members of your crack editorial staff recently gave up safe, secure, stable gigs to pursue far less safe, but more rewarding career options – and it is a tough personal call to make. Jane Kidd is far more about governing than she is about campaigning, so she may stay in the House because she gets a more or less guaranteed chance to continue governing.

The Democratic Party of Georgia

Campaigns and Elections magazine, a trade publication in the politics industry, recently did a piece on the best and worst state parties. We were shocked to see that they’ve listed the Georgia Democratic Party as one of the best in the nation. Seriously kids, we thought it was a typo. Alas it wasn’t. Apparently seasoned political observers think Bobby Kahn and his posse are doing something right. Really?

As Samuel L. Jackson famously said, “Allow me to retort.” The DPG is not exactly a stellar organization. Over the last four years, they’ve made a cottage industry out of losing the races they should have won. There are two major issues that are hampering the DPG right now. The first is candidate recruitment. We’re guessing that not too many of our readers have ever been recruited by the DPG to run for something, and to be fair, we haven’t either – but we have been involved with enough races in this state to have a more than peripheral acquaintance with the process. Basically, the DPG swoops in on some unsuspecting lawyer or activist or whoever fits their demographic profile of the “perfect candidate” for that district, and promises them the moon to get them to run. Usually, the DPG will hint at oodles of direct mail, maybe some independent expenditures, and all the Atlanta-based advice that the prospective candidate can handle. And, when they’re recruiting candidates, every race is a targeted race. Unfortunately, when push comes to shove, they can’t deliver, and the candidate is left alone in the woods, underfunded and underexposed.

You can’t blame the DPG completely. Smart candidates know that they have to raise the money they need, and a commitment is worth exactly $0 until the check comes in. Unfortunately, a lot of candidates are first-timers, and they don’t learn that nugget of wisdom until it’s too late. And we don’t mean to imply that the DPG is making promises that they know they can’t keep. When you’re involved in an enterprise that depends on the kindness of others to keep it financially afloat, you have to believe that eery year will be better than the last. But sometimes, fundraising falls short.

The other major shortfall in how the DPG does business is in its coordination with local parties. A lot of rural counties don’t even have a local Democratic party structure, and that’s a shame. Even in the smallest counties, you can find 5 or 10 hardcore Dems who would be willing to get together every month and figure out how to help some local folks win some races. Many hands make light work. For the counties, like Athens-Clarke County, that do have large Democratic parties, the DPG needs to mobilize them better. Right now, we have this state party structure that is more or less ineffective in its purview, and county parties that vary in their effectiveness within their own fiefdoms. The DPG needs to work more closely with the local folks and give them the support they need to do their jobs better. All politics is local.

So whither now, DPG? Here’s our suggestion. Stop trying to be a vote machine and start being a support machine. Build the infrastructure to help your candidates out. Focus on providing the research and tools that campaigns need, and get your hands out of every race in the state. There are tons of good operatives in Georgia – for instance, here in Athens, Al Davison is no slouch at the politics. Give them what they need to win and get out of their way.

One really good thing the DPG could do right now is to take a hint from states like Alabama and Iowa, where state Democratic parties laid out the cash to build a colossal voter file – better than the raw data available from the Secretaries of State in those states. The parties sent canvassers out to update, test issues, get demographic data, and generally make the voter file a very useful database for Democratic campaigns.

The fact is, the DPG is not very good right now. So, if you want to win some races, maybe it’s time for a new direction and a new purpose.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

On the solicitor's race, all three are good guys. Can't we move some of this surplus to somewhere else, like the DA's office?

Darren

DoubleDawgDareYa said...

Too bad that election's not until '08. Mauldin will surely see some opposition then as well.

Anonymous said...

CR would be a really good DA candidate, given his experience over there. But would he challenge Ken?

DoubleDawgDareYa said...

Not if he won Solicitor, I wouldn't think, but if not, who knows? I would expect a crowded primary in that race in '08, although it's tough to say this early with whom it will be crowded.

Anonymous said...

I imagine CR might want to get a couple terms under his belt as the SG (presuming he wins) before taking the next step.
Also, with the DA race including Oconee County, Mo might be better served to not run for SG and to try again to knock off Ken. With the combination of the Oconee County republican vote and the growing unpopularity of Mauldin in Clarke County (or at least the perception of such), Mauldin should be much more vulnerable this time around.
Darren

Patrick Armstrong said...

Concerning DPG: you get a big ol' Hells Yeah! from us completely ignored Democrats down here in the Southern reaches of our great State.

Candidate recruitment, what's that? I've asked 5 prime people if they'd be interested in running for School Board and none of these folks are interested.

I give credit to the folks who ran the few State Party training sessions months upon months ago in South Georgia, and the ones who will be running the one on May 6th in Macon, but pretty much it feels like we've been relegated to the 'just vote for the statewide Democrats and deal' bin.

Oh yeah, it is great to be reading this blog again, fellas. Vacations are welcome, quittin's outta the question! :)

codeman38 said...

Vote Charlie Maddox is the Daily Sucker today on Web Pages That Suck.

You can thank me for that one...

Anonymous said...

So .... when exactly did Chisholm become a Democrat?

crewzin777 said...

I'm not certain the party is all that important in the Solicitor's race.

CR is probably as much a Dem as Brian Patterson is. Or as much a 'Pub as Mo.

DoubleDawgDareYa said...

Those seeking to oppose Mo are probably primarily running as Dem's because he's not and the race is in Clarke County (although I know nothing of the personal politics of any of these gentlemen, so they may actually be Dems; simply don't know). Likewise, Mo is most likely a Repub because that's what he needed to be to get appointed by Sonny (again, I know nothing of his personal politics).

Anonymous said...

Hey so how'd Alabama's voterfile outreach turn out for them? Did they lose or gain seats in the legislature?