First of all, I got no dog in this fight. If you asked me right now for whom I would vote, my answer would be "uh..." (As opposed to "eh")
So here's what I know about these cats. Some of it's positive, some of it's negative, but like they say, you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have... you get the idea.
E to the H Culpepper
Well, he's got a cool name. And the establishment Democrats, most of whom are no longer actually Democrats, seem to love him. That's cool, if you dig that crowd. His website is the best of the bunch from a design standpoint. And, he's running as an independent, a move that would probably work well in a lot of other districts, but maybe not so much in this one, where a lot of the electorate is still fairly proud to call themselves Democrats. (God knows why, given the state of our state and local Democratic parties, but I digress.)
A lot of folks are talking about the fact that E to the H is a closet Republican. Maybe so, I don't really know him to speak to him. But, I would say this. Don't assume that the independent label is a harbinger of a 5% vanity vote, like it is in most cases. Culpepper has some very smart people working for him. He could surprise some people.
As far as issues go, I'm not impressed. Culpepper's website is - well, prosy is a good word. I'm all in favor of lots of issues stuff, but the language is kind of stiff and formal. More importantly, after reading it, I'm still not sure what he stands for, other than the Brain Train. For instance, dig this section about economic development:
"One of E.H.’s biggest priorities is finding the best way to create meaningful jobs here in Athens, which coincides with community improvement on a number of levels. E.H. has the unique expertise and leaderships credentials that will get the greatest return for the Athens community. Through involvement in statewide organizations such as Parks & Historic Sites, Rail Passenger Authority, and DOT; regional and corridor development initiatives such as 316 Alliance and BrainTrain Group; and involvement in numerous local arts, church, university, and business development programs, E.H has proven himself as a leader who can help bring greater economic prosperity to our region."
Um...how? I mean, that's all very lovely, and we're sure you've done a lot in your long and storied career. But there's no real mention of what you're going to do in the future. There's a maxim in marketing about selling benefits, not features. Past accomplishments are features, but plans are benefits.
However, worth checking out is the "Q&A with E.H." section, where the campaign talks a little more in-depth about the independent run and jazz like that.
Finally, here's something else I know about E to the H's campaign. They should quit their bitching about the poll floating around. They've spun this as being akin to a push poll, disseminating inaccurate information. I would note that, while they've alleged the information is inaccurate, they haven't put out the "real facts" as they see them. In any event, based on what I've heard about the polling questions (and if the Culpepper folks want to give me some more detail, they can and I'll re-evaluate my position on this), this is normal political polling procedure. You test your positives, your opponents' positives, your negatives and their negatives. It's how you develop a good message. Now the only way this is a push poll is if the sample size is way out of the ordinary. Normally, you would sample 400 - 500 folks. If the sample size is closer to 2,000 or so, then it's a push poll. I'm hearing that the poll came from McKillip's campaign or the state Democratic Party, so if one of those fine organizations would care to shoot me their survey and sample size, we can clear this up once and for all.
One other thing. (I know, I know, I already said "finally.") The Culpepper campaign is the only one of the three that is keeping us in the loop on their campaign news. So, if you're interested in who's reaching out to the new media, there you go. We're interested in that, but it's kind of our job to be interested.
And that's what I know about E to the H.
Well, what do I know about Doug McKillip? He's rich like Croesus. He cut me off in traffic once in his Mercedes. (DiDDY was with me, he can vouch.) He's run before for things. He put up a lot of yard signs before his uncontested primary - which kind of seemed like a waste of yard signs, considering how those things disappear.
Issues-wise, McKillip is more specific than E to the H. He opposes cutting funding for public education, and Peachcare. More importantly, on one of our pet issues, McKillip wants to do away with the law which prevents local governments from passing living wage ordinances. By the way, McKillip doesn't have an "Issues" section, per se, on his website, so browse around.
Personally, I'm not a huge fan of McKillip, and not just because he cut me off on Atlanta Highway that time. I've met him, heard him talk, and it just seems like he's reciting the Democratic Party talking points, without putting a whole lot of thought into the issues or coming up with something new and exciting.
And that's what I know about Doug McKillip.
Don't know much about Regina Quick. She's a Republican, but sources tell us that she's actually pretty liberal on a lot of issues. She seems like a nice kid, but I have no clue what she stands for. She's a Republican, so I don't see her doing very well in this district. No website.
And that's what little I know about Regina Quick.
Conspiracy Theories Abound...
...about this race. The big one going around town (and mentioned in a previous thread) is that the local GOP was less than thrilled with Regina Quick as a candidate and recruited Culpepper. If he wins, according to this theory, he'll jump ship to the GOP.
Yeah, I don't know about that. Multiple sources tell us that the local GOP is less than supportive of E to the H and his candidacy. Culpepper's website mentions that the local Republican party sent down an edict promising swift and sure vengeance to any members signing his petition. (I'm guessing that involves the water torture, three weeks at Gitmo, or at the very least, a flaming bag of poo on your doorstep.) So, I'm going to need more proof before I'm ready to buy that one.
If you want my theory, here it is. Culpepper wanted to run for State House. So he did. Sometimes, the easiest theory is the best.
Oh, you want more detail? You want at least something involving shrewd political manuvering? Fine, I'll expound on why he's running as an independent. Culpepper can't run as a Republican, because he'd get his ass handed to him in 115. (Plus, he is probably more of a Democrat than he is a Republican.) He can't run as a Democrat because some of his biggest financial backers aren't Democrats. Finally, as an Independent, he avoided a primary, giving himself more time to stockpile his resources for the election that matters.
To the Culpepper and McKillip anonymous lurk-flamers on the blog: Here's your thread. Go nuts!