Monday, August 21, 2006

Doug McKillip, Regina Quick, and E to the H

Here's what I know.

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." 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.

Doug McKillip
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.

Regina Quick
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!


Anonymous said...

Solid analysis. Appreciate your insights on this race.

Publius said...

Aaargh! I need to clarify something that I just noticed. In the 4th graf, I said, "...he's running as an independent, a move that would probably work well in a lot of other districts..." Then, just a few lines later, I said, "Don't assume that the independent label is a harbinger of a 5% vanity vote, like it is in most cases."

Seems like a contradiction, or at least it did when I scanned it again this morning, so let me 'splain.

Most candidates, when running as an independent, get a pretty low percentage of the vote - mostly their buddies, and random wackjobs who are disgusted with both parties. (I don't blame them, sometimes.) Of course, there are exceptions - see Perot in '92 (I count it as an independent run, even though he had a party per se, since there was no significant party infrastructure prior to his run), Teddy Roosevelt in 1912, or, by all accounts, Joe Lieberman in 2006.

But most candidates who run as independents don't do very well. Folks, E to the H ain't most candidates. In a very local race, like this, someone with Culpepper's connections (and cash) could, and I think will, do pretty well as an Indy.

Maybe none of you noticed that contradiction, but I wanted to clear it up.

As you were.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if EH would switch parties. His chief supporter is former Democrat turned Republican, Doc Elderidge. I think it's a given he'll vote like one.

Anonymous said...

EH has money? At the disclosure he had raised $1,700 compared to $77,000 by McKillip. And the fact that he hasn't paid his taxes doesn't exactly scream wealthy too me.

Anonymous said...

I think that Jane has been a great Representative. So the idea that you can't be a good legislator as a freshman Democrat doesn't hold water.

Oconee Democrat said...

I saw E to the H schmoozing out of town female motorcycle riders and their assorted appendages not that long ago

Anonymous said...

Publius, nice article. Long time reader, first time blogger. I must take issue with your lurker-flamer reference. My understanding is- a L-F is one who makes an unfounded personal attack. Admittedly, I am a dem, but when I heard about the tax issue on E.H. I walked upstairs to the Clerk's office and found it. He has an unsatisfied IRS tax lien for $8,600 from 88, 89, 90, and 91, and he did not pay his Ga. income tax in 99 (he did pay it in 2004). Anyway - the tax issue does not seem to be unfounded, and for my money- not paying your taxes is fair game in politics. Arn't taxes the payment for the social contract we all make with each other?

Anonymous said...

This is in regards to the earlier Anonymous blogger commenting on how based on Kidd, a Democrat necessarily has to be effective. I'm a long-time observer (first-time blogger, though) and I made a list of all the thing Rep. Kidd has achieved for us here during her time in the general assembly:

Thats it. I don't think HB1210 or HB1334 are considered cornerstones of a successful career. At least, that argument seems to "hold water," no matter what you "think." I'm not in love with any of the candidates; has anyone contacted Louise to she if she's available to come out of retirement?

Anonymous said...

EH's chief supporter - and the responsible party for getting him to run - is Louise McBee (not Doc). Only after the establishment Dem's in Atlanta got wind of it, they forced her to back off. So she's opted to not take an active public role in EH's campaign (remember, simply her endorsement got Kidd elected) and is instead supporting him behind the scenes.

The anon. smear tactics by Doug's staffers on this forum are funny. Eat the man's BBQ, then call him a crook. Same strategy as the "Mckillip/Hambry & Co." 20 yr. old door-to-door intern lackey that rang my doorbell and then tried to question EH's character . . .

Anonymous said...

Jane is a nice lady, and probably could be an effective legislator. But she was very candid at several meetings about how hard it was to get anything done as a freshman democrat in office.

Anonymous said...

I still haven't heard from Publius about my lurker-flamer observation. I note that I have been tagged as a McKillip "staffer" just because I checked an IRS lien. I also note that a got some BBQ issue reference, and something about walking doors, but no response from the E.H. person at 2:55 p.m. about the TAX LIEN i found. The more I, personally, get attacked, the more I think the E.H. person is the lurker-flamer. Unless some answer is forthcoming on the TAX LIEN, I'm out.

Publius said...

Hooboy. Settle down, cupcake. I'm not hanging out all day reading this blog and responding to individual comments.

The tax thing is fair game; certainly more grounded in reality than some of the crap Cathy Cox and Mark Taylor were lobbing at each other a month ago. My annoyance is less at the content than the anonymous side of it. Hey, I'd be a world-class hypocrite if I said that everybody should post under their own name, but I wish everybody that comments regularly would take a moment to sign up for a Blogger ID. It's free, fun, and easy, and if you sign up now, you'll get a backrub from the Google founder of your choice.

Couple of things:

1. On your lurker-flamer question, I think we're dealing with semantics here. Your definition and mine don't match. Maybe you're right, maybe I'm right, I don't really care. In any event, if you went up to the records office to check for yourself, bully for you. We need more people willing to do their own research in politics instead of relying on candidates and consultants to do it for them.

2. When I made that comment, I was extremely careful to include both the McKillip and Culpepper campaigns, and to use the plural form. I did that to avoid any appearance of having a dog in this fight yet. (Frankly, I'm pretty underwhelmed with all of the three candidates.) So it isn't just you to whom that comment was directed. (In fact, since I don't cross-check IP addresses with the many daily anonymous comments and look for matches, it wasn't directed to you at all, or to any other specific person either.)

Isn't this all kind of much ado about nothing, though?

Anonymous said...

Point taken. I will get an ID.

retired_cowboy said...

I know Louise McBee pretty well and the idea that she "recruited" E.H. is just plain silly. Louise may have talked with him and told him to run if he wanted to run but Louise does not recruit candidates.

Others have said this before but it bears repeating: politics at the state and national levels is very much a team sport. You can think you are voting for the person rather than the party if it makes you feel better but I challenge you to find a recent example that bears that out.

Brian Kemp campaigned that he would never place partisanship above the desires of his constituents. He said he would be an independent voice for us. What a joke! He quickly discovered that he had no choice but to march lock-step with his party or he would be ostracized and become nothing but a chair-warmer. Cowsert will be the same. In fairness, McKillip and Kidd will probably be the same but at least they will be on the team that best represents Athens.

E.H. will have to choose a team or he'll just be put in a quiet corner and have to eat his lunch all by himself. Party-switching is nothing new or unusual in Atlante. Don't forget that the Republicans did not "win" a majority in the state senate. They usurped the majority with the help of cowardly, unprincipled party-switchers.

You can hate partisan politics all you want but they are a fact of life and if you think you are being noble and above the partisan rancour then you are more part of the problem than the solution. Betrayal is far more common than not under the Gold Dome.

Anonymous said...

I think there are multiple anon. posters on this thread. When I mentioned Louise McBee, it was in response to the reference to Doc. I did not see the earlier comments regarding taxes (of which I know nothing). I hope the campaign will have an answer for this unfortunate allegation . . . My fellow anon. poster is perceiving a personal attack where none exists.

Ms. McBee did encourage EH to run and said she would support him. She had previously tried to encourage other suitable candidates to run as a Dem. She has a long history with EH. This is not idle speculation or conjecture.

This obsession over party is unfortunate. The question remains, who will have more success? A) an established independent with a long track record of advocacy for Athens, a world of experience and personal relationships with those in Atlanta, as well as a strong campaign platform that does NOT conform to a republican standard
- or -
b) a minority party legislator who is guaranteed to be ostracized and ineffective in ATL and who's platform is limited to Dem. rhetoric - and is not running based on any particular track record in the community, but rather because of personal wealth that allows for repeated attempts.

Anonymous said...

I love how the argument goes that we should not vote for the candidate in the minority party because he will be ineffective. Instead we should vote for the super minority candidate. It doesn't make sense. By your logic we should vote for Regina Quick. The lost step to make your logic make sense is the assumption that EH will be able to get things done because he's a Republican. Instead, your left with this logic that makes no sense. Nobody's fooled. Culpepper has no progressive support.

Anonymous said...

um.. Louise is staying out of this race. She certainly has known EH for years, but is a Democrat. So she's not making any public comments on these folks... and she talked w/EH about running before we had Doug to run. In fact, she also tried to help Dan Maxey (a retired Methodist Minister) get himself started, too. (thank goodness he didn't run, he was a scatter brain, though very well intended.) She is a very generous politician, and whoever said she's been looking to recruit folks for that seat is correct. I love Dr. McBee, and know that she wants Democrats to win.


Anonymous said...

In response to anon. at 4:13 - EH has been working on the train for 20 years. No train. Great record. McKillip is 36, EH is 67. Does McKillip get a break for the extra 31 years EH has had to volunteer for things? Or are you so blinded by your own bias you can't admit the apples to apples problem with your stats?

Anonymous said...

The EH team seems a little delusional to me. Delusional about the argument that EH can be more effective as a member of a two person party, delusional about EH's effectiveness, delusional about McBee's support for them and delusional about their support from the community.

Publius said...

"EH has been working on the train for 20 years. No train. Great record."

I'm anti-choo-choo (see the thread about this), and I'm lukewarm about all the candidates in this race, but I think that's a little less than fair to e to the h.

These huge projects take time, and as some folks in earlier comments have rightly pointed out, there hasn't been a major impetus to turn this from a kind of fringe project to a realistic option until recently. (Gas prices.) So, my two cents only, I can't beat Culpepper up on not getting the choo-choo activated yet.

Anonymous said...

That's not the point publius, the point isn't that we should beat up on EH for not getting anything done. The point is that he shouldn't be able to take credit for being effective when he's just been a member of a bunch of groups. Like George Bullock said when E.H. ran for Mayor, "I'll never support a show horse (E.H.) over a work horse (O'Looney)." -Athens Banner Herald