Wednesday, July 21, 2010

21 JUL 10: Next of Ken

Tuesday was not a good day for the Georgia NAACP. First it did do a two-step over a controversial viral video. Then its top target for defeat in the Georgia Primary won in a rout. It's almost enough to make the group's leaders go back to Kansas City and hold another national convention.

Final unofficial numbers from the Democratic Primary for Attorney General show Rob Teilhet beat Ken Hodges by about 600 votes in Muscogee County. But Hodges led practically every other county in the state -- so Emily Walker might want to limit her own political plans to running for Columbus Council.

Muscogee County Democrats apparently remembered what happened with that grand jury in 2004 -- or at least were reminded of it by the "attack ad" with the mother of Kenneth Walker. But statewide, Ken Hodges handled Rob Teilhet with ease. The lesson seems to be clear -- justice Teilhet'ed is justice denied.

Georgia NAACP leaders promised to follow Ken Hodges everywhere the campaign trail went, spreading the word about the Kenneth Walker case [12 May]. But what does the civil rights group do now? Does the NAACP oppose Hodges so much that it actually will back the Republican nominee for Attorney General - proving it actually can get along with the Tea Party?

It appeared Tuesday night the Republican race for Georgia Attorney General was heading for a runoff. The leader was Cobb County attorney Sam Olens, whose website calls him a "strong fiscal conservative." Why does that matter for a state Attorney General? Does this mean Olens would fire all staff members, and investigate complaints himself?

In another statewide race with Columbus connections, Republican Seth Harp finished in the middle of the pack for Georgia Insurance Commissioner. That means no runoff, no statewide office - but maybe more TV time for Harp, appearing in commercials during daytime court shows.

Seth Harp admitted to WRBL the Insurance Commissioner vote was disappointing. But he predicted "lawyers will be happy" across Columbus, because he'll spend all his time as an attorney. Well, until someone Harp to lobby in Washington for more base realignment support money.

Seth Harp carried Muscogee and Harris Counties by about a seven-to-one margin. But outside the Columbus area, he didn't do very well. Maybe he should have promised to allow Sunday sales of liquor at convenience stores - even though that has absolutely nothing to do with what the Georgia Insurance Commissioner does.

Harp's campaign for Insurance Commissioner put his State Senate seat up for grabs. Evelyn Thompson Anderson of Grantville won the Democratic nomination by a two-to-one margin over Columbus doctor Joe Hurst. If this was a vote against health care reform, Rep. Sanford Bishop might be in big trouble.

Evelyn Thompson Anderson is listed on a state web site as 66 years old and retired. She told WTVM she wants to "bring gambling to Georgia." Uhhhhh - Anderson must pay at the pump for all her gasoline, and never enter convenience stores....

Evelyn Thompson Anderson advances to take on Josh McKoon in November. McKoon was unopposed in the Republican Primary -- and knowing how he used to challenge Ed Harbison, I suspect his first attack ad will be on the radio by the end of the week.

At the top of the ticket, Roy Barnes rolled to the Democratic nomination for Governor by claiming nearly two-thirds of the vote. If Ol' Roy is good enough for Wal-Mart shoppers with dogs, he's good enough for Georgia Democrats.

Thurbert Baker was second in the Democratic Primary for Governor. David Poythress apparently will finish a weak third - but the good news for Poythress is that he won't have to miss any state paychecks now.

The Republican race for Governor is heading to a runoff in three weeks. Karen Handel led a seven-person field, while Otis Putnam apparently will finish last. Putnam is an hourly worker at a Wal-Mart in Brunswick - about as far off the beaten path as a Georgia Republican can be.

Karen Handel told supporters Tuesday night she succeeded despite plenty of scoffers. She described herself as a candidate against the political establishment, and an "outsider." Outsider?! Did Handel telecommute from home, while serving as Georgia Secretary of State?

WTVM asked Karen Handel about the Republican opponents who accuse her of being too liberal. Handel replied she "can't control what my opponents do." That's quite a contrast with Roy Barnes, who sounds like he's ready to bar lawmakers from proposing an official state cookie.

It appears former Congressman Nathan Deal will face Karen Handel in the Republican runoff. Deal took a different approach from the election night parties in Atlanta ballrooms, by renting an airport hangar in Gainesville. So I suppose Deal started his runoff fly-arounds at 3:00 a.m., by visiting a Waffle House in Augusta.

The biggest story from the Republican race for Georgia Governor may be John Oxendine. A one-time favorite collapsed down the stretch and finished in fourth place. This qualifies as the biggest Republican campaign collapse in Georgia since Guy Millner lost a late lead in the 1990s - and the mill trade hasn't been the same since.

John Oxendine's wife cried on stage before his concession speech. But he told supporters he had "a lot of fun" running for Governor. Life's always a lot of fun until the money supporting you runs dry.

At the federal level, Mike Keown won a three-way Republican contest to challenge Rep. Sanford Bishop. Keown describes himself as a "Baptist preacher," while Bishop is a Baptist deacon and trustee. So I can't wait for someone to ask them during a debate which Bible translation they prefer.

In terms of election night coverage, WTVM showed again why it's the runaway "News Leader" of Columbus. Why, it fouled up more campaign live shots than the other TV stations even tried to put on the air.

While the Georgia Primary had all sorts of attention, there was other items of interest Tuesday....

+ A developer announced plans to build a new Publix store in Cross Country Plaza, next door to the current store. This apparently will allow more room, as well as a drive-through pharmacy - which will balance out Publix selling those green reusable shopping bags.

(Poor Teresa Whitaker of WRBL - she wanted to call the shopping center in Midtown "Country Crossing." But then again, maybe an expanded Publix will have room to sell bingo cards.)

+ Phenix City Police Chief Ray Smith announced the department will obtain four new infrared cameras for patrol cars. I hear these cameras are so powerful that they can see through any exaggeration the mayor might make.

+ The Columbus Cottonmouths announced top-scoring forward Tim Green is retiring. So is penalty-minute leader Dan Leslie, who will become a "juvenile counselor in a youth facility in Canada." Apparently the rules about abusing prisoners aren't as stringent north of the border....

+ Instant Message to Chick-Fil-A of Phenix City: That was quite a surprise while I ate dinner - two employees doing a spontaneous "chicken dance." Put cow outfits on them, and you could have the next award-winning TV commercial.

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