Monday, November 01, 2010

1 NOV 10: Big Blog Ballot Blowout

Unless something changes, I'll spend the evening at home after fleeing the last couple of nights. But I still could be asking for trouble. Grown-ups still might come knocking on my door after dark - asking for votes, instead of candy for their children.

Have any political candidates come knocking at your door? It appears someone came to mine in recent days. But because I was out, a campaign flier was placed inside my screen door. If you can't stuff the ballot box, stuff the screen....

I know the flier wants me to re-elect Mimi Woodson to Columbus Council. But I admittedly don't know how to get that paper out of its trap, short of cutting through the metal screen in the door. Does this qualify as a project for the Public Works Department?

I still have a Mimi Woodson campaign T-shirt, from the last time she had a reelection fight in 2002. She passed me on Broadway on a Saturday morning and gave it to me. But I've never worn it, because it's waiting in a bag below other T-shirts I've never worn. A couple of former employers still have to take their turn....

I don't know if Mimi Woodson left that flier stuck in the screen door or not. But I certainly haven't seen her in my neighborhood since that chance meeting on Broadway eight years ago. Is it a good thing that a Councilor only comes to call when her political future is threatened?

Woodson is challenged by church minister Andrea Franklin in Tuesday's Council District 7 race. If Franklin has come to my door, I wasn't there for that either. And she didn't help her cause Saturday night while I was exercising - as she drove a car with a campaign sign on the side onto the sidewalk in front of the Trade Center. Where does Franklin stand on traffic enforcement?

Since we called two candidates for Columbus Mayor Friday, we called the campaign phone numbers of the other two Sunday. Wayne Anthony's campaign did NOT reply by Sunday night. Perhaps that's because the staff considered Sunday a "day of rest." That might not want to know when I talked with Teresa Tomlinson, she said the phrase "rest on Sundays" was in quotes for her.

I think Paul Olson replied to my message Sunday night. It sounded like him when I answered the phone - but after I mentioned my name, the line somehow was disconnected. Olson might want to add a last-minute campaign promise to get more cell phone towers built across Columbus.

Both major political parties apparently found the money to hold Election Eve candidate "flyarounds" across Georgia. The Democrats with Roy Barnes are scheduled to visit Columbus Airport in the morning. The Republicans with Nathan Deal are coming in the afternoon -- joined by Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who isn't even on the ballot but may have nothing better to do.

In the meantime, several local candidates will resort to a very inexpensive mode of last-minute campaigning. They'll stand at major street corners, for what's become known in Columbus as a "wave-by." This certainly beats what's made Los Angeles famous - the drive-by.

Another matter for candidates and campaigns is organizing Tuesday night's "victory parties." They could be marking the victory for their hated opponents, but still....

Mayoral candidate Paul Olson apparently is opening his Election Night party to all comers. His website promises "free food and refreshments" at his campaign headquarters downtown. Now there's a sure-fire way to win the votes of single guys.

(If you're not sure where Olson's headquarters is, it's easy to spot. It's on Second Avenue, across the street from the Government Center -- and a "Zeph Baker for Mayor" truck is likely to be parked outside it.)

Instead of posting a last-minute Big Blog Question on the election, I did something different this year. I went to my next-door neighbor over the weekend, and described for him several key choices on Tuesday's ballot. But I intentionally left out names and political parties, to avoid the appearance of bias. He seemed to do well, for a man who didn't rehearse his answers in advance.

(As you hear the answers, keep in mind this neighbor is retired - and may have gulped down a tall can or two of beer during the day. I'm thankful I didn't have to edit out any of his curse words.)

As is our custom, it's now time for an Election Eve "Political Pop Quiz" - to see how well you know the races and issues before the big vote:

1. Who is the Republican running for Georgia Governor? Given his last name, why hasn't he campaigned at poker rooms?

2. Name the former Columbus Councilor who is trying to reclaim his old position. What health screening should he require all fire stations to offer?

3. Name this year's U.S. Senate candidates in Alabama. Explain why one of them is quick to spend federal dollars across the state, yet buys almost no advertising time in Lee and Russell Counties.

4. Which Columbus candidate has promised to be the mayor of "every zip code?" Has anyone challenged him to recite all the zip codes in town?

5. Who are the candidates for Georgia State Senate, attempting to replace Seth Harp? Why hasn't the Republican uncovered a single piece of evidence that the Democrat is unethical or immoral?

6. Who is the high school wrestling coach running for Congress in the Columbus area? Would his campaign have been helped by endorsements from Ric Flair and "The Undertaker"?

7. Which candidate for Alabama Governor is more likely to persuade "Wheel of Fortune" to tape a week of episodes in Mobile?

8. Which candidate for Columbus Mayor has spoken most frequently at Council meetings? If he loses, should he be barred from the "Public Agenda" for six months?

9. Name the Georgia Supreme Court candidate who openly admits in a radio ad he's a "trial lawyer." Why is that OK for him, when it's seemingly wrong for everybody else?

10. Which school board candidate has used the pseudonym "Johnny Outlaw" during his career? Why hasn't his opponent demanded a police investigation in response?

11. Which state legislator from Phenix City makes a big deal out of working, more than talking? Is that why he hasn't explained the bill he sponsored increasing Phenix City Council pay?

12. Who is the only Columbus Council candidate displaying an endorsement from Mayor Jim Wetherington? Will the mayor become an executive assistant, should that candidate win?

13. Which Georgia candidate for U.S. Congress has been depicted as "crazy"? If he wins, should West Central Georgia Regional Hospital be named in his honor?

14. Explain the difference between "early voting" and "advance voting." Then explain why Tuesday's event isn't called "on-time voting."

15. Which Alabama state legislator wants to require every resident to buy lottery tickets? Why hasn't Zell Miller traveled to Alabama to endorse him?

16. Name the two candidates for Columbus Mayor who are ministers. Which one has acted more like Fred Phelps in the past 90 days?

17. Of Roy Barnes, Sanford Bishop and Mike Thurmond, which Democratic candidate really seems to be a clone of President Obama?

18. Explain why the Columbus Tea Party has not announced endorsements in any local races. Did any of its leaders attend Jon Stewart's "rally to restore sanity" over the weekend?

19. Which Alabama contest ultimately will matter more - the vote for Governor 2 November, or the Iron Bowl football game 26 November?

20. Name the Columbus mayoral candidate who is the subject of a "truth" blog. (If you can name the actual writer of that blog, you automatically ace the entire quiz.)

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