Tuesday, November 09, 2010

9 NOV 10: The Out-of-Towners

Only one week ago, he was considered an impressive upstart in the race for Columbus Mayor. Now part of me is feeling sorry for Zeph Baker. He's having so many difficulties in the mayoral runoff that Teresa Tomlinson may be tempted to act like a defense lawyer - resting her case without calling any witnesses.

Monday was supposed to be a big day for Zeph Baker's runoff campaign. He called a news conference at the Government Center to announce several endorsements. The two biggest names already had been revealed - but the photos with their handshakes look so much better in campaign ads.

Zeph Baker officially announced two candidates in the Columbus Mayor's race are endorsing him in the runoff. But there was one small problem - neither candidate was there to join him. Wayne Anthony was in Atlanta. Paul Olson was "out of town," somewhere else. And from what I saw on TV, Bert Coker didn't even show up to represent Olson.

Really now -- if you're going to call a news conference to announce two major endorsements, isn't it a good idea to make sure the endorsers will be there? In 2010, can't you set up a video conference call? Or something? Maybe do what Rudolph Giuliani did in 2008 -- when one of his speeches was interrupted by a cell phone call from his wife.

If that wasn't enough, Wayne Anthony used different wording later in the day regarding the mayoral runoff. He told WRBL he "supports" Zeph Baker, but is not "endorsing" him. Isn't this curious language for a minister? It's a little like saying he wants Jesus to come back, but there's no reason to hurry.

WTVM wanted to ask Zeph Baker about something else -- that mysterious and missing financial disclosure report. This was Baker's chance to accuse Teresa Tomlinson on camera of campaign bullying, but he didn't. Instead, Baker returned to something many Christian ministers practice -- apologetics.

Zeph Baker again said it was the campaign treasurer's job to file disclosure reports at the Elections Office. The third-quarter report finally was filed late Monday, with a new name on the treasurer's line. And I assume it was filed after Baker's aides made sure no one from Teresa Tomlinson's campaign was in the hallway, waiting to steal it.

The third-quarter campaign disclosure report shows one thing we already knew -- Zeph Baker is endorsed by former NAACP President Bill Madison. Madison has donated to his campaign. So has attorney Frank Myers, who's gained a reputation as one of Mayor Jim Wetherington's closest aides. Does that explain why Wayne Anthony called Baker "coachable" Monday?

There's something striking to me about those two high-profile donors. Bill Madison and Frank Myers are NOT the sort of people who can be "bullied" by anybody - much less a candidate for mayor like Teresa Tomlinson. Madison would call a Government Center news conference to complain about it. Myers simply would file a lawsuit.

It would be easy for Teresa Tomlinson to stand back, and watch Zeph Baker struggle to find his footing in the mayoral runoff. But she almost piled on in an interview - saying when she last talked with Paul Olson, she wasn't sure if he would endorse anyone. The thought of Olson and Tomlinson being on speaking terms might scare some runoff voters to Baker.

Meanwhile, the "Truth About Teresa" blog ended its post-election silence Monday night. It declares Teresa Tomlinson a "spectacular failure" for not winning the mayor's race outright last week. What does that make Wayne Anthony - a campaign cockroach?

E-MAIL UPDATE: Zeph Baker's words from Saturday's Ledger-Enquirer still have people talking....

You should make a list of excuses that politicians make for not meeting campaign legal obligations..Some funny one-liners there..The best one yet is: I'm not going to file my financial donations with the state to get even with the opposition who is a bully. What??..

I like the reply.."Absurd"

The first one-liner which comes to mind from this election year belongs to Nathan Deal. The Georgia Governor-Elect had to amend one of his disclosure reports, explaining the failure to include a $2.9 million loan was an "oversight." I couldn't even do that with a 200-dollar auto insurance payment.

Now to a "Cam-paign" of a different sort, involving college football....

Regarding a media uproar over a pay for play matter about Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, he is quoted as saying, "...I'm sure the smoke will settle," proving once again the wisdom of Auburn requiring athletes to take English and concentrate on 'Cliches'.

Jerry Luquire

Luquire needs to join me at some local poker tournaments - because the smell of cigarette smoke seems to settle on my clothing, then stay there for a couple of days.

The Cam Newton soap opera thickened a little late Monday night. Fox Sports quoted a "source" as saying Newton was involved in three cases of academic cheating, while he attended the University of Florida. In one case, Newton reportedly purchased a class paper online and submitted it for a grade. If you'd like to do that with a blog entry, my rates are quite reasonable....

(And if that's not enough to worry about, Newton shares the cover of the latest "Sports Illustrated." You've probably heard about the magazine "cover jinx" - which somehow never seems to apply to the swimsuit models.)

But perhaps this was inevitable - as Monday night, I (ahem) "obtained" the first known Cam Newton "attack ad." This is what happens what they don't have runoff races in Alabama.

Auburn-related items top our check of other Monday news....

+ The Ledger-Enquirer reported Momma Goldberg's Deli has opened a second Columbus location. It's on Broadway, a short walk from the Columbus State University RiverPark campus -- but students may find themselves competing with newspaper employees for jobs there.

+ Columbus State stunned Auburn in men's basketball 54-52. This is why major colleges such as Auburn set aside "exhibition" games in November -- and why I wish Kansas's loss to North Dakota State in football could be treated the same way.

(WRBL reported several busloads of C.S.U. fans made a lot of noise at the Aub-Rena. They probably rode home singing praise of the new Cougar coach: "Moore Moore Moore -- how do you like him?")

+ The Muscogee County School Board held its first work session since the election. Newly-elected board member Beth Harris was there - but she'll wait until her inauguration in January to bring her homemade Brinkley Pound Cake to eat.

+ "Georgia Apply to College Week" began across the state. Or as college football fans might describe it, the letter-of-intent party for everybody else.

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