Thursday, November 04, 2010

4 NOV 10: From A to Zeph

Nancy Boren at the Election Board tried to warn us -- Tuesday night was NOT the "finish line" for campaigning in Columbus after all. It was more like a water stop in the race. The leader in the mayor's race might compare it to something else - entering Final Jeopardy.

Columbus Councilor Wayne Anthony is endorsing Zeph Baker in the 30 November mayoral runoff. This could make front-runner Teresa Tomlinson nervous - because Anthony suddenly has a lot more free time to look through the MidTown Inc. tax records.

Wayne Anthony says he's backing Zeph Baker because he has "the best interests of Columbus at heart." Ouch - what does that say about Teresa Tomlinson? Is she going to name fire stations and recreation centers after herself?

But former Columbus mayor Bob Poydasheff told WRBL Wednesday Wayne Anthony's endorsement could wind up backfiring. Poydasheff explained Anthony never consulted with his supporters about what he would do - and we've documented here how some of Anthony's campaign donors also have donated to Teresa Tomlinson. Giving to a third mayoral candidate could bring a tax audit.

WLTZ added Paul Olson also is endorsing Zeph Baker in the mayoral runoff. I'm glad they contacted Olson to confirm this, because there's no way I can make that call now....

Teresa Tomlinson said Wednesday morning she was "a little surprised" by Wayne Anthony's decision to endorse her runoff opponent. But in later interviews, Tomlinson said she felt her three opponents banding together in forums - leaving her the "odd man out." She's "odd" here in part because she's not a man at all.

Teresa Tomlinson appealed to Paul Olson's supporters, saying she wants changes in city government the way they do. Wellll.... they may want change, but not in the same way. I haven't heard Tomlinson talk about putting the Crime Prevention Commission in squad cars to patrol beats.

(Paul Olson dismantled his website's home page Wednesday. I knew candidates were expected to pick up their campaign signs, but this is going above and beyond -- as if Olson plans to ask for a refund.)

Teresa Tomlinson says she did well Tuesday, especially considering she was the only mayoral candidate with no campaign experience. Yet she also promoted herself Wednesday as the only runoff candidate with professional experience. So being new is good, then suddenly it's bad?! Tomlinson is almost sounding like a Tea Party voter.

Zeph Baker's main message in Wednesday interviews was that "six out of ten voters don't want my opponent." He forgot to mention about 74 percent of the voters don't want HIM, either....

(Hmmmm - put those ten percentages together, and we might conclude 100 percent of Columbus voters don't want either of the runoff candidates. Is City Manager Isaiah Hugley interested in taking on extra duties?)

If there was one big loser from Tuesday's voting in Columbus, it's the Republican Party. Democrats led in voting for state offices, and the two mayoral candidates who feuded about who was more Republican missed the runoff. Even Ken Hodges led in Muscogee County voting for Attorney General - although the parties may have crossed over for that one.

THE BIG BLOG QUESTION will show no hard feelings toward Paul Olson, and bring up a suggestion he made during the campaign. Should Columbus city elections become "partisan," with Democratic and Republican primaries? Muscogee County races such as Sheriff and Marshal are that way now. But of course, Zeph Baker might have run for mayor as an independent again.

There were plenty of other scraps to pick up Wednesday, from the 2010 election....

+ Rep. Sanford Bishop told WTVM it was "a shock" Tuesday night when the Associated Press declared his Congressional seat lost to Mike Keown. Bishop said he knew plenty of votes still were not counted in Columbus - which may prove the bigger the check, the bigger the payoff.

(Bishop believes the Congressional fight came down to whom voters believe is "positioned to deliver for the people of the Second District." Uh-oh - now Bishop isn't even in a good position to vote for a new Speaker of the House.)

+ But Rep. Bobby Bright of Alabama lost his seat after one term, falling to Republican Martha Roby. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce ran TV commercials in the incumbent's favor - but I guess that wasn't a very Bright idea.

+ Georgia Governor-Elect Nathan Deal met with Governor Sonny Perdue, to begin transition plans. Aw c'mon - were they barred from talking with each other during that fly-around on Monday?

(Deal will break an unusual streak in January - as seven Georgia Governors in a row have had six-letter last names. Voters apparently decided even that is too bloated, and in need of trimming.)

+ Republicans gained a majority in the Alabama legislature for the first time in more than 100 years. Even veteran State Senator Ted Little lost to Tom Whatley - a Republican who supported John Edwards for President two years ago. Talk about running as far as you can from trouble....

(Another East Alabama Senate race could be heading for a recount. Incumbent Gerald Dial leads Greg Varner by only 310 votes. If they wind up tied, Varner may have to play a form of that "mandatory lottery" he's accused Dial of supporting.)

+ WXTX interviewed Charles Gibson, the newly-elected Mayor of Lumpkin. Since the former mayor resigned in July, Gibson will take the oath of office today - and in the words of a more-famous Charles Gibson, I hope he has a good day.

-> Our other blog starts with poker, then goes in directions you might not expect. Visit "On the Flop!" <-

E-MAIL UPDATE: A couple of responses came Wednesday to our election coverage - beginning with the newly-elected State Senator who faced questioning from us about missing a campaign disclosure deadline....


The campaign finance disclosure for the period ending October 25 has a grace period for filing that ran through November 1. We filed our disclosure around 2 AM on November 2, some two hours after the expiration of the grace period. While I regret that our filing was 2 hours late, it does not compare with Senator Harbison's issues with the ethics commission as a cursory review of the complaint and consent order against him will show.

Thanks for coming by tonight!



Josh McKoon will join Ed Harbison in the Georgia Senate in January - and somehow, I get the feeling they will NOT car-pool from Columbus to Atlanta.

Sen. Ed Harbison was unopposed for reelection this year - yet Georgia Ethics Commission records show he also was late filing a campaign disclosure this fall. The football games on television simply have been too close and distracting....

And remember Roxann Daniel? She also faces a $150 state fine for not filing state campaign reports - even though she lost a Superior Court Judge race to Bobby Peters six years ago. The Georgia Ethics Commission apparently makes sure candidates have long memories of nights they'd rather forget.

We also heard Wednesday from a Columbus Council candidate who's heading for a runoff in four weeks:

Hi, Richard --

I just discovered you were "party-hopping" last night! I'm sorry you didn't know that our campaign had our celebration at headquarters on Veterans Parkway. We did have free food and would have enjoyed having you stop by. Maybe November 30?

Judy Thomas

Thanks for the offer -- but I'm making no guarantees at this point. It all depends on whether Thomas appoints Paul Olson as her campaign security director.

Judy Thomas finished first in the citywide Council race Tuesday. She'll face Travis Chambers in the runoff for Post 9 - which may stun readers of the Columbus Times, which last week put Chambers on the front page as a candidate for Post 10.

Let's pull ourselves out of the political morass now, and check other things which have been making news....

+ The Georgia Lottery held a search for singing stars at the Columbus Civic Center. One person in the "All Access" contest will win a trip to Hollywood for a recording session, as well as a chauffeured tour of the "L.A. Music Scene." I assume the stop in Compton to check landmarks in "gangsta rap" will be as brief as possible.

+ WRBL presented its weekly "Golden Apple Award" to a first-year Muscogee County grade-school teacher. Either she's really good, or the number of viewers is down and the "apple harvest" is slim this fall.

+ Roundball Night in Dixieland (tm) began its new season with Auburn's men whipping West Alabama 79-66. The exhibition game was the first in the new "Aubie-Rena" - yet despite free admission, only 2,500 fans showed up. You can build a nice new hall, but they still might not want the ball.

+ The Atlanta Hawks remained unbeaten by downing Detroit 94-85. The Hawks are the only undefeated team in the Eastern Conference, with a better record than Miami. Shame on LeBron James for thinking of Atlanta as merely a place to change planes.

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