Home > Politics > Jones, Carter, Johnson only legit contenders for 4th district

Jones, Carter, Johnson only legit contenders for 4th district

July 12, 2010

Stokes, Jones, Carter, and Gause were on time. Ruth and Amandariz made it there really late. Hank was a no show again

This weekend was a busy one for the 4th district candidates. They were on GPB TV Friday night, and low and behold, all  showed up in the heart of South DeKalb on Saturday except one(guess who?). I am not going to give a blow by blow of either event, after all, you pretty much know what is going to be said. What I will offer is what I took away from each event. Let us start with the long shots. Larry Gause is not going to win, but he has ideas that are interesting to say the least. He is an intellectual. People do not like intellectuals, ask Al Gore. Mr. Gause believes that the folks in Washington should stay at home most of the time and spend little time in Washington. It is something I am sure he could write a book on, but who cares. People want solutions, real or not, that deal with their everyday issues. Most people could care less about the travel arrangements of their congressperson, unless there is scandal involved. Those are the facts. Not to mention lobbyists would cry foul since they would be forced to go to every little backwoods hamlet looking for congressmen to bribe. It ain’t gonna happen, and Gause is basically running on principle now. He did come to South DeKalb though, which shocked the you know what out of me. Victor Amendariz was much better on TV than he was at the South DeKalb forum. That may have been because he was so late, he only got to answer one question and do his outro. He seems a bit nervous to me. When he had the opportunity to question one opponent, it took him nearly 15 seconds to tell us who his question was for. He stumbled around and stammered like a kid who did not do his homework and was trying to answer a question. Right now, if he was being tossed hardball questions with follow-ups, he would come off pretty bad. Dude is not ready. Moving on to Cory Ruth, my golden boy a few weeks ago has lost some of his luster, and in such a short period of time. Why? I don’t know. I am not sold on him as a candidate. I have seen him in person twice, and both times he seems aloof, almost arrogant. Although he has polished answers, and has a smooth delivery that shows his knowledge of issues, I am just not feeling him. On to Ms. Stokes and her invisible campaign. I haven’t been able to get a read on her at all. If experience and knowledge were the only qualifications, she would be running neck and neck with Vernon. In this game you have to be able to connect with people and she is not connecting, at least not with me. At the forum on Saturday, the applause for her after she spoke was lackluster. I don’t think she has done anything to get her name in the conversation, good or bad. At this stage of the game, you do not want to be an unknown. It is a shame too, because she seems like such a nice person. Now that I have disposed of the also-rans, let’s talk about the three who can win. Let’s start with Hank. He missed the televised as well as the S. DeKalb forum at the mall. Now, I know he is a sitting congressman, and he has to work and campaign, but dang, you would think he would show his face every once in a while. I think he has been to one forum with the other candidates. If I am a new voter in the 4th, I have to wonder what is up with this guy. Is he OK? Is he fit to serve? Hank is going to wake up on the 21st and realize that he is soon to be known as the former congressman from Georgia’s 4th district. That leaves just two. I am going to start with Liz Carter. I get the feeling she has shifted this thing into cruise control, though she and her campaign will deny it. After all she does not want to expend too much energy on what seems to be a done deal on the primary. Her only competition, Cory Ruth is having his conservative credentials questioned, especially his plan to possibly bring Haitians to America while Haiti is being rebuilt. Liz banged him on that one. I checked his site like he encouraged, and this is what is in the letter today –

“My concern is that with temperatures in the nineties, no shelter, no clean water, rampant diarrhea and other diseases, human waste and dead bodies in the streets – are there discussions to begin rapidly transporting the Haitian population to neighboring countries – including the United States?”

Even though he posed it as a question, in this climate you do not want to advocate or seem to advocate bringing any foreigners  into this country to suck our resources dry. It can be the end of your campaign especially if you are a Republican. Anyway, back to Liz. She is playing it safe for now, and seems to be positioning herself for a run at the moderate and independent voters of the district. At about the eleven minute mark, she smoothly explains off any question about her position on issues relating to gays, and puts a states right spin on it. A safe move as to not alienate too many of the 4ths liberal voters. Liz Carter is definitely headed to the big dance, and the last time a moderate Republican female ran was Sunny Warren in 2000, and she got nearly 40% of the vote against a wildly popular, at the time, Cynthia McKinney. Can a moderate Republican win this district? Anything is possible, but she will have to beat an incumbent or Vernon. Last but not least, is Vernon. I am not going to say much about Vernon. The guy is a damn good campaigner, and he truly knows how to move a crowd, albeit a sympathetic crowd most of the time. On Sturday he said He has humor, and he pounds away at you with his accomplishments.  In both the televised and South DeKalb forum, he had a commanding presence on stage. I know that Vernon is playing well in South DeKalb. Just talking to folks in casual conversation, they know him, and they know what he has done, and they like him. My only fear is that his baggage is going to hurt him. It’s not deadly cargo, but it is cumbersome. Had he not been carrying so much extra baggage, I would say without a doubt he will be representing the 4th. It is a shame too, because I much rather see a Vernon/Carter slugfest than a Hank/Carter sleepwalk.

If you missed the debates, here are the Republicans. Here are the Democrats.

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  1. David
    July 15, 2010 at 2:52 am

    You paint a pretty depressing picture. Unfortunately Hank Johnson seems to have become a pawn of the party elite. Vernon Jones may not be able to go one term without delivering us some sort of scandal. Liz Carter is new to politics but is pretty uninspiring and flip flops on the issues like a veteran. If it goes the way you predict, looks like we’ll be faced with the forever “choice between two evils” (I’m not calling anyone evil, just using an expression).

    I actually like your longest of the long shots, Larry Gause. I appreciate someone who believes our representative should spend the majority of their time in the district and not Washington D.C. I think you’re totally missing the boat in your assessment of that idea. I’d rather it be easy for me to find my congressman and difficult for a lobbyist to find him. Representatives would be much more responsive to us rather than party elite. I also like the idea of not feeling the need shower after voting for someone. So, win loose or draw, I would go into the voting booth clean and come out clean.

    I watched the televised debate and think Cory Ruth’s answer to Liz Carter’s question deserves mentioning. He was clear that his intent was to try and use charitable efforts already in place and not U.S. Government i.e. taxpayer resources. This seems like a reasonable response given his past and present charitable work. I read his letter and it points out that his organization was actually helping with Haitian relief efforts and were doing it with NGO’s (non governmental organizations). That seems pretty conservative to me i.e. finding private as opposed to government solutions. I don’t think he got banged on that one. It just showed that he may have a more thoughtful approach to issues than the person asking the question realized.

    I also don’t see how you call Connie Stokes’ campaign invisible. I’ve seen several of billboards for her around the district.

    It may be time for Hank Johnson to go. I’d just hope we don’t trade six for a half dozen.

    • South DeKalb
      July 15, 2010 at 4:21 pm

      I am a cynic when it comes to politics. For me it’s like watching a car wreck, I just can’t look away. I think Larry Gause is probably the most intelligent person in the race. He seems to have thought out a lot of his positions, which can be refreshing. But it takes more than intelligence, it takes charisma, it takes wheeling and dealing, and no matter how much we say we hate it, we keep on putting the same types of people in office every election cycle. On an issues standpoint I don’t agree with Gause, if I did, then yea he would get my vote. My comment about lobbyist was in jest. I do not think a Rep being closer to home will change the game that much if at all. Money knows no distance, and it will find its way into the hands of congresspeople no matter where they are. Also, I believe it is the choice of the Rep. as to how much time they spend in the district. I know there are rules in place that require them to be in Washington a lot, but many could spend more time at home even under those rules but choose not to. As for Connies invisible campaign, it is obvious that she is not getting traction. She gets little or no pub in local media. She can’t raise money, and short of her small circle of supporters I wonder if she is siphoning votes from either Hank or Vernon.

  2. Teresa
    July 13, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    I think you are mixing the TV and the South Dekalb forum together. Victor did a great job on the TV much better than the other candidates.

  3. renee
    July 13, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    “my golden boy a few weeks ago has lost some of his luster, and in such a short period of time. Why? I don’t know.” he must of really rubbed you wrong for you to totally diss him like that and not have a reason. so, you included him in the list of those who are “long shots” – is he a long shot based on your impression of him or on something like more verifiable?

    • South DeKalb
      July 13, 2010 at 7:18 pm

      I do not know him personally, so it is not a personal thing. Also, if I dissed him that was not my intent. I only base my observations on what I see, and what I research. From my point of view, he is a long shot because 1.) he is not raising cash like the other candidates. 2.) Cash goes a long way in a political race. 3.) He does not poll well among Republicans. here is a straw poll not scientific but anectdotal- http://www.gwinnettprimary.org/. I could be completely wrong. These are just my observations.

      Thanks for reading

  4. renee
    July 13, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    i have to admit that i was shocked to see your 180 on cory ruth – last blog you seemed not convinced that he would win but very impressed. was there something he said or did that leads you to such a drastic turn? anyway, i was mostly wanting to know what he did or said that threw you so drastically in the opposite direction.

    • South DeKalb
      July 13, 2010 at 4:24 pm

      Well, he arrived to the South DeKalb forum maybe ten minutes before the end, and was not apologetic at all. He also seems very distant. I don’t know if he is preoccupied or what? When I saw him for the first time, I was impressed with him, but tat was my first taste of Cory. Since then I have seen him twice. He seems like a behind the scenes guy, a king maker instead of king. Just my impression though

  1. July 13, 2010 at 6:59 am
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