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