Friday, July 07, 2006

Will Ralph Reed Survive His Primary?

Boy, the calendar really snuck up on me like a crafty pick-pocket: the Georgia primary that will, among other things, determine Ralph Reed's political fate is just eleven days away.

The Man Who Would Be Lieutenant Governor of Georgia, as part of a Master Plan to stroll into the White House in 2016 or so, is fighting for his life against primary challenger state senator Casey Cagle. A poll taken by the Georgia-based firm Insider Advantage on June 26-27 has Reed ahead of Cagle 32-27, with a gigantic 41 percent still undecided. According to a report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Jim Galloway and Tom Baxter, here's what Insider Advantage's savvy Matt Towery had to say about the poll:

Those who are shocked at the large undecided percentage in this survey should understand that these two candidates have only been up on broadcast television for under a week. As we’ve noted in the past, Reed may be well known in political circles, but the average voter has little if just a hazy idea of who he is and what office he is seeking. And Sen. Cagle suffers from the same anemic name identification.

Towery thinks the dynamics help Reed. I dunno. The release of the final Senate Indian Affairs Committee report on the Abramoff scandal, which toted up Reed's take from casino tribes to campaign against competitors at more than 5 million smackers, did not come at a good time for Ralph. And Cagle's final TV blitz is all about Reed and Abramoff (Reed is retaliating with ads claming Cagle got fat and happy from his own state legislative service).

As a Democrat, I hope Reed wins the primary; his nomination will not only give likely Democratic nominee Jim Martin a good shot in November, but could wreak holy havoc on the whole GOP ticket, headed by Governor Sonny Perdue, whose private opinion of Ralph is unprintable in a family-friendly blog.

But as an expatriate Georgian, who bleeds Bulldog red-and-black, yearns for the sight of landmarks like the Big Chicken, and goes home pretty regularly to get re-crackerized and eat some decent grits--I don't want my home state to do much of anything to facilitate Ralph Reed's visions of grandeur. His exposure as part of the Abramoff scam, along with long-time buddy Grover Norquist, is a perfect reflection of his role in the mutual corruption of social and economic conservatives in the latter-day GOP. Whether he loses on July 18 or in November, he needs to lose, and it will be a fine day in Georgia when the chickens all come home to roost, and Ralph Reed's political ambitions finally expire.

UPDATE: A new Insider Advantage poll taken July 5-6 and released over the weekend showed Reed and Cagle tied at 37 percent, with 26 percent undecided. (The two GOPers also debated on public television on Sunday; I didn't see it, but I gather Reed played the religion card very heavily.) The same poll release had Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor leading Secretary of State Cathy Cox 49-41 in the Democratic primary for governor.
-- Posted at 5:14 PM | Link to this post | Email this post

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