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I don't think GA-12 Congressman John Barrow is the most electable candidate for Saxby Chambiss's open GA senate seat, despite articles like this one in Salon

The potential for the Democratic Party of Georgia is in changing demographics here, which are trending toward a more progressive electorate.  The Democratic Party is in terrible shape because it is not even contesting elections.  The right-wing Dixiecrats have left the party permanently.  We're not going to win them back, except in rare one-on-one instances.

The future of the party is the same diverse coalition which defines the Democratic Party elsewhere: minorities, young people, environmentalists, labor, progressives, and all the other parts of the coaliton.

We need to be energizing that base in Georgia.  I'm not talking about emulating the Tea Party suicide run.  The candidate needs to be a pragmatic progressive, not a fire-breather.  But it needs to be a clearly progressive person who can generate the enthusiasm which leads to door-knocking, leafletting, and phone banking.

John Barrow is not that candidate.  I'll campaign for him if he runs and wins the primary, but I do not think he's even the most electable candidate, much less the best one.

I've written more about thishere on Bluestate Georgia.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I tend to agree with you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annrose, HeyMikey

    I think this was perhaps the mistake made in Virginia a few years ago, choosing a more conservative, rural Democrat under the assumption that: 1) More rural conservatives will support him, and 2) The more progressive urban and suburban Democrats may not like it, but will go along.

    Both of those assumptions are not necessarily true.  You're right that most especailly small town and rural conservative (former) Democrats are now Republicans, regardless of the candidate we run, and how conservative of a Democrat he or she is.  And don't just assume that the more progressive elements of the party (minorities, young people, socially liberal suburbanites, etc.) are going to just go along.

    So the question I have for you -- who do you think could be that "pragmatic progressive," as you say, that would be a good Democrat to run for this open Senate seat?

    •  I haven't gotten to that point yet, but ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I could go along with Kasim Reed, Jim Martin (if he's still lving here and politically active), maybe Nan Orrock.

      To put on my politically cynical hat here, and outline the traits of my ideal candidate, it would be a thirty-five to forty year old African-American or Hispanic woman who genuinely holds progressive views but has a history of working well with middle-class whites.  The candidate should further have no unpaid tax bills, no questionable business dealings  The candidate should have no bizarre or conspiratorial theories or pronouncements in their recent past, and be willing to go outside their comfort zone with respect to speaking engagements and head-to-head debate in every single county in the state.

      When candidates start announcing, or even when the speculation is more developed, I'll write more about this.

  •  Kasim Reed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    seems to make the most sense to me at this time.

    I think that Roy Barnes has had his day.

    Mojo?!?! What mojo?

    by xopher on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 07:16:31 AM PST

    •  I'd campaign for Barnes ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But I don't think a Barnes candidacy would be very exciting at this point.

      Of political figures who are well known I'd favor Reed, too.

       I need to find out what the most current is on likely candidates.  I'd also like to know what's being done on down-ticket races.  Maybe I'll spend next week getting a better overall idea of who's actually running in various upcoming races.

      •  I don't know that Reed would be the strongest (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        candidate. I think that in order to get a Dem elected, we need someone who is not identified with Atlanta. We need a candidate who is connected to middle or south Georgia.

        I don't know who that would be, but I fully agree with you that Barrow is not the answer. I wouldn't knock on doors for him if he were the nominee.

        "She was very young,he thought,...she did not understand that to push an inconvenient person over a cliff solves nothing." -1984

        by aggressiveprogressive on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 08:38:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't agree (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I think with competent campaigning Reed would do very well in the 2nd district and large portions of the 1st.  The key in south Georgia would be GOTV in African-American areas, and running up the progressive white vote in Savannah and Thomasville, which was becoming "Talllahassee North" at the time I spent a lot of time down there.  Even Republicans basically win in metro Atlanta at this point (since so much of the population is concentrated here).

          I think the whole "Atlanta versus everyone else"  issue is overstated at this point.

          •  I hope you're right. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I deal with south Georgia attorneys on a regular basis from my office in Atlanta. I still get the impression that many of them that they do not trust me because I'm in Atlanta.

            The older attorneys are always the most difficult to deal with. So hopefully the attitudes are changing. But I don't think we're there just yet.

            "She was very young,he thought,...she did not understand that to push an inconvenient person over a cliff solves nothing." -1984

            by aggressiveprogressive on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 09:10:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Two practical questions (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Two practical questions are:

              1) Would we rather poll more weakly in metro Atlanta and more strongly in south Georgia?

              2) How typical are lawyers of the population at large in any part of the state?

              My second question isn't a dig at lawyers.  It's just a recognition that there are a number of target demographics out there whose voting behavior would be the same whether they are in Americus, Gwinnett County  or East Atlanta. There may not be as many young liberal professionals in Tifton as in Atlanta, but there are certainly African-Americans, gay people, and the inevitable scattering of progressives one finds in every county.

              I'm in favor of going after every vote, but I think Reed is the strongest candidate of those I've heard mentioned, and if .the turnout is high in metro Atlanta and a few other cities, District 2 turnout is high, and every vote is squeezed out of the other areas (including south Georgia) I think Reed could do very well.

              •  How about Calvin Smyre? (0+ / 0-)

                African-American legislative leader from Columbus. In the GA legislature since age 26. Now 65.

                Governor Joe Frank Harris appointed Smyre assistant floor leader in the 1983 legislative session and, in 1986, appointed him floor leader for the 1987 session, making him the first African American leader of the House since Reconstruction.[2][3] In 1998, he was elected the first African American Chairman of the Democratic Party's state legislative caucus;[4] and, in 2001, Smyre was appointed Chairman of the state Democratic Party.[1] In 2006, he was elected President of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators.[5]
                Smyre also serves as Executive Vice President of Corporate External Affairs at Synovus and President of the Synovus Foundation.

                "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                by HeyMikey on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 02:00:52 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Or Stephanie Stuckey Benfield? (0+ / 0-)

                  Effective, progressive former state legislator from Atlanta. Was so good the GOP gerrymandered her out of a district.

                  "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                  by HeyMikey on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 02:23:38 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Do either of them have any interest ... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    in running?

                    I'm willing to entertain any possibility.  Of the people frequently mentioned my order of preference would be:

                    Kasim Reed
                    Jason Carter
                    Scott Holcomb
                    Vernon Jones
                    John Barrow

                    With Barrow in a distant last.  I'll take a look at Smyre and Benfield

                    •  I think Vernon Jones would be a disaster. (0+ / 0-)

                      Don't know anything about Holcomb or Carter, except I presume Carter is related to Jimmy?

                      Jim Marshall, maybe?

                      While Shirley Franklin was mayor of Atlanta, US News & World Report named her one of the 10 best mayors in the world.

                      While she was in the legislature, Benfield had a knack for getting herself in the news, usually for doing something that was a good idea. She's pretty. She's smart. And she might be self-financing; she's part of the Stuckey restaurant family.

                      "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                      by HeyMikey on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 08:27:58 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I feel the same way about Jones (0+ / 0-)

                        I was living in Atlanta-in-Dekalb (East Atlanta) when Jones was first elected, and had hopes for him at first.  Some of it was out of his control, but the county took a number of hits on his watch, whether caused by him or not, and that affects my view of him.

                        Benfield sounds interesting.  Do you know if anyone's approached her about running?

                        Jason Carter is related to Jimmy Carter, I believe grandson, and represents a district near East Atlanta, I think the East Lake/Kirkwood area.  I could look it up, but a bit too lazy this morning.

                      •  Just popped a note to Stephanie Stuckey Benfield (0+ / 0-)

                        I just sent a note to Stephanie Stuckey Benfield asking if she'd considered running.  I don't know if I'll get more than a "thank you for your interest", but it's worth a shot.

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