Your morning jolt: Democratic eyes turn to the race for lieutenant governor

So with the Democratic race for governor somewhat filled out, eyes are turning to the race for lieutenant governor, an office now held by a refurbished and unopposed Republican, Casey Cagle.

Democratic talk, of course, centers on state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. “I’m weighing my options,” Thurmond said late Thursday. “I am interested, but I’ve made no final decision.” And he probably won’t until July.

There is talk of much pressure from national Democrats for Georgia to 1) settle its four-man race by consensus; and 2) to field a biracial ticket at the top that would stir the party’s base, which is largely African-American. Only then might it be worth the investment of outside cash — so the theory goes.

If entities like the Democratic Governors Association are behind former Gov. Roy Barnes, as they seem to be, then Thurmond — he is an African-American from Athens — becomes a likely choice for lieutenant governor.

And yet. Thurmond points to his “critical responsibilities” as the head of the state’s unemployment safety net in the midst of the worst downturn we’ve seen since World War II. “That’s a commitment I’ve made,” he said.

And there’s something else. As the military philosopher Sun Tzu said, if you want to avoid a nasty bloodbath, you do not surround an opponent without giving him an escape route.

If there is a movement afoot to urge House Minority Leader DuBose Porter, Attorney General Thurbert Baker or former National Guard commander David Poythress out of the governor’s race, then the lieutenant governor’s race could become that path of exit. More so for Porter or Poythress than Baker.

So before Thurmond, who is also vice chairman of the state Democratic party, jumps into the race for lieutenant governor, the labor commissioner said he intends to seek the counsel of Porter, Baker and Poythress.

Will he ask them to consider dropping out of the governor’s race? “I don’t think that’s appropriate for me to do,” he said.

But Thurmond, one of three surviving Democratic constitutional officers in Georgia, does intend to discuss the “overall health of the party” and what it faces in 2010.

Thurmond remains very much opposed, as he has said before, to “a divisive, expensive primary season.”

“That gives me some pause going forward,” he said. “The Georgia Republican party presents a formidable challenge for any Democrat. I know that, [Agriculture Commissioner] Tommy Irvin knows it, Thurbert Baker knows it. We know it better than anyone else.

Forget Vernon Jones, who sent out those gubernatorial signals via e-mail. On Thursday, Mayor Carl Camon of Ray City — population 800 — chartered a bus to take him and supporters to Atlanta so he could announce his Democratic candidacy for governor from the state Capitol steps.

Camon has been mayor — Ray City is near Valdosta — for 12 years. And he has a record that some would argue could match many other office-seekers.

This from today’s Valdosta Daily Times:

Camon points to lobbying for a Dollar General store as a success. The company did not want to locate in Ray City, Camon said, but he kept pushing them, sending traffic counts and other studies. Dollar General located in Ray City, which helped the town’s economy and its people.

Ray City residents don’t have to drive to another town to get something, he said; they can stop by the Dollar General, which is within walking distance for many residents. This, he says, is an example of how a person can lead by responding to what people need.

Members of the Tea Party Patriots will be demonstrating outside CNN headquarters in downtown Atlanta this morning.

They’re still angry about those double entendres over the phrase “tea-bagging.” Declares the press release:

The repeated use of sexual innuendo and other offensive language primarily centered around an alternate meaning of the word “teabagging” were insulting, rude, and lacked the decorum expected of a professional news organization. Content like this is not family friendly.

While you ponder the above, consider these items found while perusing this morning’s ajc.com:

  • Gwinnett ditches land deal after DA threatens commission with grand jury probe.
  • Georgia judges will decide Friday whether to sue Gov. Sonny Perdue over 25 percent budget cut.
  • Powerful state lawmakers challenge Cobb County tax digest.
  • Fulton County sending out revised tax notices Saturday.
  • Man used school as front for fake immigration papers.
  • Terror suspect gives his own closing argument.
  • Some opinion:

  • Your Luckovich fix.
  • It’s COW-EAT-a, not cuh-WEET-a, instructs Jim Wooten.
  • Jay Bookman posits that the balance between voter rights and voter fraud is way out of whack.
  • Lee Raudonis says “racist’ isn’t term to be used lightly.
  • And from elsewhere:

  • WP: First Lady Michelle Obama replaces her chief of staff.
  • NYT: SEC accuses Countrywide’s former chief of fraud.
  • WSJ: Peggy Noon on the arrival of a smiling Ronald Reagan in the U.S. Capitol.
  • For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

    18 comments Add your comment

    Will Jones - Atlanta

    June 5th, 2009
    9:32 am

    Michael Thurmond seems like a good man…a good Lieutenant Governor for Governor Max Cleland.

    Let’s do what’s right, Georgia, and make Max elect as governor this time around. He’s shown his integrity and Georgia needs to get out in front of President Obama to help restore American Righteousness.

    Turd Ferguson

    June 5th, 2009
    9:47 am

    Max Cleland…LOL…not a chance.

    DannyX

    June 5th, 2009
    10:31 am

    Gwinnett land deals, Gwinnett Braves stadium mess, traffic insanity, and the hypocrisy of accepting $31,000,000.00 a year in state money meant for poor school districts.

    Seems like you folks from Gwinnett need to stop throwing stones at the “people” who run the city of Atlanta! You clearly need to get the logs out of your eyes.

    When is the $31,000,000.00 school money going to be protested?

    Tony

    June 5th, 2009
    10:39 am

    I’d vote for Cleland for governor. I’d vote for him for U.S. Senate, or even secretary of state again. I back Max.

    MikeS

    June 5th, 2009
    10:56 am

    Forget the Tea-bagging references. I am offended that pro-amnesty lobby are trying to pull a “Dirty Sanchez” on the voter rolls.

    [...] Interesting "fishing" article concerning Thurmond and whether or when he will announce if he is running for LT Gov. His response was he will not comment till July-my take after we start getting the funds. Your morning jolt: Democratic eyes turn to the race for lieutenant governor | Political Insider [...]

    AH

    June 5th, 2009
    12:02 pm

    What are they giving up on the Governors race already? Will they abandon the Lt. Gov. race next week and set their sights on the lofty position of dog catcher?

    Keith

    June 5th, 2009
    1:16 pm

    You can already see the wheels falling off Barnes’ campaign for guvnah and it hasn’t even started. Just the few comments he’s made have reminded voters of why they dumped him in 2002. Baker, Poythress, and Porter would be foolish to jump ship.

    SpaceyG on Twitter

    June 5th, 2009
    1:28 pm

    Whatever he decides to do, I just hope someone will live-stream THAT announcement. I’m not voting for anyone who’s running a campaign nowadays who can’t find a warm body with a laptop, get on a wi-fi signal, and send us a feed of their announcement to do, like, historic-y stuff here in No-Tech Georgia. Jeez…

    Daisy Duke

    June 5th, 2009
    1:34 pm

    Please Thurmond, run for Governor!

    Eddie

    June 5th, 2009
    2:57 pm

    Mr. Thurmond, run for Lt. Governor, please, since you are not running for Governor.

    Tired

    June 5th, 2009
    5:47 pm

    Hello–Is Jane Kidd alive? Anyone, has there been a sighting of the Democratic Chair? Democrats should already have a slate of candidates for each statewide position. Why are we top heavy with individuals that have no chance of becoming governor? Thurmond has it right. We can’t afford another Taylor-Cox fiasco from 2006. Leave the theatrics to the Republicans. Jane Kidd has shown no leadership since she got elected as the state party chair and should resign her position. Let’s put our heads together and find the right candidate for all the statewide positions. By staying out of the fracas, someone has finally shown the ability to wait and do their elected job.Thurmond has taken the high road, let’s see if anyone follows. Jane Kidd–go borrow someones balls’ you’re going to need them if all these folks stay in this race. Car 54–Where are You?

    herbK

    June 5th, 2009
    6:02 pm

    Thurmond running for lt. guv is as laughable as vernie jones running for ANYTHING. Try again, too much of the same old crap.

    Jd

    June 5th, 2009
    7:59 pm

    Can you really blame the “tea-baggers” for being oblivious to anything. Just look at their views on economics…talk about oblivious.

    Jd

    June 5th, 2009
    8:00 pm

    Oh yeah, and I agree with Tired. Jane Kidd should resign. She is a disgrace and a moron.

    Jeff Smith

    June 6th, 2009
    2:24 am

    Do not support Michael Thurman for Lt. Governor or anymore positions. He has done nothing to help the suffering unemployed in Georgia as the Commissioner of Labor. The Ga house and Ga Senate did there job and voted to change a law so that Ga could receive Federal money for the unemployed in the beginning of April. It is now June 6 and the money that the Federal Government gave to the GDOL has not been distributed. People are suffering because of Michael Thurmonds inability to do his job. He cares more about his own career as a politician than doing his job and helping Georgia workers. PLEASE DO NOT VOTE FOR MICHAEL THURMOND!

    unemployedbutsecure

    June 6th, 2009
    12:32 pm

    to jeff smith, I would certainly check my facts first before throwing anyone under the bus. Let me enlighten you because I know when I will get my extended benefits. First, Georgia was not going to get a dime of the stimulus money because every southern governor including Sonny Perdue, rejected any money to extend benefits to the unemployed because they felt it would add an undue financial burden to employers. South Carolina is suing their governor for rejecting their extended benefits money.. Thank God Michael Thurmond was the only one to provide Sonny Perdue the facts and show how employers would not be adversely impacted. Secondly, Georgia is the only southern state the unemployed will get extended benefits because of Michael Thurmond’s efforts. I am so broke that I have followed this story from the beginning. In addition to all of that, the bill was signed on May 9 and individuals were asked to submit an application to apply for the extended benefits on May 22nd and would receive their benefits within 28 days. Jeff Smith, can you count 28 days???? You should be grateful not complaining about Mike Thurmond. If it weren’t for his efforts, we wouldn’t be getting a red penny or the damn t-shirt. .So, to end this friendly discourse, I would suggest to you to start counting the days and if you don’t receive your check within the 28 days, than you should open your mouth. In fact, I will join you. But, until than just be grateful.

    Kreanna Austin

    June 7th, 2009
    6:56 pm

    What bill was signed on May 9 ?