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.
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.
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