First the fun stuff.
David Poythress, the former National Guard commander and Democratic candidate for governor, has limited cash. His standings in the polls are threadbare.
But he’s got chutzpah. His campaign on Monday unveiled a new website, called bagbarnes.com, and this video that anyone who watches Saturday afternoon TV would recognize:
The money quote: “Democrats, we got to bag Barnes before Republicans get a chance to in the fall.”
On a similar note, we told you earlier this month that John Oxendine’s Republican campaign for governor had adopted a frontrunner tone – quieter, more disciplined, with restrained responses to attacks by competitors.
But only, it seems, if they’re Republican. This from the Associated Press:
Republican John Oxendine on Monday bypassed his six GOP opponents in the race for governor in Georgia and took aim instead at Roy Barnes, linking the Democrat to President Barack Obama and the new federal health care law.
The skirmish comes with the state primary still five weeks away and both candidates facing considerable opposition from within their own parties.
Barnes, Oxendine said, is “so eager to come to the aid and defend his buddy Barack Obama.”
“And that is going to be big government and taking away individual liberties,” Oxendine [said].
Oxendine’s attack provides a preview of what a general election matchup would look like: saddle Barnes with the Obama administration and Democrats in Washington, who back an agenda sometimes out of step with Georgia’s more conservative views.
Barnes opened the door on Thursday when at a news conference in Decatur he called Oxendine’s refusal to participate in the first phase of federal health care reform “one of the most foolish things I’ve ever seen.”
Earlier this year, Oxendine, the state’s insurance commissioner, declined to set up a state insurance pool for high-risk Georgians who have been uninsured for at least six months. The plan is backed by $5 billion in federal money, but Oxendine argued the state could be on the hook for unknown additional costs down the road.
Barnes said Thursday he’ll make the state participate if he’s elected governor.
His campaign manager Chris Carpenter on Monday didn’t address Oxendine’s charges directly but said it was “outrageous” that the commissioner effectively denied health insurance coverage to Georgians with pre-existing conditions.
“He clearly does not care about the thousands of Georgians who cannot get health insurance because of a previous illness or injury,” Carpenter said.
Federal health officials said they will run a coverage program in the state if Georgia doesn’t take part.
Asked why he was taking aim at Barnes when he still needs to make it through a crowded GOP primary, Oxendine quoted “Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment.”
“I’m not going to go out there and attack my fellow Republicans,” he said.