Political analyst Charlie Cook recently downgraded Sanford Bishop’s 2nd Congressional District in southwest Georgia from “safe Democratic” to “likely Democratic.”
Bishop is taking no chances.
On Monday, his first full day of campaigning against newly nominated Republican Mike Keown, the congressman pulled out the biggest gun he could find – Shirley Sherrod, the wrongly fired U.S. Department of Agriculture worker.
Sherrod, by virtue of apologies delivered to her from President Barack Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, is the region’s newest political celebrity.
…[H]er message at Bishop’s headquarters in Albany came in loud and clear. “He has my vote,” she said. “I will do all I can to make sure he is reelected in this district and I hope you’ll do the same.”
In her years working with farmers, Sherrod says Bishop has fought for them and that’s why she’ll fight for him. She said, “I can’t think of anyone else who’s worked so hard for this district. I know of the work he’s done all through the years and especially since I was in the position at rural development.”
A position she no longer holds after being ousted when her words were twisted by a blogger, and she was forced to resign. Bishop says that was a bad move by the administration. He said, “I think it was a snap judgment. I think there was a rush to judgment. I think it’s very regretful.”
The Sanford campaign contributed this thought from Sherrod in an e-mail to reporters around the state:
Sherrod, victimized by a vicious right wing smear campaign featuring a severely edited video, cautioned the crowd that they can expect the same underhanded tactics used against Bishop during the campaign and urged them to get out to vote.
The Albany Herald reminds us that Bishop’s campaign got off to an inelegant start last week:
… when Press Secretary Aston McRae fired off a three-page e-mail accusing Keown of budgeting issues while serving as mayor of Coolidge and alleged twice voting for a pay raise while a member of the state House of Representatives.
Unfortunately for McRae, the e-mail was sent from Bishop’s congressional office instead of from the campaign, and that’s a no-no. McRae pulled the offending document from Bishop’s website and issued a retraction two days later.
Alan Blinder of the Washington bureau for the Houston Chronicle and Hearst Newspapers tells me that he exchanged e-mails with White House spokesman Robert Gibbs last night about whether there were any plans for President Barack Obama to meet with Shirley Sherrod during his visit next week to Atlanta.
“None that I am aware of,” was the reply from Gibbs.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press has a few stats on illegal immigration enforcement in north Georgia this morning:
The number of deportations through a federal program has more than doubled in Whitfield County in the last two years.
But the entire amount of deportations in Georgia and Tennessee has dropped over the same period.
File the following under “where are they now?” State Rep. Bob Smith (R-Watkinsville) this spring announced that, after 12 years in the Legislature, it was time to pay some bills. He would not run for re-election.
A note from Smith arrived this morning. He’s in on the effort to unload the Sky Valley Golf Course in north Georgia at fire sale prices – a $16.4 million investment the bank will unload for $4.6 million.
The club house interior is unfurnished, but the purchaser is guaranteed his own seat at the bar, plus tab privileges.
The Savannah Morning News reports that a campaign office for U.S. Rep. John Barrow was the target of a burglary:
About 2 p.m. Sunday, a manager of the office, at 537 E. Liberty St., arrived to find the front glass door broken by a brick. Boxes and envelopes were scattered throughout the interior, according to Savannah-Chatham police.
A desktop computer and a wireless Internet router were reported stolen.
Forensics technicians responded and dusted for prints, police reported. FBI agents were also notified of the break-in.
Secret documents from the alliance of blue-dog Democrats, outlining a moderate path toward revolution, showed signs of being rifled, but were discarded and left behind.
Barrow faces the the winner of an Aug, 10 runoff between Republicans Ray McKinney and Carl Smith.
News from the great beyond, via the Associated Press:
Here’s something Target Corp. isn’t advertising in its Sunday circular: The discount retailer is now a major donor to a group backing the Republican candidate for Minnesota governor.
And that’s not sitting well with every Target shopper.
Under new laws allowing corporations to spend company money on election campaigns, the Minneapolis-based chain gave $150,000 to a Republican-friendly political fund staffed by insiders from departing GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s administration. The group, MN Forward, is running TV ads supporting state legislator Tom Emmer, the presumptive GOP nominee.
The corporate money is flowing since the U.S. Supreme Court threw out parts of a 63-year-old law that prohibited companies and unions from donating to campaigns for or against candidates. The decision, which came earlier this year, changed rules in about half the states. But the change is so new that experts don’t have a good handle on the likely impact nationally.
“This is the leading edge,” said Ed Bender, who heads the National Institute on Money in State Politics in Montana.
And from the Denver Post, yet another reminder that all recording equipment is always on, even when it’s not:
Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Ken Buck called Tea Partyers questioning the authenticity of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate “dumba—s” to a Democratic operative recording his comments without his permission.
On an audio tape obtained by The Denver Post, Buck was caught muttering “will you tell those dumba—s at the Tea Party to stop asking questions about birth certificates while I’m on the camera?” outside a June 11 event in Crowley.
Buck then started laughing as he walked into the event with the Democratic tracker.
“What am I supposed to do?” he asked, rhetorically.
So-called birthers have challenged Obama’s standing as president by arguing that he was not born in the United States. Hawaii officials have repeatedly confirmed the president’s citizenship.