Brief sidebar: U.S. Rep. John Barrow has decided that, without a NASCAR event, there’s no reason to go to Charlotte in September. Now back to our original programming:
Things are getting tense in east Georgia.
Last week, Maria Sheffield spoke to the Greater Columbia County Republican Women. She and her staff noticed an extra video camera in the crowd. Her Republican rival in the 12th District congressional race, Wright McLeod, had hired a paid staffer to track Sheffield and keep track of her statements.
Sheffield, the only female candidate in the race to replace Democrat John Barrow, this afternoon accused McLeod of “stalking” her. She also seemed to think that only Democrats engage in the practice. Said Sheffield, via press release:
“I want to apologize, specifically to the wonderful ladies of the Greater Columbia County Republican Women’s Club, and to Republicans across GA 12, for the negative tactics of Wright McLeod. Wright has made the decision to stalk me by using the Democrat tactic of tracking.”
“I call on Wright McLeod to renounce the tactic of tracking, to apologize for stalking me on the campaign trail, and to [publicly] state his campaign will no longer use this Democrat tactic against ‘fellow’ Republicans.”
Now, it is true that one of the great political stories of 2006 was the collapse of U.S. Sen. George Allen of Virginia. Allen had tried to spar with a tracker that Democrats had set upon the Republican senator, calling the young man of Asian descent a “macaca.” Big mistake.
Allen is back this year. And the National Journal recently made this observation:
At any given Allen event, somewhere in the crowd, Alan Piracha is a living, breathing, filming reminder of what can go wrong on the stump. Last year the Virginia Democratic Party tapped Piracha, a soft-spoken 24-year-old, to videotape Allen’s every public utterance this campaign. He also, like S.R. Sidarth, the young man Allen called “macaca” six years ago, is darker-skinned and is of South Asian descent.
But is tracking something that only Democrats do? In 2010, a videographer tracked every public move made by Democrat and former governor Roy Barnes. The tracker’s paycheck was picked up by the Republican Governors Association.
All that said, candidates – or the organizations behind them – generally spend money only on real threats. That McLeod has singled out Sheffield as a worthy rival says something.
This is what Sheffield ought to be emphasizing, rather than relying on a word like “stalking,” which implies passivity, victimhood and a lack of control. Not qualities endearing to a GOP primary crowd.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider