After watching the Space Shuttle yesterday (BTW: with the cloud cover, I didn’t get to see it for long) and since publishing our first bracket, there has been a slight shift in the political landscape. For some, it has been a fault slip with a 7+ earthquake. So this week, I thought we would update some of the races. Here are my thoughts on U.S. House 14:
For the most part the firm announcements won’t come in until after the lines have been drawn in mid August. We originally had Doug Collins, Lee Hawkins, and Martha Zoller in the mix from Hall County. In the last month since the initial publishing, Sheriff Cronic, Commissioner Bell and Representative Mills had their names thrown into the hat by the armadillo hat club. Here is the breakdown as we see it now (In alphabetical order):
· Commissioner Ashley Bell- the current county commissioner representing Gainesville. Apparently he has been fundraising all over the state. There are reports that while the commissioners were down for training in Savannah, the commissioner had a fundraiser. There are also reports that he has recently been up to D.C. The big issue is while he may have raised a war chest in campaign contributions, unless he has an exploratory committee (I don’t see one filed with the state ethics commission) the only place he can use the money is on this commissioner’s campaign. Our belief is that he just likes taking money and he will be a commissioner for a few more years.
· Representative Doug Collins- the current holder of Georgia House district 27 is short on political experience. He was elected to office back in 2006. He is a former Pastor and a chaplain in the USAF Reserves. It has been said that he has been tapped by the Governor after he was made a floor leader for the Governor this past legislative session. One has to wonder how long the Governor’s coat tails will be after his GOP chair choice, Tricia Pridemore, got whipped this weekend and the current flurries of investigations around his campaign. If the Governor’s coat tails aren’t there, Rep. Collins will have trouble overcoming his lack of name recognition; however, it should be noted that since this race will most likely have a significant part of the old 9th, then maybe his coattails will be long enough to make it work.
· Sheriff Steve Cronic- the current Sheriff has already announced that he will not run for office. There is no doubt that he is a very popular politician in Hall County and has a network (other county Sheriffs) that he can tap into. The question will become if the skeletons in the Sheriff’s office that are popping up in the Strickland v. Strickland race will jump up and get him too.
· Senator Lee Hawkins- We are keeping him on the list, but our sources seem to think that while we have not seen the last of his name, we will probably not see him run for congress again. In his last campaign for congress, he didn’t have some of the power players from Hall on his side. Those players are generally aligned with the Governor, so the armadillo hat club seems to think that they will be with Rep. Collins leaving Senator Hawkins out in the cold again.
· Representative James Mills- the current holder of Georgia House district 25 is long on experience, but short on political clout. Representative Mills was elected back in 1992 and had held several powerful positions in the past. But we need to emphasize past. He recently lost out on house majority leader and had his chairmanship of the Banks and Banking Committee removed. Some think he might run as a last gasp. In other words, instead of just retiring, why not run for a higher office and let the people decide.
· Martha Zoller- the current radio host of the Martha Zoller show on F.M. 103.7, I heard that Mrs. Zoller recently talked to the republican club at the Village of Deaton creek and she had favorable reviews. As the only female in the (so far) all male race, this may get her into a runoff on its own merits; except there will be others from other counties running. While she does not have any political experience, the issue won’t be that she will pull the maverick card, the issue will be can she pull together funding.
The race is early, but one to watch. If you think about it, the Republicans will be making their choice by next July, so we are less than 14 months away. While having a lot of choice may seem like a good thing, we have to worry that it everyone jumps in, they may all lose. Depending on how many get in from the other counties, having a lot of candidates may dilute the vote leaving the door open for others.
The comments are open. Please feel free to share your thoughts.
Hugh Hall County Akston