Items from the political notebook as we continue into the new year:
Ray McBerry must have felt like a man without a party in 2006.
McBerry challenged Governor Sonny Perdue during the primary but you wouldn’t have known it from the state Republican Party, who pretended the challenger didn’t exist.
While all other Republican candidates, both incumbents and challengers, were listed on the state’s official website during that election, McBerry’s name was strangly omitted.
McBerry demanded his name, like all other Republicans who signed up to run for statewide office that year, be included on the website, but his requests were ignored. I personally contacted the state Republican Party headquarters and was greeted by a rather rude woman on the phone who basically said Perdue was Governor and how dare someone run against him in the primary.
“Are you saying no one but Sonny Perdue has the right to run for Governor on the Republican ticket,” I asked.
The woman said “Republicans should support the incumbent in office.”
“What about the other incumbents who have challengers,” I asked. “Is it asking too much to list McBerry as a candidate?”
The woman, continuing to set a record for being rude, once again hinted at the fact McBerry had no right to be challenging the esteemed incumbent governor.
Well, who knows if McBerry will be listed on the state’s official site this time but he is running for Governor again in 2010. McBerry joins other candidates such as Casey Cagle and Karen Handle at getting an early start on next year’s primary. Numerous others are expected to join the fray as well.
McBerry has a solid campaign slogan of “Georgia First” rather than Washington or Atlanta. There has always been a division in the state of Atlanta and “everything else” and to even hear a statewide candidate address this is refreshing.
It will be a true grassroots campaign effort for McBerry who does not have the advantage like Cagle and Handle of being already statewide office holders. Of course, that could also work in McBerry’s favor as he is not a career politician who has used other offices as stepping stones.
In a time when most candidates for statewide office are slicked up, by-the-numbers figures, it will be nice to have a choice like McBerry in 2010. For the average working man and working woman, a candidate has already emerged who truly understands what they are going through on a week-to-week basis.
The revelation that Perdue has to repay a “personal loan” of more than $20 million should raise red flags to all citizens of this state.
As detailed in an in-depth article in Sunday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Perdue has until March 1 to repay the loan which the Governor refuses to say why he took it out or how he plans to repay it.
Perdue was allowed to put up just 20 percent of the loan’s value in collateral, something which has been deemed “highly unusual” by many political and financial observers. While Perdue could, of course, magically come up with the estimated $21 million to repay the loan, it sounds like a good thing he cannot seek another term.
During these tough financial times, Perdue is increasingly out of touch with the average citizen.
Chris Bridges is editor of the Barrow Journal. He can be reached at: email@example.com.