Items from the political notebook following qualifying week:
•Some well known and some not so well known candidates signed up for governor in our state last week.
We have a former governor deciding to make another run after being shown the door eight years ago. Has he learned some humility in that time? We can only hope so, especially since he is now a front runner to win the election in 2010.
We have several candidates for the state’s highest office facing varying degrees of ethics complaints. We have others trying to make themselves to be appear holier than thou by saying they will not appear in any future forums if a certain candidate is there.
To me, the biggest news from qualifying week came on the first day when the state Republican party did its best to show its country club side and refused to allow a candidate — with no ethical issues — to sign up because he wouldn’t sign a loyalty oath to the state affiliate.
The absurdity of it is that the state Republicans, through this action, say it’s better to lie than to be honest with your intentions. Ray Boyd said he would not sign an oath to the state Republicans because he believes he has the right to disagree with the party on certain issues. Sounds reasonable enough to me.
Boyd wondered if current governor Sonny Perdue may have been behind the move as the lame duck office holder is backing Karen Handel. I wouldn’t put anything past Perdue, who has been one of the least effective governors in our state’s history. The only good thing about his time in office is that it will be over in less than a year. I can only hope the next governor can dig our state out of the mess Perdue will have left it in.
Boyd, meanwhile, will attempt to run as an independent, no easy task to those who don’t keep up with such things. According to Richard Winger of Ballot Access News, the last time Georgia had an independent candidate for governor on the ballot was in 1942.
The following year the law was changed making it radically more difficult for a candidate to qualify without a party label. It’s not a coincidence there hasn’t been an independent candidate for governor since.
Boyd will attempt to defeat the two-headed monster by getting on the ballot. It will take more than 44,000 signatures to do it. His official ballot access drive begins Saturday in his hometown of Folkston. Boyd is hoping to obtain twice that number of registered voters as state elections officials always try to disqualify names for any number of reasons in cases like these.
Imagine how much trouble Boyd could have saved himself by lying and saying, “Yes, I will be loyal to the party.”
Sounds like a candidate with integrity to me.
•While independents are discouraged from running our state, a look across the country shows independents making much more progress.
In Maine, Eliot Cutler is running for governor as an independent candidate, according to Ballot Access News, and observers give him a chance at being elected. Cutler is an attorney who worked for former President Jimmy Carter and also for Democratic nominee for vice-president in 1968, Edmund Muskie.
In Massachusetts, independent candidate for governor, Timothy Cahill, is currently in second place in recent polling ahead of the likely Republican nominee and just five points behind the incumbent Democratic governor.
•One candidate who does not deserve support in his race in our state is Austin Scott. For months, Scott asked for support (financial and otherwise) saying he was running for governor.
On the last day of qualifying, Scott decided to run for congress instead. Was it the crowded Republican field for governor that changed Scott’s mind? Who knows? But I do know he doesn’t deserve your support after this last second flip flop and fly.
Chris Bridges is editor of the Barrow Journal. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.