•Ray Boyd officially began his drive Saturday to become the first independent candidate for Georgia to be on the ballot since the 1940s.
Boyd kicked off his effort in his hometown of Folkston, where a large crowd gathered to hear him speak about the state of politics in both Georgia and the country.
For those who may not be keeping track or those who are late to the party, Boyd originally planned to run in the Republican primary but would not sign a loyalty oath. Boyd felt he should be able to disagree with party officials on certain issues, but the representatives of the state Republicans who were at the state capital would not agree to it.
Now Boyd is looking to obtain approximately 44,000 signatures of registered voters who want him on the ballot this November. If Boyd makes it then four choices will be available to voters including the Democrat and Republican nominees along with Libertarian John Monds.
From my perspective, the more choices the better.
•It may surprise some just what candidates running as an independent for governor in our state face in terms of obstacles.
While in 2010 in Georgia, candidates have to collect 44,089 signatures of registered voters, other states are much more lenient. In Vermont for example, the number of signatures needed is 500. In Hawaii, 25 signatures are all it takes.
Some states simply ask for a fee to be paid. In Florida for example, several independent candidates will be on the ballot for governor, along with representatives of the Libertarian, Green and Constitution parties.
Georgia is known for having some of the toughest ballot access laws for third parties and for independents.
It’s no real mystery as to why. The Republicans and Democrats don’t want anyone to have a chance to challenge their power. What better way to do that than to keep candidates off the ballot?
In Boyd’s case, his plan is to obtain twice the number of signatures needed as state election officials typically look for ways to disqualify names or groups of names on petitions for even the smallest of infractions.
•Karen Handel, who picked up the endorsement of 6th District Congressman Tom Price, is continuing with her boycott of any forum in which fellow Republican gubernatorial candidate Ray McBerry is involved.
McBerry’s name has been splashed across some newspaper pages and plenty of blog sites (which should not be confused in any shape or form with real journalism) in recent weeks about an alleged relationship he had with an underage female while he was a teacher some years back. It should be noted, however, that McBerry has not been convicted of any crime nor was he even charged in this incident.
Allegations like this are always tough for those involved and McBerry has stated he will sue anyone who continues to print — in any form — false statements about him. I’ve wondered why the allegations are just now surfacing since McBerry is seemingly building a pretty solid grassroots network of supporters.
As far as Handel goes, her absence at forums will not be missed. She did nothing spectacular as secretary of state (unless you consider trying to disqualify certain Georgians from voting) before abandoning that office to run for governor. She is the reported preferred choice of Sonny Perdue, which automatically disqualifies her in my book from any consideration.
Handel’s “protest” against McBerry is nothing more than grandstanding. Those who sponsor forums should invite McBerry and let Handel stay at home. Recent reports indicate it has been McBerry who has won many straw polls at forums across the state. Perhaps that’s why Handel really doesn’t want to debate him.
Other Republicans in the primary for governor are continuing to attend forums McBerry is present at.
Concerning Congressman Price’s endorsement of Handel, that would disqualify me (I don’t live in his district) for voting for him. If that’s the best he can do, he should also stay home.
Chris Bridges is editor of the Barrow Journal. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I appreciate the `maverick' approach Ray Boyd is taking to this election. However, he has refused to pay taxes on the property he bought in 2008 at the Ben Epps airport in Athens. In fact, he is expecting the former owners to pay the taxes for 2009 while he owned it that entire year! This is NOT the guy I want governing our state! Haven't we had enough selfish, greedy people who serve only themselves in office?