There were many story lines from last week’s primary.
One could look at the pathetic voter turnout as a major story line. However, how many of us that really follow elections were really surprised by this?
There seemed to be some shock from various “experts” that more people voted in the Republican primary than the Democratic one in Georgia. Really? This was a surprise? I would have been surprised if it had been the other way. Georgia has turned as red as a bucket of blood right now although the story line of the election — from my perspective anyway — might change that.
Roy Barnes cruised to the Democratic nomination for governor and while that in itself was expected, the margin by which he won is worth taking note of. Barnes has very high name recognition, of course, as a former governor. This is actually his fourth time running for the position (he lost in the primary in 1990 and was defeated in the general election in 2002 in one of the most stunning political upsets in our state’s history.)
However, in watching the Democratic primary for governor this year, I thought Barnes would receive a test in his primary. Thurbert Baker was a well-liked attorney general, who continued to be elected statewide as a Democratic despite the way Georgia had turned red. David Poythress has been elected to two statewide offices and is generally well thought of by most you ask. DuBose Porter is a long-time fixture in Georgia politics as the Middle Georgia newspaper publisher waited for a long time to make his move for the governorship.
However, none of these challengers stood a chance against Barnes as it turned out. Barnes cruised to the Democratic nomination without a runoff and did so with very little trouble. The former governor’s name recognition as well as his massive campaign war chest was just too much to overcome for any challenger. Barnes was the first candidate of either party on television with advertising and that, combined with his name recognition, sent him sailing toward November.
While Karen Handel and Nathan Deal are trying to out “right wing” one another in an attempt to gain the Republican nomination, Barnes is sitting back, catching his breath and preparing for an all-out sprint to the finish line as he tries to become governor once again.
It could also be said that perhaps voters in our state’s Democratic primary felt Barnes was their best chance to win in November. I wouldn’t disagree with that. However, I’m still somewhat surprised at his relatively easy victory this month in the primary. He didn’t have just token opposition.
Of course, the big test will be to see if Barnes can overcome the tendency of the voters in our state to vote Republican. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Deal or Handel, Republican voters will support whoever wins the runoff. Blind party voting is at an all-time high in our state.
I’ve predicted for several months that Barnes will be the next governor of Georgia. Voters in this state had many reasons to be dissatisfied with Barnes eight years ago but change for the sake of change is not always a positive. We’ve seen that with the inept two terms of Sonny Perdue, whose days are mercifully coming to an end.
Barnes has the name recognition and just as important, millions upon millions in a campaign war chest that no Republican nominee will be able to match. Don’t forget John Monds is the Libertarian Party candidate for governor this fall. Monds drew more than a million votes statewide in a run for the Public Service Commission two years ago. His presence will draw votes from the Republican nominee who can only boast of plans for cutting taxes like Monds would do.
When all is said and done, the Barnes Comeback Express will roll to victory in November.
Chris Bridges is editor of the Barrow Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com.
07/29/10 at 09:06 AM
With all due respect Mr. Bridges, is Roy Barnes all you can find to write about. His competition was weak. Not that he wouldnt have won anyway. He is without a doubt the best and most seasoned candidate for the Democrats in November. Heck he may even be the best man for the job. But wait a minute,do you hear that big sucking sound? Thats democrats leaving office. Don't use your position as a writer under the opinions column to express your political view. You are better than that. Heck, high school football begins in less than a month here in Barrow Co. Apalachee made history and WB has alot to be excited about.
Write about good positive stuff the next few months. Not about what Ben Corley at Clarke Central. Once again WHO CARES.
Barnes name recognition from his previous term in office will hound him right out of politics as usual in Georgia, His support of unconstitutional laws in the general assembly and as governor will be brought back to the attention of Georgia voters. One of the things we might start with is, he is using his own money to finance his campaign, a ploy he used against Guy Millner, his opponent in 1998. Millner financed his own campaign as well. I think we can also expect special interest money to start flowing into the Barnes campaign now that he is the democrat nominee. It will be interesting to see how much campaign money he raises and spends opposed to the republican nominee.