Posts Tagged ‘cory ruth’

I had already given my appraisal of Ga-4, but this Gay Marriage ruling is a gamechanger. I’ve already declared Liz Carter the stronger candidate on the republican side. Her position on Gay Marriage wasn’t going to hurt much, economics was the issue and her gay marriage position wouldn’t matter in the house.

Now almost certainly another push will come for a constitutional amendment and Carter’s vote goes from unimportant to critical. With Cory Ruth a Black minister on the ticket some conservatives already had pragmatically decided he was the best choice to oppose Hank Johnson in a majority black district. Now this ruling gives social conservatives a reason to defect. Ruth would also put black ministers on the spot. They might support Johnson over Carter but they would have a very hard time endorsing Johnson over a black minister who opposes gay marriage.

If the election was this Tuesday rather than next Tuesday it might have been too late to hurt Carter, but Ruth will have a full week to play this up. It is his best chance to pull this off. This is where the mettle of both candidates will be tested. Can Carter hold on? (perhaps) Will she flip flop (not a chance), does the youthful Ruth have the killer instinct to use the advantage that he has just been given? (no idea) And can Victor Armendariz use this to take enough votes who might defect from Carter who might not like Ruth to force his way into a runoff? (very unlikely)

If you asked me yesterday to bet money it would have been Liz all the way. Today, I just don’t know, if it was Massachusetts Liz would still win. In Ga? This is where all the hard work and goodwill she established before this ruling is put to the test. This is WHY you put in that work and fight so hard. You can’t match on every issue so the strength of personality makes a ton of difference.

On the democratic side it’s the same. Johnson was going to win it in a walk but he has supported Gay Marriage right along so unless he flip flops Vernon Jones has the same opening that Cory Ruth does, and it’s my impression that Jones has more of a killer instinct than Ruth. Will it be enough? I just don’t know.

In a general election Carter v Johnson the dynamics would not change, but Ruth vs Johnson would really be tough for the democrats. What black minister wants to risk their congregation and living to endorse a candidate in favor of gay marriage when the alternative is a fellow black minister?

If Jones pulls it off then he plays this card against Liz to counter the character issue. From everything I’ve heard about Vernon I don’t know if it would be enough

It sure isn’t going to be boring.

Update: I talked to Liz Carter this morning. She confirmed that her position on marriage remains unchanged. In her opinion this is a 10th amendment issue and the Federal government has no business dictating to individual states on this or any other issue not constitutionally prescribed (obamacare anyone?). The 10th amendment grounds on which this ruling is based is consistent with her position. There is no better year to be running on this idea.

It would be very easy to change or clarify a position to head off a potential problem. We have seen pol after pol to this and conservatives are sick and tired of it. It is really refreshing to see someone unwilling to play that game. That’s a sign of integrity, rare in a pol, but not surprising to anyone who has spent any time at all with Liz Carter.

While I’ve been back in Massachusetts she has continued to work hard picking up some solid endorsements. She has also continued to make inroads in the black community taking the campaign directly to them. It’s really hard to demonize a person that you have made a personal impression on. This is where retail politics pays off big and will likely still pay off. Tip O’Neill always said “All Politics is local”. Liz Carter has learned this lesson well.

Update 2: Of course it is easier to take advantage of a new issue with the base if you aren’t advocating moving Haitian refugees to the US en masse to congress.

The genesis of my trip to Georgia was a short phone interview concerning the IRS chief revelation that the government would seize tax refunds of people who fail to buy insurance.

the World of Coca-Cola

Cheryl who remembered me from CPAC is her Chief of staff and arranged the interview. It was during that interview that something amazing was said.

Even more incredible was their reaction concerning the Media. The were fed up with it, they concluded that they were not getting the true picture from the MSM. As they put it: “Truth Matters!”

If you are getting the NAACP deciding that the Mainstream media can’t be trusted then the seminal change I was discussing is upon us. The same issues, regardless of race, face all.

Here is my take on the trip:

The District:

The district includes North Atlanta, Tucker, Rockville, Decatur, Lithonia, Stone Mountain, it is overwhelmingly Black and democratic, and located to the East of the city.

The People:

The People of district 4 that I ran into were primarily middle class regardless of race. They seem a deeply religious people although

Richard Thompson at Mamie's Kitchen in Lithonia

]there is a vast choice of religion to deal with. Mostly protestant but with some Catholic, Islamic and Orthodox in the mix They are friendly, and once comfortable with you are willing to speak about what is on their mind. They are polite and will usually do their best to not offend. They will not,

Daniel in the Lion's Den. New Birth church

particularly in public talk about the personal faults of others. It is not a community that is hurried. There is a large amount of folks who are transplants from other locations. It is very hard to find people above the age of 40 who have lived there all their lives.

The Issues:

The Issue on every set of lips was jobs jobs and oh jobs. People who don’t have them want them, people who have them are

Stone Mountain memorial, one of only Two confederate memorials I saw

worried about keeping them. Above all other issues this is paramount. Keeping things easy for business to grow is also an issue. There are some other issues such as water that are significant but to more to the politicians. Bottom line for everyone is the economy. Until the jobs issue is addressed everything else is on the back burner.

Race:

I know this is a tired old horse but if I didn’t mention it people would be wondering why. From what I saw it reminded me of

One of many wing wagons you will find

Fitchburg back in the 60’s and 70’s. You had an Italian Section of Town, a French Section, a Finn section a Yankee section etc, there would be some crossover but not a lot. It seemed to be pretty much the same, different ethnic groups tended to congregate together while various areas were mixed. In terms of jobs and entertainments people work side by side. In terms of taste people have their own cultural and culinary tastes but there is cross over. As a rule the younger the people were the less history bothered them. This is a very good thing but because of the history people are still very aware and sensitive.

And now the Meat and Potatoes of the Matter:

The Democrats:

There are three democratic candidates. The first being congressman Hank Johnson, he is the prohibitive front runner. In terms of policy his positions are standard left and pretty much in line with both Cynthia McKinney and Denise Majette who followed her but with none of the abrasion that McKinney was famous for. In my time in Georgia I did not meet a person who personally disliked him. This includes republicans. The big question on Johnson is his health. Depending on who you talk to he is either “courageous” in publicly dealing with his illness that isn’t slowing him down or practically on death’s door. Usually the answer is based on who you are supporting. He does have a new committee assignment on the transportation committee which considering the issues concerning MARTA certainly can’t hurt.

Next comes Vernon Jones. There are two constants concerning Vernon Jones. Every voter I talked to says he is smart and dynamic and more than capable of doing the job. Also every person I talked to in Ga-4 had the same reaction when I said his name. Everyone smiled a big wide grin like there was an inside joke that everybody knew but nobody wanted to say aloud. The adjectives used to describe him included “interesting”,

This is the 2nd wealthiest African American community in the country

“active” and quite a few more. Of the democratic candidates He has the best chance of unseating Johnson but in a district that is a very religious one Jones issues might be too much to overcome but his message of Jobs First is exactly the right message in this district and has played well with business owners.

Quite a few Vernon Jones signs in the area

Connie Stokes: Most voters I talked to didn’t even remember her name. This is a bad sign if you want to go to congress. Her campaign has nobody talking, at least nobody I heard.

I think this primary turns on Congressman Johnson’s health. The most knowledgeable unbiased source I talked to said he is clearly not himself but didn’t think it would be enough to derail him. A healthy Johnson beats both Jones and Stokes without much trouble, all indications are that a Johnson even with health questions will win this race unless those questions become so pronounced that he can’t function. Jones is known as a street fighter but he wasn’t able to take DeKalb county during the democratic primary for Senate. With tougher times his jobs message is a good sell but Stokes gives people who are unsure of Johnson another place to go if they are not comfortable with Jones.

My prediction: Johnson wins without a runoff.

Republicans:

The most interesting fact about this race according to people experienced in Ga-4 is that there IS a race. This is one of the “majority-minority” districts that has been a double edged sword for liberals. The fact that four candidates are going for this

Liz Carter

nomination is a sign of what his happening all over the country.

Liz Carter has been campaigning hard in the district, and has impressed a lot of people even on the other side of the aisle. She has a strong presentation, a good grasp of the issues and is utterly fearless. Her willingness to fight to get her message out to the black community shows a fearlessness that is necessary if you are going to be a republican and win in such a district. Her push on financial issues and jobs is an excellent message for the times and it is no secret that I was and am impressed by her.

Cory Ruth is exactly what the Republican party needs more of. A young self made black man who is enamored with basic conservative principles, who looks to the future rather than the past. His mantra that if the government would get out of the way of people in general and of the black community in particularly it can excel. Ruth also has deep connections within the black community that would be a big advantage in a general election but in a district where most of the black community are registered democrats doesn’t help much in the primary but as I saw, his support is not confined to the

Cory Ruth at Arizona's

southern part of the district.

The two other candidates: Victor Armendariz and Larry Gause have not made much of a splash and like Connie Stokes on the democratic side do not seem to be a factor.

The race really comes down to Carter and Ruth, both have strengths for the general election, both are impressive candidates but Liz Carter has run the stronger campaign and it has gained notice even with those on the other side. With an open primary system in Georgia, Cory may be able to draw on independent black voters particularly those who are concerned about Johnson’s Health

Signs at the Tysinger breakfast

and Jones’ reputation. There is also the pragmatic factor in terms of both winning the general election and re-election in 2012 in a majority black district that has driven some republican support his way. Liz however has already demonstrated willingness to fight for black voters and the contested contest on the democratic side may be too much of a draw for voters. I think Carter’s efforts here pay off.

My Prediction: Carter wins without a runoff.

I will not make a prediction in the general election as it is too far away, although just as you had to favor Coakley in Massachusetts early so must give Johnson the advantage in this district. You can’t count out a candidate like Liz Carter who is willing to fight for the black vote. The off year election with President Obama not on the ballot and the economic woes favor her. I’d say his has an 70% shot at re-election but the fact that any republican has a 30% shot in this district is at least as incredible as Scott Brown in Massachusetts. If Johnson’s heath takes a turn for the worse all bets are off.

The real interesting question in this race is Vernon Jones. If he wins the primary it shakes things up tremendously. If he loses does he look to 2012 and act accordingly? And what about Cory Ruth? Say I’m wrong and he wins the primary, does he have the gravitas to beat Johnson? Does his reputation in the community outweigh Jones’ street smarts in a general election? And if he doesn’t win, is he a stronger candidate in 2012 with one campaign under his belt?

For a district and a race that should be all but settled, a lot is going on and I’ll tell you what. It won’t be boring.

Here is my complete collection of posts on the Georgia Trip:


Calling all Atlanta Area Conservative Bloggers
: A suggestion that we have a night out together, I’m free tonight (Tuesday) and/or Friday
Fedora now in Dixie (the I’ve arrived post)
Voices of Georgia: Rochelle (my first interview and I comment on sedition back home)
Breakfast in America Mamie’s Kitchen ga-4 (I talk to patrons of a local coffee shop)
A talk with the Crossroads News (The Rather extraordinary Jennifer Parker talks to me about the district)
Voices of Ga-4 my pal Vinnie: (He looks nothing like Joe Pesci!)
A Few Photos from tonight: Photos from the United PeachTree Corners Civic Organization candidate’s forum. on May 24th.
Individual interviews on camera with Angela Moore, Liz Carter, Brooke Nebel, Jeffery Meek, and Dr. Mary Kay Murphy from the UPCCA forum.
My quick take on the UPCCA Forum.
Various uninformative opining on stuff
The Curse of the Fedora or how the Red Sox went on a winning streak when I left
Video from the Varsity (onion rings awesome, burger so/so)
A very good sitdown with the Champion Free Press
My old friends and me
A Doraville thankyou post.
A church Tale where I talk about some of the churches I visited
Two posts about the one unpleasant moment of the trip
Chief/Col John King’s Afganistan deployment post. (MUST WATCH!)
A Thanks to Hank Johnson’s staff
Liz Carter in Doraville
My funny CNN post (well I thought it was funny)
The Republican Ga-7 candidate forum (had a very bad time uploading them for some reason)
Matthews’ cafeteria roundup
A busy day
Indictments in the 4th district
My Cory Ruth video
A photo illustrating the one thing wrong with Tysinger’s forum.
Looking for a cup of Peach Tea: My link to the examiner article on what I saw (or rather didn’t see) of the tea parties
A Reception in Doraville: The reception for Chief King after the presentation.
My Lunch with Cory Ruth: A rundown of my long Lunch with candidate Cory Ruth
Voices of Ga: Kelly Nguyen (r) Ga-5: Kelly Nguyen makes her case for ga-5
Latest Examiner Article: Breakfast without Tea: My Examiner article on the Tysinger Breakfast
The Tysinger Breakfast a great idea: My blog post on on the Tysinger Breakfast including several video clips
Voices of Ga Allen Williamson (I) Ga-82: My final Georgia voice from the trip

And of course my posts about the forum in Ga-4 that I did from here:

Ga-4 Forum: No Irish Whites need apply? The initial post on the subject
Ga-4 Forum: Statement of Newsmakers live Journal: Posting the forum’s hosts statement on the matter.
GA-4 Forum: Cory Ruth Statement: Cory Ruth’s statement on the matter
Liz Carter allowed to participate… the resolution.
The Ga-4 Forum story makes the news: and the coverage by the MSM

And that is what I did on my Georgia trip.

Yesterday’s story on the Ga-4 forum broke through to the MSM in two different stories: First CBS:

When James Welcome, executive producer of the Newsmakers Live political forum, opened the show Wednesday night, he made this statement, “Tonight we are being called racists all over the web because we failed to invite Liz Carter.”

That’s quite a statement, CBS posed some tough questions but the most interesting thing that was said came at the end of the article:

(Vernon) Jones and (Connie) Stokes would not to participate in the forum unless Carter was allowed, so the organizers gave her a seat and allowed her to participate.

In terms of strategy this was rather smart of them. Cory Ruth is a good candidate and in an open primary a lot of black votes that might go to Jones & Stokes could go to a young dynamic fellow like Ruth so anything that can dilute his potential vote (particularly in a primary) would seem on its face a wise move.

The AJC also covered this and their story highlights the power of the new media:

“I just sent out one tweet,” said Liz Carter,

That one tweet led to posts on several major blogs and all kinds of national reaction, as for the debate itself. Ironically this was one of the topics that Cory Ruth brought up with me at lunch, the use of the new media to change the landscape.:

Once Carter showed up for the forum, the organizers allowed her to participate. Ruth and Carter were quizzed separately as GOP candidates and were friendly. Former DeKalb CEO Vernon Jones and current DeKalb Commissioner Connie Stokes, the democratic candidates, complimented and criticized each other. Rep. Hank Johnson, the incumbent, did not show up for the debate.

The lack of congressman Johnson diminished the debate but considering the controversy not being there was likely a wise move considering blog headlines like this:

Obama endorsed rep Hank Johnson to participate in segregated forum The Other McCain 6-2-2010

Scheduling conflict or no, without actual knowledge of if the White or Hispanic candidates would be included showing up would have turned this story into yet another uncomfortable question for Robert Gibbs instead of a local story.

Incidentally I can’t for the life of me understand why the other two republican Candidates didn’t show up and try to get included. If you are going to try to win you have to have sharp enough elbows to push yourself forward.

A final quote:

In the end, the moderator praised Carter’s media skills.

“She is good, she is damn good,” Eaton said. “She was nobody yesterday. She is somebody today.”

I think how this plays in the Champion and the Crossroads News is going to be very interesting.

In my opinion this event allows everyone to exploit openings: Carter needs to schedule events in the Black community to show that she intends to fight for and represent every vote. Ruth has two advantages. He can use the strength of his statement and positions to appeal to voters in the northern Republican counties (where he does have some support already) while continuing to give black voters in the south an alternative to people they like, but may not agree with. (Johnson)

Meanwhile Jones can build on Johnson’s absence to push themselves as an alternative. Jones slogan of Jobs First is the right message and nobody doubts his energy and ability. Stokes needs to do the same but frankly in my opinion is squeezed between the popularity of Johnson and the large Shadow that Jones casts. It is a fine needle to thread but from what I’ve heard she is a rather competent woman and may be able to do it.

Johnson meanwhile sites back and lets all of them divide the vote of those opposed to him to prevent a runoff to set himself up for the general election.

If nothing else a race in a district that was thought of as “safe democratic” certainly hasn’t been boring.

Update: The Daily caller was on this too. Too bad they didn’t have a certain blogger on their payroll, they might have had an awful lot more data over there.

I just received the following statement from the Cory Ruth campaign I reprint it in full:

ATLANTA, GA—Republican Cory Ruth issued the following statement related to the NewsMakers Live candidate forum.
“I was asked to participate in this important forum months ago, and said at the time I would be honored to do so. I am still looking forward to sharing my message of independence and fiscal conservatism to all voters of every race in Georgia’s 4th District.”

“One of my fellow Republicans has accused the event coordinator of excluding her because of her race. That ugly charge has been vehemently and adamantly denied by the producer and moderator for tonight’s event.”

“While I do not know the source of this misunderstanding, I would never attend an event that excluded candidates based on race. This is 21st century America, and we’re better than that.”

“I respect all my fellow Republicans in this race,” Ruth said. “That includes Liz Carter, Victor Armendariz and Larry Gause. We are not opponents, we are competitors on the same team. I am privileged to take our conservative message to a large segment of the black community this evening.”

Ruth added: “I regret that old-fashioned racial division threatens the civil tone of this campaign. The 4th District is made up of people of all ethnic backgrounds who celebrate their diversity. I am who I am, and I’m running for office as a conservative Republican.”
To find out more on Cory Ruth and his campaign, please visit http://www.coryruth.com

I like it a lot better than the Newsmakers statement.