It’s Primary Day

I know you’ve all been waiting with bated breath to hear my endorsements for this Tuesday’s primary races across Georgia. I’ve been curious to see what those would be myself, since I can’t recall ever having so many “Undecided” answers so close to election day.

On the heels of my blog post from Sunday, you may already know that I’m not what you’d call enthusiastic about the particular trip to the polls. Overall I find the field to be lackluster at best, downright demoralizing in its lack of standouts at worst. Staying home, however, isn’t an acceptable option to me and I’m no fan of writing in fictional characters. Therefore, without further ado, here are the official Jon’s Three Cents endorsements for July 20, 2010.

Governor
(R) — Never have so many candidates combined to provide so little to be happy about. A motley collection of flawed hopefuls, where the best option seems to be choosing the least of the various evils. I’d love to have backed Ray McBerry as he’s the closest to my own positions on key issues but the potential scandal involving an inappropriate relationship with a student killed his candidacy, even if he’s innocent he’s unelectable at this point. I wouldn’t trust Oxendine to bring back the change if I gave him $2 to buy me a Coke, but I trust Johnson with money even less after he supported Sonny’s tax increase in ’03 (although I love his support of school vouchers) Handel’s willingness to fund liberal causes with both taxpayer & personal dollars eliminates her from being worthy of consideration (and my opinion of Palin is severely damaged after her endorsement of Handel), neither Chapman nor Putnam are a factor at all.  That leaves one man standing for my vote, albeit just barely and not particularly tall. Come Tuesday I’ll ignore the red flags, hold my nose, and hope for the best, although the truth is I wish None of the Above were on the ballot.
VOTING FOR: Nathan Deal

(D) — No chance in hell of me endorsing one of these candidates except to say this: One of the last remaining items on my bucket list, the things I really want to live long enough to get a chance to do, is to piss on the grave of Roy Barnes someday. That desire is so strong it’s enough to at least make me briefly consider stopping smoking & taking up jogging just to improve my chances.  When I say ANYONE is preferable to him there’s not an ounce of hyperbole or exaggeration involved.

Lt. Governor
(R) No endorsement. Will not be voting for Cagle in his unopposed bid.
(D) – Carol Porter, who appears infinitely more qualified for office than her opponent who appears to have decided that her best campaign tactic was to purposely remain as close to invisible as possible. In fact, just mentioning Tricia McCracken by name in this space could represent a major surge in voter awareness.

Secretary of State
(R) — When Brian Kemp was appointed by Sonny Perdue to fill Handel’s unexpired term, my vote for this office was likely set. My logic is simple: few politicians have ever disappointed me more than Perdue, the appointment taints Kemp for me by association.  His opponent has avoided any pitfalls or problems and I find no issue with the basics of his stated goals, which include easing the process for overseas servicemen to vote in Georgia.
VOTING FOR: Doug MacGinnitie
(D) — If you voting on this side, you could do a lot worse than Gail Buckner based on her answers to issue questions that I’ve read.   She seems to have a better grasp on the reality of the job and how to do it than the competition.

Attorney General
(R)FINALLY, a race where I can enthusiastically support a candidate.   When state Senator Preston Smith (R-Rome) took to the well of the legislature back in April, he rightfully skewered the shameful behavior of some of the state GOP’s backroom dealers.  With his memorable observation that “… it seems the current leaders are less concerned about who they believe is a political prostitute than who they view as the pimp controlling him” he stepped into an entirely different plane for me than anyone else seeking office in Georgia this year, becoming someone that I knew for sure was unafraid to speak the blunt truth however unpleasant it might be and that’s worth a lot to me.
VOTING FOR: Preston Smith
(D) — No endorsement, both candidates unwillingness to commit to aggressive opposition to mandated Obamacare to render them unfit for the office, much like the current occupant.

State School Superintendent
(R) — Neither candidate particularly inspires me, nor even offers much reason to hope that I can see.  Their opposition to accountability through comprhensive testing runs directly against my own beliefs, and disappointingly neither seems willing to address the false argument about “teaching to the test” with a direct response of “we need to reconcile what’s being taught with what’s being tested and makes sure that both conform to the curriculum”.    On the basis of one candidate at least having concrete plans that he’s willing to articulate instead of making vague comments that hit the popular catchphrases, and on at least rumors that he won’t treat vouchers as a dirty word, as I’ve finally settled on which lukewarm & reluctant vote to cast.
VOTING FOR: John Barge
(D) — Impossible for me to endorse anyone in a field where the contenders all seem more concerned about pouring money into the system than about how to reform it.  I tried to find one I could at least deem tolerable, I suffered through their websites & literature, I just can’t find one that doesn’t fall into basic lib-speak too readily.

Commisioner of Agriculture
(R) — Gary Black might not be a perfect candidate but his opponent has offered nothing to push himself in front of the more recognizable name.
VOTING FOR: Gary Black
(D) — No endorsement as there is only one candidate

Commissioner of Labor
(R) — The hype will probably be about the prospect of the first statewide African-American Republican officeholder in Georgia.  It should be about a solid candidate who beats one surrounded by ethical questions.
VOTING FOR: Melvin Everson
(D) — If you get this ballot, do the taxpayers a favor and vote for Darryl Hicks.  He’s a much better option than his career politician opponent.

Commissioner of Insurance
(R) — No shortage of candidates, that’s for sure.  Frankly it makes me uneasy that nine people want the job, what are the odds of all of them having public service instead of private gain in mind?  Just sayin’.  One by one I read the positions & issues statements of the candidates and the deeper I go the more I start to be reminded of the gubernatorial primary.   I like the effort that Purcell has put into his campaign & his background outside of politics but dislike several of his proposals & priorities.  I like Harp’s courage in trying to get a Sunday Sales up or down vote in his legislative career but I’m discouraged that his issues statement doesn’t even give lip service to the role of the office in fire safety.    I’m uneasy with candidates too closely connected to the insurance industry to be in charge of regulating them.  By process of elimination more than anything else, I’ll cast a fairly lukewarm vote for the contender who I was least put off by.  Not a ringing endorsement, but it’s an honest one.
VOTING FOR: Maria Sheffield
(D) — No endorsement, only one candidate on the ballot anyway.

Public Service Commission, District 2
(R) — A down-ballot race that usually doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves, this year seems to be no exception.  Four candidates, again here I’m not exactly excited by the prospects.  One candidate proudly trumpets endorsements from various RTL groups, which is fine, but what do they have to do with regulating utilities?  Another is the vice-chair of the state House Republican Caucus, a group I’m none too impressed with of late.  Joey Brush has a very detailed plan & I appreciate that … but he was a long time ally of Linda Schrenko, a connection I’m not inclined to overlook here.  That leaves one man standing for my vote, and while I’m certainly not convinced that he’s a perfect fit with my positions on various subjects, he seems to have a reputation for being a straight-talking man who doesn’t run away from his opinions just because you might not agree with him.  I can work with that (or at least won’t criticize him for it, glass houses & stones & all that)
VOTING FOR: John Douglas
(D) — No endorsement, only one candidate on the ballot

And that will bring my endorsements to a close.  I’m not comfortable getting into anyone’s local races outside of my own in the absence of time or energy to conduct due diligence on them,that’s not fair to the candidates, the reader, nor me.  Meanwhile there’s scarce competition in my own local races, rendering choices before November pretty simple in most cases.

I will, however, close with a couple of things that I’d like you to consider applying to any races you’re casting ballots on today.

First, if there are candidates that seem to consistently have campaign signs placed illegally in the public right of way, I believe that’s a red flag or at least a yellow flag of caution.  Ask yourself this simple question: if the candidate, their campaign workers or even unaffiliated supporters have so little regard for such a simple law, how much faith do you have in the choices they’ll make when the rule of law conflicts with their own personal interests?

Second, I’ll add my endorsement of sorts to an editorial in today’s Athens Banner-Herald.  For me to agree with anything that appears in the overwhelmingly left-wing paper is shocking enough, but it’s even more stunning that they made such an great point concerning a political matter, but that’s what they’ve done.

Contrary to the typical “please go vote” editorial, they issue a plea for some folks to stay home today & I love the specifics “Please don’t go to the polls today if you haven’t bothered to research the candidates on your own, and made up your own mind as to who deserves your vote. On a more basic level, if you don’t know that today’s elections are primaries, please just stay home. If you don’t know that despite the fact that today’s elections are primaries, some races will be decided, please just stay home. If you don’t know that you might (or, in all probability, will) face the possibility of returning to the polls on Aug. 10 to vote in a primary runoff election, please just stay home today.”

Liberal rag though it may be, the stopped clock exception applies here, they’re spot on in their commentary.

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