The race in Georgia’s 8th congressional district won’t be a race at all without a game-changer element; a Republican candidate who can benefit from Rep. Marshall’s icy attitude toward President Obama. The same Jim Marshall who was wild about mentioning President Bush in his past campaign ads.
State Senator Ross Tolleson would be next viable candidate because he has the bio and credentials of a member of congress—UGA, banker, farmer, KA, family guy. When I was a staffer, a KA ring was the ticket for Georgia power or Georgia Power. The question becomes: Is Tolleson that much different from Rep. Marshall in the eyes of the average voter? Notice I said “the average voter” rather than pundits, bloggers, or strong party members. While this is a mid-term election, Marshall’s townhall meeting sounded like a two-hour lovefest from the center and right. To win a traditional GOP candidate must secure new voters on the far right because Marshall is already center right.
To me, this situation for the GOP is similar to Obama and Hillary. It was Hillary’s turn and she would have made an excellent president—old girl is tough as nails. But, the conservatives detest Bill and Hillary enough to rally around McCain and they might have won the White House. It was not fair but life is not fair. Hillary took one for the team.
I don’t see a traditional GOP candidate beating Marshall so if anyone asked me (no one ask me) I would say think outside the box, take advantage of the icy Obama situation and get a quality African American candidate. Since the heaviest Black GOPer in the district would be the gentleman who ran for mayor of Macon and came up short, they should look just outside the district—which would bring suburban Atlanta into play.
The Right really doesn’t understand Black voters. I would take Dr. Deborah Honeycutt or Michael Murphy from suburban Atlanta and split the Black vote like a Georgia peach. What a fascinating dilemma: incumbent congressman who is a former mayor with strong ties in every community who ices down the young president and blows off healthcare reform. On the other hand, a GOP African American candidate who is conservative but smooth with it; keeping the vibe constructive and positive—a tea partier with a little honey mixed in. (That’s clever—“honey cut” into the tea from the bitterness of the protest). Michael Murphy remains me of sage Donald Sutherland; he would be well received in professional Black circles and among those concerned with personal responsibility.
You know certain conservative principles would be more effective coming from certain voices. That’s your game changer. Would Blacks vote for someone we like but only recently met? Yes we can.