Loading...
 

Man vs. machine - Michael Thurmond Running?

Sources tell us Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond, a popular Democrat who's twice nabbed a statewide election, is expected to announce his candidacy for lieutenant governor any minute. It's a packed race already; two Dems and two Republicans - all with broad name recognition - also are vying for the state's No. 2 post. Of course, the most famous (or, should we say, "infamous") of the contenders is Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition of America. Here's how Thurmond and Reed might stack up against each other - if they both were to win their party's nomination.

?
??
EXPERIENCE: Labor commissioner, 1998-present; state rep, 1986-1998.?

??
STRENGTHS: A charismatic speaker and expert campaign stumper, Thurmond also has done an expert job directing the Labor Department's 4,000 employees to serve those impacted by Hurricane Katrina, military base and manufacturing plant closures, and an economic slump.

??
Thurmond's appeal crosses racial lines; he won three state House races in a majority-white district and went on to become the first African-American elected to a statewide office without first being appointed by a governor. During the Republicans' 2002 election sweep, he easily won re-election.

??
WEAKNESSES: Since Thurmond's last victory in 2002, the state as a whole has tilted even more Republican.

??
Last summer, the AJC identified Thurmond as one of several public officials who were issued license plates that can't be traced by law enforcement - a practice criticized by police.

??
PRIMARY OPPONENTS: Jim Martin, well-liked former state rep and former head of the Georgia Department of Human Resources.

??
Greg Hecht, respected former state rep and former state senator.

??
EXPERIENCE: State Republican Party chairman, 2001-2002; executive director of the Christian Coalition, 1989-1997; 25 years of political advising.

??
STRENGTHS: Reed has amassed an impressive war chest for the lieutenant governor's race, having raised $1.8 million - a record for a non-incumbent candidate. Reed also is a reported genius at political organizing and is credited with helping orchestrate the 2002 GOP takeover of the governor's office - the first in 130 years.

??
He'll also draw on connections built up while working on seven presidential campaigns, including a term as chairman of the Southeast Region for Bush-Cheney '04.

??
WEAKNESSES: Reed's slick and well-polished delivery, plus his lack of having held an elected office, will make it hard for him to avoid looking power-hungry. But Reed's biggest problem is his association with longtime colleague and friend, Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who pleaded guilty last month to three counts of bribing public officials. It's possible Reed himself will become embroiled in future investigations, as three ethics complaints have been filed against him in Texas.

??
PRIMARY OPPONENTS: Casey Cagle, current state senator and feisty campaigner.

??
Editor's Note: This story has been modified to remove a reporting error. Michael Thurmond’s wife, Zola, did not win a $50,000 contract from the state agency that Thurmond heads. Zola Thurmond won the contract from the state Department of Technical and Adult Education.




[Admin link: Man vs. machine - Michael Thurmond Running?]

Spider for Man vs. machine - Michael Thurmond Running?