Saturday, July 31, 2004

Campaign Crisis

My humble little drive for Congressional office took an unexpected hit last week, following the results of the Georgia primaries. Back when I 'announced' my candidacy in April, I think Cathy Woolard was the only declared candidate at the time. Others followed, including previously-ousted Rep Cynthia McKinney.

The consequences of McKinney's presence didn't strike me until about a month back, as I realized that she might stand an actual chance of winning the Democratic nomination. Since Republican nominees in my district have about as much chance of winning in November as a high school baseball team in the World Series, the Democratic primary is virtually the real election.

But a lot of people really dislike McKinney, and that could possibly tip the scales just enough in the Republican's favor. So I decided that if McKinney won in July, I wouldn't pursue my candidacy any further. I didn't want to play Nader in this situation.

To my surprise, McKinney not only won the Democratic primary, but she managed to do so without a runoff. She got 51% of the votes, while the other 5 candidates, together, received only 49%. As was pointed out by one observer, she received roughly the same number of votes as she did when she lost in the last November election. A lot of people may detest her, but she does have a loyal fanbase out there. Enough of one, in fact, that McKinney only had to run a very low-key campaign, and was barely even seen or heard in the northern half of the district. One columnist wrote that McKinney does well when people don't see or hear her.

Unfortunately, this left me high and dry. I was only hoping to pull a percentage point or two, but I don't want those points to be the ones that allow McKinney to win. I was a candidate without a race.

Then the lightbulb went off. The house I'm moving into is in District 13, and not my registered District 4. It's not nearly as compact as the Fourth, but it has one major advantage for someone in my situation: it's an uncontested race. The incumbent Democrat had no primary opposition, and has no Republican opposition on the ballot in November. With an incumbent guaranteed to win, there's a greater likelihood of voters 'throwing away' their votes on me. Granted, I don't know as many people in the Thirteenth, and my t-shirts still say the Fourth, but it still seems the best fix.

So remember, if you're a Georgian, vote Loren Collins this November for U.S. Congress, District 13.


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