A few weeks ago, I wrote about the coming difficulties in the Georgia Republican Party. In that article I also wrote that Georgia Republican Senator David Shafer supported his fellow Senator Casey Cagle. That was based on talking to seven people, though not Shafer, all of whom I thought had the inside knowledge and credibility to know.
Senator Shafer emailed me today to say that he is actually supporting Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner, John Oxendine, who is running for Lieutenant Governor.
In related news, I foresee a black eye on the horizon for Ralph Reed, that just might shake him up in this race, if played right. The Washington Post reports that Reed received $4million from Indian tribes. The money came from gambling interests among various tribes. Reed claims he did not know the money came from gambling interests. The money was funnelled through a Washington lobbyist and was used by Reed to lobby against an Indian casino opening in Louisiana. Reed says he did not know he was lobbying on behalf of a rival Indian Tribe that did not want competition for its Indian casino.
While the story is innocuous on its surface, there is an uneasy tension in the minds of many in the Georgia GOP about Reed. Though greatful for his assistance, some still remember Reed as the strategist and consultant who attracted media attention for working with Microsoft while also helping the Bush team in 2000. A skillful strategist just might try tying Reed to gambling money. In Georgia, gambling is a dirty topic with many church leaders in a state of perpetual opposition to Indian casinos.
Reed most likely, along with Focus on the Family leader James Dobson (who was also invlved in the anti-gambling effort), did not know the money was coming from other Indian gambling interests. Nonetheless, rumors can be destructive and if this story continues, Reed just might be in for some turbulence in this campaign.