I went out and had a few beers with a friend of mine a few Friday nights ago and he politely suggested that I was naive to think that I could continue on as an elected official with the liberty of candor I have presently as a blogger. I agree with him that it is naive, but I endeavor to continue in that capacity. I am a blogger before I am a politician. This does, of course, contradict one of my core pieces of advice to candidates for office, which is to avoid blogging.
In any event, rising to the challenge of candor, I must take exception with a speech I heard tonight. I spoke at a local gathering of Republicans and one of the candidates made an impassioned speech for Republicans to be Republicans and stay home to vote in the Republican primary here in Macon. I am a Republican second to none, but with respect to my fellow Republicans, not only do I actively disagree, but I actively encourage Republicans to crossover and vote in the Democratic primary in Macon.
I’d also note that a lot of the Republicans in Macon who hold this position — not all, but a lot of them — actually don’t live inside the city limits.
So, go with me below the fold, if you will, and hear me out.
In 1988, George H. W. Bush won the City of Macon by less than 55% of the vote.
In 1992, Bill Clinton won with more than 60% of the vote.
In 1996, Bill Clinton won with more than 60% of the vote.
In 2000, Al Gore won with more than 55% of the vote.
In 2004, John Kerry won with more than 60% of the vote.
This present year, there are 2 Republican mayoral candidates running and two other Republicans running for City Council. The two Republicans running for City Council are in Ward 5 running unopposed within the Ward. I’m one of them.
No Republicans are running city wide for City Council seats. The last time a Republican successfully did that was the early nineties.
Whether we like to admit it or not, there is about a 60% chance that whoever wins the Democratic primary for mayor is going to become the next Mayor of Macon.
Likewise, there are three city council seats that are elected city wide and have multiple candidates running. In one, Ward 4, Post 1, two of the three candidates running city wide (Willette Hill-Chambliss and Regina Davis) have been bankrupt within the past five or so years. There are no Republicans running in the seat.
In Ward 1, Post 1 , there are three candidates running, two of whom are incumbent councilmen and one of whom, the Post 1 incumbent, can barely run an effective committee meeting in City Council. There are no Republicans running in the seat.
Macon probably has two years left to get its act together. Three at best. So this is the last election where we might have an impact saving the city. The situation has gotten that bad.
One of the two Republicans running for Mayor is going to get the nomination. Hell, one of the two is not even campaigning, so let’s just say the one sermonizing about Republicans needing to be Republicans is going to get the nomination. I have no doubt in my mind. He will get the nomination. He’ll have November to really drum up support.1
That leaves us July 17th. There is a 60% chance that the Democratic nominee will be mayor no matter how pathetic he might be. There is a 100% chance that zero Republicans will get elected in the five city-wide city council seats.
So, what’s a Republican who cares about the city to do? Expect there will always be a few die hards who’d rather vote Republican and poo-poo all the Republicans who decide to vote Democrat, and then go vote Democrat.
Again, there is a minimum 60% chance that the Democrat, no matter how bad he or she is, will be elected Mayor of Macon in November. So why not get into the Democratic primary in July and make sure the best possible, credible candidate gets the nomination?
That seems to make sense to me and most everyone else. But God bless the die hards.
The irony here is that Republicans imploring Republicans to stick to their own will be begging Democrats in November to reject that same philosophy and cross over to vote Republican. I see a lot of humor in that. But that’s just me.