Monday, May 29, 2006

Latest on Ralph Reed

Peach Pundit, as usual, is right on top of Ralph Reed's campaign for Georgia lieutenant governor, including the latest on Reed's lobbying for the Northern Mariana Islands, and the question of what it will mean if gay voters boycott the July 18 primary.

The Marina Islands story -- by the Other Paper's veteran political reporter Thomas Edsall -- really hurts, because it shows how Reed hustled the religious faithful with his "Lobbying for Jesus" scams.

Another solid hit on Reed was landed Saturday by the Atlanta papers' Jim Galloway:

The private jet that carried lobbyist Jack Abramoff and several others, including former national Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed, to Scotland for a weekend of golf in 2002 cost $92,000, a Washington corruption trial revealed Friday.

Casey Cagle, Reed's rival in the Republican primary for Georgia lieutenant governor, immediately demanded that Reed prove he reimbursed Abramoff for the costs of the trip.

"We are simply making the very reasonable request that he produce a copy of the canceled check," said Cagle spokesman Brad Alexander.

A "very reasonable request" -- good one, Brad!

Meanwhile, veteran Georgia political observer Dick Yarborough is still scratching his head over Rudy Giuliani's support of Reed:
Color me naïve, but I don’t think Giuliani’s domestic political views would be a big hit anywhere in the state, with the possible exception of Midtown Atlanta and maybe Decatur.
So, what do Reed and Giuliani have in common then? Well, says Rudy, he and Reed agree on foreign policy, the war on terrorism and the economy. Foreign policy? The lieutenant governor of Georgia has a role in foreign policy? How in the world did I miss that?
A lot of liberal bloggers are hammering Reed over his Abramoff-related scandals, but few outside Georgia ever mention that this is only part of Reed's problem. And, like the national media, most liberal bloggers pay little attention to Reed's GOP primary opponent.

This is to be expected, but I have been rather mystified that some Georgia Republican observers like Matt Towery can't see that Reed's strengths as a statewide candidate are overrated.

Outside of Reed's famous name and big-money GOP friends, Cagle has all the advantages. Reed's not a Georgia native (he grew up in Miami, Fla., and didn't move to the state until he was 15), while Casey Cagle is Georgia born and bred. Reed is a diminutive career political activist; Cagle is an ex-football player and real-estate developer. Reed has never held political office, while Cagle is a veteran legislator with a strong conservative record and state Senate allies all over Georgia.

Reed is a master organizer, but even if it weren't for his scandal issues, if he were to win the July 18 primary, Reed would find it hard to make the case to Georgia voters that he's qualified for statewide office.

Previously on RALPH REED:
5/24: Cagle leads Reed
5/18: Ralph & Rudy FLOP!
5/11: Anti-Reed Blog Brigade

5/9: Devil Going Down in Georgia
5/6:
What a drag
4/23: Reed's decline continues
4/21: Reed hits another iceberg
4/7: His lips are moving
3/11: Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin

3/4: Reed "flat-out wrong."

-- McCAIN

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