Thursday, May 18, 2006

Reed & Rudy: FLOP!

Looking for a sure sign that Ralph Reed's campaign in Georgia is falling apart? Barely 300 people turn out for an Atlanta fund-raiser featuring Rudy Giuliani:

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani breezed through Atlanta on Thursday, speaking in favor of both Ralph Reed and civil unions for gay couples.

At a $100-a-head Buckhead fund-raiser before more than 300 supporters, Giuliani gave Reed a coveted endorsement in his Republican campaign for lieutenant governor.

"He can actually get things done," Giuliani said. "I respect Ralph's ability as a leader. I think he's going to be terrific for the economy of Georgia. I think he's going to be terrific on law enforcement."

Do the math, people: 300 x $100 = $30,000
. That's chump change for a statewide race.

What do think Rudy Giuliani's speaking fee is? You think he's showing up in Atlanta for free? "Yeah, sure, Ralph, ol' buddy, be glad to help out! This one's on me!"

By the time you rent a ballroom at the Westin Buckhead (e.g, on the ultra-rich north side of Atlanta), book the caterer, the publicity, decorations, limos, etc., you're talking serious expenses. Giuliani's a GOP superstar, and the Reed campaign obviously expected a big score.

Only 300 people? Ouch!

Admittedly, it's impossible to know exactly how much the Ralph-and-Rudy show raised. The invitation to the event (H/T: Peach Pundit) offers "platinum" ($5,000, 10 plates), "gold" ($2,500, 10 plates) and "silver" ($1,000, 2 plates) sponsorships, but those still translate to no more than $500 a plate.

** UPDATE, 1 a.m., 5/19 **

Interviewed by Atlanta TV station WXIA
, which reports the crowd for Giuliani at "an estimated 200+" a spokeswoman for Reed is evasive about how much was raised Thursday:
Reed's campaign was vague when asked how much money they hoped to raise from the Giuliani visit. Spokeswoman Lisa Baron said guests paid a minimum of $1,000 per table, and a minimum of $5,000 to get into the VIP reception--thoug she said some guests gave much more. Asked to name the financial goal for the event, she said, "As much as possible."
Notice that Baron cites the larger "per table" figure to give the impression of big money. But it still adds up to a relatively small gross, and I am starting to suspect that the Giuliani event -- despite the massive media attention -- might have been a net loss for Reed. If so, it's a loss Reed can't afford, because the New York Times reports that the Cagle campaign has rapidly narrowed the fund-raising gap.

* * * * *
I've been saying for six weeks that the smart money in Georgia politics is on Reed's GOP primary opponent, state Sen. Casey Cagle. Unless someone can explain to me how 300 people for a $100-a-plate Buckhead fundraiser with Giuliani is a big success, I'll take this spectacular flop as further evidence that Ralph is going down in flames.

Ralph:
Give it up, man. Even your powerful Republican friends can't save you now, and your $4.5 million personal fortune is a millstone around your neck, because the conservative grassroots know you got rich by selling them out.

Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin.

UPDATES:
You're not going to believe this, people! It looks like
BILL CLINTON has endorsed RALPH REED!


Linked by Riehl World View.

Writing at the POLITICAL INSIDER blog at the Atlanta newspapers, Baxter and Galloway offer lots of dish, including:

Much of Giuliani’s speech was devoted to bucking up the Republican disheartened. “There’s a certain sense of unease among Republicans. We’ve got to lift our heads up and take a look around us — and realize that this country is pretty darn good shape,” Giuliani said.

A number of notables turned out: Howard “Bo” Callaway, Guy Millner, and Georgia-Pacific Chairman Pete Correll. But most GOP elected officials stayed away. Among those introduced: State Sens. Cecil Staton of Macon, Ralph Hudgens of Comer, Mitch Seabaugh of Sharpsburg; state Rep. Melvin Everson of Snellville; and Sam Olens, chairman of the Cobb County Commission.
"Disheartened"? "Unease"? Yeah, I expect there would be a lot of that at a fund-raiser for a two-faced hypocritical shill for a corrupt casino lobbyist. And if you were a "GOP elected official," would you want to be seen hanging around a dishonest creep like Ralph Reed?

- - - - -

This just in: In the latest poll, Casey Cagle has cut Ralph Reed's margin to within the margin of error. Strategic Visions poll May 5-7, based on Republicans only (total sample was 500 likely voters, margin of error +/-3%):
Reed 42%, Cagle 36%
That's a statistical dead heat, with two months before the Republican primary, and 22% are still undecided. Remember that Georgia is an open primary state, and many Democrats will have a double-incentive to cross over and vote against Reed: (a) they hate Reed, and (b) Zell Miller, who is REALLY hated by Georgia Dems, has endorsed Reed.

- - - - -
Bill Shipp, venerable Georgia pundit, points out that Georgia Christian Coalition grand dame Sadie Fields was a no-show for the Ralph & Rudy event.
- - - - -

Never trust a man who fictionalizes his own biography. On his campaign Web site, Reed claims that he "grew up in Toccoa, Ga." Wrong. He was born in Portsmouth, Va., and grew up in Miami, Fla. -- his dad was an opthamologist -- before moving to Toccoa when he was 15. (In this particular genre of bogusness, the rootless Reed emulates Clinton adviser/Democrat talking head Paul Begala, a New Jersey native who moved to a posh suburb of Houston when he was 12 yet never tires of pretending to be a downhome Lone Star good ol' boy.)

Being a native of Atlanta, born at Georgia Baptist Hospital (recently renamed Atlanta Medical Center) I have a low tolerance for fake Georgians.* This was always my basic beef with Newt Gingrich, a native of Pennsylvania. When I was a kid growing up in Douglas County, Ga., rich Yankees were always moving in, buying big new houses, putting down us locals, making fun of our hayseed accents, etc. Now, when it's to his political advantage, ol' Ralph wants the homefolks to think he's one of them. What a total phony ....

* Friends up here in the North sometimes get confused about whether I'm from Georgia or Alabama because of my frequent fond references to the latter state. Both my parents were from Randoph County, Ala. Generations of my ancestors are buried in Randolph County. My dad was a graduate of the University of Alabama (Roll, Tide!), I graduated from Jacksonville (Ala.) State University (Go, 'Cocks!), and I have friends and family all over Alabama, so I have very strong ties there. But I'm a native of Atlanta and grew up in Douglas County, Ga.

Previously on RALPH REED:
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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