July 24, 2014
Don Cole headshot
Don Cole
Georgia Republicans finally arrived at the completion of what will probably go in the history books as the most grueling nomination process in Georgia history. Now, we restock, reorganize, and reload for the real contest in November. I'll share my analysis/observations that point to November and the key races in Georgia.

First, I will start with the end of the race. The bottom of the 9th, 2 outs, runners on base, down by 1 run in the 7th game of the World Series. A base hit wins the game. The batter hits a lazy fly ball to right field as the fielder wraps his glove around the ball to end the game. 
Both teams come out of the dugout and walk across the field to each other to shake hands. One team goes home having come so close but falling just short. Another team is popping corks in the locker room surrounded by media asking them how they did it. It was going to be that way. One team wins, the other team does not win.

Unlike the baseball analogy, both teams are destined for the same team. This was not the World Series. This was more like a corporate merger. At the end of the day, the two teams would join forces together as one team to take on the market of ideas and voters. Nearly every player on both teams understood this from the beginning. It was not uncommon to hear phrases like, "I am for __, but I will support the nominee."

At the end of the race, Congressman Jack Kingston set the tone for his supporters and for those who supported David Perdue. He told David Perdue, "you don't need to call me, I'm on the team." That shows a personal commitment and resolve that was carved in stone long before he even decided to run for the US Senate nomination. 
There is a larger picture that is not about David Perdue or Jack Kingston. They both knew it. Jack Kingston, having poured his life into the most challenging campaign he had ever faced, boldly looked beyond the agony of defeat to the real race and the absolute necessity to win it. 
He wanted to carry the banner and lead the charge. Whether he was carrying the banner or carrying the water, he was resolved to be in the fight and he will be. Jack Kingston set the tone for unity.

Second, for some years, there has been a growing discontent among conservatives within the Republican Party. I noticed it in 2008 with the Senate run-off race. There were more than a few who rolled up their sleeves and got involved in the run-off to keep Saxby Chambliss. 
Some of those were engaged in the run-off primarily because if Saxby was not the Senator from Georgia, Obama would have a veto-proof majority all the way around. On more than one occasion, a volunteer told me that if we had one more or one less Republican elected, they would not be volunteering.  We need to pay attention when we hear statements like that and look closer to see why someone feels that way.  
2009 and 2010 saw the development of the Tea Party movement. Conservatives who were rising up to vote for a philosophy of government rather than a political party. They supported the Republican Party in droves. In the 2nd District we almost pulled off a miracle with Mike Keown falling just short of defeating Sanford Bishop. 
Austin Scott in the 8th District will tell you today that he won because Democrats pulled their resources from Jim Marshall in the 8th. They sacrificed Jim Marshall in order to pull Sanford from the jaws of defeat in the 2nd. 
In 2012, Ron Paul made a stronger run for President and had some very supportive delegates at the National Convention. I was a delegate at the convention who had supported Newt Gingrich. Newt released his delegates and I was going to vote for Mitt Romney. The powers that be in the Republican Party decided that the convention was to be a show of unity and therefore would count only the delegate votes for Mitt Romney. 
I never did feel comfortable with that so called strategy. Unity is not dictated from above, it comes from individuals, making personal decisions of conscience. I do not think that the decision makers who tried to silence the Ron Paul people by refusing to count votes for anyone but Romney, fully considered the ramifications of their decision that week. Instead of treating delegates as important decision makers, they were treated like extras on a movie set told to stand here or stand there, but mostly just do what you are told and stay quiet until we tell you to cheer for Romney. 
Then a few months ago, we had Mississippi. The Republican leadership decided to inject themselves into the Mississippi primary. They attacked a conservative candidate with charges of racism and openly, actively, encouraged Democrats to engage in the Republican primary - not to convert to Republicans, but to vote to defeat one running for the nomination. To conservatives in Mississippi, it felt like a betrayal on the scale of Benedict Arnold, perhaps even Judas.

I have sensed this growing distrust for established institutions for some time. You see it in churches that start up and do not openly affiliate with any particular denomination. You see it with the rise of the Tea Party Movement. 
David Perdue came along to fill a unique political need. He holds values and a philosophy that more clearly identifies with Tea Party and independent conservatives. He is well spoken. He has a strong business background. He has a grasp of what makes our system work. He has personal resources, that he was willing to invest in a cause for which he believed. 
He ran, not in order to get power, prestige, or position - but because he felt a calling to run. He ran a campaign as an outsider, going to Washington, not infected with years of inside the beltway thinking. 
Most politicians in Georgia went with the safe bet, a sitting congressman. That is understandable.

With all that background, I'll conclude the 2nd point with this observation. Those who have been involved in Republican politics for some time, were hearing each other to a large degree. 
Many of those who voted in this primary have not been involved with politics. They did not get involved because of the Republican Party, they got involved because of David Perdue and his message. There is a growing distrust of Congress and that was a ball and chain from which Jack Kingston could not escape. 
Score cards from lobbying groups giving A and A+ ratings were irrelevant. When the US Chamber of Commerce spent millions for Kingston, it only helped cement the idea that Washington was out of touch.

A third and final observation is regarding endorsements. This primary season saw endorsements from Hershel Walker, Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity, a host of elected officials, and more. 
Those big name endorsements are primarily as encouragement to those volunteers and staff who are working on the campaign. They do not swing many votes. 
 What I am about to tell you is vital to understand and believe. You get more votes than Hershel Walker or Sarah Palin will. When you tell someone who knows you that you are voting for so and so, that simple message will go into that mind and stick like glue. 
Hundreds of images of Hershel Walker or Sarah Palin will go through in one side and right out the other. One may pause to listen to a commercial, but when you tell them, it will stick and they will more likely act on it.

In November the Obama team will be focused on Georgia. Keep your eye on voter registration in the coming months. That will give us some indication of the organized effort to elect Democrats. 
Don't just watch it happen, look around you. Do you know students who have just graduated and are going off to college? Get them to register to vote. 
Start now, making a list of your friends. Commit to ask them to vote for the conservative candidates. On a national level, if the candidate is Democrat, they cannot be called conservative.  
The first vote taken is for leadership in the House and Senate.  Michelle Nunn would cast her vote for Harry Reid. That is all you need to know. It does not matter what she does after that. She would never undo the damage of that first vote. Michelle Nunn is no conservative. 
Plan to vote early and ask your friends to vote early. No one is promised tomorrow. Voting is a civic responsibility. Get it done soon so you can help others to get take care of their civic responsibility as well. 
 Our nation is in crisis. It is vital that we face this crisis and respond with boldness, conviction, and resolve.  The team is formed. Let's go win the big race. 
I appreciate you taking the time to read my thoughts.  If you like what you read, share this with your friends on Facebook. 

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Donald E. Cole