Exercising our franchise

Published 7:50 pm Friday, July 16, 2010

Betcha don’t know who “Miss Angela” is?

Or Rakeim Hadley, John Mamalakis, Georganna Sinkfield, Doug MacGinnitie or Sam Olens?

They are all candidates on Tuesday’s primary ballot for statewide office.

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Here we are, way down in the last part of Georgia, terribly out of the loop when it involves statewide politics. Few statewide politicians come our way, either during a political campaign or simply for a private visit sometime during their lives. Well, there are many places in Georgia that we have never visited also, so I guess it all evens out. Except not all of us are seeking political office.

Inspecting the ballot in the voting booth was an eye-opening experience last week. Who were those people, and why were they on a voting ballot? I was being asked to vote for a plethora total strangers.

If you have not used early voting this past week, don’t forget Tuesday to cast your selections either in the Democratic or Republican primaries at your regular precinct. Well, not at your regular precinct, because many of the outlying precincts have been closed, merging with others for greater efficiency. Be sure you know where you are headed on Tuesday.

In the voting booth, you will probably be like many of us in Southwest Georgia, having never heard of most of the people on the ballot, both Democrats and Republicans.

Since a vote is a terrible thing to waste, my selections were dictated by eeny meeny miney moe. Catch a candidate by its toe.

My selection for a favorite non-known eeny meeny was “Miss Angela” She’s on the ballot as a candidate for Secretary of State on the Democratic ticket. She’s actually Angela Moore, but on the ballot, we know here as Angela “Miss Angela” Moore.

I can see it now, a press report—Secretary of State “Miss Angela” said today…(You gotta love it).

There are 14 candidates for Georgia governor, seven Democrats and seven Republicans. We usually know most of our governor candidates. Should we bother since most political predictors are predicting the next governor will be Roy Barnes, holder of the largest campaign war chest among all other candidates. (Follow the money, as the saying goes).

Candidates usually win by who has the most money, and who can hire the most creative advertising agency and spend the money on information less and vicious television attack ads.

I remember a time when candidates went into the stump to meet the people, discussed issues and programs to solve problems.

In addition to one-issue candidate “Miss Angela,” simply out of curiosity, I decided to loosely research a few candidates at random to discover more about them in case any made it to the November ballot. These remarks are in no way criticism or endorsement of my examples.

Democrat Beth Farokhi, I recognized, because she did visit Bainbridge last spring, and made the rounds including a stop at the Historical Society program and dinner. Beth, with a Ph.D. in education from the University of Georgia, is running for state school superintendent, as are five other candidates.

There are nine Republicans running for state Insurance Commissioner, John Mamalakis of Savannah among them. John says he is not a politician, and leads with integrity.

Every Sunday, Nathan Deal, a Republican Congressman, and candidate for governor, said every Sunday, he can be found with his wife at the First Baptist Church in Gainesville. Deal describes himself as a conservative grass-roots Republican. Deal’s latest campaign material says he is gaining on second-place favorite Karen Handel (Who’s on first)?.

To be fair, Democrat David Poythress visited here last spring too.

That’s all you get today, which isn’t much help. If you have no knowledge of the rest of the candidates, there is still time before Tuesday’s primary elections to look them up on the Internet. They all have Web sites and have more information about them than you get here.

The “who are these people” candidates reminded me of an event in Willis Park about eight years ago. Music was coming over a loudspeaker, a lot of folks were milling around, hugging and shaking hands, and some guy was making a speech.

“What was going on in the park this morning?” I asked someone later that day.

“Oh, it was a rally for Sonny Perdue,” they said.

“Who is Sonny Perdue?” I asked.

“Oh, he’s running for governor,” the person said, to which I replied, “Never heard of him.”

So if big things were in store for Sonny Perdue, perhaps there’s a chance for “Miss Angela” too. Stranger things have come from the stew.