The silliness of the Georgia sixth district

Published 6:04 pm Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The state of Georgia has 14 Congressional districts. Decatur County is in the 2nd District and our congressman is Sanford Bishop. That’s enough of the civics lesson this Tuesday.

Today’s national news has many reports on Georgia’s 6th District because there is a special election to replace their former congressman, Tom Price. Price was chosen by President Trump to become his Secretary of Health and Human Services. A new congressman or woman is to be elected today.

Forget the politics. Forget Democrat or Republican. That’s not the gist of this column. My focus is on the silliness of an electoral system that will allow the spending of a “purported” $50 million dollars for a seat that pays $174,000 per year.

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The $50 million may be an exaggeration. I cannot possibly see where two candidates could spend that much money. At the same time, it has been factually reported that one of the candidates raised almost $24 million and the other almost $5 million. That’s $30 million that can be accounted for. Let me say again, the job pays $174,000 a year.

I’ll use a quote from William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. “Something is wrong in the state of Denmark.” Meaning, something has gone crazy within our political system when a billion dollars is needed to win the presidency and $50 million is needed for a congressional seat.

The price of the race is not the only thing silly about this 6th District race. One of the candidates doesn’t even live in the District! A candidate has to live in the state and must be 25 years of age and has to have been a citizen of the United States for seven years, but he or she does not have to live in the district, itself.

Which mean that the candidate who doesn’t live in the 6th District cannot even vote for himself. That made for an interesting question and an embarrassing answer in the only face to face debate the candidates had.

The lady candidate asked the young man, “And who, sir, will you be voting for? Yourself?”

I think the young man fiddled around for 5 minutes as he dodged the question and never gave an answer. That was a fairly good impression of a congressman; spending 5 minutes on a non-answer. Maybe he does deserve to be in Washington.

Even though the seat has been held by a Republican for 40 years, the Democrats are aggressively fighting and optimistic. It’s a tight race. The lady Republican was asked about the closeness of the race despite the district being comfortably red for decades.

“Well, you could run a squirrel for the seat and, if you want to spend $30 million dollars, you might win,” she said. If that’s the case, I have about 8 candidates in my backyard and I volunteer to be the campaign treasurer.

There is at least one more aspect of the silliness of this race. Today is June 20, 2017. Since it is a congressional seat, the term is only two years and about one-fourth of the term is already passed. By this time next year, they’ll be running again for this same seat.

Speaking of getting your money’s worth, that means that for $50 million dollars the 6th District of Georgia gets a representative that will serve about a year and a half. That reduces the salary to about $130,000.

Let me do the computing for you. Knock some of the zeroes off those big numbers and it comes to about $500 dollars spent for $1 dollar of representation. Yeah, that’s about right for Washington!