Political Vine: The Insider's Source on Georgia Politics

Political Vine: The Insider's Source on Georgia Politics

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Georgia SD 50 Run-Off: John Wilkinson vs Rick Austin

by PV

Who is John Wilkinson? Now that the Lt. Governor has endorsed him, this is a fair question.

Sometime in the past few days, a mail piece hit the district that accuses Wilkinson of voting Democrat in ‘4 out of the last 7 primaries.’ The Wilkinson campaign has spent the last 24 hours vociferously protesting what the mailer implies, as well as blaming their opponent, Rick Austin for being responsible for it.

We’ve seen the mailpiece (PeachPundit.com has a copy uploaded to it), and this is not a piece from Rick Austin’s campaign. The Austin campaign uses Stoneridge for their campaign mail, and, in addition to the stark difference in quality between this anti-Wilkinson piece and Stoneridge’s work, the postmark for the hit piece is for a permit holder in Tucker, Georgia.

Stoneridge would NEVER (ever) pass-up an opportunity to promote themselves via their eponymous postmark. So, the Wilkinson campaign should stop accusing the Austin campaign because they were not the source, and any more accusations just makes you look dumb and dumber.

Now, let’s turn our attention to the claim of the ‘4 out of 7’ elections. Here’s an idea…let’s look at Wilkinson’s voting record direct from the Stephens County Board of Elections.

There are several ways to count-up primaries, and everyone has their own opinion on what counts as a real, defining primary (“defining” as in defining whether or not someone is a true Republican or a true Democrat) and what doesn’t.

For years, people in the state of Georgia would split their political preferences and tend to vote more conservative for Presidential elections, and more liberal for state-representation offices. Thus the reason why it took several cycles after Bush won in 2000 to get a majority of Republican officeholders in Georgia.

The point of this is, voting R or D in Presidential Preference Primaries (PPP) is not always considered to be a relevant indicator of whether a voter is a true R or a true D.

SO, if, in looking at Wilkinson’s voting record, one ignores the PPPs, you get the following primary elections and how he voted:

1996: D
1998: No Vote
2000: D
2002: D
2004: D
2006: R
2008: R
2010: R

A more correct wording of the “4 out of 7” claim would have been “Out of the last 7 primary elections in which Wilkinson voted, he voted Democrat in 4 of them.”

BUT, infinitesimal parsing of the language gets a little wordy and that creates a problem because the reader of the mail piece starts to get a headache as they try to interpret what you’re trying to say.

To be fair to the Wilkinson campaign, let’s see what happens when you put the PPPs into the mix:

1996: D
1998: No Vote
2000 PPP: No vote
2000: D
2002: D
2004 PPP: No vote
2004: D
2006: R
2008 PPP: R
2008: R
2010: R

With these results, if we were writing the mail piece, it would read “Out of the last 11 elections, John Wilkinson chose to vote Republican in only 4 of them. So, if he’s a Republican only 36% of the time, what kind of person is he the other 64% of the time?”

Now, of course, to be fair, one should ask what Rick Austin’s voting record is, right? Here’s his voting record. As you can see, there isn’t a “D” to be found anywhere in Austin’s voting record.

Back to Wilkinson’s voting record, it is very curious as to why Wilkinson remained a voting “D” until 2006. Perdue won Georgia in 2002. At that point, if you have been leaning to the conservative side of the aisle, you go ahead and switch before the next cycle in 2004.

Wilkinson didn’t switch. He remained a Dem voter in July 2004, and a reasonable assumption would be because he still wished to lend support to the Tom Murphy-controlled State House in 2004 and to vote for Democrat state senators to try and take back the state senate from Republican control.

And he likely voted D in the General Election on 2004 as well (i.e., John Kerry for President, Denise Majette for US Senator).

SO, the point of this exercise is that Mr. Wilkinson does not appear to have very long-standing, deep roots for the Republican Party and its’ principles.

WHICH, getting back to the real reason why Casey Cagle would be endorsing Wilkinson is because Wilkinson does not have a long-standing, strong Republican bearing. Perfect candidate for Cagle to use for his own personal, political purposes.

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Today's Deep Thought

For mad scientists who keep brains in jars, here's a tip: why not add a slice of lemon to each jar, for freshness?



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