In the digital era, putting good journalism behind a firewall is about as useful as a closet full of hoop skirts, so I’m just going to copy and paste Dick Pettys’ of InsiderAdvantage’s piece from yesterday about the Saxby Chambliss campaign, or lack thereof, here in full. It deserves to be set free. Sniff the glove!
What Went Wrong For Chambliss That Race Now Is So Close?
By Dick Pettys
(10/30/08) What went wrong with Saxby Chambliss’ campaign that his lead in a race he was expected to win handily now is within the margin of error in polling? Some Republicans already are blaming strategist Tom Perdue for an effort they claim lacked luster, organization and vision. Perdue, who acknowledged Wednesday that a runoff is “a possibility,” said the forces at play in this election were beyond anyone’s control.
“It has nothing to do with (Democrat) Jim Martin,” said Perdue. “Anybody who was on the ballot would be where he is right now.”
When the year began, no one took Chambliss’ re-election task very seriously, and, indeed, Democrats had a hard time coming up with a “name” candidate to put forward against him. One of them had such a tough time gaining traction that he hauled himself up a tower in the dead of winter to attract attention.
But this has been anything but a conventional year in national politics, and the battle for Chambliss’ seat has been exactly the same.
Unexpectedly, Martin emerged as the Democratic nominee, overpowering in a runoff the black CEO of DeKalb County, Vernon Jones, who had expected that an electorate energized over the candidacy of Barack Obama would help propel him into the berth against Chambliss.
And then, after a rather uneventful summer, the course of the campaign changed this fall with the nation’s economic meltdown and Chambliss’ vote, along with Senate colleague Johnny Isakson, in support of the “bailout” or “rescue” bill. The state’s seven Republican congressman steadfastly voted against the measure twice.
“Up until the recovery bill, I think Martin’s name ID was at 24 percent, and he had done literally nothing in the campaign,” Perdue contends. “To say the recovery bill was controversial is an understatement. I have never seen the numbers and forcefulness of the calls, even to the campaign office.
“Nobody knew that within 36 hours banks were going to start failing around the world, and that’s what happened. And for roughly 10 days, not only our country, but most of the countries in the world, were in free fall. And our campaign momentum came to almost a stop. And that’s when the national Democrats capitalized on it, and that’s when they took control of the Martin campaign,” the strategist said.
But other Republicans look at the picture quite differently.
“He (Perdue) has just run a really bad campaign,” said one GOP insider. “Chambliss gets told all the time, ‘Where are your ads” and, ‘Your ads suck.’”
That source said the National Republican Senatorial Committee offered to send a full crew of workers to help the campaign but was told by Perdue the help wasn’t needed. Read the rest of this entry →
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