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Voters, why bet on a loser?

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POSTED: July 10, 2007 5:02 a.m.
If financial support translates into power and influence, the Territory of Guam would likely have more clout than Georgia in a White House occupied by President Hillary Clinton.
Her presidential campaign has barely scratched among Georgians in raising funds, while two of her rival Democrats have scored big with Georgia contributors, particularly around Atlanta.
The Federal Election Web Commission site http://www.fec.gov/DisclosureSearch/mapApp.do gives this breakdown (as of June 21) for Georgia.
• Sen. Clinton — $81,926 from a handful of contributors, many of them old-line Democrats closely connected to the Bill Clinton presidency. She had only 39 contributors with metro Atlanta zip codes.
• Former Sen. John Edwards — $376,845, also from well-known Democrats and a smattering of attorneys. Much of Edwards’ Georgia money came from 147 metro Atlanta contributors.
• Sen. Barack Obama — $471,271 from every corner of the state, with the bulk coming from 306 big-name African-American contributors in Atlanta.
Translation: Obama blows the socks off his Democratic rivals in Georgia because he has attracted a solid wall of affluent African-American support. Georgia’s Super-Duper Tuesday presidential primary is still seven months away, and trends may shift.
But barring a dramatic change in circumstances, Obama figures to win Georgia in a breeze.
That is bad news for Edwards, who obviously hoped to become the Southern-backed alternative Democrat to Hillary Clinton. Sorry, John. That dog just won’t hunt in Oaky Woods. Black voters will vote for black candidates. The early financial disclosure for Obama reads like a who’s who of black power and business (builder/developer Herman Russell, City Council President Lisa Borders, Andrew Young, etc.). And, of course, the African-American vote will control the Feb. 5 Democratic primary.
In recent statewide primaries, black voters have supported such luminaries as Jesse Jackson for president and Denise Majette for Senate, even though neither had a prayer of winning their respective elections. As soon as Atlanta became a majority-black voting city, it tossed out progressive white Mayor Sam Massell and rolled Maynard Jackson into City Hall.
The current mayor, Shirley Franklin, warned recently that whites may have returned to the city in such numbers that they could recapture the mayor’s office. She asked her constituents not to forget the past progress made by blacks in public office and suggested they continue their support of black candidates. Such is the 21st-century politics of race in a state that struggled for a hundred years to overcome the shackles of racist electioneering. (By the way, Mayor Franklin was not on the Obama money list.)
My guess is Sen. Clinton’s support in Georgia will pick up slightly, but her campaign has no intention of devoting major resources to a state that will not help Hillary in either the primary or general election.
Yet the smart money and wisest pundits believe Clinton will be the Democratic nominee when the primary dust settles. My favorite national columnist, Ken “Political Junkie” Rudin, picks Clinton as the likely Democratic nominee and then goes a step further, putting his early money on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as the GOP candidate.
Some leading Georgia Republicans agree with Rudin’s assessment. Romney clobbers other GOP contenders in collecting Georgia contributions. So far, he has gathered $405,761 from Georgians — just shy of Obama’s big haul on the Democratic side. Among Romney’s contributors: Eric Tanenblatt, ace fundraiser for President George Bush; Joe Tanner, king of the Capitol lobbyists; Oscar Persons, a pioneer Republican fundraiser; and Fred Cooper, another towering figure in the Georgia GOP. So far, Romney has received contributions from 173 persons with metro zip codes.
This aging Baptist has trouble believing the Christian right, a vital Republican cohort, will finally accept and help Mormon Romney. But then I had difficulty with the proposition that Ross Perot’s 1992 independent candidacy was the best thing that ever happened to Bill Clinton.
In any event, Hillary Clinton and many mainstream Democrats apparently have decided to let Obama have fun in the Sun Belt while they dwell on the rest of the country. They believe they can win the White House without much money or many votes from the old Confederacy.  

Contact Shipp at P.O. Box 440755, Kennesaw, GA  30160, or e-mail: shipp1@bellsouth.net
 

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