Yesterday’s story on the Ga-4 forum broke through to the MSM in two different stories: First CBS:
When James Welcome, executive producer of the Newsmakers Live political forum, opened the show Wednesday night, he made this statement, “Tonight we are being called racists all over the web because we failed to invite Liz Carter.”
That’s quite a statement, CBS posed some tough questions but the most interesting thing that was said came at the end of the article:
(Vernon) Jones and (Connie) Stokes would not to participate in the forum unless Carter was allowed, so the organizers gave her a seat and allowed her to participate.
In terms of strategy this was rather smart of them. Cory Ruth is a good candidate and in an open primary a lot of black votes that might go to Jones & Stokes could go to a young dynamic fellow like Ruth so anything that can dilute his potential vote (particularly in a primary) would seem on its face a wise move.
The AJC also covered this and their story highlights the power of the new media:
“I just sent out one tweet,” said Liz Carter,
That one tweet led to posts on several major blogs and all kinds of national reaction, as for the debate itself. Ironically this was one of the topics that Cory Ruth brought up with me at lunch, the use of the new media to change the landscape.:
Once Carter showed up for the forum, the organizers allowed her to participate. Ruth and Carter were quizzed separately as GOP candidates and were friendly. Former DeKalb CEO Vernon Jones and current DeKalb Commissioner Connie Stokes, the democratic candidates, complimented and criticized each other. Rep. Hank Johnson, the incumbent, did not show up for the debate.
The lack of congressman Johnson diminished the debate but considering the controversy not being there was likely a wise move considering blog headlines like this:
Obama endorsed rep Hank Johnson to participate in segregated forum The Other McCain 6-2-2010
Scheduling conflict or no, without actual knowledge of if the White or Hispanic candidates would be included showing up would have turned this story into yet another uncomfortable question for Robert Gibbs instead of a local story.
Incidentally I can’t for the life of me understand why the other two republican Candidates didn’t show up and try to get included. If you are going to try to win you have to have sharp enough elbows to push yourself forward.
A final quote:
In the end, the moderator praised Carter’s media skills.
“She is good, she is damn good,” Eaton said. “She was nobody yesterday. She is somebody today.”
I think how this plays in the Champion and the Crossroads News is going to be very interesting.
In my opinion this event allows everyone to exploit openings: Carter needs to schedule events in the Black community to show that she intends to fight for and represent every vote. Ruth has two advantages. He can use the strength of his statement and positions to appeal to voters in the northern Republican counties (where he does have some support already) while continuing to give black voters in the south an alternative to people they like, but may not agree with. (Johnson)
Meanwhile Jones can build on Johnson’s absence to push themselves as an alternative. Jones slogan of Jobs First is the right message and nobody doubts his energy and ability. Stokes needs to do the same but frankly in my opinion is squeezed between the popularity of Johnson and the large Shadow that Jones casts. It is a fine needle to thread but from what I’ve heard she is a rather competent woman and may be able to do it.
Johnson meanwhile sites back and lets all of them divide the vote of those opposed to him to prevent a runoff to set himself up for the general election.
If nothing else a race in a district that was thought of as “safe democratic” certainly hasn’t been boring.
Update: The Daily caller was on this too. Too bad they didn’t have a certain blogger on their payroll, they might have had an awful lot more data over there.