FERGUSON: The candidate who wasn’t there

July 18, 2014 

It seems there will be no mercy for Georgia voters this year. The campaign season seems to be dragging on forever and, as always, the candidates continue to insult and assault our collective intelligence with their negative campaigning.

The Republican primary runoff to decide who will represent the party in November in the general election to fill retiring U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ seat is currently dominating the news cycle. Businessman David Perdue and U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston have been slugging away at each other for months now, and they recently faced off against each other in their only scheduled debate.

Don’t worry if you missed the debate, if you’ve seen the candidate’s TV spots you already know the attack strategies they are using against one another to try to convince you their opponent is unfit for office.

Perdue claims that he will be able to get things done in Washington because he’s an “outsider” and a businessman who knows how to fix things. He says that his opponent is just another Washington insider who has had 22 years to fix the country and hasn’t done us much good yet.

For his part, Kingston points to his untarnished conservative voting record in Congress as proof that he will continue to vote the same way in the Senate. He has criticized Perdue for running businesses that laid off American workers while he made tons of cash. He also took on Perdue’s “elect an outsider” argument by pointing out that “President Obama ran as an outsider” too. Zing!

Honestly I don’t care who wins this primary. Both candidates have very similar conservative views and are likely to vote the same way if they get elected. Unlike the man they are replacing, neither is likely to reach across the aisle and try to find consensus with the other party. Only extreme partisans (of either party) seem to get elected these days.

The general election might be a little more interesting as the Democrats have produced a candidate that might actually have a snowball’s chance in Hades of making a contest of it. Michelle Nunn has gotten by mostly on name recognition so far (being the daughter of one of Georgia’s most popular U.S. senators of all time) but eventually she’s going to have the GOP attack dogs nipping at her heels. We’ll learn a lot more about her once the Republican primary finally comes to its merciful conclusion.

But that’s not quite the whole story. There are actually going to be two women running for U.S. Senate in Georgia this year. If you read the account of the Kingston-Perdue debate in The Telegraph earlier this week, you should already be aware of that fact. In case you missed it, I will quote the entire account they provided of this lady’s candidacy:

“Also on the ballot in November is Libertarian Amanda Swafford, a former councilwoman from Flowery Branch, Georgia.”

Now, don’t you feel informed enough to decide whether Swafford deserves your vote in November? Way to keep the people informed, mainstream media.

I am reminded of an experience I had some years back, when I was still writing for the now defunct Daily Sun newspaper in Warner Robins. I got to know the gentleman who was running for the U.S. Senate as a Libertarian in 1998. I met up with him once when he was coming through Warner Robins, campaigning all by his lonesome and took him by the Daily Sun’s home office.

He asked the lady at the front desk if he might have just a few minutes to speak with the editor-in-chief. No, she replied without checking, he is tied up all day and could not spare a minute to meet with a candidate for the U.S. Senate.

I think he and I were both disappointed, but not surprised. As breathtakingly ineffectual as the two major parties continue to be, third party and independent candidates will continue to be shut out of the electoral process.

Without the funds from special interest group campaign contributors and the media coverage lavished on the established parties third party and independent candidates are unlikely to ever be viewed as legitimate contenders.

Bill Ferguson is a resident of Warner Robins. Readers can write him at fergcolumn@hotmail.com.

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service