Let’s begin with yesterday’s Telegraph story about me. I was traveling and could not get with the reporter, but as I said on CNN and my radio show I have been very dismissive of many requests I have gotten to run for the Senate.
During the past week, I have received calls from a number of very prominent individuals within the conservative movement and the Republican Party saying I should not be so cavalier in my dismissal. Given my respect for them, I think I should give it prayerful consideration instead of outright dismissing the call. But I do not see myself running for office. My role is to find good people for office, not to be one.
More so, were I to go forward my wife would go forward with her plans to pour Quikcrete in the backyard with me under it.
Two days ago on CNN, I told Wolf Blitzer that the calls from many for me to run with pledges of support to raise money now exceeding a million dollars has more to do with angst about Saxby Chambliss than support for me. Conservatives have long been aggravated by Chambliss. His latest ponderous thoughts about revenue increases have solidified it.
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It is time for Saxby Chambliss to come home and if he does not do so on his own, I do hope the voters do it for him. I plan to help.
With that out of the way, let’s move on to local partisanship. I see the local Republicans are moving quickly to impose nonpartisan elections. The Democrats are crying foul that the voters approved consolidation with partisan voting.
The argument falls flat. Including partisan voting was not a condition of consolidation passing the voters. In fact, many of the people who opposed consolidation initially are now the vocal critics against nonpartisan elections. They always have been.
Partisan elections was only a necessary agreement to get consolidation to the voters to begin with. Without that provision, the Democrats in the House would not have rallied to bring it forward to the voters.
When I was on Macon’s City Council, we came close to passing nonpartisan elections, but always fell a vote or two shy. Nonpartisan elections will save money. Likewise, there are few partisan issues at the local level. There are conservative and liberal positions, but the GOP and Democrats really do not have party platforms on trash collection and panhandling.
As the exit polling showed in this past election, most younger voters identify less and less with parties and more with individual candidates. Party labels often keep people on the sidelines who might otherwise give politics a shot. Nothing will stop politicians from aligning with parties, but with the same people in Macon constantly running for office, it would be nice to encourage fresh faces to stand up. Not making them adhere to a label they do not fully embrace would be a good thing.
The road to consolidation is still fraught with bumps. This tension in the local delegation could cause more bumps. But our county has been unique in regards to partisan labels. Macon is the only municipality in Georgia that openly uses partisan labels for councilmen.
I was one of two Republicans on the City Council and found myself and Nancy White more often in the majority than not. We did not look at labels, but at the issues. The people most wedded to the labels were also the ones most wedded to dragging us down. It’s time to let go of them in Macon.
Erick Erickson is a CNN contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.