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Erickson gets regular slot on CNN show

Starting Monday, City Councilman Erick Erickson will be the latest Maconite on CNN, following in the footsteps of other former Macon residents such as CNN personality Nancy Grace and former CNN president Tom Johnson.

Erickson will appear five nights a week as the conservative voice for the “John King, USA” show featuring national correspondent John King. Airing nightly at 7 p.m., the show centers on King, who will report on issues around the country with opinion from the right — Erickson — and the left.

In a CNN news release announcing the show, King said, “you cannot cover national politics just by being in Washington, D.C.”

Erickson said the fact that he doesn’t live in the nation’s capital helped him get the job.

“They like the fact that I’m from Macon,” he said. “It helps that I’m not from Washington or in a studio in New York.”

He hopes eventually to film his portion of the show from Macon instead of driving to CNN’s Atlanta studios.

That drive and the 7 p.m. time slot had Erickson thinking it was time to resign from his seat on the council. He was prepared to step down from his council post, but CNN’s producers told him they’d work with his schedule.

“They said I’ve made a commitment to public service and they want me to see it through,” Erickson said, smiling as he noted that his new boss’s decision saved city taxpayers the cost of a special election.

Erickson said he’s somewhat nervous about the TV gig.

“I’m basically staring at the fact that my normal life is about to end,” he said.

He recently was in a New York restaurant after his regular appearance on the “Sean Hannity Show” on FOX News, which his CNN contract allows him to continue, and someone recognized him.

“It’s scary,” he said, “and it’s about to happen a lot more often.”

Erickson said he expects the number of requests for his endorsement will increase.

“You learn there are people who want to be a friend because of what I do instead of who I am,” he said.

That’s the reason he and his family plan to stay in Macon. “We know who our friends are here,” he said.

The councilman rose up through the media ranks after taking a chance on a Web site that his buddies started when he was in law school. That site is RedState.com, the conservative political blog turned opinion-making powerhouse that Erickson still leads. Then came the appearances on “Hannity & Colmes” on FOX News and the regular spots on Hannity’s current show. Recently, he covered the National Tea Party Convention for CNN.

Reflecting on his two years on the council, Erickson said his perspective as an elected official gives him an edge over other political commentators. But it’s that perspective that has made him unique.

“Everyone knows I won’t be bullied. I’m willing to say what needs to be said because I did not set out to get re-elected,” Erickson said. “If it isn’t about preserving myself, it can be about everything else.”

To contact writer Chris Horne, call 744-4494.

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