Regina Thomas’ write-in candidacy for Georgia’s 12th District is an uphill climb, and may ruffle the proverbial feathers of some in the Democratic Party.
Thomas explains, “I am first and foremost a Democrat, a true public servant who has the desire to serve– even when my own party will not support me. As I have said, this is not about me; it’s about being able to trust who is elected, it’s about we the people, of the people, for the people and by the people.”
Rep. John Barrow was recently in Milledgeville and he visited the Compassionate Care Clinic that serves uninsured people and provides primary health care. Compassionate Care also runs a free medical and dental clinic for those who’ve lost their jobs.
A local television station in Macon, WGXA-TV, had run a story on Barrow and the TV station’s headline on their website was “Congressman Barrow Supports Milledgeville Health Clinic”.
Barrow had an opportunity to help reform health care and voted no to the health care bill back in March, but it appears this photo-op or news story of him touring a health care facility is an effort to rehabilitate his reputation with some of his constituents in the 12th Congressional District.
Some believe if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.
“It is past time that we bring back trust between those elected and the people back home. It is time to have a representative with integrity whose word is their bond. It is past time to have a representative who cares for the whole district and votes for what is right and not what is popular or just to get elected.”
The veteran state legislator’s write-in candidacy is not ordinary and it will require a lot of work in regard to getting Thomas’ name out there, because her name won’t be on the ballot. However, a voter can write her name as the preferred choice for Georgia’s 12th Congressional District for the November 2nd election.
Chatham County is Thomas’ home base and it is also has the largest concentration of voting precincts and voters. In the July 20th primary, Thomas was able to win Chatham County by a 3 to 1 margin. Thomas will have to maintain the Chatham advantage by building on the momentum in this county.
However, Richmond County (Augusta), is an area in which improvement is vital for Thomas’ write-in candidacy to push forward.
Richmond County has historically trended Democrat and is the third largest city in the state of Georgia. Additionally, the consolidated Richmond-Augusta area is majority African-American.
On July 20th, Richmond County went to John Barrow. Turnout was significantly lower and reflected a statewide trend of voters staying home. Only 22% of all Georgia voters cast a ballot.
In 2008, consolidated Richmond County voted for Obama with 65% of the vote which translates to 52,100 votes.
Most of Richmond County supports President Obama and most of his agenda, but will have to be convinced that Barrow’s Blue Dog tendencies undermine Obama and the Democrats’ agenda.
This is where highlighting Barrow’s vote on health care, education and cap and trade could come into play.
Best case scenario for the determined Thomas is to win Richmond and Chatham counties. However, with the 12th District consisting of over twenty counties, Thomas must be able to connect with the rural voters of the smaller counties with progressive constituencies.
There are seven counties that Thomas must reverse the tide from previous elections and win and they are the following: Jefferson, Washington, Hancock, Taliaferro, Warren and Burke.
In Hancock County, Barrow won this county on July 20th. The county is 76% African-American and has one of the highest poverty rates in Georgia. Hancock’s county seat is Sparta and it has seven voting precincts.
The largest voting precinct is Sparta with over 1200 voters, and the second largest is “Devereux B” which has approximately 1,200 voters. Barrow won each precinct by an average of just 73 votes.
In Jefferson County, the largest three precincts are Louisville with approximately 3400 registered voters, Wrens with 2300 voters and the city of Wadley with 1852.
Jefferson County is a majority-minority county and the largest city Louisville is 65% African-American. The city of Wrens is 65% African-American and Wadley is 77% African-American.
However, turnout is key along with voter enthusiam. Barrow won with by 700 votes in Jefferson County on July 20th-1062 to 350.
On a side note, Republican Sonny Perdue won Jefferson County with 49% of the vote in 2006, Johnny Isakson won this county over Denise Majete, an African-American candidate with 49.25% of the vote in 2004.
However, an energized voting base in Jefferson County voted for Democrat Jim Martin in 2008 with 57% along with Barack Obama at 57%.
Thomas has an uphill battle, but the opportunity is there.