By now, the worst kept secret in Georgia is out. Jason Carter, the grandson of former President and current peace-lover Jimmy Carter, is running for Governor against (presumably) Nathan Deal. Last night, I had the chance to shine for a total of about 8 seconds on 11 Alive talking about Senator Carter and Georgia politics in general. I shined so much I cannot find the video to embed, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. I was magical..
…nevertheless, I tried to stress the point that Jason Carter represents the archetype of what we should expect from major Democratic candidates going forward in Georgia. Young, vibrant, dynamic, Atlanta-based (at least for the time being), and able to carry themselves with some prestige in a difficult environment. The reason we should expect this on the right is simple – Georgia is growing into fertile ground for Democrats. With some good cultivation (organization) and a little of fertilizer (money) Georgia could prove a purple state in the mold of Virginia. This election presents a perfect opportunity to build that foundation for winning, especially for candidates like Nunn and Carter the Youngers who are probably a bit more liberal and left-leaning than their preceding family members.
You don’t get to beat the best without running against the best.
I also had the chance to listen in on another conversation take place that talked about the Republican primary and some folks’ desire to see Pennington and Barge out of the race. I disagree, but not because I think either candidate presents a great alternative to a very good governor. Pennington’s appeal lies with the fringe of the party, and needed broad-based coalitions won’t line up behind him. Barge is a burned candidate; campaigning against the GOP’s major school choice reform (after saying you supported the same concept if not exact policy) was not a good move to base a run for “govner” on. Plus, I’m just a firm believer that Deal governs well. Georgia has a healthy economic environment, companies are leaving their home states to open some new Georgia digs (e.g., Caterpillar), and generally speaking he isn’t an embarrassment to the party. Deal wins the primary and governorship no matter what, but taking advantage of a good reason to use resources effectively and build those networks of volunteers, voter IDs, and coalitions can never be understated in importance.
Younger conservatives won’t have the same easy fights in coming election cycles as they do in this one. It’s time we start to consider this one difficult, too. Jason Carter and Michelle Nunn are well-moneyed, but they also are able to communicate a message. If you’ve seen Carter on the Senate floor, you know he’s able to aggressively, but respectfully, present his liberal leanings in a chamber where his voice is drowned out as part of a super-minority. Michelle Nunn’s campaign rollout was flawless in my opinion, utilizing the new digital media platforms to announce her candidacy. The future is here. It’s a good idea to make sure the younger generation of Georgia conservatives are part of that future.
Younger conservatives have a fantastic opportunity to prove that in this election cycle. Without a viable opponent, the respective chairman and leaders of the Georgia Young Republicans and Georgia Association of College Republicans (both of whom I’m proud to call good friends, by the way) have done tremendous work in building for the future. Now, we have the chance to build and test and a series of candidates which can help expose our flaws and entrench our strengths.
It’s exciting times. Let’s take advantage of that.