Big Mistake: GOP Spits On Georgia

Big Mistake: GOP Spits On Georgia

To the Editor:

Normally I wouldn’t run a headline like this, but I can’t claim credit for the language. In response to the announcement that CNN would cancel the Super Tuesday CNN debate in Georgia, Newt Gingrich’s spokesman R.C. Hammond tweeted, “@MittRomney spits in Georgia’s face and cancels Atlanta debate appearance. #CNN”. Why are the GOP candidates dipping out of the Georgia debate? Is this a mistake? Should GOP candidates take Georgia for granted?

Georgia carries the largest delegate count on Super Tuesday (76), and carries the largest delegate count of any state until April 3rd when the Texas primary is scheduled (though it will likely be delayed). So why on Earth are the candidates dipping out of the Georgia debate?

It appears to be a strategic decision by Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. Both know that their chances of winning a large portion of the delegates in Georgia are slim. Georgia is Newt Gingrich’s home state and Gingrich usually performs very well in debate settings. With that in mind, it seems that instead of allowing Gingrich to possibly have a stellar debate performance on his home turf, the other candidates have decided to not allow that to happen.

I think this is a big mistake. While Georgia has been a red state for quite sometime, the trend is going towards the Democrat party in Georgia for Presidential elections. Since 1996, there has been a steady increase in support for the Republican candidate. G.W. Bush got 54.7% of the vote in 2000 and 58% of the vote in 2004, but in 2008 McCain only got 52.2% of the vote. That is a massive drop of 5.8%! Another drop like that, and Georgia becomes a blue state!

That fact is something the Georgia GOP’s chairwoman is very aware of. When responding to the disappointing news that the debate was cancelled, Sue Everhart said that, “We’re a red state, but we barely squeaked through to beat (then-candidate Barack) Obama in 2008. I was hoping to do a lot better this time. I’ve still got to keep my people energized.” To summarize, the GOP should not take Georgia for granted.

With so much talk about how voters are unenthusiastic about the candidates running, you better believe Everhart is going to have her hands full here in Georgia rallying the base come November. What do you think? Should the candidates have declined the Georgia debate?

David W Gray

About the Author:

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