The Peach State has a high profile gubernatorial race underway, and the Democratic primary is actually fairly crowded. It contains former Governor Roy Barnes, state Attorney General Thurbert Baker, state House Democratic Leader DuBose Porter, and one David Poythress.Strategic Vision has been tracking the race. (SV is a GOP-oriented polling firm, but they’re the only firm tracking so far.) This is what the polling outfit has found: April 17-19June 12-14July 17-19Roy Barnes564946Thurbert Baker293031David Poythress454DuBose Porter223
Gov. Barnes enjoys support from about one-half of the respondents and Attorney General Baker enjoys support from about one-third of the respondents, while Poythress is stuck in single digits. It’s understandable that, in a Democratic gubernatorial primary, a former Governor (Barnes) and Georgia’s highest ranking elected Democrat (Baker) would consume most of the political oxygen. But Poythress is much more than a single-digit candidate or campaign footnote. He’s just amid a very competitive gubernatorial primary – which is exactly why he should switch gears and run for Senate instead. So who is David Poythress and why should he run for Senate?
Consider David Poythress’ resume:Late 60′s-Early 70′s – graduates from Emory University and receives law degree in 1967; subsequently serves four years on active duty with the U.S. Air Force, including one year as Chief of Military Justice at DaNang Air Base in Viet Nam.
Mid-70′s – serves in multiple roles in state government, including Assistant Attorney General and Deputy State Revenue Commissioner.
1978 – elected statewide to the office of Georgia Secretary of State.
Mid-80′s to Early 90′s – worked as a private practice attorney.
1992 – elected statewide to the office of State Labor Commissioner; re-elected in 1994.
1999 – appointed by Democratic Governor Roy Barnes as Adjutant General, the commander of the Georgia Army and Air National Guard, in the rank of Major General; then reappointed by Republican Governor Sonny Perdue, who also promoted him to the rank of Lieutenant General, the first three-star Adjutant General in Georgia history.
David Poythress is an Air Force veteran, a former Georgia Secretary of State, a former State Labor Commissioner, and a former Adjutant General leading Georgia’s National Guard. He’s been elected statewide multiple times and been appointed to office by Governors of both Parties. The guy has an outstanding resume and he can get votes statewide in Georgia.
So why should he run for Senate? Well, the political reality is that, in a competitive primary featuring heavyweights like former Governor Barnes and Attorney General Baker, Poythress simply won’t be able to get the traction necessary to run more competitively. However, his resume is so strong that it would be a disservice to the Democratic Party and to all Georgians not to have Poythress consider his options more practically. So what else could he run for? Democrats still need a strong candidate for U.S. Senate against vulnerable freshman backbencher Johnny Isakson – and Poythress could fit that bill to a tee.
Put simply, Isakson could be quite vulnerable against a strong Democrat. I’ve seen two 2010 polls on Isakson and GA-Sen. At the end of November 2008, Public Policy Polling found Isakson’s approve-disapprove to be a weak 30-25. PPP noted that, “The problems with the economy may be hurting his appeal as well. Among voters who name it as their top issue just 27% approve of him with 29% disapproving.” The PPP poll showed Isakson leading Attorney General Baker in a hypothetical match-up 45-39, and leading Congressman Jim Marshall 47-38. At the end of April 2009, Research 2000 found Isakson’s favorable-unfavorable to be a lackluster 47-41. The D2K poll showed Isakson leading former Governor Barnes in a hypothetical match-up 47-43, and leading Congressman Jim Marshall 48-40.
According to both polls, less than 50% of Georgians dig Johnny Isakson. In all four match-ups between the two polls, Isakson couldn’t top 48% and all of his leads were in the single digits. Further, among voters focused on the economy as their top issue, Isakson has a net negative approval rating. Again, put simply, Isakson could be quite vulnerable against a strong Democrat.
If David Poythress, former Georgia Secretary of State, former State Labor Commissioner, and former Adjutant General of the Georgia National Guard, were to switch gears from a gubernatorial run to a Senate bid, not only would he walk to the nomination (as well as curry favor with Democrats looking to avoid contentious primaries and looking to oust Republicans like Isakson), but he would provide the vulnerable Isakson with a top-tier race and provide Democrats with a great chance to make GA-Sen a toss-up.
David Poythress, please run for U.S. Senate
i agree, but Ga is becoming the reat white wale for d’s every year we say this is it and every year we come up short ki just don’t know
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