Max Cleland for lieutenant governor?
Is Ralph Reed's bad dream about to come true? Have Democrats found a candidate to run against him, one with perhaps as much charisma, fund-raising power and political moxie? Is Max Cleland about to ride back into the Georgia political arena, this time as an aspirant for lieutenant governor?
Several Democrats are encouraging former Sen. Cleland to go for the office in next year's election.
If Max says yes, the Georgia contest for lieutenant governor could turn into one of the nation's most closely watched second-tier elections.
Reed's bid for lieutenant governor has already morphed into a magnet for national Republican campaign funds. Cleland could be expected to attract big sums from national Democrats, some of whom had written off the Georgia party - before they heard about overtures to Max.
Cleland's candidacy would change Reed's strategy. Abramoff and Cagle would become secondary concerns. Cleland, a compelling motivational speaker, would quickly become the man - and the issue - to overcome.
The seasoned Democrat can match or exceed many of Reed's assets.
A Cleland candidacy would force Reed to focus on his own political survival. The Republican strategist would have little time to dabble in other contests.
A Cleland presence also shakes up the state Democratic Party's plans.
Former state Sen. Greg Hecht would likely abandon his intention to run for lieutenant governor and announce instead for state school superintendent. Also, former state Rep. Jim Martin, a liberal Democrat, would lose traction in the lieutenant governor's matchup. Martin is seen as the Democrat whom Reed would most like to run against.
There's just one problem: Cleland hasn't decided whether he's ready to dive back into the political pool. Without a lot of tugging from party regulars, he is not likely to make such a move. Strangely, some Democratic leaders are becoming much like old-time, complacent Republicans. Trying to win elections is too much hassle, especially if one has to actively recruit viable candidates.
I do agree with Bill Shipp that the most important thing our Democratic leaders can be doing now is to be recruiting viable candidates to take on Republicans in 2006. 2002 and 2004 are behind us. Let's put these dates out of our minds and focus on 2006 and 2008.
Bill Shipp has done a great job writing about former Sen. Cleland in this article, and the above is only a part of such article. I encourage you to read it all.
Even more important, I encourage you to contact anyone you know who might have some influence in encouraging former Sen. Cleland to make this sacrifice for the party. If that person is you, please contact former Sen. Cleland Monday.
His running truly would shake things up and be about the next best thing since sliced bread.
And Mr. Shipp, thanks for giving us this encouragement to contact former Sen. Cleland.