Commentary on commentary on Isakson’s decision to stay put opening up the floodgates for other candidates to run for governor.
House Speaker Glenn Richardson’s name has been mentioned frequently as well, but he could decide there’s more political power to be had by remaining speaker -- especially since the Democrats’ inability to recruit challengers to Republican legislators ensures that the GOP won’t lose many, if any, state House seats this year. (Isakson’s exit from the governor’s race could open up opportunities for Democrats as well. House Minority Leader DuBose Porter (D-Dublin) had indicated he would pass up the governor’s race if Isakson ran -- but he might get back in now that Isakson is out. Former governor Roy Barnes will also be asked to take a look at running again. Georgia’s top two African American elected officials, Attorney General Thurbert Baker and Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond, would have to be considered top contenders in the Democratic primaries for governor or lieutenant governor if they chose to run.
Because those strong enough to challenge him are his allies, Richardson will be able to retain his position as Speaker, but he deserves to lose it. As far as becoming a candidate for governor, forget it.
Porter is back in unless Barnes steps forward. I would have given the latter possibility only a slim to none chance until this last legislative session and Isakson's announcement. Roy knows the state needs him, and he may consider a run.
Baker will stay put, but an Obama victory -- coupled with Thurmond's political and speaking skills -- could make it at least a possibility for some to presuade Thurmond to leave the safety of his Commissioner of Labor position and venture a run for lieutenant governor.
Something that is going to be interesting is what Rep. Jack Kingston will do. He definitely would have jumped into the U.S. Senate race if Johnny had decided to come home, but now he is going to have a hard time deciding what to do.
Kingston doesn't let too many get inside his head, and thus it's hard to know what his rathers really are. Would he rather remain in what is going to be even more diminished role as the number of Republicans shrinks in number in the U.S. House come Nov. 2008, or does he have the ambition to be top dog in Georgia if the chances look decent?
I'm not sure, but if had to put a bet on it, I bet he chooses to stay in D.C.