Tuesday, October 14, 2008

GOP Candidate in Georgia Invokes Obama's Name

When a Republican candidate in the middle of Red Georgia invokes Obama's name in his ads, you know that the Obama Tsunami will likely not leave the South untouched. In a half page, full color ad in Sunday's Telegraph (not cheap beans), Scotty Shepherd (R), who is running for Sheriff of Bibb County against incumbent Jerry Modena (D), had a photo and endorsement from Bill Lucas (Modena's Democratic Primary challenger) that said, in part:

"I am voting for Senator Obama, the Democratic candidate for President in this election. I would like you to vote for my friend, Scotty Shepherd, the Republican candidate for Sheriff of Bibb County."

Could Shepherd (R) now be required to file with the FEC since his paid advertisement included an endorsement for Sen. Obama? Perhaps. It matters not that the endorsement is attributed to Lucas. The issue is who paid for the ad. I understand that Lucas has done robo-calls for Shepherd, and I don't know if he invokes Obama's name in the calls, if so...even more money has been spent.

Back to the point. While this strategy is interesting, I doubt it will work. Voters are choosing between Modena and Shepherd, not Modena and Obama. The last Georgia candidate I recall using Obama's name in an ad without permission was Vernon Jones. That strategy did not go well for Jones, and I suspect Shepherd will get a similar result. Let me make a prediction: Modena will defeat Scotty Shepherd by at least as wide a margin as he did in 2004, back when Scotty claimed to be a Democrat. In that race, Modena got more than 70% of the vote. This one is SO over.

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