I have not taken a position on Georgia’s sixth congressional district. Instead, with 13 candidates running, I invited them all on my radio program in Atlanta to answer three basic questions: who are you; what is the issue you care about most; and, why should voters choose you over the others?
The reality is that in polling, based on name identification, there are three Republicans who have a real shot. Karen Handel, the former Secretary of State, is the front runner. Bob Gray, a Johns Creek city councilman, would be second. And rapidly moving up is Judson Hill, a former state senator. They are all three good candidates. But I am a bit disappointed that Bob Gray is revealing himself to be more wishy-washy than he appears and hope he will find some consistency.
First, Gray was opposed to Donald Trump in 2016. He said on Facebook that he was a Cruz guy, but he thought Rubio had a better shot at winning. So he voted Rubio. He remained critical of Trump throughout the campaign season, but is now running as someone to help President Trump. That is both understandable and forgiveable, though it has raised the hackles of long time staunch Trump supporters.
Bob Gray, who calls himself an outsider and is a businessman supported by the conservative Club for Growth, played to type at the forum as he twice criticized Speaker Paul D. Ryan for having “failed” on the health care legislation. But in an interview, Mr. Gray allowed that he would have backed the House-drafted bill (which the Club for Growth opposed), shied away from the Tea Party label and sounded more like a furrowed-brow centrist than a fire-breathing conservative.
“This is the problem with D.C.,” he said. “Everybody has retreated to their political corners with a jersey on. We need people like President Trump who want to go to D.C. and change the way they do business. The American people are tired of the bickering.”
How do you go from attacking Paul Ryan in public for his health care plan to then saying he would have supported it? Why shy away from the tea party label?
The fact is it was terrible legislation and every Republican should have opposed it. But it reeks of opportunism to publicly attack Paul Ryan when then conceding you’d have supported the plan. Bob has been a city councilman and now all eyes are on him. He is going to need a greater level of consistency if he is the Republican pushed into a runoff against the Democrats.
That lack of consistency and low name identification over all would let Jon Ossoff and his millions portray Gray as a real opportunist. And Gray is not helping himself on that front.