Here’s a Georgia rumor for you that I’ve substantiated and confirmed with multiple sources close to John Oxendine, Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner.
Oxendine will bow out of the race for Lt. Gov. in Georgia. Says one source, “Oxendine never wanted to be Lieutenant Governor.” Oxendine, another source explains, has wanted to be Governor. But, when Casey Cagle declared his intention of running for Lt. Gov, Oxendine felt compelled to enter thinking that Cagle could win a general election and if Cagle won Cagle would have the advantage in 2010.
With Ralph Reed now in the race, sources close to Oxendine say he has become convinced that Reed will win the nomination, but is too much of a lightening rod to win in November. That would keep Oxendine viable as one of the few (perhaps the only) elected Republicans statewide who could run.
Oxendine fails to realize that, with no one showing him loyalty getting into the Lt. Gov.’s race (he was for the longest time the only statewide elected Republican), many might not give him loyalty in 2010. Also, with the surfacing of the Indian gambling scandal, Oxendine should wait. Reed just might be undone by a media that already dislikes him and would love to paint Reed as a hypocrite.
It is interesting that Oxendine does not think he can beat Reed, but that he could beat Cagle. It’s also interesting that he thinks Cagle would have a shot at winning statewide in a general election and Reed wouldn’t. Many “inside the perimeter” types that I’ve spoken to in the past few weeks actually thought Oxendine was ruthless enough to beat Reed. I disagreed with them and it looks like Oxendine might be thinking the same thing.
Update [2005-3-15 7:5:35 by Erick]: One of the sources used for the this piece contacted me overnight. He says that Oxendine actually thinks he can beat Reed. The sources says, “Oxendine is convinced that he can defeat Reed, and his polling data suggests that he might be right. But he sees no need to defeat Reed because he is convinced that, if he withdraws, Reed will go on to win the primary and lose the general election, thus fulfilling Oxendine’s sole purpose in running — preventing another Republican from becoming Lt. Governor.”