Reed Strikes Back and Other Notes on Politics

After weeks of being hammered by the AJC, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, Ralph Reed finally tried his hand at an offensive maneuver. Reed sent out an email to his supporters and others accusing the Atlanta Journal-Constitution of political bias stating “the Atlanta Constitution has so far published 15 articles and editorials on Ralph’s past work against gambling — including 5 articles on the front page — compared to only two articles that focused on his campaign for Lt. Governor.”

Reed’s email then went on to set the record straight, showing, among other things,

The work that Century Strategies did in Alabama prevented Las Vegas-style casino operations that could have affected Georgia. According to former Alabama Attorney General and U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, the legislation Ralph Reed helped to defeat “would appear, under existing federal law, to expand Indian gaming to include most, if not all, forms of casino gambling,” and “could lead to the vast expansion of casino-type gambling throughout Alabama.” (Associated Press, March 17, 2000)

Eighty-two percent of the funds raised for Citizens Against Legalized Lottery in Alabama came from churches and the grassroots—and not a dime came from casinos.

Reed then attacked the Cagle campaign.

Sadly, the Casey Cagle campaign has echoed the charges of the liberal media and Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean (who personally attacked Ralph during a visit last week to Georgia), sending out news releases attacking Ralph and other leading Republicans, and even resorting to personal attacks sent by anonymous emails to members of the press. These attacks will backfire.

Brad Alexander, with Casey Cagle’s campaign, responded.

Ralph is trying to imply he did not benefit financially from millions his firm received from casinos to shut down their competition. However, he has yet to offer a cogent explanation of how much he actually made or how many other casino clients he has. If Ralph did not profit, why won’t he say exactly what his cut of the $4.2 million was? . . . We agree that recent instances of media mistakes that resulted in false stories are despicable examples of sloppy reporting. However, we are not talking about isolated mistakes here. In point of fact, virtually every major paper in the country has covered this scandal. Would Ralph have us believe that hundreds of journalists, Republican Senate investigators, and federal officials are secretly meeting together on a grassy knoll somewhere to conspire against him?

Ralph has long had a reputation for running extremely negative and personal campaigns as a political consultant. His sob story in this case is both unbelievable and unmerited. The Cagle campaign has not leveled a single personal attack at Ralph Reed. What we have done is encourage Ralph to be honest and open with the voters so they can make a fair comparison. Sadly, he has yet to do so.

In related news, rumor has it that two individuals listed on a fundraising invitation for Ralph Reed, said they did not want to be listed as hosts, yet are listed. I’ve tried contacting both for comment, but so far have not heard anything.

In yet more related news, sources are telling me that the Republican House Leadership is trying very hard to keep House Republicans neutral in the Lt. Governor’s race. With June 30 coming soon — the campaign disclosure time — we’ll be able to see how much Casey and Ralph have on hand. In particular, we’ll want to see how much they have raised from third parties beyond themselves and their family members. If there is a huge gap, expect some who have been silent to jump into a particular camp (my bet is on the one whose numbers look best — even though that may not be the guy with the most money).

In still other Georgia news, word has spread throughout the GOP grassroots that the Governor’s team is smelling danger. Governor Perdue has not been able to keep a lot of deep loyalty in the grassroots and is taking steps, as best he can, to correct that. Subtle dread has been seeping into Republicans across the state that Cathy Cox just might get the Democratic nomination and toast the Governor. Sensing that, the Governor’s office has started aggressively courting Republicans that have not had a great deal of direct contact with the Governor lately. We’ll keep a close eye on what the Governor does throughout the summer months as we head into the time where the GOP will be shaping its election year agenda.

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Erick Erickson

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