Political InSighter Storms the TV Airwaves, Debuts June 20
Commencing next Sunday, June 20, The Beacon Broadcast Network presents a new weekly television show, “Political InSighter: News And Analysis Affecting North Fulton And The State.”
Commencing next Sunday, June 20, The Beacon Broadcast Network presents a new weekly television show, "Political InSighter: News And Analysis Affecting North Fulton And The State." The new show is available exclusively on Comcast channel 25, and will broadcast twice per day, six days per week, Sunday through Friday at 10:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., respectively. It will also be available on Comcast On-Demand, Comcast.com and Beaconcast.com.
The one-hour show will be the first of its kind focusing exclusively on the top issues facing North Fulton and the State. It’s got a "Face The Nation" look and feel to it, but with a much more lively, upbeat tempo. We broadcast live to tape on Friday’s at Comcast’s community television studios. With 90,000 plus viewers in Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Milton, Mountain Park, Roswell and Sandy Springs the show neatly augments our print and Internet presence, providing a media reach to over 120,000 North Side residents across three media platforms.
Hosting along with me will be Ashley Widener and our scheduled commentators are Shawn Hanley and John Keim. The core of the show is a no-holds barred interview with high-profile guests, and we launch the show with Republican candidate for Governor John Oxendine on June 20. Karen Handel, Nathan Deal, Eric Johnson and Tom Price are scheduled to follow in ensuing weeks.
So remember to tune in next Sunday at 10:00 a.m. or 6:30 p.m. to Comcast channel 25. And if you’ve got one of those ugly dishes hanging over your roof, deep-six it -- and go with cable. It’s where the action is.
THE OX MAN COMETH
Here we are just about five weeks away from July 20 -- Georgia primary day -- and Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine still leads the GOP gubernatorial field in all published polls by a comfortable margin. Is he the Teflon candidate, or is his support real? The downtown pundits and his opponents have ragged his lead for over a year now, saying it’s just “name recognition.” But we don’t think so. Ox’s support is real, and its not going away. He is assured of making the runoff, in our judgment. So where is his unshakeable backing emanating from?
Two sources: the first revolves around his 16 years as state insurance commissioner, where he gained the reputation as a consumer and small business advocate. What do people hate as much as the IRS? You guessed it, insurance companies, whose sole purpose is to deny or delay claims. So how many consumers has Ox’s office touched in a positive way over nearly two decades? And how many other people have they told? It’s likely untold thousands upon thousands, an immeasurable number that no one really knows.
His second core support base is from local insurance agents, the ultimate independent entrepreneurs. Every town in the state has a whole bevy of them, and a majority support the Ox. How far does that go? Whatever it is, it's deep. So he starts there.
Add to the mix his campaign war chest -- which is quite formidable – and the fact that he has just added a stellar campaign management team, led by manager Stephen Puetz, for the home stretch. The Ox camp will conceivably go into the run-off with a couple hundred thousand dollars still in the bank. Couple this with the fact that they can raise big money quickly, and good luck beating him in a four-week run-off. If Karen Handel finishes second, which is anything but a sure thing now after her “Gay-gate” debacle (see page 15). she’ll likely be financially tapped out. Her donor base is broader, but with smaller dollar contributors. That makes it tough to raise big money in a short four-week run-off window. So we still believe Oxendine emerges in August as the Republican nominee.
Playing this out to the g eneral election, the same "NO-OX" naysayers contend he can’t beat the Democrat nominee. No doubt many Republicans will abandon his campaign in the fall election. But what nobody factors in is his ability to win Independent and conservative or moderate Democrat voters. The guy has carried nearly every county in Georgia over his four prior statewide runs. So he’s still the man to beat in our book.
DOES ERIC JOHNSON HAVE A FACE FOR RADIO?
The anomaly on the GOP gov. side is still former state senate majority leader, Savannah’s Eric Johnson. He’s got the money, the contacts, the pedigree, the experience and the conservative credentials to make a late run at the gun. He’s just not getting any traction. Johnson was the first candidate to take to the airwaves, going on television with an impressive $350,000 targeted cable buy in April and May. But the exposure got him nowhere noticeable, as his statewide poll numbers remained flat. He’s hovered at around eight percent, fighting to crack double digits since he got in the race more than a year ago. So maybe he doesn’t play on T.V.? At any rate, we think he’s still got a shot at a late July billow. We know he’ll clean up downstate and he’s a proven closer. The Beacon is profiling Johnson next Sunday in our cover story: "Dark Horse." Don’t miss it.
To coin a phrase from Mark Twain, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” The demise of Nathan Deal’s gubernatorial campaign, of which this newspaper was a willing participant, have, well, been premature. There, we said it. Truth be told, his candidacy, left for so much road kill after ethics charges surrounding his tax-payer financed shell company, his bizarre campaign statement referencing “ghetto grandmother’s,” his botched Congressional resignation and finally his Tom Price bailout, is now…surging. Why? One, the Price decision to abandon his early support pledge to Deal and back his longtime local friend and neighbor Handel has, in our judgment, backfired. Now Deal is the recipient of a sympathy backlash, just in time to save what was a fledgling electoral effort. Two, the hot congressional race in Georgia’s ninth congressional district to replace Deal in the U.S. House has galvanized North Georgia GOP interest, and it’s playing to Deal’s advantage. His campaign brain trust, now led by the savvy Washington insider Brian Robinson, estimates that 75 percent of that district’s primary voters are going to vote for Deal for governor, regardless of their U.S. House choice. Three, its Robinson himself, who has taken over a notoriously lackluster campaign team and energized it, with new faces and a new strategy while infusing excitement and enthusiasm where there was apathetic lethargy. Four, Deal is now the immigration candidate. He’s got a long track record of fighting against rampant illegal immigration, and he’s got the moral high ground on the issue. Save Handel and her bold work on voter registration as the state’s secretary, Deal owns this issue, period. Five, their campaign, led by the former Congressman himself, went on offense, starting with a spirited and aggressive rebuttal to Price’s about face last month. It’s all worked.
In a time of historic voter discontent and angst, Republicans across the country are searching desperately for a voice to stand up and fight for what they believe in. Deal has certainly done that of late. In that regard, Price did him a favor neither former colleague anticipated. Now Deal is in a position to get a "bye" from conservatives for his past ethical transgressions, and may be positioned as the alternative to Handel in the "ANTI-OX" contingent. Don’t Deal him out, just yet. He’s got at an even money chance to overtake Handel in the final weeks and earn a spot in the August run-off, especially in light of Handel’s coming “Gay-gate” problems that are sure to dog her campaign throughout the long, hot summer.
A quick note of thanks to Ray Appen for giving us about 75 percent of his entire news hole last week in his free local coupon shopper pamphlet. And Ray, thanks for buying The Beacon, we appreciate your support. By the way, don’t be alarmed at our cover illustration this week, Ray. You don’t need to call the Atlanta fire department; the Georgia senate chamber is not really on fire…it’s just a depiction... in case you didn’t know.